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Gia's List: Anime's 7 Most Uncanny Lookalikes

by Gia Manry,

For all that anime is a widely varied medium, it must be admitted that there are an awful lot of characters who wind up looking awfully similar. This is particularly true of characters designed in the same time frames as styles shift, as well as characters created by the same person (there's a reason why you might compare, for example, Rumiko Takahashi's Lum and Shampoo).

The following list pays home to some of these lookalikes, but with a focus on those not sharing a designer, or obvious parodies and homages. Without further ado: the lookalikes!

7. Ifurita (El Hazard (OAV)) & Sylia Stingray (Bubblegum Criss Tokyo 2040)
Both Ifurita and Sylia have significantly different appearances in two different releases: in the original El Hazard OAV, Ifurita had long, silver hair and a stoic demeanor, while in the later television series she had dark hair was hysterically clueless about the real world. Sylia's original look in Bubblegum Crisis featured short blue hair, but in the later Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 appearance, she returned with long, silver hair— much like Ifurita's. The two share more personality traits along with that hair, as the OVA version of Ifurita is more serious, but by and large they're quite different. Ifurita is a reluctant magical weapon whose existence mystifies even her, while Sylia is the genius billionaire founder of the Knight Sabers— with a tragic past, naturally.

6. Trowa Barton (Gundam Wing) & Yang Lee (Street Fighter III)
Okay, okay, Yang is a video game character, and his personality is nothing like Trowa's. The mech pilot is a calm, emotionless soldier (and former circus clown), while Yang and his brother Yun are passionate fighters...although Yang is a bit more even-tempered than his brother. But probably not Trowa-level calm. No, the main thing about Trowa and Yang is, of course, that hair. It's a pretty odd style— who, outside of a fashion shoot perhaps, would find bangs that stick out so far to be practical? Perhaps not by coincidence, Yun Lee also bears resemblance to a Gundam Wing character: Duo Maxwell.

5. Yui Hirasawa (K-ON!) & Kanata Sorami (Sound of the Sky)
Zany comedy K-ON! and the slightly more sedate and thoughtful Sound of the Sky (So-Ra-No-Wo-To) may be pretty different shows, but both feature similarly-designed heroines with bright and chipper personalities who come to love music. Okay, trumpeter Kanata Sorami starts out loving music, while Yui picks up her guitar rather randomly at the start of her high school career. However, both spend a good chunk of their respective shows learning and improving their musical abilities and performing techniques. The girls also share physical charaacteristics: short, brown hair held back by a clip.

4. Mayuko Inoue (Ushio and Tora) & Orihime Inoue (Bleach) MAYUKO is the sweet and gentle best friend of protagonist Ushio in Ushio and Tora, about a young man who partners with a demon to fight evil. Later, it turns out MAYUKO's family line includes a number of female shamans, and she is able to participate in the fight by creating psychic barriers. Orihime is the kind-hearted pal of Bleach leader Ichigo, who partners with a shinigami to fight evil. Later, she uncovers the ability to create magical barriers and helps her friends fight. Oh, and they have similar hairstyles, too.

3. Haruhi Suzumiya (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) & Yuri Nakamura (Angel Beats!)
These two don't just have similar hair, similar stances, or similar leadership styles for their club's (the SOS Brigade and the SSS organization): they both have similar personalities. As the leader of the SOS Brigade, Haruhi is a forceful commandant who demands entertainment in some form or another at all times...preferably involving the supernatural. Yuri's goals are more definable, but no less esoteric: she wants to fight god alongside her friends. The primary difference is that Yuri is actually aware of the safety of those friends, whereas Haruhi will thoughtlessly drag her own club members into all sorts of inappropriate situations (although to be fair, she doesn't always know about the problems involved).

1 and 2. Kyou and Ryou Fujibayashi (Clannad) & Kagami and Tsukasa Hiiragi (Lucky Star)
Which twins came first? Hard to say: the original Lucky Star manga launched in January 2004, and the first release of Clannad was later that year...but both were probably in development for a while before that, so perhaps only their creators know. Fans were a bit flummoxed by the charactesr' physical and personal similarities, especially given their close release dates. A sudden onslaught of purple-haired twins, if you will. The elder sisters, Kyou and Kagami, have slightly different hair styles, but are both primarily tsundere characters (although in Kagami's case that's partially an in-joke with series protagonist Konata). Ryou and Tsukasa, on the other hand, have very similar hairstyles, and both are sweet and earnest.

Each list is accompanied by a new reader poll, as well as the results from last week's poll.

The new poll: Dozens of new anime come out every year, adding to an enormous library of shows we can potentially get into. We want to know— what do you think is the single most important factor that makes you decide to go ahead and watch a show? Does it have to be a brand-new, straight-from-Japan simulcast? Does it have to have an awesome-looking trailer? Answer here and check back next week for the results!

The previous poll: After several weeks of polls with lots of answers (like, you know, nearly every Hetalia character), we decided to give you something simpler: manga, anime, either, or both? We wanted to know if you guys had a distinct preference in which medium you preferred.

By and large, though, you told us that you prefer convenience! 30.1% of the voters said that you choose whichever medium you get your hands on easiest. Manga's cheaper than DVDs, for example, but on the other hand there's a lot of anime available streaming for free (or as part of a subscription) these days. These respondents said that they were completely neutral otherwise.

Overall there was some preference for anime. 24.8% of voters said they liked to watch the anime first and then read the manga if they liked it, while 20.3% outright prefer anime. 16.5% of voters said they preferred to read a manga and then try the anime if they liked it, and only 8.3% outright prefer manga.

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