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14 Anime Protagonists Whose Power Levels Are Perfectly Balanced

Updated July 13, 2020 18.6k votes 4.1k voters 183.0k views14 items

Overpowered anime characters can be thrilling, but they can also be kind of exhausting. That's because it can be hard to get invested in the outcome of a conflict when you know that there's no chance that the character will lose.  

With that in mind, let's take a look at some anime characters who are not overpowered. Because most shows feature non-OP side characters, we'll be focusing on the protagonists here. Some, like Spike Spiegel and Thorfinn, come from universes where supernatural powers would be unlikely or impossible, so their fighting prowess remains within the realm of what's possible for a strong but still ordinary human. Others do exist in worlds with supernatural powers, but they aren't impossibly stronger than everyone else around them. These include well known characters like Eren Jaeger of Attack on Titan, and lesser-known characters like Kotoko Iwanaga of In/Spectre.

Which of these lowkey protagonists are your favorites?

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    Thorfinn - 'Vinland Saga'

    Thorfinn - 'Vinland Saga'
    Photo: Wit Studio

    As the son of a renowned Jomsviking warrior, Thorfinn always wanted to be a powerful warrior. After he sees his father lose his life to his pacifist beliefs, he becomes even more convinced that he must pursue a path of violence and revenge. As he grows up, he develops a fighting style that emphasizes speed. That said, while he certainly gives his opponents a run for their money, he isn't so fast that it's absurd. This is a historical anime that focuses on realism, so none of Thorfinn's abilities fall too far outside of what is possible for a real world human. 

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    Emma - 'The Promised Neverland'

    Emma - 'The Promised Neverland'
    Photo: CloverWorks

    As one of the top-performing students at Gracefield House, Emma is smart, but she's smart in the way that the kid in your class who gets all A's is smart - well within the range of possibility. Despite having no more strength than an average 12-year-old and no more mental prowess than a regular child genius, she manages to find a way for herself and the rest of the children at Grace Field House to escape with their lives - even when her friends can't see a way out that will save everyone. 

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  • At the start of Psycho-Pass, Akane Tsunemori is an ordinary young woman who was assigned to work at the Public Safety Bureau. At first, she has no idea how to use the series' signature weapon, the Dominator, and she often freezes up or hesitates in a combat situation. As she gains more experience, she becomes more confident about her ability to take down targets, but far less confident about whether or not she should be doing it at all. The more she learns about the Sybil System, a system that labels people as criminals before they've actually done anything, the less comfortable she feels participating. Psycho-Pass is action-packed, but Akane's development has less to do with power-ups than with how she deals with the corruption she uncovers. 

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  • 8

    Chise Hatori - 'The Ancient Magus' Bride'

    Chise Hatori - 'The Ancient Magus' Bride'
    Photo: Wit Studio

    As a sleigh beggy Chise Hatori has superior magical potential. That doesn't mean she can easily unlock those powers, or that she can use them consequence-free. Her human body is unable to contain her magical potential, which causes her health to suffer. That's why Elias is so protective of her - until she gains the strength and experience to use her powers safely, she's unable to defend herself against yokai and other creatures who wish her harm.

    As the series progresses, she does start to gain strength, both through practice and through improving her mental state. 

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