Anime heroes are never as straightforward as fans of other mediums would expect. The hero may be someone who has a strong moral foundation and who imposes it upon an immoral world. Additionally, they could also begin naive, eventually growing into a more mature hero over the course of the series.
However, there are the rare occasions when the hero of an anime series might do something decidedly unbecoming of a hero. When this happens, it can have the effect of disappointing the audience. The most disappointing heroes are not the ones who are noticeably flawed from early on, but rather those who build up audience expectations, only to fail to meet or sustain them.
10 Vegeta Allowed His Pride To Get The Best Of Him
Vegeta has made some great strides as a character in the Dragon Ball series. Not only has he helped save the world multiple times, but he has also become a loving husband and father. However, there was one point during Dragon Ball Z when all those things went out the window.
When Vegeta was possessed by Babidi during the Buu saga, he was able to break free of Babadi’s mind control while still retaining the power boost. However, he decided to remain under the spell to retain the strength it gave him simply so he could defeat Goku. Whether Vegeta actually did have control over himself was debatable, but it doesn’t change the fact that fans were disappointed to see him seem to take ten steps backward.
9 Sasuke Went Rogue For Revenge & Power
Sasuke is the deuteragonist of Naruto and Naruto’s best friend. So, when Sasuke decided to fight Naruto and leave the village in search of power, fans of the series were understandably disappointed.
Sasuke’s complex story of revenge, regret, and redemption makes him the most fascinating character in Naruto and a fan favorite. The disappointment fans felt early in his story helped add emotional weight to the later parts.
8 Shinji Ikari Was Just A Disappointment In Multiple Ways
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Shinji was clearly never meant to be a hero. What’s more, being a hero was the last thing in the world he wanted. Shinji has a complete lack of confidence and constantly blames himself when things go wrong in battle.
Though Shinji is the main protagonist of Neon Genesis Evangelion, he is often considered one of the most disappointing heroes due to his disposition alone. It is uncommon to find a main hero as widely disliked as Shinji in a series as widely acclaimed and beloved as Evangelion.
7 L Was Supposed To Be The True Hero Of Death Note
Light’s narcissistic personality was disappointing enough for fans of Death Note. However, it is debatable whether he is the real hero of the series. Instead, the great detective L is often regarded to be the true hero while Light is merely the villainous main character.
Because L was so beloved by fans, it made it all the more disappointing when he was unable to actually defeat Light. L’s death proved particularly disappointing for fans who were eager to see him finally succeed in bringing Light to justice.
6 Ray Betrayed His Friends
The Promised Neverland
Ray is a boy genius and good friend to Emma and Norman in The Promised Neverland. The integral part he plays in helping plan the children’s escape makes it all the more upsetting when they discover that he’s the mole working for Isabella.
He does redeem himself later in the season, but audiences were still disappointed in Ray to find that he was working against the others. Fans couldn’t be too hard on Ray as Isabella was his biological mother after all.
5 Eren Yeager Chose To Become The Villian
Attack On Titan
Attack On Titan‘s Eren is one of the most controversial characters in anime for good reason. His beginning as a seemingly good person who went through traumatic struggles was one that was not unique to heroes. However, Eren didn’t arrive at forgiveness or acceptance as most other anime heroes do.
Instead, Eren chose to become the villain because he saw no other way to end the war and save his friends. This didn’t go as planned, and he ended up becoming a mass murderer in the process.
4 Griffith Was Actually A Hero Once
Berserk’s Griffith doesn’t normally strike fans of the series as a “hero,” and for good reason. He becomes one of the most despicable villains in the entire anime fandom. Despite this, he originally was a hero of the series who was best friends with Guts and leader of the Band of Falcons.
The fact that he became as evil as he did made his character all the more disappointing. It wasn’t merely that he made a mistake or showed some character flaw, he literally committed several of the worst possible atrocities all in the span of a couple episodes.
3 Jaden Turned Out To Be The Supreme King Of Disappointment
Jaden Yuki was the main protagonist of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He was a self-confident and optimistic person who truly believed dueling could save the world – a fact he himself proved multiple times.
During a moment of weakness, Jaden was convinced that becoming evil was the only way to save his friends, and the spirit within him took over. It wasn’t necessarily Jaden’s fault that he was possessed and became The Supreme King, but that didn’t stop fans from being disappointed in the atrocities he would then go on to commit.
2 All Might Loses His Power Once & For All
My Hero Academia
All Might is the classic hero archetype in its purest form – strong, courageous, and unwavering in his sense of justice. Though it was established from the first episode of My Hero Academia that he would eventually lose his power, One For All, All Might never accepted his fate lying down.
Even though fans expected it to happen at some point, All Might losing the remainder of his power was still difficult to witness. All Might’s being reduced to a weak, sickly man showed how unsustainable the ideal heroic image really is.
1 Suzaku Wasn’t Always The Heroic Type
Though Lelouch was undoubtedly the main protagonist and villain of Code Geass, he was not the only main character who upset fans of the show. Suzaku presented himself as a righteous soldier who only fought for good and justice.
So, when he was revealed as having killed his father, fans were understandably surprised. This was an act that was completely contrary to his character up to that point, but it would go on to explain his later actions as well.
NEXT: 10 Mecha Anime That Broke Their Own Rules