WHAT MAKES A GREAT SUPPORTING CHARACTER IN ANIME
It is common to see that the main heroes and villains – Protagonist and antagonist get the bulk of attention in any show, Anime inclusive. However having a beautifully crafted side character supporting them adds more color to the story. Fans of anime always have a story to tell about a supporting character that caught their attention, and they fell in love with. So when writing a story, bear in mind that your audience would not just get hooked alone on your amazing protagonist.
In the world of anime, there have been several cases where supporting characters became as liked or even more popular than the main character, building a fan base of their own. An example of such supporting character is Killua Zoldyck of Hunter x Hunter, who being of same age as the main character can be said to be better than the main character (Gon).
Killua is a fan favorite and has a large fan base of his own. Another of such characters is Shoto Todoroki, by the end of My Hero Academia season 2 he had established himself as one of the fan favorites as his back story was relatable and he is also seen as super cool due to his ice and fire quirk.
HOW TO WRITE A SIDE CHARACTER
Taking nothing away from the main character as the story revolves around the protagonist, nevertheless the supporting characters are equally as important as the main character and could be the difference between making an interesting anime or a flat, boring one. The side character should complement the main character, the popularly used style is the method of making the supporting character a direct opposite of the protagonist – which agrees with the theory that opposites attract each other. It is making the side character the Yin to the main character’s Yang.
Side characters should be unique and have a story of their own that would aid in their character development. It would not be uncommon to see side characters being built to just ride of the wave of the main characters but this is not a good way to portray your side characters as they tend to be bland and do not add flavor to the show. There are a lot of ways to make a great supporting character, let’s talk on a few.
Role Model to the Main Character
The role model kind of supporting character is a beautiful one and one that shows a lot of promise though it can be a bit limited in its approach. The main character, preferably a young boy or girl looks up to an older supporting character for advice, training and inspiration. This model worked brilliantly for My Hero Academia as the young talentless main character was able to grow up with a dream and now gets to fulfill his dreams under the tutelage of the number one hero – Almight. The older supporting character is able to share his story with the main character which becomes a major ingredient in helping the protagonist overcome his struggle and get closer to his or her goals. Another instance of a role model supporting character is Naruto training under Jiriaya and Kakashi
Motivation to the Main Character
This is a common shonen occurrence, making a supporting character a rival to the main character, to motivate him to get stronger and be better has proven time and time again to be a recipe for a successful side character. Take Naruto and Sasuke for instance, the rivalry motivated Naruto into training harder and getting stronger, his desire to bring Sasuke back to the village led to him undertaking various trainings that added to the overall story of the show. The relationship between Asta and Yuno in Black clover is another case in point as it enables Asta to grow in character while trying to out do his rival Yuno. A common feature of this method is that the supporting character is often times as strong as the main character and is also reserved, the side character tends to have a darker past.
To add spice to your supporting character which will result in added life to your anime, you should make them stand out through their dressing. Karma Akabane and Zoro’s coloured hair comes to mind here as well as Kakashi’s face mask, it makes them appear cool – who doesn’t like a cool character? A deep voice or unique set of glasses could work wonders on your side character too.
The Main Character and Supporting Character Overcomes Challenges Together
This comes in handy when you need to build a relationship between both characters as both of them fighting and thinking together as a team would be of utmost importance for their character development. Killua and Gon as well as Luffy and Zoro show that this is an efficient style of writing side characters.
OverPowered, Extremely Intelligent or Emotionally Intelligent
These characters are unique, strong and are highly supportive of the main characters. They might be stronger than the main character but they are not arrogant and do not brag about their strength – Levi of Attack on Titans comes to mind. An example of extremely intelligent characters that are supporting characters are Shikamaru (from Naruto) and L (from Deathnote). The emotionally intelligent characters are usually females, they tend to be the moral compass of the group and helps to calm the protagonist when he acts rash.
It is highly important to give your supporting characters a back story, as it makes them attractive to fans, helping to build a stronger fan base for the Anime.
Madly in love with anime and football...... it's disturbing.