Anime heroes are known for their bravery and courage. Some anime heroes can even come across as arrogant and reckless due to their daring and adventurous personalities. However, this is not always the case. In fact, some heroes are actually cowards.
While not exactly rare, it is unusual for heroes to show cowardice. Those who do are usually secondary characters in a story. Sometimes these characters go through a journey to become braver or more confident in themselves. Sometimes a character remains cowardly and afraid to provide comic relief to the story. However, what makes these characters heroes is their ability to push beyond their cowardice and do what is right.
10/10 Hinata’s high expectations as a child exacerbated her anxious nature
Hinata Hyuga from Naruto was set to become the heir to the Hyuga clan. But her naturally shy nature and the pressure placed on her caused her to sink further into her fearful and shy nature and she lost her position as heir.
It was only after getting over Naruto and seeing their similarities that Hinata was able to start gaining confidence. She is still more shy and anxious than her colleagues, but with this newfound purpose, she is able to grow into herself and become strong in her own way.
9/10 Mineta is the biggest coward
My Hero Academia
Minoru Mineta has proven time and time again that he is the most cowardly character in My Hero Academia. Along with objectifying and not respecting the boundaries of the girls in Class 1-A, he is whiny, terrified all the time, and very vocal about it.
Mineta’s reasons for wanting to be a hero are not as compelling as the rest of the heroes in the story. As such, he rarely has the inner strength to take on villains. In battles, he is mostly dependent on others, and rarely takes responsibility himself. Sometimes his cowardice is even a liability to others.
8/10 Yoichi’s cowardice almost possessed him
Seraph of the End
Yoichi Saotome from Seraph of the End is anxious at the best of times and downright terrified at the worst. Of all the people in his squad, he is the most cowardly of the bunch.
Sometimes this cowardice can be a liability to his teammates and to himself. When he first makes a contract with a demon, Yoichi becomes almost permanently possessed because he is too afraid to fight and cannot handle the pressure. It was only thanks to the help of his friends that he was able to overcome it. Fortunately, Yoichi grows in confidence over the course of the series.
7/10 Gray cringes when someone looks at her
Gray from Black clover didn’t start the series as seen by some as a coward. With her shapeshifting magic, she was able to live life comfortably and embody other people. In fact, she was quite charismatic when she wanted to be.
However, after her true form was revealed, she became incredibly shy, anxious and afraid. From that point on, Gray had a very difficult time even holding a conversation with the other members of the Black Bulls, so terrified of them seeing her in her true form.
6/10 Zenitsu’s waking hours are spent in fear
Zenitsu Agatsuma spends his waking hours cowering in fear and screaming at the top of his lungs. Of the three Demon Slaughter main characters, Zenitsu seems to want to be there the least. Sometimes he gets so scared that he actually passes out.
However, it is only when Zenitsu passes out that he is able to unleash his full abilities. While the mind slumbers away, the body instinctively knows exactly what to do without its higher functions keeping it petrified with fear. Although Zenitsu is often afraid, this does not mean that he is weak.
5/10 Ritsu needs a confidence boost
Ritsu Sohma from Fruit basket is volatile, anxious and overly apologetic. His sweet and feminine style endears him to the characters and the audience despite being quite loud and annoying.
Ritsu can sometimes be paralyzed by his own anxiety, causing him to either worry and apologize or run away in shame. Viewers don’t get to see much of him throughout the series, but they do get to see how he grows in the background. He may still be anxious, but he is able to work around his worries and become more comfortable with himself around others.
4/10 Matsuda’s fear stems from his naivety
Touta Matsuda from Death note tend to be used as comic relief, despite the serious tone of the series. He is looked down upon by other members of the force even though he is one of the few willing to join L’s task force.
His cowardice and timidity simply come from his naivety. He is a new member of Norwegian People’s Aid, does not have as much experience as others, and can make stupid mistakes. Of course, with time comes experience, and by the end of the series he is a major contributor to Light’s downfall.
3/10 Sekke hides his cowardice under a layer of arrogance
On the surface, Sekke Bronzazza from Black clover can appear overconfident and arrogant. However, this confidence is used to mask his insecurity and cowardly nature.
Sack is more likely to run from danger than to stop it, leading to many comedic bits involving dangerous situations. He even gets appointed as the king’s bodyguard due to being in the wrong place at the right time. Sekke doesn’t have a brave bone in his body despite being named a magical knight. Although he can mask it well, Sekke’s cowardice gets him and his allies into trouble.
2/10 Kobeni’s job only exacerbates her worries
Kobeni Higashiyama from Chainsawman would rather sell out the colleague than face a threat head on. She panics easily and is prone to delusions if she is particularly afraid. Working as a devil hunter seems to only cause more anxiety.
To pay for her brother’s college, Kobeni is forced to be a devil hunter, despite all the panic and grief it causes her. Although she can be cowardly, there are moments when she is deadly efficient, able to take on enemies with just a flick of her knife.
1/10 Shinji’s cowardice is incredibly human
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is just a child. It is normal for him to be afraid when presented with full-scale war. However, many audience members find Shinji’s cowardice annoying. His emotional outbursts and unheroic personality make him very different from other main characters.
Ultimately, Shinji wants to be loved. He wants to be recognized, which drives him to reluctantly become a pilot. He’s scared, and he doesn’t hide it. His cowardice makes him arguably one of the most human shonen protagonists in all of anime.
NEXT: The 10 Cowardest Anime Villains of All Time