Plot armor plays a big role in anime, allowing heroes to win against their vastly superior villain counterparts. Sometimes a hero will win against an invincible villain just because they are the main character.
These tropes are familiar in the Shonen genre, where characters like Luffy, Naruto, and Ichigo always come out victorious no matter how strong their opponent is. There’s always a last-minute power-up or transformation that gives these heroes the edge they need to outclass their stronger opponents. This is certainly not fair to well-written villains who are better at everything than the main characters.
In this list, we will talk about 8 such anime villains who lost due to plot armor.
Kaido and 7 other anime villains who could have won if there were no plot armor
Crocodile was one of the strongest characters in the Alabasta Arc of One Piece. He was able to orchestrate a large-scale coup and was on the verge of taking over the nation of Alabasta. He also fended off resistance from Luffy and defeated him twice with his Sand-Sand Devil fruit.
However, Luffy, who is the main character, won a victory in his third fight with Crocodile. Even after poisoning and beating Luffy to a pulp, it wasn’t enough to keep our hero down. He got back up and turned the game around with sheer willpower and determination.
Kars was beyond anything Joseph Joestar could handle, and when he evolved into his ultimate form, that should have been the end of everyone else. Kars was invincible, immortal and nearly indestructible in this form.
Joseph was a normal human with the power of Hamon up against the strongest life form in the world and the odds weren’t looking good for him. However, being a protagonist has its own perks. He was able to throw Kars into space where he crystallized and floated through the void of space forever. The fact that Joseph survived this ordeal was nothing less than a conspicuous piece of armor.
6) Toji Fushiguro
Toji Fushiguro was born without curse energy, but possessed inhuman strength due to his heavenly restriction. He was powerful enough to easily disable Suguru Geto and even proved a formidable opponent for a Six Eyes and Limitless user like Gojo Satoru.
In the fight against Gojo, Toji quickly gained the upper hand due to his speed and use of cursed tools. He even managed to nullify Gojo’s limitless abilities by stabbing him with a cursed special tool: the Inverted Spear of Heaven. Toji was able to kill the strongest character in the series with nothing but his own powers.
However, Gojo’s abilities allowed him to bypass death at the last moment. In their rematch, he used a new attack called Hollow Purple that surprised Toji and fatally injured him. Toji died as a result of his injuries, leaving Gojo standing as the overwhelmed protagonist that he was.
5) Dio Brando
Dio is a diabolical villain who was in control of one of the strongest stands in the Stardust Crusaders. His stand, The World, allowed him to stop time and defeat his enemies with ease, effectively making him invincible.
Dio managed to kill Kakyoin and fatally injure Joseph Joester and was almost on the verge of wiping out our heroes. Jotaro then revealed that his and Dio’s Stand shared similarities and that he could overcome the time freeze. This last-minute overt plot armor helped him defeat Dio.
Kaido is known as the strongest creature in the One Piece. He has gone up against the likes of Oden, Shanks and Big Mom, giving audiences an idea of his monstrous strength. He was even able to take a single shot at Gear 4 Luffy and knock him unconscious, in a show of their vast difference in power.
During their final battle, Kaido nearly won when Luffy underwent another transformation. It was revealed that Luffy’s Devil Fruit is a mythical Zoan-type Devil Fruit called Hito Hito no Mi, Model: Nika. This gave him the power to activate Gear 5. Luffy wiped the floor with Kaido in his new form and won using plot armor.
3) Sosuke Aizen
Sosuke Aizen is considered one of the smartest characters in anime history and his presence in Bleach serves as a constant threat to Soul Society. He went up against the likes of Gotei 13, General Captain Yamamoto and Ichigo, showing just how strong a character he really was.
He was on the verge of destroying Soul Society when Ichigo, the main character, decided to reveal his strongest technique, Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō, defeating Aizen without difficulty. For all his strength and cunning, he could not escape the power of plot armor.
2) Madara Uchiha
Taking on the entire Shinobi Alliance single-handedly, Madara Uchiha ran past Naruto and Sasuke, leaving them in a near-death situation.
He managed to become the Ten Tails Jinchūriki and was on his way to execute the Infinite Tsukuyomi when he was inevitably apprehended by Naruto and Sasuke once more. Through plot armor, they were able to gain new powers from the Sage of Six Paths himself, allowing them to finally take on Madara and win.
Jiren was introduced in Dragon Ball Super anime as one of the strongest mortals in the multiverse. He made fun of some of the strongest fighters in the series such as Goku, Vegeta and Hit. Even in Super Saiyan Blue Kaikoen form, Goku was no match for this titan and it looked like Jiren would take the victory for his universe.
However, Goku’s plot armor kicked in and he exceeded his limits once again for the thousandth time and achieved the Autonomous Ultra Instinct. Jiren was almost as good as Goku, but fell short since he wasn’t the main character.