Many anime characters covet a position of leadership. It entails being significant in the story as well as gaining the respect of those around them. Shonen protagonists, in particular, strive to become the most prestigious, whether as the next Pirate King or Hokage.
However, there have been dozens of anime characters who had a chance to lead but squandered it magnificently. Whether irresponsibly using their resources or due to factors outside of their control, the reigns of these individuals have proven to be an utter disaster for all involved.
10/10 Magath’s Career Was One Blunder After Another
Attack On Titan
Magath had one of the most disastrously consequential careers of Attack On Titan. Responsible for leading the Warriors, his string of failures resulted in the loss of the Jaw Titan, getting his men massacred in Shiganshina, and even the Rumbling itself.
Given Magath’s prejudice against Eldians, he is at least partially to blame for Eren’s extreme retaliation against the outside world. Granted, Magath gave his life to sabotage the Yeagerist boats, but it was only a single act of atonement for a lifetime of bad calls.
9/10 Kirito Led His First Pary To Slaughter
Sword Art Online
Kirito had his most gruesome failure as a leader shortly after Sword Art Online began. He escorted a party deep into a dungeon, only for them to be slaughtered by the NPC inhabitants. As the only one to escape, Kirito was haunted by his failure to save his friends and resolved to be a solo player from then onward.
Ironically, Kirito didn’t make for a much better follower. Shortly after joining Heathcliff’s guild, he exposed him as a traitor and collapsed the entire Aincrad world twenty-five levels before intended.
8/10 The Emperor Failed To Understand His Subjects
Akame Ga Kill!
The Emperor’s inability to understand his subjects was the catalyst of Akame Ga Kill‘s main conflict. Constantly misled by the ironically named Minister Honest, the young boy only mistreated them since he didn’t know any better.
Regardless, as the people’s discontent grew, the Emperor’s retaliation increased drastically. When Night Raid finally assembled at his gates, the Emperor even unleashed a super weapon on a town of innocent people. Ultimately, his reign was so disastrous that his age was overlooked when he was dragged out into the street to be executed.
7/10 Overhaul Ruined The Yakuza
My Hero Academia
When My Hero Academia‘s Overhaul hospitalized the previous Yakuza leader, he took over the organization. Under his leadership, they focused on creating Quirk-destroying drugs he intended to sell to both heroes and villains alike.
However, Overhaul made a number of clumsy missteps that immediately crumbled his inherited empire. In addition to lacking subtlety about abusing Eri, he also attempted to strong-arm Shigaraki into serving as his subordinate. Doomed to fight a war on two fronts, Overhaul’s men were arrested, and he effectively lost his Quirk when Shigaraki destroyed his hands.
6/10 Michael Holes Overestimated His Authority
Michael Holes was the warden of the Arizona State Prison in Baki. Despite commanding entire squadrons of armed guards and the prison’s infrastructure itself, he constantly overestimated how much he actually influenced.
When Baki broke out of his cell to go for a stroll, Michael attempted to hold him at gunpoint. However, his guards were quickly subdued, and Baki forced him to walk the rest of the way through the courtyard while his men watched. Afterward, it was difficult for Warden Holes to maintain any of his credibility, especially against the prison’s more powerful inmates.
5/10 Meliodas Left His Own Organization In Its Darkest Hours
Seven Deadly Sins
While Meliodas partially left the titular heroes of Seven Deadly Sins in order to spare them from Chandler, his primary motive was to break Elizabeth’s curse. This was extremely irresponsible for a number of reasons, the foremost being his misplaced trust in the Demon King.
It also meant that in addition to defeating the Ten Commandments, the Sins needed to worry about saving the captain’s soul. This made them spread their forces thin and could have resulted in the end of Britannia.
4/10 Big Mom’s Tantrums Put Her Subjects At Risk
Despite being one of One Piece‘s four emperors, Big Mom left her strategizing to her children. This was for a good reason. Despite her tremendous physical might, she acted on impulse and often to the detriment of her own crew.
For example, Big Mom’s hunger pangs set her into a destructive rampage where she will rip apart her own island until she is satiated. As a result, a large army of chefs is on standby just so that the island can maintain some semblance of order.
3/10 Azula Lost The Loyalty Of Her Two Closest Followers
Superficially, Azula had all the qualities of a capable leader. She was focused, powerful, and cunning enough to lead her subordinates against the heroes of Avatar. However, her lack of humanity proved a massive deficit that left her vulnerable to betrayal.
She expected Ty Lee and Mai to obey her out of fear, which was a tactic that lost its effectiveness after a time. When forced to choose between her boyfriend and Azula, Mai didn’t hesitate in spite of their tenuous relationship. Moved by the sacrifice, Ty Lee wasn’t far behind.
2/10 Joseph Joestar Didn’t Take Command Enough
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Having recruited Avdol and Jotaro personally, one would have assumed that Joseph would take more responsibility for the Crusaders’ well-being In JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. While he certainly had the wealth to fund their journey thanks to the Speedwagon foundation, Joseph did little else.
Due to his lack of leadership, the Crusaders were constantly separated or mere moments away from certain death. This was especially disastrous during the final fight against DIO since, unlike previous threats, none of the heroes stood even a remote chance in single combat. Even Jotaro needed Polnareff’s distraction to turn the tide back in his favor.
1/10 Pariston Wanted To Prove He Could Seize Power, Not To Be A Leader
Hunter X Hunter
After Netero’s death, there was a huge power vacuum in Hunter X Hunter. The Association hosted debates and rallies to choose who would replace the previous chairman, with Pariston immediately charming audiences.
Throughout the election arc, Pariston ran intellectual circles around Ging and even Cheadle to the point where his nomination was guaranteed. However, he vacated his office seconds after claiming it, which illustrates his total failure and disinterest in being a leader. To Pariston, the challenge of getting elected was more thrilling than the position itself.
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