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15 Anime Jerks Who Secretly Have A Heart of Gold

Updated September 10, 2019 12.6k votes 2.3k voters 41.9k views15 items

Not every anime character is the person that they appear to be when they're first introduced. A character who seems like a bad person at first might actually be a total sweetheart - or at least a reasonably nice person. That's what this list is here to celebrate - anime jerks with a heart of gold.

One classic example is Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z. Vegeta starts off as a full-on jerk with few heroic qualities - but through time and character development, he morphs into a loving family man who can still cop an attitude. More recently, there's Naofumi Iwatani from The Rising of the Shield Herowho comes across as a money-grubbing jerk but who actually has some major heroic qualities if you take the time to get to know him. Many of these characters are anime bad boys, but there are a couple of ladies on the list - the most noteworthy of which is Asuka Langley Soryuu, whose brash and aggressive attitude covers up a more vulnerable and kindhearted soul. 

Which of these characters charms you despite their bad attitude? 

  • 1

    Ban - 'The Seven Deadly Sins'

    Ban - 'The Seven Deadly Sins'
    Photo: J.C. Staff

    Ban is a thief who frequently claims that he doesn't care about anyone except himself and his conquests. Being the sin of Greed, it would be understandable if that were all there was to him - but Ban is a good person underneath all the thieving.

    For example, he once sought immortality from the Fountain of Youth, but when its guardian Elaine told him that drinking from the fountain would destroy the nearby forest, Ban gave up on the idea and instead decided to focus on building a friendship with Elaine and trying to help find her brother to take over her guarding duties, allowing her to lead a freer life. While he ultimately does achieve immortality anyway after Elaine uses the water from the Fountain of Youth to save his life, he fully intended to give up on that dream. 

    Do they have a good heart?
  • 2

    Shota Aizawa - 'My Hero Academia'

    Shota Aizawa, also known as Eraserhead, is the homeroom teacher for Class 1-A. He's trying really hard to project a jerky image - or at least a ridiculously strict one. He sets nearly impossible goals for his students, threatens to expel them for a single mistake, and just doesn't have a particularly warm personality.

    But in reality, nobody loves class 1-A more than their homeroom teacher. Besides caring deeply about his kids' success in the world of professional heroes, he also cares about them on a personal level. What's more, he's a cat lover who is secretly kind of a mush when it comes to felines. 

    Do they have a good heart?
  • When Vegeta is introduced, he's a jerk with the heart of a jerk. He's destroyed multiple planets full of sentient beings, and wanted to destroy Earth. What's more, he even took out his own comrade, Nappa, for losing a fight.

    But as the series progresses, Vegeta changes drastically. He's still rough around the edges, and he's never explicitly nice, but his moral compass shifts towards good. Not only does he dedicate himself to protecting the planet he once sought to destroy, he also acquires a wife and kids - all of whom he enjoys a loving relationship with. 

    Do they have a good heart?
  • Levi Ackerman - 'Attack on Titan'
    Photo: Wit Studio

    Levi Ackerman might not have a sweet and gentle demeanor - but given the horrific hand that life has dealt him, it's hard to blame him. He's tough with the members of the Survey Corps because he knows that they face insurmountable odds and that if they aren't fully prepared, they could lose their lives. He never wants to experience losing his comrades again, and if preventing that means being a jerk, he'll do it. 

    Also, while Levi is obsessed with cleanliness to the point where anyone who doesn't maintain his standards will face his wrath, he's doing it because maintaining high standards and creating routines can stop terrified people - like his cadets - from descending into chaos. 

    Do they have a good heart?