Strong characters pretending to be weak is one of the most popular tropes that you can find in almost every action and shounen anime out there. Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin, Gohan from Dragon Ball, Tatsuya from Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei, Vash from Trigun, Koro-sensei from Assassination Classroom, Yuji from Grisaia no Kajitsu, the list goes on and on.
On the other end of the spectrum is a trope that may not be as popular, but it usually consists of characters who are funnier than the first one. They also pretend to be someone they’re not, but unlike the first one, these characters often get stuck in terrible and hilarious predicaments. With that in mind, here are 5 weak characters who pretend to be strong.
5. Buggy From One Piece
Let’s begin with the biggest joker in anime history, Buggy the Clown from One Piece. He is the captain of the Buggy Pirates and the self-proclaimed rival of both Luffy and Shanks. To be fair, Buggy’s chop-chop fruit is actually quite useful and powerful, however, Buggy’s overly ambitious nature, poor planning capability, and hysterical tendencies are the key reasons why he turns out to be such a weak character.
That being said, Buggy is always somehow stuck in a situation where important events are taking place. The biggest ones were the Impel Down and the Marineford incident. Luffy is the one who wreaks havoc in both places but Buggy also gets a fair share of influence and notoriety for some reason. He knows he doesn’t deserve the accolades, but that is the first time regular people and criminals alike cheer his name with such a passion. So he decided to pretend that he is strong, and ride the wave all the way to the top while sweating bullets in the process.
4. Arataka Reigen From Mob Psycho 100
Reigen is a renowned psychic who owned the “Spirits and Such Consultation Office '', and he is also the boss and mentor of the main character in the series, Shigeo Kageyama, also known as Mob. Unlike some of the other characters in this list, Reigen actually does have a psychic ability. The problem is, that his psychic power is rather weak, especially when compared to Mob.
To make matters even worse, Reigen always overestimates and oversells his own ability, especially to his clients. As a result, he often finds himself in a precarious situation and needs to be saved by Mob. But even then, he would still pretend that he is better than Mob in order to make sure Mob keeps respecting him as a teacher. Reigen is not a bad person, but his inability to be honest with himself and with others is the reason why he always got in trouble.
3. Majtani From Hunter x Hunter
The Phantom Troupe is the most dangerous and ruthless group of thieves in the world of Hunter x Hunter. They won’t hesitate to slaughter everybody who stands between them and their target. During the Hunter exam, specifically in the Trick Tower, one of the death row inmates divulge to Kurapika the fact that he is actually a member of the legendary Phantom Troupe Thief by showing Kurapika the trademark spider tattoo on his back. His name is Majtani, and he is a big and bulky man with a terrifying face.
However, Kurapika instantly knows that Majtani is not a member of the Troupe. The truth of the matter is actually much more simple than that. Majtani’s tattoo is fake and his terrifying face is the result of botched plastic surgery. Majtani used his towering physique, horrifying face, and spider tattoo to scare his opponents away. Because deep inside, he is just a liar and a coward. And since there is no power whatsoever beneath his huge body, it only takes an instant for Kurapika to beat him up and tear his facade apart.
2. Hercule Satan From Dragon Ball
To the average citizen in the world of Dragon Ball, the title of the strongest human being on earth belongs to the one and only Hercule Satan, also known across the globe as Mr. Satan. He has won the Strongest Under the Heaven tournament a couple of times, and he is also the savior of mankind. His greatest feat is the one who beat the terrifying monster called Cell, and the evil incarnate called Majin Buu.
That being said, we all know the truth. While it’s true that Mr. Satan is brave enough to challenge Cell on live TV, and he is also the first person who manages to become Buu’s friend, he is not the one who beat these two cataclysmic threats. Goku, Gohan, and their friends are the one who saves the earth over and over again.
However, they don’t like living under the spotlight, which is why they decide to let Hercule take all the credit. As for Hercule himself, he knows he is weak, but he loves all the attention and benefits that he got as the hero of mankind. So he is more than happy to pretend to be the strongest being on earth.
1. King From One-Punch Man
If we talk about a weak person who pretends to be strong, then the most iconic one that has taken the world by storm in recent years has to be the S-Class Rank 7 hero named King, from One-Punch Man. One thing worth mentioning though, unlike other characters in this list who purposely lie or take the credit for achievements that didn't belong to them, King's situation is a bit more complex.
In a world filled with powerful heroes and villains, King is just a regular, weak, human being. You could even argue that he is weaker than most people because climbing stairs is enough to tire him out. The only thing he’s got going for him is his terrifying looks and the loud sound coming out of his body when he is nervous, also known as the King’s engine.
Most of King’s achievement is actually the handiwork of Saitama. Unfortunately for both of them, people find it hard to believe that a caped baldy like Saitama can defeat a giant monster, so they decided to attribute that achievement to King instead, who just happens to be on the scene.
As King received tons of accolades over the things that he didn’t do, more and more people began to admire him, fellow heroes respect him, and monsters are scared of him. King himself never wanted any of this to happen. But since he is already too deep into this misunderstanding, it has become impossible for him to correct what other people think of him. So he just gives up and accepts his fate as an S-Class hero. Pretending to be strong on the outside while he is actually terrified on the inside. Needless to say, this whole strange dynamic surrounding King resulted in some of the most hilarious moments in One-Punch Man.
Although it’s cool to see a strong character pretending to be a helpless citizen, watching weak people pretending to be strong is actually a lot more entertaining. The viewers can usually get a much more emotional reaction out of this type of character. We get mad when they lie to our faces, yet we cheer them on when they try their best to look strong. We get excited when we see them try to fight a strong opponent, and we also roll on the floor laughing when we see them terrified because they just dug their own grave.
Which one of these characters do you like best? Do you know any other characters that can fit into this list? Let us know in the comment section below.