I just think they're neat!
This is my shrine for Emmet (white coat, smiling) and Ingo (black coat, frowning) from the Pokemon series! They first appeared in Pokemon Black and White for the Nintendo DS, released in September 2010. Ingo and Emmet are brothers in Nimbasa City and run the Battle Subway where your player character can fight in double or single battles of varying difficulty! They run the train system and make sure passengers get on safely :)
I didn't think too much of the subway bosses when I first played through Pokemon White in 2010. I liked how they posed, and oh my god I knew they had good ass character designs (just look at em!!) but I was completely unaware of their popularity in Japan. Like, they're SUPER popular over there for some reason. Lately, they had a bit of a resurgence (with the release of Pokemon Legends Arceus coming out in 2022). Like many players, I fell in love with them and discovered a trove of fan made content from the early 2010s (even though it took me a hot second to remember which subway boss is which). AMVs set to edited vocaloid tracks are still huge apparently. Here are a few of my favorites:
I'd like to speculate why they are so popular-
First, their designs. They compliment each other! They have distinct silhouettes and cool looking uniforms.
They are middle aged men with a nine to five customer service job. They deal with (the pokemon equivalent of) New Yorkers all day. idk this is just hilarious to me.
They have a subtle difference in personalities, though a lot of this is up to fan interpretation (my favorite). Ingo has a louder voice, but is more polite than Emmet. He can come off as more serious (frowny face). Emmet is intimidating and eager to battle, just because he's smiling doesn't mean he's friendly (what working in New York public transportation will do to a mfer).
They care about one another. The #1 rule in creating characters is to give them someone to care about. If you played through pkm Arceus you know.
There is something very appealing about conductors. They handle loud, heavy, and dangerous machinery all with a smile :)
Pictured: having a normal one on the subway masters discord server.