One of the story elements that is shared by virtually every action shounen manga is superpowers. Each title may have a different name for them, and even different rules and mechanisms for how the powers are supposed to work, but they almost all use superpowers. My Hero Academia calls them Quirks, One Piece calls them Devil Fruits, Naruto calls them Ninjutsu, etc.
Needless to say, the main characters usually also have some kind of thrilling superpowers to make the battle sequences that much more exciting. However, there are several characters who manage to beat other heroes despite being a regular human being. In a world full of people that can produce a huge energy blast or fly into the sky, these are the people who don't need superpowers to succeed.
5. Dora Sasaki from Doron Dororon
Let us start with a new shounen manga called Doron Dororon. This is a manga about a world where monsters known as Mononoke frequently appear and wreak havoc everywhere. In order to deal with them, anti-mononoke special combat units are formed all over the country, with elite samurai as the soldiers.
For the longest time, Dora Sasaki has always wanted to be a samurai and help exterminate evil Mononoke. However, Mononoke need to be defeated by an attack imbued with supernatural energy. Unfortunately, Dora doesn't have any supernatural energy in his body. For better or worse, he is just a regular human being.
Fortunately for Dora, he meets a cute, shape-shifting Mononoke named Kusanagi who tries to protect humans from bad Mononoke. One thing leads to another and they end up becoming partners. As it turns out, when Dora's above average physical strength combines with Kusanagi's supernatural power, they can easily take on any evil monsters.
4. Maruo Kaido from Ayashimon
Ayashimon is a new manga from the creator of Hell's Paradise, Yuji Kaku. The story is about a teenager with absurd strength named Maruo who likes to fight strong people. Unfortunately for him, his strength is simply unmatched in his town, so he ends up feeling super bored instead.
That is when he meets a little girl named Urara, the estranged daughter of an Ayashimon Yakuza. Ayashimon itself is similar to the old Japanese Ayakashi monsters. And as the daughter of a highly influential figure in the world of Shinjuku's Ayashimon Yakuza, Urara is now under pursuit because her father just died and his subordinates are fighting over who's going to be the next boss.
However, rather than sit quietly and cower in fear, Urara chooses to fight them head on. That is why she decides to appoint Maruo to be her first subordinate. Because even though he is just a mere human, his absurd strength is the real deal. And that is how Maruo ends up living, fighting, and thriving in the world of Ayashimon.
3. Akitaru Obi from Fire Force
In the world of Fire Force, there are people who can spontaneously burst into flame and turn into monsters - they are called the Infernals. The people who are responsible for defeating the Infernals and saving the citizens from them are called the Fire Force. That is why, in order to do their job properly, the majority of the people who join the Fire Force have the ability to control fire, and they are called the Fire Soldiers.
And then there's Akitaru Obi. He is the captain of Tokyo's Special Fire Force Company 8, and for all intents and purposes, he is just a big buff man. There are people who can ignite fire from the feet and control speeding bullets on Obi's team. He also fights against people who can shoot fire arrows and control fire bugs on a daily basis. Akitaru Obi himself, on the other hand, only has his muscles and numerous pieces of support equipment. And yet he still stands tall and would never back down from his enemies. That is why he deserves to be the captain.
2. Toji Zen'in from Jujutsu Kaisen
In the world of Jujutsu Kaisen, cursed energy is everything. It defines how strong a Jujutsu sorcerer will be, what kind of cursed technique they might develop, and also the kind of cursed spirits that they can fight. Among many Jujutsu practitioners, there are several ancient and influential families, and the Zen'in clan is one of them. They are a proud and powerful family filled with people who wield strong cursed techniques, such as the Ten Shadows Technique and Projection Sorcery.
That being said, one of the strongest members of the Zen'in family is none other than Toji Zen'in, a man who has zero cursed energy, and therefore no cursed techniques at all. Sure, he has absurd physical abilities due to being born under the Heavenly Restriction technique, but by the standard of the Jujutsu world, he is just a mere human. And yet, he is known as the most lethal assassin in the world and earned the nickname "Sorcerer Killer". As a matter of fact, Toji is the only one who almost killed the strongest Jujutsu sorcerer in the world, Satoru Gojo.
1. King from One Punch Man
If we’re talking about a regular human who not only survives, but also thrives in a world filled with people who wield superpowers, then there's no better example than the S-Class Rank 7 Hero, "King". In a world with psychic users who can easily crack the earth and murderous androids that can shoot laser beams that can pierce a mountain, King is simply a lanky man who happens to have a scary face. He has no superpowers whatsoever.
Truth be told, just climbing a long flight of stairs is enough to make him pass out. That is how normal he is. So how can he survive as a professional hero? Not only that, he even managed to climb to the rank of S-Class heroes. Well, the reason is mostly due to a highly exaggerated reputation and an absurd amount of luck.
King is well-known across the nation as one of the most dangerous beings. That reputation alone is enough to make lesser monsters scared and simply admit defeat. As for the more powerful ones, well, more often than not, there will be other things/people that destroy the monsters, and yet King still somehow receives the credit from the masses.
To be fair, he never intended for it to be like that, it just sort of happened. And nobody is more frustrated about it than the man himself. That is why King is always one of the most hilarious parts of One Punch Man.
Having a unique superpower is always something that attracts the readers to certain characters. The more powerful the technique is, the more wondrous things that the character can do. And in return, the more excited the readers will be. That being said, the characters on this list don't need any powers to thrive in their stories and thrill the readers at the same time.
Did your favorite characters make it onto the list? Do you know any other characters that deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comment section below.