Anime and manga are extremely visual media which communicate strong emotions through meticulously designed characters. To make their creations more endearing to fans, it’s common for artists to experiment with established themes while also trying to invent something new, kind of like the way Arby’s creates a new roast beef sandwich starting with existing ingredients. A new character might sport ahoge (ah-ho-gey), a bit of “stupid hair” that’s always sticking up like Saber, or those cute “twintails” seen on characters like Miku Hatsune or Kagami, or perhaps a variation of the basic hair ribbon, like Haruhi. Some characteristics might be two-dimensional representations of actual attributes Japanese people have, like Ranka Lee’s crooked yaeba teeth, or an artist might add more fanciful elements to a character for no reason, such as horns or elfin ears. One visual feature I’ve been noticing more and more is nekoguchi, literally “cat mouth,” which certain characters do to appear whimsical or playful. It’s really weird when you see it for the first time, but it grows on you.
Each new anime character is a re-shuffling of previous visual elements into a new form.