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Which Anime Archetype Are You?
After seeing a few anime series or reading a few manga you may start to notice similar characters appearing over and over again--especially in series made within the past 10 years.
These character archetypes have become somewhat necessary to the formula of mainstream anime and manga. There are so many different archetypes and they vary from genre to genre and from boys and girls series. Here I've listed the ones I consider the majors. Though, I should point out that I mostly read and watch shoujo (girls) series, so these are most likely to be found in those types of manga/anime.
In an earlier draft of this I included specific characters such as catgirl and lolita, but that got to be a bit too overwhelming. So I decided to focus this Hub on common personalities seen in anime only (with the except of idols, delinquents, perverts, and lolicon/shotacon whose character defines their personality in some ways). Perhaps I will do a follow-up Hub that looks at specific characters seen in anime/manga, as well.
Along with the personalities of each archetype I've included a fun quiz, so you can see which character you'd be if you were in an anime or manga.
Oh and...if after reading this you feel there's a type that was not discussed here which you believe really, really, really should be--just let me know in the comments below!
Which Archetype are You?
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Does that archetype suit you?
After looking at the different archetypes, do you think the one you got matches you?
Tsunderes are tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. Usually their tough exterior is a farse, either because they are trying to perpetuate a hard image (usually the case of the male Tsundere) or because they experienced something devastating that's forced them to put up a wall (usually the case of the female Tsundere).
Tsunderes are very often the main love interest of the protagonist and the one they end up with by the end of the show. They typically start off in opposition of the protagonist, then as the story progresses they reveal their soft nature.
Tsundere characters can be depicted as tomboys, older siblings, wealthy affluent people, delinquents, and arrogant characters.
Eri Sawachika from School Rumble
Vegeta from Dragonball Z
If Tsundere is fire, Kuudere is ice. These characters are the definition of calm, cool, and collected--sometimes to the point of just appearing cold. They're intelligent, level-headed, put together, and never cave under pressure (at least they'll make sure that's what they show to the world). On the other hand, there are some Kuudere characters who, despite their icy exterior, harbor a fiery temper--knowing this, their cool persona was actually adopted in order to control their temper. Kuuderes are only affectionate to those they really care about and who have earned their favor. Often they are greatly admired by those around them, but are either oblivious to it or don't care.
It's hard to tell a Kuudere's motivation since they never reveal their inner emotions. As such, they can be strong allies, but also terrible rivals and enemies if they have an evil alignment.
Kuudere characters are often depicted as androgynous Prince Charming like female characters, older siblings, Shinto priests/priestesses, and ninjas/samurais/shinobi.
Haruka (Amara) Tenou/Sailor Uranus from Sailor Moon
Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach
Dandere are textbook introverts with social anxiety. They are very quiet and have a hard time expressing themselves to others. Their debilitating shyness can come off as coldness and aloofness, giving other characters the wrong impression of them. Once people get to know them though, they are able to loosen up and reveal their sweet, gentle, loving nature underneath. They differ from Kuudere in that they aren't necessarily cool or charming and have a tendency of being socially awkward. Also, Kuudere characters tend to be solo by choice, but if a Dandere character is on their own, it's typically because they are an outcast.
To play up their nerdy bookworm look, Dandere characters will often be seen in glasses.
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon
Ryoshi Morino from Okami-san and Her Seven Companions
Yandere are considered the opposite of Tsundere. They perpetuate a calm, cute/cool, and collected persona on the surface, but underneath they are truly insane. Tamer Yanderes might have slight violent streaks, bopping their loves in the heads when they get out of line, scarier Yanderes can be downright homicidal and will stop at nothing to get what they want--which is usually the love and attention of another character. Once a Yandere falls in love, the object of their affection is the only thing they seem able to focus on and they hate anyone and anything that gets in the way. They are the very definition of Crazy Jealous Boyfriend/Girlfriend. To amplify their crazy, Yandere are usually very cute or handsome, until they reveal their dark side.
Kagari Izuriha from Black Rock Shooter
Haru Yoshida from My Little Monster
"Kami" in Japanese means "God" and that perfectly sums up these characters. They believe themselves to be far superior than everyone else and are ridiculous braggarts. They are typically quite vain and exaggerate their achievements. It's true that they are usually quite attractive, but they often let it go to their heads. Others believe they have other skills (real or imagined) that just makes them better than other people. Sometimes people follow along with their act, but the protagonist almost always knows they're full of it. Kamideres are very often made into fools due to their pride and inability to back up their claims. They also get pretty upset when anyone tries to claim their crown.
Many people compare tsundere to kamidere, but I think there's one clear distinction between them. Tsundere characters put on a front. On the inside they don't actually have all the confidence and self assurance they blab about or they just don't want to share their softer side. Kamidere characters, on the other hand, really are full of themselves and have truly deluded themselves into believing they are superior--even after being proven foolish time and time again.
Additionally, some people compare kamidere to kuudere because kamidere characters can be cold. However, kuudere character's main personality trait is that they're cool not necessarily cold. Many kuudere's are down to Earth and not at all full of themselves like a kamidere.
Further more, I'm including princess characters as a sub-category of kamidere, though many like to call them himedere. Whatever floats your boat. If we dive into the subcategories of each of these personalities we could probably write an encyclopedia.
Himeko Shirogane (Princess Morbucks) from Powerpuff Girls Z
Hercule Satan from Dragonball Z
Defining Moe characters has become a bit difficult since it's a pretty broad term and can be applied to just about any adorable character. In general though, there are a few things that make characters truly Moe. First, they are ADORABLE--so adorable sometimes you feel you may explode from the cuteness. Second, they are often vulnerable, naïve, maybe a bit clumsy, and possibly frail. This makes the characters around them (and the viewer) want to protect and take care of the little Moe character. Third, they are either children or very childlike in their appearance or how they view the world. Some Moe are very cheerful and bubbly, others are sickly and are in need of some serious TLC.
Most children and little sister characters are Moe or a combination of Moe and something else. Additionally, Aritificial Intelligence/Robot/Pasokon and Magical girl characters are almost always Moe.
Chi from Chobits
Negi Springfield from Negima! Magister Negi Magi
Loli are a special kind of Moe. They are irresistibly adorable, but play up a more childish and youthful persona (despite being much older than they look in most cases). Loli may dress in childish clothing, cuddle stuffed animals, covet childish things, and love sweets. They also take on a more child-like way of speaking and are known to give the other characters endearing nicknames. Some Loli are genuinely just like this, but some are very aware of their power over others and use it to their advantage. When they reveal their true motives they can seem a bit scary.
Example of Lolicon:
Miwako Sakurada from Paradise Kiss
Example of Shotacon:
Mitsukuni "Honey" Haninozuka from Ouran High School Host Club
Doji characters are a special kind of Moe. These characters are cute, lovable, and incredibly clumsy. They are always falling over, crashing into people, spilling things on people, and running late. It seems, the harder a Doji tries to get their act together, the more likely they are to act like a ditz.
Doji characters are typically supporting characters, but when they take the lead or are in a main role they reveal a warm, caring, and dependable side to them. Even though they are so clumsy, they are still loyal to their friends and will do anything they can to help and protect them.
Doji characters with siblings tend to be the oldest and may try to command their younger siblings. However, Doji siblings are almost always way more mature and put together, so the Doji character isn't taken seriously at all.
Magical girls are sometimes played as Doji, most likely thanks to our lovely example here. Funny enough, teachers are also depicted this way.
Usagi (Serena) Tsukino/Sailor Moon from Sailor Moon
Italy from Hetalia
Genki characters are high energy, hyper, and seem happy all the time. Though some Genki characters are genuinely happy joyful people, some put up the persona of happy-go-lucky to protect their vulnerable insides (like Tsundere, except they opt to be friendly instead of tough). Genki characters are often good friends of the hero and are always there to cheer them up and cheer them on. It is indeed a very sad day when Genki characters run out of fuel.
Genkis are often supporting characters instead of leads because their energy can just tire people out.
Catgirls (Neko) very often have genki personalities, as do aliens.
Tomo Takino from Azumanga Daioh
Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece
Nadeshiko is usually a female character since she depicts the Japanese ideal of a perfect wife. Nadeshikos are quiet, seemingly submissive, pretty, put together, and tidy. There is often more to the Nadeshiko than meets the eye though. In many cases, it seems that the Nadeshiko is very aware of what is expected of her and uses it to her advantage by manipulating others in subtle ways to get what she wants. Nadeshiko's may also reveal themselves to be brave, fearless, and quite competent in the face of danger.
Surprisingly, little sisters are more likely to take this role than older siblings--but it isn't uncommon for a responsible older sibling who is also the head of the house. The girl next door can also take on this role. Despite being targeted towards women, doting male characters can fall under this category as well. You know when a male character is a Nadeshiko if the other characters tease him about being a perfect wife.
Yakumo Tsukamoto from School Rumble
Japan from Hetalia
Bokukko and Delinquents
Bokukko or tomboys and delinquents are really rough around the edges. Their tough, naughty, and vulgar. If they have an evil alignment they can be pretty brutal towards other characters. If they are good or neutral they can be pretty amusing, especially when they try to fit in to society standards. Tomboys and delinquents are pretty much the exact opposite of Nadeshiko. They are loud, aggressive, ill-tempered, and not very domestic at all. They often have genki, tsundere, and sometimes doji qualities mixed in to their personalities.
Kaoru Matsubara (Buttercup) from Powerpuff Girls Z
Bantaro Sanbonmatsu from Jubei-chan
Idols are another class of Moe. They are either real pop idols, or just so popular that they are treated as pop idols. Idols are flawless beauties, pure of heart, and often very talented in some way or another (typically singing and dancing). They inspire those around them to do better and be happy. Their one weakness is usually their ability to get along with others. Being so high above everyone else, sometimes they are hated for being so perfect. Other times they don't want anyone to know they're struggling inside, because they feel admitting they have problems too will let down those that admire them.
It's not easy being beautiful!
Just about everyone in AKB0048
Kuranosuke Koibuchi from Princess Jellyfish
I'm sure there's lots of different names for this archetype, I stumbled upon a few while looking it up like "Kami/God" archetype, "Messianic" archetype, and "The All Loving Hero." I decided instead of breaking this archetype down into all the little archetypes that fall under it--I would just lump them all together under "Hero" and describe the few variations. The hero can be any combination of the other archetypes, but has a few key features that set them apart.
The characters are most likely the main characters of the story. Everyone loves and adores them. They are always special, whether they know it or not. No matter how powerful their opponents are or how strong their allies are supposed to be, the hero--and only the hero--has the power to save us all. They also, almost always, have insane appetites and can be found pigging out quite often. The most important characteristic of the hero is that they never, ever lose, no matter how badly they get beaten up.
Now for the variations. We have the clumsy, bubbly hero that's all sunshine and rainbows. These heroes are always pure of heart, often very naïve, and are full of inspiring hope and compassion for all they come across. Sometimes they are very ambitious and strive to be great, other times they are perfectly content with being normal and living their normal happy lives. They are surrounded by friends and admires and are usually able to turn the hearts of even the darkest of villains.
The darker version of the hero can be a bit moody or arrogant. S/he (usually he) does not like to be around others, perhaps because s/he doesn't want anyone else to get hurt--or because s/he thinks others will hold them back--or because of both! Despite being a loner, they'll still manage to make friends and allies that admire and adore them.
Kobato Hanto from Kobato
Son Goku from the Dragonball franchise
Last but not least, the dirty lecher. Nearly every anime/manga has one, though I have noticed in more recent series they are falling out of popularity (thank goodness) but it could just be that my tastes have changed so I don't watch or read the kinds of series that would have them in it. Anyway, they're pretty straight forward. They're pervs. They like to perv out over women (and men) and may or may not have some weird fetishes. Typically they're comedic, but they can also be gross villains too. Their lecherous nature is usually combined with some other personality trait.
Yamada from Yamada's First Time: B Gata H Kei
Master Roshi from Dragonball Z
- The Shounen Formula
Interesting forum discussion relevant to anime archetypes.
Table of different anime girl archetypes.
- TV Tropes' Main/Stock Japanese Characters
The most complete list I've come across while searching, but some of the material is dated and not quite what I was looking for.
- How to Identify Popular Japanese Character Types
Great article but only covers a few archetypes.