Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Silver Linings

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, they say. This is true as a metaphor for works of fiction when it comes to characters. I find that no matter how bad something seems and no matter how much you dislike it, you'll always find something that you like, enjoy, or even appreciate. It's like Doug Walker has said with every bad work or media having a "heart" to it; a certain character who's enjoyable to watch even when nothing else is. A sort of  "Ham And Cheese" for characters and the roles they play. So I gave thought about which fictional canons that I either care little for or even outright despise and what characters in them do I actually like? Here's what I came up with:

Akame ga Kill: Literally every character except Tatsumi, Najenda, Honest, Syrua, and Champ.

Bakugan: This one is too easy. Alice Gehavich and her alter-ego Masquerade were/was the only unique character/s in this entire series - the only thing about this cliched, merchandise driven, and generic kiddie anime that was in any way original. How strange is it that this mysterious, villainous rival guy who looks like a masked Super Saiyan is actually a sweet, smart, kind, adorable red haired teen girl under some sort of possession? I didn't follow this series but when it was on, I enjoyed both Alice's moments of coolness and Masquerade's villainy, and it was even better when they were revealed to be one and the same...sort of. Alice took a great level in badass over the show's course and it was always great to see her shine. She's not in the series anymore, and it suffers for it.

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Force: Grandpa Max was always the best part of the original show but he was no longer a regular character on the idiotic and horrendously executed sequel series'. The guy taking over his spot was Kevin Levin, and while he's nowhere near as good as Max and nothing like the original Kevin 11 either, he was one of the most enjoyable characters for a while, whenever he wasn't being paired with Gwen that is. His cynical personality, lovable rogue attitude, amoral behavior, bad boy with a heart of gold image, and hilarious snarks and wisecracks were great for brightening the usually dark and dreary mood of the show. Sadly this was before he got turned into just a brutish dumbass in the later seasons of UA. Some villains like Darkstar, Albedo, Argit, Devoid, Charmcaster, and Aggregor were good for a certain while, but they all suffered from decay.  The one character who is always consistently excellent is Paradox, the witty, wacky, knowledgeable and rather insane time travelling professor who "wanders eternity". The absurd nature of his character, all the things he knows and conceals, and the stupidity of what he can do is always fun to watch and he keeps a great self awareness about himself. His omnipresence means that the him from any time could come in and work with any sort of plot and due to this nature, his character never suffers. Any episode with him in it, even a bad one, is always one worth watching. And last of all, there's RATH!!!

Beyblade: Never liked this anime all that much but it had it's moments and it's good characters.
In the first series, I liked Ray Kon and Mariah because they were likable and had an interesting relationship. In "V-Force" (the only one that was kind of good) I enjoyed the Saint Shields because they were well developed as anti heroes, I enjoyed Hilary because she was amusing and bossed Tyson (whom I despise) around, and I liked Dr Zagart and his son Zeo, the former being the best main villain in the series and the latter being the most tragic character.  In "G Revolution", I only kind of enjoyed the F-Dynasty team and the guys in BEGA due to how ridiculous and stupid they were. I've heard there's a new Beyblade series out, but there looks to be nothing redeemable there.

Bleach: I've already talked about how this over-bloated series sucks the big one, but it has some good characters amongst it's cluttered up cast. Rukia was an awesome character back in the day and (unlike Orihime) worth giving a damn about when she was held prisoner. Uryu Ishida was an incredibly cool, intelligent, yet amusing character. Orihime and Chad were actually really likable characters in the pre-Hueco Mundo days. And that's to say nothing of Urahara and Yoruichi, who are pretty damn cool themselves. Within the Soul Society, I like Momo, Renji, Kyoraku, Rangiku, Yachiru, and Nemu a good deal. I liked Byakuya, Kenpachi, and Mayuri back when they were villains (hate them when they're not!). I liked Aizen and his minions as villains before they got really, really lame. Among the Espada, I liked Coyote Stark, Barragan, Ulquiorra, Grimmjow, and Aaroniero. I also kind of liked Nel, I loved Lilynette Gingerback, and really sort of liked (and pitied) Loly and Menoly, too. And I'm very fond of Riruka, though the series at the point she's in makes it really hard to give a crap. And that's about it. Shame these characters had to go to waste, but that's Tite Kubo for ya.

Code Geass: While I don't hate this series at all, I can't really say that I like it much either. But there are some really good characters to be found in it. The ones who were overall consistent in quality were Lelouch, CC, and Nunnally. Despite the very noticeable flaws in his role in the narrative, I love Lelouch's character. He's a fabulous Magnificent Bastard and a great tragic hero. CC is a fascinating character with an enjoyable, deadpan snarky attitude, a strong will, great intellect, and a sexy design too; she works great as Lelouch's partner. And Nunnally was always a sweet, adorable, but sad character who clearly understood a lot more than she let on. The quality of other characters varied. The characterizations and roles of Kallen and Suzaku were much tighter and more endearing in R1 than in R2, and Princess Euphemia and Mao only ever appeared in R1. Meanwhile, Kaguya, Tianze, Jeremiah, and Schniezel made more of an impact in R2, despite the latter turning into a nuke-happy idiot in the last few episodes. And I sometimes liked Milly, Shirley, and Rivalz of Ashford Academy, but only when the were used for humor. None of the other cast members ever really appealed to me. No, not even Emperor Charles and his stupid design, though his hamminess was always fun to see.

Danny Phantom: The only good guy character I almost consistently liked in this crappy nicktoon was Jazz Fenton, who had a likable personality and surprisingly good character development, and a great voice actress. Danny himself occasionally had his moments, as did Jack Fenton solely due to Rob Paulsen's always amusing voice acting.  Other than that, I liked some of the villains. I liked Skulker and his fixation on hunting his own race, I liked Ember and her punk rock diva-ness, I liked Technus as he grew as a threat and again, Rob Paulsen's voice acting, I liked Valerie when she became a ghost hunting anti-villain, I even liked the one-shot Ghost Writer in the Christmas episode. And I freaking loved Vlad Masters/Plasmius. He had the best characterization and backstory, complex goals, deliciously evil plans, despicable actions, and the wittiest, most well written dialogue that was all sold by Martin Mull's great voice acting in the role. I hated what they did with him in the third season; a villain of his ilk deserved so much better. Maybe if the series ever gets a reboot....

Digimon Frontier: Being the only "bad" Digimon series for a while, this one had more downs than ups. Among the good guys, JP was the most appealing but even he couldn't make up for the annoyances I got from all the rest. However, there was one thing that was really great in this series; the villains. Aside from those awful Royal Knights, this was the best cast of evil Digimon since Adventure.. Cherubimon was scary as fuck and had a dark, unsettling presence whenever he was on screen, quite an accomplishment for what's essentially a giant, celestial bunny rabbit. His underlings, the evil Legendary Warriors, were all fantastic. Grumblemon the brutish, foul tempered neanderthal warrior of earth was great as a Starter Villain and his fights were very enjoyable to watch. Arbormon, warrior of wood, was a big doofus with delusions of grandeur and was probably the funniest villain in this show. Ranamon, warrior of water, was the sole female: a sexy, flighty, immature, and vain bitch who was always so full of herself but her attitude was so lovably nasty and she herself was every bit as cute and pretty as she boasted about being, that she was very endearing to me. Mercurymon, warrior of steel, was a cold, cocky, intellectual, merciless sunovabitch with a very unique looking design and amusing ye olde butchered English way of speaking. Easily the most awesome of them all. Coming close to that was Duskmon, who was incredibly frightening and malicious as a villain that it's a shame he became the...Kouichi that he became. And of course there was Lucemon, the demon lord himself. He got a raw deal in his role in this series, but he made up for that with style, elegance, charisma, and attitude. A prideful narcissist through and through, he believed that putting the Digital World through literal Hell would be in every one's best interest and would make it a "utopia" where all digital beings are denied free thought and free will. He's really just selfish, insane, and pure evil. When his deluded madness and monstrous villainy was great, it really was great.

Digimon Xros Young Hunters: Quite easily the worst Digimon series to ever be made, especially considering the terrific series that it was following. But I did like the returning "Xros Wars" characters, I liked Yuu here even more than I did previously, but the standouts here would have to be the rival hunter trio who served as the regular antagonists. Polite, charismatic rich kid Ryoma, vapid, self absorbed pretty diva girl Airu, and antisocial, manipulative jerkass Ren. They're pretty much the exact same as another terrible trio, Team Rocket in the Johto seasons. Ineffectual, an un-compelling "threat", and not at all well handled in being villains, but their characters are so entertaining, over-the-top, and fun in how true to themselves they are that you can forgive it anyway. I really wish they had been treated better than just being the fodder to this series' non-existent plot that they were overall but heck, I enjoyed them and can only hope their lives went well afterwards. Yes, even Ren's!

Eureka Seven: This is another one where the antagonists steal the show for me. All the characters in the evil Federation's Militia are excellent; Dominic Sorel, Anemone, Captain Jeurgan, and the bold, charismatic, and utterly despicable Lt. Colonel Dewey Novak himself. Never did they fail to make the plot interesting and actually get me engaged in what was going on with them when they appeared.

Gundam Wing: This anime blows, even for a Gundam series, and most of the cast was unlikable and ultimately forgettable. But I did really enjoy Duo Maxwell, the only bishie gundam pilot able to lighten up and have moments of hilarity. I really liked Relena Peacecraft, 'cause she was a really cool, beautiful, well developed heroine who receives unfair and unjustified hate from the Fandumb.
I liked Hilde because she was also a nice, lighthearted character. And Zechs and Treize were badass villains; charismatic, calculating, and vicious. These are the only characters to get any love from me.

Gundam 00: Again, this Gundam series is just rancid and filled with bland, unappealing characters.
I liked Louise and Saji before their character arcs kicked in and they got all dark and angsty, and I kind of liked Sumeragi if only because she was a Misato Katsuragi Expy. But I really enjoyed the villains Ali Al Saachez and the Trinity siblings because even though they're utterly despicable psychos (especially "Prince" Ali), they at least seem aware of how bad they are and don't give a fuck 'cause they enjoy piloting their giant mechs and blowing shit up, which is more than I can say for the self-righteous "heroes" of Celestial Being. Ali played his part as a monstrous villain to perfection and Trinity, while in desperate need of better roles and development, were fun while they lasted.

High School Musical: Here's an easy one: Sharpay and Ryan Evans own these movies! While Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgeons, Corbin Bleu and whathaveyou are all fine young actors, their characters are written like shit. The Evans twins, however, are marvelous creations and Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel play the parts perfectly. While Sharpay seems like your stereotypical blonde, beautiful, but arrogant and mean high school bitch, she's actually just an insecure, starstruck, neurotic, and self-centered drama queen due to being a rich girl with high expectations placed on her. That doesn't make her any less of a haughty, ruthless, conniving bitch, but it does make her more sympathetic and human. Her character gets more humanized and rounded out as the movies in the series progressed, all the way up to getting her own spin-off movie. They did try to make her more unlikable in the second film but that fell flat on almost every level. She's enjoyable in how downright evil she can be and Tisdale plays her with such a charm and lovability that I can't help but get enraptured in her life's drama and enjoy her along with herself. And her twin brother Ryan is also fabulous: sneaky, manipulative, vain, not too bright, and ambiguously gay, he was a constant source of humor when he interacted with anybody. His choices of clothing and silly hats alone made him an endearing character. And he also got character development, stepping out of his sisters' shadow and learning to assert himself as his own person while still keeping everything he loves about his life. The relationship and chemistry between the siblings is really great. They're both ridiculously hammy, over dramatic drama students, both devious schemers, and both each other's best friend. These two are really close: the companionship they share is something I just love and appreciate so much about them. The Evan twins really are the stars of the show and even Disney had to acknowledge that!

Lilo and Stitch the series: This Disney spin-off series really wasn't a success in terms of character. All the good guys were derailed: Lilo into a preachy, irritating brat, Stitch into an unintelligible mascot creature, Nani into an angry, no-nonsense bitch, Jumba and Pleakly into obnoxious gaywads, David into a totally useless bore, and Myrtle into an insufferable little mean girl with no reason to even be so. Cobra Bubbbles rarely appeared, new characters like Keyone were boring, and most of the experiments were gimmicky and forgettable. But then there were the villains...Captain Gantu, Experiment 625 ("Reuban"), and Dr Jaques von Hamsterveil. While Gantu suffered massively from Badass Decay, his character was so self important, cool, and even likable that I still really liked him and pitied him for his continuous losing streak. 625 was also enjoyable as his snarky, wisecracking, sandwich obsessed sidekick, and the two of them had great interactions like two roommates who got on each others nerves but really did like each other. And as the main villain, Hamsterveil managed to be amusingly irritating due to Jeff Bennett voicing him in an impression of a French taunter from Monty Python and there were times were he actually managed to be a threat, namely in the grand finale movie, "Leroy and Stich". In that movie, all three of these baddies got perfectly fitting endings (Gantu reinstated as a officer of the Galactic Federation, Reuban as his sidekick, and Hamsterviel locked up in a high security prison with all the Leroy clones) and ended as satisfying characters.

Naruto: Same deal as "Bleach". It majorly sucks as a series, even more so than "Bleach", but has some good characters, particularly in the supporting cast.  Naruto himself used to have qualities that made him an endearing protagonist but that changed when he got older. Sakura was a comedically emotional and temperamental bitch but also an enjoyable, interesting, even relatable heroine but like Naruto, that changed when she got older. Kakashi used to be very quirky, amusing, intriguing and badass but now he's just boring sensei! And Sasuke...was never good to start with and instead of getting any better, he only got worse. Among others, I really like Ino, I like Tsunade and Jaraiya, I like Kiba, Hinata, and Shino, I used to like Shikamaru and Choji before they became a Jerkass Jesus and a total idiot, and I just plain love Rock Lee. He's a good boy who works really hard, is hot bloodedly determined, never gives up, and speaks with nice speech patterns. He deserved much better but Kishimoto always screws him over, which I hate. And when it comes to antagonists, none in this series could ever measure up to Gaara of the desert, the creepy sand ninja kid who's really fucking nuts when he breaks lose. Also being scorned in his childhood and being cursed with a demon inside of him, he was Naruto's evil counterpart in every way. I liked his teammates as well. No villain, not even Orochimaru, Kabuto, or any Akatsuki member can top that as an antagonist.

Pokemon: The anime, to be precise. Back in the Johto seasons, the heart of the show on a regular basis was the Team Rocket trio. Even when stuck in a terribly lame, decayed "villainous" role for a formulaic pattern that most episodes ran on, the characters still kept their depth, charm, likability, and wacky sense of humor. It was as if they were self aware enough to know they were stuck in a crappy role but were being true to themselves and making the most of it anyway. When compared to our bland heroes, they were the only characters still having fun with being cartoons. I suspect Takeshi Shudo's guidance had a hand in this because once he left and the show entered Hoenn, Team Rocket lost whatever brains they had and became gag spewing non-entities that were annoying as fuck. Johto also had fun characters like Casey, Gligar Man, Temaku, and all those other members of Team Rocket that never really amounted to anything. In Hoenn, we had May, Max, Drew, and Harley to keep us engaged. Even in the dull dreadfulness of Sinnoh, we had Zoey, Hunter J, and Ursula standing out as good additions. Nando, Conway, and even Barry had their moments too, and in Sinnoh I'd take whatever moments of any sort of entertainment I could get. Oh, and of course, there's the Magikarp salesman, a character who is consistently amusing. Must be the accent...

Sailor Moon Super S:  The second weakest Sailor Moon anime season next to it's following one, "Stars". This one had one single thing that made me keep watching it and even enjoying it. And that thing, again, was the villains. Considering how irritating and disappointing the Death Busters of the previous season were (except for Dr. Tomoe and Hotaru, who rocked), the Dead Moon Circus was a better and much more entertaining force of evil. The whole idea of an evil circus as the main baddies is a fun one and it's made better by the characters that lead it. The ruler of the Dead Moon, Queen Nehalania, was a terrifying, sinister, psychopathic monster of a villain and the ugliness inside of her was reflected in her mirror image, Grand Master Zirconia, who served as acting ringleader to the circus. Zirconia is a nightmarishly hideous, twisted, bitter, and ill tempered old crone who was always fun to watch rule over the big top and bark orders to his/her lackeys. (Zirconia's female in the original version but was strangely made male in the dub, though both versions have very enjoyable voices). The lead henchmen were the Amazon Trio, three animals-turned-transvestite circus performers who were constantly being ordered to find a target with beautiful dreams. The trio were often displeased with their job but had to put up with it because they had no hopes or beautiful dreams of their own - only their predatory animal instincts.  Memorable stuff they did included hanging at the Lemures Cafe for drinks, and trapping their targets with "ONE! TWO! THREE!" before quite literally mind raping them. While terribly inept and mostly nonthreatening as villains, they were quirky and so much fun and received a beautiful send-off. Their replacements, the Amazon Quartet, were four adorable, scantily clad teenage girls with magical colored orbs who were ordered to search specifically for the golden mirror. While not quite as developed characters as the trio, they were actually better villains and also tons of fun to watch due to their sly, mischievous nature, naughty sense of humor and trickery, differing attitudes, and nastiness. They were devious but playfully so. They always wanted to stay young and have fun. These girls were just so sincere and honest about how they presented themselves and just did not give a fuck about others, and that's what made them so lovable and funny. Overall, these villains rocked hard and I could still watch them all day; they made this series.

Scryed: What does it say about a show when it only has three characters that were in any way good? The first of such was obviously Straight Cougar, a crazy, over dramatic, badass motor mouth with the alter power of radical speed. He was awesomeness incarnate whenever he was put into action and had a great dub performance by the almost always great Crispin Freeman. How stupid it was when he died in the end for no reason at all! The second great character was Scheris Adjiani, a cute, sexy, and appealing girl with short blue hair and a positive, upbeat attitude in even the worst of times. She was a very engaging female character with an interesting power and having the dub voice of Lara Jill Miller was just perfect for her. Sadly, she also died a totally meaningless death in the end. Lastly, there was one-shot villain Emergy Maxfell, who was so gleefully smarmy, foppish, childish, and psychopathic and had such an utterly ridiculous alter power (the giant SUPER PINCH CRUSHER robot) that he was one of the most memorable characters in the whole damn show long after he was gone and over with. I'll never think of the word "pinch" the same way again thanks to him.

Smallville: Even when the show got really bad as it dragged on through five extra unneeded seasons, there were characters that made a good impression. Chloe Sullivan stayed as fun, snarky, and lovable as ever in the sixth season before inexplicably getting outed as a meteor freak and succumbing to wangst in the following seasons. The Luthors, as far as I'm concerned, could do no wrong even when they were being ill used. Lionel Luthor was the magnificent bastard, Lex Luthor was a compelling tragic villain who ended up following in his dad's footsteps but even worse, and even Tess Mercer, revealed to be Lex's half sister in the end, was great to watch. She, in particular, got a major shaft in what could be done with her and ended up needlessly dying while at the same time, all of Lex's development got rendered meaningless. Which was STUPID! And oddly enough, I found myself fond of the nerdy and callow young scientist, Emil Hamilton. Something about the way he was played by Alessandro Juliani made him one of the better cast members on the later show.

Toradora: Ami Kawashima, hands down. In a second season where Kitamura had been rendered irrelevant, Minori had turned into a mopey wangsty emo girl, Taiga had become more sympathetic but hardly used in a good way, and Ryuji had become a total twat, good ol' Ami remained the only great character on the whole show. Gorgeous, adorable, snarky, devious, deceptive, manipulative, teasing, and a real jerk at most times but a very complex, layered, well rounded character with lots of personality and attitude, and a true friend when it counted. Ami always had a secret agenda, knew more that she let on, and was subtly pushing things towards the needed outcome. She was really putting others' needs above her own the whole time, even though her motives for doing so were entirely about herself. She was a sympathetic and likable character to the end. You gotta love her.

Twilight: This notoriously craptastic series has...quite a few characters that I like, really. It's like Stephanie Meyer knows how to create interesting characters but rather than spend time developing them, she keeps the focus on the most insipid, shallow, irritating, poorly written, and boring shit in the story instead. Now I actually do like Bella and Edward if I view them in a different light than what Meyer wants of me; I enjoy seeing them not as the "perfect, most romantic couple evar" but as the self centered, pretentious, vain, sociopathic, deeply disturbed and evil characters that they clearly are. It's same as how Doug Walker likes to see them as. In the books it's kind of hard because the narrative makes them so damn insufferable and boring but it's better in the movies, where we get great performances by Kristen Stewart and Robert Patinson, who clearly do not like their roles but are putting their own spin on them, making them more enjoyable to watch. As for the actual good characters, the ones that stand out are Jacob Black, the flawed, hot tempered, but ultimately good hearted wereworlf boy who would make a nice, dependable, supportive, and charming boyfriend for any lucky girl. Charlie Swan, Bella's laid back, responsible, and hard assed father who rightfully grows increasingly more cynical about the stuff his daughter gets herself into. Dr. Carlisle Cullen,
a sparkly vampire who actually makes uses of his immortality and does what he thinks he needs to do, and he seems to have some layers to him that never truly get explored. We're never sure if he's a good man or a bad man at heart: my guess is that he wants to be a good man and believes that he's helping people, when really he's just playing God for some psychological reasons. Rosalie Hale,
a spoiled, frigid bitch of a sparklepire who rightfully detests Bella and has lots of potential for interesting character development that barely ever gets attention. Jasper, who also has potential for complexity in his character and is the closest thing the Cullen family has to a true vampire. Alice, who's kind of annoying but oh so funny and crazy at the same time. Leah Clearwater, a bitter, cyncical, snarky wereworlf girl with an incredibly sad story and sympathetic characterization that Meyer overlooked way too much, but at least she gets a happy ending with Jacob. Her younger brother Seth, who's actually pretty funny. Bella's various schoolmates, who are also pretty funny. And the Volturi, who are just such an interesting and cool concept who, at the same time, are really amusing because they're such a fruity little club that really seems to have nothing better to do with their immortal lives than vampires. These are all characters I wish this misbegotten series had given more attention too, but no, we had to get more of the worst romantic trash ever instead!

W.I.T.C.H: In the comics, I really loved Will Vandom, Cornelia Hale, Hay Lin, Cedric, Elyon, and Phobos.  Will for being such an adorable, lovable, funny, strong willed and interesting tomboy with
a great power, well developed leadership skills, and a character that grew and matured over time. Cornelia for being beautiful, smart, cool, and terribly blunt but with a heart of gold.  Hay Lin for being a cute, upbeat, and hilarious air head.  Cerdic for being an intriguing and enjoyable character even in the wretched Ludmore arc. Elyon also for being a great character, particularly when she was a villain.  And Phobos for being an excellently evil, menacing, stylish and charismatic villain in spite of his lack of threat. In the TV show, I also liked Will and Hay Lin; Will was a little more laid back and dull in the first season but became reasonably more true to her comic book counterpart in the second.
I also really liked Irma Lair, Caleb, Matt, and Narissa on the show. Irma was never all that interesting in the comics but her snarky smartass attitude and playfully naughty behavior was actually pretty fun in the show, not to mention she was more consistently pretty as well. Caleb was also a much more amusing and developed character than his comics counterpart ever was.  Ditto for Matt, who actually developed as a guy worthy of being loved by Will and turning him into Shagon during the second season was a brilliant move.  And Narissa made more of impact here than she did in the comics, chiefly due to how Greg Weissman wrote her as a sinister, power hungry chessmaster with
a layered, tragic characterization.  A shame she didn't get as good a finish as she did in the comics but oh well.  W.I.T.C.H never was or ever will be perfect....

Yu-Gi-Oh GX: There were enjoyable and likable characters here and there in this stupid Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-off show. But the top five best would be Alexis Rhodes, the hot, pragmatic, strategic, and kickass girl duelist of Obelisk Blue, Chazz Princeton, the wannabe bad boy who was often always up to no good and receiving no good in return, the ever enthusiastic, tomboyish Blair Flannigan, another kickass girl duelist who eventually became Alexis' roomie, Lyman Banner, a odd, quirky, whimsical young professor with a deep dark secret and an utterly intriguing character, and the best is probably Dr. Velian Crowler, the stuffy, pompous, effeminate, elitist professor who was always mincing around and trying to screw over the students he considered unworthy, but had a hidden heart of gold deep down and actually got good development, showing that he cared for all the students by the end of the series. His was a hilarious and brilliantly executed character and the one that I most fondly recall.

Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds: An even stupider Yu-Gi-Oh! spin-off show and a boring one as well. The only characters worth writing about here are anyone associated with Rex Goodwin, the scheming and charismatic villain of the first two seasons. Those associated with him are his gay clown minion, his mad scientist, his bodyguard Ushio, his secretary Mina, his mercenary duelist Jack Atlas (who's actually a pretty stupid character but is so over-the-top that I enjoy him regardless) and his wannabe girlfriend, the energetic, intrepid teen reporter Carly Carmine. Any other characters who are not the ones I just mentioned were just wasted potential (Aki, the Dark Signers) or terrible (Yusei, Crow).