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

Leo Reyna
20.5k votes 4.7k voters 45.7k views 14 items

List Rules Vote 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. 

Killua Zaoldyeck is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: Studio Pierrot

Killua Zoldyck shares a few similarities with the main protagonist of Hunter X Hunter, Gon Freecss.  Killua and Gon both display a kind-hearted attitude that is most commonly found in children. What separates Killua from Gon, however, is that when provoked by an enemy, he doesn't hesitate to show his bloodthirsty side.

Much of that comes from his background growing up in a family of assassins, a lifestyle he eventually rebelled against.

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Shoto Todoroki - My Hero Academia

Shoto Todoroki - My Hero Acade... is listed (or ranked) 2 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. 

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Karma Akabane - Assassination Classroom

Karma Akabane - Assassination ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo: Brain's Base

Ever school has its class clown, and Class 3-E is no different. At first glance, Karma Akabane comes off as a lazy troublemaker that's obsessed with humiliating his classmates. Once you get past this first impression, Karma reveals himself to be a sympathetic and hardworking student.

This class clown is also considered to be the strongest of the Class 3-E students, and his hits usually play out like pranks. Nagisa Shiota isn't bad, but he can't compete with Karma's zany charm. 
 

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Vegeta is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 14 Anime Side Characters Who Are More Compelling Than The Protagonist
Photo:  Toei Animation /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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