Contrary to popular belief art does not have to be boring. While there are some worldviews that feel as though art should only involve cold objects that are removed from the general public and placed behind barriers in stuffy museums fortunately human creativity has generated other art forms that allow imaginative people to engage their creative impulses and make work that is easy to find and that resonates powerfully with the people that see it. One art form that does this quite well is Japanese animation.
Through Japanese animators have taken a medium like cartoons that at first glance appear to be somewhat juvenile and infused with them a sophisticated level of storytelling and an attention to visual detail that is commonly found in the work of artists who create paintings. These animators and production studios have created work that is the perfect marriage between entertainment and visual art and that have captivated audiences around the world for years.
One of samurai anime’s strengths is in its ability to develop strong and lovable characters. Two characters that deserve to make the shortlist for best anime characters are Kenshin Himura from the show Rurouni Kenshin and Mugen from the show Samurai Champloo. Both characters are gifted swordsmen but aside from that they couldn’t more different. Mugen is brusque and uncouth but manages to win audiences over with a backstory of a hard childhood and an enduring independent streak. Kenshin is a former assassin with a heart of gold who tries to make the world a better place through choosing peace over violence. Definitely some of the top anime around, and worth checking out for anybody new to the genre.