Who Are The Most Popular Japanese Characters (Not From Nintendo or Anime)?

SOLDIER

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,210
Leaving aside any Nintendo-owned IPs or Dragon Ball games, I've been thinking about this question and find that no other cast fits the bill like Final Fantasy VII's:



If the decades of cosplays, fan-art and merchandising weren't already a strong indicator, the Remake itself pretty much cements it: I can't think of any other game where a major studio would even consider the massive investment in making a multi-part, multi-console adaptation akin to Lord of the Rings.

It's a huge gamble, but also a safer-than-average one. The massive media and critical reception is proof enough of the legacy of Cloud and friends (and enemies). Just look at the crowd reception over a single character's unveiling:


Even people who never played FFVII (including the above streamer) recognizes these characters and shows considerable interest. I really do think the FFVII crew is the closest thing to something like Overwatch when it comes to character awareness/popularity on a global scale.

The only other contender I can think of is Street Fighter:



And even then it's pretty much limited to the OG cast of Street Fighter II, with Cammy and Akuma being the only additions from The New Challengers to reach the same level of popularity as the World Warriors.
 
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SOLDIER

SOLDIER

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,210
Thing is, I really can't tell at this point if Sonic is still largely beloved in a non-ironic sense, or loved as a meme/fetish-fueled "so bad it's good" kind of way.
 

super-famicom

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
3,687
Popular internationally or within Japan? If it's the former, maybe Ryu from Street Fighter. Within Japan, maybe DQ Slime?
 

mikeys_legendary

The Fallen
Sep 26, 2018
1,148
#1 is probably Sonic, followed by Cloud or Ryu.

Edit: How could I forget Hello Kitty? Did the anime come first or the merchandise?
 

low-G

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
5,892
Yeah Hello Kitty and Godzilla are way, way above any Japanese character except (possibly) Mario.
 

sibarraz

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
8,820
Besides Cloud, Aeris, Tifa and Sephiroth, the other characters in the game are not that famous, and even then there are still more famous characters from Japan both on VideoGames and not anime things
 

low-G

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
5,892
I agree that Pac-Man is probably the #1 non-Nintendo video game character (Japanese or otherwise). Probably just under Mario and above all others.
 
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SOLDIER

SOLDIER

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,210
In hindsight I probably should have also added "Not a mascot character".

But then that would have likely led to lots of back-and-forth over what qualifies as a mascot.

Cloud will never not be the face of Final Fantasy, for instance.
 

Ferrs

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
8,031
Sonic and Pac-Man. No one outside of gaming community know anyone from FF7, unlike these two.
 

Castile

Member
Dec 1, 2017
3,039
I can still buy Sonic the Hedgehog Ice cream bars in ice cream trucks. Can't say the same about most other characters posted here.
 

KillerMan91

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,103
In Japan, maybe.

Anywhere else, probably not. Same with One Piece, which is probably bigger than Dragon Ball in Japan but can barely get noticed in the West.
You mean US. I mean I would put Dragon Ball over it in Europe too but it's pretty popular here. At least just as popular as others non Dragon Ball manga/anime properties.
 
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Shalashaska

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
217
It's definitely Hello Kitty or Godzilla. Gaming wise most iconic is probably Pac-Man or the Space Invader. Maybe Sonic.
 

Rotobit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,774
Sonic and Hello Kitty are a-listers worldwide, Godzilla has his peaks, Pac-Man is fading slowly but surely but I'd wager most people could draw him

Cloud is pretty close after

Even Gudetama is more well known than Mega Man though, let's be real
 
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SOLDIER

SOLDIER

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,210
You mean US. I mean I would put Dragon Ball over it in Europe too but it's pretty popular here. As least just as popular as others non Dragon Ball manga/anime properties.
It really boggles the mind why One Piece can't reach the same level of recognition in America like it does everywhere else.