Script written by Alex Crilly-Mckean
Top 20 Times Anime Heroes Were Underestimated
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 20 Times Anime Heroes Were Underestimated.
For this list, we’re looking at the times where an anime protagonist proved the haters wrong by overcoming a seemingly impossible task, and looking good while doing it! Think we missed out on a major anime success story? Let us know in the comments!
#20: Just a Demi-Human
“Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy“ (2021)
Now this is how to properly portray an OP isekai’er. After being yeeted into a fantasy world, Makoko is, what else, plagued by dangers around every turn, including the lethal duo of Sofia and Lancer. Alas, by this point in his journey, Makoto is one of if not the strongest thing on two legs – evident from when he throws off the rings, kicks his mana into high gear and…pretty much destroys everything around him. Finally, someone who doesn’t hesitate to spam their insanely strong abilities. All future isekai’ers please take note.
#19: Ganta Gets Down and Bloody
“Deadman Wonderland” (2011)
Competing in death matches and using your own blood as a weapon doesn’t exactly make for a stressless lifestyle, especially for someone like Ganta, who was wrongfully convicted and thrown into the hell carnival of Deadman Wonderland for shits and giggles. Still, when it comes to fighting for survival, the Woodpecker proves that he’s got the moxie to keep soldiering on. Even after being sliced up by Senji, Ganta uses brains over brawn, allowing his seemingly useless Branch of Sin to claim a win.
#18: Juggernaut Steps Up
“Fire Force” (2019-20)
A comic relief character who’s only real asset had been his size, Juggernaut finally had his time to shine while protecting Tamaki from the tendrils of the Order of the Ashen Flame. His Looney-Tunes-esque body may have been torn to pieces by Orochi, but Juggernaut still proved to have the superior firepower thanks to his burning passion…that and he straight up slammed a missile into Orochi’s face. Never mess with a country boy who can create ballistic projectiles out of nothing!
#17: No Breath, No Problem
“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” (2019-)
Daki may be able to turn towns to ribbons with her scarves, but her biggest weapon is by far that mouth of hers. She could talk the undead six feet under again if she wanted. Her cockiness ultimately gets the better of her when she pushes Tanjiro too far by decimating the Entertainment District. So driven by rage, Tanjiro taps into a higher level of swordsmanship altogether. By bringing himself to the brink by not breathing, Tanjiro’s speed and technique escalated to such an extent he came within moments of slicing Daki’s pretty little
#16: Silver Crow Takes Flight
“Accel World” (2012)
To most of the world, Arita is just a porky nerd lost in his VR Game who will never get anywhere in life. And that might have been true at the start, but let’s see them make fun of him now that he can fly! Taking on Crimson Devil in order to rescue his precious Black Snow Princess, Arita finally does away with his anxious, self-loathing self, digging deep enough that he unleashes the true power of Silver Crow. Turns out that in this world, if you’ve got wings, you’re already won.
#15: Yamaguchi Proves Himself
When you think of the aces of the Karasuno Volleyball team, the last person that springs to mind is Yamaguchi, since he’s far from performing at the level of Hinata and Kageyama. That being said, the boy proved he truly was crow material during the long-awaited rematch against Aoba Johsai. Using a Jump Float serve, Yamaguchi not only pushed the team closer to their spectacular win but showed everyone he was capable and ready to take Karasuno to the top.
#14: Hyunkel’s Atonement
“Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai” (2020-)
The road to redemption is a long and painful one, but this was one hell of a good start. Abandoning the Dark Army in favor of joining Dai, Hyunkel takes on his former boss in a brutal showdown that displayed fully that, in spite of committing so many terrible deeds, Hyunkel is still a Disciple of Avan. Hadlar may be the Dark Commander, but not even he can walk away from two getting two giant holes drilled into his chest.
#13: Humanity’s Victory
“Record of Ragnarok” (2021)
A royal rumble against every god in existence in order to secure the survival of mankind. It’s a pretty tall order, and even with the likes of Lu Bu and Adam on their side, humanity loses the first two rounds of Ragnarok, forcing them to put their fate in the hands of history’s unluckiest swordsman. As it happens, even against the merciless might of Poseidon, Sasaki Kojiro pulls off one hell of a win – relying on a lifetime of experience with the blade to cut up the God of the Sea into fish-sticks.
#12: The Prince’s Return
“Ranking of Kings” (2021-)
When he left his castle home, Boji was but a boy. When he returned…he was still a boy, but he was a boy who had mastered the sword to the extent that he could bring down giant lizard men with ease! Under Despa’s tutelage, Boji is shown to be capable of striking the “weak point” in any person without killing them. Case and point, when he shatters Gigan’s hammer with but a poke, before putting him to sleep with a lightning-fast jab to the foot. This ball of sunshine is unrivaled!
#11: Qualifying for the Race
“Run with the Wind” (2018-19)
Prince is not the kind of person who likes to run. He’d rather sit back in his little empire of manga and enjoy his obscurity. Alas, when he and the rest of the dorm decide they’re going to attempt the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon, Prince finds himself having to leap out of his comfort zone and onto the track. While he may be physically weaker than every other runner; time, training and belief from his team-mates allow him to cross the finish line and qualify the whole team for their dream run. What a champion.
#10: Varanium Solves Everything
“Black Bullet” (2014)
Making an enemy of a creepy yet seemingly invincible nutjob like Kagetane would normally mean the end for most people. Then again, Satomi isn’t most people, mainly due the fact he’s got himself a set of augmented ligaments made from the nigh-indestructible alloy, Varanium. Despite his knack for blowing up organs, Kagetane is woefully unprepared for Satomi’s ace-in-the-hole, which proves strong enough to break his face in. It just…really begs the question why it took him four episodes to finally bust this out…
#9: Size Doesn’t Matter
“Hinomaru Sumo” (2018-19)
This national treasure may have been told he’s too small for sumo, but after his beast of an entrance, it was pretty clear that what he lacked in height he made up for with balls of brass! In order to teach a group of juveniles a lesson, Hinomaru utterly shatters their leader’s spirit by taking non-stop punches for ten minutes without budging an inch. If that wasn’t badass enough, after the ten minutes are up, he takes out Yuma with a single strike, sumo style. The experience proved to be so humbling that it's no wonder Yuma switched alignments…
#8: NEVER Insult Josuke’s Awesome Hair
“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable” (2016)
If you don’t have a death wish, then you’d be wise to never talk about JoJo's iconic doo! I mean, why would you? Anyway, Jotaro obviously didn’t get the memo. After it’s insinuated that his glorious hairstyle is somewhat less than perfect, Josuke snaps, and in doing so unleashes the power of Crazy Diamond. If not for Star Platinum’s rapid reactions, it's obvious that Jotaro’s face would have ended up just as mangled as his hat.
#7: Going Gearless
Not sure where the bravery ends and the insanity begins when you decide to forgo mechanical enhancements in a boxing tournament filled with fighters… who all have mechanical enhancements! That’s Joe for you. And yet, he managed to take what appeared to be a glaring weakness and turned it into something special. Relying on his natural talents along with some expert coaching, Joe showed the world exactly what he was made of when he KO’d Shark Samejima, who, lest we forget, was armored up like Robo-Jaws.
#6: Heart in Hand
“Hunter x Hunter” (2011-14)
For those of you that still believed someone as unassuming as Killua wasn’t from a family of master assassins, let us present exhibit A. In order to get through the latter stage of the Hunter Exam, our favourite foursome are tasked with defeating a series of criminals, including a mass murderer named Johness. How does Killua fare against a guy who essentially has excavators for hands? He casually slips by him, snatches out his heart and wraps it in a doggy bag before anyone can blink.
#5: The Power of an Idiot
“Black Clover” (2017-)
There’s trash-talking, and then there’s Sekke. This would-be Magic Knight is cocky to the nth degree, leading him to often undermine those he sees as worthless. No surprise that Asta ended up on his radar. Fully convinced his Bronze Magic was unbreakable, he wasted no time degrading Asta for his lack of wealth and zero aptitude for magic. Needless to say, watching the future Wizard King smash him to pieces made for a delightful viewing experience. And thus began Sekke’s new role as the series’ number one punching bag.
#4: Everyone Underestimates Diablo…Even Diablo
“How Not to Summon a Demon Lord” (2018)
You almost have to feel sorry for Galluk. Out of the thousands of souls he could’ve picked a fight with, he happened to choose the Level 150 Demon Lord from another world. Even with a giant fire-breathing salamander at his command, the prideful magic user got a harsh dose of reality when Diablo effortlessly one-shot him. The only person more surprised at the sudden display of power is Diablo himself, who for all his overpoweredness, is still an anxiety-ridden gaming nerd at heart.
#3: Rookie Crushing Gone Wrong
“One Punch Man” (2015)
This is what you get for hazing the new guy, especially one that can punch through meteors like it’s going out of fashion. Taking advantage of Saitama’s lower ranking, A-Class hero Snek figured he could take out some potential competition to his standing by launching a sneak attack. If he had picked any other caped crusader, then maybe this tactic would have worked. Alas, he chose the one guy who can decimate landscapes with a love tap. Not surprising to see that Snek got a superpowered knuckle sandwich for his troubles.
#2 Who Decided That?
“The Seven Deadly Sins” (2014-21)
Turns out that even the upper echelons of the Demon race have something to fear, and his name is Escanor. The Lion Sin of Pride isn’t only unmatched in arrogance and mustache-grooming, but also in raw strength. Of course, due to their own hellish pride, the Ten Commandments made the mistake of denouncing Escanor as just another human. As you might have guessed, not even Galand’s bloodthirst or Estarossa’s endless list of abilities is enough to bring down the Master of the Sun.
#1: Shield Hero > Spear Hero
“The Rising of the Shield Hero” (2019-)
It’s the isekai that riled us up with how much it made us hate about ninety five percent of its occupants. That being said, this little scuffle made up for having to watch our boy Naofumi go through such torment. Forced to battle against the insufferably moronic Motoyasu, Shield Bro managed to defy all expectation and earn some much-needed payback. Honestly, watching him wreck ‘Chad Spearman’ with underhanded tactics and legitimate strategy was as cathartic as watching Raphtalia fangirl. Now if only Myne didn’t interfere…