The characters from Kare Kano!
The Miyazawa family
The female protagonist of the series,15 years old, is a seemingly smart, attractive, athletic and talented person, who appears to be a model student. Both her male and female peers express their admiration for her, often asking her for help and commenting about her model features and characteristics. However, her "perfect" exterior is merely a façade to hide the fact that everything she does is done solely to receive praise from others, and that she acts slovenly at home.
- Academic Alpha Bitch: At first, she's heavily invested in maintaining the best grades in her year and is determined to beat Arima. While she still remains a good student, she eventually stops being so obsessed with her grades.
- Academic Athlete: Known to be athletically and academically gifted.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The manga has her hair and eye color as light brown; the anime gives her matching red hair and eyes.
- Always Someone Better: To Maho. That does NOT go well later.
- Always Second Best: She could never best Arima. By the end of the series, Yukino has come to fully accept this.
- Attention Whore: The reason she comes across as so perfect to her classmates is solely because she's obsessed with being praised by others for her accomplishments. She eventually grows out of this after she and Arima learn more about each other and resolve to change.
- Birds of a Feather: She and Arima are attractive, smart, athletic, and talented young adults who turn out to be Broken Aces who use a façade for their own reasons. They each, at different points, learn to be their true selves.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Her initial character; she presents herself as a Nice Girl who's kind to everyone and will help her classmates with any problem, but it's really just another thing she wants to be praised for. She grows out of it thanks to Character Development, becoming more genuinely nice in the process.
- Broken Ace: Smart, beautiful, class rep, and always polite... at least on the surface, since it's all just a facade she puts up in order to get attention and be praised. She later comes to realize that she's leading a hollow existence and she's never been able to actually make friends due to spending so much time trying to be perfect.
- Character Development: Stops her facade as being perfect and starts to just be who she truly is.
- Class Representative
- Curtains Match the Windows: In the anime, Yukino has red hair and red eyes.
- Go-Getter Girl
- Hospital Hottie:After Yukino becomes a plastic surgeon at her father-in-law's hospital.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Really loved getting attention, but wasn't entirely a bad person.
- Nice Girl: Thanks to the influence of Arima, her friends, and some healthy Character Development, Yukino evolves into this.
- Official Couple: With Souichirou Arima.
- Plucky Girl
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Souichirou's Blue.
- School Idol: She is a seemingly smart, attractive, athletic and talented, who made herself to appear to be the model student. Both her male and female peers express their admiration for her, often asking her for help and commenting about her model features and characteristics.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Implied. Yukino showed hardly any interest in her make classmates prior to meeting Arima.
- Stepford Smiler: Her "perfect" exterior is a façade to hide the fact that everything she does is done solely to receive praise from others, and that she acts slovenly at home.
- Teen Pregnancy: The reason why she and Arima marry after graduation.
- Took a Level in Kindness: The moment she decided to drop her whole facade made her a nice individual.
The middle daughter of the Miyazawa family.
The youngest of the three Miyazawa daughters.
- Ambiguously Gay: Episode 25 revolves around Kano thinking that a new girl in class may have a crush on her. Even though it turns out to be a misunderstanding, it's implied that Kano may have genuine romantic feelings for the girl in question. It doesn't help that Kano has an Imagine Spot where the two have an Almost Kiss after a Suggestive Collision.
- Ascended Fangirl: Later, she becomes an editor of her favorite author, Aya Sawada, one of Yukino's high school friends.
- Day in the Limelight: For some strange reason, Episode 25, the show's penultimate episode, is entirely about Kano.
- Otaku Surrogate: Kano is known for her shoujo manga and novel obsessions.
- Those Two Guys: She functions as this with Tsukino in the anime.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: She uses the knowledge from her love stories to help out Yukino when she is in a psychological pinch.
Yukino, Tsukino and Kano's parents.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: They once suggested bringing weapons to a parent-teacher meeting with childlike glee and to Yukino's despair.
- Childhood Friend Romance: They met as children and married right after high school.
- Former Teen Rebel: Hiroyuki. For worse/better? Miyako was the daughter of the police officer who lectured him the most. Oops.
- Good Parents: They don't get angry when forced to attend the school because of Yukino's briefly falling grades. Hiroyuki instead explains to her teacher that he and Miyako always considered their daughter independent enough to know exactly what she's doing and why. They just want to be there for her when she needs them.
- Happily Married
- Let Her Grow Up, Dear: Miyako figures out that Yukino's pregnant before anyone else does (including Soichiro), and acts as her confidante. She warns Yukino that when she recently brought up the subject of her relationship with Soichiro to her father Takashi, his reaction was that "Yukino's too young to even kiss."
- Overprotective Dad: Hiroyuki.
The Arima family
The male protagonist of the series, starts out as Yukino's rival at school, and ends up as her boyfriend. A handsome and popular boy, Soichiro excels at kendo and becomes a national champion. He is at first smitten with Yukino, unaware that she secretly hates him and constantly tries to compete with him. After unwittingly discovering that Yukino is not the model student everyone thinks she is, Soichiro blackmails her into doing his school work so that he can spend more time with her. After resolving the issue and becoming each other's first true friend, they eventually fall in love. Yukino learns that Soichiro, like her, is making an effort to "be perfect" for a reason...
- Academic Athlete: A top scorer in academics and a proficient kendo player.
- Always Someone Better: To Yukino at first.
- Birds of a Feather: He and Yukino are attractive, smart, athletic, and talented young adults who turn out to be Broken Aces who use a façade for their own reasons. They each, at different points, learn to be their true selves.
- Bishōnen: A noted handsome young man.
- Broken Ace: Due to having been horribly abused as a child, and later gaining massive insecurities.
- Broken Bird: The abuse he suffered as a child from his mother and the isolation from the rest of the Arima family (sans adoptive parents), gave Arima a dark side.
- Character Development: After a number of emotional conflicts (many that became violent), Soichiro finally understands that to love, he must be willing to trust and be trusted, even enduring the suffering that comes out of love. Yukino is able to convince Soichiro that she truly loves him for who he is, and that she is willing to support and suffer for him. From that point on, Soichiro truly and completely opens up to Yukino, his friends, and his beloved adopted parents.
- Chick Magnet: Received confession from his female classmates during his elementary and middle school years. And even in the present, Arima's good looks are commented on.
- Child Prodigy: Arima could read and pronunciate a lot faster than most children his age.
- Class Representative
- Club President
- Covert Pervert: Played for Drama. He is usually fighting against his dark side's perverted thoughts.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: The idea of Yukino spending time with another guy greatly disturbs and angers him. Goes into Yandere levels a few times.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Spent the first three years of his life being constantly abused and neglected by his mother Ryouko to horrifying levels. When found by Reiji, he was severely malnourished and emotionally damaged; then he was taken to his uncle's home and started to get better.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Stabs himself through the hand with a box cutter after he thinks he raped Yukino, an act which she did not consider as such at all.
- Fair Cop: Becomes a police officer, later detective, in the Time Skip. In fact, his long life dream was to actually be an officer since he was little.
- Freudian Excuse: Arima's troubled emotional nature stems from the severe child abuse he suffered from his mother.
- Happily Adopted: By his aunt and uncle, who he refer to as his mother and father, right in front of his birth father.
- Heroic Bastard: It's revealed later on that he was born out of wedlock. And despite his emotional issues, Arima is a genuine good person.
- Hidden Depths: Very much so. He appears to be fairly happy and nice on the outside, while that is true, it's revealed that he a number of emotional wounds inflicted by the early abuse he suffered as a child by his mother and everyone in his family (sans aunt and uncle) thinking of him as a Black Sheep.
- Like a Son to Me: His adoptive parents, who are also his paternal uncle and aunt by marriage, genuinely consider him to be their son.
- Lovable Jock: A kendo player and a responsible, Nice Guy.
- Nephewism: He was Happily Adopted by his paternal uncle and aunt by marriage.
- Nice Guy: He does have issues, but is still a good person.
- Not Good with Rejection: A rare example where the person who has this is already in a relationship he fears rejection from. While he and Yukino are an Official Couple, his dark side wants to control her every move so she won't leave him.
- Nothing but Skin and Bones: By the time Reiji found him, Soichiro had nearly starved to death and his body had almost no muscle or fat left. And to make it worse, he had spent most of his life up to that point like this already.
- Official Couple: With Yukino.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Yukino's Red.
- School Idol: Like Yukino, he's admired by other students for being smart, athletic, helpful and good-looking.
- Single-Target Sexuality: It was revealed in a flashback that Yukino was the only girl he met who could "make his heart race".
- Stalker with a Crush: Arima's dark side. Any time that he comes onto the screen, you just know Arima is seconds away from shattering. This is made worse because to the outside world, he appears to be a put together, genius with his only match being Yukino, his girlfriend. It's scary to slowly see his thoughts morph from wanting to be with Yukino, to wanting to isolate her from everyone and keep her just for himself. His fighting with these thoughts proves that Arima is a good guy, but him imagining tying Yukino in chains does not bode well for their relationship. This is a rare case of this tropes in which not only is the stalker in a committed relationship with his crush, but he is also portrayed as so sympathetic that you just want to save him from himself.
- Stepford Smiler: Fearing that he may turn "bad" like his parents, he is always trying to hide behind a mask and is constantly fighting his own demons.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Aruma got all of his looks from his biological father.
- Unknown Rival: To Yukino at first.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-flipped. He punched a Jerkass for hitting Yukino. In front of his teacher.
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: When he was first adopted by his aunt and uncle, he truly didn't understand what love was, because up to that point he had never experienced anything from his birth mother but hatred and abuse. This carries into his teenage years, where he still has issues understanding his love for his girlfriend and how to act upon it.
- Yandere: His dark side has very strong whiffs of this. He keeps having desires to keep Yukino all to himself and becomes agitated about her spending time with anyone other than him.
Soichirou's uncle and aunt and his adoptive parents.
- Big Brother Bully: Averted; Souji is the only of the Arima siblings who treated their younger brother Reiji well.
- Good Parents: Much like the Miyazawas, they don't get angry at being forced to attend a parent-teacher meeting to discuss Souichirou's grades. They don't speak until prompted and simply say that they wait for the time when Souichirou asks them for something because he never thinks about himself.
- Happily Married: They have a loving marriage.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Shizune's illness eventually led to them having to take out her uterus. She and Souji didn't get a chance to actually be parents until they adopted Souichirou.
- Mama Bear: Chased away other kids from bullying Soichirou with a broom and slapped Ryoko for harassing him. And that's before she gets a chance to confront Ryouko.
- Parental Substitute: Souji was this for Reiji, but for all intents and purposes 'disowns' him after finding out about Souichirou.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Shizune. Very kind, traditional and softspoken... until it's time to face Ryoko. Then, the claws come out AT FULL FORCE.
Soichiro's aunt, and Shouji's elder sister. As the eldest child of the Arima family, Eiko wanted to follow her family's profession and become a doctor, but her father told her girls should not become doctors. This turned her cold and distant.
Youngest and illegitimate son of the Arima family and Soichiro Arima's estranged father. He's a famous musician who lives in the USA.
- Black Sheep: Of the Arima family, for being illegitimate.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disappeared Dad: He willingly removed himself from Soichirou's life after he having found out in the worst way possible that Ryoko abused and beat little!Soichirou to almost death.
- Give Him a Normal Life: What he asked Shouji and Shizune for.
- Knight Templar Parent: Was willing to kill Ryoko for Soichirou's sake.
Soichiro's sadistic cousin, and the son of Eiko.
- Bullying a Dragon: Jealously tries to bully Arima when the latter starts getting recognition from the rest of the family for his academic accomplishments. And when Arima's dark side has begun consuming him. This does not end well for Kei.
- Jerkass: Learned it from his mother.
- Smug Snake: Kei smugly notes to his and Soichirou's other jerkass cousins that they shouldn't harass Soichirou since he's already disliked by the family.
Yukino and Arima's school friends
Yukino and Soichiro's lazy and girl-crazy friend.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Would looove to get laid by the girls who adore him, but wouldn't force a girl to do anything she doesn't want to. And he also adores his friends, specially Arima. Who says that, had Asaba been a girl, he would've fallen in love with him.
- Hidden Depths: His relationship with Arima. And his bad relationship with his parents.
- Mistaken for Gay: Yukino's reaction when he told her he needs Arima to get girls.
- That Came Out Wrong: When he talks about Arima, it's no wonder why Yukino mistakes him for gay. .
- Wife Husbandry: He acts as a surrogate father for Arima and Yukino's daughter Sakura, who falls for him. Asaba at first refuses her because of his father-like relationship to her and her young age, but she won't have anything of it.
A petite, beautiful girl, who has loved Soichiro since they attended middle school together. She joins the cast later since she had a very serious accident in the first day of school, and is very jealous of Yukino. She mellows out a while later, and starts having doubts and heartaches of her own...
- Clingy Jealous Girl: When introduced.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Both her Japanese and English voices, in different ways.
- Daddy's Girl: Because her mother died so soon, Tsubasa has been one for pretty much her whole life.
- Flanderization: Her status as the unofficial 'mascot' as the group eventually leads to her becoming something of a wild animal. Compare her introduction and Miyazawa-hate phase, as well as her Romance Arc with Kazuma to later parts of the manga.
- Flirty Stepsiblings: She and Kazuma.
- Heroic BSoD: Goes through a pretty severe one when Kazuma leaves her to join the band full time because he's too immature to stay with her after realizing her feelings for him. She stops eating despite the pleas of her father (Toshiharu) and step-mother and she even refuses to listen to Yin and Yang's music, even when it's being blared out in public. It takes Kazuma coming back, telling her his feelings and begging her to look after herself again to partially recover.
- Like Parent, Like Child: Somewhat. During a discussion between Toshiharu and Kazuma's mother, the adults tell how each parent-child pair is alike. In this case, the need for extra emotional care and the need to depend on someone more than usual.
- Missing Mom: Her mother fell victim to Death by Childbirth.
- Older Than She Looks: So tiny and cute-looking that people think she's just in primary school.
- Parent with New Paramour: Tsubasa's widowed father married the Hospital Hottie who took care of her when she was in the hospital. (And she's also Kazuma's mother). Tsubasa was VERY unhappy at first.
One of Yukino's friends. A talented athlete, her tomboyish prankster attitude eventually catches up to her in the person of a person from her past, Tonami Takefumi.
- Chubby Chaser: Bought excessive amount of food for Takefumi after they started dating, because she really wanted him to become fat again.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Which is fine with her, since she wants them (albeit platonicaly,) too.
- Petite Pride
- Was It All a Lie?: Pulled this on Takefumi when she told him she only hung out with him because a teacher told her to.
A published writer at a very young age, Aya is obsessive compulsive when it comes to her writing.
- Curtains Match the Windows: Matching brown hair and eyes.
- Cute Book Worm: She loves to write.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Her closest female friend is Rika.
- Nice Girl: Aya is consistently shown to be a friendly person.
- Smoking Is Cool: Aya occasionally smokes despite her young age, which makes Rika and Yukino mad. In case of the latter, she crushes Aya's cigarette and slaps her for smoking during their first meeting.
- Teen Genius: Already a published writer while still in high school.
A gifted seamstress and craftswoman. A self-effacing person, Rika considers her life as average, and the least distinguished among her friends, but she is happy to be behind the scenes.
- Beware the Nice Ones: PLEASE don't bully her friends, okay?
- Clingy Jealous Girl: A mild platonic version with regards to Aya. She wants to be Aya's best friend and and gets depressed at the idea of her position being usurped.
- The Conscience/The Heart: For both versions of her group of friends (middle school and high school). When she gets visibly upset at the antics of the original three she manages to get them to stop immediately with a few words and a look. The group as a whole doesn't hesitate to let her have her moments of enjoyment during the field trip.
- The Generic Guy: Thinks she's this (in a non-Self-Deprecation way) because she sees her friends' talents as much more significant than hers. Yukino points out how ridiculous this is in their group of friends when they admire her work while she's not there.
- Girlish Pigtails: She styles her hair this way, indicating how she's the most feminine girl in the group.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Her closest female friend is Aya.
- Textile Work Is Feminine: Very girlish and very good at making clothes.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: One in training.
The star of her middle school, but she falls out of the limelight when she arrives at Hokuei High School because of Yukino. Maho becomes jealous of Yukino, which mirrors Yukino's jealousy of Soichirou...
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Very tall, very pretty, very stoic.
- Alpha Bitch: At first.
- Beauty Mark: Under her left eye.
- Easily Forgiven: Justified, because Yukino realises how cliche and ineffective the Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics were, and yet how Maho may have felt justified to employ them. Therefore, she doesn't hold a grudge once Maho is Hoist by Her Own Petard.
- Even Girls Want Her: She is acknowledged by Sakura as the Aloof Dark-Haired Girl of the group and therefore acceptable for one of her tastes.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Over Yukino's two-faced nature and how she is still friends with the two most popular boys (and boyfriend of one). It doesn't last.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Once she lets go of her jealousy and becomes friends with Yukino.
- The Snark Knight
- Stock Shoujo Bullying Tactics: Gets almost everyone in class to temporarily apply the "silencing tactic" to Yukino. And later she's at the receiving end.
A fat, sickly, and spoiled child who was constantly picked on in elementary school. He was somewhat protected by the tomboy Tsubaki, who, while protecting him from other bullies, would bully Takefumi herself. Things turn out to be very, VERY different later...
- Alliterative Name: Takefumi Tonami.
- Beautiful All Along/He Is All Grown Up: After he loses weight and improves his attitude, he becomes a total chick magnet.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: As a child was PISSED when he learned that Tsubaki protected him because she was asked to by the teachers, as he thought she did it willingly.
- Formerly Fat: Read the description above, then compare him to his looks in-story.
- Jerkass: During middle school when he was still fat. He was such a Jerkass that Rika of all people admitted to the high school Tonami that she wanted to hate him back then.
- Revenge of the Nerd: Attempted, as he was still angry at Tsubaki for their past and tried to use his new looks and charm against her, helped by how she didn't recognize him at first. Then he falls in love for real with her, and she likes him back.
- Took a Level in Badass: Was an obese sheltered nerd who was always bullied for his arrogant demeanor. By the time he goes back to his town in high school, he becomes a large muscular hunk is overtowers the rest of the male cast. He becomes at least strong enough to overpower Tsubaki in brute strength and the best basketball player on the school team (someting that frustrates Tsubaki).
- Walking the Earth: He and Tsubaki, later.
A rough-looking young man, the son of a beautiful nurse who later marries the father of a young girl that she took care of in the hospital. Said guy is Tsubasa's father. Later, Kazuma starts looking at his stepsister with other eyes... and she likes him back.
- Face of a Thug: He once saved Tsubasa from a Dirty Old Man... but when the police arrived, they thought he was the assaulter! She had to bail him out.
- There is nothing wrong with his face. It was his fashion sense and his blonde hair that caught the attention of the police. He's more or less normal looking.
- Flirty Stepsiblings: With Tsubasa.
- Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind: He looks and dresses like a delinquent and punk, but is a total sweetheart.
- Informed Ability: Is apparently a very good singer. Since all we get in the anime is the band's instrumental music, we're left with our own imaginations, especially when he starts writing his own songs.
- Love Epiphany: Has one when he realises he loves Tsubasa even though he loves music as well. It hits him hard when he realises the pull of music is still stronger and causes him to leave the Shibahime home.
Kazuma's mother. She works at the hospital where Tsubasa was being monitored and cared for after her accident. It was during that time when she and Tsubasa's father met and eventually fell in love. It took showing her rougher side (albeit accidentally) for Tsubasa to finally accept her and the relationship between Ms. Ikeda and her father.
- Education Mama: Subverted. She knows Kazuma is pretty Book Dumb and accepts when he says he wants to leave school to concentrate on the rock band.
- Happily Married: (Eventually) with Tsubasa's father.
- Like Parent, Like Child: Somewhat. During a discussion between her and Tsubasa's father (Toshiharu), they realise that each parent-child duo has similar traits. In this case, an ability to be take care of oneself and not be super dependent on others.
- Not So Different: To Yukino, who also exhibited a goody-two-shoes demeanour which hid a more aggressive side. She roughs up her son when she finds out he revealed their comparably poor home to Tsubasa. This somewhat two-faced nature finally managed to soften up Tsubasa (who is reminded of Yukino) to the point that she accepts the relationship between her father and Kazuma's mother.
Soichiro's biological mother.
- Abusive Mom: Ryoko became the tormentor of Soichiro's life for three years. Constantly beating him till he bled, bruising him till he was unrecognizable (labeling him as a monster to other children) and starving him to death where his body was greatly malnourished. One point she even stabbed her son with a pair of scissors, leaving a small scar. Ryoko hated her son because he was no longer a leverage, during those brutal beatings she would scream at her son for being the one to make her suffer for not giving her what she wanted.
- The Baby Trap: All but stated that she did this to Reiji, not knowing that he was an Heroic Bastard.
- Evil Matriarch: An abusive mother towards Soichirou.
- Freudian Excuse: It's implied that her entire personality is because her stepfather sexually abused her and her own mother didn't believe her when she spoke about the abuse.
- Jerkass: She was a woman without remose and didn't care what it took to get what she wanted.
- Manipulative Bitch: Got pregnant by Reiji so she could get a lot of his money.
- Rape as Backstory: Before meeting Reiji Arima, Ryoko suffered during her junior year of middle school when her stepfather sexually abused her.
- Offing the Offspring: After finding out Reiji wasn't going to be able to provide her with easy money for life through Soichiro, she beats Soichiro bloody and leaves him to die from starvation in the snow. He only survived thanks to Reiji's sudden arrival.
- Pet the Dog: While it's unknown if she has changed, Ryoko apologized to her son and disappeared sixteen years later.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Ryoko was mentioned by Soichiro sixteen years later after that and her whereabouts remain unknown.