Winner: Hikigaya Hachiman (SNAFU TOO!)
- Yato (Noragami Aragoto)
- Kazuma (Noragami Aragoto)
- Archer (Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works)
- Adlet Mayer (Rokka no Yuusha)
So far, Noragami is the only series to have two nominations in a single category, and for good reason. Kazuma is a man who is eternally loyal to Bishamon, so much so that he would give his life up for her, but he is partially responsible for her suffering. By acting as her saviour and the man whom she would hate the most if she knew what he had done, he lives his life on the blade of a knife, while also serving as her Blessed Vessel, most important regalia and the one whom all other servants obey. Add that to his relationship with Yato hinted at in Season 1 that is now fully explored here and his mentorship to Yukine with his intelligence, strength and conflicted nature, and Kazume is a terrific supporting character. Yato also had more done with him this year, heavily in the second half. He has walked the earth for hundreds of years, widely hated and avoided because of his status as the god of calamity, and yet still he persevered. Hiyori, however, has changed all of that, and with her faith in him and Yukine’s drastically increased powers, Yato seemed stronger than ever… but even this could not help him escape his past with Nora (Hiiro)and his father. Able to function as the emotional core, comedic highlight and action hero all at once, Yato is a very versatile character who is much more than he appears on the surface.
Adlet’s Indiana Jones style trickery is what brought a lot of people to see Rokka no Yuusha, and kept them through the heavy exposition and mixed bag presentation. With an ecccentric attitude and fiery hair matched only by his mouthpiece, Adlet worked well with basically every character in Rokka’s cast, his backstory and deeper emotions aside. It was his relationship with Flamey Speeddraw, however, that solidified his position here, as he was the only character that was able to worm his way into her heart, and the heart’s of the viewers. Archer serves as a character at the centre of Unlimited Blade Work’s theme of self-sacrifice for self-satisfaction, and how it one doesn’t value their own soul and mind, they shall never find happiness. As the epitome of pessimism and utilitarianism, he is highly reminiscent of Kiritsugu Emiya from Fate/Zero, though here his point of origin is even more heart-braking. Paralelling Shirou’s opposite attitude, acting as the definitive mage role-model for Rin and a metaphorical (and literal) slap in the face for Saber, Archer was easily the best character of Unlimited Blade Works, leaving the audience both wholey satisfied with his role and yearning for more (Hurry up, Heaven’s Feel). To add to that, his signature set piece and character design is very memorable, and he provided some of the best fight scenes in 2015.
Though each of these characters were pivotal to their respective series, Hachiman is a character than cannot be found anywhere else, and does everything they did and more. As the emotional, thematic and comedic core of SNAFU, from whom the others characters bounce off in more ways than one, Hachiman solidified his status as one of anime’s best leads in recent years with a stellar character arc in the second season. Beyond establishing his childhood and view of the fakeness of highschool archetypes like he did in the first season, here the emotional toll of not having “genuine” relationships. With Haruno Yukino constantly challenging his world view and Yui coming into her own as an emotionally aware, high-spirited woman, Hachiman was elevated with the writing and production of SNAFU TOO!, and his binary view of the world and relationships will likely leave a strong lasting impression.