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12 Most Inspiring Underrated Characters in Anime

Yato from Noragami

Who doesn’t love to gamble on an underdog? Anyone can invest in multi-million-dollar businesses, but investing your life savings in a penny stock needs serious cojones. An underdog is anyone thought to have little or no chance of winning or succeeding in a fight, a competition, or a life in general. Despite this, many underdogs rebuke these standards and continue to challenge them. Starting from number ten, ranked to number one underdog anime, these choices were ranked by popularity among fans. So who are you planning to root while their back is against the wall?

1. Rock Lee

Rock Lee From Naruto

Where most ninjas are versed in both the Ninjutsu spell formation and the Taijutsu martial arts, Rock Lee-a a supporting character in the Naruto franchise-is only capable of executing the latter. Many claims that this will be harmful to the capability of Rock Lee. On the contrary; Rock Lee acknowledges his limitations and develops the techniques at which he excels-mastering Taijutsu to such an extent that he can compete against other professional ninjas on equal grounds. Since his defeat to Gaara, he learns how outspoken he is as he pits against a user of Ninjutsu. Not one to mope, though is swift to reinforce his confidence and make his way to Naruto, saving him from Kimimaro’s Sound Five just in time. It’s easy to get depressed by your imperfections when people of your generation are headlining the concert halls, and five-year-olds double your annual salary by unboxing the Minecraft lego sets. Compared to people like this, why does anyone think that you are as successful? Nobody assumed that Lee could go toe to toe with a true ninja. And then with the force of youth and the bushiest of eyebrows, Rock Lee proved all those naysayers to be mistaken.

2. Usoop

Usoop From One Piece

Let’s list some of the kick-ass crew of Luffy’s Strawhat. A pirate hunter nicknamed Roronoa Zoro, a chef named Sanji who battles with the strength of his reinforced knees, and a slingshot owner who… makes smoke bombs and… cigarette grenades, and you get where I’m heading with this. Usopp is a thin relation when juxtaposed with those powerhouses (often pictured whimpering in the background). In spite of this, Usopp is no stranger to the fight; it keeps victories over a few tough opponents. This is what brings us to his war with Luffy. Luffy and Usopp clash as a result of Usopp’s refusal to repair their weathered boats. Luffy, until now was the greatest member of the Strawhats. We presume that Usopp will be destroyed in a single blow. However, he survived Luffy’s attack for a few minutes before he finally collapsed. Usopp cements his status as a member of the Strawhat crew, proving that he can not be taken lightly when defending his loved ones. As if these loved ones are giant hunks of decaying wood.

3. Shinpachi Shimura

Shinpachi Shimura from Gintama

Where would Gintama have been without Shinpachi? The Yorozuya will definitely not be able to work at all, either as an odd-job enterprise or as a meta-provider of humor. Shinpachi is the one who insists that they keep to the timetable and complete assignments, and he also tries to keep Gintoki and Kagura from committing so many arrestable offenses. As the most serious and rational person in the trio, he makes the other two looks even more ridiculous, bringing an additional layer of comedy to the show. Yet Shinpachi is not without his own bizarre foibles. If you get him to talk about his idol addiction, he sounds almost as silly as Kagura when she eats her weight in pickled seaweed or battles her giant dog. Still when it comes to helping other members of the Yorozuya fight the enemy or solve a serious problem, it can often be counted on.

4. Yato

Yato from Noragami

Though not witnessing an astounding climb from the gutter like any of the other characters on this list, Yato never ceases trying. To be sure, plenty of you have worked jobs that you didn’t enjoy-indulging in miserable hours, tireless clients, and stern management because of the imminent paycheck waiting for you. Now, imagine that the paycheck was nothing more than a few grains of rice. Like Yato, a little god with no sanctuary to speak of, he spends his days doing odd jobs for five yen’s worth of compensation. To support in his search to finally attract millions of worshippers, he joins Hiyori, a young girl who can remove her spirit from her body, and Yukine, a boy whom Yato uses as a fighting katana. Many of the previous entrants had redeemable characteristics or battled for noble purposes, as opposed to Yato, who used a few underhanded ways to get what he needed (extorting his supposed girlfriend Kofuku, for example). All are betting on Yato, saying that this action is the reason he has no sanctuary and will never do so. But after supporting Hiyori to such an extent, she, in exchange, repays Hiyori with her first. Not a big win, but a jump in the right direction. Proving that he can attract worshipers, Yato is an outsider in the fulfillment of his physical aspirations and the reformation of his character.

5. Haruka Nanase

Haruka Nanase From Free

Free! Usually, it’s written off as fan service for straight girls and women, but the characters in the show have some real emotional depth. Haruka Nanase is not only a quiet man with large muscles; he also personifies the kinds of existential problems that people face when they pass from adolescence to adulthood. Haru is a talented swimmer who can only feel at home when he’s in the water. This means that he feels awkward and unaware of himself when he’s not swimming. As the series continues, it eventually starts to connect with others but remains unclear whether to follow a competitive swim. Competition does not come easily to him but it helps him to live his life in the water and gives him the ability to interact meaningfully with his teammates. This is very complex for the protagonist of a fan-service anime.

6. Agatsuma Zenitsu

Agatsuma Zenitsu from Kimestu no Yaiba

We are first exposed to Agatsum Zenitsu during the Demon Slayer Initiation Trial. Unlike Tanjiro, who is kind but strong-willed, or other demon slayers like Inosuke, who appear to have more strength than brain cells, Agatsuma Zenitsu is blatantly cowardly, quarreling, and loves his own life above all else. People also scolded him for not measuring up to the standards of a demon slayer. It is not until Zenitsu becomes so scared that he loses consciousness, that we bear witness to his true ability. After succumbing to his instinctive desire to faint, Zenitsu wakes up as a lightning-fast ninja, capable of decimating his enemies with a single blow. No one ever believed that Zenitsu was capable of those feats. It was baffling how he did it during the Demon Slayer Test, but when he saw his Thunder Breathing style in motion, the response became obvious. Though admirable, Zenitsu’s true underdog status is cemented by a later bout with Inosuke, where he suffers a beating while defending Nezuko. Nobody believed he will overcome as much selflessness as Tanjiro, but he proves that his cowardice is insignificant when it comes to saving those who are precious to him.

7. Yuugo Hachiken

Yuugo Hachiken – Silver Spoon

To all who saw Silver Spoon, an anime based on the manga of Hiromu Arakawa (the author of FMA), Yuugo Hachiken is not underestimated at all. The concern is that a lot of people haven’t seen Silver Spoon before. This anime follows a young town boy who attends a prestigious farming academy. He starts a series of tired and frustrated by his duties, but he soon begins to discover what he can about the world of agriculture. He also goes out of his way to raise a pig, help butcher it, and make bacon out of it to learn the entire concept of raising an animal for meat. Yet Hachiken moves past his farm responsibilities and starts to feel responsible for the people around him. His friends are dealing with things like a family farm that goes bankrupt due to parental death and has to give up on their dreams for financial reasons. Hachiken does everything he can to help, and he still comes to face the fact that there are certain problems he simply can’t change. His emotional journey is interesting to watch, and his curious nature lets audiences learn a tone about the agricultural environment.

8. Iruka Umino

Iruka Umino from Naruto

When people talk about Naruto’s mentors, they usually talk about Kakashi or Jiraiya. They appear to abandon his tutor, Umino Iruka, the first adult ever to offer him some sort of love or individual attention. He considers himself the unofficial older brother of Naruto, and he’s right to do so. Iruka sees his 12-year-old student misbehavior from isolation and remembers his own behavior as an orphan boy. Instead of driving Naruto out for his bad conduct in his class, he’s going out of his way to give him the emotional encouragement and physical security that he doesn’t get anywhere else. In the course of their relationship, he takes a giant shuriken back to keep Naruto safe, comforts him after the death of Jiraiya, and eventually plays the part of his father during his wedding. This is all the more striking as one realizes that the Nine-Tails beast sleeping inside Naruto killed Iruka’s parents. At first, he’s uncomfortable with Naruto for this reason-just as anyone else in Konoha-but he sets this aside to become one of the most important people in the boy’s life.

9. Shirahama Kenichi

Shirahama Kenichi From Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

Shirahama Kenichi represents the hopes of weaklings all over the world! They have been exposed to torture at the hands of their oppressors for a long time but no more! Kenchi is at the forefront of this karmic revenge revolution. Starting out like no other than you or I, Kenichi devotes himself completely to learning, not just one martial art, but many. Learning from the Ryozanpaku dojo masters, Kenichi practices Muay Thai, Karate, Chinese Martial Arts, and Jiu-Jitsu-finally mixing all of them to forge his style. Kenichi’s first thrust into a world of martial arts that he knew so little about. Forced to fight martial arts prodigies and long-term students, Kenichi is the underdog in nearly every battle he takes part in. However, because of his rigorous resolve, the undying love of his instructors, and a pretty girl with blonde hair and blushing blue eyes urging him on, Kenichi surpasses all his power to beat any foe.

10. Midoriya Izuku (Deku)

Midoriya Izuku (Deku) from My Hero Academia

One of the most definite underdog characters of all time. If you check the word description dictionary, Deku’s image will be smiling back at you. Once Quirk-less and doomed to everyday existence, but now having obtained enormous strength from the number one hero All Could, Midorya Izuku fails to control himself at first. His colleagues, having had their powers since birth, are all fairly well-versed in the intricacy of their respective Quirks. Yet Midoriya doesn’t let this dissuade him. He heads through his workout sessions and fractures his bones; all in an effort to fill his mentor’s shoes. No one gave Midoriya a second look as he stacked up against his classmates. Next to the son of the number two hero Endeavor, Todoroki Shoto, and the top scorer and certified genius Momo Yaoyorozu, who would happily transfer all their chips to Deku’s pile? It’s so satisfying to see Izuku’s hard work succeed in a slew of victories-beating his enemy Bakugo in a mock fight or stalling a formidable villain long enough to back up. Truly an inspiration to underdogs all over the world to never stop trying.

11. Makunouchi Ippo

Makunouchi Ippo from Hajime no Ippo

Ippo isn’t that tall, he’s not that powerful, and he’s not that professional (yet). However, because of what he lacks in height, he makes up for in spirit and resolves. He sees the scream of the boxing ring that he’s calling out to him after he strikes his bullfighter’s portrait stuck to a punching bag. Ippo appears to be more strong than he is constantly facing enemies. Fights the actual boxers. Fights where any fan in the stands wants to lose. And he never lets that change his mind. He wants to be the best, and nobody’s going to get in his way. The essence of being an underdog has people counting you out before you can join the ring. The explanation people enjoy underdogs (apart from the ridiculously high payoff you get to bet on one is the thrill of showing that those haters are wrong when you finally win. If you like seeing the little guy who nobody wants to stand tall at last, Hajime no Ippo is a fantastic watch.

12. Shouyou Hinata

Shouyou Hinata from Haikyuu!!

Hinata is a lot shorter than the regular volleyball player. Driven by the Little Ace’ volleyball legend, but has proven its merit, he fails to find a central role in any squad development. However, it is through learning to interact with his competitor and ‘King of the Court’ Tobio Kageyama that Hinata evolves both as a player and as a character. Sports anime is where real underdogs are made. In sports anime, we don’t have to worry about the perceived strength ratings of competing warriors. Here we have figures, win-loss percentages, and character summaries to assist with our investigation. Competitions of cheering crowds giving way to some of the most unforgettable scenes of all sports anime. It’s in Haikyu! It’s the matches where the difference between victory and loss is one point. No one wants Hinata to be able to execute sophisticated tactics such as feints. Moreover, no one believes that Hinata will be able to win the game for his side.


Written By

Hello!, This is Himanshu. Hardcore DC Fan and love to read and write about comics and films. Cowboy Beebop Heeeehaaa and Linkin Park Forever. Reach out to me at

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