Not all heroes are cut from the same cloth. While there are those who run headfirst into battle, with only the dream of a heroic victory, others have less dramatic aspirations. Anime has a wide variety of heroes, and while these good-doers started out differently, the end result is still the same.
These anime characters may not have the most inspirational stories at first, but it’s their choices over the course of the story that defines them as heroes. These anime heroes show that anyone can become a hero so long as they make the right decisions along their journey.
10 Rideback: Rebellion Is A Bit Too Much For Rin Ogata
Rin was just a normal college student trying to get by, but her mettle is tested in Rideback when she gets involved with a rebellion against her country’s oppressive government. The chaotic circumstances are brought about after she gets involved in a Rideback club through her college. She then is introduced to competitive racing on machines called Ridebacks, and makes a unique connection with one in particular.
The transforming bikes are at the center of the political conflict, which is how Rin becomes involved, however, she takes no agency toward the rebellion since she just wants a normal life and to avoid trouble. It’s only after she loses a friend to one of the government’s aggressive attacks that a will to fight back is stirred.
9 Mob Psycho 100: Shigeo Kageyama Worries About Hurting Others
In a world where psychic powers have become a normal part of society, Mob Psycho 100 follows Shigeo, whose psychic powers awaken at a very young age, hurting the people around him. It’s because of this that Shigeo decides to suppress his strength, even if it means that he’ll be the one who’s hurt in the process.
Over time, the young hero learns to control his powers for good, but rarely uses them. In fact, when approaching villains, Shigeo would rather start by talking to them first before resorting to violence.
8 Violet Evergarden: The Struggles Of A Veteran Soldier
As a child, Violet was used as a killing machine and was led down the path by those who taught her the mantra “kill or be killed.” Thankfully, she was found by Major Gilbert Bougainvillea, who was the first person to see Violet as a human being and more importantly, a child. The Major taught Violet how to read and write – and about love and compassion – something she knew nothing of beforehand.
At the start of Violet Evergarden, Violet can hardly be called a hero, but after the war, she’s given the drive to understand emotions by writing letters. Although her goal is selfish, she winds up becoming a hero of a different sort, helping to heal the emotional wounds of those she helps along her own journey of healing.
7 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon Doesn’t See Himself As A Hero
The first half of Gurren Lagann is centered around a very insecure Simon, who is thrown into the journey because of his best friend Kamina. Before escaping above ground, Simon is complacent about his place in the world. He’s told to dig and keep on digging, and that’s all he thinks he’s capable of – that is until Kamina begins to convince him otherwise.
With the power to use the smaller robot Lagann, Simon inspires Kamina with a way to move out of their oppressed lifestyle. At this point of the story, Kamina is more the heroic type with Simon just happy to join in. After losing Kamina, Simon has to learn to be confident in his key role in changing the world.
6 Akatsuki No Yona: Yona’s Struggle To Cope With Her Hero’s Journey
The heroine of Akatsuki No Yona never wanted to set out on a journey, she was forced out by a coup. Worst of all was seeing her own father, King Il, killed by her cousin, who aimed to take the throne. By witnessing this, Princess Yona became a target and had to flee her homeland with the help of her childhood friend and bodyguard Hak.
Yona struggles to handle the sudden change and the pain of losing her father. The first part of the journey is marked by Yona’s deep depression, where she doesn’t eat, barely moves, and can’t think straight. It’s not until she fears Hak dying that a spark is lit and Yona takes her first steps as a hero.
5 Castlevania: Trevor Belmont Was Happier Being A Drunk
When the demons of hell rise in Castlevania, one of the few who can stand against them is Trevor of the infamous demon-hunting Belmont family. When first introduced to Trevor, he’s nothing but a drunkard. Abandoned at a young age by his family – who were persecuted for their use of magic – Trevor already had a bleak outlook on life.
Trevor resents his family name and all the pressure that comes with it, especially when it comes to saving mankind from Dracula’s wrath. While he’d prefer to not have the burden of being a hero, he’s left with little choice when the onslaught of humanity is all around him.
4 My Hero Academia: Uravity Is Only In It For The Money
The aspiring young heroes of My Hero Academia each have their own reasons for taking on the hero profession, but it’s revealed that Ochako Uraraka has a less than heroic reason depending on how you look at it.
After watching her parents struggle with their business, Ochako desires to earn as much money as she could to help them, picking hero work to fund her pragmatic dream. Although her goal is less than inspiring at first glance, Ochako strives to become a hero that saves people and does an incredible job in her first acts as a growing hero.
3 One-Punch Man: Saitama Doesn’t Care Much For The Title Anymore
Saitama once dreamed of being a hero, but after battles became too easy, he grew to care less for the profession. In the present timeline of One-Punch Man, Saitama is in a bit of an existential crisis as fighting crime brings him no thrill. Saitama has no ambition in becoming a hero even though he has the strength for it.
His desire to apply himself doesn’t return until Genos convinces him to join the Hero Association, and even then, he still doesn’t take it seriously. As much good as he does, Saitama is very passive, sometimes even passing the buck onto someone else so that they can take the credit. He becomes an indifferent hero, but a hero nonetheless.
2 Spirited Away: Chihiro Nearly Disappears At The Beginning Having Done Nothing
At the beginning of Spirited Away, Chihiro doesn’t have much of an adventurous spirit in her and almost stays behind as her parents explore the strange red building, which eventually leads to the bathhouse. As the sun sets and the spirits awaken, Chihiro is all alone; her parents were turned into pigs in a very traumatic scene that had her running scared.
Chihiro doesn’t gain any bravery until later on, but before that she sits in a fetal position, trying to calm herself down. Little does she know, she’s slowly beginning to vanish. Before she even started on her journey, she first has to accept what’s happening in reality and deal with it properly.
1 Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Just Wants Love, Not War
The catastrophic events in Evangelion force three teenagers to pilot super powered robots called Evangelion Units. One of them is Shinji, a young insecure boy who is the only one able to pilot one of the Evangelions.
Resenting his father for the neglect he endured as a child and not wanting to be involved in such a dangerous battle, Shinji declines to fight, but is hesitantly compelled to become the official pilot of Unit-01 after seeing an injured Rei.
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