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14 Anime With Super Strong Plot Armor That Can Get Annoying

Updated November 18, 2020 13.8k votes 3.1k voters 93.5k views14 items

List RulesVote 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? 

  • 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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  • 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 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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  • No matter which season is up for discussion, Yu-Gi-Oh! is a show that fundamentally does not care about the realistic physical consequences for anything.  Characters who were comatose for reasons ranging from a motorcycle accident to having their souls stolen by a malevolent trading card will be perfectly fine within a few scenes. Lives are absolutely lost, but there's always some magical way for people to come back to life - sometimes, it just happens with no in-universe explanation other than the power of card games. 

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