Anime Underground

14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying 

Anna Lindwasser
Updated August 4, 2020 8.4k votes 2.2k voters 68.6k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the anime that features the most irritating examples of plot armor.

A common anime trope is granting characters thick layers of plot armor - meaning, no matter how many horrible and dangerous things happen to them, they'll miraculously survive, and may not even sustain any injuries.

It's not that anime plot armor is always a bad thing - without it, a lot of anime storylines would get very boring, very quickly. If everyone is too badly injured to continue fighting evil, it's kind of hard to move the plot along. That being said, plot armor can still be annoying. When you know that the protagonists are going to survive no matter what, it's hard to get invested when they experience danger. It's also just straight up unrealistic - sure, you don't want 90% of the show to take place in a hospital, but if the series is largely about warfare, there are going to be casualties - and those should occasionally include characters who are central to the plot.

What are some of the anime with the most plot armor? While plot armor can be found anywhere, it's highly concentrated in long-running shonen anime like Fairy Tail, Naruto, and Bleach. Which instance annoys you the most? 

Sword Art Online is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying
Photo:  A-1 Pictures

No article about plot armor would be complete without mentioning the notorious Sword Art Online. Kirito can survive anything, but the reasons for this seem painfully contrived. When he fights against Heathcliff, he gets hit with what should have been the final blow - his HP goes down to nothing, but he survives long enough to finish the fight even though that goes against previously established game mechanics. In another frequently cited instance, when he's fighting the seemingly invulnerable Nobuyuki Sugou, he randomly gains access to the game's control panel, allowing him to change the settings so that Sugou feels actual pain during battle and easily defeat him. This is the most literal example of deus ex machina to ever occur.

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Dragon Ball Z is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying
Photo:  Toei Animation

Although major characters definitely do lose their lives in the Dragon Ball universe, the process is infinitely reversible as long as someone can gather the Dragon Balls and wish them back to life. What's more, when they do pass on they aren't really gone - they get to hang out in the afterlife and even interact with the living on occasion. Bumping off your protagonist would be a seriously bold move if not for the fact that he's definitely coming back stronger than ever, but as it is, it's hard to get particularly upset by Goku's repeated passing.

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Fairy Tail is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying
Photo:  A-1 Pictures

Fairy Tail has more plot armor than its female characters actually wear during combat. Almost every character has somehow managed to survive events that should have taken them out, like being pierced in the heart or being literally dragged into hell. Sometimes, there's an explanation for how they survived, but when that happens it's often based on some contrived type of magic that was never mentioned before. At other times, they just straight up don't bother. It's not like anyone is watching Fairy Tail for the realism, but this show takes it too far. 

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Pokémon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying
Photo:  OLM

Realistically speaking, the first time that Team Rocket blasted off should have been the last. Being launched into the sky by a bolt of electricity and then landing neck-first on the cold, hard, unforgiving ground would likely prove fatal. The villains aren't the only ones surviving when they probably shouldn't. Ash is electrocuted, set on fire, turned to stone, and worse over the course of the series. How does he survive? Sometimes, he's fine in the next scene, sometimes the tears of Pokémon turn out to have magical healing properties. The Pokémon themselves never risk anything serious from their battles, and all ailments can be near-instantly cleared up by a trip to the Pokémon center.

While it makes sense for kids' shows not to show the grim repercussions of real-world injuries like those suffered by the Pokémon cast, it's not exactly a great message to completely divorce violence from its consequences 

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