While condoning violence is certainly not something we wish to promote, this list contains an assortment of characters who would test anyone’s patience. Given the nature of these characters, their rankings may seem obtuse at first. However, the decisions behind their placement will be obvious, once you’ve understood how much thought went into this. So what is the deciding factor?
How much you want to punch them in the face.
Yes. It’s simple, raw, and emotional. Clearly backed by science and objective facts. There has never been a more defining unit of measurement as accurate as “punchable.” Thus, without further ado, I give to you the…
10. Aqua from Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (Konosuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Jan. 2016 – Mar 2016
Commonly within isekai (being reborn into another world), the protagonist is given a superpower or a wish to be fulfilled. Usually, the ones granting these are the gods of the new world. Now enters the goddess of the Axis Cult, Aqua. Initially, she fits her role, but upon belittling the protagonist, she is dragged into the new world as the main character’s wish.
Admittedly, Aqua is a rather hilarious character. The problem is she’s amazingly stupid--the show even proves it with its RPG-esque stats. This factors in a lot. The amount of time she gets the party into trouble because of her belittling speech or her impeccable ability to mess up the simplest things is practically the point. It’s to our benefit that we laugh, but what if we were on the receiving end?
As funny as the show can be, it’s hard to be laughing when the hijinks happen to you. Aqua doesn’t just fail at her job, she makes the life for her friends a lot worse. From destroying towns to harassing her friends, she’s always got something in store for the audience and the unfortunate cast.
9. Umaru Doma from Himouto! Umaru-chan
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2015 – Sep. 2015
There’s something to be said about wanting to punch someone so cute. In public, Umaru is the perfect high school student: good grades, good-looking, and admired by all. At home, however, she turns into quite the opposite: a spoiled, lazy, and overly demanding sister.
This show is pretty polarizing, and you either love or hate the show based on Umaru. For those who enjoy it, they can see the show as a gag/slice of life that celebrates otaku culture with a cute and entertaining character. For those who dislike the show, it’s an example of glorifying an undeserving character, a person who is fortunate to have the things she does and yet doesn’t seem to recognize is.
To be able to stay up all night playing video games and still get good grades, to eat junk food and still be admired, to be absolutely demanding and rude to her brother and for some reason, still have his love and support--it’s enviable, and as an audience, frustrating when the show reinforces her actions.
8. Excalibur from Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Okay, so now we’re getting into the less ambiguous territory. These characters just naturally make you tense up and let loose a jab or two. Excalibur is a legendary sword known within Arthurian legends. Its popularization in media can be seen everywhere from games to tv shows, and of course, anime.
However, this sword of kings doesn’t exactly work the same way in Soul Eater. To be a king, you don’t just need to pull some sword out of a stone. No, it’s a lot more elaborate than that because you see… excalibur is not just a sword. It’s a living being.
And when things are sentient, things get a lot more complicated. So complicated, that very few individuals have every wielded Excalibur, not because they couldn’t, but because they couldn’t STAND to. If you don’t think this is a big deal, then don’t be a FOOL! There have been many who tried to wield Excalibur and you won’t be the first.
You’re about to see the known provisions to wielding Excalibur. Please keep in mind, this is not the entirety of the list:
1: Every morning you must give Excalibur a cup of coffee with cream.
22: On a refreshing morning, you must give him a refreshing greeting.
58: Never talk to Excalibur when he’s humming.
75: Celebrate Excalibur’s birthday in a grand manner--every day is his birthday.
172: Seek harmony.
202: He will only accept the grandest of toilets.
Apparently, to be a king, you must also be a saint.
7. Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct. 1995 – Mar. 1996
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an iconic and world-renowned series. It has gone on to become a classic to many fans of the medium, creating merchandise and further movie adaptations decades after its release.
While a lot of things are quite admirable about the series, Shinji Ikari, its main protagonist, can be a polarizing character. Shinji is a 14-year-old boy whose mother passed away. Neglected by his father, he rides into battle that pit the world’s survival on his shoulders. The amount of pressure he has is devastating.
A lot of his motivations for his actions (or inaction) are understandable. Realistically, the pressures he goes through are not something a boy his age should be able to handle--and that’s the problem. Humanity rests upon the shoulders of a boy who could crack at any moment, whose action or inaction means the entirety of the world could cease to exist.
Shinji is a character whose inner conflict significantly influence the world. A momentary act of cowardice would damn everyone in the show. The thing he needs to realize is he’s not alone. Other pilots have had their share of past traumas and while struggling to keep their sanity together, they still ultimately fight.
Shinji isn’t meant to be brave. If he were, then the world would be more hopeful, the thing the Evangelion’s world needs, but might not deserve. Shinji’s frustration manifests itself within its story, but also within a tired, tense audience.
6. Suzaku Kururugi from Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2006 – Jul. 2007
Code Geass borrows from Arthurian and Irish mythology. Using the lore of each, it helps construct an easily recognizable structure to its designs and conflicts. While I don’t think most watch Code Geass will focus on this--I know I didn’t when I first saw it--the point of bringing this up is structure and conflict.
Ideologies clash in Code Geass, and those that follow through with their beliefs will naturally come into conflict with those that challenge them. This is where Suzaku and the protagonist, Lelouch, come into play. Through much of the series, Lelouch is the wild card--he breaks the established system through whimsical strategies and the absolute power of his Geass, the ability to give undeniable orders that can be used on a person once.
Suzaku is Lelouch’s foil. His attitude towards most things is rigid, his actions adhering to a strict system of hierarchy. In his world, there is an order to things, and justice is working through that order, not destroying it. The problem is Suzaku is stubborn in his ways, and while Lelouch can be too, the events of the show remind Lelouch of the weight of his actions. Suzaku can’t see that his method has flaws too.
Without seeing the error of his own ways, he criticizes the protagonist. To commit to Lelouch’s path is too violent: lives will be lost. The problem is he can’t see that by doing nothing, lives are being lost too. Suzaku consistently says that the means are just as important to the ends--perhaps his biggest conflict with Zero, Lelouch’s alter ego. Yet, when Suzaku turns in Zero to Charles, king of Britannia, he refuses to acknowledge and condemn Charles, a man who cares not about the means, only the results. Suzaku needs a good punch.
5. Minoru Mineta from Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016
My Hero Academia is a hugely successful shounen manga with an equally impressive anime adaptation. Its respectful homage towards the genre and western comics has helped it gain notoriety worldwide, expanding past its initial young demographic. Its amazing cast has such appealing designs and interesting quirks, unique super powers that help define the hero or villain, that it’s not surprising why it’s successful. It would be hard to find a character you didn’t like!
...Wait, no. Hang on.
That’s right. This Mineta exists. My Hero Academia does amazingly well with appealing to a larger audience, but then Mineta appears, harasses all the (mainly female) characters, and routinely forces the show into uncomfortable fanservice. While I’m certainly not an advocate of removing fanservice in all works, Mineta is a character who oversteps his boundaries and ends up as a creep. If this wasn’t enough, he’s routinely hypocritical, chastising others for their perversions while not owning up to his.
The hero tests in the show are meant grueling. It’s not uncommon that characters will struggle to pass these them, giving appreciated character development. In contrast, Mineta passes his tests like it’s a poor joke. By shoehorning his quirk, purple adhesive balls, it feels like that the show wants to make a point--that everyone has a place--but at the price of our frustration.
4. Shinji Matou from Fate/stay night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan. 2006 – Jun. 2006
Shinji Matou is a bully to his classmates, especially the protagonist. To call him a terrible brother would be an understatement--to clarify would actually push us firmly into uncomfortable territory. As an insecure high school student, he is unwilling to overcome his flaws, his arrogance and pride further drowning him in his flaws.
Within the world of Fate/stay night, there is a holy grail war, a battle amongst mages to obtain the right to hold the holy grail and grant their wish. Shinji is part of the Matou family, a well-known mage bloodline. However, the family’s bloodline has declined, and the Matou family can no longer produce an heir with satisfactory magic. The result is the family adopts a sister, and Shinji’s jealousy erupts.
Years of traumatizing events “happen” to his sister Sakura, and while the animated series doesn’t go into the same details as the visual novel, the anime aptly depicts Shinji as brutish and self-serving. He is an incompetent master, never knowing when he is used by others. Luckily, the show doesn’t depict him in a positive manner, and it’s easy to see why.
3. Kyuubey from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Puella Magi: Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Kyuubey is designed to look like the token mascot character. Within the magical girl genre, these characters can bestow powers upon the protagonist, become a guide for their personal growth, and facilitate the lore of story.
Kyuubey is a character who plays upon the assumptions of the genre. Rather than a power, he bestows a curse. Rather than a guide, he tricks girls into a false sense of identity--that magical girls can inspire hope, when in fact, they will soon change into the very things they seek to fight. Kyuubey profits off of suffering. It is his actual goal, the reason for his conduct. He aims for vulnerable people--children--plays upon their innocence, then ruins them and the future of the people around him.
Kyuubey grants curses to people who are genuinely caring and sweet people. Characters who lead happy lives, seeking to just make things a bit better. The show is a tragic reversal of expectations, and those that come into contact with Kyuubey will always know suffering.
2. Griffith from Berserk
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 1997 – Apr. 1998
Griffith is known as a savior, the leader of the Band of the Falcon who helped end the Hundred-Year War within the kingdom of Midland. During the depiction of the band’s early days, Griffith is a symbol that inspired his fellow mercenaries and the protagonist of Berserk, Guts.
However, as time passed, Griffith became more warped by the loss of his colleagues. Relying less on compassion and morality, he became more cold and calculated. His ideal to pursue his dream with his allies transformed into a selfish wish to abandon his humanity.
And he did. Griffith, a former savior of humanity, becomes the spawn of evil, sacrificing all of his band to devils. They tear at the very people that believe in him and left Guts a broken man, consumed by vengeance, and marked by the Brand of Sacrifice.
One man’s selfish decision damns the entirety of the people who trusted him, thus starts the premise of Berserk. The reason why Griffith is so high on this list is that of his ascension--or perhaps it would be more fitting to say his “fall.” The character built up audience loyalty. His composure in battle and diplomacy, his deserving respect and his inspiring perspective lead the characters and us to believe in him.
We are meant to identify with Guts, and to see how far changed he’s become from his past, breaks our hope. The world is darker all the more for one decision, and Griffith made it. The willingness to sacrifice everything to pursue his goals cast the story into permanent darkness.
1. Nobuyuki Sugou from Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul. 2012 – Dec. 2012
Nobuyuki is one of the characters that ruin the quality of a show; he makes you question why he even exists--no, like what merit is there in writing this character? Nobuyuki is the villain of the second arc in Sword Art Online, the infamous ALfheim Online arc.
Whether you like or passionately dislike this show, it’s pretty unanimous how much this character is hated. To begin, his story arc makes a large departure from the initial premise of the show. During this portion of the story, Asuna is in a coma, and her virtual self is trapped within the VR game, ALfheim Online.
During this time, it is revealed that Nobuyuki is the fiance chosen by Asuna’s father, and without Asuna’s consent, Nobuyuki accelerates his disturbing marriage preparations. Within ALfheim Online, Nobuyuki is depicted as Oberon, and his power-hungry, arrogant, attitude reveals itself through his harassment of Asuna in the virtual world. Trapped in a cage, Asuna cannot leave and trapped in a coma, she cannot resist his outright disturbing harassment.
It’s pretty difficult to think of any merit to this character. He’s written to be irredeemable and manipulative. It could be said that was the intent, but the emotion of feels for him isn’t invoked, but just forced. For a villain, he doesn’t inspire much change from the hero. Nobuyuki doesn’t test one’s characters. He’s just meant to be taken down.
First, I want to begin by stating that no one was harmed in the writing of this article. I also want to state that, while I did compile this list, most of this was from observations of common characters that are disliked (with a spin or two).
Hopefully, the article was intriguing for you. If you feel that a character should be on the list let me know in the comments! If it fits your fancy, I’d love to see your personal list of frustrating characters!