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Old 2012-07-04, 15:11   Link #1
The GAP Man
Join Date: Jun 2008
Age: 29
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Anime/Manga with Evangelion Levels of Characterization

One thing that I like about Evangelion is in its strong characterization, they really feel like real people and not just archetypes following a set pattern or development. There are lots of fanfics and fanworks dedicated to 'fixing' Shinji's character but Shinji is a character who is better off as anything else would either be missing the point or just feels 'wrong' somehow. Evangelion is a lot of things and it is rather controversial in some aspects but characters feel more human to me than any mecha in general and the characters behave quite naturally considering their situation. You may not necessarily agree with me that the characters feel real but that is how I feel about them especially Shinji.

I am looking not just for strong characterization but characters that feel real and are pretty human in their reactions. I had seen some manga that looks interesting but I am looking for pretty human characters that transcend their archetypes and character that feel a variety of emotions for. The Evangelion characters are hated and loved at the same and I am looking for anime of that quality.
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Old 2012-07-04, 16:07   Link #2
Enjoying Snack Time!
Join Date: Oct 2011
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica and, Fate/Zero, and Black Rock Shooter - They're anime with a great story and characters that change drastically over the course of the time for each of their own different reasons. Starts off heartwarming but it gets darker and twisted as time goes on.

That's all I can think of and I'll leave it to you to see if it'll meet your requirements. So what do you think?

Last edited by Kirito; 2012-07-04 at 16:17.
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Old 2012-07-04, 16:31   Link #3
AS Oji-kun
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Under a Starry Sky
Age: 68
It sounds like you're looking for "believable" or "realistic" characters? Though none of these shows are anything like Evangelion, I think they all have characters that fit the bill:

House of Five Leaves
- a show about petty criminals in the latter half of the Edo period; this was the first show that came to mind

Usagi Drop - a 30-ish man adopts his grandfather's illegitimate daughter after the old man dies;

Sakamichi no Apollon
- a trio of teenagers learn about life, love, and jazz in 1966; I found some of the characters' actions implausible, but not entirely unrealistic;

Showa Monogatari - family life in 1964 Tokyo, the year the Olympics came to Japan

Uchuu Kyoudai - a 30-year-old man sets out to follow in his younger brother's footsteps and become a Japanese astronaut

There are shows that might also qualify, but it's hard to evaluate realism in fantastical settings. Seirei no Moribito has strong, believable characters, but I suspect female spear-wielding bodyguards didn't actually exist in classical China or Korea. Also the underlying plot has a good dose of the supernatural about it. The motivations and actions of the characters in Bakeneko and Mononoke are pretty realistic, if often morally repugnant, but it's a show with supernatural forces as well.

Then there are shows where the setting and characters seem real enough, but the story is sufficiently weird that it may disqualify them. Welcome to the NHK! is the prime candidate for this category. It's possible to view the characters in that show as caricatures, but they also seem grounded in reality. There probably are NEETs like Satou, and there certainly are depressives like some of the women in the show, but whether they are "realistic" is more difficult to evaluate. I'd say the realism ramps up in this show about a third of the way in, after we've gotten past the more comedic episodes about maid cafes and trying to photograph the panties of high-school girls.

Monster presents another set of difficulties. Most all the characters seem very grounded in reality with the exception of the antagonist, Johan. He seems at times to possess superhuman mental powers that he uses to persuade others to carry out his dastardly plans. If you can accept Johan, or at least ignore this feature of his characterization, then I'd put Monster squarely in this list as well.

Finally, I'll mention Bartender. All the characters that come to Bar Eden Hall have troubled souls of some type or another. The bartender of the title also seems to possess a somewhat superhuman ability to diagnose the appropriate libation to help soothe his patrons' worries. Like Johan, if you can put aside this unusual power, the rest of the characters are very realistic.
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Old 2012-07-04, 16:53   Link #4
Join Date: Jul 2007
Age: 26
The characterization in NGE is what made it my favorite anime and I agree with you Shinji's rather unmanly character made him seem like a real person. If he were replaced with some gar manly lead, the series wouldn't be as exceptional.

Ever since I've watched it I've been searching for something similar, but never really found quite the right anime. I'll give you some that I feel were close.

FLCL - Naoto
Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood - Ed and Al

Also try

Monster - the characters are suppose to be real, so that makes them feel like real people.
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Old 2012-07-04, 18:21   Link #5
Cross Game - I need more
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: I've moved around the American West. I've lived in Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Oklahoma
Age: 38
Maison Ikkoku

Cross Game

Fullmetal Alchemist

Those are the three that stick out to me.

Cross Game - A Story of Love, Life, Death - and Baseball. What more could you want?
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Old 2012-07-05, 19:36   Link #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Monster is an excellent series. It's rather long though (74 episodes iirc). Also while there are some core characters who remain relevant throughout the series a lot of focus is given to individual people the core cast interact with along the way. A lot of characters are central for an episode or a story arc.

Also, it may seem like the only series I ever recommend on this forum, but I'm going to suggest Mai-HiME.* Early on it may seem like a relatively light show that likes to play around with anime cliches and conventions, but it does a great job of building up its characters over time. It also makes excellent use of that character development later on when things become much darker (though it also uses these darker sections to bring out parts of the characters that hadn't been explored much previously). You might not necessarily like the ending though.

*Please note that I am recommending the Mai-HiME anime, not the Mai-HiME manga or any psuedo-sequels like Mai-Otome (known as My-Z-HiME in the US).
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Old 2012-07-08, 02:22   Link #7
North American Haruhiist
Join Date: Oct 2010
Age: 37
Seconding Sakamichi no Apollon and Uchuu Kyoudai. Both are excellent series with great characters.

Toradora and Ano Natsu de Matteru are two romantic comedies with great, realistic characters.

I've always liked how the characters in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya undergo character growth. You can see just what I mean in Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya with Kyon and Yuki.
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