G-senjou no Maou's main story revolves around Kyousuke Azai, whose main goals are to pay back debt his father owns to the yakuza and to find and capture Maou with the help of Haru Usami.
Maou is the main villain of G-senjou no Maou and man is he a very well-done villain.
While people seem to like villains who have sad back stories and making you feel for them, I personally think the best done villains are the "love-to-hate" kind, and Maou defines that excellently (though he has a back story as well).
Just a few minor evil acts he does includes kidnapping, brainwashing kids' minds and breaking a rival's finger when they're playing a simple game. While his acts are obviously morally bad, the way he goes about each of his plans his is really entertaining and you'll be wondering how the heck the heroes will eventually bring him down.
If there is one flaw Maou has, is that he doesn't really get too much screentime despite being the main villain. Nevertheless, the times he IS onscreen are very entertaining and you most likely will be consistently entertained by him, especially since his plans get crazier as the visual novel goes on.
Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel that takes place in a special school where almost every student has a disability of some kind. You take control of Hisao Nakai, a boy with a major heart problem. The main goal is to help Hisao get into a relationship with one of 5 other girls, each with their own disability. Each of the girls' stories is handled tastefully. Personality stereotypes that come with certain disabilities are subverted and each story is surprisingly well-written (and sometimes emotional).
While all the girls are good I think Emi best represents why I think Katawa Shoujo is a good visual novel.
Emi has enjoyed running ever since she was little. Sadly she lost her legs from the knees down in a car accident resulting her in having to get prosthetic legs. However, this does NOT stop her from her love of running, in fact, she uses the fact that she has prosthetic legs to her advantage to do well and it's really inspiring.
Interestingly, the most dramatic part of her story doesn't even have to do with the fact that she lost her legs at all! If you want to know what happens you'll have to read and find out but it's pretty emotional.
Emi's personality in general is just really likable. She has a nice, cheery and happy-go-lucky attitude which goes well with her pluckiness to want to keep running despite her disability.
Sunohara is the blonde guy on the left.
Clannad is a pure romance/comedy/drama visual novel. Unlike other visual novels on this list it doesn't really have much that's "unique" about it but despite that it's still very good at what it does.
Unlike other characters on this list, who I liked for more "deep"/compelling reasons, I picked Youhei Sunohara simply because of how hilarious he is.
He is Tomoya Okazaki's (the main character's) best friend, yet Tomoya ALWAYS teases and picks on Sunohara. I usually don't like humor that revolves around having one character always getting beat up or getting the short end of the stick but the way it's handled with Sunohara is really funny and done very well.
Sunohara says and does a lot of really stupid things that practically makes him ask for the abuse he gets from Tomoya and all the other characters. For example, he challenges the strongest girl in the school to a fight simply because he can't believe that the strongest person in the school is a girl and yells at her claiming she's actually a man. She proceeds to hitting him to the air and kicking him 18 times in a row before "passing" him like a soccer ball to Tomoya who "passes" him back to her so she can kick him even more times.
It's ridiculous over-the-top humor like this that makes Sunohara the absolute standout in terms of comedy in this visual novel.
Kohaku is the maid on the left.
Tsukihime follows Shiki Tohno, a boy who got in accident when he was younger and woke up being able to see "death lines" on people which he can slash in order to kill them. He wears a pair of special glasses in order to control these powers but ends using them to fight supernatural beings. He usually just hangs out with his friends at high school or at home.
Speaking of his home, Kohaku is one of the two maids that work there. Unlike her sister Hisui (the other maid) who is good at cleaning and relatively emotionless, Kohaku is somewhat clumsy but energetic and really good at cooking.
While she really is nothing more than a maid, it's her backstory and steadily increasing role in the main stories in each route that makes her a great character. A lot of these details are spoilers so if you're interested in what this crazy maid is hiding then be sure to read the Tsukihime VN!
Steins;Gate is a visual novel where a bunch of people try to invent time travel and discover all the consequences that go with it.
Rintarou Okabe, who calls himself Hououin Kyouma is the head of it all and even proclaims himself as a MAD SCIENTIST. His personality is very hilarious but very fitting of someone who's incredibly obsessed with science.
When he's a good mood he loves to do and say things in a very over-the-top matter. Even when he does some dumb things it still ends up being very amusing because of his great dialogue.
His close bonds with his friends become very important, notably when their fun with time travel ends up not going quite as well as they planned. The lengths he is willing to go for them is very heartwarming and seeing him work hard in the toughest of times makes you really feel for him.
Higurashi is a mystery visual novel. Everything starts out peaceful in a rural town called Hinamizawa but eventually murders start to happen for strange reasons. The stranger part is that at the beginning each episode/game of Higurashi (there are 8 total), time goes backwards and different events with the same characters start to happen. There are TIPs given throughout the novel that can help you figure out who the real culprit is on your own before the culprit is revealed in game 7 (Minagoroshi).
It was tough picking out a character from Higurashi to put on this list since almost every main character is solid. I chose Shion since I believe she has the most interesting personality and backstory.
Shion isn't actually introduced until the 2nd game (Watanagashi) but slowly starts to become an important character. She is actually the twin sister of Mion Sonozaki and part of the Sonozaki family, one of 3 families that is believed to have the highest concentration of the demon bloodlines.
Her usual personality consists of being pretty outgoing and teasing the main character Keiichi and her twin sister Mion for various things. She works as a waitress at the Angel Mort restaurant and is the manager's assistant for the Hinamizawa Fighters little league team.
However the best part of Shion is finding out about her backstory and the character development she receives later on. There is a very infamous but really entertaining twist about her in Game 5 (Meakashi) and she continues to be a very interesting character from then on.
Ever17 is visual novel with a lot of spoilers so it can be a bit hard to describe to others without giving away too much of the plot. Basically 6 kids end up getting trapped in an underwater amusement park called LeMu and things only get crazier from there.
Tsugumi Komachi really steals the show in this visual novel, though most of the characters are decent.
She's very antisocial and dislikes talking to people and is often distrustful of them. Her personality is cold, often either ignoring others or speaking harshly to them.
However she has a really sad backstory and gets the best emotional scenes in the whole visual novel. Even if you really don't like her cold personality at first, by the end you should at least feel for her and possibly be really attached to her character.
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai is easily my personal favorite visual novel. It has a little bit of action, romance, and drama but for the most part it's a slice of life school comedy. It mostly follows the Kazama "Family" a group of 8+ childhood friends who just hang out and mess with each other. They go to school but also occasionally take part in some over-the-top but very entertaining fighting competitions. Everyone has a role in the fights though the girls are the ones with the coolest scenes.
Picking a character for this list was extremely hard since this visual novel has my favorite cast of characters ever and just about every main character and a whole bunch of side characters could qualify for my personal top 10 list.
In the end I chose Miyako. the stalker childhood friend of the main character Yamato. Like Sunohara I mostly like Miyako due to how hilarious she is. Nobody likes a stalker but the way she expresses herself is really unique and really funny.
She's openly perverted towards the main character, always twisting his words to make it sound like he's coming onto her when he's really not. Normally when you think a girl says any sexual comments she's usually just teasing you but with Miyako any perverted comment she makes is 100% serious and it makes it all the more hilarious. While I'm sure many guy would like a girl being openly perverted to them, considering how over-the-top and stalker-ish she can get it's pretty understandable why she's been in the friendzone for the longest time, though she does get to have Yamato in her route and various funny bad endings.
While I mostly like Miyako for her hilarious scenes, she's a good character in other areas. Outside her obsession with Yamato, she's a very quiet and blunt girl but treasures her childhood friends more than anyone. Considering that Yamato saved her from being bullied in a really cool way and the Kazama Family happily accepted her into their group of friends, it's no wonder that she likes them so much.
Whenever the fighting events begin, Miyako always comes in with her trusty bow and arrow. She has a ridiculous amount of concentration and always hits where she wants to shoot making for some badass scenes.
Fate/Stay Night's plot is centered around a contest called the "Holy Grail War". The Holy Grail can grant a person's wish, even one that can transcend time. There are 7 mages/masters that can take part and each of them gets a "Servant" with some unique powers to assist them in their quest. The different Servant classes are: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Caster, Rider, Berserker, Assassin. All of these characters are based on ancient heroes such as King Arthur.
Fate/Stay Night has 3 stories: Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven's Feel. All 3 of them are alternative retellings of the same Grail War and the same characters but with different major events.
Fate/Stay Night has a bunch of good characters but I thought Rin was the most consistently great character throughout the 3 stories.
While she's the first point of view character in the VN, she eventually becomes an advisor about magic and the war in general to Shirou, the actual main character. However, due to Shirou's general idiocy and how incompetent he is at first Rin gets a lot of chances to tease and make fun of him. The dialogue between her and Shirou is always very amusing even she's not the current love interest.
Rin is Shirou's advisor in magic so naturally she is very competent with it. The Holy Grail War can get very ugly, so whenever Rin and Shirou team up (which is a lot of the time) she is usually the one who comes up with a lot of the plans to make sure they come out on top. She gets plenty of cool scenes with her magic skills and gets to use them in a variety of interesting ways.
While her general personality and competence in fighting are her best points, she also gets a decent amount of character development in all 3 stories.
Sharin no Kuni takes place in a country where law is based upon deterrence and criminals are assigned "obligations" fitting for their crimes. If a criminal disobeys an obligation, they are sentenced to live their lives in a concentration camp, where most die before finishing their prison term.
Within this society, the protagonist Kenichi Morita aspires to the position of Special High Class Individual, one who holds authority over said criminals and is in charge of rehabilitating them to become productive members of society.
While this premise does sound overly serious, it still has plenty of lighthearted moments thanks to our good ol' protagonist Kenichi. There are 3 girls who Kenichi has to help go through rehabilitation. He has to start off getting to know them before helping them; However, a lot of the time he ends up teasing them, joking with them or saying weird (but hilarious) things.
While he does stay on good terms with the 3 girls and other characters in the series, when Kenichi gets serious he REALLY gets serious. In the process of rehabilitation there are some crazy lengths he goes through to help them. For example, he forces one of the girls do a certain activity for a long period of time with very little to no break to get her out of her lazy bum attitude. There are plenty of other times where he screws the rules.
As harsh as he can be sometimes he really does come to care for all the girls he has to help and will not hesitate to help them in their time of need. By the end of the VN, all the girls and the other minor characters come to really like him and for good reason. His funny personality, badass moments, and the ways he shows how much he really cares for them makes him a really really good character.
Villains. Love interests. Protagonists. Comedic side characters. Through this top 10 list I attempted to show that good visual novels have different types of high quality characters.
There were a whole bunch of characters I considered for this list that barely didn't make it like Takeru Shirograne from Muv-Luv, Rin Tezuka from Katawa Shoujo, Rena Ryuuguu from Higurashi, Beatrice from Umineko, and Haru Usami from G-senjou no Maou.
If you haven't read a visual novel before, then the visual novels I chose for this list are some good starting points.
Good visual novels tend to come with good characters so hopefully if any of these write-ups were appealing or even somewhat interesting to you then hopefully you can give some visual novels a shot!
List by superange128 (02/22/2013)
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