I write this based on a video by Filmento, which thoroughly break down why Alita in Alita Battle Angel is so lovable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GpoCXpTSA8
In short, Filmento seemed to fall in love with Alita, and they try to break down why she is adorable, lovely, charming, charismatic, and many other adjectives used to describe someone you love. Based on the video, the first reason why we root for Alita is that she manages to show positivity and enjoy the little things, even though she is given the “worst hand possible”. I guess it’s true that we always love people who smile despite the unfair condition. The second reason is due to the way Alita always put others first. This is highly enhanced by the fact that her situation is many times as bad as those she put first, making her feel even more selfless. The final reason lies in her relentlessness. True, that she is an ultra-powerful combat cyborg which makes her able to survive all the onslaught, but it’s the fact that she stood back up despite the attacks that make us root for her. I mean, who doesn’t love the winning underdog scenes, right?
This video fascinates me not only because I agree with everything they say (Damn those big eyes!!!) It also got me thinking of what other techniques we can use to make an adorable character.
Because the video suggested that Alita is practically the same with Rapunzel, I try to look back on some traits these princesses have, and I found four more character features that makes us instantly in fell.
First one is innocence. No matter what your gender, innocence always entice your protective side. Innocent characters make you want to keep them safe and feel worried for them as they face dangers. And at the end, when these characters faced misfortune and somehow able kept their innocence, we grew to love them, even more, knowing their pure and precious nature. Maybe deep down, we love innocent characters because we long for the days we haven’t been corrupted by the gritty reality of our world.
The second one is family values. Most of us were born and raised in a family and then grew slowly apart as we reach maturity. For some of us who aren’t lucky enough to have a functional family, we commonly wish to have one. So when characters fought for their family, have a group of friends they called a family, or strive to gain a family, we will automatically sympathize for the cause.
Next is curiosity. Mixed with innocence, curiosity is highly addictive traits as it fills the characters with questions. These questions can be adorable, which makes the audience wants to help the characters, or it can be profound questions that show the character’s depth despite its lack of knowledge. An all-knowing character will be respectable, but a curious character is more relatable.
The final formula to create adorable characters is a vulnerability. We all love when characters can show a sensitive side. Not to be mistaken by weakness, we see vulnerability when characters embrace their flaw, seek for emotional asylum, or simply speak out their hearts. A vulnerable character let us understand their motivation, even felt sympathy towards it, making it easy for us to put our guard down and start loving them.
With this character development technique, we can turn even bland plotline into hooking a narrative. Maybe the introduction of such character will not make a story instantly great, but sometimes it’s not only about the narrative, but it is also about who’s in it.