Nothing turns me off from watching an anime than starting the first episode and realizing the main anime protagonists are just downright terrible (the worst) at their job. Like, hear me out here. They are supposed to be the face of the show, the character that gets 99% of the screen time. So, if they are terribly written and/or unlikeable, how do you expect me to invest the time into enjoying them?
It’s simply not happening. Anime is plagued with some of the worst protagonists in history. And being a seasoned weeb, I’ve had my fair share of experiencing them. There is just something so grating about having a decent anime be brought down by its main character. You have to really work at making a character so bad that you drop an entire show because of them.
And sadly, some of these anime excels at that. There is so much anime out there that is good in theory, but then they introduce their hero, and it is the most awfully boring person you can imagine. They are extremely one-dimensional, with no interesting backstory or even the excuse of an engaging personality.
But there is nothing sadder than a badly written protagonist who thinks they are cool. All in all, it’s just not a fun time. And if you want to avoid them, here is my list of the worst protagonists in anime I’ve found so far!
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5. Yuki Cross – Vampire Knight
Oh boy, this one actually pains me. I was such a huge fan of Vampire Knight growing up. But in hindsight, while the premise was interesting and the aesthetic beautiful, the characters themselves? Yeah, this wasn’t it.
Yuki Cross is such a Mary Sue without any compelling story to her. She is constantly indecisive, meek and has 0 chemistry with either of the boys in her forced love triangle. The problem is that she is terribly portrayed in a show where she’s the star. And a mediocre protagonist brings the entire crowd down.
Also, she married her brother. Yikes.
4. Kiyotaka Ayanokōji – Classroom Of the Elite
He is so cool and super smart, like he can do no wrong. His only flaw is that he cannot make connections with people easily, but even that gets retconned with his ‘people reading’ abilities. Like, a perfect character is not a good one. Making a protagonist with no weakness or quirks is writing yourself into a corner.
How do I root for a character that is so boring?
3. Yukiteru Amano – Mirai Nikki
When I first watched Mirai Nikki, I was transfixed. It made no sense how Yuno Gasai, the female lead, was so dynamic and interesting, albeit terrifying. Because she was paired with the most yellow-bellied protagonist, I had seen in anime yet.
Yukiteru Amano adds nothing to a plot like Future Diary, which is, by definition, unpredictable and bold, with just a touch of gore. He’s meek, and his character arc goes nowhere until somewhere near the end of the show, where he suddenly becomes a bada*s?
In a bid to make his character ‘realistic’, they ended up making him whiny and annoying.
2. Issei Hyoudu – Highschool DxD
I’m sorry, but the era of the ‘beloved’ pervy protagonists is over. There is absolutely no excuse for objectifying women and making that your entire personality.
In another lifetime, Highschool DxD could’ve held up as a fun nostalgic show, but not with Issei Hyouda headlining it. Like the man is a legit incel. He has no likable or enjoyable traits, and his entire schtick is so overplayed, that it is terrible. I like mature jokes now and then, but Hyoudu is just repulsive.
Being a casual harasser trying to collect women for your harem is not endearing. Grow up.
1. Kirigaya Kazuto – Sword Art Online
The fact I had a hard time ranking all the other characters on this list but knew from the start Kirigaya Kazuto nee Kirito would top it, says it all. This is a character I have visceral disdain for.
To call him generic would be a compliment. His emotionless edgy act is so bland, and it does nothing to further the plot. His character is singlehandedly why I make fun of Sword Art Online fans, because he is the show. And that isn’t a good thing, when your character is a Gary Stu at its worst.
Kirito is the blueprint for every F-tier Isekai protagonist, and he should feel ashamed of that.
So, what worst protagonists do you love to hate? Let us know below!