This is another My Hero Academia inspired list after a discussion with a few people on Twitter and this comment:
Which got me thinking of all the times characters have lost out in anime because the plot demands they lose. There are a lot. Of course that is true of any narrative because sometimes you just have to let the protagonist win. Anyway, I made a short list of characters that I thought were genuinely robbed by the plot (robbed, mugged, gunned down and left to die, etc). I’d love to know who else you thinks needs to join the ‘they were robbed’ club so please share in the comments below.
Please Note – There will be major plot spoilers below.
Honourable Mentions: This week my only honourable mention is going to every opponent in Katanagatari. Sorry guys, but each and every one of you was robbed of your chance of even getting an appearance in a second episode because the plot demanded you be met, challenged and defeated (okay, some of these guys did show up in episodes prior to their deaths and a few got flash backs after their deaths, but mostly they were all one episode wonders).
Number 5: JJ from Yuri on Ice
You know, I don’t actually want JJ to have won because he was incredibly obnoxious (even though he wasn’t technically an antagonist). That said, I think the plot really did run him down just for the fun of it and it was kind of unnecessary. In the first skate of the grand prix, JJ choked. Horribly. Considering his overwhelming confidence and presence in every other competition and that this wasn’t his first major competition it just seemed really kind of cruel and I actually felt sorry for the guy by the end of it. More importantly, it wasn’t necessary for him to do so poorly. When you look at the scores Yuri and Yurio ended up with, even if JJ had been at his best, the result probably would have been the same. So pretty much the plot ran him over for no reason and that actually cheapened the Yuri’s victory because they haven’t beaten JJ at his best.
Number 4: Manato from Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Yes, we need a tragic death to reinforce that fragile nature of life and to highlight the real human process of grief. Sorry Manato, the plot demands your death. No you don’t get to save anyone else spectacularly or have any kind of moment of self-sacrifice. You can just get shot in the back and die. This was a really affective moment by the plot and a great character moment for everyone else in the story, but Manato really did get robbed here. He was the best character the show had and in order to help everyone else reach that little bit higher, the plot threw him under the bus. It did it well, but that was a little mean.
Number 3: Linda from Golden Time
Love triangles always suck because someone is going to lose. More importantly, normally if the person at the middle of the triangle would just make a choice we could all be spared the heartache. The reason Linda gets a place on this list out of the thousands of losing at love characters is because technically she didn’t lose. Banri of the past chose her. Continued to choose her. Unfortunately, Banri of the past only existed as a ghost because Banri of the future had lost his memory and was a whole new person who fell in love with Koko. Seriously, that has to suck for Linda. Worse, when past Banri shows up just long enough to get Linda’s hopes up again. Seriously, plot, we get it. Banri and Koko are going to be together. Now please stop rubbing salt into Linda’s wounds for half an episode.
Number 2: Uraraka from My Hero Academia
Yep, the girl who inspired the list. She went into a fight that she knew she probably couldn’t win with a plan. A good plan. If she’d been the protagonist she most definitely would have turned the tide of the fight and won with that plan. Okay, she would have won with even half that plan given some plans protagonists have made work. Unfortunately, cute side-character who may or may not eventually become some sort of love interest for someone, does not have plot armor and when the plot is demanding a show down between two other characters and you face one of them earlier in the competition you know your luck is out. Poor Uraraka.
Number 1: Grimmjow from Bleach
I know, every opponent Ichigo faces could end up on this list but most of them I wanted to see lose. With Grimmjow, part of me really wanted to see him win. He was one of the most entertaining opponents ever and he didn’t have some amazingly overpowered attack that couldn’t be defended against. He was just someone in love with fighting and getting stronger. Given Ichigo doesn’t win every fight and regularly has to have a take two or three against particularly strong opponents (they beat him nearly to death, someone drags him away so that he can heal, learn a new skill, go back and try again), I really wanted Grimmjow to be one of those opponents. I wanted him to beat Ichigo up and for there to be an ongoing rivalry between the two. Alas, it was not to be and Grimmjow became yet another casualty of plot.
That’s my list. I’d love to know who you’ve put on yours.
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25 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters Robbed By Plot”
You do not know how much I screamed foul when JJ was thrown under the bus in episode 11. I mean, I know I am one of the few who genuinely liked the dude since his first appearance. That botched short program made me really furious to the series that I almost gave it a 4/10 just because of that cheap plot device.
At least Manato remained influential for the rest of Grimgar’s (the anime) plot so the poor dude’s death was at least justified. Oh, Grimmjow I weep. He is my favorite character in Bleach. 🙁
Manato’s influence on the other characters was enormous before he died and just became a driving force after. For a character present in less than half a short series he made his presence felt.
The only one of these I’m familiar with is Yuri on Ice and JJ. True, his choking at the Final seemed a bit cruel – and I didn’t even like the guy before that.
I am amazed that’s the only one you have seen. Yeah, I didn’t like JJ but that performance had me feeling bad for him .
The rest are all on my list but I’m sure you can guess how long it is.
Woah a total YES for Mankato and JJ, the poor lads. If I had to throw in more tortured souls, there’s basically the entire casts of Eureka Seven, Psycho-Pass, and Aldnoah Zero, excluding the leads.
Aldnoah Zero was terrible to some of its characters. Okay, we should also throw every Gundam character ever on the list because they’ve all had at least one dramatic loss somewhere along the line.
Hah! So true. The only thing I like about the characters is how—and I noticed this after someone pointed it out to me—that the story could be seen with both Inaho and Slaine as the protagonists. Not to say that it turned out well at all, but still kinda interesting. Oh, and I just realized I spelled Manato as Mankato. Kill me.
I really wish you could edit comments on WordPress. It would make things a great deal easier sometimes.
Heh. BTW feel free to embed the actual tweet rather than the image. 😉
That would require me to remember how that was done. I have done it before but couldn’t remember when I was drafting this post and with trying to get a month ahead for my trip I didn’t have time to play around. Sorry.
It’s all good. Just noting that I don’t mind should you feel a desire to do so in future (and copy/pasting the link to the tweet should do it).
Great list! I completely agree with Linda as a pick – the weird memory conundrum thrown up by Golden Time really did one for her. Shame really as I felt she was by far the better of the two girls in that love triangle, but hey ho, that’s anime for you…
Yeah, Banri choosing Koko was weird.
Seeing Linda and Manato just brought back a flood of emotions from when I first watched those shows. They needed to be robbed by the plot for the shows to flourish, but it is still a shame. I feel especially sorry for Linda. Ghost Banri isn’t as good as the real deal!
I always kind of wished there was another time line where Linda made it on time and the two ended up together.
I agree with every one of these picks.
At least Grimmjow did get his original moment against Ichigo where he beat him with purely his fists. I’d always hoped that he would continue be such a tough opponent for him, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
Grimmjow was really unfortunate. He was an awesome character who served practically no purpose in the greater Bleach narrative. I might want him to win but it isn’t going to happen.
Yup, it’s a real shame. He just wound up being another bad guy for Ichigo to beat in the end so he could get stronger.
This was a really fun list to go through!
I feel like I missed out on a lot by not having followed My Hero Academia, but as you said this phenomenon can be seen in a lot of anime.
Some of the characters that come to mind most easily for me are the antagonists. In Rourouni Kenshin, Shishio Makoto is not actally defeated by Kenshin or his allies, but by his inability to regulate his internal body temperature. That arc was about as shounen as shounen anime gets, but it seemed like all the fights end with Kenshin winning just because he’s supposed to win.
Another one is L from Death Note. He never actually makes any mistakes against Light and was an extremely interesting character that is removed from the plot in an incredibly crass way, simply because they needed to put Kira on top again.
L should be on this list. I don’t know where but I can’t believe I didn’t think of him. Great call .
It almost hurts how true #2 is!
I think the thing to remember here, though, is that Ochako is really unused to actual combat, not only because she hasn’t trained in it, but also because her quirk isn’t nearly as suited for direct combat as some others are. Bakugo has insane destructive power, as well as a sharp mind and reflexes. From the beginning, Ochaco had a bad matchup, but that didn’t stop her from putting on one heck of a good showing against him. Realistically, she caused him more trouble than anyone else did, including Todoroki.
MHA does this really well, i think, because even main characters can lose soundly. Deku can’t beat Todoroki just because he’s the main character, because he really has no control over his own powers. Even the characters with stupidly powerful quirks can be beaten, especially by someone who has honed their quirk to a higher degree.
Uraraka has always aspired to be a Rescue hero, like Thirteen, so she’s never really focused on combat, whereas Bakugo excels at combat, but is totally incompetent when it comes to rescue situations. Deku has All Might’s power, but he can’t fight like All Might does, as Gran Torino is teaching him.
Because of everyone’s differences, they all excel at different things, so even though Ochako is absolutely adorable, we can’t expect her to gain ultimate victory in her first real combat experience against a far more powerful foe whose abilities are much more well-suited for battle.