No matter how much you love anime, you have to admit that sometimes it's not the most original. In fact, it can feel like you're watching the same character in different anime. This is especially true when it comes to tragic origin stories. Sometimes, anime characters with similar backgrounds have generic things in common, like dead parents and child abuse. Other times, it gets so bizarrely specific you have to wonder if it's intentional.
While watching anime characters with the same story can get old, it can also be oddly enjoyable. Let's say you really love Kotomi Ichinose from CLANNAD. If you do, then imagining her as a Sailor Scout is a fun mental exercise, one that's made a heck of a lot easier by the fact that Kotomi and Sailor Jupiter have uncannily similar back stories. Besides, if you didn't like repetition at least a little bit, you probably wouldn't be watching anime in the first place. With that in mind, let's examine these pairs of anime characters who are basically sad clones of each other.
Misa Amane, Light's bubbly murder-girlfriend from Death Note, actually has a lot in common with Ciel Phantomhive, the adolescent aristocrat from Black Butler. Both of their parents were brutally murdered, leaving them orphaned. Both of them meet and strike up deals with supernatural beings dedicated to serving them, with Misa meeting the Rem the Shinigami, and Ciel meeting Sebastian Michaelis the demon.
Both of these supernatural beings would kill for their masters. Really, the only difference is that Rem does it out of love for Misa, while Sebastian does it with the eventual goal of harvesting Ciel's soul.
Makoto Kino, also known as Sailor Jupiter or Lita, has an unexpectedly tragic back story for someone so upbeat. Her parents died in a plane crash, which led to a persistent fear of planes. Kotomi Ichinose, one of the main characters from the heartwrenching CLANNAD, lost her parents in the exact same way. Like Makoto, she's terrified of planes and other motor vehicles. Also, both girls lead independent lives, and find it difficult to rely on others.
Both Eren from Attack on Titan and Sasuke from Naruto are traumatized, furious teenagers who are hellbent on revenge after the deaths of their families. Sasuke's older brother Itachi slaughtered their entire clan, while in Eren's case, his mother was gobbled up by a man-eating Titan. At face value, these seem like pretty different causes of death, but they actually have a lot in common.
Viewers spend most of the time having no idea why Itachi killed his family, or what's causing the Titans to run rampant. Eventually, we find out in both cases the reasons aren't personal so much as they are vast government conspiracies. Until then, the focus is squarely on Sasuke and Eren's lust for vengeance against whoever (or whatever) they think took their families away from them.
Okay, so Ed Phoenix from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is actually just Batman, but Batman isn't an anime character, so instead let's talk about how he's really Miles Edgeworth from Ace Attorney. Both characters lost their fathers to murder. Both found replacements for their father in the form of professional mentors. Both discovered that their beloved mentor was, in fact, the person who killed their father. Oh, and both of them hang out with psychic people and have eerily similar haircuts. Definitely a lot of parallels.