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14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist

Updated June 14, 2019 72.8k votes 15.1k voters 167.0k views14 items

List RulesVote up the side characters who do more than the main characters.

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. 

  • Kamina - Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
    Photo: Gainax

    This one is a total no-brainer for Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann fans. Seriously, Kamina is one of the best things about the anime.

    Kamina's bombastic personality makes him an absolute blast to watch. Whereas Simon is often too timid, Kamina is loud, brave, and determined. It's easy to write him off as simple, but Kamina actually has some complexities to his character.

    As he admits in the show, Kamina uses his outrageous personality to mask his own self-doubt, but no matter what, he remains a character that everyone loves to admire. 

    Do they deserve to be a protagonist?

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  • 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.

    Do they deserve to be a protagonist?

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  • 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.

    Do they deserve to be a protagonist?

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  • 8

    Nicholas D. Wolfwood - Trigun

    Nicholas D. Wolfwood - Trigun
    Photo: Madhouse

    Vash the Stampede is a fun character to watch on Trigun, but once Nicholas D. Wolfwood steps onto the show, it's impossible to not want more. Fashion-wise, Wolfwood rocks the bad*ss preacher look with his slick shades and enormous cross-shaped gun.

    His cool persona perfectly contrasts Vash's whimsical demeanor, and his surprise relationship with Milly Thompson is endearing to watch unfold. However, just like Vash, Wolfwood has a dark past that motivates him throughout the series. His abusive childhood drives him to raise money for the orphanage he runs, so that he can make sure other children won't suffer like he did. 

    Do they deserve to be a protagonist?