A common complaint I hear about series is that the main characters are bland but the side characters are far more interesting and nuanced. It seems almost epidemic in shonen fighting. In fact Shonen Jump just started a spin-off magazine whose whole purpose is to put the spot light on some of the more popular minor characters in their magazine. The announcement of Super Strong Jump was just the catalyst we needed to bring out one of our post ideas from the back burner about our favorite side characters who would do just as good if not better in their own feature title. Remember that Gunsmith Cats’ Rally Vincent is a spin-off from the original Riding Bean series and look how far she has come.
This post has been brewing for a while, and is by no means a complete listing. But before it got totally out of hand, we had to think of which characters could really use their own stories beyond the fact that we just like them a hell of a lot. This is mere sampling of some of the great side characters that we’re pretty sure could hold their own in a series. Eventhough the title of this post mentions L, he already has a spin-off albeit a bad one, so we’ve come up with a list of other great spin-off options! Oh, yeah, 1/3 of our picks are still detectives though!
The Slayers anime could have been named Lina Inverse starring in Lina Inverse’s Magic Kommandos considering how much the supporting cast spent in the background (quite a contrast to the original novels) especially during the final battles. However, that doesn’t mean you could forget any of them! The two with the strongest dynamic among themselves were easily Amelia and Zelgadis. After seeing them in the latest Slayers anime this was only more confirmed. They contrast either other with near polar-opposite personalities but can come together for a cause with a bit of romantic tension on the side. Zelgadis needs to find a cure for his condition and Amelia’s love of justice creates an easy way to hook them to whatever plot line you whip up. Also while being powerful fighters and magicians they are not the invincible powerhouses that Lina is therefore you can give them adventures of a smaller scope rather than the fate of all existence and not feel like they are overpowered for the task.
If anything it might seem like Heiji Hattori is almost cheating. He is the Great Detective of the West while Shinichi Kudo is the Great Detective of the East. But they aren’t total mirror images of each other, similar romantic situations notwithstanding. Heiji has a more upbeat, fun-loving attitude giving his mystery-solving a different flavor. While Heiji does not currently have an overarching meta plot like Shinichi has with the Black Organization, he could easily be given some greater mystery to piece together. For example, since he is quite famous as a genius teenage detective his fame could easily attract him a Professor Moriarty like arch-villain to so spice things up. And since we already know the abilities of Gosho Aoyama to tell a good mystery, it seems like a safe bet.
No matter where your allegiance was in the Ranka/Sheryl War there was one character everyone could get behind, at least we hope, and that was Ozma Lee. He is a new Roy Focker without being pineapple-saladed. Ozma is the prime character for a more adult like Macross Plus-style spin-off that deals with a more mature storyline. Heck, many a fan like Macross Plus best of all despite it being a bit off the beaten path of the original. It would also let them develop the relationship between him and Cathy Glass which was one of the best parts of the TV series. Plus him being a Fire Bomber fan could easily lead some Macross 7 cross-over. So really what we are saying is that we want an aging-rocker Basara and Ozma team-up.
So Oblivion Island, not sure a great flick, but one character stood out for both cuteness and resourcefulness, the plucky stuffed-lamb Cotton who kinda looks like a rabbit with his hat on. The design is on the more creepy side, especially those button eyes, but Cotton proves to be the best companion one could ask for. And he pretty much saves the day. The world create in Oblivion Island could make for a ton of adventures and no one would be better suited to explore it than Cotton.
Kenjiro Hata has stated that if he ever did a spin-off from Hayate it would be centered around Wataru and Saki so we just want to voice what a wonderful idea we think that is. This is a parody and comedy series but has enough appreciation for the things it is poking fun at. First of all Wataru’s shameful otaku nature is both a comedy goldmine and is sure to be relevant to modern fandom. Plus he has all the trappings of Nagi like school life and weird relationships to deal with. Saki on the other hand provides a bit of otaku pandering while staying on the pleasant side of entertaining. The video store is a great place to start plot lines and bring characters together like a nerdy Cheers. Plus you can always work in Hayate character cameos then add regulars at the store for a backbone to a new cast.
Aru Akise could, and should, easily be the star of his own detective manga. Who can not get behind a man whose dream it is to be the world’s greatest detective? And since he isn’t yet the greatest you can build tons of growth. He has displayed an amazing amount of intelligence and was able to go toe to toe with enemies using his wits alone. He is sort of like L, but with social skills, having a Sherlockian ability to draw conclusion from the smallest details and a connect the dots. Aru could play off an assistant or not, either would entertain the audience while solving cases. Also having a positive and strong homosexual character in the protagonist position that isn’t a yaoi manga would be a nice change of pace.
Hisui’s Bonus picks:
Don’t you hate it when of the coolest characters is introduced late in the series so they never get as much screen time as they deserve? Sadly Allenby was not introduced until halfway through the series. But her charming spunky tomboy personality won me over. Plus you can be hard pressed to remember too many capable female and powerful Gundam pilots who don’t die horribly. Her adventures in the Future Century world could be fun with a great combination of comedy, action, drama, and romance. She is powerful to stand on her own as a heroine but likable enough to draw other characters to her for momentous tasks. Plus I always just want more Allenby.
Despite being at least mentioned in Mahou Tsukai no Yoru, Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and being a supporting character in Kara no Kyoukai it seems that Touko Aozaki has never gotten her own time in the spot light. The woman runs a supernatural detective agency so she is automatically cool. Since Touko is not an overpowered god like Shiki it would require her to do more investigate work and use bit more finesse like a Japanese version of the The Dresden Files. Maybe we can finally see what caused the falling out between her and her sister.