I’m not the biggest fan of the underdog character arc, mostly because it has been done to death. Yet every now and then a character catches my attention who seems ill suited for their dream or has a lot of baggage standing in their way and for whatever reason I’m drawn into their story. These are my 5 favourite underdog characters in anime, but I’d love to know who your favourites are.Yes, there will be spoilers in the list below.
Number 5: Hinata from Haikyuu
The short guy with the big dream. He just wants to stand on the court where his hero stood and play volleyball. He wants to be the best. Through all the training and learning, through conflicts with teammates and other teams, through gruelling matches, Hinata is the endless bundle of energy who almost always has a positive outlook and a smile. He’s got a dream and he’s going for it and you cannot help but admire him as he goes from being quick and determined to gaining some skills, to learning and refining more skills. He’s got a whatever it takes attitude and hopefully he’ll keep heading toward where he wants to be.
Number 4: Midoriya from My Hero Academia
Another do or die character, Midoriya just wanted to be a hero like his hero, All Might. Then he got the devastating news that he had no quirk and essentially no chance of being a hero. Despite that, he didn’t give up and continued to study and admire heroes, knowledge which he ends up putting to good use. While it might have been chance that he encountered All Might that day, being chosen to inherit One For All was due to his own bravery and desire to be a hero. Seeing him learn to use his quirk and grow as a hero has been incredibly rewarding.
Number 3: Bell from DanMachi
Here’s the small, white haired boy who couldn’t find a familia that would take him in. Raised on stories of heroes and legends by his grandfather, Bell travelled to the city specifically to join a family and become an adventurer and a hero. Fortunately for Bell he encountered Hestia and with her blessing became one of the fastest growing heroes ever. Bell’s dreams hasn’t been achieved yet but he goes from strength to strength and even though others still look down on the little rookie, he’s not letting that stand in his way.
Number 2: Yato from Noragami
A god who is looked down upon for being poor? For having no worshippers? No shrine? Who would have thought that even the divine had a class struggle going on? Yato has very big dreams about one day having a large shrine and many who worship him but basically he just needs anyone to remember him so that he doesn’t cease to exist. His absolute happiness when he was given his own (very small) shrine was so incredibly touching and while it isn’t exactly what he’s been dreaming of, it was exactly what he needed.
Number 1: Haruhiro from Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Summoned to another world, or something like that, but given no particular skills or powers has to suck. Particularly when you have to earn money for everything, including a spare pair of underwear, and your party can’t even handle taking down a goblin. As Haruhiro laments, they are ordinary people. They aren’t special. Still, Haruhiro and his group find ways to survive and as they begin to earn money they can buy training in new skills opening up yet more possibilities. Now if they could only live long enough to use them.
There’s plenty out there so let me know who your favourite underdog characters are in anime.
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