Characters found in anime often have stereotypical personalities. As in theatrical melodramas centuries ago, each character fills a certain need in the story. Audiences have come to expect certain characters when they watch an anime. A few personality types appear most often in traditional anime comics, films and television shows.
The Main Character
The main character may be innocent, tough or a combination of the two. Innocent main characters want to excel at something that will selfishly benefit themselves. They are happy, may do crazy stunts and will fight for their friends. Naruto from the anime of the same name and Aang from "Avatar: The Last Airbender" are two very good representations of this type. The tough main character has a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. This character usually doesn't do well in school and often finds himself in situations that are beyond his abilities. Ichigo and Rukia from "Bleach" are good representations of this type. A mixed type will often be an innocent, happy person who is flung into a situation beyond her control. Sometimes she will discover she has special powers. Light from "Death Note" and Sakura from "Cardcaptors Sakura" are excellent examples of this type. Sometimes, the main characters are divided, as in "Fullmetal Alchemist," in which Edward is tough and Al is innocent.
The anti-hero is haunted by a dark, tragic past that has skewed his interpretation of right and wrong. Anti-heroes usually come across as bad at first, though they may turn good over the course of the story. They usually form a rivalry with the main character. Hao from "Shaman King" and Sasuke from "Naruto" are good examples.
Like the main character, the sidekick can be one of two types: innocent or fighting. Innocent sidekicks offer some comic relief or act as a contrast to their friend. Rin from "Inuyasha" fills this role for Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s evil older brother. Fighting sidekicks battle alongside their friend, the main character, no matter what. Jigen and Goemon are perfect examples of fighting sidekicks in "Lupin III."
An iconic character in manga and anime, the pervert offers comic relief, and sometimes teaches the main character an important lesson. Flirting with every female he sees, the pervert often makes lewd suggestions, which result in a lot of rejection. Miroku from "Inuyasha," who asked every woman he met to have his children, is a perfect example.
The identity of character X may be unknown, or the audience may know who he is, but the other characters don’t. Character X is always masked in some fashion, so the other characters don’t know who he is, despite obvious clues. Tuxedo Mask in "Sailor Moon" and Racer X in "Speed Racer" are good examples of this type.
The Evil Older Sibling
The older brother or sister in many anime tales has made mistakes and turned evil. The younger siblings, usually the main characters, hate the older siblings and what they’ve done. The evil older sibling becomes the target in many stories. Itachi, in "Naruto," is Sasuke’s older brother, who slew his entire clan. Sesshomaru, Inuyasha’s older brother, is powerful and the bane of Inuyasha’s existence.