10 Best Things About Shonen Jump’s Worst Heroes

10 Best Things About Shonen Jump's Worst Heroes

The manga anthology book Weekly Shonen Jump is easily the most prominent and well-known publisher in the medium, responsible for setting the standard for the entire genre. The heroic tales of iconic shonen heroes that came from Jump‘s pages are loved and enjoyed all over the world. Nevertheless, not every shonen hero is as impeccable and lovable as the likes of One Piece‘s Luffy or JJK‘s Itadori.

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Some of them are deeply flawed, either in their personality, characterization, or behavior. Yet, even these hateable heroes have redeeming traits. Though these Shonen Jumpheroes are full of imperfections, their admirable qualities shine through.



10 Denji Grows As A Person

Chainsaw Man

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Set to demolish every convention of shonen writing, Chainsaw Man makes its hero as different from the genre’s typical protagonists as possible. Unfortunately, distinctiveness also makes Denji a nightmare of a person. The audience encounters Denji as a selfish, impudent teenager driven by lust and a desire to satisfy his basic needs.

However, that begins to change once Denji forms friendships and spends more time with his fellow Devil Hunters. By the end of his arc, Denji remains brash and simple-minded but learns the value of humaneness and love.

9 Gintoki Fights With All His Might When It Matters


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Gintoki reads Shonen Jump in Gintama

Despite being one of Shonen Jump’s funniest protagonists, Sakata Gintoki from Gintama is as far from a picture-perfect hero as one can get. Sluggish, unambitious, and morally corrupt, Gintoki prefers lazing around, gambling, and getting into absurd shenanigans to fulfilling any heroic duties.

However, when someone threatens the safety of those he loves most, Gintoki becomes a different beast. His lethargic attitude simply masks the man’s inhuman strength. When push comes to shove, he never hesitates to give his all in a fight for a righteous cause.

8 Toriko Feels Unique Despite Generic Characterization


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Toriko shirtless and grinning beneath a cloudy sky in Toriko.

Toriko’s world makes lighthearted fun of shonen tropes by flipping the script and reenacting larger-than-life shonen scenarios in a world where everyone is obsessed with gourmet cooking. Yet, its creative premise was met with mixed reviews.

The Gourmet Hunter Toriko is the embodiment of a super masculine ’80s action hero. Yet, instead of fighting demons and monsters, he searches the land for rare and valuable foods. A walking cliché, Toriko is saved by just how hilariously absurd his mission seems when compared to conventional shonen titles

7 Asta Is Hardworking To A Fault

Black Clover

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Asta wants to be Wizard King in Black Clover.

At first, Black Clover didn’t stand out in the sea of Shonen Jump’s magical action adventures. What gave the show the unexpected notoriety was its infamous protagonist, the loud and obnoxious Anti-Magic user Asta.

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While most despise Asta for his annoying screaming and generic underdog characterization, he still has tons of devoted fans. Born into a magical world with no supernatural potential, Asta had no choice but to work himself to the bone to amount to something. His undying enthusiasm and diligence add charm to his character.

6 Nagisa Has A Lot Of Character Depth

Assassination Classroom

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Nagisa Shiota from Assassination Classroom

Unlike most shonen heroes basking in the limelight, the protagonist of Assassination Classroom, Nagisa Shiota, is one of the most underrated characters in his own series. Most fans find the timid, forgettable boy much less compelling than the show’s alien anti-hero Koro-sensei or strong, intelligent, and calculative deuteragonist Karma.

Yet, Nagisa’s arc is packed with touching nuances and incredible profundity. The reveal of his abusive home situation alongside the boy’s formerly hidden talents as an assassin unravels investing emotional depths most didn’t expect from Nagisa’s spiritless introduction.

5 Tsukune Never Thinks Twice About Protecting His Friends

Rosario + Vampire

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Tsukune and (Inner) Moka, Rosario + Vampire

Most are familiar with Rosario + Vampire through its poorly received anime adaptation, which didn’t paint the series’ hero in a positive light. However, Tsukune has no shortage of flaws even in the original. After failing to get into a normal high school, an ordinary teenager Tsukune enters Yokai Academy, a boarding school for monsters.

Despite his lackluster personality, most girls in the school begin battling for his attention. What they see in Tsukune is his selfless determination to protect his friends despite his lack of vampiric powers.

4 Tanjiro’s Compassion Is Absolute

Demon Slayer

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A close-up of Tanjiro attacking with this sword and looking fierce in Demon Slayer

Despite its sky-high popularity, Demon Slayer is criticized as often as it’s praised. While the series knows how to maximize the effect of shonen tropes, it relies on formulaic writing too heavily. As a result, even the show’s protagonist feels like a bland amalgamation of every shonen hero stereotype.

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Nevertheless, the admirable quality that distinguishes Tanjiro from the rest is his unconditional compassion and empathy. Tanjiro is a rare hero who is kind to even the vilest of his enemies, showing benevolence even to those he slays.

3 JJBA Wouldn’t Exist Without Jonathan

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Jonathan Joestar gets ready to fight in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood

Nowadays, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is considered the pinnacle of creative shonen writing. Over the decades of serialization, the series produced such iconic protagonists as Part 2’s Joseph Joestar, Part 3’s Jotaro Kujo, and Part 5’s Giorno Giovanna. However, the hero who started it all, Jonathan, doesn’t get as much love.

Bored by his mild personality and cartoonishly noble ideals, fans forget how much the first JoJo contributed to the series’ current identity. Without the foundations laid by Jonathan, JJBA’s legacy would be incomplete.

2 Rito Actually Respects The Girls In His Harem


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Lala clings on to Rito in To Love Ru.

Similarly to most harem series, Shonen Jump‘s sci-fi ecchi flick To LOVE-Ru gets a lot of flack for over-the-top fanservice and lack of meaningful characterization. The show’s hero Rito Yuuki is guilty of many negative tropes associated with harem protagonists.

Rito never fails to accidentally find himself in compromising situations with attractive girls, and his overbearing shyness around them makes these unsavory experiences even more awkward. However, unlike most of his fellow harem leads, Rito has actual respect for the women around him and treats girls with affectionate selflessness.

1 Light’s Intelligence Should Not Be Understated

Death Note

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Yagami Light from Death Note looking panicked.

What makes Death Note‘s Light Yagami such a unique shonen hero is his rampant descent into villainy accelerated by the corrupting power of the titular supernatural artifact. A malicious, blindingly self-confident, and amoral anti-hero, Light is not the kind of protagonist the audience is supposed to like.

Yet, Light wouldn’t get as far in his plan to rid the world of criminals without some redeeming qualities. Light’s intelligence, perceptiveness, and top-tier problem-solving skills not only made the story gripping but also ensured that fans found him somewhat admirable.

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