• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The List
7 Righteously Confident Protagonists

by Lynzee Loveridge,

The milquetoast protagonist is a well-known one. He's the guy in an anime where every girl wants him, for no discernible reason. His primary goal is to be a self-insert but this usually means he's generic in every way. Nice enough, usually nervous in sexual situations, and maybe one notable hobby. Something equally plain like playing the guitar or reading mystery novels. There's recently been a shift away from "everyman" lead characters in favor hyper-competent geniuses. These guys are exceptionally good at their chosen field, or sometimes even exceptionally good at every chosen field. They can be cocky but they have the walk to back it up.

7. Dio Brando (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) The sworn enemy of the Joestar family was dealt a bad hand. He begins as a very bright but bitter boy, due to his abusive thief and alcoholic father who raised Dio in poverty. He managed to break away thanks to the generous heart of George Joestar, and his access to more opportunities leads to more confidence and abilities. Dio's intelligence however, just leads to megalomania, and his later found immortality only causes more problems for the Joestar family. He's dismissive of most people if he doesn't outright kill them. Like Light though, his tendency to underestimate his opponents is his downfall.

6. Adlet Myer (Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers) Adlet is the scrappy, red-haired protagonist who always introduces himself as "The Strongest Man in the World." Most characters that appointed themselves with such a title would be full of it, but Adlet immediately proves he's not joking around. He's quick on his feet and utilizes both physical combat and sleight of hand techniques that could be described as fighting dirty. He values saving his skin in a fight over proper sportsmanship and has no problem throwing a couple of smoke bombs. Adlet is dedicated to his claimed title, and he has no problem proving it's true.

5. Izayoi Sakamaki (Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they?) Izayoi is unabashedly honest about his love for fighting and women. He does things is own way regardless of whether it's socially acceptable. After arriving in Little Garden and hearing the rules of the world, he immediately challenges the Water God to a fight. This seems like a death wish. A cocky high school kid should have no chance against a supernatural being, but Izayoi has his own powers and wins by kicking the god in the face. He also has enough sense to concede if he's outmatched, but will also turn his power up to 11 if an opponent manages to make him angry.

4. Lelouch vi Britannia (Code Geass) Like many anime characters with a royal background, Lelouch comes off with an elitist attitude and can seem arrogant. He's disinterested in school work, likely because it's too easy for him, and most daily activities fail to capture his attention. Where he shines is his sense for tactical combat, even if the results are ruthless. His Geass powers also allow him to manipulate others, so strategies have an even higher success rate, but they work so effectively because of Lelouch's own genius.

3. Sōma Yukihira (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma) Sōma is a cocky chef who has worked in a restaurant since he was too short to see over the counter. His attitude isn't a rare one among the cooking elite at his prestigious culinary academy, but Sōma isn't touting superiority because he has a silver chef's spoon in his mouth. His mundane beginnings are a boon instead of a blight on his future and his weird interest in mixing things like peanut butter and octopus together have taught him to think outside the box. How else would he have come up with an egg dish that won over Erina?

2. Light Yagami (Death Note) The young man who would become "Kira" is completely confident in his abilities to out-maneuver and outwit savant detectives and adults more than twice his age. Why wouldn't he be? Light is a certifiable genius, a perfect student, and exceptionally good-looking. For most of the series he's able to adjust to any obstacles thrown his way, whether he's under police surveillance or passing off his murdering duties to a third party, he seemingly always has a back up plan. Unfortunately for Light, you can only outrun a team of FBI agents for so long no matter how smart you are.

1. Tatsuya Shiba (The irregular at magic high school) Tatsuya's childhood training and abilities have all shaped him into a cool-headed, competent assassin. He trained in physical combat with Yotsuba combat magicians starting at the early age of six. When he reached his teens he was already a peerless physical combatant, using ninjustsu to take on single and multiple targets. His supernatural capabilities allow him to merely will effects into being at a faster rate than most and also has access to three (instead of the usual single) types. All three are considered rare or are otherwise unobserved outside of Tatsuya. He has magic abilities as well but they're artificial (and part of why he's known as the "irregular). He's also a genius. If Tatsuya thinks he can do something he probably can; better than anyone else. Ace a test, defeat a group of ninja or wipe out an enemy fleet, Tatsuya can do it.

The new poll: Which anime character has the most attractive facial hair?

The old poll: Which Dragon Ball film is the best? Unlike the Pokémon movies, nostalgia didn't win out here. The majority definitely loved Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods over the rest. Here's the results:

  1. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods 23.4%
  2. Dragon Ball Z Movie 8: The Legendary Super Saiyan 11.7%
  3. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' 10.9%
  4. Dragon Ball Z Movie 12: Fusion Reborn 7.9%
  5. Dragon Ball Z Movie 3: The Tree of Might 7.0%
  6. Dragon Ball Z Movie 5: Cooler's Revenge 5.5%
  7. Dragon Ball Z Movie 2: The World's Strongest 4.3%
  8. Dragon Ball Z Movie 13: Wrath of the Dragon 4.1%
  9. Dragon Ball Z Movie 9: Bojack Unbound 3.2%
  10. Dragon Ball Z Movie 6: Return of Cooler 1.9%
  11. Dragon Ball Z Movie 4: Lord Slug 1.7%
  12. Dragon Ball Z Movie 10: Broly - Second Coming 1.4%
  13. Dragon Ball Z Movie 7: Super Android 13 1.3%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

discuss this in the forum (77 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

The List homepage / archives