Like real life, all anime has its strong and weak characters. We don’t mean in the literary sense in how they’re written but their literal parameters. You have your tough and feeble, smart and idiotic, fast and slow etc. But whatever a character is, most of the time it’s okay for them to be weak in comparison to the characters around them. Not everyone can be the very best after all.
But these characters that we are talking about are the times when it’s completely not okay for them to be weak and useless and they make us face palm ourselves in frustration when watching them. This ranges from “Are you blind!? She clearly likes you!” to “If I were him, I’d literally curb stomp the competition. What the heck is he doing with his plot powers?” These guys are the reason Japan invented the NTR genre.
Here at Honey’s, we want to tell you that we understand your pain, so we sympathise. Join us on this very painful recount of the Top 10 Useless Male Characters in Anime!
Warning: Some spoilers may abound, but they’ll be kept as low as possible.
10. Sakai Yuuji (Shakugan no Shana)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2005 - March 2006
Sakai Yuuji is put into a precarious situation right from the start. He’s surrounded by denizens on all sides trying to slaughter each other and he’s doing all he can just not to crap himself. So he’s pretty afraid at the start because he discovers a whole other supernatural world of existence eating monsters. Okay that’s fine, we’d all be scared, too, right?
But episode after episode, Yuuji remains completely useless and can only seem to hide behind the skirt of Shana. He always seems to get stronger whenever they put him through some sort of training, but that always goes to waste and the day is once more saved through a deus ex machina once more. Even at the end when he finally becomes one of the most powerful characters of the series, Yuuji goes through a whole pointless song and dance to achieve his goal instead of actually “talking”.
Yuuji is only at the bottom of this list by virtue that he actually gets strong at some point so he’s not entirely useless, except when he is.
9. Kazuya Aoi (Freezing)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 - April 2011
Freezing follows the same pattern as Infinite Stratos; elder sister was insanely powerful back in some war way back when and her useless brother is now joining the academy that trains people like her. Like all protagonists, there’s something that sets apart Kazuya from other people right from the start. In this case, it’s that his freezing ability is way beyond the capacity of a normal guy and can freeze countless amounts of people.
So what does he do with this amazing ability? He doesn’t use it nor train it. If anyone else had this amazing talent at their disposal, you’d most probably hone this purely for fear of your life because of that amazing alien invasion coming right at your doorstep. And if you were put into a situation where countless girls are fighting and you want them to stop, would you shout at them to stop. Or…just use that damn freezing ability?
8. Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 1995 - March 1996
Now to clear things up, we are talking about TV Shinji. Rebuild Shinji is a badass with a damn backbone who does what he needs to. TV Shinji can be really annoying to watch at times. The show really tries its hardest to justify why he is the way he is. He’s been through some pretty tough depressing times. It’s perfectly normal for anybody to become as timid and wimpy as he is after all that shit.
The problem is that this isn’t real life. If we wanted the ballad of a depressed person, 1/10 of the show’s audience can already look to themselves. Shinji is supposed to be the man of the hour. He’s an anime character. Real life logic shouldn’t apply themselves so strictly to him. That’s why it’s such a shame that he becomes so…normal. And a normal person in an extraordinary situation is just useless.
7. Kazuma Satou (Kono Subarashii Sekai no Shukufuku)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2016 - March 2016
Kazuma has obtained the dream that each of us shut-ins wants. A chance to reincarnate in a fantasy world with some extra help given by the goddess of the world. He can choose any ability or special magical item to aid him on his way to defeat the demon king. Unparalleled magical power and Excaliburs abound, but what does he choose? The useless goddess who was reincarnating him.
And what does he do once he gets there? He stays in the starting town to grind for an entire season simply because he’s so weak from not choosing any special powers when he was given the chance to. In fact, he only defeats his enemies through sheer stupidity because his enemies are equally retarded. It definitely makes it for a laughter filled watching session, but for a guy meant to defeat the demon king, he’s certainly useless.
6. Armin Arlert (Shingeki no Kyojin)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 - September 2013
Throughout the academy training arc of SnK, the various characters show-off their strong points to the audience so that it’s easy for them to be characterized no matter how minor they may seem. We know Sasha is the big eater and Mikasa is the tough one. Armin shows off that though he is weak, he is the smart one of the bunch and is able to think up suitable tactics to pull through a situation. So he’s supposed to be like Shikamaru, right?
Apart from the one badass scene with the guns in the lift, Armin has contributed very little to the overall efforts of the titan slaying team. Mikasa kills things like a badass. Levi attracts fan girls to buy merchandise and Eren has his Titan transformation thing going on. Armin, the supposedly smart one, spends most of his time having mental breakdowns on the battlefield. When the fearful soldiers want to fire upon Eren, Armin…gives a speech and bangs his fist on his chest.
Not very inspiring.
5. Raki (Claymore)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
Claymore is a dark series filled with serious badasses like Claire who have to contend with the toughest of Yoma in order to survive their sordid world. Normal people just get in the way and die, because that’s what the world has become. Enter Raki, the useless cling-on that gets in the way constantly but refuses to die.
Right from the start, Raki gets attached to Claire and follows her around like an annoying puppy. When he finds his relatives killed by a Yoma, he tries to attack the Yoma despite being a weakling and has to be saved by Clare. Instead of being grateful, Raki first fears her because her eyes look like that of a Yoma. He was later caught by a Yoma and she saved him at the cost of being injured. The list could go on forever but this guy is basically NTR material and only becomes useful after the 7 year time skip, but that’s in the manga. And it is too late.
4. Akihisa Yoshii (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2010 - April 2010
Akihisa is the type of guy that we want to throw off a bridge because that’s what he does with his good fortune with girls. Like all harem protagonists, he somehow has captured the attention of all the prominent women around him and remains completely dense to that fact. In his very hands, Akihisa holds the love of the school’s idol, the glorious pettanko and the kawaii trap. But he just remains stupid and blind throughout the series.
Even when a girl directly tells him his feelings, Akihisa gets flustered and refuses to commit to everything like an indecisive loser. Unlike most guys, he doesn’t enjoy having the pick of the litter and just remains in his la la land without thinking. Akihisa needs to apologise to all guys for squandering his good fortune.
3. Ash Ketchum (Pokemon)
- Episodes: 276
- Aired: April 1997 - November 2002
Do you wanna be the very best that no one ever was? Have you in fact been the very best? Multiple times in fact right? From generation one to generation six, fans of the Pokemon series have travelled through the regions and defeated the elite four plus the champion. Everyone’s been the very best at some point, except Ash Ketchum.
Ash is the only guy in the world who can have a level 100 Pikachu and lose to a level 5 Treeko. Instead of training his team from region to region to build a solid foundation that can challenge the league battles, he just tosses his team from each region into the garbage and starts from scratch every time. That’s why you’re losing Ash! While everyone is using a team that they’ve had their whole lives, you’re just building them from baby Pokemon expecting them to stand up to these older ones.
Furthermore, he’s the only guy in the world who gets badges without actually defeating the gym first. Did you use a Pikachu against a ground type Onyx who is completely immune to electric attacks? Well, have a badge because of the power of friendship! This coddling leads to him being unable to defeat any of the elite four nor does he ever become the pokemon master even once. Well there was that orange league thing...but that wasn’t even a major region.
2. Yukiteru Amano (Mirai Nikki/Future Diary)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2011 - April 2012
One facet of useless guys that is often present is that they try their hardest to be a noble person. Key word here is try, because they are often living in a fantasy land where they can save anyone and end up getting everyone killed. Yuki is not any different. Equipped with a powerful Future Diary and the help of his psychotic but crazy strong girlfriend Yuuno, he stands a pretty good chance of winning the game.
But she has to bail his ass out of stupid situations over and over again because he keeps trying to help the obvious bad guys because of his need to be noble. And the worst part is that he doesn’t even contribute that much to the situation other than to stay put where he is like a pouting child, forcing those around him to save him at risk to themselves.
1. Yamcha (Dragon Ball Z)
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989 - January 1996
Yamcha is not the most useless guy ever. However, he ranks highly on the list because of how badly his character was man-handled by the creators of the show. He simply reeks of wasted potential. Early on, Yamcha was a main character and he started off by being a pseudo bad guy that eventually turns into a good guy. This has major potential to become a running theme of his character and a motivation for him to get stronger.
Instead, he gets shoved to the side and his relationship with Bulma is torn to shreds for a stupid reason like a simple misunderstanding. His power in comparison to the other characters simply gets weaker and weaker to the point that he becomes a simple speck of dust in comparison to them. In fact, he becomes so sidelined that he simply gives up fighting completely at some point because he can’t do anything besides planet busters like Goku and Vegeta.
It’s just a damn shame that he became useless, because he was once useful and could have continued to be useful. In fact the writers literally made him into NTR material. That’s just sad.
At the end of the day, as much as we fantasize that we can do better than many of these characters, we should remember that we most probably can’t. Most of these guys are normal people caught up in bad situations and just ended up not excelling. But that’s the crux of the matter. This is anime! They aren’t supposed to react in a normal way at all.
That’s why they’re all useless. Have any burning hatred for other useless guys? Share your thoughts in the comments below!