The mark of a strong piece of fiction often depends on many things. Be it an immersive world, rich with it’s own specific lore, memorable moments or just a relatable set of characters, there’s a great many things that we often depend on to create what would probably be marked as “Strong memories”. Naturally, these kind of things are often subjective in nature. One persons Souji Seta is another mans Gordon Freeman. However, I propose that, for me personally, the mark of a good characterisation at least, or one which evokes strong feelings is their eventual demise. In the end, everyone is human, and the way in which they define their existence, and final moments, are at often times, integral to their character as a whole. While this is certainly not a definitive list, these are characters from modern fiction/media which I feel we should never forget. The list is in no specific order, just as they came to my mind. I should’t have to say that there will be momumentous spoilers here.
Goodnight, sweet princes of men. You were the greatest any of us have ever known…
Rorschach was a very powerful character for me in the Watchmen. In essence, he was the “Little mans voice” in the world of corruption and government policy. When “masks” were outlawed, he refused to bow down. “Never surrender. Not even in the face of Armaggedon”. When Ozymandeus wanted to con the world, which in turn created a brief state of world peace, Rorschach stood in the face of it, and refused. A steadfast character whos death was a very big deal for me as I was growing up, reading the Watchmen. A troubled, misunderstood individual, who was pushed too far by the corrupt city he lived in. God rest.
Try this test on your friends. Ask them if they’ve played Metal Gear Solid, and if they loved Snake. If they agree, they’re good, be friends with them. If they’re not, cut them on the face with a knife. It’s a fair test. Throughout the franchise, Solid Snake has been one of the most endearing, relatable characters in modern videogame story telling. As the audience, we were similarly exposed to the same kind of underhand, and once again, corrupt world that he lives in. Proxy wars and insane plot devices aside, the character of Snake persisted throughout as not only the voice of the reason throughout, but also the voice of the player. Never since, in a game, has one man accomplished so much, for so little recognition. Saving the world several times from Nuclear disaster, and gracefully accepting his own death. Anyone who played the microwave corridor in MGS4, and finished the final fist fight atop the tanker will testify to their magnificence
If you watch anime, you know who this is. You just do. Cowboy Bebop was released in 1998, and was made by Shinchiro Wanatabe, and is probably the most important anime to ever hit Western shores, with possible exception given to Otomos Akira. Bebop was a story which focused exclusively on the lives and actions of 3 main characters, Spike, Jet and Faye. As the show goes on, we discover more and more about their past, and the hardships they keep with them throughout, and share together. Arguably one of the most poignant and loved characters in modern anime, Spike died after a life of personal mental anguish, constantly reflecting on his past with Julia. Endearing, relatable, and an all arouund great guy. So long, Space Cowboy. You’re gonna carry that weight…
You cried when Maes Hughes died. Don’t even try to mask it or lie about it. One of the most bro-tastic characters ever, his only shortcoming was infact, his own intuition. Determined to altruistically help Roy Mustang reach the position of Fuhrer so he could create a better world for everyone. Died to a Homonculi, and protected not only his families future, but also started a chain reaction which ended in a better world for all the free people in the FMA universe.
It’s going to rain today.
I can’t write much about Kamina. The grief is still too near for me.
Qui Gonn essentially depicted everything in a Jedi that was referred to as an ideal quality. His calm, collective nature, inability to distrust, and endearing character made him insantly likeable. Once again, a key character who started the chain of events which lead to the destruction of the empire. And he was the model for the Jedi Consolur, and that’s just awesome.
Ace dying was one of the most important parts of One Piece to me (After that scene from Enies Lobby. You know if if you’ve read it. I WANNA LIVE!), and one of my favourite character deaths in manga. The adoptive brother of the protagonist, Luffy, Aces life was persistnently in a sorrid state of affairs. Being born as the son of the infamous Gol D. Roger, Aces early life was bound to be troublesome, yet he still managed to get by. It wasn’t until he reached out and joined the Whitebeard pirates that he truly found a place he could call his home (More on this in the next character description…). Captured by Blackbeard, and offered to the marines, he was killed by Akainu as he protected Luffy by throwing himself in front of Akainus killing blow. He died a martyr, and brought about the next great age of pirates, along with Newgate.
This picture alone should suffice.
Jiraiya the Gallant was one of the most important Ninjas of his generation. Training several of the key characters throughout, he was undoubtably loved by the fansbase for his brash humor and ballsy nature. Sacrificed himself for Konoha, figuring out how to stop Pein, who was close to destroying the Leaf Village for good.
So I guess that’s the end of that. Hopefully, you’ll take time to reflect upon characters who you’ve felt unnaturally attatched to in your favourite things. Honorable mentions are to follow.
Thanks for reading. Did I hit anything that touched you personally? What did it for you?