Top 12 Anime That Chose The Wrong Protagonist

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I’ve often pondered what an anime series could have been like had it focused on one of the more interesting secondary characters rather than the actual boring, milquetoast or irritating lead. There have been a few instances where I’ve watched a really good anime series but felt it could have been so much better had it given us one of the other characters as the main protagonist instead of the one we were actually given.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing more annoying than when the spotlight is on the sub-par character rather than the guy you’d much rather follow. Besides, in addition to the side character being the more interesting character, the main protagonist usually gets all the girls’ affection or praise while the cooler character gets none, which just bothers me since in real life it should totally work the other way around.

Watching Tokyo Ravens this season reminded me of this notion. Don’t get me wrong, main protagonist Harutora Tsuchimikado isn’t a terrible lead, but in my opinion his best friend Touji Ato is clearly the more interesting character. What would the show be like if he was the main character instead?

This got me thinking about what other shows picked the wrong lead character and who in my not-so-humble opinion should have been the main character instead.

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about which series have awful leads, because trust me, there are a lot of those out there. Being a terrible human being or an ill-chosen/executed character may be rage-inducing for the audience or the ultimate failure of the show itself, but that’s neither here nor there in relation to the issue I’m focusing on. What I’m talking about here is swapping an already existing character in the show with the chosen lead. So as much as I’d like to include School Days‘ reprehensible and irredeemable sociopathic walking douche Makoto Ito, he doesn’t fit the bill since there are no other characters that could replace him and keep the plot rather consistent with what already exists; when you have a show about a heartless asshole who sleeps around with multiple women without any regard to their feelings about his philandering ways, it’s kind of difficult to switch the focus to one of the tertiary characters or one specific jaded female character out of the lot. And shows like Kanokon with it’s wussy, spineless, insult-to-men-everywhere shota-like protagonist are not eligible since there weren’t any acceptable replacements within the show; we just wish we had a more respectable protagonist instead of a walking vagina.

So with that definition in mind, here are twelve shows that I think should have chosen a different lead character, along with a brief description of the actual main character, who it should have been and my rationality as to why. As expected, be prepared for potential SPOILERS.

12. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Actual Protagonist: Shinji Ikari

shinjiThis was kind of a gimme. I don’t know if there’s anyone in the world who truly likes Shinji. Bland, passive and a major waffler in the worst possible way, Shinji is a coward prone to running away from difficult situations instead of facing them head-on. Yeah, his father’s a major dickhead, but Shinji certainly doesn’t help his case by being frustratingly indecisive all the time and this behavior is certainly not the best manner in which to get his father’s approval, which he craves more than just about anything. While he gets better as the series progresses, he loses all redeeming qualities near the end when he becomes sulky and listless. Plus there’s that scene where he masturbates over a comatose Asuka when he catches a glimpse of her boob. All-too-human? Yes, but not exactly a quality one looks for in their primary protagonist. Shinji is only necessary to the plot because of his relationship to the NERV director and the “ghost” of his mother in his EVA-unit; Shinji himself even believes that he’s a useless and unnecessary person, and he lacks the will to fight because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, instead just doing it because he’s been told to. He honestly could have been replaced with anyone else and the series would still play out similarly. There is no doubt that Evangelion is successfully ambitious and thought-provoking, and while supposedly each character represents one of creator Hideaki Anno’s personality traits, couldn’t he have given the wussy personality to someone who is not the main character?

Who They Should Have Chosen: Asuka Langley-Soryu

asukaYou could argue that Shinji is just a character that should have been more likeable with a bit of a boost to his personality and the show would have improved, but I honestly think the story would have been better if Asuka was the main character. Many may disagree because of her brash, arrogant personality, which makes her an object of scorn for many people. However, in my book she’s one of the more interesting and complex characters of the series. She also injects life into the show, which it was seriously lacking during the first seven episodes. I honestly wondered what the big deal with the show was at first because Shinji was so bland and frustrating that I was getting really bored and was on the verge of dropping it. And then in episode 8, Asuka swooped in like a breath of fresh air and jump-started the show right into overdrive. Every episode centered around Asuka were some of the best and most dynamic.

Asuka has a deep and rather painful backstory, as well as a mother connection to her EVA like Shinji. Plus she goes through some shit over the course of the series, and, unlike Shinji, she is a fighter. Her swan song showdown with Bach’s Air (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068) as accompaniment in The End of Evangelion was a thing of gut-wrenching beauty and proved just how kick-ass and simultaneously tragic a character she was. I would have loved to see a series with her replacing Shinji altogether.

11. Blast of Tempest

Actual Protagonist: Yoshino Takigawa

yoshinoTechnically Yoshino and Mahiro are co-leads but if you look more closely it is readily apparent that most of the show is told from Yoshino’s point of view. And in true anime protagonist fashion, Yoshino is also the character that all the girls flock to even though he appears to have some sociopathic tendencies in his indifferent attitude towards the world around him and everyone in it, as well as his willingness to keep secrets from his best friend while casually lying to him and deceitfully manipulating him behind his back on repeated occasions. Multiple characters even state that Yoshino is the more scary or “dangerous” of the two because of those sociopathic tendencies, even though Mahiro is the delinquent set on revenge at all costs with little care for the fate of the world. The flashbacks we see with Yoshino’s relationship with Aika appear more as though she is manipulating him and he is just too indifferent to go against the flow (though this was apparently not actually the case); I felt no connection between them despite how important the show suggested their relationship was. And in typical lead character fashion, Yoshino also appears to get more credit for his clever plans even though Mahiro comes up with just as many, including the intricate final gambit at the climax of the series. Overall, despite his occasional cagey-ness and more quiet demeanor, I found Yoshino to be a rather flat character who got a lot of attention for no justifiable reason so far as the audience was concerned.

And seriously, what was up with those girly bobby pins in his hair?

Who They Should Have Chosen: Mahiro Fuwa

mahiroThe Hamlet to Yoshino’s Romeo, not only is our introduction to Mahiro one of the most badass moments of the series, but he is a ball of rage out for revenge just waiting to explode. He can be kind of an asshole, showing disdain for just about everyone, his step-sister Aika included even though it’s a cover for his subconscious desire for her, but what is fantastic about him is his straight-forward attitude. He literally does not care if the world crashes and burns around him and he has no qualms about telling people relying on him exactly that; his only goal is finding out who killed Aika so that he can kill them and get his revenge, the world be damned if necessary. Mahiro has no true loyalty to anyone, and he can be swayed to either side depending on who can give him his sister’s killer first. He’s also extremely intelligent – deceptively so – given his fight first, think later approach to most situations, coming up with a good number of clever plans throughout the course of the series, which he of course gets little credit for, at least as far as we can see.

Much as I’m not into the whole incest angle, I was totally on board with the Mahiro x Aika pairing, but since Yoshino is clearly the more favored character of the two, he is written in as Aika’s true love; Aika could give as well as she could get and she provided a perfect foil for Mahiro while Yoshino just seemed to be dragged around by her by the short and curlies. I know I’m not the only one who questioned the basis for Aika’s romantic interest in Yoshino when clearly her interactions with Mahiro were more sexually charged. In my opinion, Mahiro was definitely the more interesting and unpredictable of the characters and it would have been fascinating to watch the show more from his angle.

10. Yozakura Quartet

Actual Protagonist: Akina Hiizumi

akinaArguably Hime is the primary protagonist of the series, but much of the story seems to focus on Akina more-so than any of the other four of the titular quartet. Akina is a passive and rather indifferent character more suited to being a home-maker than anything else, what with his exceptional cooking, cleaning and sewing skills. While Kyousuke can be a bit overbearing about it, I have to agree with him that Akina doesn’t seem to put the effort in that he should, even if Kyousuke was ultimately wrong about Akina not having the tuning ability to keep the town stable for humans and demons. And yet, like any protagonist, Akina has all of the girls inexplicably crushing on him; the only reason some don’t is because they’re lesbians. Despite being completely human, he’s often portrayed as being capable of feats beyond human capabilities which just reeks of favoritism from the creator in order for him to shine more than some of the other characters (seriously, just look at that scene where everyone goes berserk when he gets stabbed by Enjin and then passes out despite the scroll in his shirt taking the full brunt of the blade), even though with the exception of his “tuning” ability and clerical skills, he’s pretty useless. It’s not that Akina is a bad character, I just feel he is usually given more credit than he deserves.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Kyousuke Kishi

kyousukeKyousuke gets such a bum rap in this series. Inexplicably he isn’t one of the four characters of the quartet in the show’s title even though he is town mayor Hime’s assistant, making him legitimately a part of the Hiizumi Life Counseling Office (at the very least he seems to work from there a lot). He gets just as much screen time as several of the other main four and, as an oni with incredible strength and physical durability, is one of the most actively involved in any issues that arise. Yet despite him saving the day again and again by using his body as a shield or throwing himself into the most physical fights to buy the others time, he gets zero respect or praise for his heroics. Even as Hime’s assistant while he constantly tries to curb her gluttonous ways and keep her on task, he’s treated as more of a joke or a nuisance. He also seems to have a sister complex regarding his younger sister, also an oni, but of course she has a crush on Akina, which frustrates him to no end. A recurring joke is also his inability to hold his liquor (soda for demons) and passing out after one cup or sip, which further renders him more of a punchline than a character to be taken seriously.

He may not have the richest backstory, but Kyousuke is easily the most loyal, dedicated and noble member of the cast and because of his strength and self-sacrificing nature, he is a major factor in keeping the town safe during the many attacks that occur. In my book, Yozakura Quartet could have been so much better if he were in the Akina role as the primary male lead; instead he just gets unjustly shit on for being a stand-up guy.

9. Kiddy Girl-and

Actual Protagonist: Ascoeur

ascoeurAscoeur is that annoying cute, happy-go-lucky, clueless female character that everyone inexplicably loves, including the Japanese audience. Any rational person would want nothing more than to strangle her. Ascoeur has absolutely no right to be an ES member given her childishness and simple mind (almost special needs simple), and she certainly shouldn’t ever be sent out in the field. That’s like sending Jar Jar Binks out on a mission and trusting that he’ll successfully complete it without issues. I couldn’t help but think that Ascoeur felt totally out of place in this series. Supposedly she’s meant to be the successor to Kiddy Grade‘s Eclair (though technically she is not a clone of her) but if anything she’s nothing more than an insult to Eclair’s legacy. Naturally, being the protagonist, she turns out to play an important role in the climactic events and discovers who she truly is, because you know, amnesia and all that. Too bad she was so grating on my nerves that none of it mattered because I totally didn’t care. She is, without a doubt, the sole reason I dropped the show around episode 19 which was a shame given how much I liked Kiddy Grade and was hoping for more from the follow-up.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Q-feuille

q-feuilleDefinitely the brighter, more serious and more capable of the Ascoeur/Q-feuille pairing, she also happens to be a clone of Kiddy Grade protagonist Lumiere. Though she appears sixteen, she is actually only seven years old (quite mature for a seven-year-old). As a Lumiere clone, she definitely fits within the confines of the show and is capable enough to be trusted with missions. She also has the gift of foresight, which is a handy ability once she masters it. Instead she’s stuck playing second-fiddle and inexplicably is brainwashed late in the series to believe she is the primary antagonist’s little sister. Given her interesting background – she’s actually directly related to one of the main characters in the show’s predecessor – as well as her reliable and serious nature, she should have been the primary protagonist and could have easily carried the show herself, and probably make it better than the dreck we were given. Instead she ends up taking a backseat to the hair-pullingly annoying Ascoeur.

8. Dragon Crisis!

Actual Protagonist: Ryuuji Kisaragi

ryuujiRyuuji is the very definition of a wussy protagonist. According to the creators he’s supposed to be a pretty amazing force to be reckoned with, but given what we were shown, they totally had me fooled. His ability to turn his back on the girl who loved him and was relying on his support was simply astounding, and one of the most selfish and cowardly acts I have ever seen in anime. The road to redemption after that was a steep one, and a hurdle he failed to scale. The fact that such a wuss managed to have all the girls swarming him was just an insult to audiences everywhere. In fairness, Rose’s clingy annoying-ness was a large contributing factor to the show’s craptitude, but Ryuuji didn’t help matters himself.

Behold the face of the badass! ...Seriously, stop laughing!

Behold the face of the badass!
…Seriously, stop laughing!

Who They Should Have Chosen: Eriko Nanao

erikoEriko is super sexy, intelligent, kick-ass and spunky. Not only was she the one who got the whole plot rolling, she was also the most fun and level-headed character on the show. She was given the thankless task of being the voice of reason and bringing the fun to an otherwise cliche and often-times cheesy show. Sexy tickle torture of the cute wolf girl in order to get her to talk? Genius! Raiding the bad guy’s tower, machine guns blazing! Bad. Ass. More of that please, and more of Eriko. The Eriko show would have been an awesomely fun show; instead we were given the broody Ryuuji show. Blegh!

7. Last Exile: Ginkyou no Fam

Actual Protagonist: Fam Fan Fan

fam fan fanI’ve spoken at length before about how much of an annoying character Fam is, and how her presence alone dragged down the show and the legacy of its predecessor. Seriously, a genocidal maniac is wiping entire civilizations off the map further igniting the great strife between nations and causing all-out war. Meanwhile, happy-go-lucky Fam is telling anyone who’ll listen that an international Daytona 500-style air race is the answer to all of life’s problems, and if the Grand Race could be brought back then all the tensions and hostility between nations and all those millions of dead people would just magically disappear and everybody would live in a world with lollipops and rainbows. How naive. Fam had no place in a diplomatic plot such as the one this show created, yet there she was front and center. And of course they had to pull out the old cliche that Fam was a princess all along but just never knew it because she never knew her parents, so now she’s important and special. Ugh. What a terrible, terrible character.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Giselle “Gisey” Collette or Dio

giseyOf the sky pirate pairing of Fam and Giselle, “Gisey” was clearly the more interesting and likeable of the two. Smart, logical and an amazing navigator, Gisey was the voice of reason in a show with a naive and annoyingly brash lead character in Fam. Granted she might not have made for the most dynamic lead given the story that was tailored around her, but if a young character requiring a fresh perspective was what the creators wanted, she would have been far better than Fam.

dioAn alternative, and probably the better option, would have been to go with Last Exile carry-over Dio; a character who has knowledge of all that went on before and the ways in which the world worked would have been a helpful perspective. Not to mention that he’s also one of the most badass character’s still around, his abilities with a knife a perfect foil for the equally deadly main antagonist and his skills at piloting a vanship amongst the best in the world (he actually wins the Grand Race at the end). And yet for a character with such worthy qualifications, he was criminally underutilized. A little more of him and the much more mature and less-grating-this-time-around Alvis E. Hamilton would have done wonders for this show. Instead we just had to appreciate what little screen time they were given.

6. Fate/Stay Night

Actual Protagonist: Shirou Emiya

shirouLet’s all be honest here: there is no way that the Shirou the audience is presented with could ever become the cynical badass that is Archer. It makes for a great twist, but it is a little hard to swallow. Shirou is the guy who gets taken advantage of and walked all over for being too nice because “no” apparently isn’t in his vocabulary. There’s being helpful and there’s being a sucker, and Shirou is totally the latter. Once he makes a contract with Saber he becomes maddeningly frustrating by constantly insisting that Saber not fight because she’s a girl, instead trying to fight in her stead and protect her despite her being far more durable and him being completely incompetent at fighting. In short he’s more of a misogynistic idiot than chivalrous. While perhaps not quite on par with Shinji Ikari in terms of useless leads, he definitely hews a little too close for comfort.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Rin Tohsaka

rinArcher would also work, but given his enigmatic nature that wouldn’t work very well. So as Archer’s master, Rin would be the better choice. The prologue to the visual novel is actually from Rin’s point of view before it hands the reigns over to Shirou, so it wouldn’t be a stretch. Also, in the prototype version of the game, initially the gender roles of Shirou and Saber were reversed, so a female protagonist is not unfathomable. Besides, Rin is probably one of the most interesting characters in the show. A school idol and one who always puts on a regal and responsible facade, she’s a role model for other female students and the desire of much of the male student body. Her stand-offish and “flawless” nature is in fact to hide her secret life as a Magus, perfecting her magic craft and preparing to participate in the fifth Holy Grail War. Though dedicated to living up to the legacy of her Magus father, Rin is in fact tomboyish, a bit slovenly and something of a slacker, as discovered by Shirou when Rin struggles to get out of bed in the morning. She’s also incredibly smart and crafty and quick to manipulate a situation to her advantage, though her occasional flightiness is what caused her to accidentally summon Archer as her Servant instead of Saber, which also resulted in Archer’s memory loss as to who he actually is. It turns out he’s actually Shirou’s future spirit, a connection made due to Rin’s secret love for Shirou and the magic gem she used to bring him back to life at the beginning of the show. Given her multi-faceted personality and connections to Archer, Shirou, Sakura and her desire to be Saber’s master, Rin would have made a terrific lead. I guess it just doesn’t work out too well having a female lead in an eroge, hence why we got Shirou instead. Alas.

5. Robotics; Notes

Actual Protagonist: Kaito Yashio

kaitoKaito started off as something of an indifferent jerk, refusing to back up or support his childhood friend Akiho at every turn and demanding that people beat him in a mecha-battle video game in which he is the fourth-ranked player in the world if they wish for him to help them; in other words he knows that no one will beat him so it’s a dickish excuse to do nothing. In reality we learn that Kaito has been secretly supporting Akiho behind the scenes for years, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he doesn’t tell her and that he acts like a jerk while in her presence, nor does he make any attempt to mend her relationship with her older sister even though her sister will contact Kaito but never Akiho. On top of that, Kaito is simply not a very interesting character, and his grating character flaws only make it that much harder to like him. His lead character status was actually one of the shows major failings, causing it to be on the boring side and a serious step down from the imaginative Chaos;Head and the amazing masterpiece Steins;Gate that served as it’s predecessors.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Akiho Senomiya

robotics;notes3Let’s face it, Robotics;Notes was actually her story the whole time, given her desire to create an actual working mecha and her strained relationship with her genius programmer sister; Kaito was little more than a tag-along who I feel was given the lead role instead because he was male, what with Japan’s patriarchal culture. In addition to being cute as a button and incredibly upbeat in a non-annoying way as is usually the case with anime heroines, she’s smart and determined in her quest to achieve the goal her sister started to ultimately gain her disapproving sister’s respect. The drama surrounding her family life and inner struggle with her own worthiness and desire to complete the mecha at all costs, in addition to the epileptic-like disease she experiences wherein time seems to move at light speed around her, had all the makings of a lead character’s story, and would have been far more interesting a perspective for the show than the lame, boring one we were given with Kaito’s story. A disappointment through and through that could have made this a worthy successor to 5pb.’s previous titles, but instead made it less noteworthy or worth a second look.

4. Nabari no Ou

Actual Protagonist: Miharu Rokujou

mahiruI’ve already touched on this before in my Anime Characters I Loved From Shows That Sucked post, so I won’t go into much detail. Miharu is the central character to the plot given that his body contains a power capable of destroying the world which many factions wish to get their hands on. Once recruited, Miharu becomes somewhat devilish and kind of a dick by constantly ditching the companions that are actually trying to protect him. As if that weren’t enough, after being blackmailed by the guy, he then joined up with the mass-murdering asshole of the show, which then turned the show from cool ninja action to incredibly unsubtle borderline-yaoi (male on male sex pairings in anime/manga) action. Yawn. Also, not what I was promised when I started watching. For all his power and potential, Miharu was quite the boring lead, and rather unsympathetic.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Kouichi Aizawa

aizawa2As an intelligent badass ninja with red eyes who also just happens to be immortal and have a fascination with death, I probably don’t even have to continue as to why this guy would make an awesome lead character. His past alone makes for fascinating material, and his current struggles with the monster he’s become provide for great drama. He’s easily the most reliable character on the show, and his chemistry with Raimei was quite palbable from the start. Seriously, why couldn’t we have been given a show about a death-obsessed ninja rather than the story of a boring-ass guy and his homosexual lust for the biggest asshole in the show?

Pretty much the show in a nutshell...

Pretty much the show in a nutshell…

3. Pandora Hearts

Actual Protagonist: Oz Vessalius

ozYet another teenage boy who more closely resembles an elementary school kid that attracts all of the ladies, Oz started out as a snobbish little prick in the first episode and he never got much better after that. The most I can say about him is that he was just sort of there. It often felt like the pieces were moving all around him while he just allowed himself to be swept along, making him a less than dynamic character. Maybe some would disagree, but I just didn’t care for him, and despite all of the tragedies occurring around him, I still felt he had too many things served up to him on a silver platter that most other characters had to work hard for. Meh.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Gilbert Nightray

gilbertMuch like Kyousuke from Yuzakura Quartet, poor Gilbert plays the unenviable role of protector, the loyal and self-sacrificing character that gets taken for granted and never gets any of the girls. Even though it is shown that girls find him attractive, it’s odd how none of the main female players seem to show much interest in him; instead they’re all in love with the shota-bait for some reason. It really makes me sad that poor Gil gets no love while everyone else seems to, especially his heartless and manipulative younger brother, Vincent. Though perhaps rather unhealthy, Gilbert is the most loyal to Oz, willing to protect him at any cost or sacrifice. Never ceasing to find a way to recover Oz from the Abyss, he worked tirelessly and made many sacrifices, including killing, to achieve the Raven chain and was there on the day Oz returned from the Abyss ten years later. Despite being a coward often picked on by Oz in his youth, he eventually matured into a very cool on the outside figure, dressing in all black and wielding a revolver with deadly precision. While his tough guy exterior is mostly a cover for his inner insecurity and guilt over all that has been happening, he nonetheless acts the fearless hero he pretends to be. Ultimately he gets overshadowed by Oz, Alice, Break and Vincent despite his coolness and the complexity of his background, which is simply a shame, since he so deserved better treatment than he was given; plus he makes for a much more interesting character than Oz, and is not sadistic or psycho like Break or Vincent. Shame that the most good and loyal character once again is the one who gets the least credit.

2. Last Exile

Actual Protagonist: Claus Valca

clausA fifteen-year-old blessed with the talent for flying vanships that far exceeds the abilities of any adults, Claus isn’t bad per se, he just felt a bit lost in the shuffle amongst warring factions, mysterious young girls, stoic tight-lipped captains, Hunger Game-style battles to the death and a supernatural weapon of mass-destruction. It became quite obvious during the middle section of the series that the writers didn’t quite know what to do with him and made him Claus “the player,” attracting all of the ladies around him, including the first officer Sophia who is head-over-heels for her captain, though he is unhealthily obsessed with the loss of her sister and his fiancee. Thankfully the show made a course correction, but it still made it all-too-glaringly obvious that Claus was a bad fit for lead character.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Alex Rowe

alex_roweDuring pre-production, Alex Rowe was originally supposed to be the show’s lead character, but because of Japan’s strange desire for wimpy, effeminate, loud and often obnoxious school-aged leads, it was decided instead to go with a younger, naive protagonist. Bad decision. Instead it felt like Claus was shoe-horned in and didn’t fit naturally, while black-clad Alex Rowe, whose unhealthy single-minded obsession with killing the Guild Maestro Delphina, whom he blames for his fiancee’s death, is the primary driving force of the show, remains the cryptic captain who is woefully under-utilized. By far the most fascinating and mysterious character, he was emotionally distant and at times unfairly harsh with Sophia, but he was also crafty and smart, gathering all of the Mysteria (recitation clues) to the Exile but purposely not ever even looking at the last one though it was in his possession so that the information could never be extracted from or tortured out of him. His tragic past and his perpetually mourning character provided a rich tapestry to explore, and yet we were unable to truly plumb the depths of what makes him tick, which is such a shame. This was a show made for him, and yet he wasn’t given the opportunity to make it his due to creative meddling. Oh, what could have been. Last Exile was a brilliant piece of work, and yet it probably could have been a masterpiece had Alex Rowe been at the helm.

1. Heaven’s Lost Property

Actual Protagonist: Tomoki Sakurai

tomokiAnd the number one spot, and probably the show that inspired this whole topic of swapping leads goes to Tomoki Sakurai of Heaven’s Lost Property. Tomoki is not a bad guy in his calm and kind moments, but unfortunately this is offset by his rampant perversion. While he is considerate to the females surrounding him and consciously makes the effort not to take physical advantage of the socially-stunted and naive Ikaros, he has no problem taking advantage of her powers for his own beyond-the-norm perverted ends, such as changing himself into a female so he can spy on the girls in the changing room or transforming himself into panties for… well, I think the reasons are pretty obvious. The obsessive lengths he’ll go to satisfy his debauchery is a tad disturbing. A borderline molester, he is not above abusively groping females when he gets fired up in his perverted schemes and given how openly, unapologetically and immaturely perverted he is, reality would tell you that he is the last person any girl would want to associate with. And yet in true anime fashion, all but one of the girls fall for him one by one, often citing his empathy and kindness as the reasons, yet completely ignoring the fact that he could change tact at any moment and start molesting them.

Make no mistake, Tomoki’s antics are funny to watch, and he definitely contributes to the comedic nature of the show, though sometimes his adventures in perversion can be taken a little too far or take too much of an episode’s running time, becoming more frustrating than amusing. Often becoming super-deformed and chibi-like in appearance while everyone else retains their normal proportions, ultimately he feels more like the comic relief than a character we should actively take seriously as the lead in a series that has some pretty dramatic and supernatural goings-on; Nymph’s past is heart-rending and the entire The Angeloid of Clockwork movie is a tragedy of Shakespearian influence. Tomoki feels like the character completely out of place in this genre.

Who They Should Have Chosen: Eishiro Sugata

sugataA high-schooler with white hair, glasses and a perpetually serious disposition, Sugata is easily the most fascinating character of the show. Living on his own in the woods since being disowned by his family, he is quite resourceful. As the leader and initially only member of the New World Discovery Club, he’s also incredibly smart – enough to even impress Synapse’s Sky Master – and excels at deduction in addition to being fascinated by new discoveries. On top of that he’s quite skilled with firearms and remarkably strong, having wrestled a bear near his lakeside camp.

See, I'm not making this shit up.

See, I’m not making this shit up.

Heck, even the manga’s author seems to think that Sugata is one of the cooler characters given that an older Sugata is a key character in the spin-off series Daisuki Desu!! Mahou Tenshi Cosmos. In the anime he begins every episode as the presenter, using demonstrations to explain his point and foreshadowing the coming events of the episode.

Perhaps the most important factor for why Sugata should have been the main character is the show’s entire plot. You may recall that Tomoki went to Sugata to help him understand the dreams he had been having of an angel with an obscured face. Once Sugata takes up the case, while Angeloids are falling in Tomoki’s lap left and right, Sugata (with Nymph’s aid) seems to be the only one interested in what is going on with the Angeloids, often working closely with the faceless angel Daedalus, while Tomoki appears rather indifferent. So given that the entire plot revolves around the Synapse (where the Angeloids originate), wouldn’t it make more sense for the one guy actually taking it seriously and getting actively involved be the character the show follows?

Every time I watch Heaven’s Lost Property I lament the fact that Sugata is not the main character of the show, and that his attempts to solve the puzzle that is the Synapse and the Angeloids is often put on the back-burner to Tomoki’s perverted adventures. I can only begin to imagine how much better this show would be if it focused on Sugata rather than the walking-punchline they chose instead.

End rant.

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21 thoughts on “Top 12 Anime That Chose The Wrong Protagonist

  1. Eve says:

    I totally agree with the Last Exile one. Dio FTW!!!

  2. XXXX says:

    You mean the Fam the Silver Wing one I think

  3. lowegule says:

    Reblogged this on lowegulefigure and commented:
    I found this article interesting. These anime would be more interesting if change the main character. I found that most main chara in anime is male and useless coward. Like Haruto in valvrave, it’d be interesting if the main character is L-Elf like in Code Geass, the chosen of main character is very good. The ambitious main character would be interesting than a coward one.

  4. Jay says:

    To be honest, a lot of the choices would have made the shows either boring, lacking in some aspect, or downright intolerable. For all of Shinji’s faults, I doubt I would’ve been able to tolerate Asuka as the main character of Eva, Nabari no Ou just suffered from weird writing. If they would’ve made Miharu more interesting and showed more development with him, he would’ve made for a decent main. Kouichi is the typical cool side character, but less is more with him. See too much of him, and the coolness wears off. As for number one, Tomoki made that show. It was a well-executed comedy with some heart-touching moments, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. With Sugata as lead with the way the story is, it would have been much more generic. We’ve seen plenty of shows with the comedic side character in a serious show, so why not make a twist on it and make the comedic guy the main?

  5. Umi says:

    I thought that Tomoki was a good lead.

    • I often found his antics more irritating than funny the majority of the time, and only served to distract from the main plot while adding nothing to it. I would have preferred they went with either the full comedic route or stuck to the more serious fare; one or the other. The mixture made the show feel bipolar. But that’s just my opinion.

  6. Elis says:

    I can agree with most of them, but the protagonists for Pandora Hearts and Nabari no Ou were amazing so I must respectfully disagree.

  7. Bryce says:

    I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH MOST OF THESE AS IT IS CLEAR THAT A GUSHING FANGIRL CAME UP WITH THIS…… THIS IS ACTUALLY POOR

  8. ame says:

    Agreed with Nabari no ou… I feel bad for that Sensei, Miharu was such a dick. I didn’t even finish episode 5…

  9. Taezya says:

    I can only disagree with the ones that I’ve seen. Last Exile, Nabari no Ou, Fate/Stay Night, Yozakura Quartet, and Neo Genesis Evangelion. Do you think it would be the same story? It wouldn’t. Maybe those characters should have their own story, but they wouldn’t really fit in that character slot slated for the main characters already there.

  10. narusasu.lover.14 says:

    I think yoshino is a pretty great one and no one should ever make fun have his pins THE PPIIIIINNNNSSSS……………..yep

  11. Kadir says:

    I agree with everything especially Blast of Tempest, i swear i couldn’t stand Yoshino

  12. Thank you…i thought i was the only one who couldn’t stand Ascoeur! In all the animes i’ve ever seen not one character was able to irritate me as fast as she did.I honestely was more interested in Q-feuille -_-

  13. Kurono says:

    Except Clauss, I agree in all of them. Yeah, I like Clauss, it has his flaws, but come on, the horrible Fam Fan Fan is below in your rank? Yeah, Alex Rowe totally DESERVE a show about him. But hey, Last Exile is ´probably my favorite anime of all time.

  14. Try watching the anime called Gokudo. The protagonist will really surprise youl

  15. Ouka says:

    Bruh, I’m not sure if you have finished reading Pandora Hearts but Oz deserved to be the protagonist. I mean, I don’t have anything against Gil but Oz’s past and psychological state suits the plot. In addition, most of his actions are logical— except when he’s having bouts of insanity, I guess? But that too was given reason so– /shrugs

  16. edizone says:

    Well this is from your personal perspective so i can’t agree with most of your list, for example you don’t like his personality or ability or appearance but most of it actually well-suited for the main lead and the others personality,etc to support them. So i think you doesn’t need the using of harsh words while there are some people who actually love it by the way they are. Thx 🙂

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