Whilst watching the sixth episode of romantic comedy B Gata H Kei, after the introduction of bro-con Kanejou Kyoka, I came to a thought that too often series are ruined by the introduction of new characters halfway through. Kyoka is pretty similar to protagonist Yamada, but is really just a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. Yamada’s sister Chika, the most likely character to hit Yamada’s 100 sexual partner target, would be a much more interesting target, but I digress. Utilizing series set over multiple years in high school, I will try to determine if new characters between years ruin things, probably not though.
The first example I could think of was Kagura from Azumanga Daioh. She makes a couple of appearances early on before becoming a regular in the 2nd year. While she doesn’t make things any worse, I still struggle to see anything that was added as a result of her being a regular.
Then there’s Cross Game’s Takigawa Akane, a character whose sole purpose seems to be igniting the relationship between protagonists Aoba and Kou. She succeeds in the end, but it was almost like she was created just to seem like a teenage version of Wakaba.
K-ON!, on the other hand has a new character in the form of Nakano Azusa, who adds to the plot and has become the driving character in the second season. At first I was a little skeptical when she was introduced because she seemed like yet another moeblob who wouldn’t add anything. One year later, and she suddenly becomes the symbol of the future of her club, and with no new members could find herself alone in terms of the club. It wouldn’t be the total end of the world for her though, but it provides some motivation for the other members.
Lucky Star introduced additional characters in a more organic way. New characters are introduced gradually and in a way that isn’t totally fabricated. More like friends introducing friends than anything really. The number of new characters introduced outside the main cast is rather high here, and most of them do add something on occasion, but in a situation comedy like this, that’s all that can be expected.
Ultimately, I wish new characters weren’t used as a horrible writing crutch, or to distract from other characters. Does anyone else experience my sense of dread whenever a new character is introduced at about halfway? Are there examples of character introduction done right elsewhere?