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Old 2012-11-11, 10:52   Link #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: UK
Age: 27
"Mob" Characters

Spoiler for taken from the Sukitte ii na yo thread:

Lately I’ve been finding that “mob” characters have been catching my attention and affecting my enjoyment of a series so I was hoping to get more thoughts on this.

Often in High school anime you’ll have background characters often with no names and faces whispering gossip about a particular character of attention, and often I can’t help but fell how cheap and artificial it seems, as if the world entirely revolves around them. Sometimes it’s played for comedy...:

Spoiler for Kamisama Kiss:

...and often I don’t mind that but sometimes it can just get irritatingly over the top when there’s a misunderstanding involved...:

Spoiler for Code;Breaker:

More controversially, there are times when the gossip of “mob” characters are played for drama and these often end up irritating me even more (like the most recent episode of Sukitte ii no yo) since it’s almost always as subtle as a Jun Maeda drama.

I suppose it really does depend on how it’s used because I never found it grating in Tonari no Kaibutsu when it’s played for both comedy and drama, but I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that the best anime in primarily High school settings are those that make use of “mob” characters as way more than just plot devices. In that regard, the most successful example in my eyes would have to be Hyouka, especially during the festival arc where many of these characters were given a lot more thought and attention with some of them even catching a few fans. The most recent episode of Chuunibyou has also made use of “mob” characters to hilarious effect. To me these anime boast more “expanse” in their cast and there is more of a feeling that they’re living in a wider world. I suppose the opposite of that are anime that make little to no use of “mob” characters, even as cheap plot devices so the drama can sometimes feel too insular.

So I was just wondering what everyone else thought regarding these “mob” characters: Sometimes I feel they can have just as much of an effect on a storyline collectively as an actual character, but I was wondering if it was the same for everyone. What are your thoughts?
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