Friday, November 27, 2015

Top 10 French Characters

Hello and welcome to Lilac 10 where every month I create some sort of wacky anime top 10 list! This month, I’m taking on a suggestion that I rediscovered after losing it while switching laptops. Something you may not know about me is that I’m actually part french, and it’s actually not all that rare that Japan takes an interest in the french. Today, I’m covering my Top 10 French Characters. What exactly am I using for this ranking? The character, at minimum has to be french or show rather strong qualities of french individuals. After that, the ranking is based on the writing of the character themselves as well as how they best emulate those stereotypical french traits. 

Number 10
Tsukiyama Shuu
Tokyo Ghoul

This first entry is absolutely me cheating here, but while he may not be from France (the manga does say that his family is of Japanese and German descent), Tokyo Ghoul’s Tsukiyama does emulate some qualities of french individuals. Of course, one of the more obvious ones is his use of the french language. You don't really see him in a scene and not use the beautiful french language at some point during it. What also makes Tsukiyama stand out as a french character is his very flamboyant personality and interest in high society and the finer things in life. He is the ring leader, of sorts, for the Gourmets which does entail a lot of people getting killed for some sick entertainment for other fancy pants ghouls. However, the biggest reason for this crazy bastard being on this list are the performances given by both Mamoru Miyano and J. Michael Tatum in the Japanese and English dub, respectively. Everyone knows these two are capable are playing up these kinds of characters, and if they didn't make Tsukiyama all french as hell, then I don't know who else is able to. 

Mamoru Miyano's Tsukiyama:

J. Michael Tatum's Tsukiyama:

I rest my case. MOVING ON!

Number 9
D’Eon & Lia de Beaumont
Le Chevalier D’Eon

This is one of three entries where I could have cheated by placing the entire cast in one entry alone, however, at least in Le Chevalier D’Eon’s case, I’ll slightly cheat and place siblings D’Eon and Lia de Beaumont together at number nine. Both originating from France, these siblings worked for the palace during the French Revolution, a moment in history that was slightly altered in this series for the sake of making everything all the more exciting. These two proudly serve their country and do what they can in order to protect the country and the people they hold so dear. While the series does progress in a different direction then how I describe the siblings just now, since Lia is dead from episode one, the devotion shown for their home country never really fades as the two continue to fight for the sake of France. Of course, living in France means they are frenchmen of that time period, but it's their love of their country that helps place the Beaumont siblings on the list.

Number 8
Huey Laforet

If you know anything about Baccano then you know about the origins of the immortals. While many characters decide to push their origins away after centuries, we still have Huey Laforet who doesn't really push those origins aside in order to adapt to the changing society. In fact, he's more of an occult leader of sorts since he does control a group known as the Lemures who see him as an all powerful being of some kind. But that's not even the half of it as Huey could probably care less about them and is just a massive manipulator. Both a genius as well as very charismatic, Huey is very capable of outwitting and controlling any kind of situation, even influencing his own daughter, Chane, into surrendering her voice for him. But here's where it gets a little tricky in the french department. Parts of Huey's backstory in the light novels place him, possibly, of Italian origin rather than French. So why place him on this list at all? Again, similar to Tsukiyama, it's mostly the fault of a voice actor in question. While the FUNimation dub clearly surpasses the original Japanese, it's Eric Vale's performance of Huey that firmly placed my, and many others, suspicion that Huey is French. See for yourself! (apologies for the poor quality).

Number 8
Oscar Jarjayes
The Rose of Versailles

This next entry, I actually know very little about since I had not seen the series this character is from. So, I had to recruit a little help from the person who would not stop bugging me about this character and this series: NoahClue. This is his take on why Oscar deserves to be on this list:

Time to take a trip back in time, and not just because this show was made almost 40 years ago. Back to 18th century France, where Royal Captain of the Guards Oscar Jarjayes is the most dashing, heroic, handsome young man that nobility has ever known…..and he just happens to be a woman. So OK, Oscar was raised all her life as a boy in order to take over her Father’s military position, which as you can imagine provides double the struggle in both overcoming the gender bias and being worthy of serving the royal family. Of course you don’t get on this list without proving yourself to be one resilient French fry, and Oscar comes through in spades as she proves throughout the show her skills as Captain as well as speaking on behalf of the common folk. You know you’ve got a real friend when they rescue you from kidnappers, thwart assassination attempts and puts her life on the line to defend her own friend from royal prosecution. Amongst her mastered skills include expert sword handling, horse riding, and (most crucial to the flighty young Marie Antoinette) really good intuition in how to rule a country. For although she’s a royal captain, she retains respect for the French hierarchy and never oversteps her position, though at least enough to let characters know when they’re doing something foolish. And if you know anything about the French Revolution, you know that Marie needs all the advice she can get. For although the series is named after the ill-fated "Rose of Versailles," one episode in and you can tell this historic adventure is all about the heroine whose tough as thorns.

Well... I have to see this show now.... Thanks, Noah!

Number 6
Arsene Lupin III
Lupin III

You my say I'm cheating once again with this list, however Lupin can be considered French since his grandfather is of French origins. This gentleman thief does have an appreciation for art and beautiful jewels, which probably explains why he'd steal them. Also because he loves the challenge of stealing items of high value while trying escape authorities. He's also a very heavy romantic, in case you couldn't tell from his many attempts to court women, including fellow master thief Fujiko Mine. What makes Lupin an amazing french anime character is his massive staying power. Lupin is the only entry on this list to have become a household name thanks to the many spin offs, films, and even crossovers this character has been a part of including Hayao Miyazaki's Castle of Cagliostro and the dozens of times both Lupin and Conan crossed paths. The character is extremely lovable and dorkish that you just can't help but root for him in the end. With staying power like that, Lupin is an obvious choice to be added into this list.

Number 5
Tamaki Suoh
Ouran Highschool Host Club

Bring in the flamboyant Tamaki! Now, technically, Tamaki is only half french thanks to his mother, however he is still just as outlandish and romantic as most other french citizens. Sure he doesn't exhibit a love for his country like the Beaumont siblings nor is he a charismatic bastard like Huey, but what Tamaki brings to the table is something similar to both Tsukiyama and Lupin. He's a lovable dork who kinda just loves the finer things in life. Hell, the second half of that statement isn't even 100% true as he finds commoner life much more fascinating. He's much more of a lover rather than a fighter, showing his desire to make others happy before his own personal needs. Something that is both a great quality to have as well as a bad one as he does get manipulated on several occasions. Regardless, his fun personality as well as his story do make Tamaki a great character in general, as well as a lovable french anime character.

Number 4
Pip Bernadotte
Hellsing Ultimate

You wanna talk about a badass french guy, let’s talk about Pip Bernadotte from Hellsing Ultimate because we're getting to the point where we haven't had all that many major badasses and this must be remedied. Pip is the leader of a mercenary group that is hired by Integra Hellsing after the demise of her men during the Valentine Brothers incident. Both strong and cunning, this frenchmen knows how to play dirty on many levels; which can be rather helpful when fighting against rampaging vampires... And also flirting with Seras to no end. Even though he may appear to be a dirty man, he does has a soft spot in his heart. Again, he does have a thing for Seras despite teasing her all to hell. This list just really needed more badass french people and who better than to add the one anime character who doesn't quite portray the classic french stereotype. Never underestimate Pip Bernadotte.

Number 3
Maria the Virgin Witch

It's fun to add in some magic every once in a while, and Maria is the most recent contender who manages to have that in spades. This french woman not only has love for her country, despite being labeled a heretic, but her one goal is to keep the bloodshed between both France and England down to practically nothing because she hates war and death. Sure, she may be reckless about it and sometimes will make matters a little more worse, but she's still pure of heart in more ways than one. Maria is one of the more complex and well written female french characters on this list, both as an adorable little virgin as well as one with an innocent naivety you actually don't get to see that often in female characters, let alone french ones. For all these reasons, Maria manages to top all female french women by taking the number three spot.

Number 2
The Count
Gankutusuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

If you were asked for really good french characters in anime, I’d imagine you may say the Count of Monte Cristo from Gankutusuou. That is, unless you haven’t seen that series yet; in which, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?!?! The show is amazing!! For those who are long time readers or viewers of this blog, and have seen the series already, I don't really need to say much more in order to convince you as to why this individual makes the list and at such a high rank. For those few who are either new to LAR or have not seen Gankutusuou or read the original novel it is based off of, here's why the Count is here. The man is not only kind and considerate towards others, he's also extremely cunning and uses his position in order to achieve his goals. He uses wealth and power in order to enact his ultimate revenge, something that the series keeps rather hidden throughout. In terms of writing and complexity, the Count is the one who is the best written out of any of the contenders on this list. Couple this with his down right badassery and it's a no brainer that he'd jump to the head of the pack! However, he just misses the number one spot for, honestly, one reason only.....

Number 1

France from Hetalia. I’m not kidding. That’s my number one. There’s really no argument as to who tops this list because we’re talking about a character who is the epitome of the stereotypical french person. Just none. Discussion over. Ok, maybe I ought to explain even a little bit. Yes, he is from France cause, duh he is France. He also embodies every and any french stereotype that may have been brought up in this list along with tons more that I haven't even touched upon! Sure he doesn't have a lick of complexity to him compared to the Count or Maria or even half the other contenders on this list. However, if you want to talk about french characters then it's pretty hard to top a person who is the damn country itself. If you think otherwise, then, please, feel free to find one that's better than France, whether it's one already on this list or one I may have missed! 

Those are my top 10 French Characters in anime. Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Make sure to check out all the other Top 10s and every other thing under the sun here on the blog! Until next time, otaku on my friends!

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