What makes a good/bad character?

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pandemonium91

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People usually throw around the "bad character" tag a lot, especially when discussing, say, male characters in harem series. But what makes a character "good" or "bad"? Not from a moral point of view — though that certainly does factor in —, but from the way a character is constructed within a series. There are tons of lists of "best/worst character of [anime]" out there. Of course, some characters can also end up completely unremarkable and are, thus, quickly forgotten.

So, what aspects do you think go into the creation of such "good" and "bad" characters?

And do you think a series can be "excused" for bad characters if the plot is good, or the other way around?

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HatedAngel

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In general its usually a difference between bad writing and good writing. A well written character is 3-dimensional with goals and ambitions that if written well can be relatable even to people who can't personally relate.
As for if a series can be excused for bad characters- I'm not sure. I always find it difficult to stay invested in a series that I don't have a favorite character in. It's always in stories like that that I end up never finishing.

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angelxxuan

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why does the whole cliche of I can't help it I'm just drawn that way- Jessica Rabbit from who framed Roger Rabbit

this streaming site I visit we can rate characters of love/hate which makes a good and valid point, we deem them as bad because that is how they are viewed, as well as good. I don't base it upon the artist's doing, however that is truly what does it, at least for me. I base the facts of what the character goes through, becomes, treats others, etc. I don't watch enough harem to help with that comment of them being bad, but I do watch a lot of super hero stuff where they like to draw the bad guy, well bad. and sometimes, when the proper back story is provided (some cases there are, but a lot of times they are), I don't consider them as bad as people want to class them as. a back story says a lot about a person in my opinion.

with that stated that doesn't mean we should like the villains or hate the villains, however we should consider what caused them to be the villain in the first place. most normal people don't wake up and be all like I'm going to be bad today and see where that takes me, on average they tend to do that over time, such as in animation or movies.

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as for excuses/exemptions, the above statement stands for anything. since I don't know who's seen My Hero Academia, it's clear to state that most of them were striving to be super heroes, being side kicks and what not. it just so happened, without consideration a person, who develops bad thoughts will eventually be led down that path. however let's look at an anime cast of nothing but villains, Gangsta (too bad there's never to be a second season) if you're cheering for the good guy, there are no good guys here. basically it's the viewer's opinion on whom they expect to come out with the best intentions. then there's the much older Akira, Tetsuo didn't want to become evil, it just sort of happened. even with Cowboy Bebop, Spike was once part of a gang organization and then bowed out, if he'd stay there would be have gotten as much love from the fans? and then there's Vicious and Vincent from CB, they had a bad background and decided to stay bad. then we got Witch Hunter Robin, where, well, basically if you're a witch you're bad, automatically even if you are using your abilities/powers for good.

hope that helps explain my notion on the topic, didn't mean to get so long winded, just stating opinions and facts to back myself up is all. note: spoiler tag added not to give away spoilers, I feel that might have spoilers or a hint at them, so, being the weird bunny that I am, added them out of kindness, not everyone loves their spoilers.

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pandemonium91

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Quote by HatedAngelIn general its usually a difference between bad writing and good writing. A well written character is 3-dimensional with goals and ambitions that if written well can be relatable even to people who can't personally relate.
As for if a series can be excused for bad characters- I'm not sure. I always find it difficult to stay invested in a series that I don't have a favorite character in. It's always in stories like that that I end up never finishing.

I absolutely agree with what you wrote and also believe that a character can be well put together while simultaneously sporting a different moral leaning than the audience's. Christoph Waltz's character in Inglourious Basterds is a blast to watch, but I would never condone his actions.

Lately it seems like TV and movies focus more on characters than plot — for example, we get more character interactions that build relationships, than action that moves the plot forward. Crime and medicine-oriented procedurals, as well as sitcoms, are built on these, as character interactions are their foundations. Game of Thrones, while also featuring many elaborate and large scale confrontations, is built upon the audience wondering what the characters will do next: whom will they betray or ally with? How will they get out of this particular situation that may or may not be their fault? Add to this the fact that almost no important character is 100% good or bad (barring small characters who only appear once or twice to move the plot along), and it becomes a piece of TV that I enjoy watching.

As for good plot + bad characters, I normally end up disappointed that the writers didn't do more with them or made them act out of character compared to what they were established as.

Quote by angelxxuanwhy does the whole cliche of I can't help it I'm just drawn that way- Jessica Rabbit from who framed Roger Rabbit

Hmm, I've never seen Roger Rabbit but that line has always come across to me like a playful way to excuse one's actions — and seeing as she's a cartoon character, she's literally drawn to be a certain way. In the Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe comic, Deadpool — whose comic relies heavily on breaking the fourth wall — literally realizes he's a character in a comic book and, at the end, finds the writers and artists discussing how they'll end the story we're reading. So yeah, he realizes that he was being controlled by the writers!

Quote by angelxxuanI do watch a lot of super hero stuff where they like to draw the bad guy, well bad. and sometimes, when the proper back story is provided (some cases there are, but a lot of times they are), I don't consider them as bad as people want to class them as. a back story says a lot about a person in my opinion.

with that stated that doesn't mean we should like the villains or hate the villains, however we should consider what caused them to be the villain in the first place. most normal people don't wake up and be all like I'm going to be bad today and see where that takes me, on average they tend to do that over time, such as in animation or movies.

I sometimes find villains sympathetic as well, at least in some circumstances. Villains that are 100% evil are boring to see or read about because they basically have no personality. As are 100% heroes. IMO, a crucial part of any well put together character is being able to relate to or at least understand their motives; you may not condone a character killing his wife, but you may excuse it if she was being possessed by a demon that threatened to end the world and there was no way to rescue her.

Thank you for the spoiler tag! :)

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