Pointless Debate #4: A New Character Appears

Kanejou Kyoka steps into the picture
Time for yet another strange character to be introduced.

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.

Azusa does stretching exercises
I actually give K-On some credit for once.

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?

2 thoughts on “Pointless Debate #4: A New Character Appears”

  1. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a character is introduced and is the hot new thing for a couple of episodes … and then goes on to do jack shit for the rest of the series. You bring up Akane in Cross Game, but Mizuki Asami is a more egregious example of a crappy new character. He shows up, acts as if he actually has a shot at Aoba and then does fuck all after a few episodes. What a worthless character.

    1. Thanks for the 400th comment here.

      Anyway, I had so forgotten how god-awful Mizuki Asami was that he was pretty much dead to me from the beginning. Of course, he can climb mountains…which has no practical meaning in the city. Knowing fuck all about baseball in a baseball anime doesn’t help either. What was the point?

Comments are closed.