Voiced by: Japanese – Mitsuo Iwata; English – Cam Clarke
If you take a look at Shotaro he isn’t very impressive in his look. The design of the character is very basic anime. Also his core personality is your typical street punk. And those two things may have kept him from making any sort of Top List. If anything Shotaro would probably be at best a one shot villain for most animes. It isn’t until you pair him up with his iconic red motorcycle that the coolness of the character is shown. Team that up with probably one of the most iconic anime movie posters and you got a character that is an instant win. And it helps that Akira is one of my favorite anime movies. 😉
First Appearance: Lupin III Episode 1 – Is Lupin Burning….?
Voiced by: Japanese: Yasuo Yamada; English: Sonny Strait
Want to talk about the Bugs Bunny of Japan you don’t have to look any further than Asene Lupin III. After not only dodging but also tricking and outwitting the police for 40 years Lupin is unquestionably the #1 thief in the world. Even though you know that Lupin will somehow outsmart his foes it is always fun to watch how he gets himself out of any situation he is in. Watching Lupin is just like watching Bugs Bunny since we always knew that both Lupin and Bugs would win out in the end.
And in the 40 years Lupin and his crew have been around he has gathered some great directors along the way to give him even more credibility to why he is so popular. And of all the directors it is interesting to note that Lupin is where the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki got his first major project. That of in itself should prove how much history the character has
First appearance: Princess Mononoke
Voiced by: Japanese – Yōji Matsuda; English – Billy Crudup
When thinking of some of the most creative minds we have Hayao Miyazaki-sama is right up there on any list. And to this day I will always remember when I first discovered the brilliance that is Miyazaki-sama with Princess Mononoke. Though Spirited Away is my favorite Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke will always hold a special place in my heart both for its brilliance and all in all fun ride.
Leading the pact of Princess Mononoke is the hero of the story Ashitaka. Though this entry really belongs to the entire Princess Mononoke film and cast Ashitaka is really the stand-out, outside of the great animation. Ashitaka is a great hero to follow as he fights for his town while afflicted by a deadly disease that both gets worse and gives him superpowers. And it helps that Ashitaka was not just a great character with plenty of depth but also the story he was placed in was truly epic, like all Miyazaki films feel.
Voiced by: Japanese – Kōichi Yamadera; English – Steven Blum
Part western, sci-fi, action, and comedy Cowboy Bebop worked on many levels as it was able to take parts of each genre, which really shouldn’t happen but it did. And Spike is what made the show so fun. There are very few characters that define cool like Spike does. With his business casual suit he is always wearing, always drinking and smoking, and all in all sounding very aloof he defines cool.
To make things even better is that while each character in Cowboy Bebop has their own story everything always goes back to Spike. Even with all the interesting stories his comrades have to tell it is Spike story, specifically his past, that was the most interesting to watch play out. And from beginning to end everything goes through Spike and what happens to his character at the very end of the story. Which is what made Cowboy Bebop so much fun to watch back in the day.
Voiced by: Japanese: Kappei Yamaguchi; English: Alessandro Juliani
When it comes to finding Japan’s version of Superman it is not very hard to figure it out as Goku is the obvious choice. That choice is not so simple when it comes down to figuring out their version of Batman. That was until L. L’s personality is almost identical to Bruce Wayne as he has the whole dark, brooding personality down. He is also a master detective and only lets his allies in on what he is thinking on a need to know basis just as Bruce treats his fellow superhero allies.
And you know that a character is big when a story never reaches the same level it was when said character was alive. That is very true when it comes to L. Though Death Note was still a lot of fun to watch even after L died the series just felt as it lost some of its magic once L died. And to show how intensely popular L is the writers of the live-action films did not only have L actually beat Light in the end of the second movie but also gave him his own film that was set in the last 30 days of his life, after defeating Light. And you know watching L makes me feel like having some sort of sweets like a strawberry shortcake. Weird huh?