15 Times Anime Characters Came Back Stronger Than Before

Anime characters who came back strong can be super satisfying to watch. While it's great to see a favorite character develop their fighting prowess over time, it's also a sweet surprise when they disappear for a while and then come back stronger than ever. Seriously, who didn't love it when Usopp from One Piece reappeared after the time skip totally ripped and ready to kick butt? 

Sometimes when an anime character reappears after some insane training, it's a good thing - Naruto coming back to fight Pain with Sage Mode in his back pocket is exactly what he needs to save Konoha. But when it's a villain who comes back way stronger, it might be fun for the audience, but the heroes definitely wish that the villain had stayed the way they were. Dio Brando was a lot easier to deal with before he became a Stand user!

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  • Naruto Uzumaki's skills grow in leaps and bounds over the course of Naruto, but he makes some some of his biggest strides after training on Mount Myōboku. There, he learns Sage Mode, an ability that allows him to blend natural energy with his own chakra that enhances his strength and grants him a range of new abilities. 

    But Sage Mode doesn't just make Naruto more powerful - it also makes him a lot more cool and collected. Prior to this training, Naruto would never have been able to sit still long enough to actually take in natural energy, but the training forces him to be patient and concentrate on self-improvement. While his hyped-up personality doesn't fully disappear, the Naruto who shows up to battle Pain is worlds away from the Naruto at the beginning of the series. 

  • Kurapika Flexes His Chain Power In 'Hunter X Hunter' 
    Photo: Madhouse

    Kurapika has never been weak, but when Hunter X Hunter first began, he didn't exactly stack up against more powerful folks like Killua. But after he comes back from some training, he becomes one of the toughest characters in the show. 

    Kurapika is able to conjure five different chains, each of which have a different ability. They can do anything from smack somebody across the face to force them into obedience. With his newfound chain powers, Kurapika is strong enough to take out a member of the Phantom Troupe - something almost nobody has ever done before.

  • The first season of Tokyo Ghoul is primarily focused on Ken Kaneki's struggle to accept his new identity as a ghoul. His transformation is both physically and psychologically devastating, and while it does make him physically stronger, he is emotionally the same mild-mannered college kid who would rather read a book than engage in any form of conflict. 

    All of that changes after he's kidnapped and tortured by Yakumo Oomori. The pain of that experience causes his personality to completely change. Rather than meekly accept his fate, Ken is ready to destroy anybody who messes with him.

  • Like some of the other characters on this list, Natsu Dragneel was no slouch when it comes to battle. But after a year of training his dragon and fire based abilities, he came back better than ever - and with a cooler look, too. Natsu's powers have advanced to the point where he's able to take out multiple enemies with a single hit, and maintain a dragon form that enhances all of his abilities.