Anime characters have demonstrated their different personalities, levels of intellect and strength by establishing their legacy in their respective worlds. What can often be overlooked is that even the most successful characters struggle, from troubled pasts to serious insecurities.
Many strong and powerful anime characters have deep insecurities that can actively limit their full potential in certain situations. While these insecurities don’t limit a character’s strength, they can still contradict what a strong character stands for. These characters show that absolute power is not always the secret to a happy life, as more is often needed to boost self-esteem and confidence.
10/10 Tetsuo Shima felt inferior, which eventually affected his rampages
Tetsuo Shima serves as the antagonist of the revolutionary 1988 anime film Akira, although not exactly of his own volition. When he inadvertently acquires the powers of the Espers, he succumbs to his insecurities and becomes a dangerous and volatile criminal.
Tetsuo’s inferiority complex means that once he has power in his own hands, the temptation to wreak havoc is too much to resist. For too long, Tetsuo felt that he was smaller and inferior to Kaneda. These terrifying powers helped make him feel big and in control.
9/10 Zenitsu needs sleep to shut out his fears and unleash his true potential
Zenitsu Agatsuma has divided fans since he debuted in Demon Slaughter and became close with Tanjiro. Despite being a powerful demon slayer, Zenitsu is basically a coward and has little to no self-confidence. Zenitsu constantly questions his place among the others, and even when he exceeds expectations, he seems stunned and assumes it’s a fluke.
However, Zenitsu comes with a catch. When he lets go of all fear and negativity while he sleeps, he can achieve his full potential with Thunder Breathing. Zenitsu has become more competent over time, but his uncertain thoughts and self-doubt remain.
8/10 Madoka Kaname is unsure of what she is worth outside of helping people
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Anime fans agree that Madoka Kaname is one of the most powerful magical girls of all time. Nevertheless, the titular protagonist of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a shy child, despite her confidence as a magical girl.
Madoka has a generally low sense of self-esteem and cannot see her worth outside of helping people. This desire to help has even been exploited on several occasions by those who consider it a weakness. Madoka will try to do the right thing, but is easily confused and can feel nervous when she has to make a decision in a confusing scenario.
7/10 Deku is still fighting the weight of his responsibility
My Hero Academia
Izuku Midoriya goes through a trial on his ambitious journey to become a hero My Hero Academia. Izuku started without a Quirk and got to watch from the sidelines until fate drew All Might to him. Izuku’s insecurity initially lay with his perceived lack of worth by not having a Quirk, but when he became Deku and came to grips with his new powers, this insecurity and lack of self-worth remained.
Deku has always had the heart of a hero, but couldn’t always act like one. Even as Deku grows in power and confidence throughout My Hero Academia, he always struggles to some degree with the weight of owning One For All. He often needs words from All Might or someone else to keep him going.
6/10 Saitama resents being too powerful
One Punch Man
By not taking himself too seriously, One Punch Man somehow managed to create a surprisingly complex character in Saitama. Saitama may be strong enough to defeat enemies with a single punch, but his personality makes him more than just an overpowered protagonist who steamrolls through everyone.
Saitama cringes at the lack of challenge. It actively brings him boredom and takes pleasure away from almost everything in life. In these dull states, Saitama resents his situation. This would normally be the attitude of an uncontrollable ego with severe arrogance, but Saitama’s anxiety comes from the truth of the matter. It would seem trivial compared to other possible uncertainties or problems one could have, but it hits Saitama hard nonetheless.
5/10 Edward Elric is unsure of his height
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Amid the chaos and the compelling story of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, it is often forgotten how powerful and imposing Edward Elric can be at his best. Ed became the youngest State Alchemist in history by getting his certification at the age of 12. He didn’t stop there and is capable of serious alchemical destruction and creativity.
However, for all his highs, Ed shows his lows, namely with his personality. Many of his violent outbursts stem from his most important insecurity: his height. Other people who allude to his small stature will immediately provoke Ed into an angry retort, instantly turning up the volume on any conversation.
4/10 Naruto is one of many powerful characters who have their own baggage
Naruto has thrived on its compelling characters and their intense backstories, so it comes as no real surprise that many of these characters carry insecurities with them. This includes Kakashi outright hating himself and Sasuke doing everything he can to get away from any signs of weakness.
But as the strongest character in the anime, Naruto and his need for recognition stand out above the rest. Naruto had to carry the weight and burdens of the Nine-Tails, as well as deal with the consequences of growing up in social isolation as an orphan. This eventually served to sharpen his resolve, but his uncertainty remained throughout many of his harsh trials and tribulations.
3/10 Shigeo is inherently awkward and shy
Mob Psycho 100
Mob Psycho 100 continues to shatter belief and expectations with the lofty heights it pushes, and it’s yet another exceptional anime by Studio Bones. Mob Psycho 100the success of is down to several factors, but it is largely due to Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama.
Mob is a powerful esper, but his appearance and personality suggest otherwise. Limited by his lack of social skills and awareness, Mob continues to have a low opinion of himself despite all he achieves. The negative and difficult sides have just become part of Shigeo’s personality as he continues to shock and impress with his psychic abilities.
2/10 Escanor is a walking contradiction with different personalities day and night
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins features the titular group of holy knights who each embody the aspects of a particular sin. They carry their unique quirks, advantages, weaknesses and emotional baggage. Escanor is the Lion’s Sin of Pride and is a powerful warrior who wields his sacred treasure, the divine ax Rhitta. However, he comes with a catch.
Escanor’s inherent power is called Sunshine, which makes him incredibly strong during the day, but at night he becomes a shell of his other self. Night-Escanor is small in stature and self-confidence, a far cry from his cocky and arrogant daytime form. His insecurities eat away at him and he can be nervous, cowardly and overly polite.
1/10 Vegeta struggled to admit when he was second best
Vegeta’s worth cannot be disputed Dragon Ball franchise. He has served as an antagonist, antihero, and deuteragonist throughout the many series of the long-running franchise, with his rivalry with Goku fueling much of his ambition. This competitive streak is where Vegeta’s insecurities lie.
Vegeta was built up as a mighty prince, but he knelt in front and served Frieza, who would crush any ego if they were destined to be more. Vegeta grew to hold himself on a pedestal, meaning that whenever he was embarrassed or defeated in any way, namely by Goku, it would trigger a rage that would keep the cycle going.
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