In cartoons, anime, and comic book series, the lucky character trope is one of the most widely used. Lucky characters find themselves escaping from ridiculous situations or having immense good fortune, whether that be coming into some money or just gaining an advantage over their foes.
While some characters just seem to have good things happen to them, the good luck experienced by other characters can be a core part of their personality. Some characters can manipulate luck, affecting their own fortunes or those of others, and it makes for some of the most interesting viewing (or reading) available.
How Luck is Featured in Comics, Cartoons, and Anime
Comics, cartoons, and anime all feature the lucky character trope in some capacity. We tend to see it often in media that involves games and gambling, but also more generally when characters are put in difficult situations and inexplicably come out on top.
One such famous lucky character is Gladstone Gander, the incredibly lucky relative of the elderly comic book character Scrooge McDuck as well as Donald Duck. Gladstone, who has appeared in the comics as well as the hugely popular DuckTales TV show, according to The AV Club, is lucky with both money as well as his ability to avoid danger. Since the character was introduced in 1948, readers and viewers have seen the character find cash and wallets on sidewalks and locate treasure maps. However, the character is interested in very little other than making money, and he doesn’t have any notable achievements, making him the character that viewers and readers love to hate.
In other media, such as the Akagi anime and manga series, luck is explicitly used for comedic and dramatic effect. Akagi becomes a master mahjong player by accident, winning a yakuza-run game of mahjong without knowing the rules of the game. Akagi manages to impress the shady figures and becomes a legend, but the comedy of watching the character defeat professional mahjong players and worry about getting found out is brilliant to watch.
Luck is also used in comics, working together with superpowers to make for some action-packed scenes. Longshot, who is written by Klarion’s Ann Nocenti and is a fan favorite X-Men character, according to Comics Alliance, has extremely strong luck. The character’s luck powers can only be used for good, however, so Longshot can’t use it for selfish purposes. This is totally unlike Roulette of the Hellions from the New Mutants line of comics. Roulette is able to create luck-affecting discs of energy (good or bad luck), which she has used against the X-Men.
Are These Characters Lucky, Or Do They Make Their Own Luck?
Some would argue that these characters aren’t lucky but instead make their own luck. That’s literally the case for Roulette, whose luck discs affect the probability field of the victim. While the probability does boil down to luck, it really only makes it more (or less) likely that something is going to happen. Kotaku discusses the 27-year run of the Akagi manga and how readers have enjoyed watching the character get himself out of situations with his luck for mahjong. However, at least part of Akagi’s luck for the game comes from gambling intuition.
This is one reason why comics, anime, and cartoons with elements of luck are so interesting to watch. Viewers and readers of these types of media have unspoken perceptions about luck and whether it’s good fortune or a combination of experience and training, so it’s hugely entertaining to watch that play out on screen. It also keeps players on the edge of their seats as they wonder if or when their favorite character’s luck is going to run out.
The question of whether outcomes are dependent on probability or luck is ever present in people’s daily lives. In video games, people buy loot boxes (crates containing items) and often consider getting good items as being down to luck instead of probability. Players may also consider getting a headshot in a first-person shooter game as being completely down to luck, while other players are more calculated and see their performance as a direct result of their skill. Gambling is another such example, where those hoping to win while playing Betway online blackjack and other forms of card-based casino games consider luck to only play a small role, as having a strong blackjack strategy can help you gauge probability while playing. If you enter a game of online blackjack with an idea of when to split your cards (turn one hand into two separate hands) and when to ask for another card, you’ll be better positioned to win. People aren’t always this rational and often put more stock in luck, carrying lucky charms with them to major exams and not thinking about the study and preparation they’ve done that affects the probability of getting a good grade.
When a character has bad luck, it can feel relatable and make them the underdog who viewers or readers root for. When a character has good luck, they become a welcome antagonist, and fans want to see their luck turn. There are so many possibilities with the trope, and this explains why, across anime, cartoons, and comics, we see lucky characters show up so frequently.