How the Antihero in Anime Works (Topic)

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How the Antihero in Anime Works


Antiheroes in anime often win the hearts of fans. They differ from the antagonists in that they are not absolute evil and the source of all the problems of the main characters. Let's say between white and black, they are something gray. Yes, antiheroes in anime, like in films and books, can be another thorn in one place, but often their charisma, design and character make them great characters. Let's look at how the antihero image works in anime. What's good and what's bad about it.

Cases where the antihero in anime works

Probably one of the best examples of a good anti-hero is Grid from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He is one of the homunculi representing the seven deadly sins. Grid is the personification of greed. He himself claims that he wants power, women, money - everything he can possibly want. At first, he leads his gang and has nothing to do with the rest of the homunculi. The original Grid dies and later finds himself in the body of the young heir to Emperor Xing Ling Yao. Ling quickly accepts Grid in his body, as he wants to become the emperor of his country and the power of Grid will help him in this. The homunculus takes over Ling and erases his identity [at least for a while].


This character is much deeper than it seems for the reason that, in fact, behind all the loud statements about the fact that he wants everything, there is a hidden desire to fill the spiritual void with friends. Ling helps him understand this by transforming Grid from a villain to an antihero. Grid is supposed to be a vice of humanity, like other homunculi, but in the end he becomes an anti-hero and even more, he feels like a real person. Everyone wants to fill the inner void with something material, like money or various objects, but often this is not enough.

So we get a character who is greedy and jealous of dear people, for whom he is ready to fight to the death. At the same time, it is still difficult to call him good, but also to put on a par with other homunculi like, for example, Envy - it is impossible.


His moral ambiguity makes him such a good character, and adds to the anime themes of true friendship and philosophy about what a person who feels empty inside needs.

A similar thing happens in the series with Scar - from an ordinary killer of alchemists, he finally turns into a man who realized that he had done a lot of bad things and is trying to fix it [although he realizes that it will not be possible to fix everything]. It is very interesting to watch how he from a hated character, both for us and for the main characters of the anime, becomes the one who will fight in the decisive battle with the homunculi.


Also, good antiheroes can be just characters that are fun to watch. Of the many such heroes, Kenpachi Zaraki from Bleach is an example. Kenpachi is definitely not a very nice guy, but is still someone the public cheers for. His motivation is simply to find a good opponent to fight, as only during the fight does he feel alive. This is why he stands out among all the captains in the Soul Society arc. When, for example, the same Byakuya Kuchiki acts as an obvious antagonist in her [and later becomes an ordinary character], Kenpachi has been and remains faithful to the image of an antihero. He even became a captain, killing the former Eleventh Division chief just to seek out strong opponents.

One of the most tense moments takes place with him in the Soul Society arc. When he meets Ichigo, we don't know anything about him, just that he is very strong. But his goal is not to stop or prevent Ichigo, but to fight like a strong warrior. He only seeks to fulfill his own goals. Kenpachi is rooted in the audience, although he lacks the traditional character traits that make him the perfect example of an antihero.

When the antihero image doesn't work

The case where the image of the antihero in the anime does not work is perfectly visible in "Death note". The problem with the whole series is Light and its instability, if I may say so. I think it is necessary to distinguish between Light fighting with L and Light, who is opposed by N.


In the first half of the anime, Light is clearly an anti-hero whose position is not difficult to divide. He has a god complex, but the main thing for young Light is to create a world for kind people. Light certainly has sophisticated ideals of justice, but as I said, his position is easy to accept. L hunts him and thus creates a special dynamic in the series.

After L dies halfway through the series, Light loses his momentum as an antihero and becomes a villain. For the next several years, he mercilessly kills everyone who interferes with him and turns into a person who adjusts the world for himself. In fact, in the second half of the anime, Light is a mad killer psychopath corrupted by power.

At the same time, Light's madness is exaggerated, and he becomes a completely different character. The transformation takes place to the point that the audience can no longer root for him, as he loses all his ideals, even though they were dubious. If earlier his philosophy could be described as “Kira punishes those who do evil to good people”, then later it was changed to: “Kira karat of all who rebel against his will.”

But this is not something that is pleasant to watch, and only makes the audience twirl their noses. This change in tone in the show also kills interesting moral elements about justice and the criminal system in general.

So what's all this about?

Antiheroes occupy a fairly large place in our minds and hearts, and we are willing to discuss their actions and characters even more than the villains themselves. Since they blur the line between good and evil. However, for the antihero character in anime to work, the character must be well written and not stray from his path. If such a character is intended to entertain the viewer, then it must still have sufficient depth to remain interesting for a long time.

The Topic of Article: How the Antihero in Anime Works.
Author: Jake Pinkman