The sad reality of anime is that not all characters can maintain their popularity. Whether it’s because of messy writing or troubled behind-the-scenes happenings that influenced the anime’s final quality, some characters are simply doomed to fall from grace no matter how hard they try.
This is the unfortunate fate that befell these characters, who became unpopular or even despised by the time their series ended. Some of these characters started off on the wrong foot, while others were, at one point, the most influential characters in the entire medium.
10 Himouto! Umaru-Chan – Umaru Doma Became Anime’s Most Infamous Spoiled Brat
In theory, a model student who’s secretly a spoiled otaku at home is the perfect setup for an anime sitcom. However, Himouto! Umaru-Chan was more of an endurance test than a comedic anime because Umaru Doma annoyed audiences more than she entertained them.
From the get-go, Himouto! Umaru-Chan was more infamous than popular thanks to its original four-panel manga, but that didn’t stop people from giving it a shot. Umaru’s already unfavorable reputation only worsened as the anime went on, with viewers finding new reasons to find her more unlikable with each passing episode. Some found her humor to be repetitive at best, while others hated her with a burning passion.
9 Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out! – Uzaki-Chan Got On Some Viewers’ Nerves
Basically Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro before it got an anime, Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out! gained fame and notoriety when the titular Uzaki-chan was used as a mascot for Red Cross Japan’s blood donation drive. Despite (or because of) this controversy, Uzaki’s anime enjoyed a spike in interest thanks to the public buzz.
This backfired somewhat when viewers left the anime unimpressed at best and infuriated at worst. Uzaki was regarded by many as more annoying and creepy than cute as she relentlessly harassed Shinichi and even stalked him. Worse was how Uzaki is shown trying to “fix” Shinichi’s introverted persona, which some viewers took offense with.
8 Rent-A-Girlfriend – Kazuya Kinoshita Was Regarded As One Of The Worst Recent Harem Heroes
As a harem anime, Rent-A-Girlfriend was always destined to be defined by its female characters, not the serviceable male protagonist. But even by those standards, Kazuya did more than just fall short. In fact, he angered fans so much, that he was declared the worst harem lead of 2020 by the time the anime ended.
This reaction stems from how unlikable Kazuya is, whether it’s because of how indecisive he is when it comes to his emotions or because of how clingy he tends to be. Rent-A-Girlfriend became a hit thanks to its titular rent-a-girlfriends and for shining a light on a relatively new profession. Meanwhile, Kazuya’s mere presence dampens the hype.
7 Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro – Senpai’s Cowardly Persona Annoyed People Over Time
Even before it got an anime, Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro was already well known in anime circles thanks to its manga. The anime amplified Nagatoro’s popularity, though the same can’t be said for Senpai. Unlike Nagatoro, Senpai attracted the ire of viewers as the anime went on.
Senpai was too much of a sheepish and reactive blank slate for some viewers, who didn’t like how transparent a self-insert character he was. Senpai had a few shining moments, but these did little to redeem his spineless behavior in most of the anime’s episodes. Where Nagatoro was more complex than she let on, Senpai just fell flat.
6 One-Punch Man – Saitama Went From Parody Icon To One-Note Bore
When One-Punch Man first exploded on the scene, everyone was drawn to the superhero parody that was Saitama. He was praised for being a fun, humanized look at someone with god-tier powers, and he was unlike any other anime hero at the time. But when Season 2 rolled up, Saitama’s novelty dried up.
Besides Season 2 being a step down from Season 1 in all aspects, it trapped Saitama in a loop, where he repeated previous observations and conflicts. Worse, Season 2 validated the generic heroics that Season 1 lampooned. Not helping was how One-Punch Man‘s spiritual successor Mob Psycho 100‘s Mobu did a better job at deconstructing superpowers than Saitama did, thus supplanting him.
5 The Promised Neverland – Emma’s Charm & Wit Became A Saccharine Joke After Season 2
At the height of its popularity, The Promised Neverland was praised for having a great heroine in Emma. Despite living in a terrifying world where kids are raised to be food, Emma never let go of her idealism and inspired those around her to never give up. This hit a ridiculous extreme in Season 2, where Emma’s optimism became forced instead of endearing.
Emma overcame every challenge through the power of friendship and forgiveness, even offering it to the human collaborator Peter Ratri despite his lifelong complicity in the Demons’ oppressive system. Like everything else in Season 2, Emma was a far cry from who she was in the anime’s better beginnings.
4 Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Boruto Uzumaki Overtook His Predecessors In A Bad Way
When Naruto: Shippuden ended, longtime ninja fans were excited to see what came next. Their enthusiasm for Naruto’s adult and family life dwindled as Bortuo: Naruto Next Generations went on not only because they found Boruto’s adventures underwhelming, but because he kept overshadowing the original cast in the worst ways possible.
It seemed like Boruto’s dad and his age group only showed up to be outdone by their children. Additionally, they seemingly regressed just so that Bortuo could deal with some parental angst. Worst of all, Boruto’s personality and arc were basically a clone of his father’s, rendering his anime redundant especially when Naruto still exists.
3 Bleach – Ichigo Kurosaki Became Too Static & Overpowered
Bleach’s selling point as one of Shonen Jump’s former Big Three was that it was considered to be the publisher’s most mature title. Bolstering this claim was Ichigo, who was praised for averting many of the typical hot-headed shonen hero tropes of the era. Where Luffy and Naruto were prone to acting like excitable boys, Ichigo came across as the only adult in the room.
This appeal waned as Bleach dragged on, especially after Ichigo stagnated while others grew as people. Not helping was how Ichigo became something of a punchline since he could never stop getting new game-breaking powers. By the manga’s end, Ichigo was somehow blessed with the strengths of literally every known supernatural race in Bleach.
2 The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya – Haruhi’s Pop Culture Legacy Disappeared Practically Overnight
There once was a time when The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya’s popularity and influence were literally everywhere, which makes its total disappearance in today’s anime landscape stranger in hindsight. It’s not that Haruhi lost favor among her dedicated fans, but rather that her anime accidentally killed its own hype.
Many factors led to Season 2 underperforming, but the repetitive Endless Eight arc is undoubtedly its most infamous misstep. Following Season 2’s polarizing reception, Haruhi all but vanished, and she was basically erased from the public consciousness. Haruhi made a slight comeback with her critically acclaimed movie, but this wasn’t enough to revive the glory days.
1 Sword Art Online – Kirito Became The Symbol Of Everything Wrong In Isekai Anime
Given how polarizing it is today, it may be hard to recall how big a deal Sword Art Online was when it started. The anime kick-started the isekai boom of the 2010s, and Kirito became the template for every isekai protagonist after him. However, as isekai stories decreased in popularity, retrospective takes on Kirito’s influence became increasingly negative.
Kirito may not be the first self-insert isekai hero, but he exacerbated the archetype’s worst and most self-indulgent tendencies. It’s debatable whether or not Kirito really is at fault for the genre’s current state, but the fact that almost every modern isekai hero who’s overpowered and effortlessly popular in their harem can be traced back to Kirito doesn’t help his case.
NEXT: Sword Art Online: Kirito’s 10 Biggest Failures, Ranked
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