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Bad Guys? Or are they just misunderstood?


As you watch anime, one of the themes that I find that pops up every now and then is the “bad guy” that actually turns out to be a good-hearted/misunderstood character.  I, for one, am fine with this type of character, but lately it has kinda annoyed me.  The reason for this is not because I like to hate a character, but for the reason that I feel guilty for not liking that character before finding out who they really were.

Spoiler Alert!! The next paragraph has spoilers for Naruto Shippuden up to episode 210ish.

For example, in the sorta recent episodes of Naruto, you finally find out about Danzou’s past.  Throughout the entire series, I for one, always felt that this was a backstabbing, dark character that was just looking to become the next Hokage so he can control Konoha and change the ninja world with his power.  He seemed always at odds with the protagonists of the story and even the characters on the show weren’t too fond of him (except for his Root subordinates). Kishimoto was setting him up to be a character that most people wouldn’t like.  But then he had to do it.  You find out about his past when he’s just about to die.  In the end, this man was just trying to compete with his rival (the Third Hokage, Sarutobi) and felt that he could protect the village from the shadows.  He was trying to do just as good of a job as Sarutobi and felt that it was his time to live up to the expectations of Hokage.  In the end, he was just trying to protect the village like the Third.  He was a misunderstood character that I feel like the viewer makes a connection with just before his end.  Why do they do that??

Another example is Sasuke. To an extent, once I found out how Naruto tries to connect with Sasuke again, my dislike of him went down a little.  I say this because Naruto really tries to make an appeal to him and you can see the similarities between the two, even though they’re the exact opposite of each other.

I’ve seen this in other anime as well.  I guess this is just a theme that pops up every now and then.

So what do you guys think? Do you feel a little guilty for not liking a character after you find out about his/her past and discover that they were just misunderstood?  Can you think of any other characters that fit this theme?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kufo permalink
    03/07/2012 7:43 pm

    Another example huh?? Let’s see. I felt bad for Sasori too, not to mention Nagato (pain) or Itachi. I mean I really REALLY wanted Danzou to Die a bloody death and I would feel MUCH better if they didn’t show me his past. After I saw the story behind him I felt like I’ve been wishing for Konohamaru to die because he’s the “rival” of Naruto. They just like to toy with our emotions don’t they?

    • 03/08/2012 8:41 pm

      I can totally understand what you mean with Itachi and the other characters. They all have their reasons for doing what they are doing. They all have some kind of twisted past that almost forced them into the situation they’re in and become the person who they are. But out of those three, I would have to say Itachi definitely fits the bill. I mean, the ENTIRE time he was not a villain at all. The audience just misunderstood him, or at least was led to believe he was a villain. Now I too didn’t like Danzou thinking he was just a backstabbing, power hungry man that would do anything to get his hands on the title of Hokage. But once you understand his past and see his story, you clearly see where his character was coming from. He just wanted to protect Konoha. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even catch the ROOT reference until it was explained. I don’t think necessarily that Kishimoto is toying with our emotions, but he is just giving the reader/viewer the perspective of the “good guys”. That’s why we think people like Itachi, Nagato, Danzou, etc are such piece of shit people. But then you find out the truth and realize who they are. Doesn’t that have a nice real world message to it? Don’t judge a book by it’s cover or a character by how they present themselves. I know it’s easier to do the book one 🙂

  2. 03/19/2013 12:27 am

    Honestly, I always liked Itachi. Which is why it felt really good to finally be vindicated when he turned out to be a good guy all along.

    And I still hate Danzo, even with his past revealed. I was cheering for Sasuke in that fight…

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