Zelda - I really, really love her characterization in this game. It's impossible to go into it without spoiling, so I'll put it in a spoiler tag.
They really went above and beyond with her this time. She grew up being told that she was supposed to follow this destiny, and she felt like a failure because she just couldn't do it. The King said gossip mongers were calling her the heir to a throne of nothing, can you imagine what that must be like to hear when you've been trying your whole life to do something and still fail every time? And even after all that she was still trying to contribute in her own way, and it ended up with her being a scholar. You really gotta admire her, it was obvious that her constant failures were making her depressed and created a sense of self-loathing in her. Yet there she was, still trying to be of use to the cause. I think this might be one of the best incarnations of her yet.
Mipha - She's my favorite Champion. I like the childhood friend thing she and Link had going and she was a very kind person, like no wonder the Zoras adored her.
Even though she isn't the first Zora princess to be in love with Link, her feelings for him were developed differently than Ruto's and I think it was done better in this way. Her speech when you free her spirit almost had me in tears.
Paya - She's not a major character in any sense of the word, but I totally adore her. As Impa's granddaughter she tries to do everything she can for the village and that takes the form of keeping the traditions alive. Her personality is very entertaining I can't help but go talk to her every time I'm in Kakariko. She was also one of the few minor characters with some actual progression in her character throughout the game. I really appreciated that.
Link - It might seem kind of weird to pick Link since he's always kind of lacking in characterization but the reason I'm picking him is for spoilery reasons.
If you read Zelda's diary in the castle, she talks about finally getting Link to open up to her. She talks about how he's a glutton which is hilarious, but what really gets me is how she talks about why he's always silent. This incarnation of Link is living with the pressure of being a Champion, and it takes its toll on him. Link is silent because he thinks that in being chosen he has to always be strong and show no fear. The pressures of his destiny have made him stop outwardly expressing his emotions. That's the most characterization Link has ever had. They also discuss how Link is following in his father's footsteps in one of the memories, one of the few times in the entire series that Link's family is mentioned. We get a look at him as an actual developed character in this game more so than in any other game, and I think that's wonderful.
Least favorite characters? ....
Honestly it's even harder for me to answer this one. There really aren't any characters I dislike. I don't think any of them are badly written. That doesn't make every single one of them outstanding of course lol, but I really can't think of any characters I particularly dislike in this game, which is unusual for me.
The Deku Tree in this game is amazing. Great script, decent VA, he has my favourite line in BotW. He feels like a deity, he feels important, he has stature and commands respect. Finally this character is oodles of cool.
Looks like Falco, talks like Falco. He is pretty cool, a lot of fun. His voice acting is consistently on form. He isnt in enough (the tragedy of most characters) but he enhances any scene he's in.
****. This. Goron.
One of the worst characters in Zelda history. I cant bloody stand him.
I hate his design (especially his stupid hair), hate his voice, hate his personality. I know no character in BotW is beyond anime trope stereotype but Yunobo pushes the boat out too far, i hate the not-a-fighter-in-a-tribe-of-warriors (despite having Daruk's protection) idea of him. Its like the cliche 'i wanna study the arts instead of going into the family mining business' trope and it bugs me because it doesn't suit a Goron. It could have had a chance if they'd done it better but Yunobo is such a ditz of a character that nothing hits home about him or his personal struggle.
I hated the stealth section, worse than protecting the carriage in TP and protecting Scrapper in SS, it was by far the worst part of BotW.
I dont like the construction worker thing the Gorons have going on, i just dont feel like it fit at all. It was a dull and lame concept for them.
Just... **** Yunobo and the Gorons in this game. They were totally wasted.
Favorite overall characters would have to be...Kass, the Rito that assists you (the white one, his name escapes me), and the Gerudo chief (name escapes me again, I suck with names sometimes). I loved just roaming across the world and hearing the accordion. I like how staunch the Rito was without being too big of an asshole. And I liked that they didn't turn the Gerudo chief into a love interest, but instead just a girl who had big shoes to fill, and still missed her late mother very much.
Favorite race was the Gorons. Loved their design in this one. Them being miners made sense to me, honestly. Although I loved how they did Rito in this one. It made much more sense that the BIRD PEOPLE lived in completely outside houses rather than...inside caves.
Least favorite...oof, tough one. I guess I'll have to be boring and say yunobo. Loved the rest of the gorons, but Yunobo? I hated him right as he opened his annoying mouth. Stealth section with him was annoying too, agreed with Spirit on that one. Sucks that my favorite race in the game got the ****tiest companion. The rest of the companions were really great, written well enough, good voice acting when needed. Yunobo was just...blech.
Maybe I should finish the game before making this post, but **** it. I doubt much of this will change anyway, now that I kind of hit that point where I've met all the major characters and blahblahblah.
Kohga. The mememan. The mememan of botw.
He almost instantly won me over, tbh. Not much screentime though, rip. He was like, old saturday cartoon villain tier. Not to mention he's literally me. Says he spends almost all of his time napping. Anyway, other than him being like, stupid, which kind of added to his charm, tbh, he has that extra dose of witty dialogue. If there were more of it, I'm sure it would approach Gangrel (from fire emblem awakening) levels.
Kalyban. I may have spelled that wrong but I just remember her name was like a weird spelling of 'Caliban'. She's that one Gerudo who spends all of her time eating hydromelons and I admire that. Minor character, major role-model.
Kass. What a chill dude who just stands in the wilderness playing an accordion. That's the kind of person to be, really. Also he was a great meat shield one time, but that's a story for another thread.
Revali. His voice acting made me want to dislike him because it was like the most anime voice ever, but he's really a quality asshole character so I gotta love him by default.
Teba. I can't speak too much in this regard as I've only entered three of four so far, but aerial combat with him was the ****in best tbh. My favorite pre-dungeon battle... thing. I love how blunt he is about things, too. I'd say he probably has one of my favorite designs in the game.
Urbosa. Actually a badass? I figured the Gerudo champion would be cool, and I was right. She's like, super calm and collected, which there seems to not be many characters like that in this game. And she was lucky enough to have a good voice actor too, lucky her.
Bolson. Ok, thanks for the house and giving me the discount and ****, but now that you made sex noises every time I had you do **** for my house, and I had to listen to it like 12 times, can you please get off my lawn? Tbh, I'd say Bolson surpasses all of Nintendo's "stereotypically gay" characters. Like, it's kind of an insult that they do that in the first place, but Bolson was over the top. Maybe you don't think so, but let's just acknowledge the fact that they made sure his design included him having the gay ear pierced. LOL DETAIL.
Yunobo. I'm not sure how a character feels out-of-character if that's his character, but for some reason, Yunobo just doesn't fit, well, anything. He's just really out there, and I don't care for him that much. He acts like everything is a game, yet somehow acting serious about it, but serious about it as in it's a game and he's playing serious. I have no idea. I do have to agree with Spirit, though. All of the gorons in this game felt off. There're probably a few that are alright, but Yunobo definitely wasn't one of them. His voice was probably one of the worse ones, too. I'll go ahead and mention that my sister was watching me when I was doing the Death Mountain ascent and compared his giggles to Winnie the Pooh's laugh. So accurate it's not even funny. Holy ****.
Zelda. Don't even argue with me. I have my reasons. I know people like to challenge me over this, but there is so much about her in this game that gets under my skin. And I get that kind of weird suffocated feeling trying to actually describe what it is I dislike about her so much. She just... her writing was really bad to me. I have a really low tolerance to certain things. It's like they tried too hard to portray her as a certain way and it backfired so it just felt really fake and forced to me. Like, I get Zelda is supposed to be like dealing with some internal conflict and that is fine, and I enjoy flawed characters, but... the problem here, is that it just felt out of place.
They wrote her with this struggle of identity, as both a princess, and a spirit maiden of the Goddess Hylia, just for the sake of her to seem more "genuine" but the way they went about doing it just made it come across as even more fake than it would have been had she just... went with it. Which really sucks. I wanted to like her. I really did. Even when she looked stupid and had a horrible voice actor, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and she still disappointed me. You know it's bad when Zelda depends on another character to make her look better. The only time I could see a moment where I didn't absolutely despise Zelda was during Urbosa's cutscene. Her sugarcoating everything about Zelda, promoted her from "absolute worst character in the game" to "eh" but then Zelda started talking in the cutscene and it was over. Back to being the worst. But I do feel bad for her. During that one memory, after Ganon kills everyone, I really did feel for her.
Most of botw's characters are only average. Very few of them are remarkable, so even though I listed a handful of "favorites" none of them are super significant to me. You can sort of tell by how short my follow ups are compared to the least favorites. That's why there were so many. If I had to say who the best character was? To be honest, I don't know. None of the characters were actually like, great. They were all watered down with obnoxious anime tropes, which really sucks. But, since the focus of the game isn't really on the characters themselves, it doesn't bother me that much. I'll explore mountains and ****; they can go be obnoxiously anime away from me.