Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Inner strength, fighting ability, and charisma are just a few factors to take into consideration. In fact, a “hero” can be described in so many ways that it’s hard to come up with a concise definition for one.
I think that’s why I struggled a bit when coming up with this list of the 5 Best Heroes of Spring 2015. I tried to think of characters that most people would agree are the most powerful “good guys” from this past season. But, I eventually realized that was not the way to go. It’s more engaging if I talk about my own personal favorites and why I chose them. Then hopefully you guys can chime in with your own list afterwards. These aren’t in any particular order. They’re all pretty equal in my opinion. Let’s get started with the first character.
5. Yuuichirou “Yuu” Hyakuya from Owari no Seraph
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 4, 2015 - Jun 20, 2015
His past is surrounded in by tragedy and fear. Yuu's parents were deathly afraid of him as soon as he was born. They even thought about killing him. Unfortunately, a tragic disaster happens to his parents and home. Eventually, Yuu makes his way to an orphanage where he reluctantly creates a new "family" with his fellow orphans.
He has had to overcome so much, in his childhood, and yet he still has a large goal ahead of him. He's actually a decently adjusted human being considering what he's been through. He is still able to get close to people, though it takes time for him to open up.
Yuu is a brave young man, but it often leads him into dangerous situations. He throws himself at danger without thinking about the consequences. The driving force behind his zeal is the promise he made to himself. He swore to kill all vampires.
I chose Yuu as one of the top heroes because of his unyielding will. The perfect example is his ability to negate demonic possession. His will alone is enough to force a demon out of his body. Besides his strong will he also possesses strong swordsmanship and has access to a multitude of supernatural abilities due to his Seraph gene.
4. Emiya Shirou from Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 5, 2015 - Jun 28, 2015
Emiya Shirou is a high school student who is thrown into the battle for the Holy Grail. He is one of the weakest masters since he never completed the training to become a full-fledged mage. But, he made up for his lack of arcane mastery by having a strong heart and always opposing evil. He really lived up to his childhood promise of becoming a hero for justice.
He was my favorite character from the very first episode. Near the end of the first season he gained a small power up. That technique carried over to the second season and was honed into a powerful ability. His power was finally beginning to match his inner strength. It was great to see him take a bigger role in the fights between Masters and Servants.
A hero is usually judged by the circumstances around him. What we have in Unlimited Blade Works is a young man who is going up against some of the most legendary warriors throughout all time. If enemies are a reflection on a hero, then these warriors definitely prove that Emiya deserves to be called a true hero. Therefore he easily earns a spot on this list.
3. Zapp Renfro from Kekkai Sensen
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 5, 2015 - onging
A hero doesn’t always have to have a serious attitude. Sometimes you just need a hero who is stylish, cocky, uses flashy techniques, but still gets the job done. That’s exactly what you get from Zapp Renfro. He likes to smoke cigars and annoy the newest addition to the Libra organization, Leonardo Watch. He reminds me of a dark version of Dante (from Devil May Cry) which is a plus.
His fighting style consists of using his blood to create blades. He can form a more traditional type of sword or create one that is basically a web of strings that slices his opponent. He can also ignite his blood strands to create a devastating explosion.
Zapp is one of those characters that you love to watch. He isn’t the main character, but he steals every scene that he’s in. Of course, Libra has more traditional heroes in its lineup. Leo and Klaus are usually more level-headed and can have moments where they are just as entertaining as Zapp. But, it’s the cigar-smoking fighter who you want to see step in at the last minute and save the day.
2. Motoko Kusanagi from GITS Arise: Alternative Architecture
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Apr 5, 2015 - Jun 14, 2015
If you’re familiar with the Ghost in the Shell franchise, then you should know who Motoko Kusanagi is. In Alternative Architecture, she is the commanding officer of Section 9. Her small but formidable unit take on any cases that deal with terrorist attacks utilizing robotics or cyber-hacking.
I’ve written a couple of articles about this iteration of the Ghost in the Shell franchise. Though the series fell short of my expectations, I was still thoroughly impressed with Motoko as a character. I haven’t seen many anime with a woman playing the serious leading role. Kusanagi pulled it off in spades.
She has plenty of scenes where she uses hand to hand combat to neutralize dangerous mercenaries. Her ability to hack “cyberized” people is second to none. Her stealth techniques and ability to adapt to her attacker are beautiful to watch. She oozes confidence and strength. That charisma alone carried most of the show. Alternative Architecture was a “decent” 10 episode series that would have been much worse if Kusanagi wasn’t such a bad-ass.
1. Daryun from The Heroic Legend of Arslan
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 5, 2015 - ongoing
If you’ve watched the show then you know that Prince Arslan is pretty much set on the path to becoming a great and peaceful king. He’ll probably be one of the strongest warriors in the Parsian army as well. But, right now that title belongs to Daryun.
Daryun is your typical serious yet extremely loyal soldier. He was once the Cavalry Captain for the Kingdom of Pars. Currently, he is one of the members in the resistance against Lusitania. He has pledged his undying allegiance to the young prince. He protects him at all times and has saved his life on multiple occasions.
I included Daryun on this list because he is the one who most embodies the image of a protector. A hero is nothing if not a protector for the weak. Daryun isn’t necessarily protecting weak individuals per se. However, he is the bodyguard for a prince who is slowly realizing the true nature of slaves and their role in the Kingdom of Pars. Arslan is uncovering dark secrets about his kingdom and the royal family. All the while he is forming a resistance capable of freeing the capital and bringing the war against Lusitania to a peaceful end.
None of that will be possible without Daryun’s fighting prowess and strength of character. He is the most reliable person to have on the battlefield. He has yet to be bested in a one on one fight and has been shown to take on multiple enemies at once. The title of this series is The Heroic Legend of Arslan, but that legend would have come to an abrupt stop (as early as episode 1) if Daryun had not been there to save Arslan time and time again.
These are my personal Best 5 Heroes of Spring 2015. I could have honestly thrown in 2 or 3 characters from FSN: Unlimited Blade Works alone. It was tough for me to decide, so I’m sure you guys will have a tough time narrowing it down to your personal five as well. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on these characters. Then, tell me who your personal favorites are. Maybe we can get a consensus on who some of the most outstanding heroes of spring 2015 were.