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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Meocross: TWO. THOUSAND. CHARACTERS. in the show of Soreike! Anpanman!? Ho-ley-Shyte....

Vis-a-vis The Simpsons, it depends on your definition of "regular". My brother and I tend to go by the fairly abitrary ruling that a character can be called a regular once they've had a speaking part in at least four episodes, provided the episodes don't all happen consecutively. By that ruling we've counted over 120 regular Simpsons characters.

Kendra Kirai: I think a better determination of 'regular' would be 'somebody in at least 50% (+/- 5%) of the episodes from the time they're introduced to the time they're officially put on a bus or Killed off for real. Less than that but nore than 10% is a 'recurring character'.

Seth I added in the Bleach information as a further example of how many characters is loads and loads of characters. My source was the characters page of wikipedia and the fact i've read all released chapters of the manga.

Ununnilium: I think the Bleach information is too much, and the shorter version is more effective.

Seth: I think it serves as a useful example to put the trope in scale. But we could see what more people think and act then if you like?

Janitor: This much evidence seems to indicate a trope. Bleach seems to have the syndrome. Character Magnetic Team seems to have the 'cause'.

Seth: If you were gonna delete the Bleach stuff you should have moved it to the talk page, now it's off the history and the work i put into it is gone - remove big chunks because you think they take up too much space - move them to the talk page as a compromise.

Keenath: Hang on, recurring characters aren't the same as regulars. Bleach does have a big cast, but hardly the size shown on this page. Consider Heroes or Lost, which can keep up with 20 or more main characters, each with continuing plots of their own. That's not the same as having 50 named characters, each of whom might show up for two lines every ten episodes or so! For example, if we're watching Stargate SG-1, there's that one guy who says "Chevron 4 encoded!" all the time. He's in about every episode. That doesn't make him a regular. He's not in the opening credits. Or look at any fight-based anime or comic book. There's a long list of enemies who may not have died after losing their battle. That doesn't make them regulars either, even if they come back later — that's a returning villain. Let's redefine this trope to be more clear about what is and is not a "big cast".

Boobah: You can probably count any characters that the show doesn't reintroduce every time they hit the screen. Which would mean the stupidly large casts of both The Simpsons and Bleach are both in.

Ununnilium: Not really — they don't do that for the "Chevron 4 Encoded" guy, either.

Boobah: But Harriman usually doesn't do anything important. He's the functional equivalent of Majel Barret as the Star Fleet computers.

Ununnilium: Exactly.

Later: Could someone edit down the Bleach examples to the ones who really are regulars? And does Star Trek: Deep Space Nine really count? By my count, the only regulars are Sisko, Kira, Odo, Dax (counting both in there), Worf, O'Brien, Quark, Rom, Nog, Jake, Bashir, and that Cardassian tailor whose name I can't remember. A fair number, but not loads and loads.

Also, this brings up a pertinent question: Do villains count here?


Eytan: I don't think it really makes sense to say that the days of the Simpsons are "almost long gone", since the show isn't even gone to begin with, let along long gone. I'd fix it, except that I'm not sure what the sentence is trying to say.

Wiki: Its not the show that's dissipated, 19th season coming right up, it's that kind of high quality expertise within American voice acting.


arromdee: The "Reboot" link links to the TV show by that name, not to the concept of rebooting. is there an article for that, and how do we link it?

Morgan Wick: Probably Re Write, but could be Re Vision, Revival, any number of things related to Retcon. The Reboot link on MSN was always in error. Wait, I got it: Re Tool and Ultimate Universe, which need to be linked to the tropes I just mentioned.


The Nifty: Cut this:

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender features a main cast of the Avatar gang that grows a little each season. (Toph in season two, Zuko and Suki in season 3) The Day of Black Sun had a gathering for many of the peripheral characters.

Seriously guys, I know pimping your favorite show is fun and all, but Avatar has about a dozen recurring characters, if that. It actually has fewer major characters than most shows.


Freezair For A Limited Time: Cut:

  • Portal subverts this hard. At the most liberal definition of 'character' there are only five. One of these is a Mecha-Mook, one is only ever seen through their writing on the walls, and one is an inanimate object. The remaining characters are the protagonist and GLaDOS, who is a AI and also the Big Bad.

Not a Subversion, for one. And for another thing, this trope doesn't work that way.


Spark9: There are several examples listed of works that have just a dozen characters. While I'm sure that's a lot more than e.g. The Man Who Folded Himself has, it's also a lot less than the Malazan Book Of The Fallen, or indeed The Simpsons. Simply put, ten or twelve is a far cry from "loads and loads". So, any objections to me cutting a few? I'll move them to this talk page.

There we go:
  • Digimon Adventure had nearly a dozen rotating characters, typically just appearing in different areas when the story focused on them. Digimon Adventure 02 added to these, but most of the originals were shoved to the background.
  • Simoun has a core cast of at least twelve characters, with another half-dozen or so frequent recurrers.
  • By its third season, Yu-Gi-Oh GX has somewhere in the region of 16 major characters, a dozen or so of them students; this makes a certain amount of sense, as the show centers around a school and thus more students arrive with each year, and some are Put on a Bus as they graduate. The weird part? Judai/Jaden still gets about 75% of the duels.
  • Prince of Tennis features a main team of 8 players... add to this core close to a dozen additional rival, each with at least 7 players, plus characters peripheral to each team (such as siblings, coaches, etc), and you've got one huge cast.
  • The anime Baccano! manages to juggle around 17 main characters in its thirteen episode span (and apparently more, in the DVD-only episodes). This, of course, does not include the characters introduced near the end, or the many more that appear in the novels from which the anime was adapted.
  • Bokurano starts the first episode by introducing you to the main characters — all fifteen of them, right off the bat. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, it doesn't get worse over time. It gets better... Yeah, it's pretty much what you'd think.
  • Ghost Hunt has eight main characters, and each of the eight cases the series covers brings in at least half-a-dozen more. And all of this takes place in 25 episodes. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. Excluding the ho yay-inducing student who gets caught up in the plot, none of the case-specific characters are seen after their case is over.
  • Neil Gaiman's Sandman: almost all of the many minor and side characters end up being relevant later. This troper had to keep a notebook handy just to keep everyone straight.
  • Robert Altman films (such as Short Cuts and Prêt-à-Porter) feature numerous characters (played by notable actors).
  • Stardust had Tristan and Yvane, Dunstan, Una, Lamia, Primus and Septimus, Captain Shakespeare, and Veronica. Not to mention the supporting cast, the two witch sisters, Ditchwater Sal, the gatekeeper, the five dead princes, the other pirates, etcetera.
  • Catch-22 has roughly a few dozen characters who get major page time- and as the book is under five hundred pages long, it's probably the shortest work listed on this page.
    • Each of them gets a chapter named after them. One of the reasons the book is so great is that it manages to handle that many while still keeping the story on track and centered on Yossarian.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales was initially planned with each of the characters telling four stories, for a total of 120 stories; however, due to the limits of Chaucer's life and the criticism of the church, he was unable to even finish one story for every character.
  • A Finnish book series about the author's life has 1800 characters.
  • Harry Turtledove has written several series with loads of point-of-view characters.
  • Les Misérables. Let's see, there's Jean Valjean, Javert, Cosette, Marius, Fantine, Gavroche, M. and Mme. Thènardier, Eponine...
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had 14 regulars over the course of its run, plus people like Joyce who should have been regulars, recurring joke characters like Clem, endless recurring villains, and all the potential slayers in season seven.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki has a huge cast of Riders (13-16 depending on whom you count), not all of which received detailed personalities. One of them, Kamen Rider Scissors, has a tenure of a whopping 2½ episodes.
  • Dark Cloud had six playable characters that you were expected to level up and play as equally when realistically the only characters you ever played as were the main character and the long range magic user.
    • Thankfully, they realized their mistake and only gave us 2 in the sequel.
  • Animal Crossing has a wide variety of Funny Animal characters that might move in and out of your town. Then again, there aren't any big differences between them, so it mostly boils down to a matter of taste.
  • Guild Wars: Nightfall (and Eye of the North to a degree) has about 15 heroes (computer controlled allies) and most seem to have plot related or side missions that require them to be in the team; sucks when you haven't been using them so they're level 10.
  • Questionable Content's cast page lists 21 characters. If you account for those Put on a Bus and newer characters not yet added (Like Faye's therapist)... It's about 21 regular characters.
  • Homestar Runner. There's even a poster for sale at the store that has a huge amount of characters crammed into the tiny Strong Badia. (in fact, some characters are actually missing from it).
    • The core cast is 12 characters, which isn't that much. It's only when you get into Strong Bad's creations from his emails (sans Homsar), and some of the very early characters that never developed afterward, that the numbers start adding up.
  • Hey Arnold! is set in an urban area and appropriately has an extended cast of Arnold's classmates, teachers, and neighbors that is probably in the 20s.
  • Escape from Ironheart has over fifteen characters. Not only that, but they also all have their own story lines which are, for the most part, independent of each other.
  • Whoever mentioned Witches' Secret under fanfic should be shot. It's horribly written, but sucks you in and won't release your soul until you finish all painful FIFTY THREE chapters. And the only reason it makes you keep reading is because you wonder what weird, sick, twisted thing is going to happen next.

slb: Merged the Film and Literature entries for Lordofthe Rings to avoid redundancy. The film entry was deleted, and the following was moved to its Literature counterpart:

  • There's Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf, Aragorn, Arwen, Elrond, Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, Faramir, Denethor, Gollum, Theoden, Eowyn, Eomer, Bilbo, Galadriel, Saruman, Grima, and Treebeard all have their pictures in the ending credits of Return of the King. And then there's plenty of more minor ones, such as Gamling, Lurtz, Haldir, Celeborn, the Witch-king, Gothmog, and Isildur. Oh, and Sauron.