Actually it was VF4 not VF3, my apologies. I haven't played VF3 i think.
In my opinion though, aoi is just a novelty character... her moves are just flashy but not that great. Too easy for an attacking character to beat her.
I love shun since vf2. his are just hillarious and great too because its very confusing to fight him. suddenly he'll do a hopping backwards kick, or just fall down kick. or gets you into that rolling throw which is just too cool.
The best has to be Akira. this guys has good strong moves, counters, guard breaks, you name it he has it. Just lacks frontal assault speed. But then, VF caters to an intelligent patient player without all that button bashing and outrageous 12 hit combos.
Not that i'm dicing tekken. has been my fav since tekken 2. And paul is the cheesiest of them all.
All in all, can't wait till sangaku musau 3 or soul caliber comes out. Nothing beats fighting with weapons.
Ah, if swords are your thing, try out Kengo 2 and way of the samurai. they are fantastic. Kengo 2 even has a kotegaishi throw, sacrifice throw and plenty of iaijitsu stuff as well.