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Anime has a lot of unlucky characters. In comedies, someone has to be the butt of a joke. In romances, someone has to have their heart broke. In horrors, someone has to die. Basically, someone gets the short end of the stick in every single anime, which is quite relatable in life. However, there are those who are just so frequently picked on and those who have such tragic and unlucky streaks in their lives that you just sit there and think “how do they function?” Well, this list is to commemorate those who continuously tough it out and make lemonade when life only gives them lemons.
10. Minami Shimada from Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (Baka & Test – Summon the Beasts)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2010 – Apr. 2010
Baka and Test puts us into a school that would honestly be the coolest school in the world. In this academic institution students are placed in classes A-E, with A holding the top-scoring students and best facilities, and are given avatars, whose strength is based off of their test scores. Talk about a strong motivation to study. However, all of the opportunities of A class don’t seem to matter much to the residents of Class E. That was until Himeji, a student who usually would be in Class A got placed in Class E due to a health crisis during the entrance exam. Yoshi and the rest of Class E decided that they will do whatever they can to get Himeji in the proper educational setting she deserves.
Minami Shimada was the girl in this series who everyone was pretty sure will not win the main character’s heart. In many ways, she’s here as a representative for all the girls in harems and love triangles who for one reason or another can’t snag the main character’s true affection. However, Baka and Test humiliates her further on a constant level due to a flat chest. Not only does she envy Himeji, but possibly considers Hideyoshi a rival due to her lack of development. It doesn’t help that Yoshi can’t stop referencing how flat she is every chance he gets. Oh, and even the creators take a massive swing at her by transforming her avatar into a ‘flat’ brick wall, akin to a Whomp in Mario. Shots fired.
9. Yamcha from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: Apr. 1989 – Jan. 1996
Dragon Ball is one of those series that people just can’t get enough of. It’s been following Goku and his party of friends and family fight against villains for three decades. With Dragon Ball Super gaining more popularity with each consecutive episode, it doesn’t seem like fans of anime will ever get tired of Goku and his ever-constant power growth. However, let’s zero in on Dragon Ball Z, where we witnessed the transition of Vegeta from villain to anti-hero and Yamcha from ally to spectator.
It was during that arc that we viewed how unlucky Yamcha truly was. He went from being a badass bandit in Dragon Ball, with Bulma as his girlfriend, to resident loser of the gang. He was the first to die in Vegeta’s attack on Earth and he died against one of the seed minions. Admittedly, the opponent pulled a suicide tactic, but it was still a rather weak way to go. From that moment onwards, he never became useful again. However, that wouldn’t be too bad, even Krillin was put in such a position and his life turned out all right. What happened though after the Frieza arc, when Vegeta is sent to Earth, is the kicker. Basically, Bulma ditched him for Vegeta, the character who essentially caused his death in the first pace.
8. Anne Hanakoizumi from Anne Happy
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016
Anne Happy, which when said quickly kind of sounds like unhappy (this happens to be part of its other aliases Unhappy Go Lucky!) focuses on a particular class of Tennomifune Academy. In this classroom, each student exudes a force or an aura of bad luck or misfortune. Literally, not a single person in the class is living an easy life. They are all unlucky, if not miserable too. Nonetheless a small group bands together, decided that they will figure out a way to make their school life awesome.
It was tough to choose a particular mascot of unluckiness from this show. Hibiki gets lost on a constant basis and has to deal with the constant amount of things attracted to Ren, Ren attracts the female of practically any species to herself, and Botan’s body is systematically breaking down through ordinary interactions like a handshake. However, it became clear that Anne could be the only true mascot of Anne Happy. A good portion of this is because her hopeful demeanor really just shines more light onto all the bad things that happen to her. From falling into manholes to being attacked by animals on a frequent basis, her particular brand of unluckiness becomes all the more painful (or hilarious) to watch because she tries to remain positive.
7. Reika Ko from Sousei no Aquarion (Genesis of Aquarion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2005 – Sep. 2005
Genesis of Aquarion put us into a world that was under attack from a race referred to as Shadow Angels, who desired to suck the life force from humanity. In order to fight against this threat, an organization by the name of DEAVA was formed and began constructing giant mecha (Aquarion). The most effective method of fighting against the Shadow Angels is for three pilots to be so in sync that their Aquarion are at full power. Well, joining the ranks of Aquarion pilots and perhaps a fighter that will create a scenario where the Aquarion are at full power is Apollo.
Did you think this list was just going to be about those with more humorous unlucky circumstances? Nope, Reika begins the transformation of this list into one of legitimate tragedy. She, as well as everyone who knows her, is convinced that she causes misfortunes to others. In fact, everyone, herself included, blames her for the fact that her boyfriend is currently in a coma. This reputation not only causes people to automatically avoid her, but has created a massive degree of self-doubt in her. Making friends is extremely difficult as she does her best to stay out of people’s lives. In other words, the unluckiness that exudes from her has created a type of emotional and mental prison.
6. Nina Tucker from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Oct. 2003 – Oct. 2004
Fullmetal Alchemist threw viewers into one of the most unique and developed anime worlds out there. It was a world of alchemy and consistent experimentation. It was a world of constant scientific/magical discovery that was explored in depth as the Elric brothers searched for the Philosopher’s Stone and ways to get their lives back together. They aren’t the only ones though who were trying to understand the heart of alchemy and what’s controlling the state of the government.
Nina was the daughter of the scientist Shou Tucker, who was known for his studies in bio-alchemy, but secretly performed experiments to create chimeras. These studies are the reason why Nina doesn’t get to spend much time with her father and why she doesn’t have a mother anymore. As his state license was about to expire he descended in madness, and decided transform his own daughter Nana into a chimera. The girl had never done anything wrong, she did not play with powers beyond her, but she was the one who paid the price for her father. Her existence had turned into one of pain and torture and she wasn’t even able to fully communicate anymore. This played a part as to why Scar obliterated her. It was a tragic ending for one so young.
5. Homura Akemi from Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Madoka Magica became such a massive hit because of how artfully it turned the genre of fantasy and magic on its head. It took us into a world where magical girls were overworked and underpaid in a cycle that ultimately led to their death. Friendships and resolves were tested on a constant basis as several young girls tried to navigate the dangerous and haunting world they were thrust into unexpectedly.
Although the anime depicted Sayaka’s unlucky nature in much more detail, Madoka Magica proved that less is more with Akemi’s narrative. It’s not until the very end that Akemi’s power was revealed and we realized just how much torture and horror she had had to endure, fighting to keep Madoka safe. She went through countless lives watching the people she was closest to die or become the enemy she must kill. She had literally witnessed the end of the world on numerous occasions. That is unlucky, but the little bit that strikes deep is how little the audience or any of the people she wants to protect trust her. Everyone judged her unfairly and only god knows how many times she had been given the short end of the stick.
4. Rin Asogi from Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi (Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne)
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: Feb. 2008 – Jul. 2008
Rin is an immortal. This happens to be pretty helpful in her line of work, which is acting as a private detective. She never has to worry about taking on something too dangerous. Albeit, it’s not exactly pleasant for her to be killed in the first place, so caution is still practiced. However, she’s going to have to be extra careful as someone has found a way to actually take down immortals.
Rin’s life is one of repeating pain. She has had to watch those closest to her grow old and die while she stays the same. She also has had to suffer through numerous deaths in her lifetime. The pain she has been exposed to includes torture, knife stabs, gun shots, maiming, shredded by jet turbine, and a lot more. A lot of this is due to the fact that she gained the attention of one sick-minded being known as Eipos, who wishes to consume her time spores and end her immortality. In the end, her gift of immortality, something she didn’t ask for, has caused her to suffer for at least millennia in ways that are graphically depicted throughout the series.
3. Guts from Berserk (2016)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2016 – Sep. 2016
Berserk follows Guts around as he guts apostles in a journey of vengeance. As a sequel to the 1997 animation, we see Guts journeying after the fact that he has been betrayed by Griffith and now desires nothing more than revenge He’s been branded and cursed to be hunted by demons until he draws his last breath and so each and every inch of his travels is one of struggle and misery.
He’s been betrayed by one of the only people he trusted, witnessed someone he truly cared for being raped, and now is branded and hunted by nightmarish demons. Those are only a few of the terrible things that have happened to the man. In terms of going through hell and back, he’s the equivalent of Sisyphus pushing the rock up the mountain. The real question is if unlucky can be a term in a life that doesn’t seem to possess any luck in the first place. He is actually the type of person who would probably tell someone off if they started talking about luck. This is part of the reason why Guts is number three instead of number one. He’s never had a taste of normalcy or innocence from the moment he was born, and so he misses out on the grief of losing a sense of peace.
2. Kariya Matou from Fate/Zero
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2011 – Jun. 2012
Fate Zero depicted the bloodiest of the Holy Grail Wars as it primarily followed Kiritsugu Emiya and his servant Saber into battle. Episode by episode we were drawn into a war where ideologies collided as much as weapons, and it was glorious. Every character had a story and we were driven into it one way or another as the war moved forward.
Though several characters (including servants) have tortured backgrounds, one character in particular loses everything and has nothing to show for it. Even Kiritsugu was able to save one solitary life despite everything and that’s why Kariya Matou is the unluckiest character in Fate/Zero. So let’s break it down. He gave up his rather carefree living (outside of the fact that the person he loves was married and had children) in order to protect a young girl. In doing this, he subjugated himself to extreme training measures as well as had to summon the berserk servant, which requires more mental strain than any other servant. This ultimately led to the disfigurement of his body and a deteriorating mind. His circumstances only got worse as the love of his life ultimately rejected him, which he responded to by strangling her. After that point, there was only one person in the world within his power to protect, Sakura Matou, the girl whose place he took in the war. Well, upon Kariya being consumed, we find out that she viewed his sacrifice as practically pointless. Ultimately, the guy went about with really good intentions and failed miserably.
1. Sara Ringwalt from Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku (Now and Then, Here and There)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 1999 – Jan. 2000
Now and Then, Here and There was one of those shows that just doesn’t go easy on the viewers. It threw us, along with the main character, into a world dominated by war and all its hardship. We were witness to genocide, starvation, child exploitation and so much more as Shu made his way into this new world, trying his best to save anyone and everyone.
In general this show was tragic, but few fates were as terrible as Sara Ringwalt’s. This was more or less because all of her hardships came about due to a case of mistaken identity. There’s a certain factor of losing something good that goes into being unlucky as well as a simple matter of chances. Out of all these characters, Sara’s fate mixed these two to create the most unlucky and tragic character. It’s not one of those times where being mistaken led to a slight beating or in more dramatic cases death. No, Sara was raped on a consistent basis, impregnated, tortured, and so much more. When she finally escaped, she tried to abort the baby and then commit suicide, but Shu is able to stop her. In the end, her life was stripped from her in a horrible fashion, and it is all because some people thought she was someone else.
When you start creating a list like this, you start to realize just how cruel anime/manga producers are. A lot more people have unlucky lives with either unhappy beginnings or sucky endings than you would expect. The names that could have entered this list are numerous and there are too many possible honorable mentions that it would be unfair to point out singly one. With that said, who do you feel is one of the most unlucky characters in anime?