Fanart Friday returns, enjoying Valentine's Day candy clearance sales more than the actual holiday itself. Last week, we palled around with some of the best friends from our favorite titles, but this week, we're going on a more... solitary path. For those of you who don't pay attention to the calendar, yesterday was Valentine's Day, celebrating love and romance and thank God I have a credit card. The last time this holiday rolled around, we celebrated some of our favorite couples in Reservation for Two Edition, but there's more to romance than two people being together.
The road to love can be long and lonely, but there are tons of beloved characters who don't let that get them down. Also, there are tons of beloved characters who are simply doomed to just be single for the rest of their lives, but we'll deal with them later. Let's get this show on the road!
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You're going to see a recurring type of character in this week's installment, which Inuyasha's lady-loving monk Miroku personifies. TV Tropes defines it as a Chivalrous Pervert, but I don't think characters like this need to have a (funny) perverted streak. Like a lot of this particular type of character, Miroku ends up finding that special someone, but it takes a while.
That doesn't always happen, though, and a lot of the time it isn't funny. The cast of Honey & Clover are always having romantic near-misses with each other, and I personally think Ayumi takes the brunt of this emotional crossfire.
I don't give a crap if this picture was from way back in 2007, I always appreciate Golden Boy fanart. The problem with free-spirited drifter Kintaro Oe isn't that he can't attract women, it's that he's too dense to realize when they're interested in him... or too lost in his fantasies to realize that they're coming true right in front of him.
Although, y'know what's always funny? A stalker. In anime, not in real life--if you have a real-life stalker, call the police, buy some pepper spray, and let the freak have it. But Kondo, the not-so-virtuous leader of Gintama's Shinsengumi, actually makes being a total creep pretty darn hilarious.
Then you have the people who have no problem finding dates... it's just getting them to stick around that's the tricky part. One of the rare adult characters in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, poor Saotome-sensei keeps telling the girls in her class to avoid men with strange issues like "the quality of your fried eggs." To be completely honest, she's talking about cooking fried eggs, which is the simplest thing on Earth--if you can somehow screw that up, then yes, I am going to be a little concerned.
Evangelion's Makoto Hyuga has the right mindset about his office crush: she's your boss, don't make that big a deal out of it. He's a pretty cool guy, and is even willing to do downright dangerous stuff if Misato asks. It's not so much that he's blinded by his feelings for her, it's just that his duty and his emotions happen to go hand-in-hand sometimes.
Adam Blade isn't exactly the hero of Needless, but you'd think he'd be the hard-living, hard-loving badass with women regularly leaping into his arms. That's not really the case, as the guy's got some issues, specifically involving, uh... much younger girls. Eesh. That's not hero material!
Then again, neither is a 22-year-old man-child who got his teaching credentials specifically so he could get involved with high school girls, and yet we love Eikichi Onizuka anyways. He only really has one love interest throughout the entire series, and yet stuff just kept going wrong on both sides.
As a really, really long-running series, The King of Fighters has had a chance to build up plenty of relationships between members of its massive, still-growing cast. One of the best ongoing stories deals with Sie Kensou of the Psycho Soldier Team, and his neverending admiration of his idol teammate Athena Asamiya... and meat buns.
Kotetsu T. Kaburagi (AKA Wild Tiger) has probably had plenty of chances to meet women after his wife's tragic death, but as a still-grieving widower who has to juggle his superhero duties with his parenting duties, he has only one Valentine on his list--his daughter. I actually think it's better this way... at least for now.
On the one hand, I feel bad for Sylphiel, because Gourry will never return her affection, whether due to his interest in Lina or his being the absolute stupidest character in all of Slayers (and possibly all of anime history). On the other hand, she's a little... weird, so maybe she's better-suited for somebody who can better-handle her weirdness.
I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering splendid
To be honest, I don't think Sanji's ever getting laid
A WHOLE NEW WOOOOOOOORLD okay that's enough of that. I hope you sang along. Seriously, how happy was Sanji when they (temporarily) added an actual princess to the crew?
While we're on the subject of declaring love in prose (or song), Ranma 1/2's chivalrous swordsman Tatewaki Kuno springs to mind. I appreciate that he not only pines for Akane (like half the men in the series), but Ranma's female half (like the other half of the men in the series), and genuinely feels bad about loving them both... although there was that one time he tried to wrangle them into a three-way. That didn't end well.
"But Nate!" I know one of you is about to say, "these two end up together! That's the whole point of Lovely Complex!" Ahh, but you forget how the story started! Koizumi and Otani are both interested in other people, and become best friends to work together in helping solve their unrequited love! It takes a little while before they realize they actually like each other, but hey...
No matter how cool City Hunter's Ryo Saeba acts, he never, ever gets the girl in the end. Oh sure, whatever lovely lady he's saved might be thankful for his help, but she already knows what kinda guy he is.
School Rumble plays with the "forever alone"/unrequited love joke for the entire series! Well, almost the entire series--it changes gears partway in and becomes a more typical high school relationship comedy. I honestly liked the series a lot better when it was about desperately lonely delinquent Harima, who longed for the angelic (but actually derpy as hell) Tenma, who in turn longed for the soulless cipher Karasuma.
This one kinda hits below the belt, I know. As it goes on, Naruto isn't shy about putting you through the ringer, especially when Jiraiya and Tsunade both have to confront their long-simmering feelings for each other during a very tense time.
by 鳥乃 秋虎
Speaking of long-simmering feelings, Hetalia treats the weird relationship between England (left) and America (right) as some kind of deep-seated crush. I... guess it could be taken that way?
This is quite possibly the most intense pic of Yu Yu Hakusho's Kazuma Kuwabara that I've ever posted on Fanart Friday. While he's willing to put his life on the line for his friends, he seems much more ferocious about protecting Yukina, the object of his affections (who happens to be the younger sister of team crazy man Hiei).
Poor Amy Rose. She was introduced in Sonic CD as a damsel-in-distress, but is currently the "crazy younger girl" obsessed with Sonic. To be honest, I liked her weird Resident Evil 3: Nemesis-style segments in the original Sonic Adventure--why didn't we see more of that in later games?
Out of everybody featured here, I don't feel bad for Hancock. Luffy has touched a lot of people in One Piece, but somehow earning the affections of the most beautiful woman in the world isn't as interesting to him as free food. Hey, it's her fault for falling in love with the crazy guy who thinks stabbing himself in the face is a great way to show how brave he is.
I know that at the end of Maison Ikkoku, these two end up together, but it really didn't feel like things would turn out that way. Kyoko was with Shun for a huge chunk of the series, and Godai kept screwing things up, so (not counting the last handful of volumes), Maison Ikkoku is a great tale of unrequited love, and is (to me) the best romance in all of anime and manga.
One last crazy person to round this out: Gintama's lunatic S&M ninja Ayame Sarutobi. The real problem isn't her infatuation with Gintoki, it's actually her crippling nearsightedness--I wonder how many men she's jumped thinking they're Gin? And because they're fighting her off and struggling to get free, she still can't tell that it's not him?
And that's all for this week! There are so many of these types of characters in anime, manga and games that there's no way I could have possibly included them all--who are some of your favorites? Sound off in the comments!
Like I say every week, your art is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience--just PM me a link to your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting a head start on next week's theme, we'll be celebrating Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's launch with a look at our favorite SPIES and COVERT AGENTS! Who do you think should sneak out of the shadows next week?
Thanks again for checking out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope you drop by next week!