I seem to be a bit cursed that way; my favorite characters are almost never in the main cast. They're usually antagonists or ambiguous side characters whose methods look bad, who are powerful and mysterious, and whose motives aren't revealed until well into the series.
As a result, not only do I tend to see my favorites only in relatively small doses, but in some cases I also find myself questioning their status as my favorites due to their morally ambiguous nature, or debating their morality with people who side wholeheartedly with the protagonists regardless of which side is actually in the right.
Today, I'm going to discuss three characters I wish had gotten more screentime, and how they captured their place on my wishlist.
The lower segment of each character's section contains spoilers for their respective series, so if you're new and spoiler-phobic, don't read their sections past the "spoilers ensue" image.
So, on to #1...
#1: Itachi Uchiha from Naruto
His portrayal started out as being completely, unambiguously evil.
He slaughtered his entire clan except for his younger brother, Sasuke. Then he deliberately traumatized said brother even further, and purposely steered Sasuke onto a path of isolation and revenge.
All in all, he looked like one of the most despicable monsters in a series where his predecessors set a pretty high bar.
But along the way, hints were dropped that there may have been more to his motives than he'd initially stated, and better reasons for his actions than he chose to let on. It made for a fascinating puzzle, making him one of the most thought-provoking characters in the series even before his true nature was confirmed.
A few chapters after Sasuke finally got his revenge, it was revealed that the Uchiha clan had been planning to start a war that could have easily escalated in a world war, with massive casualties all around.
Itachi had revealed their plans to the village leaders, in hopes of preventing the bloodshed. But when the village's attempts to pacify the clan failed, he was given an ultimatum.
He could let the local special ops exterminate the clan, including the children who would otherwise grow up to be embittered enemies of the village.
Or he could perform the massacre himself, making himself the bad guy instead of the village, which would allow him to spare his younger brother while taking the child's hatred on himself.
He chose to become a murderer and a fugitive, in order to protect people who would only hate him for it.
And all that time he spent working for an evil organization, being the protagonist's hunter and enemy? He was still working for the village, preparing to undermine the organization from within.
That kind of selfless nobility and dedication, combined with his intelligence, elegance, and physical and psychological strength, instantly made him my favorite. He continued to be my favorite fictional character for seven years, until he was dethroned by the second on my list:
#2: Scorpius from Farscape
Like Itachi, he's elegant, intelligent, powerful, dangerous, complex, and introduced as a villain with hints at a less pure-evil nature than his status as an antagonist would suggest.
He hunts the protagonist for something said protagonist has inside him that was put there without his consent, but often leaves opponents alive when he could have easily killed them.
All in all, it isn't surprising that he became my favorite, especially after...
Partway through the third season, it's revealed that Scorpius was trying to stop his father's species, the powerful and violent Scarrans, from eradicating his mother's species, the human-like Sebaceans.
Needless to say, his decision to hunt and torment the series' hero in hopes of stealing his wormhole technology became a lot more understandable when I realized that, if Scorpius failed, then everyone - including said protagonist - was going to die or be enslaved.
Weirdly enough, he actually did John Crichton a favor in the long run. A galaxy run by Scarrans doesn't sound like a very hospitable place for a human and his Sebacean love interest to live.
Not that John saw it that way; most of the cast, including him, continued to despise Scorpius even after his motives were revealed. Even the Sebaceans with whom he'd worked for years ultimately abandoned and betrayed him, and attempted to execute him.
But that didn't stop him. Even when he had little to work with, and precious few reasons to keep working for the losing side when a spot on the winning side was open to him, Scorpius resolutely continued to try to thwart the impending invasion.
I've gotta say, that kind of selfless dedication endeared him to me no end. Combine it with his elegant but casual demeanour, quirky and affectionate personality, rational intelligence, passion, confidence, maturity, and that lovely accented voice, and it definitely makes for a character who deserved more screentime and development than he got.
#3: Mewtwo from Pokemon
As per the pattern among my favorites, it's powerful, dignified, protective of those it's chosen to guard, and the recipient of relatively little screentime.
Unlike Itachi and Scorpius, Mewtwo's motives were revealed right away, and it didn't have nearly the level of mystery and complexity that the other two did.
Still, the combination of super-powerful, intelligent, persecuted, contemplative and isolated tends to be a fairly reliable key to my heart, and it left me wishing that there were more movies and episodes centered on the only Pokemon I want to see more of.
Do you tend to have the same experience?
And do you share my tendency to prefer side characters who don't get much focus?
If so, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!