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Top 10 Zero to Hero Anime Characters

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Bless our souls, these guys are on a roll! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten zero to hero anime characters. For this list, we’ll be looking at the characters that started off as feeble weaklings who found the strength within to rise up as paragons in their respective shows! As such, be on the lookout for a few spoilers ahead!
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Top 10 Zero to Hero Anime Characters



Bless our souls, these guys are on a roll! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we are counting down our picks for the top ten zero to hero anime characters.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the characters that started off as feeble weaklings who found the strength within to rise up as paragons in their respective shows! As such, be on the lookout for a few spoilers ahead!

#10: Kenichi Shirahama

“Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple” (2006-07)

He may be a little on the whiny side, but when this guy sets his mind to something, you had better have your guard up. Originally nothing much than a punching bag, Kenichi’s determination to save those in need eventually earned him the attention of the beautiful yet skilled Miu, who led him to the Ryozanpaku Dojo. From that point on, Kenichi became the ultimate disciple, learning several martial arts styles and going onto become quite the talented fighter. Don’t judge this guy by his build, he’ll knock you flat before you know it. Respectfully, of course.

#9: Shu Ouma

“Guilty Crown” (2011-12)

Let’s be honest, if you had someone like Inori as a love interest, you’d come out of your shell as well. Burdened by a less than pleasant past, Shu was as aloof as they came, that is until Inori entered his life and gained the ability known as the “Power of the King”. By accessing the Void within a person, Shu became a one-man army and a great addition to the resistance group known as Funeral Parlour. Sure, he mostly joined up because he had the hots for Inori, but hey, if it means he fights for a good cause, why not? Hooray for puberty!

#8: Bell Cranel

“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” (2015)


We’ve all been there. One day you’re just this nerdy kid who dreams of being an adventurer, and then next thing you know you’re diving into dungeons, slaying monsters and earning the affections of goddesses. Ah to be young. While he started out as just a novice, Bell’s uncanny ability to earn the loyalty and affection of others soon propelled him forward as a warrior worthy of recognition. He’s so humble that he even turns down the advances of the pint-sized beauty that is Hestia. Hey Bell, being a gentleman is all well and good, but if a goddess wants to give you some divine attention you’d best heed it!

#7: Tsunayoshi “Tsuna” Sawada

“Reborn!” (2006-10)

He’s easily startled, barely has any friends, and has no talents to speak of. Sounds like the perfect candidate for the next leader of a mafia family! Yes, Tsuna may have started the series with no qualities whatsoever, but as time we went on, we saw that what he lacked in intellect and raw strength he made up for with an overwhelming heart. With the world’s greatest home tutor Reborn by his side, Tsuna is soon able to harness the power of his “Dying Will Mode” and become a figure the Vongola Familia can look up to. Try making fun of him after seeing him bust out that X Burner of his.

#6: Subaru Natsuki

“Re;Zero -Starting Life in Another World-“ (2016)

Out of everyone on this list, Subaru might just have the worst of it. Sure, he doesn’t exactly have a dark and tragic past, but he is however the only one of them to die. A lot. After being transported into a fantasy world brimming with elves, magic and murder, our unlucky hero discovers that every time he’s killed, he travels back in time. Despite meeting multiple, gruesome ends, Subaru still somehow finds a way to turn this into a strength. Yeah, he didn’t get with Rem at the end, but anyone who can keep coming back after so many horrific ordeals certainly deserves our respect!

#5: Atsuko “Akko” Kagari

“Little Witch Academia” (2017)

She comes from a humble background and has very little talent for magic, yet still winds up attending a school for witches. Does this deter her? Of course not! This little lady is one of the most determined characters in recent memory, propelled forward by her dream of becoming a great witch like her hero Shiny Chariot. With an unshakeable belief in how magic should be used to spread joy, despite many originally viewing her as the worst witch, Akko turned out to be a beacon of hope that all could aspire to. Even if she still has trouble flying a broom.

#4: Saitama

“One Punch Man” (2015-)

You could make the argument that Saitama has always been the strongest hero and was never once a zero, but that’s not exactly true. As we saw in a brief flashback, before he was a caped crusader (and bald) Saitama was a run of the mill worker who hated his mundane life so much he didn’t care if a supervillain crushed him. After a sudden change of heart, he “somehow” gained his unstoppable strength, becoming the one person capable of stopping threats that could annihilate Earth. Despite the fact all other heroes still regard him as the lowest of the low.

#3: Ippo Makunouchi

“Hajime no Ippo” (2000-14)

What does it mean to be strong? As victim of bullying who could never muster the courage to stand up for himself, Ippo is the last person you would expect to become the Japanese featherweight boxing champion! After finding a passion in the sport, Ippo soon finds himself with a shot at the big leagues thanks to his unyielding fighting spirit as well as packing one hell of a swing. He can take a beating like no-one’s business and dish out a blow that can cripple champions. Just so happens he’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet as well.

#2: Izuku Midoriya

“My Hero Academia” (2016-)

All Izuku has ever wanted was to become a superhero. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t got any powers. Ridiculed and bullied for being Quirkless, Izuku refuses to give up on his dream of becoming like his idol; the hero known as All Might. After a run in with said hero, Izuku finally gets his chance when All Might recognises that he does indeed possess the qualities of a hero, making him a worthy candidate to pass down his Quirk to. Now imbued with the power of One for All, Izuku has gone on to become such a force for good that even Superman would be proud!

#1: Simon

“Gurren Lagann” (2007)

While he certainly has spirit, in the beginning Simon was most definitely overshadowed by his big bro. That’s no fault on Simon’s part, ANY anime character would be dwarfed when stood next to the pinnacle of manliness that is Kamina! However, following on from his bro’s tragic death, Simon went through one hell of a transformation. Stepping up to lead Team Dai-Gurren against the threat of Lordgenome and the Anti-Spiral, by the time he makes the transition from kid to adult, Simon is the shining star of human hope. Who else do you know that can go from pipsqueak all the way to piloting a mecha the size of a galaxy?
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