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Alternative Character Interpretation/Anime

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< Alternative Character Interpretation

When anime and manga series gain substantial fandoms, people inevitably develop differing views on the characters.

The following now have their own pages due to sheer number of examples:



  • One Piece:
    • Luffy:
      • He may just pretend to be dumber than a rock because he likes to challenge himself, as evidenced by a number of overly convenient flashes of insight. The marine commodore Smoker even calls him out on this at one point. Luffy's reaction? A mysterious smile.
      • He's the grandson of a famous Vice Admiral and the son of a widely feared revolutionary leader. And he's the adoptive brother of Gold D. Roger's son (too bad dad and kid are both dead). Some of their intelligence must have made its way down to him. His stupidity often resembles an inability to focus. Maybe Luffy just has ADD?
    • Zoro: Hard-boiled Bad Ass who simply keeps his promises, or a Heartbroken Badass who still longs for his long gone best friend?
    • Blackbeard: eventual Big Bad who's a deliberate Evil Counterpart to Luffy, or a disturbing presentation of what piracy truly is and a deliberate send-up of the real Blackbeard?
    • Kuma: A guy just doing his job? Or a Chessmaster Stealth Mentor for the Straw Hats?
      • It turns out that he is part of the Revolutionary Army, and has been slowly roboticized, even his brain, but managed to get programmed with a mission to protect the Straw Hats' ship. Franky says they owe him a great debt, but the next time they meet, they will be enemies.
    • Crocodile in the Marineford Arc: is he in the process of pulling a Heel Face Turn? Is he using the situation solely to his advantage to rise in the ranks of pirates once again? Is he projecting his one-sided rivalry against Whitebeard on Luffy, or is he going to become Piccolo to Luffy's Goku? Or maybe he's just doing it for the lulz?
    • Nami: Shameless bitch who likes showing off, or a rather innocent girl who knows the effects she has on guys but doesn't completely understand them because she didn't have the chance to mature normally?
  • Mazinger Z and its sequels (Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer):
    • In the original anime, Kouji Kabuto was a sexist Jerk With A Heart Of Gold and a Chaste Hero. However in the original manga he was less sexist and less jerkish, but he was more of a pervert (and he even blushed when Sayaka paid him a compliment). The Gosaku Ota manga, being an adaptation of the anime, stood halfway between both characterizations. Later retellings were mostly based on his manga incarnation, but maybe his weirdest version has to be that from New Mazinger, an one-shot manga set in an alternate war-torn future where he was a soldier. As well, fans tend to argue if he did or did not love Sayaka and if he preffered Maria.
    • Sayaka Yumi was always a Tsundere, but in the original manga she was Type B and in the original series she was Type A. Her characterization in later versions varies between one type or another. And some fans think she was very stuck-up and bratty and more interested about showing off than saving the world, whereas other fans state she was simply an Action Girl had a very short supply of patience to deal with a loud-mouthed Idiot Hero and an aloof father.
    • Dr. Kabuto in the original anime and the Gosaku Ota episodes was a well-meaning, kind scientist. But in the original manga he was a Mad Scientist (and that is the version usually is followed). In the Shin Mazinger Zero manga, though, he is a Complete Monster.
    • Boss is the Comic Relief to some fans. To other fans he is an unsung hero who always helps to the main characters and has nothing for his efforts.
    • Baron Ashura usually was completely loyal to Dr. Hell. But in the Gosaku Ota episodes he got fed up with Hell punishing her failures and Brocken mocking her, and she decided betraying Hell.
    • Tetsuya Tsurugi in the original anime was excesively prideful, prone to fits of jealousy, could not stand someone showed him up and sometimes he seemed more concerned about showing off than protecting the humankind. Other versions of him, though, are less jealous -he retains his pride, though, and he does NOT like him when someone doubts or slights his skills-.
    • Jun Hono in the original anime was a Type A Tsundere, half-black girl. In the original Go Nagai manga she was a Type B Tsundere and she looked full-Asian. It is said Gosaku Ota drew her like a half-black girl, though, and Go Nagai liked the idea and her race was retconned in canon.
    • Kenzo Kabuto can be a benevolent but harsh The Mentor and a lousy parent... or, depending on the adaptation, one of the villains.
    • Duke Fleed was a Hot Blooded hero, but in the anime he tended to be calmer and quieter when he was not piloting Grendizer. In the manga versions he is hot-blooded the whole time.
    • Hikaru Makiba in the anime she Took A Level In Badass and went through an Adrenaline Makeover, going from farm girl to flying ship pilot and Action Girl. The original manga she had not that Character Development.
  • There is a Fan Fic with someone called Chibi-Usa:
    • Someone explained that Chibi-Usa from Sailor Moon looks nothing like her mother Usagi because she was the lovechild of Mamoru and Rei, with her hair dyed and contacts added to disguise her resemblance to her actual mother.
    • There were at least two more versions: Chibi-Usa's real mother is either Luna or Sailor Pluto (all three characters have red eyes in the anime). The latter idea was supported by the fact that Chibi-Usa is attached to Pluto even after they both end up in the present maintaining Secret Identities.
    • On the other side of her parentage, one fic has Chibi-Usa's real father be Rubeus because he has red hair and Usagi has blonde, which combine to make pink; and he and Chibi-Usa both have red eyes.
    • All of Chibi-Usa's earlier quirks (besides being a Bratty Half Pint, wielding weapons that no five-to-eight year old should be wielding, wetting herself, chasing after her father, etc.) makes more sense when you consider these things:
      1. She's arguably 900 years old in a world that either has a longer average lifespan or has completely overcome death.
      2. She's a half breed of human and Moon Person (or whatever you care to call them), and most of them are out for her blood.
      3. She is screwed up from the backstory for R for sitting in the shadow of her parents and eventually ensuring the destruction of the future world.
      4. She is Usagi's biological child, and she inherited her problems but has not had her character growth!
  • Justy Ueki Tylor -- Genius tactician and employer of Obfuscating Stupidity, or just plain lucky idiot? This debate was cultivated in-show.
    • The greatest ammo the genius camp have is one episode where he agrees to be serious for a while -- he suddenly becomes an inspirational and incredibly effective captain. Additionally, when he is brainwashed into acting more naturally, he is very perceptive and able to read into Wang's plans instantly..
    • On the flip side, a couple of his plans don't even make sense if you assume he is a genius and some of his actions wouldn't fit into the Obfuscating Stupidity argument.
  • Inu Yasha:
  • It's not clear whether Alucard of Hellsing is a vile monster rejoicing in bloody slaughter that he himself precipitates while attempting to corrupt his master, a Death Seeker cursed with immortality and hoping to get closer to The Grim Reaper, or a man hoping to repent for his many past sins. Or all three, or none of the above. Arthur Hellsing says In Universe that it's the second.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion can be seen as a Tragic Hero, a powerful hero willing to put his life on the line to protect humanity but crippled by some severe psychological trauma; a Designated Hero, a pansy who's unwilling to take risks until the fate of humanity is on the line; a Deconstruction of The Kid With The Remote Control, the usual sort of protagonist of Humongous Mecha Anime; or a Deconstruction of the sort of person that watches Humongous Mecha Anime.
    • Some believe that Yui Ikari wasn't as innocent -- or sane -- as she appeared at first glance. After all, she was involved with GEHIRN (the proto-NERV) before she met Gendo Rokubungi. She deliberately arranged for Shinji to see her during the test that caused Eva Unit 1 to absorb her; and judging from her dialogue in End of Evangelion, that may not have been an accident. She may or may not be confirmed as a mastermind near the end of the movie; someone should check and change this.
    • Yui being the mastermind of almost everything in the entire series seems to be the most accepted Fanon out there among the Eva fans. What people debate is whether she anticipated Gendo going crazy after she 'died' and trying anything to get her back.
    • Gendo a lunatic who doesn't care for anything or anyone, or simply a desperate lonely man who badly wants to save his love? What does he really want? Does he want to resurrect Yui no matter what? Reunite with instrumentality? Reshape it in his own image? Damn the world because he's pissed?
    • Is Rei a real person like Shinji thinks, or is she a less than human blasphemy like Dr. Akagi thinks? Is Kaji a lovable tramp who only wants to help Misato, or is he evil and only in it for personal gain?
    • Kaworu Nagisa: an Angel redeemed who gave up his own existence for Shinji? Or a monster just human enough to understand cruelty, manipulating Shinji's feelings to try to succeed and then lashing out in a psychological attack to make his destruction a Pyrrhic Victory?
    • Gendo Ikari: a Magnificent Bastard who's manipulating everyone for the entire series? Or just someone who's made one relatively simple plan and had a lot of things work out in his favor? Did he plan to implement Instrumentality for the good of mankind, for some other reason, or was it just because he wanted to see Yui again? Is he really as bad as people think he is? Maybe he's just a deeply flawed person trying to save his Morality Chain of social relationships, as the few glimpses in his past make it seem similar to Shinji's present.
    • Seele: Monsters trying to become gods? Trying to help out humanity through Instrumentality? Or are they just crazy cultists?
  • Ryuichi Sakuma from Gravitation is well-known for his shifting between the innocent, hyper buddy and the serious, suave singer. Some fans treat his dual behavior as a case of multiple personality disorder. Others interpret his singer persona as the real Ryuichi, who deliberately acts naive and childish off-stage to give the public an image they can relate to more than his actual aloof self. (Face it, having the true persona be the innocent hyper buddy defies known psychology.)
  • Tenchi Muyo is rife with these:
    • Ryoko is one of these: (A) a troubled soul who was forced to do evil (see below), who is the only one that truly loves Tenchi (most commonly because she watched him grow up), and who also knows every character (particularly Tenchi and Ayeka) better than they know themselves; (B) an evil sociopathic slut who just wants Tenchi for his lower organs; C) a cruel sociopath who only wants Tenchi because she will do anything to hurt Ayeka.
    • The OVA continuity has fans debating about the nature of Kagato's control of Ryoko, both in the past and at the end of the first arc, to determine how traumatized she might have been. Was Ryoko a pure mindless killing machine? Or was she aware of her actions but still unable to stop herself due to Kagato's overwhelming control? Series creator Masaki Kajishima's Tie In Novels established Ryoko as a Tykebomb who was kept on a short leash emotionally but who was still largely in control of her actions before her imprisonment, and so it's impossible for her to be entirely innocent -- or entirely guilty.
    • Ayeka is one of these: (A) a calm, understanding, proud, powerful woman who wants what's best for everybody; (B) an evil lazy bitch who only wants Tenchi because she will do anything to hurt Ryoko; or (C) The Woman Wearing The Queenly Mask because her position in life requires her to conceal that deep down she's an insecure Tsundere.
    • Interestingly, unless Ayeka and Ryoko are being portrayed with the we destroy the house every week by fighting mentality, Ayeka's fighting prowess is usually forgotten, which makes her a Damsel In Distress. It's assumed that Ayeka cannot fight on even ground with even their lower fighters (such as Mihoshi). This is Flanderization of the plot point in the OVAs that Ryoko was much more powerful in a serious fight.
    • None of these consider Call Me Princess, Ayeka's Image Song, which depicts her as a whip-happy, leather clad sadist... explaining that it's traditional royal bridegroom training. Is she lying, or is BDSM one of the pillars of Juraian culture?
    • There is the occasional fanfic which runs with the Tenchi Solution by giving both of the ladies positive interpretations and enough maturity or mutual affection to go the Polyamorous Route(tm). This is the Word Of God.
    • Washu: a) a cute geek who, thanks to being very old, is unable to realize the stress she puts the 20- or couple-hundred-year-old younglings through? b) a psychopathic Mad Scientist who will do anything For Science, up to and including emotional (and probably literal) rape of Tenchi?; c) A goddess with an Omniscient Morality License coming from having lived waaaaaaaay too long, thus having her morality seriously whacked or practically non-existent?
    • Mihoshi. She is one of these: (a) The Fool, and thus both The Rival and The Load for Kiyone; (b) a brilliant actor pulling off the greatest case of Obfuscating Stupidity ever; (c) a Genius Ditz who achieved a Bunny Ears Lawyer reputation; (d) The Cape and Broken Bird who has seen so such trauma that she has burned out and is dealing with it by becoming a Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Digimon :
    • It used to be that every time you turned around in Digimon fandom, someone had come up with a new interpretation of Ken's psyche.
    • Arukenimon: cold-natured heartless bitch, or secret Kuudere who is reluctant to reveal her true feelings for Mummymon?
    • Mimi: spoiled, sheltered, naive, exasperating in-verse ditz...or a master troll? Seriously. Watch Adventure from the beginning, and it's amazing how much more sense her character makes if her every word and action comes from the desire to make her friends facepalm. She has no pity, teams up with Sora occasionally (who catches on and enjoys joining in to a less extreme level), and is recognized and disapproved of by resident Buttmonkey Jou. Bonus points for the sheer irony of her receiving the Crest of Sincerity. Extra bonus points since Tai's out of the loop and makes statements about how sincere and innocent she is. Mimi could be a sadistic genius.
  • In School Days, this often happens with the main characters -- Makoto, Sekai, and Kotonoha:
    • For Makoto, it's whether he's truly a cold-hearted Casanova or just a regular person who is having a normal reaction to being surrounded by hot women who want to have sex with him. He is a hormonal teenager, after all.
    • In Sekai's case, it's whether she's an innocent girl overcome with passion from her Matchmaker's Crush, or a manipulative bitch who tried to win her man by offering herself to him despite his already having a girlfriend.
    • For Kotonoha, there's the ongoing debate over whether she was a normal girl who was broken by the abuse she suffered over the series, or if she had a mental disorder from the beginning.
  • In Elfen Lied, this applies to every single diclonius, especially Lucy. One can interpret their murder sprees as innate genetic drives to wipe out the human race, desperate attempts to protect themselves from the sadistic xenophobia of the human race, or a simple genetic predisposition towards certain kinds of mental disorders. Or all the Diclonius are simply children who happen to get incredibly effective and deadly weapons at a young age without discipline or skill in using them. Thus, whenever they get angry or frightened, somebody's going to get chopped. After living with that a while and being hunted with proverbial Torches And Pitchforks, anybody's worldview would be rather bleak.
  • The Yu- Gi- Oh: Duel Monsters series has quite a few:
  • Yu- Gi- Oh G X:
    • Fan interpretation of Judai's relationship with Johan in flip-flops between just two duel-obsessed guys finding a niche with each other and Ho Yay. Also, whether Yubel should be considered male or female has been heavily debated.
    • Judai Yuki of Yu- Gi- Oh G X has been seen both as the type of person who is calm under pressure even when dueling evil aliens or demonic Clingy Jealous Girls and the like, and as a clueless dolt who never understands the severity of a situation and who has no idea exactly what he duels for. He himself wrestles with this question in season 3. Ironically, the first time he tries taking a duel seriously, he does it too well and snaps.
  • The Claw in Gun X Sword: Well Intentioned Extremist, Omnicidal Maniac, or senile old man who has no idea what he plans to do? The series supports all three of these possibilities.
  • Code Geass:
    • Interpretations of Lelouch Lamperouge range from a Jerk With A Heart Of Gold down to an egomaniac Villain Protagonist who manipulates everyone around him and covers it up with a thin veneer of self-deluded ideals, whose karmic backlash was not even half of what he deserved. You can also consider him what happens when Well Intentioned Extremist is both Deconstructed and taken to its logical extreme.
    • Similarly, interpretations of his best friend Suzaku covers the range from a tragic Knight In Shining Armor with a devotion to a more idealistic view of social change and several tragic losses to back him up, to a hypocritical and cynical Knight Templar who is at best dangerously deluded. The general tendency amongst the fandom seems to be that the more you embrace the romantic view of one character, the more you embrace the negative view of the other. Lelouch's status as a Magnificent Bastard, however, is usually not contested.
    • Nunnally Lamperouge:
      • She seems simple on the surface: The Pollyanna Ill Girl Morality Pet for her big brother. But popular speculation abounds that she uses her almost unbelievable niceness and her condition (which may be less severe than implied or even faked) to manipulate everyone around her. This interpretation, nicknamed Dark Nunnally, can either be villainous (as the name implies) or well-intentioned (as shown in one fan-comic where she admits to the telepathic Mao that she's faking the whole thing, is completely aware that Lelouch is Zero, and is okay with being his raison d'être).
      • The Dark!Nunnally interpretation is supported by three facts: One, it is apparently All There In The Manual that Nunnally's blindness is psychosomatic. Two, a non-canon manga exists in which she obtains a Geass rather than her brother, and it is revealed that she has been suppressing her negative emotions regarding her past and present suffering. Three, there's episode 22 of R2...
    • C.C. Virtuous paragon bringing light and hope to a world desperately in need of a hero; Faustian temptress actively seeking to corrupt the heroes with demonic powers; or a sad little girl who desperately wanted to be loved and was willing to do anything (including sell her soul) to get other people to acknowledge her existence?
    • Charles zi Britannia: Well-intentioned Emperor who can't control the many inbred, parasitic, racist nobles he rules; or a lazy old man who puts his self-stated beloved children not only in harm's way, but also in the middle of a war, who forces many of his third class citizens - that he considers every bit as worthy as his first class citizens - to suffer simply because he can't be bothered killing the treacherous sibling who murdered his favourite wife, and who controls the Secret Guild Of Psychics himself? Not that either of those are good things to be.
    • Mao: Psychotic villain who deserves what he got, or Troubled But Cute Jerkass Woobie Anti Villain just trying to save his beloved C.C. from her Death Seeker status. Code Geass Mao Of The Deliverance presents a compelling basis for the latter!
  • Mahou Sensei Negima:
    • While many of the villains count, an unusual case would have to be Konoka Konoe. Some Fan Fiction depicts her as The Ditz and Cheerful Child; others lean towards her being incredibly sly to almost Chess Master level. It can be hard to tell whether she's a Genius Ditz or just watching the others calmly and quietly while behaving childish when she's mature inside. She's almost never been given a thought bubble in the 275-chapter course of the series, which makes things all the more confusing, which justifies the fanfiction authors' confusion. We may get some idea of what goes on in her head in one of the more recent chapters, when we get to see her fantasy of an ideal world vis a vis Cosmo Entelechaia. In it, she's a child playing with child-Setsuna. Setsuna's fantasy is noticeably more . . . adult.
    • While the differences are less dramatic, Evangeline in the same series can be interpreted in different ways, since she's a literal go master to begin with. On one axis, she's somewhere between villain past her prime who's being slowly subjugated to the effects of Defeat Means Friendship and always was a Noble Demon who simply grew up in a rough place and needed a vicious reputation for protection. On an independent axis, she could be an eternally spoiled little girl whose Villain Ball and Stalker With A Crush behavior got her Brought Down To Normal and staring into space for fifteen years until Negi rescued her... or an accomplished [[strike:Chessmaster]] Go Master and Stealth Mentor and the prime mover behind most major events of the last thirty or so years, with her current position and relationships exactly what she wanted all along. Enough of Eva's surface personality is arguably fake that any point in that plane could be the real her.
  • Ranma One Half
    • Ranma Saotome is a slightly immature but decent young man trying to do right by various friends, family, and rivals without causing massive loss of honor for all... or he's an egotistical, emotionally stunted Jerk Ass who's too screwed up to know what the right thing is, let alone have the strength to do it. All the lockfics, where Ranma is locked more or less permanently into his girl form, or other fics where there's a reason for Ranma to seriously reconsider his opinion on girls and eventually evenbecome one in mind as well as body.
    • Akane Tendo, his fiancée, is shown in fanwork as one of these: an evil, murderous, misandrist psycho who wants to downright murder Ranma for any of his screw-ups; a genuinely kind girl with identity issues who happens to have a huge Berserk Button that Ranma pushes often; or a saintly little victim who snaps only because of Ranma's constant and abusive Jerkassitude.
    • Every character in Ranma gets this treatment at some point, from Ranma and Akane to their families (does Genma have an honorable side deep down, or is he completely irredeemable? And just how sweet is Kasumi, really?) to the Amazons (Cologne ranges from a cold warrior woman determined to drag Ranma back to China to a snarky old lady who enjoys watching Nerima's chaos)... Considering the massive amount of fanon and fanfic that exist for the series, it would be more surprising if there weren't this many interpretations.
    • An in-canon example; the anime treats many characters differently from the original manga, though precisely who, how differently, and whether this is good or bad is a matter of personal opinion. Example changes:
      1. Ranma and Akane are more prone to juvenile arguments and bickering in the anime; in the manga, they more or less get along with occasional bouts of surprisingly extreme arguing. At least they get plenty of moments of camaradrie, teamwork and generally enjoying being around each other in both media.
      2. Shampoo is less violent and more devoted in the anime, getting an episode in which she proves willing to defend Ranma even from her own family, no matter if it takes death (hers or theirs) to do it. Her faith in Ranma and desire to be with him is played up more; for instance, the story where Maomolin attempts to turn her into a cat so he can marry her is changed to include a scene where she threatens to slit her own throat if he won't let her go. She seems to get on better with her rivals, or at least respect them more. Most notably, she saves Akane from a dangerous fall in the Immortal Phoenix OAV -- with a zinger about Akane's weight, but she does it.
      3. Ukyo is more passionate about martial arts. In one late manga story, she loses a duel to a Forgotten Rival from her childhood and is quite blase about it -- she's just glad he'll leave and stop bothering her. In the anime, one episode is centered on her being defeated by a rival in the art of Martial Arts Cookery, which leaves her horrorstruck, guilty and and outraged at her weakness. She even chews Ranma out for a thoughtless but well-meaning comment that she thought was him saying martial arts shouldn't matter so much to her because she's a woman. She also genuinely values her friendship with him in the anime; though she in the depths of her heart wants him to return her romantic feelings, she is willing to back down from her schemes if they are putting their friendship at risk. (See the Great Girly-Girl Gambit episode).
      4. The Kuno siblings are treated more sympathetically in the anime. Kodachi grew up without any parental figure except Tatewaki; she is several times implied to be a well-meaning but (very) Strange Girl who is quite lonely and who clings to Ranma because he's the closest thing to a real friend she has. Tatewaki, meanwhile, was cruelly abused by their father before he bogged off to Hawaii; he has been caring for himself, his sister, and their estate on his own ever since.
      5. Ryoga's connection to Akane is depicted as more intense in the anime, making him either more sympathetic or more pathetic, depending on your feelings about him. He deliberately tries to save Ranma from being permanently enchanted to love Shampoo with a Red String Of Fate because seeing him acting so loving to her is upsetting Akane. Granted, he collapses into an indecisive panic when he realises that letting Shampoo win means he can have Akane by default; but at least he tries. He makes a passionate speech about how he will always love Akane and watch over her from the shadows in the OAV adaptation of the Ryugenzawa story. In an anime-unique OAV, he leaves in the middle of the night because he knows he'll be tempted to sabotage Akane's upcoming battle to win back the rights to be the official Tendo Dojo heir (and Ranma's fiancee), and he can't bear to hurt her by doing that. In one episode, he absently contemplates staying as P-chan all the time to be Akane's pet 7. Finally, the an anime episode that introduced Anna Brown, who would be an Expy of Akari if she hadn't come first, he admits that he could fall in love with her and may never be this happy again if he leaves... and yet he is still unable to resist telling her that he can't stay and going back to Akane.
      6. In the anime, Mousse is depicted as a very creepy Stalker With A Crush. In the final arc of the manga, Shampoo gets mind controlled, and he gets the opportunity to make her his slave. He instead frees her... only for her to go right back to stalking Ranma. He remarks that he's going to be kicking himself for years.
  • Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z, despite Characters like Mr. Popo, Killa, and Agent Black, Piccolo is viewed by many fans as being the surrogate Black Character. The fact that the actual black characters range from somewhat unfortunate to downright offensive might have something to do with it.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Son Goku is a true hero who always tries to do what's best even if it occasionally spills over into true stupidity... or he's a selfish, childish, Jerk Ass who cares about martial arts, eating, and everything else in that order. (Everything else includes his wife and two children.) He could also be a noble but childish (and maybe brain-damaged -- Raditz did mention the possibility) man who cares deeply about his friends, the World and the Universe, and who is in fact stupid. The entire reason he's not evil and killing everyone is that he fell off a cliff and smashed his head on a rock. It is also possible that Goku may not be as stupid as one assumes when looking at him. At least, not for a guy who suffered head trauma and a very sheltered life. Keep in mind that Gohan-jii died before he could teach him everything, so he had to learn a lot of stuff by himself...and Bulma had to teach him. In particular, basic social skills and hygiene. Once he's confronted with something new, he learns it quickly. Even the social skills and hygiene he took quite well, being a loveable friendly guy, more than even his friends; and he could have even better social skills if he chose to live in the city. His fast learning and creativity is mostly seen in his fighting. The best example is his learning the Kamehameha wave, a move that took fifty years to develop, by mere observation. Also, he finds effective enhancements to the move, such as bending it, putting at least five times greater power to it, firing it with his feet, etc. Even combat skills he has brilliance in. Even confronted with Tien growing extra arms, he moved his so fast that it looked like he sprouted eight and fought him that way. All in all, Goku was smarter than Bulma in only one respect...basic survival skills in the wilderness.
    • There's also Son Goku痴 wife, Chi-chi. Is she an evil, psychotic Ax Crazy nut who's just waiting to finally snap? Or is she an overstressed Tsundere and mother having the only natural reactions to the trauma she's been put through? Or an overprotective Mama Bear who should have thought about what she wanted for her children's future BEFORE she married a martial artist alien whose idea of a career is training with Master Roshi?
  • Pokemon:
    • Jessie, James and Meowth in the anime are prone to this, due to their Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain status and well-developed backstories. Depending on which section of the fandom you ask, they're one of these: A) criminals who are loved because they're so bad; B) a trio of bumbling misfits who happen to look cool; C) tragically misunderstood woobies; or D) a trio of rebels who are capable of being good but like being bad too much to do a complete Heel Face Turn. Arguments over which portrayal is most accurate can lead to much Fan Wank. That their niceness or meaness changes Depending On The Writer doesn't help. More specifically, Meowth could be just as bumbling and incompetent as the other two; he could be a smart but conflicted villain who gets constantly dragged down by his desire to be be a good guy; or he could be a mastermind with enough smarts to learn Japanese (or English, for the dub) with a completely inhuman mouth and invent all sorts of scientifically improbable devices, and who pretends he wants to replace Giovanni's Persian cat-Pokémon because it makes him look incompetent.
    • There's also speculation that Jessie, James, and Meowth aren't villains, but deep cover heroes using the guise of incompetence to subtly influence Ash into becoming a better Trainer, and herding him into the right places to do good. Considering their motto used to start off with To protect the world from devastation, this doesn't seem all that farfetch'd.
    • Pikachu:
      • In the first episode of Pokémon, Ash Ketchum's Pikachu is a complete Jerkass to Ash until Ash's attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice earns his respect. He later has an instant liking for Ash's new unwanted travelling companion Misty. The moment Misty receives the bike she's owed and leaves, what does Pikachu do? Destroy another girl's bike. And after she leaves? YET ANOTHER girl's bike. He has NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in the advances of Dawn's Buneary... Perhaps Pikachu's interests lie elsewhere? Especially considering that his jerkass tendencies never show themselves again. (Also, there's a line in the Japanese theme song about looking for Pokémon inside a girl's skirt, and Pikachu happens to run beneath a Lass's skirt in the corresponding shot.)
      • Part of the fandom is still holding onto the theory that Pikachu is female. The reveal episode has it falling for a female Togepi's attract. Does Pikachu have unknown Bisexual interests? Was its interest in Togepi related to it's parental affections toward Togepi? Was it just a case of Even The Girls Want Her? Is it a Transsexual? Pikachu is quite masculine at times, and uses Boku. Maybe that means something?
    • The Pokémon franchise has a lot of canonical Alternate Character Interpretation, considering the number of Alternate Continuities that exist. Compare May from the anime with Sapphire from Pokemon Special. Despite being polar opposites, they are both based on the same character from the original games.
    • The same also applies to Cilan. His video game counterpart has no confidence when facing the player character and his anime counterpart is rather loud in comparison. Additionally, his anime counterpart is driven farther with what Burgundy states about him and how in her Imagine Spot, she suffered a humiliating defeat from him and he taunts her. She is already made out to be a liar in the episode but when she challenges him later on in this episode, the audience sees Cilan enjoying toying with her needlessly when it would only need one hit to KO both of her Pokemon. Somehow, the idea of him being a Nice Guy in both continuities is shattered if you put this into perspective. This makes the idea of Cilan secretly being a bad guy and being one of the three members of the Shadow Triad more likely.
    • It's a never ending debate on whether Paul is either a Complete Monster who tortures Pokemon, never shows any care for them whatsoever, and deserves to have his license as a trainer taken away, or if he's simply a Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk and very strict trainer who's also fair enough to his Pokemon and knows his methods will pay off in the end. If you look at the way Paul is from his first appearances to his last, you'll most certainly see he's made some changes.
  • Death Note:
    • Ligh Yagami, unrepentant serial murder with a major complex, idealistic if somewhat deluded young man who means well, even if, ultimately, the ends don't justify the means, or the savior of all mankind? That's just the tip of the iceberg. Take L: is he a borderline-sociopathic Knight Templar scarcely any better than Light, an Anti Hero whose methods are questionable but who is not really evil'per se, or just an endearingly socially inept genius with a difficult past who has had lifelong problems fitting in? Word Of God calls him 'slightly evil', which seems to fit in best with the second interpretation, but even that's probably up for debate. Then you have the much-debated question of whether L or Near have some form of autism. You decide.
    • Near and Mello both get it, also. Is Near an albino? Does Near dislike L? Does he hate Mello, does he secretly feel friendship for him, is there massive amounts of Ho Yay involved? Is Mello Catholic, or is there some other reason he'd wear a rosary? Is Mello an Anti Hero or an anti-villain? Is Mello a super-temperamental guy, or is it just that Near pushes his Berserk Button? A fanfic claimed that Mello was faking his insanity to throw Near off. And then there's Matt, who didn't even have that much of a personality, so that subject is pretty open. About the only things consistent are the fact that he's a techie who likes games and he's pretty lazy. Then you get into Misa, Ryuuk, Mikami, even Takada.... Death Note has massive amounts of this sort of thing.
    • There's also the endless debate over whether or not Matsuda's speculation that Near used the Death Note to restrict Mikami's actions is true, though this theory works less for the anime than it does the manga. Word Of God also mentions that Near cheats.
    • What about Sachiko and Sayu?
    • There's also Misa Amane. Is she just a naive young woman whose traumatic past lead her to idolize the one person in her life whom she percieved as being on the side of justice and righteousness (regardless of whether he actually was), an emotionally disturbed woman-child who is unable to comprehend the notion that human life has any value other than fulfilling her own hedonistic desires, or a nihilistic sociopath who casually declares the act of tricking someone into loving you so much that they would lay down their life for you a beautiful way to kill? The series itself can support any interpretation.
    • One common Alternative Character Interpreation for any Death Note user is whether or not it's the power over life and death bringing out their darker side, or if just using a Death Note will drive a human absolutely batshit insane. There is a marked difference in Misa, Light, and Mikami's mental stability and personality depending on whether or not they have a Death Note at the moment. As such, Misa can be argued to fit the first interpretation when she's in her right mind, and the second when she's in her 2nd Kira persona.
    • The shinigami's are questionable in some cases, specifically Rem: is Rem a good shinigami looking out for a human he fell in love with, or is he still a monster that survives by killing? Also, are any shinigami's evil, in that they were made to kill people therefore are only fullfilling their nature?
  • The interpretations of the main characters in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman are not only a subject of many debates in the fandom, but have basis in canon:
    • Ken: Rebellious Jerk Ass who only cares about himself, frustrated and lonely guy struggling to carry the weight of being The Hero on his shoulders, or upstanding moral boy scout? His feelings for Jun seem to change an awful lot. Does he ignore her, see her as one of the guys or could he return the affections she holds for him? And then there are fans who think he's gay due to his utter cluelessness when it comes to women.
    • Joe: Heroic Sociopath who just wants to blow stuff up and fight, overtly tragic woobie or fast-driving flirt? His own feelings towards Ken are subject to debate as well.
    • Jun: Depending On The Writer, she's either smart, capable Action Girl with good business sense or a victim of 1970s Japanese sexism. Her feelings for Ken also vary in their intensity from girlish crush to real love...and to some fanfic writers angsty pining.
    • Jinpei: His young age makes him subject to a lot of changes in his maturity level and role as The Smart Guy; sometimes he shows great skill and insight for someone his age and other times he's a Mouthy Kid whose inability to sit still gets him in trouble.
    • Ryu is either the pudgy Comic Relief Big Eater or the Gentle Giant, though most of the time they overlap. Fan Fic tends to Flanderize the former, though. Also, his Book Dumb country boy tendencies vary from episode to episode.
    • Some folks consider Dr. Nambu to be a manipulative Trickster Mentor (or just a manipulative ass), but others see him as a bona fide Team Dad.
    • Red Impulse: Abusive asshole or a man torn between being a good father vs his life's work? And let's not even go into Battle Of The Planets, especially for Mark and Jason vs Ken and Joe...
  • Yu Yu Hakusho:
    • Yukina:
      • Interpretations of Yukina, Hiei's sister, run the gamut from Naive Everygirl who is happy just to be with her human friends even if she can't find her brother, to Emotionless Girl who wants her brother to commit genocide on the Koorime for throwing him away, and everything in between. Also, has sh?e figured out Hiei is her brother? She does call him brother once, but immediately backtracked and said she would like her brother to be like him. There's also debate over her sexuality, as Koorime (Ice Maidens) are all female and reproduce asexually, but her mother, Hina, clearly had some kind of sexual relationship with a man in order to produce Hiei. There's even a certain level of debate towards whether or not Yukina is a product of the sexual encounters between Hina and Hiei's father, or if Yukina was the asexually reproduced daughter a Koorime has every hundred years. So could she fall in love and have a sexual relationship with Kuwabara? Is she a lesbian? Or is she 100% asexual?
      • In the manga, after Hiei tells Yukina that if she wants to see the Ice Maidens wiped out, she should do it herself rather than rely on her brother, she says I believe... my brother would tell me the same thing, giving no indication that she knows that Hiei is her brother, but leaving open the possibility that she could find out.
      • Adding to the speculation would be a scene from Eizou Hakusho, where Hiei attempts to return Yukina's Hiruiseki stone claiming her brother is dead, but she smiles and says he should keep it before leaving. Genkai proceeds to tell Hiei that Yukina is not the child he thinks she is, possibly further implying she has already figured it out.
    • Kurama is also the subject of much debate, largely because of changes made in the slightly Bowdlerised English dub, which featured a scene where his transformed demon-self spoke to his more human-like self as if they were separate entities. Thus, some fans have come to believe that he has a borderline (or even full-on) Split Personality. Other fans believe that he has a single identity, and has merely experienced Character Development as a result of his human facade.
    • Is Yaminade no Itsuki a simple love-struck Psycho Supporter, or is there something more to it?
  • Bleach':
    • Kisuke Urahara: freespirited Trickster Mentor who means well, even if his actions don't seem that all that benevolent at first, or manipulative Heroic Sociopath whom even genocidally Ax Crazy Psychos For Hire like Mayuri consider to be an unpleasant person.
    • Mayuri himself is subject to different interpretations. On one side, maybe he's a crazy Mad Scientist who is willing to do anything to further his research. On the other hand, he may be trying to atone for what he did in the past by helping Uryu now that he knows who he is. A lot of people take the middle road and say he just does whatever he wants while being a rude bastard to everyone around him because he simply likes doing it. And the Third choice: torture victim. For most of the time he's (supposedly?) been committing atrocities he and all potential witnesses were under the influence of somebody who could completely control their perceptions and who'd have had a strong interest in using, interrogating, and (to cover any tracks) breaking the mind of the current Chief of Research and Development. And that's not a short period of time.
    • Even Aizen: Easygoing, God complex-affected tyrant seeking to rule the world(s) through bloody war, or a heavy-handed, genuinely kind Well Intentioned Extremist merely seeking to unite the worlds through peace, even at the cost of lives?
    • Gin Ichimaru:
      • As Obviously Evil as he acts, or secretly an undercover agent for good? And does he really have a crush on Rangiku Matsumoto?
      • And what's the true nature of his relationship with Kira Izuru? Were they truly just captain and vice-captain, and Izuru's fragile self-esteem neurotic tendencies, and extreme loyalty coupled with Gin's mind games were enough to push him over the edge, or was there something more going on?
    • Head Captian Yamamoto: Wise, grandfatherly sage, or deranged, senile old douchebag who uses the letter of the law as an excuse for his dickery? More evidence to the latter in the most recent arc, the only times he's involved himself in the battle so far have been to seal off Aizen, Gin and Tosen from interfering, though when Wonderweiss' pet blew out the old man's inferno he did nothing to replace it and to one-shot Allon after the creature nearly killed four Vice-Captains. More recently in the manga he's still not intervening despite the fact Aizen had just decimated the combined Vizard ranks alone despite being confirmed as one of the few individuals who could probably take Aizen in a head-on fight.
    • There's even a lot of this for many of the Espada:
      • Coyote Starrk: Sympathetic but dangerous Anti Villain who fell in with the wrong crowd, or a blameless Woobie driven by loneliness and the desire to protect his True Companions?
      • Tia Harribel: Cold Dark Action Girl loyal to Aizen, or sympathetic Mama Bear motivated entirely by a desire to protect her fraccion?
      • Ulquiorra Cifer: Dangerous and ruthless Manipulative Bastard that looks down on emotions, or stoic Noble Demon that wants to understand them? Furthermore, does he have Lima Syndrome for Orihime or not? And were his interactions with Orihime a form of psychological torture, or genuine attempts at trying to understand her POV or making her understand his?
      • Nnoitra Jiruga: Horrible, vile, chauvinist Complete Monster lashing out at everyone due to his own inferiority complex, or a man gripped with a deep despair for himself and the world that causes him to see death in battle as his only escape? As for his feelings towards Nel; horribly expressed lust or utter hate?
      • Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez: Ax Crazy Blood Knight that cares only about fighting and killing others for fun, or likable Bad Ass with a chance of helping the heroes?
    • What about Ichigo? Is he a man who truly cares about his friends and will stop at nothing to save them, or has his trauma of his mother's death affected him so much that his need to protect people comes from his own perceived inability to save his mom?
    • Orihime:
    • Shunsui Kyoraku could, on the basis of what little we know of him up until the Starrk fight, arguably fit under either Obfuscating Stupidity or Crouching Moron Hidden Badass. Or both. He can both genuinely like being a womanizing drunk and still play mind-games with any poor sod unfortunate enough to meet him when he feels obliged to actually fight. The different aspects we see suggested (unlike Starrk, he gets no internal monologue) aren't mutually exclusive, and in a sense the 'unpredictability' is entirely what he claims to be about.
    • Yoruichi Shihoin, though the alternate part really only factors into her relationship vis-a-vis Soi Fon, which, despite a good deal of Les Yay teasing from omakes and art both from the author and the anime creators, has not been properly fleshed out, leads to multiple interpretations by the fandom: is she cruelly playing fast and loose with Soi Fon's obvious feelings and leading her on for her own sense of fun, is she aware and simply does not wish to return the feelings but also does not want to burden Soi Fon with rejection, or does she love her but is merely torn between different obligations which cause her to feel she must keep Soi Fon at arm's length?
    • Momo Hinamori: Is she just a nice girl in over her head, or is she envious of Rangiku Matsumoto? And what are her feelings for Toshiro? Romantic or platonic? And Aizen? Infatuation or undying loyalty?
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • After a string of Fan Art pieces made their appearance (like so), Cloud Cuckoo Lander Osaka has been seen as a puroresu goddess by the name of The Osakan Destroyer Ayumu Kasuga. Her nickname comes from her finishing move, the running, flipping pile-driver called the strike: Canadian Osakan Destroyer.
    • It's also assumed that Yukari and Nyamo aren't married because they are lesbians, and possibly together (though it's more often assumed they like each other but are not).
  • Cardcaptor Sakura
    • Tomoyo:
      • Creepy Schoolgirl Lesbian who constantly videotapes her ten-year-old crush and dresses her in fetishy outfits...or poor little rich girl who showers Sakura with gifts and attention, going overboard because she's never really learned how to deal with having friends since other kids her age are either scared off by her bodyguards or only interested in her for her money.
      • And there there's this: Daidouji Tomoyo, Badass
    • Sakura:
      • Is Sakura merely a naive child that fails to notice the infatuations both Tomoyo and Syaoran have for her or deliberately trying to ignore their unsubtle showings of affection (and possibly her own) in fear of ruining her close friendship with them both. While her naivete and ditzy demeanor is pointed out many times over, it is worth noting her dispair when finally forced the face the truth about one of her friend's feelings (and how quickly she decides she feels the same way).
      • Alternatively Sakura is falling in love with Syaoran, just at the same progres rate as himself beforehand. Sakura is EXTREMELY affectionate and blissful around Syaoran, she constantly shows excitment upon his appearance, follows and blushes at him a couple odd occasions. Platonic or romantic, she certainly thinks the world of him. Her scenario is the same as Syaoran's prior to others leaning him towards the former however, both were Oblivious To Love and convinced they were infatuated with another that drawn them in with magic essence. Since Sakura did not get helped in their coupling she is becoming attached to Syaoran by herself (and may have even come to the same conclusion as he did ultimately), just at a more natural progression.
    • Is Syaoran Li an initially arrogant Tsundere gradually softened by Sakura's kindness or a naturally meek and gentle character who hides behind a Jerkass Facade (which he gradually drops as he becomes more confident around his new found friends). Sakura herself notes later on how transparent she has come to realise his harsh demeanor is, after which Syaoran's arrogant attitude towards her more or less completely fades permanently.
    Sakura: Syaoran-kun, you always act like that, but you never mean it.
    Syaoran: Why do you say that?
    Sakura: I know you, Syaoran-kun, you're a kind person.
    *Syaoran blushes bright red*
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke: Emotionally unstable teenager seeking justified revenge? Selfish traitor? Or secretly undermining the bad guys from inside?
      • Or, as his rant to the resurrected Itachi hints a traumatized boy who feels guilty for surviving when his family didn't and wants to die?
      • On the subject of Sasuke, there's his original Face Heel Turn when he defected to Orochimaru. Did he abandon his friends because he felt they were making him weak as he claimed; or was it because he felt as if he was betraying the memory of his family by forming new bonds?
    • One can see the Hyuga main family as jealously guarding its power against the branch relatives and promoting infighting, or the branch family as being jealous and presumably no better than the head family were one of their own number to take leadership. This may not apply to Neji, considering that his grievances with the head family were mainly based around what happened to his father, and he's willing to get along with them after learning the truth. Hanabi, Hinata's younger sister is usually characterised accordingly in fanfiction, depending on the writer's intent.
    • Itachi. His motives have been questionable since his first appearance, and after certain revelations the fandom has found a million ways to interprete his behaviour.
    • Naruto's interaction with Sasuke is definitely subject to this.
      • Is it the effort of a good friend who sees, unlike his compatriots, that Sasuke is not beyond redemption and that redeeming him is key to breaking the cycle of violence in the Narutoverse? . . . Or is it the desperate act of a deluded fool, a boy who refuses to grow up and face the fact that difficult choices are sometimes called for among ninjas, a boy whose lonely, dejected childhood has left him with an unhealthy attachment to someone who has openly threatened his home and other friends?
      • Then let's add some more fuel to the fire: Is Naruto just a completely immature kid who can't take the world's reality, despite the fact he wants to be a leader to a nation, and a rather unscrupulous one at that, if you consider what they are willing to do to keep themselves on top or because they're simply afraid. If you take all heroism and Messiah Prophecies, Naruto is just a immature brat who wants people's attention and got in a war he doesn't understand the beginning or end of it and wants to achieve peace, despite the fact such thing would render the whole point of his life as a ninja worthless(No War = No Need for Super Soldier Ninjas). Also, he is the weapon the village wanted: Completely Loyal, despite the fact few people like him, Powerful, althought not powerful or intelligent enough to turn on his masters, and has the talent for converting people to see things his way or The village's way. He does have a talent for getting people to follow what he says, no matter just how fairy tale-esque it all sounds. One could think of him as a Brainwashing Machine even!
    • The Leaf Village! It can be A) A Nation of strong Ninja who believe in union and Peace, B) A Power-Hungry Nazi-esque Empire who wants to control the world and everyone in it, C) A Self-Centered and Bigot Nation who has so many people wanting to kill them it's hard to even think of them as innocent, D) A Village filled with Hippie-esque delusional fools. The way they act and the things they believe has shades of all these. And most fanfic writers go for B, C and D options most of time if they're going for Dark Fics or just Naruto becoming independent.
    • The Uchiha Clan. Despite few individuals being shown from the clan, most fans interpret the clan as being filled with power-hungry Complete Monsters that deserved their deaths. This is mostly due to Hatedom towards Sasuke and Madara. Curiously, Mikoto(Sasuke's Mom) is usually exempted of this(Mostly because they think she's hot and like to pair her with Naruto), along with Itachi because of Draco In Leather Pants.
    • Madara Uchiha: One of the worst Complete Monsters in manga history, or a senile Tyke Bomb who knows nothing but clan warfare?
    • Kabuto Yakushi, although this is probably on purpose: a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who was waiting for the chance to kill Orochimaru himself for power when Sasuke did it for him, a man who saw Orochimaru as a God, went crazy at his death and integrated his remains into his own body, or a man who joined the first person who gave him some sympathy because he had nothing left to lose?
  • In Gundam:
    • Let's start with the one and only Char. Manipulative bastard? Disillusioned extremist? Heartless warmonger? Does anyone but Tomino really know?
      • Char's buddy Garma Zabi is the source of a canon ACI. In the original series he's generally a good guy who's maybe a little out of his depth but ultimately wants to prove that he deserves his position of leadership and didn't just earn it because his dad is in charge. The updated retelling Gundam: The Origin, however, paints Garma as a Spoiled Brat who cried to Big Brother Dozle about how Char was upstaging him and that he wanted an important job so he could show how great he was, and then proceeded to be a complete Neidermeyer who only cared about his own image.
    • Jerid Massah. A self loving overly confident bastard? Or a sad loser who gets used and betrayed and kicked over and over by life and everyone?
    • 08th MS Team's Ginias Sakhalin. He can be viewed as everything from a Complete Monster to a Tragic Villain or even a Woobie Destroyer Of Worlds.
    • Very good examples are Gundam Wing's main antagonists. Is Treize The Chessmaster who planned every thing within the series to happen as it did including his own death? Or was his intention to rule the world with force and therefore manipulate everyone even those closest to him? Zechs Merquise is the chivalrous knight who does not want to fight and longs for only peace. To others he's a born fighter who seeks battle and sees no purpose in a life without wars. (Though, the sequel movie answers some things discussions are still ongoing.)
    • After War Gundam X has its antagonist as well. Are the Frosts poor unwanted people who seek righteous revenge on those denying them? Or are they warmongers who try to destroy humanity because of their hurt ego?
    • Gundam SEED is full of them. One of the most discussed: Fllay Alster. I won't even start the different views various people have of her. Also, some consider Lacus a manipulative bitch trying to reach her (entirely good) goals with all means neccessary. Also Kira's self righteousness is often considered over the top even if he is Jesus.
    • Latest installment Gundam 00 is pretty clear with most characters but Nena Trinity and Ali Al-Saachez are still argued to be a couple of Blood Knights or poor victims who had to suffer so much they turned into raving beasts. (Though it seems Nena's the latter, Ali's the former) Also Graham's after Time Skip status is still a little unsure. Either he is a Samurai who fights for only his honor or he is a Jerk Ass who fights for no real reason whatsoever.
    • Regene Regetta: childish prankster, ambitious megalomaniac mastermind, or well-intentioned schemer intent on helping his twin brother Tieria advance the human race?
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5: Rin is bisexual, but repressed and homophobic as an overcorrection of her feelings for Nozomi, which she rejects because they'd make their friendship awkward. Urara is also bisexual, but more accepting of it, and Nozomi is her first crush. Komachi is straight, and likes to think of herself as open-minded despite finding homosexuality Squicky. Karen is in love with both Nozomi and Komachi, but closeted because she's worried her parents would be crushed to learn their daughter was a lesbian. Now, go watch the series from the beginning, and try to get all this out of your head.
  • In Guyver:
    • The brave and self sacrificing Proto-Zoaloard Masaki Murakami gave his life to stop Chronos. Or so he said, he did indeed give his life to stop the traitor Richard Guyot from usurping Archanfel's power. A year later and he's filled in Guyot's position, power and is now Imakarum and now against Sho Fukamachi, the hero of the story. Imakarum explains that his eyes have been open and will show no mercy to Sho. Most of the characters have determined he's been brain washed. However if one considers that perhaps Archanfel just might have been pulling the strings all along that Imakarum may have been a hidden agent in stopping Guyot. It would certa hor explain A LOT of things that Takaya did not make clearer. Such as how a prototype like Murakami survived for so long. It's pretty scary that a lot of things add up.
    • Is Archanfel a hero fighting for humanity the only way he can, a villian with a God complex, or a hero that lost his way. He kills the first Guyver out of loyalty to his creators and to stop him from killing zoanoids, okay understandable. He saves the Earth after the Creators betray and abandon humanity and throw a planetoid at us, yay. He concocts a scheme to get revenge on Uranus by uniting humanity and having it wage a war against aliens, alright. Then he goes through with the scheme by brainwashing humans, killing them when experiments fail, mutating them agianst their will, and destroying the nation states of the world, What The Hell Hero?! He couldn't have told humanity about any of this, asked people if they wanted to become zoanoids, or got elected Emperor of Humanity because he saved the planet and is offering the human race a future as rulers of the universe? Given his previous actions it just seems like he got real jaded after awhile.
    • Similarly, Agito Makishima: Well Intentioned Extremist who opposes Chronos' tyranny, or simply a tyrant himself? Recent events seem to point to the later.
  • Love Hina is really the story of how a slightly nervous guy who would have eventually gotten his act together was sent to live with a group of losers who could never have coped with someone, man or woman, who was not as patient and well-meaning as he. They all would have been tossed out or used long ago, but the young man's grandmother had a plan to let his slight need for growth tie in with their massive needs. Any other manager, especially a hired one, would have had them arrested for assault, theft, and you name it. Probably only Keitaro's childhood connection with Naru and the fact that Shinobu would be especially vulnerable to predators, moved her to act. Without him, Kitsune faced the street or worse; Motoko starkest despair; and if anyone ever found Su's megalomaniacal notes, one wonders if Allied forces would start bombing Molmol. Granted, a harsh and unlikely alternate interpretation, but given one foothold by the climactic chapters' revelation that everything that had occurred, including Kanako's rampage, and maybe even Keitaro's parents kicking him out, was part and parcel of Grandma Hina's plan to get Keitaro and Naru together. It's possible even Haruka falls under this idea, because Seta, the man she marries, could be seen as simply an older version of her nephew Keitaro. So they weren't his rousing kick in the ass--he was their enraging grab at the boobs, meant to prepare the pretty but unready ladies for life outside.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In the course of discussions for Project: Dawn of the Great Magical Girl Alliance!, one can be led to wonder: Did the Takamachis leave Nanoha at home by herself for truly benign purposes or were they being neglectful? Is Nanoha really a belligerent who beats people into being her friends when non-violent methods fail?
  • Both of the Fujibayashi sisters in Clannad.
    • Ryou - Is she a timid Class Representative who has a crush on Tomoya and can't express herself freely to him or is she a self-centered person who manipulated her own sister into helping her get Tomoya as a boyfriend, knowing that said sister also likes Tomoya.
    • Kyou - Is she a Tsundere in denial of her crush on Tomoya or is she a Manipulative Bitch who used her own sister to get opportunities to get Tomoya to fall in love with her even when he was already dating said sister. Then when she finally hooks Tomoya in, Ryou is left high and dry. Good thing Kappei existed to date Ryou after Kyou hooked Tomoya in.
  • Full Metal Panic:
    • There are even in-depth debates on Sousuke's true character. Namely, when he joined Kalinin in the organization in the past, had Kalinin been working for Amalgam instead of Mithril, would he just continue to follow orders and kill indiscriminately? Or is he actually truly a nice boy at heart, and would his true, kind nature from when he was 2-3 years old eventually show through? Is he truly such an oblivious dunce that has no clue whatsoever that so many people are lusting after him? Or perhaps he's actively turning up his obliviousness due to intimacy issues? Maybe the reason why the Power Of Trust gets his heart fluttering and makes him so incredibly flustered is because he himself finds it near impossible to place complete trust in others, and therefore values it so much when he receives it from others?
    • In-universe, Kalinin's interpretation is that Sousuke is a lamb raised among wolves, and thus forced to become one; toddler Sousuke was a curious and happy child who called him An-oji, post assassin-school Sousuke is a hardened killer. The glimpses Kaname has of the other world, where Sousuke is a shy and gentle boy, support this.
  • Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni:
  • One could think that Yasuna, from Kashimashi Girl Meets Girl, falls in love with Tomari near the end of the manga, due to a number of moments and reactions after they make a friendship truce after Yasuna faints.
  • Lucky Star has a few.
    • Like does Kagami like Konata?
    • Does Konata suffer from the same illness as her mom? Is her mouth a deformity?
    • Is Miyuki completely Japanese?
    • Is Tsukasa secretly evil?
    • Does Nanako like Yui, if so does she even know it?
    • Ayano:
      • Oddly she has a few, mostly involving her relationship with Misao . Does Ayano really have a boyfriend? If she doesn't, is she hiding it because she likes Misao? Is Misao her girlfriend then, if so does she act like a boyfriend when in public? Or is she oblivious to her friends crush? Does she harbor feelings for Ayano?
      • Given she's a common target for Comedic Sociopathy and seems to have an inferiority complex, one wonders if Tsukasa might wind up as the group Yandere or Cute Psycho, or even worse, as something like Shinji. At the very least, she may be a Type A Stepford Smiler.
    • This fanfic portrays Miyuki's personality as nothing more than an act. Her real self, portrayed through inner dialogue, is a bit of a bitch. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Miyuki Takara, Grand Dragon Master of the Five Seasonal Winds!
    • Fans also have Kurokona, a deconstruction of Konata's Otaku Surrogate tendencies, portraying her disheveled with black hair, pale skin, glasses for bad eyesight after hours of video games and an isolated, bored and depressed demeanor. Many have theorized this is what could happen in Konata if she didn't have her friends.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena:
    • Anthy:
      • While no one thinks she isn't The Woobie, many people think she is a Manipulative Bastard worse than her brother, having turned cruel and spiteful after how many years of her in a state of And I Must Scream. Mostly she seems to think she has no choice in the matter. People who support the interpretation believe she's just being a coward, although the pure Woobie interpretation says that she's so broken she didn't realize that she had the capacity to take a stand.
      • There are definitely people who don't see her as The Woobie, and refuse to consider her as anything other than a wimp or a passive-aggressive bitch. This mentality is less common among people who've been fans of the series for a reasonable time, but it can be frustrating to see the casual dismissal of her character among those who really, really have no idea what they're talking about.
    • What about movie Anthy? She's just badass.
    • Our protagonist. Most fans see Utena as a noble Determinator who manages to fight off the negative influences of the broken and deluded people around her. However, a small subset of the fandom don't see steadfast uprightness so much as just another, albeit more resilient, form of her fellow students' misconceptions. After all, she is maninpulated by Akio in the end, just like everyone else, including Anthy. Who's to say that her worldview was not just as simplistic, selfish, or flat-out delusional as those she shatters in other people (rather painfully, it must be added) over the course of the series?
  • Detective Conan:
    • Shinichi Kudo from Detective Conan? Genius, or selfish, immature Jerk Ass who places himself above the others and doesn't really get the meaning of death and for whom each dead person is nothing but challenge?
    • Kogoro Mouri has been interpreted as having actually figured out Conan is actually solving the crimes for him and after awhile, just let him solve it for him while he receives the credit for it. Kogoro already isn't a bad detective; he's just got an extreme case of Tunnel Vision and wants things to be done as fast as possible, so he'll come to one conclusion a detective would, but then insist he's right until proven wrong. Whenever Ran or Conan are threatened, he actually becomes scarily competent. (Kinda like Inspector Gadget whenever he knows Penny & Brain are threatened) There have been several other times where he actually got it mostly right, and several times where he solved the case and only needed a couple hints from Conan, or in one occasion, not only solved it but got a couple details that Conan missed. (It also helps that he tends to be more streetsmart while conan is more booksmart - Kogoro has more insight into peoples' emotions)
  • Ai Kora: Maeda Hachibei, Chivalrous Pervert whose recklessness and Brutal Honesty gets him in over his head, or a stupid Jerk Ass who can't take no for an answer? Also, there are some fans who believe his parts love is less sexual and more like the obsessions of a fanatical art collector.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Nakago, genuinely pitiable Woobie Destroyer Of Worlds with a tragic past which makes his actions understandable, or a Complete Monster beyond all redemption who just enjoys author bias?
  • B Gata H Kei:
    • Yamada - a girl defined by her desire to acquire 100 sex partners by the end of high school. Clearly just a horny slut in an ecchi plot, right? NO - many see her as a normal innocent girl being forced into a world she knows nothing of by our over-sexualized post-feminist society.
    • Backed up by the fact that her quest for 100 men comes from a fear that she's weird down there, i.e. a lack of self-esteem/self-confidence/poor body image.
    • Thanks to character development we see Yamada has more to her than a libido.
    • The concept of a girl (voiced by Nanoha, no less) who has an strike:over-active strike:functional existent sex drive was too much for some otaku who wrote the show off based on the initial premise.
  • 's Alois Trancy: psychotically mood-swingy Enfant Terrible who deliberately engineers his innocent moments just to get at Ciel, or love-starved punching bag who simply snapped from his Dark And Troubled Past and is being manipulated by his butler? (To be honest, fangirls would love him either way...)
  • The Homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist: Complete Monsters or simply the horrible results of centuries of child abuse at the hands of creator who never gave them a proper upbringing and never showed them any love?
  • To Aru Majutsu No Index: Accelerator. He killed thousands of the sisters simply for the purpose of making himself stronger, and constantly taunted them as he did so. However, killing them wasn't his idea, and a portion of the fanbase believes that the taunting wasn't to be mean, but rather an attempt to get the sisters to display some sort of emotion -- since they didn't have a human response, he saw them as being emotionless robots instead of human, and thus didn't feel bad about killing them. This issue is rather polarizing. Another possible interpretation comes from a scene from the anime where Accelerator says that he doesn't understand someone who would throw away their life, and he wants power because his life is what's most important to him, and that's why no matter how many sisters he kills he'll just laugh and say Like I care. One way to look at this is that he doesn't consider someone willing to throw away their own life to be worth anything, or possibly doesn't consider them to be a person at all.
  • Zero No Tsukaima: Is Saito just a creepy pervert played straight, or a deconstruction of [[This Loser Is You|the ordinary person]] thrown into a... bountiful fantasy realm?
  • Neo Human Casshern: Is Casshern a righteous youngman who gave up his humanity (and thus, his identity as Tetsuya Azuma) for justice, and genuinely wants to save the world? Or a celf-sentered jerk whose only reason to become a Neo-Human was to avenge his dog Lucky and (later) save his parents? Or is he traumatized by the fact it is his father who unwillingly became the architect of mankind's doom, and thus all his acts are wrath-driven, as some kind of psychotic atoner? Depending On The Writer, Casshern is all these AT THE SAME TIME. Need a drink?
  • A few from Mai Hime
    • The Blu-Ray special shows sides of Reito that were never seen before, such as him having a devious smile when it appears that Mai has lost interest in Yuuichi, and anger when he's tricked into burying himself in the sand so the Hi ME can feed him spicy food in revenge for the carnival. This may suggest that hosting the Obsidian Lord may have had some impact on his personality, if such traits were not there all along.
    • There is the possibility that Shizuru was mind-controlled or somehow Brainwashed during her rampage, as her personality was the most dramatically altered of all the antagonist Hi ME, she once appears with what appear to be Mind Control Eyes, and immediately after coming back to life, she breaks down crying and apologizes to Natsuki, which might indicate she only just realized what she had done.
  • Was Nina of Mai Otome a hard-working and dutiful girl who ended up as an enemy as a result of being from the wrong country, following the duties of an Otome and the love of her father being used to guarantee her obedience? Or was she always obsessively pursuing her father, seeing her Otome career as a means to that end?
  • Soul Eater:
    • Many fanfics present Soul as being an awkward teenager who is head-over-heels for his best friend, Maka, despite all her nerdiness; Just as many present him as a complete Jerk Ass who has to watch Maka nearly die before he gets any amount of Character Development.
    • Maka is either a Cute Bruiser and the Only Sane Man or a complete Alpha Bitch and Mary Sue. Fanfics will also present her as such - she's usually either a School Girl With A Crush on Soul and is completely incapable of hiding her feelings for him, or is an extraordinarily violent young girl in complete denial about her feelings.
  • Johan Liebert. Is he truly heartless? Or is he just broken? Or is he heartless because he was broken?
  • This seems to be happening more and more in the Durarara! fandom now, particularly in regards to Izaya Orihara. Since Izaya's a lying liar who lies, it's hard to take anything he says seriously in the first place. This is not helped by the fact that we never know what he's thinking and his permanent expression is only Technically A Smile, which is generally written as a 'smile to hide his emotions'. The fandom is divided in their opinions about him. Is he a hedonistic, sociopathic Manipulative Bastard who only does things For The Evulz and doesn't give a damn about anyone - not even his own family or Shinra? Or is he a sympathetic loner who just wants to know what true feelings are, genuinely cares for his family, and his desire to create Ragnarok should be pitied, because he's only like that since he's 'lonely'? And for that matter, what are his real thoughts about Shinra? Did Izaya really become an informant because of that incident in middle school, or for his own benefits? Is Izaya really trying to avenge Shinra, or is he just using it as an excuse so he can have someone (Nakura) to use?
    • There are also many fans that seem to genuinely think his inherent hate for Shizuo means that he sees Shzuo on a higher level than all his precious humans and therefore, secretly loves him. Despite Word Of God saying otherwise on many an occasion.
    • That goes for Shizuo too, apparently.
    • Lately, partly due to No Export For You, Mikado of all people is getting this.
  • Guilty Crown has some - Shu is suspected for having aspergers syndrome and Inori of having some unknown, serious social issues.
  • Is Kazuo Kiriyama a mass murdering psychopath or did the brain damage he suffer ruin him? The Movie plays up the former by making him a random killer who signed up for the Program while the manga shows he Used To Be A Sweet Kid who lost his mother and brother in the accident that damaged him. In the novel, it's ambiguous since he got the brain damage while in the womb.
  • Macross Frontier has two in-universe examples in the form of Grace O'Connor. In the TV show Grace is an outright villain, manipulating Sheryl and Ranka for her own goals of controlling the Vajra and taking over the Galaxy. In the movie its revealed that she, like Brera, is only being controlled by Galaxy's implants against her will, and she actually deeply cares for Sheryl.

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