No other nation can express the creativity of animation more than Japan. Anime offers action sequences that break the barriers of imagination, energetic soundtracks, unorthodox comedy, relatable teen romance, and idealistic harems. In addition to these traits, anime is full of unique characters and at times, these characters can be immature for better or worse for the sake of the story. For example, with Haruko from FLCL (our introductory honorable mention), her immaturity is necessary in order to compliment Naoto’s serious demeanor and develop his character. So for today’s list, we’ll be discussing some top immature characters from anime.
10. Leon Luis from Garo: Honoo no Kokuin (Garo: The Animation)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 4, 2014 – March 28, 2015
In the first edition to the anime of Garo, 17-year-old Leon Luis bears the golden armor. Despite having the honor of being acknowledged as the strongest Makai Knight, his age kind of allows him to act rash and emotionally. As opposed to protecting the innocent from the horrors, Leon is solely driven by revenge. While his motivations are understandable, just like how it is in the Jedi Order in Star Wars, Makai Knights cannot seek revenge. Eventually, his obsession with vengeance made him forfeit the power of his armor for a brief period. Shortly after, he tries to live a farmer’s life but after failing to protect the family from a horror without his armor or sword, he comes to terms with what it means to be a Makai Knight and reclaims his birthright as Garo.
9. Haruhi Suzumiya from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
- Episodes: 14
- Aired: April 3, 2006 – July 3, 2006
Just imagine you’re 16 and bored with everyday life; what do you do about it? In the case of the titular Haruhi Suzumiya, she creates the SOS Brigade - dedicated to finding espers, time travelers, and aliens! Haruhi isn’t afraid to express herself but to regular folks like Kyon, Haruhi is an immature brat. She forces people into her club (though the anime reveals the purpose of each member) and resorts to blackmail in order to get a computer for the SOS like it’s no big deal. Despite her good intentions, she forces people into awkward situations.
She’s also unpredictable and moody. Some moments Haruhi’s excited and when things go wrong (even when they’re her fault), she blames everybody else! Though Haruhi is openly eccentric, she is honest with her feelings in regards to why she has her interests. As for why she needs to have her behavior accommodated, it turns out Haruhi has the power to change reality so depending on her mood, the fate of the world is always in balance.
8. Shinn Asuka from Kidou Senshi Gundam SEED Destiny (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny)
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: October 4, 2004 – October 1, 2005
Just like Leon from Garo, Shinn is purely motivated by hate and revenge. Shinn is probably the poster child on why you shouldn’t have teenagers as mech pilots. Leon’s quest for vengeance was one thing, but Shinn takes it to a whole new level. While the series does an effective job of showing why he wants revenge, it equally demonstrates how it negatively impacts his behavior. He is impulsive and goes against his superior officers. Not only that, he easily gets manipulated by Gilbert to implement his Brave New World agenda. By the time the series gets to the ending, he sees the error in his ways and chooses to move on with his life and make amends with Kira and Athrun.
7. Atsuko Kagari from Little Witch Academia
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: January 9, 2017 – June 26, 2017
Atsuko, or Akko for short, is one of those characters where her immaturity just makes her cute. She is positive and motivated, but in turn, it makes her hot headed and hyperactive. Considering her background in comparison to her peers, Akko’s views on witchcraft are unorthodox and out of the norm. When you enter an unfamiliar world for the first time, it is only natural to act with wonder, excitement, and sometimes with fear to new surroundings. There are moments where that excitement will make you look weird to the natives of that environment, and there will be moments where dealing with culture shock can break you down. Akko is a great demonstration of those two extremities. Sometimes, creating perceptions based on pop culture can make you look like a fool, but Akko shows that these qualities in context to immaturity in a culture shock sense are natural, and there are phases on how to realistically handle them, still be yourself, and make new friends.
6. Joseph Joestar from JoJo no Kimyou Na Bouken (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
- Episodes: 113+
- Aired: October 2, 2012 – Ongoing
Compared to most anime here, Joseph is one of those characters where you see him grow from an adventurous young man to becoming a grandpa. Just like many characters featured on this list, the immaturity of Joseph is utilized as a tool, but is expressed in different ways in whatever arc he’s featured in. In his youth during the second story arc, he resorted to acting like a child but only to making his opponent lower their guard. Even as an old man, he doesn’t give up his hilarious habit of screaming “Oh no” or any other explicit in English (we strongly recommend watching JoJo in Japanese partially for this purpose) showing how he retains elements of his juvenile behavior.
Every ridiculous thing he does has a purpose, and in that sense, his immaturity has a charm. He also talks trash to his opponent and fights dirty in a matter would make the late wrestling (and cheating) legend Eddie Guerrero proud. Speaking of cheating, he cheated on his own wife! By the time we get to the fourth story arc, viewers learn that he had a son out of wedlock! The fact that he was womanizing as an old man shows how immature Joseph can be.
5. Hange Zoe from Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 43+
- Aired: April 7, 2013 - Ongoing
Putting Hange’s highly valuable abilities for the Survey Corps aside, she puts new meaning to the word mad scientist. She has an unorthodox sense of enthusiasm when it comes to her personal research with titans. Her way of expressing herself is explosively energetic like Haruhi, but there are times when she suffers from nervous breakdowns at certain moments. Though she consistently demonstrates a surprising sense of intelligence, Hange can be sadistic when it comes to her torture. Her delivery in the Japanese version is disturbing and sounds like a child wanting to torture a puppy. As to why she acts the way she does, it could come down to how growing up within the walls, facing the unknown, and constantly losing her friends all likely contribute to her immature behavior.
4. Hamdo from Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku (Now and There, Here and There)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 14, 1999 – January 20, 2000
If anyone shaped the dark world of Hellywood from Now and There, Here and There, it would have to be that world’s dictator, Hamdo. Unlike other immature characters on this list who mostly come from comedy, Hamdo is a pure example if immaturity and the Axis powers had a baby. He’s pretty much a man child with power and when you watch this series, you wonder how people can be loyal to this scumbag. When things go wrong for him, Hamdo throws a hissy fit like a 12-year-old yelling at his mom for wanting him to stop playing his game so he could take out the garbage. As for how far his childish outbursts go? Hamdo goes as far as to kill a cat and stomp on it! If you want an idea on how Kim Jong Un treats his citizens, then Hamdo is probably the closest example you’re going to get.
3. Son Goku from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 26, 1989 – January 31, 1996
Goku is a pure example of nature vs. nurture when it comes to how he presents himself. He initially didn’t know what a bath or marriage was when asked about them. After all, he grew up isolated in the mountains after losing his grandfather. Even when he grows up, he never finds stable employment and still has a lack of understanding of the real world. Heck, Goku doesn’t get his first job until shortly before he becomes a grandfather! And, he didn’t stick around that long! The only thing that motivates him is his training and finding a good fight. According to Vegeta, his love for fighting simply comes from being a member of the Saiyan race. The moment he hears of a strong opponent, he’ll leave home to take up the challenge.
Even though he left his home planet as a baby, Goku was still trained in martial arts under his adoptive grandfather. Even after traveling around the universe, he still acts immature from a perspective to those who grew up in civilization. He makes rash decisions which also included blowing up King Kai’s planet to save the earth. While he did save the world at that moment, it really wasn’t cool for him to do that to King Kai without asking him. So despite his intergalactic travels, one may wonder if you can take him off of the mountain, but you can’t take the mountain off of him. As for his love of fighting, would it have changed if he wasn’t a Saiyan? Or was it because of his grandfather’s initial training? These are questions that are difficult to answer considering how the series offers numerous factors.
2. Eikichi Onizuka from Great Teacher Onizuka
- Episodes: 43
- Aired: June 30, 1999 – September 17, 2000
Ever felt your teachers were too boring or bland like Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Wonder Years? Then Eikichi Onizuka may be the teacher you’re looking for! Despite his criminal background and assaulting the vice principal after his interview, he still gets a job at the Holy Forest Academy under the expectations that he can straighten up a class full of delinquents that made his predecessors quit and/or go missing. Onizuka is one of those characters where his immaturity is his greatest asset. Though he initially became a teacher just to hook up with school girls, he uses his street smarts in order to welcome his students to the Onizuka School of Hard Knocks.
Considering the severity of the behavioral problems of his class, desperate times call for desperate (and very illegal) measures. Though his antics are likely to get him fired (and in jail) at any moment, he uses reverse psychology to prove that his students aren’t as tough as they think they are. There are also moments that he does resort to violent methods, but he’s also a pure example that when you push people, just be prepared to be pushed back and that’s his one of his many ways of cleaning up his students’ acts. In the end, his immaturity is also what makes him an effective teacher.
1. Daigouji Gai from Kidou Senkan Nadesico (Martial Successor Nadesico)
No offense to anyone named John Smith, but do ever you feel that your name just feels too generic? If you were a Japanese national, one example of a generic name would be Jiro Yamada. In the world of Nadesico, that happens to be the name of the initial pilot of the Nadesico mech crew. Inspired by classic mecha anime from his childhood, he is living his dream. However, his attitude is something the military wouldn’t take lightly in reality. As opposed to being referred to by his birth name, Jiro prefers to be called Daigouji Gai, the name of his true spirit! Whenever he rides his mech (even when he isn’t required to), he loves to scream and try to throw karate chops and kicks. While during such test runs, he broke his leg.
However, that doesn’t stop him from being a mentor to Nadeisco’s main character, Akito. Whenever Akito is out piloting a mecha, Gai encourages him to act like the pilots of their favorite mecha anime by yelling out name attacks. When Gai comes back to action, he draws his battle plans in crayon and has them in his cockpit! And when the Nadesico crew is held captive by the military, how does Gai kill the time? By playing a video of his favorite mecha anime, Gekiganger III! Gai is pretty much the ultimate mecha fan boy. He represents the good, (mostly) the bad, and all the hilarity on why an enthusiastic fanboy may not be the ideal mech pilot in comparison to serious mech pilots like Shiro from Gundam 08th MS Team.
Some honorable mentions we’d like to share are Kamille from Z Gundam, Takamura from Hajime no Ippo, Nao from Charlotte, Azusa from Ranma ½, and Ataru from Urusei Yatsura. As shared on this list, many of these characters come from a mix of comedy, action, mech and drama. At times, the immaturity of some of these characters have charm and you can laugh at them, and there are other instances where such qualities can have drastic consequences. Many characters retain elements of their immaturity throughout their series run, while there are others that drastically develop. As shared in the introduction, sometimes people need an exposure to immaturity as a means to reflect on themselves. Sometimes we need to grow up, and sometimes we need to lighten up. In the end, it’s nice to have fun, but we need to keep ourselves in check and not hurt others.