Many children learn about the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from an early age. It is the story of an outcast who is bullied because of his differences, which is ultimately the part of him that makes him unique and gives his life its own value. Rudolph’s story perfectly encapsulates the outcast motif, and many characters in anime express the same lesson in their own way.
Anime outcasts tend to have a special ability that sets them apart from “normal” people, which eventually leads to them being secluded from others. But like Rudolph, their ability to help the world always stems from the very power that caused them to be ostracized from society in the first place.
10/10 Denji never lost heart
Denji was basically pushed out of society in the worst ways. He was bullied and used by the Yakuza, and was even meant to be used as a sacrifice when they became zombie devils. However, his kind heart towards the chainsaw devil, Pochita, is what led to the realization of his ultimate power.
Denji’s ability to sympathize with those cast off from the social order is what gave him a second chance after being killed. Although Rudolph wasn’t exactly in a life-or-death situation, he could still empathize with Denji’s troubled past.
9/10 Naofumi saves everyone even though they never accepted him
The Rising Of The Shield Hero
Naofumi is the ultimate isekai outcast. Since he understands what it’s like to be pushed away by everyone in society, Naofumi protects those who are also downtrodden and cast aside like he was. He also develops a strong distrust of anyone involved in the royal order, which contrasts greatly with Rudolph, who wanted nothing more than to be accepted by Santa Claus.
In the end, as always, the powers that be realize that they need the extraordinary powers of people like Naofumi and Rudolph. To help them out of their mitigating circumstances, only an extraordinary person will do.
8/10 Midoriya had the spirit of a hero all along
My Hero Academia
In a world where 80% of the population is born with a special Quirk, Midoriya wanted nothing more than to use his quirk to become a great hero like his idol, All Might. Unfortunately, Midoriya was one of the 20% whose Quirk never awakened, leaving him as a minority in a world of powerful beings.
Even worse was the way he was treated by his peers due to his lack of Quirk, being bullied and given the nickname Deku, which translates to “useless person” in English. However, his unwavering spirit was recognized by All Might, who sent his own Quirk to Midoriya. Like Rudolph, Midoriya was recognized by the one he most admired.
7/10 Mob was forced to step outside his comfort zone
Mob Psycho 100
Mob is an incredibly powerful esper who only gets stronger when his emotions are pushed to the limit. Due to traumatic events in his past, Mob represses his emotions in order to suppress his power, but this has had the unfortunate side effect of him being seen as weird and awkward at school.
Due to his passive nature and callous demeanor, Mob was bullied for much of his school life. It wasn’t until after he was able to let go and learn to better control his powers that he was able to connect with the other kids and gain acceptance at school.
6/10 Goku worked for everything he got
While many fans may not think of Goku as an outcast because he certainly never thought of himself that way, he actually unfortunately fits the bill. Goku was born a Saiyan and was banished from Planet Vegeta because he was not considered as strong as other Saiyan warriors.
This resulted in him landing on Earth, where Goku would grow to become the most powerful mortal being in his universe. Even on Earth, Goku never fit in because he was different. However, he was blessed to be taken in by his adoptive grandfather who molded him into the kind-hearted warrior for humanity that anime fans know and love.
5/10 Naruto was both feared and misunderstood
Naruto is the classic example of a child who is hated and bullied by others because he is misunderstood. Naruto often found himself on the receiving end of his peers’ jokes simply because it was the cool thing to do, when in reality Naruto was only alone due to the immense power he contained to begin with.
While everyone rejected Naruto because he contained the Nine Tails within him, it would be the same power of the Nine Tails Jinchuriki that would save them all and cause him to be praised as he grew older. Like Rudolph, Naruto was written off before the truth of his greatness was seen, but people were quick to change their tune when he was their last hope.
4/10 Nagisa’s version of Santa Claus was Koro-Sensei
Right from the first episode Assassin’s Classroom, Nagisa is shown being bullied by her classmates. In fact, he is seen as of such little value that his peers even try to use him as a victim to kill their teacher.
The way Nagisa’s classmates treated him enraged Koro-sensei to the point of threatening their families. Just like Santa saw the potential in Rudolph even when others didn’t, Koro-sensei always saw the latent talents Nagisa had, he just needed the confidence to let them blossom.
3/10 Hiroshi can’t fit in no matter what world he’s in
Full Dive: This ultimate next-gen full dive RPG is even dirtier than real life!
Hiro is a loner who has had enough of reality. Between his reputation for peeing his pants during a track race and having to deal with the bullies who take his money every day, Hiro would much rather escape to the virtual worlds of VR RPGs.
Like Rudolph, Hiro lives in a world where he just isn’t appreciated for his talents. Although Hiro initially found it difficult to survive in the Full Dive RPG, he eventually discovers that the traits that made him a loner in the real world are the exact ones that make him successful in the virtual one.
2/10 Hajime doesn’t know when to give up
Arifureta: From ordinary to the world’s strongest
After being completely abandoned by his classmates, Hajime is left to die in the abyss of a dungeon surrounded by terrifying monsters. Hajime eventually uses his unwavering will to survive to somehow make it out alive, but not before becoming the classic overpowered isekai protagonist in the process.
Rudolph’s story is about being down in the depths of despair before realizing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For Hajime, the image takes a much more literal form, but regardless, the hero must always find his way out of the darkness, whether metaphorically or otherwise.
1/10 Tohru brings the holiday spirit to everyone around her
Tohru Honda is an orphaned girl who is left to live alone in a tent out in the forest. While Tohru could have been taken in by a friend, she didn’t want to burden anyone and instead decided to find her way on her own. Tohru was consistently bullied by the kids at school, but she never let it ruin her optimistic outlook or her willingness to help others.
Tohru is a kindred spirit to Rudolph, who was always willing to seek friendship with others, despite how many times he was hurt. In the end, Tohru finds the Sohma family, and her kind-hearted optimism is finally put to good use.
NEXT: 10 Anime Characters Who Don’t Know Their Own Strength