20 Best Anime With The Worst Protagonists

Boruto, Goku, and Makoto Itou

Anime is a vast medium with many interesting stories and lovable characters. However, even the greatest series have their flaws. Sometimes, their worst flaw is the main character themselves. No matter how exciting, fun, or compelling a story is, some protagonists just drag a series down.

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Whether it’s because they’re boring compared to the rest of the cast or simply because they’re unlikable, the main character isn’t always the best. Some of the best anime series in history also have the worst protagonists. While they may not affect the quality of the series, their inability to resonate with the audience is a glaring flaw that many fans can’t overlook.

Updated on January 25th, 2023 by Chelsea Steele: Nothing ruins a great anime series more than a lousy main character. Even some of the most iconic and influential series around have been tarnished by an unlikable protagonist, making them harder for fans to enjoy. As the years pass, it seems as though the number of bad protagonists only grows. This list already covers many of the worst protagonists out there, but it’s been updated with even more heroes that do nothing but bring their series down.

20 Kazuma Is The Worst Member Of His Party

KonoSuba: God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World!

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KonoSuba is one of the most beloved isekai series of all time. Though it features the typical tropes of the genre, its hilarious and lovable cast makes up for its lack of originality. However, there’s one character who’s not quite as lovable as the rest, and that’s the series’ protagonist, Kazuma Satou.

From the start, Kazuma is nothing but rude, obnoxious, and lazy, hardly putting in any effort compared to the others. In fact, he’s probably one of the most useless members of the party, aside from Aqua.His combined uselessness and annoying character traits make him hard for most fans to like, and even the biggest KonoSuba fans can’t stand him.

19 Usagi’s Crybaby Attitude Annoys Fans

Sailor Moon

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There’s no doubt about it, Sailor Moon is one of the most influential anime series of all time, and it still inspires to this day. But despite its importance to anime history, this beloved magical girl classic has one of the most obnoxious main characters ever.

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Usagi Tsukino isn’t necessarily a bad character, but even the most devoted Moonies can admit that she’s a pretty annoying heroine. She’s a huge crybaby, especially at the beginning of the series, and a pretty big coward as well. If that isn’t bad enough, she’s pretty childish and even selfish throughout much of Sailor Moon. Though she’s an iconic character, Usagi definitely has some glaring flaws as a protagonist.

18 Light Yagami Becomes Less Likable As The Series Progresses

Death Note

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Death Note‘s Light Yagami is one of the most iconic examples of a villainous hero in anime. He’s a fascinating character from the start, and early on in the series, he seems more misguided than anything. However, it doesn’t take long for Light to descend into darkness, and as the story continues, he becomes more and more despicable.

By the series’ end, he’s gone from an anti-hero to a full-fledged villain, and some of his actions are so horrendous, they make him completely unlikeable. Now, years after Death Note‘s conclusion, many can’t help but look back and despise Light for the many atrocities he commits throughout the series.

17 Naruto Is Way Too Obnoxious At First


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Naruto Uzumaki is probably one of the most beloved shonen heroes of all time. It’s hard to imagine anyone saying that such an iconic character is the worst now, but early on in the series, Naruto was probably one of the most annoying characters in the cast.

Even the biggest Narutofans have to admit that as a kid, the titular hero is painfully obnoxious. With his childish antics, cocky attitude, and loud mouth, many early fans couldn’t stand him. Luckily, Naruto improves a lot with age, and later on into Shippudenhe’s a much better character.

16 Makoto Itou Is One Of The Most Hated Protagonists In Anime

School Days

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Anime fans’ opinions on the infamous School Days tend to vary, but nowadays, many look back on this series fondly. Though its shockingly dark turn has left viewers horrified, fans argue that that’s exactly what makes the series so great. While opinions on the series may change, one thing remains the same — literally everyone hates the series protagonist, Makoto Itou.

Many consider Makoto the true villain of the series, and it’s not far off. After all, his selfishness and manipulative behavior destroy the lives of everyone involved with him. Throughout the series, he refuses to take responsibility for what he’s done, and so, he pays the ultimate price. Makoto is undoubtedly the worst character in School Days, and absolutely no one is sad to see him go.

15 Asta’s Obnoxious Personality Turns Away Some Fans

Black Clover

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The Black Clover anime might have gone on hiatus after catching up to its source material, but that doesn’t mean the series is any less popular than it was during syndication. With the franchise’s first film inbound and its manga moving into the final arc, there is only one thing holding the series back – its protagonist, Asta.

The most unique aspect of Black Clover‘s world-building is its adherence to the rules of magic. However, Asta is the one major exception. His lack of magic aggravates many of those around him. Unfortunately for fans, his constant screaming and yelling, especially in the series’ dubbed version, evokes similar negative emotions.

14 Tokyo Ghoul’s Ken Kaneki Is A Poor Character Outside Of Season 2

Tokyo Ghoul

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Tokyo Ghoul took anime audiences by storm with its edgy material and grotesque powers, making it one of the most successful anime titles in history, let alone the 2010s. While the anime’s deviation from the manga arguably leaves a negative impact on its final product, the series’ protagonist Ken Kaneki is the only thing holding back its first season.

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Kaneki endlessly bemoans his ghoulish affliction, but rather than use his incredibly overpowered Kagune, he crumbles under the pressure. Although the show’s second season paints him in a more favorable light, its progress is immediately undone by the jumbled mess that is Tokyo Ghoul:re.

13 Igarashi Ganta Might Be Deadman Wonderland’s Worst Character

Deadman Wonderland

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For the most part, fictional works try to make their main characters unique in some form or fashion. Rarely does a story revolve around the most mundane of individuals, yet in the case of Deadman Wonderland, that is exactly what happened. The show follows Igarashi Ganta, a meek teenager wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his classmates.

Most people put in this situation would fold under the pressure if put in this situation. Rather than subvert audience expectations, Ganta falls apart, and his only saving grace is an unearned ability that suddenly manifests itself. The unoriginality of his character is quite possibly what kept this otherwise enjoyable series from being renewed for a second season.

12 Natsu Dragneel Doesn’t Distinguish Himself In Any One Regard

Fairy Tail

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Not every television show needs to reinvent the wheel to be successful. Series such as Fairy Tail have sustained their popularity for years despite their lack of originality. However, as evidenced by the wizard-filled anime and its protagonist, Natsu Dragneel, a disappointing main character can limit a show’s potential.

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While Natsu is at the forefront of Fairy Tail‘s core events, many fans would argue that he is one of the least-developed characters in the series. His lack of depth and nuance prevents the show from becoming anything more than pure escapism.

11 Deku’s Constant Kindness Makes Him Less Interesting

My Hero Academia

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Given that shonen titles generally have younger audiences, they often forgo more serious protagonists in favor of light-hearted, well-intentioned main characters. At face value, this makes sense. However, the genre has become saturated with these kinds of inoffensive individuals, making characters like the protagonist of My Hero Academia, Izuku Midoriya, seem a bit boring in retrospect.

Deku’s boyish charm is by no means unenjoyable. But in a show that is pushing the boundaries of the genre in other regards, he feels uninspired. Luckily for fans, My Hero Academia will likely change their perspective on his character in the near future.

10 Inuyasha Fans Tend To Dislike Kagome


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Inuyasha is one of the most popular anime of the 2000s and is still a big hit to this day. While many love this classic series, Inuyasha fans tend to agree that Kagome is one of the worst parts of its run. Many have even hated her since the beginning, finding her bossy attitude, jealousy, and treatment of Inuyasha hard to put up with.

Throughout a good portion of the series, Kagome is deadweight for the group and constantly needs saving, a trait that annoys a lot of the audience. Though she goes through a lot of character development and is much stronger by the end, fans still consider her a bad protagonist.

9 Eren Jaeger Is Hard To Root For As Attack On Titan Progresses

Attack On Titan

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Without a doubt, Attack on Titan is a huge name in anime and is one of the most popular series around. Every anime fan has heard its name, and many have been in love with the series since its beginning. While protagonist Eren Jaeger started as one of the many aspects of Attack on Titan that fans love, it doesn’t stay that way forever.

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Eren began as a young and hopeful man, fighting to protect those he loves. But as the series became grimmer, he became far more unlikeable. Eren commits some of the most atrocious acts of the series, making it harder for fans to support him. Though his reasons are understandable, the more he changes, the more fans wonder if he’s a hero or a villain.

8 Takemichi Hanagaki Disappoints Some Tokyo Revengers Fans

Tokyo Revengers

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Takemichi Hangaki is very different from the typical shonen protagonist. While plenty of protagonists start out weak, they work hard and grow stronger than ever by the end. However, this growth never seems to happen for the protagonist of Tokyo Revengers.

Takemichi’s weakness shocks even the biggest Tokyo Revengers fans. While other shonen heroes can hold their own in a fight, Takemichi gets beaten down every time. For some, it’s a refreshing change of pace. But for others, his lack of strength makes for a wimpy protagonist who fails to carry such a great series.

7 Sword Art Online Would Be Better Without Kirito

Sword Art Online

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Opinions on Sword Art Online have varied from the start. However, it can’t be denied that it’s a widely successful series in its own right that still maintains a dedicated, loyal fanbase. One thing fans and haters alike can agree on is that Kirito is an awful protagonist. Many have stated over the years how bland and uninteresting he is.

Kirito is one of the most overpowered characters and is loved by nearly every female in the franchise, but he is still somehow void of any personality. While some SAO fans come to his defense, most will say that he’s a boring self-insert character and that the series would be better without him.

6 Goku Is The Strongest (But Worst) Hero In Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball

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The Dragon Ball franchise is one of the most famous and beloved series in the history of anime. Naturally, the series protagonist is equally as loved and well-known. Despite that, plenty of fans have recognized throughout the years that Goku isn’t the best protagonist out there. He’s incredibly strong, and that’s usually why people love him so much. But when it comes to personality, he’s lacking.

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Goku is childish, selfish, and immature. He cares more about fighting and strength than anything — even more than his own family at times. He hardly develops, maintaining a selfish behavior that could even give Vegeta a run for his money. Dragon Ball is an amazing and iconic series, but its protagonist could do with some improvement.

5 Fans Of Orange Don’t Always Care For Naho


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Orange is a surprising take on the slice-of-life genre, as well as shojo itself. It resonates well with many anime fans and is highly praised, covering heavy subjects and going into much darker territory than most series like it. However, while the story and characters have grown dear to fans’ hearts, many have come to dislike the female protagonist, Naho Takamiya.

Despite her efforts to change fate and save Kakeru, she is often much more passive than characters such as Suwa, who take a proactive role in helping him. Her weakness, indecisive nature, and lack of confidence are frustrating for the audience as she struggles to accomplish the simplest goals.

4 Ash Ketchum Is One Of The Worst Parts Of Pokémon


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Everyone has heard of Pokémon before. It framed a generation of childhoods and is still a major part of media today. With more Pokémon than ever before, catching ’em all is exciting and fun. However, the anime series protagonist Ash Ketchum is neither of these.

In almost every way possible, Ash has had no development and remains a bland protagonist who never ages, never gets stronger, and never wins. Though the anime revolves around him and his journey, he’s one of the least interesting things about Pokémon. Luckily, now that the series is finally bringing his story to an end, there’s a chance for improvement when it comes to the main protagonist.

3 Boruto Would Be Better With A Different Protagonist


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Fans have very differing opinions when it comes to Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Some love it and really enjoy what it brings to the Naruto universe. However, many others find it very disappointing. The biggest reason for this is the series protagonist, Boruto Uzumaki, who pales in comparison to his famous father.

Boruto is one of the least-liked protagonists out of the new generation, with most seeing him as bratty and spoiled. His attitude and harsh treatment of Naruto make the series hard to sit through for a lot of long-time fans. Many find the series much more enjoyable when the focus is on anyone but Boruto.


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Subaru Barely Survives In Re Zero

Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World is one of the most famous and popular isekai series, not to mention one of the biggest anime around. While on the surface, it looks like the typical harem isekai that many have become bored with, it has so much more to it than that, and fans can’t get enough.

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Despite its wild popularity, Re:Zero’s protagonist Natsuki Subaru is hated by much of the fandom. Subaru suffers a similar fate as many isekai protagonists, having little personality and coming off more as a self-insert character. Many can’t stand his weak, wimpy personality, seeing him as one of the least useful out of the main cast.

1 Shinji Ikari Is The Quintessential Weak Protagonist


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For years, anime fans have adored the Evangelion franchise. With an anime series, numerous movies, and other media, it’s no surprise that many still love it to this day. However, even the biggest fans of Evangelion will agree that Shinji Ikari makes a poor excuse for a protagonist.

Anime is famous for its strong, courageous main characters, and Shinji is none of these. He does nothing but cry and feel sorry for himself throughout the series. Even when Shinji is of use, he’s nowhere near the hero that fans expect. Though his reactions to the pain and trauma in his life are understandable, they make the series hard to watch and even harder to enjoy.

NEXT: 10 Edgiest Shonen Anime, Ranked


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