Overpowered or “OP” becomes a dreaded term when used to describe a protagonist of any story. Why bother exploring the story of a character already at the top of their game, right? Fortunately for anime, some stories that feature OP main characters still shine thanks to ridiculous shenanigans or overwhelming threats that will make any audience root for protagonists.
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For viewers who just don’t have the time to experiment, some anime with overpowered main characters do feature powerful first episodes that could grab anyone’s attention. And fortunately for anime fans, great anime with OP MCs already exist even before mainstream titles.
Updated on April 28, 2023, by Rhenn Taguiam: With the likes of Deku of My Hero Academia Season 6 and Eren Yaeger of Attack On Titan Season 4 becoming examples of extremely powerful characters, their struggles throughout their respective stories make them a few power levels short of becoming completely overpowered. Interestingly enough, some anime do showcase OP main characters on the get-go, either solving their stories’ problems with a mere snap of their fingers or being presented with problems that their abilities can’t always resolve. Some of these characters include Demon Lords, an extremely cautious hero, and someone who can possess the bodies of others.
How Not To Summon A Demon Lord
One of the most bizarre premises to an isekai anime would be How Not To Summon A Demon Lord, where hikikomori gamer Takuma Sakamoto becomes the target of a summons by girls Rem and Shera in the hopes of controlling their very own demon lord. The thing is, Rem and Shera exist in the MMORPG “Cross Reverie,” where Takuma is the powerful character Demon Lord Diablo. When Takuma proves to be too strong for the girls to subdue, their spell backfires and puts the two girls under Takuma’s command instead. Overcome with his severe social anxiety, Takuma takes on the role of his Diablo persona and decides to help the two girls remove their enslaving collars.
Compared to other isekai anime where the protagonist often develops their abilities over the course of the story, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord begins with Takuma practically obsessed with the MMORPG. The story constantly portrays Takuma as capable of using Diablo’s stats and his own knowledge of the game’s lore to almost hand-wave most of the game’s problems. Such is his strength that he’s often seen trying to cope with his social anxiety and helping Rem and Shera on a personal level, with Takuma rarely ever needing to show force.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious
Countering the overpowered nature of Demon Lord’s Takuma is Seiya Ryuuguuin of Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious. As with other isekai stories, Seiya takes the role of a protagonist also called forth by a goddess (this time Ristarte) to save the world (this time Gaeabrande) from an evil Devil Lord. And while Seiya has power levels far greater than most heroes Ristarte has encountered, it’s his overcautious nature that drives her to her wits’ end.
Whereas the OP-ness of an isekai protagonist is usually shown with them almost shrugging off most problems, Seiya’s overpowered nature is shown in his deliberate overpreparation for most situations. It doesn’t help that Seiya is portrayed to possess more than enough power to contend with most threats anyway. In the end, Cautious Hero shows that the true measure of being overpowered may rely not on how heroes showcase awesome power but on how they can prepare to settle the most intense of conflicts with the barest minimum effort.
Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy
When Tokyo-based Makoto Misumi ends up discarded by a Goddess supposed to bring him to the Goddess’ World, he ends up left for dead in the Wasteland had it not been for Tsukuyomi, the Goddess of the Moon. Armed with her blessings, Makoto ventures into the Goddess’ World as one of its most powerful beings. Due to Makoto’s appreciation of life and his own humanity, he barely uses his powers unless provoked or helping his comrades.
Unlike other overpowered protagonists in an isekai story, Makoto begins Tsukimichi with his companions realizing he has immense magical potential on the get-go. Such is Makoto’s innate mana supply that he constantly needs to wear mana-dampening rings, and his equipment almost always ends up being carriers of his magical energy. As it turns out, Tsukuyomi’s own blessings catapulted Makoto’s powers into god-like levels. Makoto is capable of not just casting spells but also communicating with animals, augmenting his abilities, healing others, and even willing things into creation.
The Misfit Of Demon King Academy
When Anos Voldigoad entered the Demon King Academy during the Magical Age, his antics had people brand him as a misfit. However, the titular protagonist of The Misfit of Demon King Academy is constantly hiding the fact that he is the reincarnation of Anos, the Demon King of Tyranny himself. After his realization that his descendants have grown weaker in power, Anos has become motivated to reclaim his power in his reincarnated state. This proved to work in Anos’s favor, as The Misfit of Demon King Academy almost always shows him to be better than most of his peers that also use source-based magic.
As the wielder of the Source of Destruction, Anos is able to bypass the usual limitations of his weaker body by virtue of his magic growing in power the more he gets close to death. On top of his impressive magical powers are physical qualities that put other characters to shame, such as having enough strength to carry a castle and spin it with one hand as well as casually going faster than the speed of light.
In the world of Charlotte, a fictional comet of the same name passes Earth once every 75 years and leaves dust that transforms a percentage of preadolescent kids into superpowered beings by the time they hit puberty. When invisibility user Nao Tomoro exposes protagonist Yuu Otosaka and his ability to control the bodies of others temporarily, she forces him to attend the Hoshinoumi Academy and join other power users in the Student Council.
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While much of Charlotte revolves around Yuu’s body-swapping shenanigans, things become more serious when Yuu realizes that the true nature of his powers isn’t to control the bodies of others but rather to steal their abilities. At some point in the anime, Yuu travels the world to steal the abilities of all power-users on Earth at the cost of his memories and sense of self. While the scale and nature of all these abilities remain unknown, the fact that Yuu already had the power of time travel before his power-stealing spree immediately catapults Yuu as one of the most powerful protagonists to ever grace an anime.
It’s one thing for someone to become extremely overpowered that they get to save the world, and another for them to be feared of truly destroying it. In the space-faring future of Trigun, protagonist Vash the Stampede is roaming the desert planet of No Man’s Land to find peace… except he is almost always chased by people who simply want to kill him.
This is because he’s nicknamed the “Humanoid Typhoon” after he destroyed a city with his vast supernatural abilities. Possessing a bounty of $60 billion, Vash of Trigun is followed by two insurance agents who start to observe that the destruction that follows Vash isn’t caused by him but by the people chasing that bounty. And when he’s truly provoked, Vash can use his extreme physical attributes and is skilled with guns to overcome threats.
The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.
When an anime features an overpowered protagonist, they’re often tasked to save the world eventually. This is not the case in The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K, as powerful psychic Kusuo Saiki simply wants to have a normal life. In The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K, Kusuo Saiki inadvertently finds himself forced into various uncomfortable situations at school that test his ability to hide his powers.
As a result, the anime becomes a festival of hijinks and various shenanigans. Saiki is often followed by various classmates who either need something from him or want his help with something, and Saiki is almost always dumbfounded to the point of just wanting to use his abilities to escape these awkward situations.
Known as one of the most over-the-top anime out there, Hellsing is perhaps an anime that defines the epitome of overpowered. Set in an alternate take on the modern times, Hellsing stars the “original” vampire Alucard, who swore devotion to the Hellsing family after his defeat at the hands of Abraham Van Helsing. As a result, Alucard comes under the employ of the Royal Order of Protestant Knights in order to hunt vampires all around the world.
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The thing is, Hellsing isn’t exactly a “calm” individual. Alucard is known for his bloodlust and love for violence, something the Knights use to hunt their current targets: the Millennium, a group of Nazi remnants that want to create a battalion of vampires to revive Nazi Germany.
So I’m A Spider, So What?
Perhaps one of the weirdest overpowered individuals to ever star in an anime is a spider, and this is So, I’m A Spider, So What? tries to show this in a rather odd take on the isekai genre. At its core, the anime starts when a climactic battle between a Hero and a Demon Lord had a powerful spell “misfire,” transcend spacetime, and kill everyone in a school instead.
And while everyone who died got reincarnated into better lives, high schooler Shiraori gets the short end of the stick and gets reincarnated as a spider in a dungeon. And unfortunately for her, the dungeon’s denizens have a pecking order that makes her a prime target for obliteration – but not on her watch. She slowly evolves into an extremely powerful being throughout the series and with terrible consequences.
While vampires aren’t a new occurrence in anime, Noblesse turns the trope into its head by instead starring the most powerful vampire in existence. In Noblesse, vampire noble Cadis Etrama Di Raizel wakes up to the modern world after 820 years of rest, with his assistant Frankenstein (that one) slowly helping him readjust to daily life.
In the advent of Raizel’s reawakening are strange supernatural events that are happening in his neighborhood in South Korea, prompting him to easily take care of them with whiffs of his hands and a bit of blood magic here and there. The thing is, Raizel is actually a Noblesse – a being so powerful he’s technically beyond a vampire. However, when threats soon become so overpowering that previously-hidden vampires start showing up, fans may start to fear that Raizel’s “Superman-like OP” stories aren’t always going to be the case.
Granted, Yu-Gi-Oh! doesn’t have the most complex of stories. And it doesn’t help that Yugi Muto and Yami Yugi consistently save the world from otherworldly threats through a children’s trading card game. Regardless, seeing Yugi consistently outmaneuver his opponents – be it through actual rules or The Heart of the Cards – remains ever-satisfying, even in rewatches.
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Contrary to other anime with OP protagonists, Yugi’s status as an overpowered character fits the simple nature of the anime. However, Yugi’s lessons on friendship, hope, and hard work remain great companions to his prowess as the King of Games.
Sword Art Online
Despite the divided reception among fans, a viewer can’t deny that Kirigaya Kazuto (Kirito) of Sword Art Online is perhaps the most overpowered video game player ever. In Sword Art Online, Kirito and thousands of others find themselves trapped in the VR MMO “Sword Art Online.” And when dying in-game somehow kills a player in real life, only Kirito manages to power through the countless threats the game presents him with.
And it seems Kirito isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon. New seasons in SAO introduce new MMOs for Kirito and his pals to play. And soon enough, Kirito proves his supremacy in each new game, with equally new disasters that somehow only he can solve.
Much in the same vein as Yugi, Son Goku of Dragon Ball (and its many sequels, like Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball Super) doesn’t need much justification for his power as a protagonist. It’s just that, regardless of the threat, Goku will always power through – be it through a new Super Saiyan form or the good old kamehameha.
For newcomers, Dragon Ball is one of the most iconic shonen anime of all time. The anime stars Son Goku, a member of the Saiyan warrior race. Having been raised as a human, Son Goku uses his superhuman physique and martial arts training to fight extraterrestrial threats that want to conquer or destroy Earth.
Irregular At Magic High School
Irregular At Magic High School changes the dynamics of modern fantasy anime. In its story, magic has now become a scientific study. At school, students with remarkable marks in magic are called Blooms. Meanwhile, the other passing students are considered Weeds.
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However, protagonist Tatsuya Shiba doesn’t fall into either category. While his sibling Miyuki displayed enough magical prowess to be a Bloom, Tatsuya’s lack of magical abilities made him a Weed. What’s more interesting is how Tatsuya’s impeccable knowledge of technical magic places him above a Bloom’s level. As such, Tatsuya has become irregular at Magic High School – which in itself poses some problems, as the story will show.
That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
When Satoru Mikami risks his life to save a colleague from a street attack, Satoru, unfortunately, succumbs to his stab wounds. In his dying moments, Satoru simply wished for a body that could withstand any physical attacks. And through the guidance of a mysterious voice, Satoru receives his wish – and becomes a slime.
In his newfound life, Satoru finds himself surrounded by magic and dragons, and fantasy creatures. With a dragon friend renaming Satoru as Rimuru Tempest, Satoru now ventures into this new world with an impenetrable body. And given he doesn’t have any goals, in particular, That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime is a treat to both isekai and slice-of-life lovers.
Is This A Zombie?
Is This A Zombie? stars Ayumu Aikawa, a deceased boy who became a zombie courtesy of the necromancer Eucliwood Hellscythe. While Ayumu’s zombified body carries power on its own, perhaps the more OP character in Is This A Zombie? is the necromancer, Eucliwood herself.
Being the secondary protagonist, Eucliwood helps Ayumu acclimate to his new undead life through handwritten notes. Arguably the most powerful spellcaster in the series, Eucliwood refuses to speak as any word she speaks wills itself to reality. The mere word “Die” from Eucliwood can kill someone hearing it. Her powerful magic, combined with Ayumu’s adjustments to undead life, becomes the center of the anime’s ironically cheerful and delightful story.
At first glance, Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High seemed like the typical class of misfits. However, these youngsters hold the fate of the world in their hands. After all, their homeroom teacher Koro Sensei – an extraterrestrial yellow octopus – will destroy the world if the class doesn’t find a way of killing him.
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It doesn’t help that Koro Sensei is possibly indestructible as well. Assassination Classroom shows students trying rather serious killing methods that fail to assassinate Koro Sensei. And being the supportive teacher, Koro Sensei himself offers tips on making their killing methods more effective.
Mob Psycho 100
Shigeo Kageyama seems like an ordinary eighth-grader struggling to socialize with others as an introverted youngster. Unbeknownst to everyone, Shigeo is one of the most powerful psychics in the world. Given his power’s untapped nature, Shigeo goes out of control by the time his Meter reaches 100. But thanks to the efforts of his mentor, Shigeo begins to grasp the nature of his abilities and his role in the world.
Unlike other anime, Mob Psycho 100 is action with a dash of slice-of-life. Shigeo’s misadventures add a lot of comedy to the series. However, Shigeo’s heroic nature shines when the stakes need him to.
Overlord is yet another “virtual world” anime that tries to add its own spin to the mainstream SAO formula. This time around, the anime stars Momonga, a Wizard and one of the leaders of Ainz Ooal Gown, a prominent guild in the “Yggdrasil” VR MMO. However, Momonga finds himself trapped in the game just as its servers shut down. More peculiarly, NPCs in the game start to develop personalities of their own.
With his magic at his disposal as well as NPCs and items under his control, Momonga is easily the most powerful character in the game. Unlike other action-packed anime, Overlord showcases Momonga’s unique abilities in the midst of his newfound and often hilariously mundane adventures in the MMO.
One Punch Man
Unlike other anime, Saitama of One Punch Man serves as a parody of his own series. In the world of One Punch Man, superheroes have become part of the public eye. One Punch Man stars Saitama, the One Punch Man, a B-Class superhero who somehow couldn’t catch a break.
However, behind Saitama’s rather lazy and dull exterior lies perhaps the strongest superhero in existence. As his superhero name implies, even one hit from Saitama is more than enough to annihilate the strongest supervillain. Unfortunately for him, Saitama’s toughest battles never get an audience. And more popular heroes always get the credit for Saitama’s victories.
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