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 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.
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.
In Land of the Lustrous, each character's physical strength gets determined by the gemstones that comprise their body. Phos is made of phosphophyllite, a gemstone that shatters at the slightest bump. So, whenever Phos tries to help with their community's battles against the Moon People, they end up getting smashed to bits. This begins to change as the series progresses, their body eventually replaced with sturdier material.
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?