I've never liked anime heroes. My first exposure to the species was Sailormoon and Tuxedo Kamen, and I totally hated him on sight! Well, not on sight, actually. He was okay as Mamoru. But when he started dressing in a cape and spouting cheesy dialogue... urgh. And what a weak-minded individual! How many times does he have to be brainwashed, anyway?

But, that's Cape Boy. What about other anime heroes? Up until recently, the only anime hero that I even remotely like is - ta da! - Sakuragi Hanamichi of Slam Dunk. Okay, I don't just like him, I love him! Seriously, who wouldn't? He's brash, loud, gullible, a total idiot, and he's so passionate in everything he does it's unbelievable. He was the only anime hero I like. That is, until up comes along the hell teacher from Jigoku Sensei Nube.

Let's compare them with a generic anime hero. A generic anime hero gets all the spotlight, example - Yuusuke of Yu Yu Hakusho. Not that I have anything against Yuusuke, in fact I like him better than Hiei. But he does get the spotlight all too often and all other characters are relegated to the sidelines. Sakuragi doesn't hog the limelight (although he would too if he had anything to say about it ^^) and the other characters are well fleshed out. Sakuragi sort of shares the attention with his arch rival Rukawa, I think, though Miyagi, Mitsui and Akagi could use a little more airtime. And Nube, though definitely the hero (heck, his name's even in the title) yet he's such a lovable hero that I can forgive him for getting all the spotlight. Heh. But you know, I think he's just a great vehicle for the telling of stories.

And whatever happened to sympathetic heroes?! Sometimes these hero types are so eerily invincible they are divested of all human qualities entirely. So what they do is they go around vanquishing dastardly villains without a thought of anything. I was just re-reading issue 17 of YYH and it just struck me how incredibly cold-blooded Yuusuke is. Look at his reaction to the news that Sensui had only one month to live and you'll see what I mean. Would they ever stop being so involved in themselves?! Nube, being the cool hero that he is, is able to sympathize and empathize with the people around him, be they friends or enemies or utter strangers. The scene where he holds Tamamo and cries for him has got to be one of the most touching scenes in the entire manga.

And a hero shouldn't be all powerful either, else he'd just be boring. Yuusuke just gets more and more powerful, until even being a human is deemed not powerful enough for him, so he turns out to be the long-lost descendant of a Makai lord? Huh. On the other hand, Sakuragi Hanamichi is as close to a real-life hero as you can get in anime, I think. He's not superhuman, doesn't have awesome powers, doesn't go around in a mecha, and most importantly, does not have girls falling head over heels for him! He's incredibly ordinary - just a guy who loves basketball and wants to be the best at what he does. Did I say I love him already? ^_^

So what's the prerequisite for me liking an anime hero? S/he's got to be ignored, sappy and a weakling. Heh heh heh. I think I'll just stick to liking those dastardly villains. ^_^

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In case you don't know a single thing about the anime/manga I just mentioned, here's a rundown. Yu Yu Hakusho is about the aforementioned Urameshi Yuusuke who goes around getting into fight after fight after fight. And progressively getting stronger, of course. Slam Dunk is about a bunch of guys who play basketball and want to be the best in Japan. Wanna know more about these two anime? Go here. Jigoku Sensei Nube is a manga about this teacher who happens to have an "oni" hand. It's really gross and grotesque (definitely not for the squeamish) and it's got TONS of fan service. Normally I wouldn't touch stuff like this with a ten-foot pole, but... if you ignore all that, it's actually a very entertaining read.