In the last few years, anime has had several titles with an entertaining type of protagonist, and that is the hero who everyone thinks is the story’s villain. These heroes are mistaken for the villain because of how they look, but every anime fan knows that appearances are not the measure of an evil character. The anime mentioned are not the first to have this type of hero, but they all did a good job of it. Let’s check out the best anti-heroes of recent years!
Villain-esque Day Savers
Shinra Kusakabe, Enen no Shouboutai (Fire Force)
Of all the causes of death, there is one that is more feared than others. Spontaneous human combustion has become commonplace, and the Fire Force spends its days putting to rest the ‘infernals’ that continue to stand upright and wander after humans have spontaneously combusted. They have a solemn task that they take seriously.
Though Shinra Kusakabe has always wanted to grow up to be a hero, he is known as a devil. As a child, he lost his mother and brother in a case of human combustion. As he stood on the scene with the Fire Force, his lips curled up into what looked like a smile. Later in Shira’s life, it comes out that when in stress, the muscles in his face tighten and look like a smile. Shinra explains that it is involuntary and has caused him enormous trouble in his life. He has a long way to go if he is going to become the hero he wants to be!
Naofumi Iwatani, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero)
In an instant, Naofumi Iwatani is transported from a library to the center of a summoning ceremony. A religious group has summoned Naofumi and three other guys to another world because they believe the four heroes will save their land. The four guys in question have no loyalty or pre-existing knowledge of this, but they can be identified as the heroes of legend because of the different weapons summoned with each of them. There is a shield, sword, and bow hero. And Naofumi? He is the shield hero.
The shield hero only does not have a religious following and is not well understood. The king of this country gives each hero an equal amount of money to begin their journeys to save the kingdom. After buying his too-friendly comrade high-end gear, she steals the equipment and abandons Naofumi, spreading the rumor that he assaulted her. Naofumi now looks like the evil character and is not helped when he uses the small amount of money he had left to buy a small slave fox-girl. Between these image damagers and a tailor that keeps making him a “villain” outfit, Naofumi spends most of this anime being treated like the villain he appears to be.
Hajime Nagumo, Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest)
Hajime Nagumo, his classmates, and their teacher are all transported to a new world where supernatural abilities exist and are needed to survive. Instead of lessons, they are now asked to work through dungeons. While exploring a dungeon with his classmates, Hajime is betrayed by a classmate and is thrown down a gaping chasm where the most difficult levels exist. Almost immediately, Hajime is attacked by vicious monsters, who even tear off his arm. Hajime lives, but he is forever changed, both in his resolve and his trust in others.
Hajime works his way back up through the dungeon while acquiring a dangerous and somewhat scandalous harem. By the time Hajime makes it back up all the levels to his classmates, he is changed. He has gone from being a sweet and sensitive teenager who needed a lot of protecting, to the one-eyed, one-armed, steel-nerved center of a steamy group of monster-girls. Hajime has become a survivor, and he wants to know whose actions caused that to happen. Almost unrecognizable, Hajime looks the part of a villain, and he acts with no reservation to save- and kill- for those he cares to protect.
The anti-heroes in recent shounen productions are the best. Unlike the hero that everyone always cheers for, the anti-hero’s actions seem more selfless and the result of their personal decisions. Though they take a lot of flack, they stand for their own values and stay loyal to their friends. Which title are you watching next? Comment and let us know!