I never understood what it meant to watch a show for a character until Earl and Fairy. It’s a good show, with lots of bishonen, a strong female lead, and an interesting fairy folklore angle, but I’m not so into domineering male love interests. Ordinarily this would mean watching one episode and keeping the show on hold indefinitely, but this was different. This show had The Greatest Butler.
It’s a bold claim, but I think Raven deserves the title. He meets all the standard requirements: says little, keeps to himself, and does his job well. With his battle skills and half-demon powers, he may seem awfully similar to thatother butler, but unlike Sebastian, Raven has no ulterior motives. He’s just that loyal. Raven’s sense of duty ties into his tragic back story, which involves him being enslaved and forced to become an emotionless battle machine until, of course, he’s saved and given a reason to live. Cliche, but effective.
There’s just something about how dehumanized Raven is that really appeals to me. Not just in the pity aspect, but in seeing him overcome it as well. It’s a slow process, but when he shows even just a hint of emotion, it warms my heart. Raven’s cold personality also acts as a foil to pretty much everyone else in the show, which is a welcome relief, considering how hot-headed and impulsive the other characters are. He spouts some great deadpan lines, and is probably the only anime character that hasn’t freaked out upon seeing a girl changing.
Lastly, there’s Raven’s skin color. No getting around it, the man is tan. Very tan. And he actually has black hair. It’s wonderful. Usually tan bishonen aren’t so tan, and have blond or silver hair as a racial cop-out. Then again, Raven isn’t completely off the hook in that aspect, considering his green eyes and straight hair. I still have no idea what race he’s supposed to be (it doesn’t help that his twin sister’s bone-white either), but hey! Tan bishonen! The world needs more of those!
So is Raven original? Not exactly. Is he a great character? Definitely. He’s a wonderful combination of traits, and I don’t think Earl and Fairy would have been half as entertaining without him.