What makes characters likeable?

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HikkiPanda
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#16 Post by HikkiPanda » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:52 am

babyfish wrote:Slice-of-life is still full of interesting situations that people can react to. Being late for class, bumping into a crush in the hallway, getting hit in the head by a basketball, getting bullied by jerks at school, failing a test...

And I wouldn't say these quirks are all that 'unnoticeable', just that they only appear occasionally. People tend to have a 'real' personality underneath their 'superficial' personality. A shy and polite person may have incredible courage and will in stressful situations. A real tough guy may be a blushing bumbler when he's around the girl he likes.

So, you could say that I like characters that surprise me in some way.
this kind of character is my favorite too o: ! Like Takara Miyuki from Lucky Star (As someone who is more clumsy than Tsukasa, it really surprise me how cool she is during the sport festival) and Ikari Shinji from Evangelion Rebuild (he can be very brutal in battle ^^;)

mmm .. How about character development? Ayanami Rei from Evangelion Rebuild start as emotionless girl ... .
by the end of the first movie, she smile for the first time. In the second movie, she begin to learn to say 'thank you', greet her classmates, and invite everyone to a party where she cooks for them, and even falling in love.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#17 Post by Coren » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:30 am

A character that's likeable?

He must have an intricate backstory which from so you can see how it shaped his personality. That's why I find story more important than personality. Tsundere? Boring. From past situations which ended up causing him to be distrustful of others? That will make him a deeper, more fleshed out character.

Of course, I would rather the story not be idiotic. No villains who destroy the world because his dad beat him when he was a kid plz.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#18 Post by Arcanum » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:57 am

@OtomeWeekend I understand you… And I suppose there are… different levels of stereotype-ness. Say, a dating sim like TokiMemo girls side, where each character fits a stereotype (the flirty one, the smart one, the sporty one) and, granted, they don't do much to run away from those stereotypes and… games a little deeper, that expand more on the presented stereotypes and work to invert/subvert tropes (I suppose some dating sims with longer story/different plot than highschool are also forced to work a little more, since they have more than little stupid dates to cover). And of course, depending on the type of game that you want to play, either one or other is okay. If you want to play a deeper game, stereotypes followed to a T aren't so cool, but something sillier to have fun with… (I'll go for the sporty type any time *g*)

Edit: I'm the one who'd be annoyed if characters weren't so shallow in TokiMemo… After all, I've got a boyfriend with a real personality and complexities to work with hoho. So a shallow character in a silly dating sim is relaxing. If girls/boys were to be ultra complex in vapid dating sims, I suppose they wouldn't be too popular.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#19 Post by Joey » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:55 am

I actually don't mind stereotypical characters so much. Most Japanese otome games have protags which can come across as weak/bumbling/ditzy but if they weren't then it'd be harder for the plot to develop, I think?

Regarding a "likeable" character, I don't really have a preference. As long as the character doesn't seem like an asshole xD
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#20 Post by Kyminara » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:57 am

I was thinking about this subject recently, and I came to the conclusion that all likeable characters in VNs share a few very specific traits.

1) They each have one major personality flaw.
Call it a quirk if you like, but the fact is that flaws act as endearing features for the characters you interact with. In some cases it's just to make them seem more human. ("Well he does this, but I like him anyway.") On other caes, it's an obstacle that the main character can overcome. ("He can only be himself around me.")
2) They each have a physical characteristic that stands out.
Everyone has thier type, but just the look of a person has to somehow stand out from the rest of the batch, so they all have a defining feature. (Scar, Tattoo, Glasses, Red eyes, Short, Long hair, etc etc) Otherwise it's just average guy or plain-looking girl.
3) They each have a strong underlying motivation for what they do.
I find it suprizing how often the motivation needs to be fully explained. The writer can keep in thier mind the why behind a characters actions, as it seems only right for have a fully fleshed out personality and background for your characters. However, a lot of times, we see flashbacks or a dramatic confession from the character himself about why he simply must do... *insert plot here*. Perhaps it helps the reader better identify with the character's plight.


People say they dislike sterotypes, but this is exactly where they come from. Most of the stereotypes I can think of come from one of these three features, but it's also what makes that character something memorable. If you write a character that doesn't have these three features, then it will feel like it's missing something.
Last edited by Kyminara on Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#21 Post by OtomeWeekend » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:13 pm

Kyminara wrote: People say they dislike sterotypes, but this is exactly where they come from. Most of the steriotypes I can think of come from one of these three features, but it's also what makes that character something memorable. If you write a character doesn't doesn't have these three features, then it will feel like it's missing something.
I won't really say that it all I've seen were because of your 3 reasons but they are indeed, still reasons of it. :) I just don't believe that there was no "stereotypical" in this world. I didn't waste my 5 years of gaming, reading and watching experience for nothing. ;) And I do believe that stereotypes are the reason why a character is popular, just like how i love all the bad guys, all the tsundere guys, all the main princes of tmgs series and how i despise shoutacons and anything related with molesting a boy who looks like it can be your son.lol, oh I'm a flexible person, if he was voiced by my fave seiyuu he's on my faves list too(<~another stereotypic reason to like a character Dx)

@Arcanum:

TMGS series is a stereotype itself for the Tokimemo for boys. Just think that the legendary tree evolved into a church and that in tmgs the boys population is bigger than girls.lol, i personally haven't played the game but the tokimeki memorial only love anime gives enough info, if i don't miss anything. Dx
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#22 Post by bunny-gypsy » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:51 pm

OtomeWeekend wrote:
Kyminara wrote: People say they dislike sterotypes, but this is exactly where they come from. Most of the steriotypes I can think of come from one of these three features, but it's also what makes that character something memorable. If you write a character doesn't doesn't have these three features, then it will feel like it's missing something.
I won't really say that it all I've seen were because of your 3 reasons but they are indeed, still reasons of it. :) I just don't believe that there was no "stereotypical" in this world.
Yup, it's true. There is nothing truly "original" under the sun anymore. :lol: What matters is how you execute the cliche/trope/stereotype/archetype, etc.

You might be thinking of archetypes also, maybe? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Archetype

Anyway, if you look at TVtropes.org and many, many writing books and articles, you'll find that nothing is original anymore.
There is a cliche/trope/archetype for everything. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Cliche

It is all in how you tell the story, and how you try to make the characters your own, and how you engage the audience is what makes it different.

But, yes, I have learned from Game Design course, learning about animation and game design and from reading many comic-book writing books that sometimes it's fine to use "archetypes/tropes/cliches" because that is what the audience is used to. For example, the Wise Old Mentor has been around for many years, and it's still used. It is fine to use it, "lampshade" it (referencing it in a humorous way) or even overturn this cliche. Bad guys tend to have darker color schemes because we are used to that and it sends a quick "message" to us that these are "bad guys", etc.

Trust me, TVtropes.org has everything you can think of, lol. :lol:
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#23 Post by LadyAvori » Mon Aug 15, 2011 3:05 pm

I like all kinds of characters. The Jerks, the Sweethearts, the Broody, the Comedic, the Bad-ass, etc.

What makes a character likable for me is the character development over the course of the story, how well the character fits in with the plot and three dimensional personalities fully equipped with flaws and quirks, hobbies and habits.

They can be stereotypes, I love stereotype characters, but if they are severely lacking in a personality outside of the said stereotype it kills the characters for me. Also, if they were added just because the author thought the character was cool but have nothing connecting them to the plot, or are weakly connected to the plot, makes the character less likable for me. I sit and wonder "why is this character even here?"

There are only two types of characters I really dislike and that is the useless character and the super god character.

The "Kagome's" as I like to call them. (no offense to any Inuyasha fans) Anyway I will be immediately turned off from a character if they have this one power that is super important to the story (finding and purifying crystals) but are otherwise just useless in general and then bossy at the same time. (Although I hear that Kagome's character develops slowly over the show)

"God Goku's" are the other types I dislike. (I watched DBZ before Bleach else they would be called the "Ichigo's") I think this is more an anime style I dislike, but anyway, characters that no matter how strong the enemy is they seem to always beat them simply by getting stronger, powering up, or transforming to the new ultra level...etc... you get the idea. These characters don't need team members yet they always seem to have teams. (again, no offense to the DBZ/Bleach fans out there, just not my cup o tea)

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#24 Post by Mirage » Mon Aug 15, 2011 4:08 pm

Goku is god? Where did that come from? lol~ (Sorry, major DB fan here) There are many other god-like characters, and in case of Bleach, Aizen fits the bill much better than Ichigo. Ichigo does not even defeat Aizen. lol! I think the character archetype you are looking here isn't god-like but "shonen's hero". In shonen manga, it's almost a rule that the main character will train hard and overcome all odds with the power of friendship. And what does Goku and Ichigo has in common? They train hard to defeat the bad guys to protect their friends.

...That probably is super off-topic. lol

To avoid this from being off-topic, I personally think that a 3-dimensional character can be unlikable, and a stereotype can be likable especially if they hit all your soft spot. So my answer is...it really depends on the person. There's no universally loved characters in the world. So you still can write a deep character with wonderful character development and still be hated or write a really shallow character with no development with a pretty face and be loved. (Lol, Prince of Tennis)

As for me, I love characters who are really funny or silly, yet can be serious when needed. It's also a plus if the character is a man of principle, with their own personal values. I also have a thing for characters with twisted perception of life.

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#25 Post by mugenjohncel » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:06 pm

Hmm... let's see...

For me... the perfect character would be someone wearing something unusual, yet still suits him... Perhaps sporting bright colors and patterns here and there. Someone that has a few charming quirks and gimmicks which is not usually found in the usual common troupes. Another factor is hairstyle. Having a unique hairstyle is important. It makes it easier for people to remember. If the character is a male perhaps straying from the usual ideal boy band clean cut image by sporting facial hair. Speech too is important... it can be personalized for better or for worse... by adding... certain... elements... that... when... used... often... will be remembered by people. Now if I try and combine all these factors and visualize my ideal character I'll end up with something like this...
← SEE MY AVATAR?... YEP!... THAT!...


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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#26 Post by Pyonkotchi » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:27 pm

They gotta be fleshed out and filled with personality and quirks. backstory, plot relevant. etc
Everyone has different tastes but if they are strong, flawed, characters with tons of personality, they will be generally likeable.
they shouldnt be predictable either. that could be boring. surprise the audience :D
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#27 Post by Camille » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:25 am

Stereotypes are unavoidable. After all, they are somewhat based off of real life, so if you are making characters that are even somewhat realistic, chances are they will at least vaguely fit under one. Still, to say that there's no such thing as a "unique" character is kind of silly. I mean, look at the Pixar films. Each of the main characters is something that sounds normal at first glance--cranky old man, cocky young racer, an overprotective father... And yet in each movie, the main character is brought to life in a wholly unique, unforgettable way. They have flaws that they overcome and are shown to be three-dimensional characters. That's why Pixar films do so well: they have heart.

Human beings can be very similar in many ways. That's why cliches and stereotypes exist. Still, like every human being is different, I think every fictional character is different, too. I personally like the characters that have heart. They don't fit into a simple category like "tsundere" or "the geeky one"--sure, they might have elements of those cliches, but they surpass them in one way or another. Also, I like characters that have flaws. Obviously if they're TOO flawed and are running around punting babies, doing horribly on tests, and being emo about everything, I probably won't like them at all, so there's a balance that has to be kept. XD I really like this advanced character creation sheet that OokamiKasumi wrote up. If you can fill out that entire sheet for your character, you're probably doing a good job. I've used a slightly modified version for all of mine. :3

Of course, this has nothing to do with the way characters look. |D Some terribly-written characters have gotten lots of love just because of a pretty face. me, I am partial to pretty voices /shot

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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#28 Post by Gear » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:25 pm

What makes a character likeable? I think it's relateability. (Not a word, I'm aware...) If a character's actions don't resonate with a player, then their motivations ought to. People instinctively like characters they can relate to.

Here's an example: Power Rangers. The old ones, not the new ones. You had the strong, confident leader, the lone wolf rival to the leader, the non-athletic genius, the girl who loves to shop, the honorable and strong female martial artist, and the hip-hop loving clown. Between these six characters, people who like the show had a 'favorite' because there was one character they related to the most. For me, it was the awkward smart guy. For others, it was the clown, or the shopaholic, etc. etc. That's why I always write lots of diverse characters.

Perhaps Power Rangers wasn't the BEST example out there, but it makes my point.
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#29 Post by Der Tor » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:12 pm

human weaknesses and flaws make characters likable...
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Re: What makes characters likeable?

#30 Post by Aleema » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Gear wrote:What makes a character likeable? I think it's relateability.
I think that's probably the crux of it.

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