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Which Shonen Protagonist Has The Best Motivation For Being A Hero?

September 29, 2020 13.0k votes 1.6k voters 39.4k views25 items

In all forms of media, a great character needs a great motivation - and shonen anime is no exception. All of them are risking their lives to save the day, but what drives them to make such great personal sacrifices? 

Some shonen protagonist motivations are relatively selfless ones - Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer wants to turn his demon sister into a human being again, no matter how steep the personal cost. Others are focused more on personal ambition - Luffy from One Piece saves a ton of people, but he's hoping to become the Pirate King. Still, others just want to throw hands - Yusuke Urameshi and Goku care less about heroism and more about fighting strong opponents. 

Which shonen heroes do you think has the most interesting motive? Vote them up!

  • After destroying their own bodies in an alchemy accident, Edward and Alphonse Elric set out to master their craft in order to get their bodies back. In the process, they end up getting wrapped up in a mission to save humanity from Father and the homunculi.

    Strong motivation?
  • 2

    Tanjiro Kamado Hopes To Turn His Sister Human Again

    Tanjiro Kamado Hopes To Turn His Sister Human Again
    Photo: ufotable

    After his family is destroyed by a demon, Tanjiro Kamado's surviving sister Nezuko has been transformed into a demon. Tanjiro makes it his mission to to change her back - but to do that, he'll have to join the Demon Slayer Corps and start fighting demons. 

    Strong motivation?
  • 3

    Emma Plans To Escape Grace Field House - But Not Without The Other Orphans

    Emma Plans To Escape Grace Field House - But Not Without The Other Orphans
    Photo: CloverWorks

    When Emma discovers that the orphanage she lives in is actually a farm dedicated to feeding children to hungry demons, she decides that she isn't going to sit back and let herself get slaughtered. Instead, she's going to escape - and she's going to take all the other children with her, no matter the cost. 

    Strong motivation?
  • As the captain of the Seven Deadly Sins, Meliodas' goal is ostensibly to defeat the Seven Commandments, a group he was once part of. While he does want to do this, his real goal is to lift the curse that his father put on him, which forces he and his lover Elizabeth to experience each other's demises again and again for eternity, stuck in a cycle of endless reincarnation in which they never truly get to be together.

    Strong motivation?