Anime Underground

13 Anime Heroes Who Almost Always Lose  

Anna Lindwasser
6.2k votes 1.7k voters 32.3k views 13 items

List Rules Vote up the anime hero that has no hope of winning anything, ever.

Just because a character technically falls on the side of good does not mean good fortune always follows them. In fact, heroes who always lose are practically their own anime cliche. Sometimes, characters who virtually never achieve their goals get pretty annoying - after all, who wants to watch someone fail over and over again?

That would be depressing, but thankfully, all these unlucky anime characters come with charismatic personalities that see them through the thick of things. Anime characters who rarely win serve as comic relief - laughing at Yamcha's misery is an important part of the DBZ experience.

On the flip side, these characters can display genuine growth as they struggle to achieve a goal that seems impossible. Winning isn't everything, and these unfortunate anime characters show how losing is something important in and of itself.

Yamcha is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 13 Anime Heroes Who Almost Always Lose
Photo:  Dragon Ball Z/Toei Animation

Yamcha might be jacked AF, those muscles are clearly just for show. In Dragon Ball Z, everyone is jacked AF. You need to be more than just buff if you want to win a fight. Yamcha loses so often that fans created a meme where he gets owned by a Magikarp. It almost seems like his only purpose is making Goku and Vegeta look stronger by comparison.

More Yamcha

#49 of 91 on The Best Anime Rivalries of All Time #12 of 20 on The Best Christopher Sabat Anime Roles of All Time #11 of 15 on 15 Dragon Ball Universe Heroes Who Were Introduced As Villains #19 of 21 on The Greatest Anime Characters With Scars

Is this hero a perpetual loser?
see more on Yamcha
Ash Ketchum is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 13 Anime Heroes Who Almost Always Lose
Photo:  Pokémon/OLM

Despite catching and training Pokémon for two full decades, Ash Ketchum still loses battles more often than he wins them, at least the important ones. Seriously, he failed to defeat the Pokémon League five times - a feat easily accomplished by any 10-year-old playing the video game.

For some viewers of Pokémon, this makes Ash a failure as a character - but for others, his stats remain beside the point. If Ash truly capitalized on his experience and defeated his opponents, the show would quickly become boring and unrelatable for the show's target audience: children.

More Ash Ketchum

#47 of 88 on Characters You Most Want To See In Super Smash Bros. Switch #2 of 15 on 15 Really Cool Anime Characters Who Got Wack Over Time #48 of 142 on The Best Anime Characters With Black Hair #4 of 13 on 13 Anime Characters Who Came Back From The Dead

Is this hero a perpetual loser?
see more on Ash Ketchum
3 810 VOTES
Genos Can't Catch A Break In 'One Punch Man'
Genos Can't Catch A Break ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 13 Anime Heroes Who Almost Always Lose
Photo:  One Punch Man/Madhouse

One Punch Man revolves around a guy who defeats any and all opponents with a single punch, so it stands to reason the other characters aren't going to win very often. Genos, a crazy powerful cyborg, would trounce his opponents in any other series, but here that glory goes to Saitama. Poor Genos usually just gets thrown into a wall or something. 

Is this hero a perpetual loser?
Mai Valentine is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 13 Anime Heroes Who Almost Always Lose
Photo:  Yu-Gi-Oh!/Studio Gallop

Mai Valentine, supposedly to be a skilled professional duelist, loses nearly every game the viewer finds her in. One of her few wins was defeating Rex Raptor, a 15-year-old who got distracted by a combination of her looks and fake psychic powers. Other than that, Mai perpetually lives in loserville. She even loses to Téa Gardner, a character with little-to-no experience with the game.

At one point, she loses a duel and consequently gets stuck in the shadow realm. Considering the fact that she's one of the only female duelists in Yu-Gi-Oh!her persistent losses feel pretty disappointing. Must all the competent characters be men? 

Is this hero a perpetual loser?
see more on Mai Valentine