From Boys to Men; Anime Edition
Every shounen hero and villain needs to start off small before they can fully establish themselves beasts in their respective shows. Normally the process is rather gradual, often fuelled by character growth and maturity. Not with these five, whose changes were so radical and sudden it took everyone by surprise. Can’t argue with the results though!
#5: Asemu Asuno
“Mobile Suit Gundam AGE” (2011-12)
Speaking of next generations. When we were first introduced to the son of prior protagonist Flit, he was just a carefree lad. Cut to a few years later, and now he’s a goddamn space pirate. Inheriting the determination of his father while also standing as much more of a flawed character, Asemu—we mean “Captain Ash”, quickly became a highlight of the final arc, especially since his Gundam AGE-2 got a badass new coat of paint. Sorry Kio, but there is no way you can outshine your papi.
“Hunter x Hunter” (2011-14)
Let’s be honest here, while the Scarlet Eyes trick was pretty cool, this Hunter still wasn’t exactly on the same level as the likes of Hisoka or Killua…at least until he came back with those chains. After getting some much-needed training off-screen, Kurapika returned and was finally able to get his vengeance on a member of the Phantom Troupe, all thanks to his new weapon of choice. Able to conjure up chains with a multitude of killing traits, the moment we found out Kurapika had become a Specialist purely to exterminate the Spider, he jumped up several spots in out books.
#3: Natsu Dragneel
“Fairy Tail” (2009-)
We won’t pretend that the Salamander wasn’t a powerhouse to begin with, after all, he had managed to burn right through rival wizards, demons and everything else under the sun. That being said, he still managed to top it all when he made his grand return after a couple of years of intense training, complete with a rather fitting mullet. Throw in the fact he set a princess’ castle on fire simply as a way to announce his plan to get the gang back together, Natsu showed that time had only made his stones bigger!
#2: Naruto Uzumaki
“Naruto: Shippuden” (2007-17)
Maturity and Naruto don’t tend to go hand in hand. While his chihuahua-like personality was always part of his charm, it was still refreshing to see how the Jinchuruki had found a way to evolve as a character after training at the land of the frogs. Arriving just in the nick of time during Pains assault on Konoha, Naruto dons a badass new coat very reminiscent of his fathers. With his new sage mode in tow, Naruto manages to quickly take down most of the paths of pain. He may still be knuckle-headed, but at least he stepped up his game in this dramatic moment.
“One Piece” (1999-)
We’re still struggle to come to grips that the long-nosed marksman actually managed to pull such an incredible one eighty. Sure, all the members of the Straw Hat crew got a boost during the two years they spent powering up, but this is Usopp we’re talking about. He’s hilarious, but he ain’t no Zoro. At least until we saw him casually make his reappearance, buffed up beyond belief, and armed to the teeth with a crazy amont of nature-based weaponry. This turnaround is such a miracle that it’s only fitting that Usopp ended up earning the moniker of God down the line.
Be sure to check out the video below to see our picks for the Top 10 Thirstiest Anime Girls.