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16 Anime Characters Who Had Traumatic Power Awakenings

Updated August 13, 2020 12.9k votes 2.8k voters 113.3k views16 items

Gaining a new ability isn't always fun and games. In fact, many anime characters awaken their true potential through truly horrifying means. Some gain a new ability when pushed to dangerous extremes that leave them with no choice but to power up or pass away, while others create chaos with terrifying abilities that they have no idea how to control. 

Anime characters who went through traumatic power awakenings include Goku of Dragon Ball Z, who went Super Saiyan after Frieza eliminated his friend and threatened his son. There's also Escanor of The Seven Deadly Sins, whose strange abilities led him to accidentally injure his brother, only to be wholly rejected by his entire community afterward. Meanwhile, Ayumi Otosaka of Charlotte perished the moment her power was activated.

No matter how these characters came into their power, they endured some serious trauma. Vote up the ones whose stories you find the most compelling.

  • 5

    Don't Mess With Lucy's Dog In 'Elfen Lied'

    Photo: Arms

    When Lucy had a traumatic power awakening, it didn't just result in the manifestation of a new ability - her outlook on life did a complete 180. In the orphanage where Lucy lived during part of her childhood, she endured regular bullying because of her strange appearance.

    When her bullies take things a step further by taking the life of her beloved pet dog, she loses all faith in humanity. The vector arms that were once dormant and invisible sprung to life, massacring everyone in sight.

    Is this a rude awakening?
  • 6

    Shinichi Izumi Is Forced To Fight His Own Mother In 'Parasyte'

    Photo: Madhouse

    While Shinichi Izumi's powers actually took some significant time to awaken, the circumstances under which they did are among the most traumatic ones on this list. 

    Shinichi is still getting used to hosting the parasitic Migi when he's forced to fight his own mother, who has also been infected by a parasite. Unlike Shinichi, who retains his own consciousness, his mother is fully controlled by her parasite. This means that while Shinichi retains his bond with her, she takes no issue with slicing him to ribbons. 

    Both because his human body hasn't adapted to battle, and because of his emotional pain, he loses the fight with a blade through the torso.

    Migi gets to work repairing the wound and reconfiguring Shinichi's cells to make him significantly stronger than he ever was - leading to a delayed power awakening when he finally wakes up. 

    Is this a rude awakening?
  • 7

    Escanor's Powers Nearly Got Him Executed In 'The Seven Deadly Sins' 

    Escanor's power, Sunshine, means that during the day, he's significantly stronger, larger, and more arrogant, while at night he's frail, weak, and submissive. Because he wasn't used to these dramatic shifts, he was unable to control his powers when they first manifested. He accidentally broke his brother's arm, and was subsequently disowned by his parents and was set to be executed by the Kingdom. Escanor only survived because a woman named Rosa put him in a barrel, which she set out to sea - and after that, he was perpetually reviled as a monster.

    Is this a rude awakening?
  • When Luffy's brother Ace is about to be executed at Marineford, Luffy wants desperately to stop it and save his brother's life. When it seems that he'll be unable to do so, the full force of one his strongest abilities - the Conqueror's Haki - is unwittingly unleashed. This results in multiple enemies being knocked out, but sadly, it isn't enough to preserve Ace's life.

    Is this a rude awakening?