• Entertainment

How Utterly Overpowered Anime Protagonists Made Their Shows More Interesting

There are countless overpowered anime characters who are just ridiculously strong. Usually, they are enemy character driving the protagonist to grow stronger, or they exist solely for the sake of intense, over-the-top action. However, some OP characters serve to make their shows far more interesting. Whether smart, strong, or just plain invincible, these characters change the focus of the show. Instead of progressing a story about getting more and more powerful to defeat increasingly difficult antagonists, OP protagonists are used to highlight something more unique. 

Characters who are overpowered from the start get to avoid the tired plot progressions, which is one of the reasons why Dragon Ball Z sucks and why Bleach just falls flat on its face after the first few arcs. In shows with main characters who are already strong, fans get to see novel ways of solving problems, new ways of thinking about power, and a generally more intellectual or emotional story. 

By changing things up, OP protagonists break the monotony and stereotypes of other anime. Such characters make their shows fun to watch for fans who want to experience different types of stories and journeys. Check out the various overpowered protagonists below and read about how they bring something fresh to your anime repetoire. 

  • Photo: Viz Media

    One-Punch Man's protagonist, the bald Saitama, constantly shows off how overpowered he is throughout the series. The titular one punch he delivers is always enough to destroy any foe outright. The catch? Saitama doesn't want this to happen. He's trying to enjoy his work as a superhero and all of his fights are over too quickly to be fun.

    He also has trouble earning fame when no one sees his fights occur. This dynamic shifts the focus toward his curious plight as the strongest superhero around who can't find satisfaction or fame as his extreme power completely backfires in this regard. 

    #156 of 217 The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time#25 of 35 Male Anime Characters You'd Want As Your Husband#10 of 20 20 Epic Anime Entrances That Gave Us Chills

  • Izuku Midoriya From My Hero Academia

    Photo: Funimation

    Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) sees Izuku Midoriya go from being an ungifted boy into being utterly OP in an instant. He is gifted superpowers by the amazing hero, All Might, which makes him unimaginably strong. The problem for Izuku is that his body is not nearly developed enough to handle this acquired strength. Any use of his power basically destroys the part of his body that is used, forcing him to get creative about how he tackles every single problem from fighting a powerful opponent to throwing a ball. 

  • Photo: Viz Media

    While Yagami might be a bad guy, he's the central character in Death Note. After acquiring the titular Death Note, which enables Yagami to kill anyone whose face he's seen simply by writing their name in the book, Light becomes extremely powerful. A key element of what makes him so powerful is his incredible intellect. Though he's a high schooler, he's far smarter and thinks much more strategically than a typical high school student. The result is an anime that takes viewers along for a wild ride through crazy mind games played between Yagami and those trying to catch him.

    #69 of 259 The Hottest Anime Guys of All Time#80 of 862 The Most Powerful Anime Characters of All Time#59 of 262 The Very Best Anime Characters

  • Kenshin is famous for Rurouni Kenshin and the Samurai X series. In the latter, he's an utterly devastating young samurai who has almost no equal with a sword. The number of people he kills in those movies earns him the title of "Battosai," or "Man Slayer," and drives him to denounce killing in the Rurouni Kenshin series. Where things take a turn toward interesting is in how he has to handle all of his fights in Rurouni Kenshin, as he faces formidable enemies while trying to subdue or persuade them, rather than killing them. Fights are unique and engaging, and enemies are made all the more interesting when they try to turn him back into a killer. 

    #106 of 161 25+ Anime Boys You Definitely Crushed On#301 of 346 The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time#63 of 104 The Best Anime Rivalries of All Time