Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The 10 biggest jerks in anime history

Wasn't online yesterday, hence the lack of posts. Here's some stuff to make up for it!

From Wizard Universe again:

We pick the 10 biggest jerks in anime history

By the A.I. Staff

Posted August 6, 2007 4:30 PM

You love to hate them. Or hate to love them. Whether they’re obnoxious, manipulative or just plain malevolent, they’re the jerks of the anime world.

To be a real jerk, it’s not enough to simply cut someone off in traffic with your mobile suit, or spread rumors about a friend. It takes a very special person to go beyond the humdrum vein of simple meanness—you have to make it really, really personal. Over the years, we’ve come across all manner of jerks in our anime, so much so that it was indeed a challenge to pare them down to our top ten. Drum roll, please!

10. MUGEN (Samurai Champloo)
Loud, lecherous and lazy; that’s Mugen, a wild-haired swordsman and reluctant traveling companion of the na├»ve teenager Fuu and the ultra-dignified samurai Jin. As the three make their way across Japan in search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, Mugen’s layers of crudeness only get more obvious. We might root for him in all the battles he provokes, but likable or not, Mugen’s a jerk.

JERK CRED: Far from a warrior for justice, Mugen picks fights with everyone who annoys him, whether or not they deserve it. He’s also a bit too interested in women, which only makes him a jerk when he ditches Fuu in favor of a hot date or elects to chase a policewoman disguised as a prostitute instead of taking down a murderous counterfeiter. Fuu can’t even complain about him in private, since he’d read her diary at the first opportunity—that is, if he could read. Mugen’s lots of fun onscreen, but we wouldn’t invite him on any real road trips.

9. ILPALAZZO (Excel Saga)
The leader of the mysterious cabal known as ACROSS, Ilpalazzo directs his plans for global domination from his sparsely furnished underground lair, sending his minions Excel and Hyatt out on invariably pointless missions. Never without a condescending line or some eccentric plot, Ilpalazzo has little patience for incompetence and even lower tolerance for people who interrupt him, as the hyperactive Excel discovers when her dear leader murders her over and over before ultimately declaring her “useless” and dismissing her.

JERK CRED: Taking over the world (or just the nearby city of Fukuoka) is one thing, but you can at least show some appreciation for your staff, Ilpalazzo. Utterly callous toward Excel and ignorant of her blatant crush on him, Ilpalazzo spends his time fiddling with guitars and playing dating sims while Excel risks life and limb fulfilling her master’s bizarre orders. He’s also the jealous type—when a j-rocking special agent arrives on the scene, Ilpalazzo’s driven to homicidal urges by the mere thought of someone prettier than he is.

8. GENJO SANZO (Saiyuki)
The gods call upon Buddhist priest Sanzo to lead a journey to the West to discover the cause of the land’s recent plague of demons, but the standoffish Sanzo is reluctant to do any such thing. Still, he packs up his cigarettes and holy demon-banishing gun, mostly because he’s got nothing better to do.

JERK CRED: The short-tempered Sanzo holds the title for worst Buddhist monk ever. He drinks, smokes, curses, gambles, and shows a complete disregard for human life. Chasing demons with only three companions means you’ll be in a lot of tight spots, but he’d rather die than thank someone for saving his butt. And while his holy gun is supposed to be used to banish demons, he’s equally willing to shoot at his friends if they’re annoying him. Sure, he’s still broken up about the death of his mentor, but there’s only so far that excuse will take you.

No one likes a cheater, and Jinnai’s one of the biggest. The student council president and lifelong enemy of hero Makoto in El-Hazard, Jinnai’s a power-hungry genius with a severe persecution complex. It is, in fact, so severe that when he’s accidentally transported to the fantasy land of El-Hazard during a struggle with Makoto, his goals remains the same—defeat Makoto and rule the world…even if he’s only the master of a bunch of giant bugs.

JERK CRED: Though he’s blessed with the brains of a rocket scientist, Jinnai cheated his way to the position of student council president. He’s egotistical, manipulative, and loves nothing more than to be on camera, where he can show off his smarts. He craves power and is delighted to become the general of the Bugrom, the bug race trying to take over El-Hazard. Despite craving absolute control, he knows that there’s a time and place to kiss ass in one’s climb to the top, and he’ll do it with a huge grin on his face. And that laugh…

6. SAE KASHIWAGI (Peach Girl)
The term “jerk” is normally applied to guys, but there’s no better word to describe Sae. Pretty and popular, Sae is best friends with Momo, a nice girl who has an undeserved reputation due to her natural tanned “ganguro” appearance. Those rumors are, in fact, all part of a smear campaign started by Momo’s alleged “friend” Sae.

JERK CRED: Sae’s envy extends to Momo’s love life, as she wastes no time in going after a guy Momo likes. Momo even tries to keep Toji, another of her friends from middle school, safe from Sae, but there’s no stopping her. Even after Toji and Momo become an item, Sae blackmails Toji into breaking up with her. And in the even pettier realm, Sae tells Momo a purse she had her eye on is ugly only to snatch it up moments later. If there’s any truth to the saying “what goes around, comes around,” Sae’s looking at enough karmic payback to choke a whale.

They say that blood is thicker than water, but the noble blood of Byakuya, head of one of Soul Society’s most revered clans, must run pretty thin. As a Soul Reaper in Bleach’s bureaucratic afterlife, Byakuya is a captain of one of the 13 divisions, expected to give and obey orders. So it’s no surprise that when he’s told to go to the living world and retrieve his adopted sister Rukia, who has committed the crime of giving her supernatural powers to a human boy, he does it.

JERK CRED: But as her older brother, surely he’ll step in when she’s sentenced to death, right? Wrong. Sometimes siblings don’t get along, but Byakuya not only fails to halt Rukia’s execution, he promises—and tries—to kill anyone who does. Not only that, he cruelly ignores the imprisoned Rukia, who’s tried to live up to his example ever since she was taken in. If this is family loyalty, we shudder to think how he acts towards people he’s not related to.

4. CHAR AZNABLE (Mobile Suit Gundam)
Few characters in anime are quite as iconic as Mobile Suit Gundam’s Char, the blond pseudo-villain who spawned a score of look-alikes in subsequent Gundam series. The mask, the hair, the attitude… Char is a juggernaut of jerkdom. He rose to power in the Zeon space fleet through a combination of force and skill (he is a super-powered Newtype, after all). He’s got the good looks and arrogance of a Top Gun flyboy, and he knows it.

JERK CRED: Absolute power corrupts absolutely, but luckily Char’s not all-powerful, so the commander remains a solid “jerk” rating on the Evil-O-Meter. Born Casval, the youngster kicked off jerkdom right by stealing his brother Char’s identity (by accident...mostly) and becoming a rather egotistical Mobile Suit pilot. He fights for humanity’s right to migrate to space—and to encourage the move, he’ll drop asteroids on the planet until the environment collapses. And even though he flip-flops sides through the course of three different anime, Char remains as self-righteous as ever. Plus only jerks wear muscle shirts and Ray-Bans.

3. GENDO IKARI (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
When you’re responsible for defending the human race from a series of increasingly bizarre creatures known as Angels, a little jerkiness is to be excused, but Gendo goes above and beyond. The head of NERV and the creator of the bio-mechanical Evangelion units, he treats all of his NERV underlings with cold professionalism, making no exceptions for his own family. After the death of his wife, Gendo’s apparent method of grieving is to ship his son, Shinji, off to live with a relative. Later, Gendo callously drafts the boy as an Evangelion pilot—and still barely talks to him.

JERK CRED: Even if we set aside the fact that Gendo helped spark a global catastrophe and later orchestrated the death of the entire human race just to see his wife again, he’s still a rotten guy all around. Manipulative and opportunistic, he sees nothing wrong with having an affair with fellow NERV founder Dr. Naoko Akagi. And when his selfish attempts to resurrect his wife indirectly drive Dr. Akagi to suicide, he later hooks up with her daughter Ritsuko. The Evangelion manga even finds him hitting on Ritsuko next to her mother’s grave. Creep.

2. VEGETA (Dragon Ball Z)
Among the handful of Saiyan warriors who escaped the destruction of their home planet, Vegeta’s easily the nastiest. Arrogant and sadistic, he shows no mercy to those he considers weak, even going so far as to vaporize his larger, dumber Saiyan ally Nappa just because the big lug lost a fight. And though he later goes over to the heroes’ side and starts a family, Vegeta doesn’t get much nicer, treating his own son Trunks with unending contempt.

JERK CRED: On their way to fight their fellow Saiyan Goku on Earth, Vegeta and Nappa stop off at a world called Arlia. The two warriors let the planet’s insect-like denizens arrest them and, when brought before the world’s emperor, proceed to destroy the cruel tyrant and his fiercest soldiers. As the grateful bug-people shout their thanks, Vegeta and Nappa take off into space. Miles above Arlia, Vegeta grins, summons a blinding bolt of energy, and blows up the entire planet. Vegeta’s got a long list of dirty deeds, but nothing on it beats saving a world just to destroy it.

A new student at the prestigious Ohtori Academy, Utena is mistakenly caught up in a duel with student council vice president Saionji when she berates him for hitting Anthy, a shy girl who is actually “owned” by him. Winning the fight, Utena finds that Anthy’s now in her care. Having been rescued by a prince as a child, Utena strives to become a chivalrous prince herself, defending Anthy from those who seek to take control of her.

JERK CRED: It was so difficult to select one character from Revolutionary Girl Utena that we’re awarding a “collective jerk” honor to nearly the entire cast. Saionji isn’t the only jerk on the student council, either. President Touga is a conceited playboy who manipulates his way into the upper levels of the school’s secret society. He uses numerous head games on Utena, and though he’s partly trying to protect her, he’s ruthless about it, even sending his adoring sister Nanami into the fray. Nanami is no angel herself; jealous of her brother’s attention towards Anthy (and anyone else), she pulls plenty of mean-spirited pranks on her.

Even the supporting characters are cruel: Shiori deliberately plays off her friend Juri’s affections, driving her to jealousy for no reason. And then there’s the mastermind behind the show’s “Black Rose” series of battles: Mikage, who turns innocent and troubled students against Anthy. Yet there’s no jerk quite like Anthy’s own brother, Akio. A scheming womanizer, Akio takes advantage of just about every woman he meets, including Anthy herself and the strong-willed Utena. He’s also responsible for pulling Mikage’s strings and bringing about the whole dueling war. For that, he ranks above all others in this especially jerk-intensive series.

Hm! Well, I haven't actually watched many of these animes. I know I've watched a bit of Samurai Champloo and Mugen really is an arrogant ass, ditto Il Palazzo, though I think he's more of a comedic character in Excel Saga...wouldn't really know since I've only watched like the first three or four episodes of that.

But Gendo Ikari really deserves to be on this list. What a shithead. How many of the NERV staff has he slept with? Yui (Shinji's Mum), Dr Nao Akagi (Ritsuko's Mum) and even Dr Ritsuko Akagi! Yes, he slept with mother AND daughter! And he seemed to treat all of them with equal disdain...though probably not Shinji's Mum who he seemed to really love.

He treats all other NERV staff like crap too, with the exception of his second-in-command, Kozo Fuyutsuki. He treats his OWN SON, FLESH AND BLOOD, really horribly!


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