The anime hit of summer 2017 was most definitely Re:Creators, a cleverly written story about the world being threatened by our own creations. Creators give birth to countless worlds, some good and some bad, and we know without drama, the audience will quickly lose interest. The characters that are created are often put through the wringer in the name of that drama. Re:Creators is about the creations coming to our world, and in their perspective it’s the world of the gods, to wreak havoc and get revenge on the sick and twisted gods that would create the war-torn worlds in which they were born. The creations, determined to tear down the world of the gods, are led by Altair, a mysterious creation and a seemingly unbeatable opponent. We quickly see not all the creations pulled to our world here to destroy it, some are willing to work with their creators in the hopes of defending this world and going back to their own.
The story is also about the creators and their creations coming to terms with the worlds and stories they were given. We quickly see not everything is as black and white as the pages of a book; the greys of morality bleed between the lines on the page. Re:Creators’ cast of characters, both creators and created, are well thought out and bring a lot to the plot with depth and backstory that makes you wonder who is more real–the creation or the created. We now count down the Top 10 Re:Creators Characters with the Most Interesting Back Stories.
10. Selesia Upitiria
Selesia is the first other-worldly character we meet in Re:Creators. She hails from the anime Elemental Symphony of Vogelchevalier. Selesia is the heroine of the series, a mecha pilot who fights against the Avalon Brigade which is attacking the kingdom she lives in. We are led to believe from her accounts that the Avalon Brigade is a truly monstrous regime that is a threat to civilization and they’ve been fighting hard to hold them back. She is one of those characters in a group of heroes the other heroes would call “The Best of Us.” She has natural leadership abilities and a moral compass that guides her regardless of the situation. She also seems to be in love or care very deeply for Charon, her partner in back in Vogeichevalier. Her moral compass still holds true when Charon is summoned to the real world. She is willing to fight her potential lover who has taken up Altair’s banner in defense of the world. Seleisa also seems to make a deep connection with her creator, and despite having some misgivings about the world he created, he seems to accept that she is his heroine, that she represents all that is good in his mind.
9. Meteora Osterreich
Meteora could be considered one of the main protagonists, having a role almost as central to the story as Altair. She is a young woman that is an NPC librarian from an online MMORPG. Meteora has a bookish nature; she’s an intelligent person and rather stoic. We do see that change somewhat as the series progresses, probably since as an NPC she wasn’t given much latitude in emotion and behavior. She is also curious and a problem solver, so being in a foreign world with a massive problem to solve, is right up her alley. Meteora is the second person to join the creators against Altair. The world that she was born into wasn’t a dystopia, which is one of the reasons she doesn’t have a grudge against the non-fiction world. She is even visibly shaken when she discovers that her creator died in a motorcycle crash and she’d never get to meet him. We see a lot of personal growth for Meteora, too. She dives into shopping and eating “real world” food that is filled with rich flavors and textures she didn’t get in her world of origin. We even think she develops a crush on Souta, an especially interesting development considering her fate at the end of the series. If Souta is like most of us we have a soft spot for cute librarians.
Mamika or Magical Slayer Mamika found her way to the world of the creators from an anime of the same name. She is a kind girl and has a naïve side that is fitting of most magical girl characters. She is also extremely powerful. Her attacks, though goofy and heart-shaped in nature, pack a major punch. Mamika joins Altair’s side honestly believing that they can use the creators’ powers to make their own better places. She never suspects that Altair wants to simply destroy the gods and all of existence. Mamika also develops a very close friendship with Alicetaria. The two have clashing personalities but somehow find an understanding. We see some of the most impactful and subtle character development in Mamika. She seems to grow as a person after she leaves the bonds of her story and at one point in the series even seems to suggest that to Alicetaria. Mamika lives by her ideals and not killing is one of them. When she realizes what Altair’s true plans are she makes an effort to work behind the scenes with Souta to end the crisis and action that cost her her life.
Yuuya is the main antagonist of the Heisaku Underground manga. Despite being an antagonist, he is in many respects a hero and chooses to fight on the side of the Creators. At his root, he is a thug. Yuuya enjoys violence like picking a fight and determining who is the toughest. The reason that Yuuya decides not to fight on Altair’s side against the gods is because he is simply happy with who he is and where he’s from. Yuuya uses a wooden sword to fight and gets some help from a spirit called Hangaku who seems to be a giant ghostly warrior. He doesn’t mind that life is a fight because he enjoys it. We find out that he and his former best friend were tricked by a fortune teller and he was “framed” for the murder of his best friend’s sister. The two find a way to make amends after his friend is brought to the non-fiction world and the truth is told. Yuuya’s journey from thug to hero makes him a really interesting character.
Rui is a child soldier in a future Japan who pilots a giant robot “Gigas Machina” in the anime Monomagia: The infinite Over Machine/Infinate Divine Machine Mono Magia. He is constantly thrust into battle and never really gets the chance to be a kid. When we are first introduced to him he has a tantrum about being forced to fight in the Gigas Machina, a potential tip of the cap to Shinji from Evangelion, who was also forced to pilot a large robot. Unlike Shinji, Rui does become a likable character. We watch him slowly get the childish thinking out of his system as he come to terms with the world that he has been dropped into. Rui also thinks that Yuuya Mirokuji, another character and a bit of thug, is really cool and looks up to him. We see that as a calming influence on Rui since Yuuya always approached battle and life with a calm joy. Rui really just wants to be a kid. He does say one of the most insightful things in the series: “People who save the world exist because there are worlds that must be saved. Who is going to make those worlds, Souta?”
5. Setsuna Shimazaki
Setsuna is an illustrator and the creator of Altair. She was a high school student with a gift for art. Setsuna wasn’t a confident person and posted her art work under a pseudonym online. The online artistic community was where she met Souta Mizushino, the protagonist of Re:Creators. We see in a flashback that their relationship begins with mutual admiration for each other’s art work online. The two eventually meet in real life and are both equally shocked to see a fellow high school student. She and Souta hit it off and it is hinted that they each have romantic feelings for the other. She gets an amazing opportunity to create a video with a popular producer, bringing her notoriety. Setsuna also eventually attracts online trolls and detractors that hound her online, unjustly accusing her of plagiarism. Souta, unable to take criticism himself, backs away from and abandons her, afraid that their friendship will bring the bullies to his door. She gets depressed, and in her depression, creates a character based on a character that was maligned by the online community and imbues her with great power. The isolation, the criticism and the sense of abandonment eventually becomes too much for her. Setsuna kills herself. The emotion of the moment triggers Altair to break free of the fictional world and visit punishment on our world to get revenge for the person she loved most, her creator.
4. Alicetaria February
Alicetaria is a knight in every sense of the word. She is literally an epic hero as the lead protagonist of the manga and anime Aliceteria of the Scarlet. She is brash and headstrong and came to the world of the gods as an ally of Altair. She was enraged that the people fighting battle after battle, losing lives and taking lives in defense of her homeland were nothing more than entertainment for the gods. She goes into battle astride a Pegasus and carries an enchanted lance. She wants revenge and to force her creator change the rules of the world and bring peace. Alicetaria has a quick temper and tendency to focus on actions and not words. She becomes the ally and friend of her exact opposite, Mamika the magical girl. Her relationship with Mamika shows that she has the ability to think, rationalize, and understand once her warrior’s blood stops boiling. She is also extremely loyal. Her relationship with Mamika is also about not judging someone by appearances. Mamika may not look like a warrior, but seems to be just as brave and tough as any knight she’s faced. This change in Alicetaria’s perspective gives her a chance to uncover the reality of what is actually going on, and it’s all thanks to her friendship with a magical girl.
Blitz may have one of the more interesting backstories in the show. Blitz is a tall, muscular man with a long trenchcoat and a grizzled look. He is a character who shows up early in the series as an ally of Altair. Blitz is a bounty hunter character from a cyberpunk anime named Code Babylon. He fights his way through a dystopian world though never fully described it seems to a very tough place to live. He joins forces with Altair for revenge. Blitz wants to take revenge on the god, a manga artist named Suruga, for killing his daughter. It’s a move that Suruga admits was just to move the plot along. The story for Blitz continues to unfold with some twists and turns and the shifting allegiances of those on the side of the gods and those on the side of Altair.
Souta is the main protagonist of Re:Creators and, as with a lot of the characters, has a pretty interesting story. He is not a normal main protagonist because he isn’t he is a great warrior, he doesn’t have great ability and he isn’t a genius who can save the day. It’s his weakness that created the crisis and his struggle for redemption that makes him the protagonist. Souta is a second-year high school student with a little talent for art. He began posting his art online and through the community met a truly talented artist named Setsuna Shimazaki. She too was a high school student. The two hit it off and support each other in their artistic endeavors, they even could have been “dating,” although that isn’t expressly said. Setsuna eventually began to gain popularity and that is when things went downhill. She was criticized on the web by trolls and falsely accused of stealing ideas from another artist. Souta wasn’t brave enough to stand up for her and lets her get more isolated until she commits suicide. Souta carries the burden with him, the idea that he could have saved someone he loved if he had just been a better human being. He could have saved her if he hadn’t cut her out of his life. He was a coward and it cost Setsuna her life. Souta is constantly on a mission to atone for that weakness, a weakness that led to Setsuna’s greatest creation, Altair, gaining a life of its own.
1.Altair / The Military Uniform Princess
Altair is the antagonist of Re:Creators. She is the creation of Setsuna Shimazaki. Altair was based on Shirosumekusa, a girl from a social game. She was a weak secondary character who was disliked by many. Setsuna took the innocent and weak character of Shirosumekusa and clad her in a military style, creating a look of strength. She appears in an online video called Altair at some point after Setsuna’s suicide. Altair is very different from the other characters that appear in the world of the gods. She knew from the beginning that she was a creation. Her story was also different; in a way, she was crowdsourced. She didn’t belong to one story. Her creator was gone and she was left to evolve online as other artists and storytellers changed and added to her story.
Altair is the complete opposite of the person who created her. She is strong and willing to take on the world, by herself if need be, damning any consequences. You could also view her not as Setsuna remaking the weak character of Shirosumekusa, but as a woman striving to create a stronger version of herself. Altair is a character created with such a strong sense of will she was self-aware. She was given the ability to alter the reality of the world of the gods, blending the world of fiction and nonfiction as a way to work through the grief from the loss of her creator. Altair was able to achieve sentience be being accepted by the same world that rejected her creator.
The concept that artists put a lot of themselves into their work is put into practice in Re:Creators as we see the creators’ trauma have a lasting effect on their creations. The story leaves us wondering if, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll, are we the dream or the dreamer? Are we creations of someone else living in a world where we watch anime and read and write articles about it?
We had the chance to ask Ei Aoki, the director of the series, if he’d want to meet any of the characters from anime he’s been involved in and he said “If it was possible I would like to meet them all, actually, and I’m pretty sure some of them have a grudge against me.”