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Spiky-haired protagonists (or SHPs) are characters found in video games that possess hair which inexplicably defies the normal laws of gravity. SHPs are most often found in Japanese RPGs as the character which the player takes control of for the duration of the game. Most if not all SHPs, beside their funky follicles, also possess a certain base set of personality characteristics and traits. These most often fall into one of two archetypes:
Many are often sullen or vaguely rebellious, disdainful of authority or generally angsty. They often have a questionable sense of fashion, and dress as though they have just raided the wardrobe of a sadomasochistic clown (baggy or loose fitting leather pants, many different types of belts and straps which seem to fulfill no practical purpose, etc…). Some, like Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII fame, act as they do because of their traumatic past. Others, like Neku Sakuraba, protagonist of the DS game The World Ends with You, are just generally misanthropic for no particular reason, other than the fact that it seems to fit their particular character archetype.
The other category are characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog, or Sora of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, or Cloud's best friend Zack Fair of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, who are generally good-hearted individuals who exhibit few signs of depression or rebellion. One of the most famous examples of this archetype is perhaps Dragon Ball's Goku, one of the first spiky-haired characters of gaming (and anime). Goku has a very happy-go-lucky personality, and only ever gets serious when a loved one (or the world) is in danger.