Anime Underground 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist  

Leo Reyna
902 votes 213 voters 1.9k views 14 items Embed

One of the great things about anime is that typically, shows will feature a wonderful cast of supporting characters with which to identify. The worst thing about anime, however, is that if you can't stomach the main protagonist, waiting for your favorite supporting character to show up can be excruciating.

This problem intensifies when supporting characters who were originally important to the story end up being forgotten by the shows creators. Naruto and Dragon Ball Z are two famous examples of anime where the supporting cast was increasingly underutilized as the show progressed, much to the dismay of fans. In times like these, you have to wonder how bad it is to wish death upon the hero of your favorite show. 

Following this line of thought, here are 15 supporting anime characters that — intentionally or not — ended up outshining the protagonist. Despite their lack of screen time, these side characters are more compelling than the show's main attraction. 


Erza Scarlet is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: A-1 Pictures

Natsu Dragneel has his charms, but his characterization isn't too different from all the other reckless and carefree shonen protagonists that litter the genre. While you could say the same about Ezra Scarlet and her stubbornly strict personality, her insecurities combined with her dark past as a slave make her the most compelling character in Fairy Tail.

If that's not enough, her extreme love of amour makes for a fun gag and creative power-up. She's like the Iron Man of her guild.

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Seto Kaiba is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: Studio Gallop

It might be called Yu-Gi-Oh!, but the real star of the show is without a doubt Seto Kaiba. While Yugi Mutou fills the archetypal shonen role of insecure-yet-confident protagonist to the letter, Kaiba holds nothing back as Yugi's scumbag rival.

From episode one to Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions, Kaiba never stops being a full-blown jerk to everyone around him in his quest to become the number one trading card gamer. His outrageous antics and unbelievable obsession with the "Blue-Eyes White Dragon" cards make him an anime rival you can't help but love.

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Vegeta is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: Toei Animation

Out of all the Dragon Ball Z characters, no one has gone through a journey quite like Vegeta's. Initially, he's portrayed as an unbeatable bad guy, but over time he evolves into a key, yet untrustworthy ally, Vegeta's character arc is one of the strongest in the show.

The real change to his character comes in the "Majin Buu saga," as he finally admits he'll never be able to match Goku's powers and begins to fully embrace his role as a family member. Considering his previous dedication to destroying the Earth in season one of Dragon Ball Z, watching Vegeta humiliate himself in order to save the planet from Beerus, the God of Destruction, in Battle of the Gods is an amazing turnaround.

It's also surprising that, when you take Dragon Ball Super into account, Vegeta becomes a more caring husband and father than Goku. 

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Shoto Todoroki - My Hero Academia


Shoto Todoroki - My Hero Acade... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: Bones

Even with a cast full of superheros, Shoto Todoroki is still one of the most unique characters on My Hero Academia. He possesses the ability to control fire and ice, as hinted at by his dual-colored hair. However, he refuses to unleash his fire powers for two reasons.

First off, his ice powers can be used to defeat adversaries in a non-lethal manner. Secondly, his refusal is an act of rebellion against his parents, who raised him to become a weapon that could surpass All Might. These familial issues makes him incredibly sympathetic as a character

While his initially strict personality sharply contrasts with the lighthearted Izuku Midoriya, he learns to opens up more as the show goes on, much to the delight of fans.