For some, naming a favorite character or ranking favorite characters is a simple exercise, assessing and evaluating individuals based on their appearance, personality, actions and quirks and ordering them based on their final valuation. For others, it’s an impossible task; one that varies every time you ask due to differences in mood, memory and the fact that they do not have such a list written down. For me, however, I do have such a list – a basic one, at least – that answers this question or me whenever I think about it and wonder what I like best about anime characters. For anyone who knows me well, you’d figure that Matoi Ryuuko of KILL la KILL would immediately skyrocket up this list based on what we’ve seen. You’d be right, in fact, especially since Ryuuko is second overall. Considering how extensive this list must be considering the breadth of anime I’ve watched over the years, to have an anime character place second overall is nothing short of impressive and deserving of Day 2 in my 12 Days of Anime.
What makes Ryuuko so outstanding and desirable as an anime character is that she is the complete package. Or rather, in terms of anime, her character matches my favorite archetype perfectly. Her appearance, personality, role, acts, and qualities are all among my favorite. She has the appearance of a rough, resilient teenage girl with short, spiky black hair (with a hallmark red streak in her bangs) mirrors her steadfast personality as an arrogant, stubborn tomboy who doesn’t know the meaning of fear. But beneath this tough, aggressive layer is a rather sweet and kindhearted girl who looks out for her best friend, Mako. The contrast is really quite fascinating in that Ryuuko never really gets to show off her sweet side since she’s constantly in conflict with everyone and everything around her. You could say that Ryuuko’s true personality is more what we see with Mako but the fact that she keeps up the image of the rugged loner is really the identity she wants to present. Still, her personality has some complexity and depth despite always appearing as a rebel looking for trouble
In addition to her appearance and personality, her role in the series is also beneficial to her character. Although the series focuses on her standing alone against the totalitarian rule of Satsuki, she does have some decent comedy when presented with the opportunity. It isn’t nearly as often as I’d enjoy but her few assortment of jokes and smiles are windows to her sweeter side and display that she can be rather fun when she isn’t constantly fighting or trying to stay alive. And considering the appeal of the series is the excessive amount of fanservice, Ryuuko’s sex appeal is a positive for me, too. Although the skimpy uniforms and transformations are a bit over-the-top, I don’t mind the more Ryuuko’s character in more of the traditional fanservice roles or even the silly ones like the tight pajamas or her striped panties. And Ryuuko’s treatment of other characters, although this really is at a minimum, is quite encouraging. Ryuuko takes great care of Mako, seen time and time again with how she spends her days with her, talking to her and rescuing her, but she is even kind to strangers when in need. She really is quite gallant and magnanimous as a person, but the series is only able to show that in little snippets. But overall, every quality about her is something that I adore or enjoy in an anime character.
Because of all this and because of the nature of KILL la KILL, Ryuuko quickly became one of my favorite anime characters. As KILL la KILL progressed and we were able to witness more of her character, I began to rank her higher and higher, passing other beloved characters of mine along the way. KILL la KILL has done a fantastic job demonstrating her character to us and really making her one of the more memorable characters this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her rank as one of the most memorable among anime fans for this year. But for me, I’ve seen enough of Ryuuko to say she’s my second favorite anime character overall. Just everything about her and the anime she’s in are enough to move her into second all-time. Of course, KILL la KILL is not over yet and there’s still plenty of time for her character to settle into a final spot. Additionally, there could be other characters who appear in anime soon that could usurp her spot as time goes on. But for now, and for all the time we’ve had with Ryuuko this year, she’s sitting comfortably in second place.