Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Weekly W: Wise?

Some character types are common across anime series.  In series with larger casts, each character often embodies a "type" which becomes the foundation for their character.  One of the "types" is the megane (literally "glasses-character").  In many cases this character is the brains of the operation, but in other series, the complete opposite is true.  Eyeglasses alone cannot determine which character will turn out to be the "smart" one, but subclasses of "glasses characters" have distinctive roles in anime.

The first major grouping is scientists.  Scientists often wear labcoats and wear glasses.  This is necessary for SCIENCE!

Dr. Stein from Soul Eater is an example of a "scientist" character, specifically a "mad scientist".  These characters will often cause wacky hijinks associated with experiments or inventions.  Usually a fan-favorite, they can bring an interesting flavor to any series.

The second grouping is the "cool and smart" type.  Often present in school anime, these characters are often calculating and scheming.  In some cases, these characters also end up playing the "voice of reason" within a group.

Kyoya Ootori from Ouran High School Host Club is a classic example of this.  Studious, serious, and constantly having to put up with the crazy antics of his friends.

For villains, glasses can make a character seem distant, detached, and mysterious.  In the case of Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion, it also serves to make him seem somewhat inhuman, since his eyes are often covered.

Compared to his attitude and actions, the glasses aren't much more than a final touch.   They just sort of scream "Menacing!".

Last but not least, we have the otaku character.  Obsessed with their hobby, be it video games, anime, manga, or collectibles, these characters are often the socially awkward character in a school-based anime. 

Here we have the protagonist, Keima, from The World Only God Knows.  A "God of Conquests", his pastime of choice is the dating-sim games.  Expert in dating-sims he may be, but he is uninterested in 3D girls, until the PLOT requires him to put his knowledge to work on girls from his school. 

Glasses characters can be said to be a stereotype in anime, however there is a wide variety within this category.  A glasses character may be wise, or intelligent, or scheming, or SCIENCE-ing, but they may also do none of those things, or be terrible at them (often in a humorous turn of events).  Glasses characters are everywhere in anime, and variations between them can be vast.

Hope Burns Bright

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