Friday, April 27, 2018

Top 10 Anime Girls


A few weeks ago I told you my Top 10 Anime Guys, but what about my Top 10 favorite girls in anime?

(I'm keeping it fair by limiting it to only one character per show!)

10. Professor Ursula (Little Witch Academia)


Little Witch Academia, 2013 Trigger; screenshot from Netflix

She's quirky, she's a little goofy, she's completely misunderstood by everyone around her, but she has a heart of gold. She'll do anything to protect her students... even if she has to protect them from themselves. Because despite looking so unassuming, Professor Ursula can also kick some serious butt.

9. Mikasa Akerman (Attack on Titan)


Attack on Titan, 2013 Wit Studio / Production I.G; screenshot from Crunchyroll

This steel-cold fighter (and Type Six personality), is an army all her own. But underneath her iron exterior beats a heart full of fear and vulnerability. Mikasa will do anything to protect her friends and family, but it's hard to go beyond her walls to get to know the real her. With how much of life's cruelty she's experienced firsthand, it's clear to see why she can act so cold and harsh. Yet she still holds onto hope, knowing that “[t]his world is cruel. But it's also very beautiful.”1

8. Sakura Chiyo (Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun)


Gekkan Shoujo: Nozaki-kun, 2014 Doga Kobo; screenshot from Crunchyroll

Sakura is a sweet little goofball who pretty much encapsulates the hopeless awkwardness of teenage crushes. She's a bit of a people-pleaser, but she's not some pushover, either. She's funny, she's witty, she's sarcastic, she's pure, and she's a delight to watch interact with the stone-faced and single-minded Nozaki, who is totally clueless that the whole reason Sakura spends so much time helping him with his manga is to hang out with the guy she likes.

7. Princess Nike (The World is Still Beautiful)


The World Is Still Beautiful, 2014 Pierrot; screenshot from Crunchyroll

Nike is spunk incarnate: she's not afraid of anyone and never counts the cost before charging in to do the right thing. So what if she's only the youngest princess of a pitifully small kingdom?

The best part is what guides Nike's strong fighting spirit: her sensitivity and tender-hearted compassion. She's always on the hunt to better understand people, digging beneath their facades to find the beauty within. This makes her the perfect match for her proud and cold fiance, whose harshness melts under the rays of Nike's warm heart. Nike proves time and again that despite her humble origin, she's just the person to take up the mantle as queen of the Sun Kingdom.

Also she can summon storms and rain just by singing, like some sweet blend of a Disney Princess and Storm from the X-Men. Too cool.

6. Sophie (Howl's Moving Castle)


Howl's Moving Castle, 2004 Studio Ghibli

Beneath Sophie's mousy exterior beats the heart of a frustrated girl who is desperate to know she's worthy of being noticed—but who's too beaten down to even realize it. When Sophie is freed from her outward appearance and how the world sees her, she begins to reconnect with her desires. This reveals her true character: she's the fiery woman who can stand up for herself and others, the quirky and funny but warm and welcoming mother, the warrior-healer who can break evil spells, and the compassionate lover who can see the good in the people others would deem monsters. In the end, this fieldmouse of a girl becomes a woman willing to fight for her family, who saves the day with her unyielding spirit and resourcefulness even amid a world she doesn't fully understand.

5. Nia (Gurren Lagann)


Gurren Lagann, 2007 Gainax; screenshot from Crunchyroll

Nia is sweet and innocent and too perfect for this world. She's righteous and will fight evil until her dying breath, but she's also painfully aware of her own frailty and powerlessness. Still, she brings faith and hope to those who most desperately need it. She believes in the timid Simon when no one else did—not even himself. And when Simon thinks there's nothing left to fight for and that he can't keep going, Nia reminds him to keep moving forward. Nia never stops believing in Simon, giving him strength to keep fighting with a fearless smile to the very end.

4. Ochaco Uraraka (My Hero Academia)


My Hero Academia, 2016 Bones; screenshot from Crunchyroll

In a world where people's motives are called into question, Ochaco has the pure and simple desire to help people. On her way to her highschool entrance exam, she helps a fellow student from falling when he trips over his own two feet. When she thinks he's failed the exam, she asks if she can split her grade with him. Heck, her whole reason for pursuing this education is to help her parents' business, and she's even willing to go out of her comfort zone to do it.

In a school full of incredible fighters and brilliant superheroes-to-be, Ochaco is understandably in awe of the talented classmates around her. But rather than get bogged down with her struggles of inferiority, she uses it as inspiration to push herself far beyond her limitations. Despite her frail body, she's a fighter at her core and doesn't back down even when the odds terrify her.

3. Chaika (Chaika - The Coffin Princess)


Chaika - The Coffin Princess, 2014 Bones; screenshot from Crunchyroll

Chaika is just too sweet and adorable. You need to watch this show if only to witness the cute. A princess who awoke with fractured memories, Chaika speaks in broken Japanese and has a child-like innocence that belies her talent in powerful magic. She's not your typical protagonist though, that's for sure. While most would be running off to kill the magic-wielding evil emperor, all Chaika wants to do is bury his remains: as it turns out, he was her father.

She may be a little clueless and totally naive, but Chaika's determination despite terrible odds wins many to her cause.

2. Akane Tsunemori (Psycho-Pass)


Psycho-Pass, 2012 Production I.G; screenshot from Funimation

Akane transforms throughout the Psycho-Pass series, going from the innocent, social outcast new-girl on the job who's way in over her head to a smart, instinctive investigator who will do what's right, even if she has to stand against the very fabric of her government. But how does she achieve such dramatic change? Akane remains humble and teachable throughout. Even when she loses those she loves, Akane refuses to be paralyzed by fear or vengeance. Instead, she keeps doing the right thing because she knows the world needs her to make it a better place.

1. Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate)


Steins;Gate, 2011 White Fox; screenshot from YouTube

Kurisu is smart. Maybe a little too smart. She starts out a bit full of herself, cutting those she deems unworthy down to size with her incredible wit. But as it turns out, she's just as goofy and insecure as those she considered so plebeian, as she discovers when she finds herself absorbed into a group of young inventors. Soon Kurisu and her new friends are caught in a conspiracy to alter the flow of time itself, and she quickly becomes the right-hand man of Okabe. After all, Kurisu is the only one who truly understands Okabe throughout the series, when so many can only see his facade or just don't get where he's coming from. No matter what timeline Okabe jumps to, Kurisu is there to be his rock: she's clever, quick-witted, and a total tsundere who will always have his back.


Who's on YOUR Top 10 Anime Girls list?

---
Notes and References:
  1. Mikasa Akerman, Attack on Titan, “The Small Blade: Battle of Trost District, Part 3,” Season 1, Episode 7, Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, Written by Yasuko Kobayashi, May 19, 2013, Funimation.
All photos used under US “Fair Use” laws.

Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Psycho-Pass, Steins;Gate and all related terms are the property of Funimation; Little Witch Academia and all related terms property of Acttil; Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kunThe World Is Still Beautiful, Chaika - The Coffin Princess and all related terms property of Sentai Filmworks; Howl's Moving Castle property of Walt Disney Studios; Gurren Lagann and all related terms property of Aniplex of America. And I am not affiliated with any of them.

From Him, To Him

Friday, April 20, 2018

Why The Last Jedi Is So Divisive


Star Wars: The Last Jedi is remarkably divisive, generating more polarized feedback than any other Star Wars film to date. Discussions have often devolved into shouting matches, shaming the other side for their perceived biases.

Photo by Radovan on Unsplash
It's taken me a while to express my thoughts on The Last Jedi. What more could I add to what little true discussion had already taken place?

But the more videos I've watched about the film, the more I've realized that few people are talking about an important aspect of The Last Jedi: not its characters or pacing, but why it's so divisive in the first place. T B Skyen references it in his video “The Lie of Vice Admiral Holdo,” but only for one minute out of twenty.1 Patrick (H) Willems did some excellent work deconstructing what the typical Star Wars fan sought in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi,2 but he didn't even touch on this particular topic.

So what's causing all the dissent regarding the newest Star Wars film?

People have different opinions and values.

That's it. That is, what I believe, the main cause of all the controversy. People place different values on a story's aspects due to their varying tastes.

For example, I care a lot more about how a character is written than I do about, say, the cinematography. Not that I don't care about cinematography; I just don't value it as highly. I can get over boring camera angles if I find the characters' arcs compelling.

I'd never even heard of this concept until I'd watched a video by Digibro a few years ago.3 In this video, Digi explained that what bothered him about a show he was about to review might not bother other people. It was all a matter of different priorities placed on different aspects of a story.

Every story (especially those in visual media) is composed of many different elements. What elements we value most, and to what degree, is one of the key factors that determines whether we'll enjoy a story overall (there are other factors, but this is the one that plays the most prominent role in The Last Jedi's controversy). For example, while I might not like a film because I feel it has a break-neck pace, you might enjoy that film because you prefer a quicker-paced story than I do.

In the case of The Last Jedi, I highly value character development and interactions, so I was really looking forward to watching Luke train Rey. This resulted in disappointment when I discovered how much of The Last Jedi was dedicated to content unrelated to them. This, coupled with the fact that the B-plot got almost nothing done (as writer Matt Colville pointed out in his video Star Wars & The Last Jedi),4 left me feeling frustrated with half the film.

But for people who understood Vice Admiral Holdo's purpose (her “lie,” as T B Skyen called it)5 and highly value the element of surprise, the entire film was a delightful and clever subversion of expectations.

Again, a person's overall perception of the film was based on the value they place on certain elements of a story.

What seemed particularly strange to me, however, was that after I'd talked to a group of friends, most of us had agreed that specific elements of The Last Jedi were good or bad. Still, our overall impressions of the film varied greatly.

But how could this be? How could we agree certain specific elements of the film were good or bad in and of themselves, yet have different opinions on the film overall?

My brother and I talked to a collection of friends the day we saw the film. And all five of us agreed that we'd enjoyed Kylo Ren and his relationship with Rey. We'd all loved Mark Hamill's performance, even if some of us hadn't cared for how his character had been written. We'd all enjoyed the spectacle of Holdo's stand, even if we hadn't cared for the build-up to that moment. And almost everyone had agreed that the casino scene felt strange and out-of-place for a Star Wars film.

But while three of us disliked the film overall, the other two actually adored it—despite the parts they'd acknowledged were poorly done. The value we'd placed on each of those individual elements meant more or less to us, resulting in our overall better or worse impressions of the film.

And this is the biggest reason why The Last Jedi is so divisive. It all boils down to one question: do you place the same value on things that director and writer Rian Johnson does? If you do, you probably do (or will) love this film. If not, then you probably won't!

For those of you who have seen the film, what were your thoughts on it? Did you enjoy the film or dislike it? What parts did you enjoy or find lacking, and why? Did you find yourself torn about your overall impression of the film, or did you find yourself with a very strong feeling one way or the other?

If you haven't seen The Last Jedi, what are some of the things you value most highly in a story? What's one thing you can't stand in a story you've really hated, or what's one thing you always look for before determining what you saw was good?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.

---
Notes and References:
  1. T B Skyen, “The Lie of Vice Admiral Holdo,” YouTube video, 20:36, January 3, 2018.
  2. Patrick (H) Willems, “What Do We Want From a Star Wars Movie?” YouTube video, 19:55, Feburary 16, 2018.
  3. Unfortunately, after searching through many videos, I was unable to find which video Digibro said this specifically. If anyone knows which video it was, please let you know!
  4. Matt Colville, “Star Wars & The Last Jedi,” YouTube video, 44:46, December 27, 2017.
  5. T B Skyen, “Admiral Holdo.”
Star Wars and all related names and terms property of LucasFilm and Walt Disney Studios. And, unfortunately, I am not affiliated with them.

From Him, To Him

Friday, April 13, 2018

Movie Review: The Last Jedi


This post will contain minor spoilers for

Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi



You have been warned.



Star Wars: The Last Jedi released in December of last year, almost four months to the day. And no Star Wars film has had such controversial reception.

I saw this film shortly after it came out, but I didn't put out a public review until now for a variety of reasons. My first thought was that everyone and their brother had made a YouTube video or article or Reddit post detailing their opinion. Surely anything I had to say had already been said.

Another huge deterrent was the film's toxic “discussion” atmosphere. Nothing generates thoughtful debate like someone claiming you're a frustrated, immature fanboy if you have a different opinion than them.

But after mentioning The Last Jedi in multiple posts, I felt it was only fair to stop dancing around the topic and finally disclose my thoughts on the film.

Let me be clear: you're not an idiot if you like The Last Jedi. Nor are you an idiot if you don't like it. I'm not better than you just because I've expressed my opinion on a blog post. It's stupid to judge someone based on their personal preferences. You either like or you dislike, agree or disagree. No opinion is better than another.

Also, I am no Rian Johnson. I haven't written and directed a film for media giant Walt Disney Studios. I haven't even published a single thing of my own yet. Rian Johnson has years and years more experience than me. I am not writing this to say I am a better writer than him, nor that I could have done a better job. I am not and could not.

Now, I'll admit, most of my reasons for reviewing this film are selfish, but here's my list of why for the sake of full disclosure:

  • To provide transparency and clarity of my opinions on a film I've referenced on my blog
  • To ensure my criticism is constructive (offering suggestions for improvement) rather than destructive (complaining or criticizing but offering nothing in return) To help me sort out my own feelings about the film
  • To identify elements of the film I felt didn't reach their full potential, and to explore and discuss possible ways of better achieving that potential
  • To learn from others' experience in order to become a better storyteller
  • To segue into an issue that few others have addressed concerning The Last Jedi controversy

Remember, if you disagree with me, I'm totally fine with that! Don't let me delegitimize your opinion. You may see nothing wrong with Rian Johnson's decisions or see no need to alter what he poured his heart and soul into creating. And that's perfectly fine. In fact, I want to hear your viewpoint! Let's talk about it! This film needs more healthy discussion.

Now, with all that said, here are my thoughts on The Last Jedi.

THE BAD


Vice Admiral Holdo

This was a brand-new character introduced only for this film. Despite being a high-ranking officer in the Resistance, she does not look it: Holdo wears an evening gown and sports purple hair when everyone else is in war-torn fatigues.

T B Skyen asserts that everything about Holdo's design was created to be a lie, to intentionally misdirect the viewer.1 And given how many times director Rian Johnson tries to subvert the audience's expectations throughout this film, I believe Skyen is right.

While I can appreciate this conscious choice of character design and the ability to catch me by surprise, I'm not a fan of subversion for its own sake. This is because to me, it tends to feel forced, and it often causes characters to act in uncharacteristic or illogical ways.

This is precisely how I felt about Holdo and, by extension, all the subplots connected to her.

Holdo has a “twist” that is not set up at all within the film; Rian Johnson never gave us any clues as to why Holdo was acting the way she was. Having the mystery's answer hidden off-screen, away from where I could see it, felt like the storyteller was cheating; it left me feeling quite unsatisfied.

Because I had no clues as to what Holdo was actually thinking, I was left with a poor first impression of her. Her lack of communication with her crew results in unnecessary losses, which makes her seem less the hero she's painted to be and more illogical, ill-advised, and downright incompetent to me.

This is ironic, considering Holdo is not the character the film paints as reckless and incompetent... that criticism is reserved for Poe.

Poe

The film paints Poe as a hot-headed flyboy, and unfortunately, he not only proves that accusation but doesn't even get a chance to redeem himself by decisively overcoming this shortcoming.

Poe's failure is, as many have pointed out, a subversion of expectations, namely that “Good guys will always win” and that the hotshot protagonist who thinks with his heart is always right.2 And while I love that idea in theory, it does not play out well in The Last Jedi. Poe's failure doesn't help him as a character. His entire plan falls apart, and he never gets a chance to get it right. He doesn't get to show how quick-witted he is or how skilled he is by the end of the film. And rather than this failure clearly making him a better person, YouTuber KingEmperorPenguin points out that the only “growth” we see from Poe is that he pulls his fighters away in a moment of crisis... when their suicidal charge was the last hope to protect the Resistance.3 Poe's growth doesn't clearly make him a better person (the film itself doesn't even celebrate his decision to pull back his troops); in fact, Poe's “growth” would have doomed the Resistance!

Failure should always cause characters to show off their strengths or work on their weaknesses. Poe's doesn't.

I much prefer the way Voltron: Legendary Defender's earlier seasons handle the “good guys' plan fails” trope. Often when pitted against their titanic robotic enemies, the Voltron team will quickly try out various plans. They try going for the enemy's legs. When that fails, someone suggests they flank the enemy. And if that doesn't work, they try something else. Each failure leads them one step closer to discovering their enemy's weakness. And the failures happen so quickly, they never feel like they drag on.

But while failures in Voltron only take a couple of minutes to run through and correct, Poe's failure takes up half the movie before we see it ultimately fail. It's the entire B-plot of the movie, but it adds nothing to the overall plot of the film. It does not develop Poe or Finn. It doesn't showcase their unique strengths (anyone could have gone on Finn's mission and met with similar results). It barely even increases the tension, because the Resistance starts the movie in almost the same position they are in by the end: cornered, low on resources, lower on staff, and perilously outgunned.

All these issues, coupled with the fact the film's title suggests it would center on the Jedi, left me feeling bored with the B-plot.

To counter this, I would have removed Holdo for starters, as many of my issues with the B-plot were created for and by Holdo.

The B-plot should have existed to tell us more about who Poe, Finn, and any other new characters were. It should have given the characters opportunities to play off each other and to face various challenges so their different strengths could shine. The most cost-effective way to do that is to keep the main cast together for as long as possible. Give Poe and Finn something to do, but keep it tied into Rey's plot. Maybe they accompany Rey on her journey to find Luke, just in case Luke didn't want to come, or just in case it was a trap, or just in case the First Order located Rey and attacked. This way, when Rey runs off to confront Snoke, Poe and Finn are there to help during her dramatic showdown.

And speaking of our plucky protagonist...

Rey

I, like many fans, found Rey far too powerful without any given reason.

To be fair, this issue was not new to The Last Jedi; it began in The Force Awakens, but it was a problem present in this film.

Remember my points on new generation characters vs. old characters in a story? Rey felt like a lesson in that. Rey is incredibly powerful at the beginning of her journey, especially compared to Luke's beginning. Sure, Rey grew up with stories about the Jedi to serve as her inspiration, but as Mark Hamill joked in an interview, “She hasn't even been to Dagobah for training!”4 This was a tongue-in-cheek jest, but it's a sentiment I certainly feel. Why is Rey so much more powerful in the Force and automatically so much more skilled than Luke when they pretty much had the same starting point? I was hoping The Last Jedi would assuage my questions and concerns by linking Rey to some powerful Force-user in the past, but that wasn't the case. The film didn't even try to explain, which left me extremely disappointed—not because I'm “anti-woman” or a disappointed fan theorist, but because making Rey so much more powerful than Luke without any training feels like a slap in the face. It feels like the film is saying, “Here's a stronger, smarter, better-looking version of what you used to love. Isn't it great?” No. It's not great, because it seems to suggest that anyone could have done what Luke did... and better. This is not a good way to honor the legacy of the Star Wars series thus far.

There are some simple ways to change this. Make Rey far less competent in the Force and have her work her way up. Or, I saw one YouTube video that suggested Rey be incredibly powerful, but her potential is raw, untapped, and difficult to control (alas that even after days of sifting through my view history I could not find this source—please comment if you happen to know whose video this was!). I love this idea, not only for the conflict it would present to Rey but also because it adds even more incentive for her to draw close to Luke and, if he continues to resist teaching her, then to Kylo Ren.

Luke

While I didn't mind seeing Luke as a tired and jaded old master, I wanted to know how he got this way. We only got one flashback scene and a small monologue. The amount of time dedicated to showing how Luke fell was disproportionately small compared to the enormous transformation Luke underwent, leaving me feeling unsatisfied with this explanation.

To solve this, sprinkle flashbacks of Luke's descent into Rey's training montage. Her courage and optimism can remind him of simpler times in his own past... and the disastrous consequences he believes resulted.

Or, a more in-depth solution (for those who argue Luke wouldn't have fled into exile): create a reason why Luke is trapped on an island and was unable to come to his friends' aid sooner. Maybe he's looking for answers as to where Snoke came from. Maybe he's looking to recapture his old fire for being a Jedi. This opens the door to discuss Snoke's origins and rise to power, however briefly, and it also allows Rey to be Luke's “ray of hope” without making her more powerful than her master.

THE GOOD


Luke

I loved seeing Luke's perspective on the Force and being a Jedi. I thought this was one case where subversion of expectations was used well, as his philosophy on the Jedi and the Force was new and refreshing, unlike anything we'd seen from other Jedi instructors before.

Also, and I cannot stress this enough, Luke training Rey was my most-anticipated part of the film, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed the training and their interactions so much, in fact, that despite all my qualms with the film, Luke and Rey training alone was enough for me to consider this a good film overall.

Rey

Despite everything I disliked about Rey, The Last Jedi handled Rey's personality so well that it completely altered my initial distaste for Rey and won me over to her side for good.

When I walked out of The Force Awakens, I had mixed feelings about Rey. I found her a likable character to begin with, but it seemed like as soon as she started her journey, she began to grate on my nerves. Her Feminist “I don't need any help” attitude did not leave a great first impression on me.

But Rian Johnson totally redeemed Rey in The Last Jedi. He drew out Rey's vulnerability, her genuine concern for others, her curiosity, and her relatable awe of the Force and of Luke Skywalker. And that scene where she stumbles across a shirtless Kylo? Adorable, hilarious, and embarrassingly relatable for me.

And speaking of Ben Swolo...

Kylo

Asajj Ventress from The Clone Wars, 2008 LucasFilm
Kylo Ren is head and shoulders my favorite part of the new trilogy. And that's coming from me, Miss “I love the paragon heroes and hate the villains.”

I'm not your typical audience member. I don't usually find the villains cool or relatable or even all that interesting. But Star Wars has consistently made villains I almost enjoy seeing more than some of the protagonists: enemies like Jango Fett, Cad Bane, or Asajj Ventress, for instance.

Kylo Ren easily fits into this category. I love angsty boys, and boy does he fit the bill. I love his anguish about who he wants to be. I love how I don't know for sure how he'll react. I find it fascinating that I have some sense of who he is as a character, but not enough to always predict what he'll do. So to see him bounce off Rey, to see even more of his vulnerable side, was a real treat.

And I can't geek out enough over that final fight scene with him and Rey against Snoke's bodyguards. That was one heck of a fight, and I loved every second. There's nothing much more satisfying than a villain working alongside a hero they formerly worked against.

But whether the good or bad, I've thought a lot about The Last Jedi, analyzing my own opinion, comparing my thoughts to others', seeing the fan backlash, and watching in horror as the fanbase attacks itself. And all that pondering has helped me realize something I've barely seen anyone else talk about with regard to this film: why it's so divisive in the first place. Why are there such wildly different stances on it?

We'll be talking about that next week. I'll see you then for some good ol' fashioned discussion starters.

---
Notes and References:
  1. T B Skyen, “The Lie of Vice Admiral Holdo,” YouTube video, 20:36, January 3, 2018.
  2. “Should Admiral Holdo have been Hera in TLJ? (Possible spoilers; but who honestly hasn't seen the film!) [sic],” Reddit, January 13, 2018, accessed April 12, 2018.
  3. KingEmperorPenguin, “A Military Analysis of The Last Jedi (or why is everyone incompetent?) [sic],” YouTube video, 32:03, January 19, 2018.
  4. JarJar Abrams, “Mark Hamill talks about his disappointment [sic],” 5:42, July 22, 2016; from Star Wars, “An Hour with Mark Hamill Panel, | Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016,” 1:02:09, July 16, 2016.
Star Wars and all related names and terms property of LucasFilm and Walt Disney Studios. And, unfortunately, I am not affiliated with them.

From Him, To Him

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Flash-Post: Jeannette Out of Context 4

"Why isn't there a site yet just like giphy but easier to find things and also only anime .gifs

That would make my life so much better

Like 247% better"

Today at 10:32 PM

Chaika - The Coffin Princess, 2014 Bones

---
.Gif from iblessall's The Great Chaika Gif Gallery. Grateful!

From Him, To Him

Friday, April 6, 2018

Top 10 Anime Guys


There are so many incredible guys in the world of anime. Here's my personal Top 10.

(But only one character per show, or else half the list would be from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.)

10. Jin Ohtomo (Tokyo Ravens)


Tokyo Ravens, 2013-2014 8-Bit; screenshot from Funimation

He may not be one of the main characters in Tokyo Ravens, but Jin stole my heart. A sly and savvy teacher, Jin is an expert in arcane magic and a tough teacher who's instructing the next generation of mages to take on a world where terrorists can use magic incantations to summon destructive creatures from hell. His cool and collected exterior and mystique belie his genuine concern for his students; Jin puts his life on the line to protect his students, going toe-to-toe with even the most dangerous villains. He's resourceful, he's witty, and he'd definitely be my favorite teacher at mage school.


9. Erwin Smith (Attack on Titan)


Attack on Titan, 2013 Wit Studio / Production I.G; screenshot from Crunchyroll

While Attack on Titan shows the ugly truth of human nature, it makes Erwin's combination of craftiness and true noble nature stand out indeed. Erwin is smart—arguably the smartest character in the entire Attack on Titan anime, but he never flaunts it, instead using his cunning to navigate the politics as well as the grim practical side of life inside and outside the walls. Erwin is a clever strategist who's willing to take risks if it means the ultimate reward—true freedom and real answers. With every hard choice he makes, it's clear that Erwin remembers every troop's sacrifice and is determined to make sure their death mattered. And it's this sensitive side plus his sacrificial nature that makes Erwin such an excellent leader and a great character.


8. Howl (Howl's Moving Castle)


Howl's Moving Castle, 2004 Studio Ghibli

Howl is a ball of contradictions. A self-centered and immature wizard who eventually grows into a courageous warrior, Howl is bestial and yet gentlemanly, polite but whiny, poor self-esteemed and yet proud. But there's one thing that never changes: his protective nature. He won't let anyone mess with the love of his life, Sophie.


7. Nakano (AJIN: Demi-Human)


AJIN: Demi-Human, 2016 Polygon Pictures; screenshot from Netflix

It's almost impossible not to connect to Nakano. He's clearly in over his head. He's constantly getting one-upped and insulted by others. But the great thing about Nakano is that he never lets that stop him from doing the right thing. He's always in action, never still for long. He's courageous and bull-headed and a little childish now and then, but his good heart always wins out. Not your average jock for sure.


6. Izuku Midoriya (My Hero Academia)


My Hero Academia, 2016 Bones; screenshot from Crunchyroll

Midoriya is a cinnamon roll wrapped in sugar with sprinkles on top. Selfless, courageous, and considerate, Midoriya makes for the perfect hero. Though he's far from perfect, and he's the first one to say so. Midoriya has no idea just how strong of a person he is, as the bullying he suffered as a kid makes him question his sense of self-worth. But this weakness propels him forward, fueling his resolve to improve himself and become the greatest hero. Even without superpowers in a world full of superheroes, Midoriya charges into danger to help people in need and is willing to see the good in even his enemies.


5. Genos (One-Punch Man)


One-Punch Man, 2015 Madhouse; screenshot from Netflix

Despite being a cyborg with a tragic backstory, Genos is surprisingly naive, which makes his interactions with his world-weary teacher/roommate Saitama absolutely hilarious. He's endearing but also capable, taking on impossible odds even when he knows they're stacked against him. He may be the character who gets wrecked the most throughout the show, but he'll still try every time, never questioning whether he can or should try to protect innocents from a monster menace.


4. Colonel Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, 2009-2010 Bones; screenshot from Netflix

Focused, charming, commanding, and observant, Colonel Mustang tries to stay one step ahead of his opponents, even when his enemies are operating from the dark. He often pretends to be a womanizer and can fall prey to his hubris when it overcomes his common sense, but that all gets stripped away the moment someone Mustang cares about gets put in harm's way. Nobody messes with the Colonel's loved ones and subordinates. No one. He's careful, methodical, and organized, and his dry humor is always welcome.


3. Hak (Yona: Princess of the Dawn)


Yona of the Dawn, 2014 Pierrot; screenshot from YouTube

A rascal who never wanted to have anything to do with royalty... and now serving as the princess's royal guard and protector. Hak is rough-around-the-edges and gets his kicks out of picking on people, teasing Yona to exasperation. He can be a bit of a rogue, but his loyalty is unquestionable. He'd die for the princess and his liege lord the king, no questions asked. He'll work himself to the bone for them and will only laugh it off if they pointed it out. And despite all his teasing, he really does harbor feelings for the princess, but struggles to withhold them, knowing they come from two very different worlds and not wanting to put that kind of burden on her.


2. Rintaro Okabe (Steins;Gate)


Steins;Gate, 2011 White Fox; screenshot from YouTube

Goofy, smart, and a little unhinged. Okabe parades around with a flashy persona, “Hououin Kyouma,” barking that he's a mad scientist with a lab full of assistants to help him create half-baked inventions the world never wanted nor needed. But it's all a facade to hide the fear he holds underneath: fear of losing the people he holds dear and fear of real-world responsibilities. He's down-to-earth despite his crazy outbursts, a real friend to keep around. He's mentally strong almost to the point of being terrifying, and yet still kind of a big dork inside.


1. Shinya Kogami (Psycho-Pass)


Psycho-Pass, 2012 Production I.G; screenshot from Funimation

Ko has it all. He's attractive. He's focused. He's cool. He's smart. He's powerful. An excellent investigator and not a bad shot, Ko will not stop until he avenges the death of his former partner. Despite being naturally built to go it alone, he also recognizes his own flaws and need for his new partner, Akane, who reminds him to question the status quo and fight, even if the odds are stacked against him.


Who's on YOUR Top 10 Anime Guys list?

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All photos used under US “Fair Use” laws.

Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, My Hero Academia, Psycho-Pass, Tokyo Ravens, Yona of the Dawn, and all related terms are the property of Funimation; Howl's Moving Castle property of Walt Disney Studios; One-Punch Man property of Viz Media; AJIN:Demi-Human property of Sentai Filmworks. And I am not affiliated with either of them.

From Him, To Him