Supporting Characters and Their Relative Importance
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While it is by no means the case that each and every supporting character ever written is (or even needs to be) vitally important to the integrity of the stories they're featured in, there is nevertheless value in a discussion on what exactly makes for supporting characters whose excision would be critically damaging to their stories' narrative. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the relative importance and unimportance of any and all supporting characters a poster may wish to discuss, and further to examine precisely what characteristics distinguish a critical supporting character from an unimportant one.

Consider, for example, the case of Naru and Luna in Sailor Moon. Both are supporting characters, but only one of them is actually essential to the advancement of the narrative. Excision of Naru from the story more or less eventually does happen, and the narrative's ability to progress afterward is not at all substantially impacted as a result of this excision. Indeed, had Naru never been included at all the story would've been able to assemble all of its necessary threads without any significant additional difficulty. The only exception I can call to mind is her brief period of importance toward the late middle, early end of the Dark Kingdom arc. This does not make Naru extraneous, she serves a useful purpose by providing our primary female protagonist with a foundational member of her social circle and a connection outside of the Sailor Senshi once they've been established, but as the story goes on and more of such characters are accumulated Naru becomes ever more nonessential and is eventually forgotten entirely.

Luna, meanwhile, is the push which establishes the story's initial movement and maintains said movement throughout the series. She's an important part of how the main protagonists come to be such in the first place, provides them with equipment, gathers information for them, helps them formulate strategies, and ensures that they remain on task and complete their objectives while successfully avoiding stealing the show entirely for herself. Luna is an inextricable supporting character who cannot be easily substituted without unnecessarily complicating the story, and this is why her presence endured even after the introduction of Artemis.

In this comparison we have already determined some of the characteristics which distinguish critical and unimportant supporting characters. What makes a supporting character important is that the writer establishes that they are unique in their ability to fulfill the supporting role that they do, or at the very least that they are unique in fulfilling that role in the way they do. Furthermore, we see that the relative number of roles a supporting character plays can have an impact on their versatility (and thus their ability to maintain their importance in the long-term). Naru functioned as a friend for Usagi, but offered little else and was eventually drowned out by a progressively growing crowd of characters which filled the same role. Luna provided a wide array of services to the main protagonists, and thus her part of the story was not nearly as easily hedged out. Even when Artemis came along and served more or less all of the same functions Luna did, the two characters' talents and connections to the main characters were different enough to keep one from hedging the other out.

Which supporting characters do you consider to be important and/or unimportant, and why do you feel they are such? What is it you think distinguishes an important supporting character from an unimportant one? These are the questions to be discussed. I now yield the floor to you, CR.
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/superfluous side characters
/glances at the shounen genre

This struck me when I first started watching Bleach. I thought Tatsuki was amazing and I was waiting to see what power she'd get. But she never factored into the story while I was following it. I wonder where she's at post-time-skip.

It's definitely a pitfall of a lot of major shounen, especially early on in their publication.
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Shuu Maiko.
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I have a bone to pick with the bros in harems. I feel they are unimportant and ruins the primal instance of the Alpha.

Although one could say he is there to act as the beta, never getting the girl. I do see the importance of that. Perhaps Japan leads on to less superficial stories than it appears.

*Coming from me who advocates people (I know who you are. You do not know who you are, yet.) should watch anime in a more superficial manner.*
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Posted 8/15/14

AnimeKami wrote:

I have a bone to pick with the bros in harems. I feel they are unimportant and ruins the primal instance of the Alpha.

Although one could say he is there to act as the beta, never getting the girl. I do see the importance of that. Perhaps Japan leads on to less superficial stories than it appears.

*Coming from me who advocates people (I know who you are. You do not know who you are, yet.) should watch anime in a more superficial manner.*


While not technically a harem, what do you think about the bro in Amagami? Dude was the biggest bro to an MC I've seen.
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Posted 8/15/14

Rito2Ru wrote:


AnimeKami wrote:

I have a bone to pick with the bros in harems. I feel they are unimportant and ruins the primal instance of the Alpha.

Although one could say he is there to act as the beta, never getting the girl. I do see the importance of that. Perhaps Japan leads on to less superficial stories than it appears.

*Coming from me who advocates people (I know who you are. You do not know who you are, yet.) should watch anime in a more superficial manner.*


While not technically a harem, what do you think about the bro in Amagami? Dude was the biggest bro to an MC I've seen.


I have always wanted to make a thread about harem anime, titled, Who the hell are these characters? The bases of thread is exactly as I describe up top. They seem to be there giving advice and well... blunt version act as a bro. It is somewhat perplexing when these side characters often are not dense and deserve a different spin-off. I am going off an a tangent. I apologize.

In regards to Amagami, the bro fills his role not quite to the extent that I had seen in other harems (technically it is not a harem). He is there giving MC-kun some sort of bro advice, that is fine. If the roles were reversed and MC and The Bro had switched roles we would just have a different avatar. There is no outstanding trait either the bro or MC has that differentiates it from any other anime.

Here is the bone. Do people like the anime he or she likes because of some deep analytic under-story that is only seen by them? Or.

Do people hate anime because of some silly superficial blemish (harem in this case)?
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Posted 8/15/14

Insomnist wrote:

/superfluous side characters
/glances at the shounen genre

This struck me when I first started watching Bleach. I thought Tatsuki was amazing and I was waiting to see what power she'd get. But she never factored into the story while I was following it. I wonder where she's at post-time-skip.

It's definitely a pitfall of a lot of major shounen, especially early on in their publication.


Dear god, Bleach. I kind of wish that bleach was just like, the first arc and only the first arc. Because it actually used most of its characters then.

About Tatsuki:
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AnimeKami wrote:
I have always wanted to make a thread about harem anime, titled, Who the hell are these characters? The bases of thread is exactly as I describe up top. They seem to be there giving advice and well... blunt version act as a bro. It is somewhat perplexing when these side characters often are not dense and deserve a different spin-off. I am going off an a tangent. I apologize.

In regards to Amagami, the bro fills his role not quite to the extent that I had seen in other harems (technically it is not a harem). He is there giving MC-kun some sort of bro advice, that is fine. If the roles were reversed and MC and The Bro had switched roles we would just have a different avatar. There is no outstanding trait either the bro or MC has that differentiates it from any other anime.

Here is the bone. Do people like the anime he or she likes because of some deep analytic under-story that is only seen by them? Or.

Do people hate anime because of some silly superficial blemish (harem in this case)?


Sounds like a good topic for an in-depth thread.

Looking at just harem anime specifically:

I think that for the most part, the main backbone of all harem anime are the same. Multiple girls fall for guy because reasons. Or vice versa.
But that isn't a bad thing. Moving beyond that when we get into more detailed parts of the story, we begin to see differentiation among these harem anime. While some are pretty much cut and paste, there are others that are pretty different from each other in terms of MC motivations and intelligence etc. The girls at times are also not just falling for the guy because of a suspension bridge effect or something far fetched, sometimes they have good reasons to do so. Some have very nice character development. The plot that ties these characters together can also be very different from the norm. For harem anime in my case, is when these elements come together nicely that I enjoy the show. But like I said before, these are the exceptions and tastes vary from person to person.

Harem anime do get a bad rep among the community. Some associate it with needless pandering and fan service or with shallow plot and characters. This continued association come from multiple sources in my opinion.
1. Bad experience with a harem show
2. Previews for new shows only show ecchi scenes and not the real meat of the story and its characters (heh)
3. Vocal minority shaping their opinion even though they may not know it consciously
Probably a couple more but I'm kind of tired typing and thinking about this.
But these all create a certain mindset on the subject, which may not be easily changed because it has been enforced continually without anything significant to change that view.
Hate/dislike for some shows is justified but having the entire genre carry this stigma isn't right.

I don't even know what the hell I'm talking about anymore.
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Posted 8/15/14 , edited 8/15/14

Rito2Ru wrote:


AnimeKami wrote:
I have always wanted to make a thread about harem anime, titled, Who the hell are these characters? The bases of thread is exactly as I describe up top. They seem to be there giving advice and well... blunt version act as a bro. It is somewhat perplexing when these side characters often are not dense and deserve a different spin-off. I am going off an a tangent. I apologize.

In regards to Amagami, the bro fills his role not quite to the extent that I had seen in other harems (technically it is not a harem). He is there giving MC-kun some sort of bro advice, that is fine. If the roles were reversed and MC and The Bro had switched roles we would just have a different avatar. There is no outstanding trait either the bro or MC has that differentiates it from any other anime.

Here is the bone. Do people like the anime he or she likes because of some deep analytic under-story that is only seen by them? Or.

Do people hate anime because of some silly superficial blemish (harem in this case)?


Sounds like a good topic for an in-depth thread.

Looking at just harem anime specifically:

I think that for the most part, the main backbone of all harem anime are the same. Multiple girls fall for guy because reasons. Or vice versa.
But that isn't a bad thing. Moving beyond that when we get into more detailed parts of the story, we begin to see differentiation among these harem anime. While some are pretty much cut and paste, there are others that are pretty different from each other in terms of MC motivations and intelligence etc. The girls at times are also not just falling for the guy because of a suspension bridge effect or something far fetched, sometimes they have good reasons to do so. Some have very nice character development. The plot that ties these characters together can also be very different from the norm. For harem anime in my case, is when these elements come together nicely that I enjoy the show. But like I said before, these are the exceptions and tastes vary from person to person.

Harem anime do get a bad rep among the community. Some associate it with needless pandering and fan service or with shallow plot and characters. This continued association come from multiple sources in my opinion.
1. Bad experience with a harem show
2. Previews for new shows only show ecchi scenes and not the real meat of the story and its characters (heh)
3. Vocal minority shaping their opinion even though they may not know it consciously
Probably a couple more but I'm kind of tired typing and thinking about this.
But these all create a certain mindset on the subject, which may not be easily changed because it has been enforced continually without anything significant to change that view.
Hate/dislike for some shows is justified but having the entire genre carry this stigma isn't right.

I don't even know what the hell I'm talking about anymore.


That was rambling... JK.

Trinity Seven, coming soon, hopefully will change all that. While the boobs and butts is present, both story and character development does pan out well.

also yuuki rito is useless. Sorry.

edit: death by association is a bad thing.
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I want to chime in on this...maybe tomorrow.
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