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12 Badass Anime Characters Who Got Lame Over Time

Updated June 11, 2020 15.2k votes 3.8k voters 58.0k views12 items

List RulesVote up the characters who started as awesome, but ended up the exact opposite.

Just because an anime character starts out great doesn't mean they stay that way throughout the whole series. In fact, there are plenty of anime characters who got worse over time. 

In some cases, these characters just didn't get the greatest development; they aren't terrible, but they could stand for some improvement. This is true of Elias Ainsworth from The Ancient Magus' Bride. Bone Daddy isn't a horrible character, but he does some things that make his relationship with Chise seriously questionable. In other cases, the character is wrecked beyond all redemption. For example, does anybody really still like Gohan after the Cell Games? And what Sword Art Online fan isn't righteously pissed when Asuna spends all of Season 2 locked in a cage? 

It's frustrating when beloved characters get less awesome over the course of the show. Let's commiserate! 

  • When Light Yagami first gets his hands on the Death Note, he genuinely wants to create a better world. He kills criminals without checking if they're actually guilty, but he still means well. As the series progresses, the character's focus shifts from bettering humanity to defeating L, avoiding getting caught, and amassing power. He repeatedly compromises his own morals, killing people solely because they get in his way. Light Yagami even puts his own family in danger.

    Power corrupts him, but when he actually comes face to face with death, the marauder becomes truly pathetic. He screams, cries, and begs for his life, drooling as he brays a litany of excuses.

    Did this character get worse?
  • Judai Yuki (also known as Jaden Yuki in the dubbed version) is a pretty solid protagonist. He's cheerful, upbeat, and fun, but he maintains an inner darkness. He's like Naruto Uzumaki, but with less development and more card games.

    In Season 3, though, Judai's girlfriend from a past life - now a malevolent spirit named Yubel - shows up and brainwashes her former lover. He becomes a genocidal villain; his friends have to defeat him. Judai lets Yubel live in his body, becoming totally cold and unfeeling. He never shows a glimpse of his former, cheerful self. Eventually, he drops out of school and abandons everyone and everything he previously loved.

    That's it. That's the end of the show; the protagonist's main arc is unresolved.

    Did this character get worse?
  • Black Butler II focuses less on Ciel as an individual character, and more on weird fan service between Ciel and Sebastian. Instead of being independent and dealing with his own problems, Ciel increasingly depends on Sebastian, relying on his counterpart for everything. Before the second series, Ciel at least tries to be self-sufficient. 

    Is it fair for a 12-year-old kid with slain parents to be a little dependent and emotionally unstable? Sure, but Ciel isn't like that at the start of the series. And his transition is far from organic.

    Did this character get worse?
  • 8

    Akira Midousuji Stops Maturing In 'Yowamushi Pedal'

    Akira Midousuji starts off in Yowamushi Pedal as a delightfully creepy antagonist, using a combination of intimidating body language, sarcasm, and threats to make his bike team follow orders and scare opponents. It turns out, though, Akira's poor behavior results from grief over his mother's death and past bullying. He softens a little and connects with his understanding teammate, Ishigaki, and his opponent, Onoda. Akira even loses a race.

    Instead, of using this moment as a catalyst for growth, Akira becomes increasingly unhinged, crossing major lines and manipulating his unstable classmate, Komari, into groping people during a race. 

    Did this character get worse?