10 Anime Heroes Who Are Overlooked Because They’re Just Average

When it comes to anime (especially the more action-oriented shows),the heroes tend to be larger than life. If they’re not as godlike as Son Goku, they’re tragically weak like Shinji Ikari, but then there are those who fall in the middle.

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There are a lot of average anime heroes but, true to their nature, they get overshadowed by their mightier friends. While this may be expected for sidekicks or supporting characters, this lackluster fate doesn’t spare protagonists.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

10 Naruto — Tenten Was A Weapons Master Among Superpowered Ninjas

Tenten Unleashes Her Arsenal In Naruto Shippuden

As a ninja, it only made sense for Tenten to master as many weapons as possible. In terms of skills, Tenten was one of the best weapons experts in the original Konoha 12, and her bottomless arsenal plus expertise in the sealing arts of Fuinjutsu only made her more formidable. The problem is, her otherwise impressive skill set was mundane in Naruto’s world.

Naruto was populated by ninjas who were supernaturally empowered or literally demonic, and Tenten was neither. Unlike her peers, Tenten was born without even the most rudimentary of chakra levels, forcing her to compensate with weapons. Not helping were the rest of Team Guy, whose fearsome martial artists and Byakugan users overshadowed her.

9 Gintama — Shinpachi Shimura Was The Most Normal Odd Jobber

Shinpachi Hangs Out With The Odd Jobbers In Gintama

If Gintama were a comedy act, Shinpachi would be the straight man. Not only was Shinpachi the most normal person in the Odd Jobbers or in an alien-ruled Feudal Japan in general, he was as average as a teenager could get. In fact, Shinpachi faded into the background so often that his name jokingly became synonymous to boredom.

In the rare times Gintama got serious, Shinpachi was there to back up Gintoki and Kagura. Even if his only weapons were a wooden training sword and otherwise average swordsmanship skills, Shinpachi gave it his all. Shinpachi’s genuine heroism didn’t stop everyone else from overlooking him or not realizing he was there at all, though.

8 Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters — Mai Valentine’s Average Duelist Skills Drove Her To The Dark Side

Mai Fights For Dartz In Yu Gi Oh Duel Monsters

On her own, the severely underrated Mai was a good duelist who specialized in quick victories with her offense-heavy Harpie Lady deck. However, when compared to almost every other named duelist shown in Yu-Gi-Oh!, Mai was painfully average. To add insult to injury, most of her victories occurred off-screen and she lost most of her shown duels.

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If Mai’s bad streak could be dismissed as sloppy writing in early seasons, it was her angst during the “Waking The Dragons” arc that sealed her fate. Fueled by her insecurities of always being overshadowed by Yugi, Seto, and Joey plus constantly being looked down upon, Mai joined Dartz’s fanatics and was gifted with their effective but dangerous trump card: The Seal of Orichalcos.

7 Slam Dunk — Hanamichi Sakuragi Was The Self-Proclaimed Genius Of Basic Basketball Skills

Sakuragi Catches The Rebound In Slam Dunk

As far as Sakuragi was concerned, he was the greatest basketball player to ever grace the realistically drawn sports classic Slam Dunk. The truth was that Sakuragi was average at best and a clueless beginner at worst. In fact, the one skill that Sakuragi was most proud of (namely rebounding) was the most basic of basics.

While Sakuragi proclaimed himself King of Rebounds, everyone saw him as a loudmouth. This backfired for Ryonan when their coach, Moichi Taoka, wrote off Sakuragi as Shohoku’s weak link. Because Taoka didn’t take Sakuragi seriously, Ryonan’s team didn’t anticipate Sakuragi’s rebounds wiping out their momentum and costing them the regionals game.

6 Hellsing Ultimate — Seras Victoria Still Had A Lot To Learn As A Vampire

Seras Provides Sniper Fire In Hellsing Ultimate

Among normal humans, Seras was amazingly strong and powerful, even if she was only recently turned into a vampire. When put beside other vampires, though, Seras was an obviously inexperienced newcomer. While she had a vampire’s brute strength and lots of guns, Seras had yet to surpass being an average vampire.

Before Millennium’s war, Seras relied on her human skills and was still hesitant about vampirism. Because of this, Zorin Blitz didn’t think much of Seras and enjoyed torturing her before killing Pip Bernadotte for good measure. This cost Zorin her life when she enraged Seras so much that she embraced her bloodlust and pulverized Zorin to gore.

5 Black Lagoon — Rock Was A Salaryman In The Criminal Underworld

Rock Watches His Plan Come Together In Black Lagoon

Roanapur is a lawless cesspool where the world’s worst criminals and killers come together. Basically, it’s the last place anyone would expect to see an unassuming Japanese salaryman like Rokuro Okajima not just live, but thrive. Now going by the nickname “Rock,” Rokuro  gradually became the brains of the Lagoon Company.

Because Rock was as average as any guy could be and had no combat prowess. Even petty criminals to their ruthless bosses treated him like a naïve pushover. Rock used this advantage and his business savvy to get everyone to owe him a favor while manipulating Roanapur’s cutthroat ecosystem for his own ends, especially in Roberta’s Blood Trail where he basically called all the shots.

4 Fairy Tail — Lucy Heartfilia Is (Technically) The Most Average Member Of Her Guild

Lucy Gets Ready To Fight In Fairy Tail

On her own, Lucy is a skilled and powerful Celestial Spirit Mage as evidenced by her ownership of ten of the twelve legendary Gold Keys. As a member of the Fairy Tail guild, though, Lucy comes across as average when put beside walking powerhouses like Natsu (aka The Fire Dragon Slayer) or Erza (aka The Queen Of The Fairies).

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If not for her teammates, Lucy would’ve been considered immensely powerful by others. That said, Lucy more than made up for the gulf in power levels serving as her guild’s brains and also being a good friend in general. This didn’t stop Lucy from training hard, which resulted in her becoming one of the strongest mages in the realm.

3 Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann — Simon Was Always Stuck In Kamina’s Shadow

Simon Holds His Own Drill In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Everybody looked up to Kamina, especially his younger brother Simon. Because of how awesome Kamina was, almost nobody respected Simon, let alone acknowledged his existence. Not helping was how Team Dai Gurren was comprised of fighters like Yoko or Kittan, who dwarfed Simon in skill and just saw him as Kamina’s kid brother.

Worse, Simon was his own biggest naysayer, even if Kamina believed in him and knew he’d succeed him. Kamina’s wish came true in the worst way possible after his death forced Simon to take his place. Simon surpassed his average self to become just as inspiring as his brother, even though fans tend to remember Kamina more.

2 Bleach — Rukia Kuchiki Was One Of The Most Competently Average Shinigami Around

Rukia Kills Time Under The Trees In Bleach

Despite being Bleach’s most prominent Shinigami, Rukia was merely competent when she was first introduced. While she had impressive swordsmanship and Kido skills, Rukia was overshadowed by almost everyone when it came to brute strength. That, and she was officially just a foot soldier in the 13th Division.

Because of this, Rukia was underestimated by everyone she clashed swords with – including enemies like the Arracnar’s elite soldiers, the Espada, or even fellow Shinigami. Foes like Aaroniero Arruruerie only realized their folly too late, and it was usually after Rukia surprised them with an attack they didn’t expect her to pull off.

1 The Ghost In The Shell Series — Togusa Was Section 9’s Only Physically Human Member

Togusa Listens To The Major In Ghost In The Shell

Section 9 is comprised of army veterans & espionage experts, and each member’s expertise was enhanced by cybernetic implants. But then there’s Togusa, an ex-cop whose only mechanical organ was a cyberbrain and one of the few (mostly) human characters in the scarily prophetic Ghost In The Shell. Besides his archaic preferences, Togusa was more everyman than black ops agent, as seen in his normal family life.

It’s because of this normalcy that Togusa became the butt of Section 9’s jokes and was often underestimated by cyborg terrorists. That said, Major Motoko Kusanagi recruited him precisely because of his humanity, which she and everyone else lacks. With Togusa around, Section 9 can remain grounded no matter what.

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