So after some editing due to the evils of certain writers we come now to entries 14-10. Enjoy.
14 Alibaba Saluja
For those who don't know, this entry was added partially as a response to the recent episode of Game of Thrones. That episode has firmly removed Stannis Baratheon from the list. I don't even words for just how massive a case of character assassination and derailment that was, Peter Parker selling his marriage to the devil is NOTHING compared to what happened. Thus I move down the list and a rather new series for me takes its place.
Alibaba Saluja is introduced to us as being a strangely blonde and pale young man living in a part of the world heavily based on the Arabian Nights stories. At first he seems to be your standard Shonen series protagonist at the start of a series; young, idealistic, skilled but far from an expert, coming from modest beginnings. The thing is though... He's not the main protagonist, that's Alladin. In fact Alibaba seems almost like a deconstruction of a sort for Shonen protagonists.
Alibaba's youth and idealism leave him somewhat naive, bullheaded, and inexperienced with politics. His skills are rapidly overshadowed by far more powerful and experienced characters almost making him The Load for the first arc. His humble origin is revealed to be that he's a royal bastard who spent his early years in the slums before living in the palace for a few years and then running away.
The thing is though, Alibaba is also sort of a reconstruction of Shonen protagonist. His idealism gives him a great deal of charisma so that even if he doesn't understand politics very well people from many walks of life want to follow him. He may be inexperienced and less powerful but he makes up for it through cunning until he can increase his power and makes what he has work as much as possible since. His experiences with both poverty and luxury gives him perspective to recognize what is wrong with society and call out other individuals of power on their abuses of it or their over cashing in at the "I did what I had to do" bank.
As for his love life Alibaba has found himself in a bit of love triangle that is more than a little plot relevant. See on the one end he is Morgiana, the Fanalis former slave who has very limited social skills and sounds like Homura Akemi. On the other end is Kougyoku Ren, a princess of the Kou Empire who Alibaba has more than a little in common with.
Things get complicated when Alibaba learns Morgiana loves by around chapter 200 of the manga and he's more than a little excited about that. Bad news is Morgiana really doesn't get love so she kind of asks him to wait until she can figure this whole love thing out before they actually commit to anything. Alibaba agrees, though he needs a man hug from his bros to cope.
On the other end Alibaba gets the chance to regain control of his country by vassalizing himself to the Kou Empire. Bad news is he would have to cut all ties with his allies in Sindria, he would basically be a figure head for the Kou, and he must marry a Kou Princess, namely Kougyoku as she is the only one available. Alibaba is more than little reluctant to do so considering that he'd have to basically stab his friends and mentors in the back and break his promise to Morgiana. When the Kou Prince's suggest that if he has an outstanding romantic commitment he's more than free to have a concubine or two. This pisses Alibaba right off as he doesn't want to do that to Morgiana. The terms are nonnegotiable however.
Complicating matters even more (somehow) is the fact that Alibaba is good friends with Kougyoku and that she is actually a very nice person (she gets carried away at times but is genuinely very nice). Even worse when he tries to explain things to Kougyoku he finds out Sinbad, Alibaba's trusted friend and mentor figure has basically turned Kougyoku into his own sleeper agent! On top of that Sinbad tells him to go for it since he already controls Kougyoku allowing him to easily turn this whole thing against the Kou. Alibaba is horrified and furious that Sinbad would stoop to such measures just to get a leg up on the Kou.
This whole situation hits on so many levels; Alibaba's loyalty to his friends, his love for his home country which is suffering, his personal honor, his feelings for both women. He's stuck between option 1, which is remain loyal to Sindria and Sinbad and faithful to Morgiana but lose any chance of helping his people peacefully and likely end up having to fight Kou and accept Sinbad's brainwashing of Kougyoku, and option 2 turn his back on Sindria and Sinbad and break his promise to Morgiana but potentially save his people and try to figure out some way to break Sinbad's control of Kougyoku. Both options compromise his personal honor and ethics in one way or another and both will end up hurting someone he cares about.
Thankfully before he can finalize his decision shit goes down and it seems he's going to get a bit of extra time to make his choice. Bad news, shit happens and it’s very possible he may not be able to make a choice in the matter at all.
Alibaba has grown quite a bit since the beginning of the series mostly for the better. He has lot of traits that could make him a good if not a great leader given time. Time may be something that he doesn’t have however.
"Spirit of Politeness and Austerity, In the name of my Magoi, and my will to grant me a greater power, I order you and your members, Come Forth, Amon!"
- Alibaba Saluja
Anyone who has known me for the past few years knew this one was coming. Dante from the Devil May Cry games...
By most rights he'd be a bit ridiculous what with his white hair, giant red coat, massive sword with a skull on it, and also has often very silly dialogue. The thing is though Dante is one of those characters who can get away with it in my book. Why? Because Dante's just so much fun. He has a charisma to him where even if he might be a bit of a dick or the sort of guy you wouldn't want around your sister you just can't hate him.
Dante's character development is worth some note. In the pre devil may cry 3 manga Dante is portrayed as very abrasive, inconsiderate, short tempered. Kind of makes me want to see him get his ass handed to him by Vergil which he does basically get his ass kicked by Vergil. Devil May Cry 3 is where his character development kicks in.
At first Dante is involved with situation personally just for a shot at settling the score with Vergil. As the game goes forward his motivations shift from selfish revenge to simply wanting to do the right thing and stop the end of the world. In the end he even tries to save Vergil and possibly forgive him only to be denied. Dante matures just enough in the game to go from being a self center jackass to someone with some actual depth, though he still seems to have a few lingering personal issues in regards to his father, Sparda.
In Devil May Cry he becomes more appreciative of a good fight and while he'll still banter with his foes he is outraged when Mundus kills tem out of hand for failure. Dante essentially plays out the role of his father, Sparda in this game even wielding his sword and defeating Mundus.
The anime gives us a look at Dante when he's not on world saving adventures. The answer? He deals with low paying demon hunting jobs that present him for the most part with very little challenge. He's bored. That said Dante does how some paternal element towards Patty, usually trying to shield her from the hyper violence associated with his job though with mixed results. Its actually nice to see him just hanging out with his small circle of friends; drinking, playing cards, and getting screw over a lot by Lady and Trish when it comes to money.
Devil May Cry 4 I feel is Dante's character fully actualized. He's flippant and cocky but also rather relaxed most of the time which makes his banter with various characters all the more amusing, he's been through this crazy shit before it takes a lot to impress him. His relationship with Nero is also interesting as they start of as enemies though after their second fight Dante let's Nero keep using Yamato, the sword Vergil used in the previous game a quiet possibly the last thing of Vergil left in the world to Dante's knowledge. I do wonder if Dante knows or at least suspects Nero's family relation to him, namely that Dante is Nero's uncle.
Now however I guess people will want to know my opinion of the new Dante or Donte as some have taken to calling him. To be honest... He reminds me a lot of manga Dante, namely a selfish dick who shows some signs of nobility or other genuinely heroic traits... Still an ass though. But he's an ass with potential to grow.
Dante is narmy, he is a ham, he is a bit of a jackass. But he's also noble, heroic, and genuinely a good person deep down. He is also a massive badass who basically created the stylish action genre of gaming.
"Devils never cry."
No not either of the Castlevania ones. I'm talking about the Crimson Fucker himself.
There's no bones about it, Alucard is fucking scary most of the time. This guy is literally count Dracula made to serve Britain as its ultimate super natural exterminator. And boy does Alucard love his job.
Whether it is killing Nazi's, corrupt cops, local punk vampires, or an army of crusader knights and priests Alucard loves killing. He lives for battle, the joy of facing powerful opponents. Why?
Because he really wants to die.
Not only does he want to die he wants to die in a battle with an opponent who is human who has managed to overcome all of Alucard's powers and crush him utterly beneath his boot heel.
Thus we have the explanation for why Alucard hates his own kind so much and others who would transform into monsters to gain power. In his eyes they are cowards who cannot stand
Then there's the fact that he is fucking badass and nigh unkillable. NICE TRY YOU NAZI SHIT HEADS! ALL YOU DID WAS PUT HIM DOWN FOR A 30 SOMETHING YEAR LONG NAP!
"The Bird of Hermes is my name. Eating my wings to make me tame."
11 Lavernius Tucker
Ah Private, now Captain, Lavernius Tucker. Tucker has gone through what I call slow burn character development. Tucker starts off as an amusing if not very bright or virtuous man. Tucker's character growth really get's going in season 5 after giving birth to his son. No not the birth of his son, GIVING BIRTH to his son.
In the words of Wash Tucker was a terrible excuse for a human being but he begins to develop some genuine paternal feelings for Tucker Junior. This sets him on the path of steadily growing both in competence as a fighter and as a person. In the more recent seasons Tucker's character development kicks in as he is forced to assume more responsibility and finds out just how much it sucks to be calling the shots.
At the same time Tucker's more positive traits come out in the more recent seasons. He's a reluctant leader. The whole scene where Tucker and Church move past their various levels of mutual annoyance with each other to be genuine friends is one of my favorites of season 12. Tucker actually becomes very clever, playing to the Reds and Blues strengths, namely that they are so dumb they will think of ideas that most people would not even consider... AND THEN GET THEM TO WORK!
There is also the fact that Tucker remains fun throughout the entire run. Yes he is a pig but he's a likeable enough pig. He hasn't lost his charms (what he had) but has gained a whole lot more in the past twelve seasons of Red vs Blue. Also he keeps a picture of Junior in his wallet all together now everyone...
Now normally I would close this out with an awesome quote that sums up their character. Of course we all know there is only one quote that can be used for Tucker.
- Lavernius Tucker
10 Gabriel Belmont
Castlevania is a very old series, one of the classic gaming franchises. The Belmonts have been slaying Dracula for years but usually only in 2D games on hand held systems as its attempts to break into 3D meet with little success. When the Castlevania: Lords of Shadows games began however Castlevania finally seems to have found its feet in 3D.
Lords of Shadow also introduced us to the most powerful version of Dracula to date, Gabriel Belmont.
Gabriel's story is of a man who basically gets shafted by fate. Seriously, he is mind controlled into murdering his own wife, fighting two of the three Lords of Shadow who command armies of where wolves and vampires, kills Pan, is mind controlled again into killing a mute telepath girl, then has to fight and defeat Satan after killing a giant reanimated dragon. That's just the main part of the first game!
Then the DLC comes along and he has to become a vampire so that he can destroy an eldritch abomination. At this point he kind of figures that even though he is God's chosen warrior, God is kind of a jerk and he goes crazy for a few years before being attacked by the son his wife had concealed from him and kills him in the fight (though he does try to raise his son from death and turn him into a vampire).
After this he declares war on all of mankind for the sake of revenge slaughtering thousands upon thousands with his armies of horror. He becomes known by most as Dracula in this time though he prefers to be called Dracul (ask a linguist about this one). Then his grandson and his now raised vampire son double team him and defeat him... for a few years. See because Gabriel is God's chosen warrior he cannot die, the only thing that can kill him is his old weapon a combat cross known as "The Vampire Killer".
Gabriel spends he next few centuries fighting any mofo who has the balls to come at him including wiping out an army of 500,000 knights with the power of GOD.
Then suddenly he wakes up in the modern day with a really bad thirst for blood and his powers greatly diminished. Zobek, the asshole who screwed him over with the whole kill your wife and the other Lords of Shadow thing promises to kill him with the Vampire Killer personally as he has reassembled the fragments, if Gabriel can defeat Satan for a second time.
Gabriel starts out as very noble if angsty man who slowly falls into darkness in the face of all of the evils he must face. For all of his sacrifices he is not rewarded but forced to continue on facing one nightmarish foe after the next. Its not surprising that Gabriel develops such a fatalistic attitude.
The thing is though Gabriel is well aware of how far he has fallen, he just stopped caring because he can't escape the hell he is now. The surprising thing is that deep down, beneath all of vicious fury and hate for the world Gabriel Belmont still exists. Through small acts of kindness he shows that he still has some vestiges of his humanity, the hero who once was and not the Prince of Darkness.
Like someone else on this list later on Gabriel finds redemption through the love of his family. Much of lords of Shadow 2 is Gabriel coming to grips with his past and the guilt he feels over what he did to his family. He even makes up with his son by the end which is pretty epic and heart warming. He's still a sullen and angry bastard but by the end of Lord's of Shadow 2 he is able to move on at last and face the future.
Then there's the fact that Gabriel is fucking awesome to play as! Seriously some of the boss fights in both games are absolutely amazing! In one in the second game Gabriel actually fights and enemy who uses most of the same abilities he had in the previous game. Oh sweet jibbly jibblets that was a fun fight!
"The roots of evil run deep. Irreversibly so in the heart's of men. It is their true nature. Their destiny... I was their most devoted warrior. A Champion of Light. But I fell. Fell into darkness, and now... I am feared, as The Prince of Darkness. Ironic? Don't you think? The mighty Zobek hides from me like the scared rat he is! Even Satan himself is too afraid to leave the pits of Hell and fight me! But if I die now, Alucard. They will simply take my place... Evil, will prevail. It is the natural order. The world... (Holds up Ronceval's crucifix.) Is like this. (Snaps the relic in half and casts the pieces down.) Abandon, all, hope."
- Gabriel Belmont