Best Character Introductions

Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
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You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Character introductions are important, as they can establish a character as a funny comic relief character, a caring or warm hearted individual, or simply establish the person as someone you don't want to mess with. If done well they can sum up the characters personality immediately, and immortalize them in the minds of an audience. Feel free to skip the novel.

Sephiroth
The first one I'll mention is sephiroth. Now, he's been overexposed at this point, and a lot of people are rather tired of hearing about him. But many individuals forget just how intriguing he was at the time, as the game kept him shadowed in mystery for the entire first part of the story. We hear his name whispered by Cloud, and by President Shinra, who seem to hold him in reverence. We don't know who this man is yet, but it's clear that he's important. When he does show up, it's one hell of an introduction. Cloud and friends were easily captured by Shinra, and thrown in jail. And yet, when you wake up, the power to the entire building has been wiped out. There's blood everywhere, and if you follow the path of destruction he's left in his wake, you find his sword sitting in the back of the man who, at this point, was the primary antagonist. Where you failed, sephiroth walked in and achieved his goal effortlessly. Bare in mind, we haven't even seen him yet. This is importent, because the game spends a massive amount of time building up his reputation before introducing him to us.

When we do meet him in the flashback, he's a cold but decent human being. We get to know his strengths and weaknesses, and sympathize with him as a person. When he cracks, the game delivers the scene flawlessly. The music is low and sinister, but it builds upon itself as you get closer to the burning of nebelheim. Finally he lays waste to the town, and we're given one of the greatest moments in gaming history.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrX7aFlSZBQ
The game then continues to build him up. After facing the midgar serpent, an enemy that's unbeatable at this point in the game, we see it killed and displayed as a testament to Sephiroths glory. The game uses the mechanics to emphasize the power of the enemy we're dealing with. It spends a lot of time and care establishing its villain before we ever get the opportunity to actually speak with him. This adds to his aura and characterization, and, love him or hate him, his introduction is nearly flawless.

General Grievous
I'm talking about the cartoon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IrsE7nRQGE
As bad as the prequels were, I do believe this scene has merit. A new character kills off a host of established, skilled fighters. He does it in a psychological, brutal fashion, and he always seems to have a trick up his sleeve as the series progresses. He's a monster, but he's incredibly intelligent and dangerous. When he arrives, it's clear that major characters are going to die, and the audience realizes that the plot armor is gone. Though he was ruined in the films, I do believe his introduction here was one of the most memorable I've seen for a character.

Elfen Lied (STRONG graphic content warning)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFvhKxWumcc
I love this scene. It does so many things right, and even though the script had its problems, the execution is damn near perfect. First of all, it sets the tone immediately. The scene starts off silent and methodical, giving you time to think. Lucy begins to hum, which both sets the creepy atmosphere for the scene and foreshadows her relationship with the protagonist, who she's been desperate to see for several years. The nature of the show is also set by the graphic nudity and violence. Now, while there is certainly fanservice in this series, and it should have been cut out, I don't believe this is the case in this scene. The helmet dehumanizes her, and the nudity connects the sexuality and violence in such a way that it acts as a visceral attack on the audience, similar to the nurses in Silent Hill 2. She also bares resemblance to a classical painting I once saw of a naked angel wearing a helmet, preparing for revelations. This may be a coincidence, but it did capture my attention, and we know from the intro that the creators appreciate classic art. It's not really an erotic scene (unless you're into that kind of thing). Rather, it's psychological and alienates Lucy's character from the audience and humanity in general. The horrible violence that follows establishes her character. She kills dozens of people without any effort or remorse, and even seems to take mild pleasure in torture. However, this introduction serves as a narrative misdirection, as it turns out that she was actually a very caring individual at one point, and in some ways still is. This makes her fall from grace all the more potent.

The question then is simple. What are character introductions that were striking to you, and guaranteed that you would remember the character forever. That summed up their personality, and established them as a boone or as a threat. And why do you think the scene was so effective?
 

Dark Knifer

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May 12, 2009
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I watched that cartoon for grievous and he is much more badass then that then the coughing robot that obi-wan beat without breaking a sweat. It's nice to see a non-force user in star wars wipe the floor with a bunch of Jedi.

OT: Walt from breaking bad got an excellent introduction.

The very first shot is his shirt falling down in slow motion as the RV truck drives past. Walt is there in his underwear in a gas mask with an unconscious guy next to him and presumably bodies in the back. He then pulls over/crashes and makes a video telling his family he is sorry then grabs a gun prepared to fight the cops. It's a great intro because it shows that he is not professional and he is in over his head but shows he is also willing to go to great lengths to achieve his ends. It's a great set up for his entire character arc of the series.

That's my favorite intro at least.
 

Guffe

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Jul 12, 2009
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I think Dr. Steins introduction in Soul Eater (manga/anime) was good.
You got the goofiness and craziness of the character at first and then, just like that, BAM, the strength was also there to be seen. Very well executed introduction if you ask me.
 

Lawbringer

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Oct 7, 2009
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If you're talking about Star Wars, Darth Maul's awesome intro tried very hard to save an otherwise weak film:


Not sure if it's the best intro of all time, but first one that comes to mind.
 

Patrick Buck

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Nov 14, 2011
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I love this intro, not as much as loads of people, but gotta admit, the introduction of Death in Supernatural was phenomenal.

 

Scarim Coral

Jumped the ship
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Marcus from the Borderland series come to my mind mainly 2 (haven't played the first one)-

It pretty much sum him up as a badass and a cheapskate.
 

The Wykydtron

"Emotions are very important!"
Sep 23, 2010
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I suppose Bayonetta from, well, Bayonetta has a good intro. The entire first level is them setting up her character as a badass chick killing Angels with gunboots with the very slight nice side to her when she lands on (read:crushes) her partner's car and she has a stunned "oh my god, did I just do that" look on her face.

I would say something about Persona 4 but since it's a murder mystery, some of the important character intros will be lost on you until you've beat the game. Then they're super clever.

Adachi sure is good at throwing up on command right? Maybe it was legit though, sure he killed someone by throwing her into a TV but he couldn't have known how her body would end up. I like to think he felt at least a little guilty just for a second there.
 

Auron225

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Oct 26, 2009
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Isn't it obvious what the most hardcore bad-ass character introduction was?


Alright then, seriously? I'd have to agree that Sephiroth's whole introduction was done exceptionally well. Very foreboding and whatnot.
 

TakerFoxx

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Jan 27, 2011
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Thrax in Osmosis Jones had a fantastic one. For a movie supposed to make us dread germs, they really went out of their way to make them look awesome.

 

spartan231490

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Jan 14, 2010
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Frankly, none stand out to me in games, but a couple of anime character introductions stand out. The intro to the MC in Chrome shelled Regios for one. The introduction to the MC from Kaze No Stigma as well.
 

JimB

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It's hard to go wrong with Auron. Godzilla is attacking, so far we've been stuck in the perspective of fifteen-year-old girl, and then out swaggers a titan who has shit so under control he doesn't even need his left hand.
 
Jan 27, 2011
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Best character introduction?

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE CORRECT ANSWER!

Ladies and gentlemen, CAPTAIN! JACK! SPARROW!

Seriously, it tells us everything we need to know about the guy.

In order:
He's a badass.
He's a goofball.
He's a pirate (with some kind of romanticized idea of piracy).
He's an insanely lucky son of a ***** with a dramatic streak and devil-may-care outlook on life.
He's a sly and sneaky trickster who doesn't mind losing now if it means he wins later.

And the scene itself is terminally badass to boot. XD
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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Pagan's intro from Far Cry 4 is quite amazing. They give you a pretty clear vision of the guy in three minutes.

 

Ikaruga33

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Apr 10, 2011
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I really liked Joseph Joestars intro
It's simple but effective
We see the dopey, naive kind of side to him when Smokey steals the wallet
We then see that he has a core sense of justice when he saves smokey from the racist police men
It also demonstrates that he 'dun give a fuck' and has a cocky attitude
Finally, the bit where he shoots off the cops fingers with the ripple bottle cap sets him up to be a wily trickster type

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0miyPXfTszo
 

bomber567

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Nov 23, 2009
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The two major movie intros for the Joker, both the Jack Nicholson version and the Heath Ledger version. Both of them do justice to one of the best comic book villains of all time in their own way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63iuB-cSY7Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OYBEquZ_j0
 

Autumnflame

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Sep 18, 2008
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I like Shepard intro in ME with the music it set up a great woah moment.

And a bunch of good ones have to be the. meet the ...... from TF2 before its launch they were hilarious
 

Foxblade618

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Apr 27, 2011
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Daniel Craig's Bond in "Casino Royale" is pretty awesome. Establishes a new Bond for a new, more jaded audience quickly and jarringly, but with a lot of satisfaction.

Also, almost any villain ever.

And because I'm a sucker for Garrus, Garrus in ME2.