Anime is led by a long list of well-written, reliable, and kind-hearted protagonists. Of course, littered in with these good-natured characters are the wicked and poorly written protagonists who help bolster the reputation of everyone’s favorite best boy or girl. Eren Yeager has earned a lot of attention for his antagonistic behavior as a protagonist.
Despite murdering millions and regressing rather than progressing as a character, fans refuse to denounce Eren as a top tier anime character because of the immaculate plotting of Attack on Titan. The truth is that Eren is lucky to be a part of such a well-written franchise, but not every antagonistic protagonist shares his luck with him.
10 Light Yagami Was Never Interested In Being A Hero (Death Note)
Of all the antagonistic protagonists, none are as evil as Light Yagami. the protagonist of death note is arrogant, close-minded, and incredibly selfish. After coming across a journal that gave him the power to anonymously commit mass murder, Light used his newfound power to become judge, jury, and executioner of the world.
This wouldn’t have been so terrible if his judgments were just, but Light quickly proved that his killings were as selfish as they were merciless. Eren might be on a mission of mass genocide, but at least he did not kill his father by choice.
9 Ash Ketchum Is The Definition Of A Stagnant Protagonist (Pokémon)
There are two ways to be a bad protagonist. The first way is to be bad in an ethical sense, like Light Yagami and Eren Yeager. The second way is to be bad at fulfilling the demands of a protagonist. A good protagonist is meant to push the plot forward as they develop as a character themselves.
A bad protagonist, like Ash Ketchum, fails to grow as a character, and therefore fails to push the plot forward. the Pokemon anime has been trapped in an endless loop of battles and new Pokémon introductions for decades because Ash has failed to evolve into anything more than a 10-year-old Pokémon trainer.
8 Boruto Has Been Forced To Rely On His Mentors Too Much (Boruto: Naruto Next Generations)
Eren Yeager proved that as long as a protagonist exists within a well-structured story, his actions can be considered either heroic or villainous and fans will still love them. Boruto provided something else.
In the first season of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations,Boruto proved that a protagonist who is unable to take responsibility for his own actions is no protagonist at all. Due to his cowardice and lack of honesty from him, Boruto progressed slowly. This in turn forced Naruto and Sasuke to step into the role of protagonist until the titular character managed to catch up.
7 Lelouch Takes Control Too Far (Code Geass)
Lelouch checks all the boxes that make a protagonist what they are. His actions of him force the plot to progress, and his words of him quite literally direct the actions of the people around him. Unfortunately, Lelouch lacks basic empathy and has little to no respect for human life.
Throughout the course of Code Geass, Lelouch murdered and enslaved millions with his overpowered geass. He even put his sister de ella under a spell that forced her to abandon her pacifism, take the lives of innocent Japanese citizens, and lose her own life.
6 Shinji Ikari Messes Something Up Every Time He Takes Charge (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
If a shonen protagonist is meant to be courageous, outspoken, and respectful of his peers, then Shinji Ikari is a terrible shonen protagonist. The boy’s mind is so crippled by insecurity and doubt that he is hardly a likeable character, let alone an admirable protagonist.
The only reason Shinji is capable of moving the plot of Neon Genesis Evangelion forward is because he is the only one capable of piloting EVA Unit 1. Thanks to this link, Shinji is held responsible for bringing about the annihilation of humanity and failing to stop the Angels.
5 Goku Puts Worlds At Risk Without Realizing It (Dragon Ball)
The only thing worse than a homicidal protagonist hell-bent on destroying entire nations is a man so obsessed with combat that he would risk the annihilation of his own universe just to face a more powerful fighter. Goku from the dragon ball series made this mistake when he pushed Zeno to start the Tournament of Power in Dragon Ball Super.
Despite the fact that he is a household name, Goku is not a perfect protagonist. In fact, the longer he continues pushing the dragon ball franchise forward, the more problematic his obsession with battle becomes.
4 Meliodas Takes The Pervy Protagonist Trope Too Far (Seven Deadly Sins)
Shonen anime are ripe with immature and ignorant protagonists, but none manage to annoy their audience with their immaturity as much as Meliodas. The former member of the Demon Clan makes sure to disrespect the female members of his crew at least once each episode.
Then, when it comes time to win over fans by overcoming his personal demons and growing as a character, Meliodas trades his personal growth for unrealistic physical transformations that help him in battle. Unless fans are looking for subpar animation and unexplained power scaling, it would be best to avoid Meliodas in Seven Deadly Sins.
3 Kagome Talks Way More Than She Acts (Inuyasha)
Kagome is the definition of an inactive protagonist. Her actions de ella, or rather lack thereof, make it abundantly clear that sometimes even acts of evil are better than refusing to act. Throughout the course of Inuyashathe reincarnated priestess relies solely on the overpowered nature of her inherited abilities to move the plot forward.
There are rare occasions when fans see Kagome loose an arrow from her signature bow, but these moments are few and far between. Today, fans have come to give the 15-year-old girl a pass because of her age, but an inactive protagonist is annoying, regardless of their age or gender.
two Rintaro Okabe Is A Traditionally Obnoxious Protagonist (Steins;Gate)
Steins;Gate is celebrated as one of the best science fiction anime series of all time, but that doesn’t mean it’s without fault. Thanks to the egotistical and delusional behavior of its main protagonist, the first few episodes of the series are almost unwatchable.
It’s common for a protagonist to annoy fans in the first couple of episodes with boisterous claims that have yet to be backed up, but Okabe maintains his loathsome personality throughout the entirety of Steins;Gate. While it’s easy to root for his success considering his hardships, he’s still not very likable.
1 Ken Kaneki Takes Too Long To Step Up As The One-Eyed King (Tokyo Ghoul)
Much like Eren Yeager, Ken Kaneki is a perfectly written protagonist who forces fans to question what makes a protagonist “good” in the first place. His actions of him throughout Tokyo Ghoul are confusing, terrifying, and extremely relatable, but they don’t start impacting the world around him until the last few arcs of his story.
Ken’s journey throughout Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul changes him from a nerdy college kid into a mass murderer who is unwilling to fully embrace his title as the One-Eyed King. It isn’t until the final arc that Ken steps up and redeems himself for years of inaction and cowardice.
NEXT: 10 Worst Things About Eren Yeager