The 13 Worst Mistakes Made By Shonen Anime Protagonists, Ranked

We love shonen protagonists, but that doesn't mean that they're perfect. Sometimes, they can seriosuly screw things up. Even the best characters can sometimes make major mistakes, and that's part of what makes them so interesting. 

Most of the worst mistakes made by shonen anime protagonists are understandable - how was Senku Ishigami supposed to know that the person he revived would become a Light Yagami-esque criminal? Speaking of Light Yagami, most people wouldn't be able to resist trying the notebook if they got ahold of it, nor would they be able to avoid making at least one major strategic mistake. As for Boruto Uzumaki cheating during the Chunin Exams, it wasn't right, but it's easy to see why he made that mistake. It's hard to say the same about Goku giving his enemy a Senzu bean - that was just plain wild.


  • 1
    209 VOTES

    Yugi Shows Off Exodia - 'Yu-Gi-Oh!'

    Yugi Mutou is a nice kid, but he's way too trusting. He demonstrates this when Insector Haga (also known in the dub as Weevil Underwood) asks him if he can take a look at his rare Exodia cards. Yugi gladly shows them to his fellow duelist, not expecting anything to go wrong. Much to Yugi's dismay, Haga takes the opportunity to toss the cards into the ocean. Just goes to show that you can't trust everyone. 

  • Sometimes, Goku's desire to fight strong opponents - or watch other people do so - overwhelms his judgement. This is one of those times. Goku actually restores Perfect Cell's health by offering him a Senzu Bean. This makes him a far more dangerous opponent than he had been mere moments before. 

    Some people think that Goku did this in order to help Gohan awaken his latent powers while fighting Cell at full strength. While that is possible, it's one heck of a gamble - and one that created that ton of unnecesary pain and trauma for his pacifist son. 

  • Throughout the first few arcs of Boruto, the protagonist is in an emotional bind. He's angry at his father for never spending time with him, and he's desperate to earn his attention and love. But he can't just ask for the attention he needs - that would be far too embarrassing. To deal with his feelings, he disobeys his parents and generally acts out - but he still really wants that fatherly attention.

    One of the ways that he tries to get it is by cheating during the Chunin Exams. Katasuke, a scientist who is being controlled by nefarious forces, persaudes him to use a Ninja Tool during the exam. This allows him to perform at a much higher level than he can manage naturally. He wipes the floor with his more talented friends, leaving them confused and upset. In the end, his father realizes that he cheated and publicly exposes him, stripping him of his rank as a ninja. 

    Said rank is eventually reinstated after Boruto apologizes and manages a few acts of genuine heroism, but it's a painful and humiliating choice that he strongly regrets.

  • After Edward and Alphonse Elric's mother passes away from an unknown illness, the two of them decide that they aren't going to accept life as orphans. They use alchemy to try and achieve human transmutation and bring their mother back to life. This doesn't work out, and the consequences are dire. Ed loses an arm and a leg and experiences agonizing pain, while Al loses his whole body and has to affix his soul to a suit of armor

    If we're talking about the 2003 version of the series, the consequences are even worse - not only do they lose their bodies, they also create a homunculus that looks like their mother that they'll have no choice but to fight later. 

  • 5
    92 VOTES

    Takemichi Gets Complacent - 'Tokyo Revengers'

    Takemichi Gets Complacent - 'Tokyo Revengers'
    Photo: LIDENFILMS

    When Takemichi travels backwards in time, his goal is to get involved enough in Toman to understand what led to Hina's demise and fix it. As he grows closer to the group's members, his goal expands to include protecting them too. Because he can only travel backwards by twelve years, he can't undo mistakes he makes in the past. But there are multiple occasions where he forgets this and focuses on having fun, even though he really shouldn't.

    For example, he assumes that he's fixed everything once he stops Draken from passing away during the fight with Moebius, so he goes to a festival with his friends without doing anything to verify whether or not he's right. Unfortunately for him, he couldn't have been more wrong - there are still plenty of people out to get both him and Draken, and his lack of initiative nearly cost them everything.

    It's hard to totally blame Takemichi for things like this - he has no real training, and he's inhabiting the body and brain of his teenaged self, so his thinking isn't going to be as developed what he's used to as an adult. Still, he lets down his guard far too often.

  • 6
    245 VOTES

    Izuku Doesn't Rescue Eri - 'My Hero Academia' 

    When Izuku and Mirio randomly run into Eri, they can tell that she's in a dangerous situation. Kai Chisaki is obviously dangerous, and she's visibly uncomfortable with him. Every heroic instinct they have is telling them to intervene, but they don't want to cause a bigger problem by confronting a major villain with no backup and no plan. 

    But the fact that they don't rescue her when they get the chance means that she has to spend far more time suffering from the Shie Hassakai's abuse, and that it's much harder to find and deal with the whole group later. The rescue mission even costs Nighteye his life.

    It's hard to say what would have happened if Izuku had acted in the moment - maybe things would have turned out even worse than they did - but he certainly feels the repercussions of his actions.