5 Great Anime Heroes Who Are Also AWFUL People

Some protagonists are great at saving the day but are also terrible people who may or may not do terrible things. If not for their hero status, these characters would be insufferable -- and maybe even criminal -- people no one would ever want to be around.

For the purposes of this article, a "hero" is an anime character that is considered a hero within their respective universe. Therefore, the threshold of terribleness here takes into consideration the large amount of property damage, financial or physical harm, or the number of deaths the character had a hand in, intentionally or not. The awfulness of heroes doesn’t lower the impact of their heroism or lessen the strength of their character, but for fun, let's look at the darker side of five notable anime heroes.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion's Shinji Ikari

Anime Neon Genesis Evangelion Shinji On Phone

Shinji Ikari is the protagonist and main hero within Neon Genesis Evangelion. Focusing on the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series, his choices caused physical harm every second he resisted getting into his robot for any given reason. Feeling a certain amount of empathy for him is understandable as he was a teenage boy burdened with the fate of a war with the Angels and the weight of preventing the deaths in his current city and the rest of the world.

However, his hesitation could still be difficult to justify with the destruction of the city, the physical and mental injuries of Rei and Asuka, the physical injuries of his classmates and their families and the deaths of so many residents in his city unlucky enough to get caught in the crosshairs.

Death Note's Light Yagami

Light Yagami, the protagonist within Death Note, spent the entire series walking the fine line of ethical behavior. He undoubtedly caused the deaths of many people -- at first, criminals, and later killing individuals to cover up his secret. Yet, he was considered a hero by some in the anime because of his mission to eradicate crime.

His relationship with women, however, showed his blatant disregard for others. But the moment that may have fully solidified his terribleness was the scene in which his father was on his deathbed, which he dealt with in an almost sickening, serial killer manner.

Attack on Titan's Eren Yaeger

Looking at Eren Yeager’s character development until the end of Season 3, he is the masochistic and suicidal protagonist of Attack on Titan. Although his actions could be considered admirable and heroic, his mistakes did also cause the deaths of countless comrades and civilians.

He’s acted wildly selfishly and was willing to sacrifice himself and those around him for the sake of ending the Titans’ terror. This is technically one of the responsibilities of the Survey Corps. but in any case, that has never been for him to decide.

Re:Zero's Suburu Natsuki

Subaru from Re_Zero

Focusing on Subaru Natsuki’s character development in Season 1 of Re:Zero, he not only died countless times, but he also caused the gruesome deaths of multiple other characters numerous times as well. His efforts to try to get together with Emilia could be considered admirable or romantic; however, the number of deaths to get there felt more selfish than anything else.

Even without the deaths, objectively, his treatment of Rem’s feelings showcased his selfishness on an obscene level. If he had solely just rejected her, it would’ve been normal but he then asked for her to help him get together with Emilia. The pain of being asked that is unimaginable.

Mob Psycho 100's Reigen Arataka

Although Reigen Arataka isn’t the main protagonist of Mob Psycho 100, the anime wouldn’t be the same without this infamous conman. His work conned countless individuals without empathy. It’s subjective as to whether or not that was without harm but his work nonetheless preyed on naive individuals for his own personal gain. His saving grace was mentoring Mob but even then, he still conned and manipulated Mob. He did manage to face this head-on in Season 2 but only after letting a particular con spiral out of his control.

While these heroes collectively may have done heroic things, they still caused a lot of harm to an unbelievable amount of individuals who usually didn’t deserve it. This doesn’t take away from their heroism but it is important to look at these characters and acknowledge their flaws. If they were entirely good, that wouldn’t be realistic depictions of people. Their flaws showcase the human condition.

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