Strong but underestimated male anime characters

What is it that makes you strong?

Did you ever wonder what real strength means?

Is it measured by the fact you can punch someone to death with your bare fists or that you don’t even need to touch your opponent to kill him off?

Maybe even one kick to score a goal?

What is strength and how is it measured?

Well that may depend on the person after all considering what one sees as strength.

But let me show you some characters you may have perceived as strong but not for the same reason, because strength does not lie in physical power only, it also lies in the way a character handles certain situations and their own emotional capability.

Here are 11 male characters from anime that you may have underestimated or considered strong in only physical aspects.

Hinata Shouyo from Haikyuu

“Before my eyes, it blocks my path. A high, high wall. What sort of scene is on the other side? What will I be able to see there? “The view from the top”. A scenery I will never be able to see on my own. But if I’m not alone, then… I might be able to see it.”

Shouyo Hinata

For a volleyball player height is an essential asset and already determines how the opponent and your allies view you, a struggle Hinata has to endure most of the time.

With no teammates to train with in Middle-school and all the prejudices about his height considering the position he longs to play, Hinata never faltered to the opinion of others and had his goal clearly in front of his eyes.

Making him a very dominant and strong character the more you start to analyse him, for him a game is not lost as long as the ball did not touch the ground, hope that lasts until the last second of the game showing his willpower that never left him, not even for a second.

And even though his friends  told him if he was sure to really play and go on with a game he would never win, Hinata never considered to not give his best in any match, making his own training schedule with many different people and stayed consistent in his training without a team before joining Karasuno.

What is his strength you ask me?

The strength to never give up no matter how hard things may be, no matter how impossible a goal seems and the hope of slowly reaching that very goal while pushing even through hard times.

He is not the type of guy to be ashamed to admit that he sucks in certain areas but instead shows his best sides and charismatic sun-shine attitude that wants you to keep him around and support him, despite being a spiker with not the height anyone would expect.

Midoriya Izuku from My Hero Academia

“The deeper the darkness the more dazzling the light shines.”

– Midoriya Izuku

How must it feel, being one of a very few without a quirk?

The dream to become a hero that was shattered in a young age knowing you will never develop a quirk in the first place?

Midoriya is that very person that wanted to fulfill his dreams so badly just to get them crushed right at the beginning.

The feeling of being inferior and useless next to all of your classmates amazing quirks, feeling left out and like a burden at the scene.

But with no quirk Midoriya’s strength is his observant and analytical nature that he gained from watching all those quirks he only could dream of, making him a strategist in very important and critical moments in fights.

This is not all, despite being quirkless Midoriya has all it takes to be a hero.

He never gave up his true nature of wanting to support and help people, while in the world of My Hero Academia being a hero became even a rather job-kind of thing where some of the Heroes don’t even think about the benefit of others, only about money and popularity.

In that kind of world, the quirkless young boy stormed in when someone needed him, a certain someone who even made fun of him and humiliated him in any way possible.

His strength is the kindness he bears within, to overcome his own fears (while he is a very jumpy guy) and save anyone who needs his help, even if it is someone who made his life a living hell.

Hideyoshi Nagachika from Tokyo Ghoul

“Dude. You eating properly? You don’t look so hot. You better eat right or you won’t hold up.”

Hideyoshi to Kaneki.

There is always that one guy, that one friend you can rely on since he would never judge you.

The one you can trust and don’t want to disappoint because he gave you the safe space you always needed.

That person is Hideyoshi, the always a smile on his face easy-going guy who is Kaneki’s shelter.

But why do you think I chose Hideyoshi for this post?

Well, a friend who helps you while you yourself don’t even know he did, despite knowing your friend turned into a ghoul that could devour you anytime, what better friend can you get?

He never judged Kaneki while knowing the whole time his friend turned in a ghoul, supporting him and always making sure he was there for him.

Hideyoshi may not seem like someone bright but he actually is a very smart person who immediately reacts and knows what is going on, despite that he decides to act like the naive friend just to reassure Kaneki that he is by his side.

Even sacrificing his own safety that the ghouls surrounding Kaneki may go at him as well and getting into life-threatening situations.

Someone who takes everything on his own shoulders to make sure his friend feels safe and assured, not being afraid of losing his own life while having basically no physical strength nor any superpowers, a person who neglects his own worries and holds back for his dear friend to make him feel important and welcomed, tell me what greater strength is there than the pure-hearted feelings Hideyoshi wants to convey?

Makoto Naegi from Danganronpa

“I refuse to give up. I refuse to get bored. I refuse to throw it all away. I refuse to despair. Because all I have going for me is the desire to keep moving forward!”

Naegi Makoto

Ah, we know it all you just get enrolled to your new dream school and suddenly it turns out you got caught into a survival battle where everybody could kill you.

Wait, no?

At least for Makoto Naegi that is the case as someone who entered an elite high school by sheer luck in midst of talented students who surround him.

Then again knowing you are the least capable amongst them makes you wonder which role you could play in a horrible situation like that.

A role that Makoto takes on to find the truth behind this crazy game, despite his fear and the pressuring situation he is one of the first people to act upon the facts that lie before him to reach the truth, fully knowing he has no special talent and all, and that the talent “luck” that was labelled on him was not even true either.

He will not back off to find the true culprit, trusts his instincts while people look down on him and his biggest weapon is his hope that everything will turn out right, that there is a bright future ahead even in the darkest pits of despair.

That’s what makes Makoto a mentally strong and capable character who often gets underestimated by his rank and looks.

Gon Freecss from Hunter x Hunter

“Qualification isn’t something we have to talk about. The ones who are not okay with their success can go through training until they are.”

Gon Freecs

Imagine you father left you as a child to become a hunter and doesn’t really visit you nor did you see him those whole years, what would you want to do?

I think most of you don’t want to even consider the fact of wanting to become a Hunter, right?

Not with Gon though, the young protagonist of Hunter x Hunter has other plans, he wants to pursue his father’s footsteps and become a Hunter in order to see why his father left him, which amazing thing made him neglect his son in a very positive way.

He has no bad feelings towards his father rather he shares a very curious and excited view of the world, becoming a hunter to meet his father nobody else saw these past years since he went undercover and following every single challenge to get there.

Gon grew up without his mother instead his father’s cousin raised him, when asked by Killua if he would want to meet his mother someday, Gon simply stated he considers Mito as his mother and there is no need for it.

A strong trait which makes him happy and content with the things he already has instead of seeking things he may not need anymore.

As well as the emotional strength to not care about people who are considered bad or good but seeing them for what they are and judging them by your own morals.

This nature makes him not lazy or too laid-back, if he sees that he lacks something that he need for his goal he immediately starts working on it until there is no room for excuses anymore.

All in all Gon’s naive and kind-hearted nature leads him to think positively of the world he is living in while working earnestly to reach his goals he setted for himself, not letting obstacles hinder him but make him even more excited of what will come in the future and also making him a wonderful friend that does not build an opinion about other people like Killua, instead he approaches them and gets to know them himself.

Minamoto Kou from Toilet-bound Hanako

“It’s gonna take some time… I’m gonna get stronger just like you, Teru-nii. And then I’m gonna decide what to do. If I need to, I’ll exorcise him! So keep your hands off him!!”

Kou to Teru.

Maybe this character is not considered popular or a strong character but Minamoto Kou definitely has the assets of a strong and capable hero figure.

As someone who is the younger brother of Teru Minamoto, well-liked by everyone and talented in every aspect, Kou has the weight of constantly being compared to his good-looking and successful brother who attends the same school as him.

In fact people might now think, “It’s the usual jealous of his brother or in his brother’s shadow story”, but it is not!

Quite the opposite, his brother is his motivation and role model he has a very strong bound and does not let the comparisons stop him from being just the way he is.

Little setbacks do not stop him and he is a kind-hearted person even more than his brother could be, making him the pieces that his brother lacks.

Despite being an exorcist he still considered Hanako, his actual target, a living being with his own feelings and gives him the chance to prove him the opposite of what his clan has taught him, going against any principles that were set for him.

This of course brought him criticism from his brother which he listens to but does not let him change his judgement, building up a wonderful relationship with other ghost characters and putting the trust into, that not every being that is considered as bad or evil by society’s eyes is how it seems.

Which makes him clumsy and hot-headed but with a big heart, a very trusting and open-minded strong character who still respects his brother and family but would not let them cloud his vision of perceiving and getting to know things by his own means.

Sora from Kingdom Hearts

“Sure, if it’ll make you feel better.”

Sora to Ventus.

This one may not count as a real anime character, maybe at least not until square enix decides to make one at least.

But Sora is a character that can look a bit naive and weak when it comes to his trusting and easy-going attitude of wanting to help anyone he comes across.

Going from world to world to save everyone from danger, help some princesses on your way and search (for like an eternity) through all those worlds to find your lost friends takes up a lot of mental and emotional strength.

To push away his own desires while he continuously is thinking about others than himself is one of his biggest but most underrated assets which even lead him to sacrifice himself in many ways and aspects without even thinking about the aftermath he could  be stuck in.

What is the reason behind that?

“Well we are friends, right?”, is his only reason for that, a pure heart with the intention of not wanting anyone to feel neglected or left out.

Many just think he is a naive boy who helps out because he is just stupid and bored enough to do so, but think about it (I won’t spoiler anything for you guys).

How much emotional and mental strength does it take to repeatedly help people out without getting anything in return while getting hurt and being more aware of the cruel reality that unfolds before you?

Can anyone stay firm in a situation where you even get betrayed many times and still be as trusting as him?

It is not naivety, it is the firm belief that if someone just takes more of the emotional and mental strength that Sora had reserved for himself and sacrifice it for others, everything will somehow turn okay in the end.

A very wonderful and beautiful trait that we do not see often in our society let alone in this kind of raw sense like Sora does even in other animes.

Many characters have always a reason to do so or even a backstory that leads them to act upon this trait, but for Sora he enjoyed a good and happy life before and never encountered someone to teach him those principles, making him one of the kindest and self-sacrificing characters that are not only strong in physical means but also in emotional and mental capability to withstand negative thoughts and push through with the ideals he had set from the start even when everyone seem to ridicule him for that.

(Author note: still crying for this poor baby, underrated character *sob*) 

Haruka Kokonose from Kagerou Project

Takane, I may not understand why you’re so worried but… it’s not like I’ll hate you or anything, no matter how much you change. So don’t be so down about it!

Haruka to Takane

Out of the Kagerou project series, also known as Mekakucity actors or Kagerou Daze, Haruka Kokonose personally is one of the strongest characters and I mean not physically despite that could be true in certain way too, won’t spoiler anything though,

While there are a lot of characters who seem to have a lot on their plates Haruka is the strongest character. 

Someone who was fragile and sick his whole life but living it to its fullest not wasting any second or risking to get a punch or two with his laid-back attitude.

His lethal disease can cause him to die any moment when nobody is around the moment he has an attack and still how Takane describes it, he seems to not care about the slightest bit what is happening to him and around him, meanwhile spending the time to draw and make memories.

From the outside he looks dense, a person who has his head in the clouds but looks deceive because Haruka is actually very attentive and observant when he has a subject of interest.

A person who doesn’t judge another person but is very pleased with every new person he meets and the experiences he makes due to the restriction his disease gives him and cause him to often get hospitalized.

You never fail to see him smile and calmly sit around, a sunshine through and through that, how Takane stated, you would never even consider that he is living the tragic lifestyle his whole life.

Something one could really take in and be aware that we are surrounded with blessings around us but just need to be aware of them instead of cutting them off.

Kageyama Shigeo from Mob Psycho

 ” I don’t think this is trash. If you’re going to throw it away, I’ll take it.I made the decision to consider my feelings more. And you need to pick up things you feel are important.”

Kageyama Shigeo

Mob Psycho is an unique anime with an interesting plot but this is not the topic here, right?

We are kind of trying to focus on the protagonist Kageyama Shigeo also known as Mob, a character so lacking that you even wonder if he really is the main character in the first place?

Because there is nothing special about him despite that he gains crazy powers when his stress level reaches hundred percent (and that guy is going through puberty, the rest is up to you!)

Still despite Mob being even one of the strongest espers that people have seen he won’t use his powers if not needed to save anyone, meaning here when he is working at his shady part-time job.

He is able to see paranormal things and brushes them off as if there were nothing just to lead a normal school life, something he longs for more than being simply strong or using his powers for his advantage.

Mob is the kind of character that you see in your class and may forget he even is part of the class since his reserved attitude and almost to zero presence leads him to be not recognized or having any friends.

He could have used his powers to impress everyone, make his school life easier and so on but still he is against that telling himself he wants to earn all those things by fair means and his own strength and not simply relying on his power.

This alone is a strength to not make anyone feel less strong or special, he won’t use his power to give anyone that feeling making his school life even harder since the fact alone that he may get stressed in situations and make someone suffer is something everyone overlooks.

A sacrifice made to feel equal to anyone else in school and ending up even alone and misunderstood seeing the best in people and trying to become a better version of himself without his powers, that’s what real strength is to achieve something without relying on underhanded techniques and considering the feelings of everyone else, again here sacrificing your own happiness for everybody else.

Natsuki Subaru from Re: Zero

“While we talk, look forward to making up for all the time you’ve wasted looking back! We can start by talking about tomorrow. You can say anything like, whether you’ll make Japanese or Western style breakfast tomorrow, or whether you’ll put on your right or left shoe first. It can be something silly like that. No matter how silly it is, you can talk about tomorrow because you have a tomorrow.”

Natsuki Subaru

Where should I start with Subaru?

Oh, there is just a lot, a lot of qualities about him but maybe to give you a picture about Subaru let’s start with that.

In the anime we start right off Subaru describing himself as a shut-in who stepped out after a long time to get groceries just to end up in another world, of course he is not shocked but amazed by the fact that he landed in a typical plot of a shut-in starting his new adventure life.

But what makes him so strong?

Subaru his fully aware that he is not strong and useless especially in this new environment he is in, telling himself he may be weak but still wants to get into this new exciting life.

To not tell you too much about the plot, things turn out way different from there on as he meets Emilia right off and from there on Subaru’s real journey begins.

A journey full of painful and tragic moments that even I feel the anxiety and frustration every time his name drops, struggling, crying, frustration, almost giving up everything but in the end he uses the one thing he is good at, dreaming of a better tomorrow and staying obnoxiously persistent about things other people may consider crazy.

Crazy to protect someone else?

No, crazy to protect people you barely met and want to give them a happier and brighter future while only having lived with them for a short while.

Even though Subaru is presented in a hilarious way, making fun of himself and having a lot of weaknesses he is fully aware of, he basically has the quality of a strong person to endure so much emotional and mental pain that for people who do not even remember him or his deeds he did for them, leaving him with no reward nor any acknowledgement for it.

How must it feel to save so many lives, sacrificing your own as well and almost turning insane in the process just to get backlash in the end and nobody will ever know what great sacrifices you did for them?

Subaru is the kind of character who pulls you right into his emotional world, making you feel like even if you have no good qualities like a Knight or Warrior you can be strong in many different ways.

Norman from Yakusoku no Neverland

If you bake mud, you can make a vessel. So a boat made out of mud wouldn’t necessarily sink.

Noman to Ray

Norman, a young fragile boy with a brain of an adult.

Smart, tactical and when it comes to Emma, willing to sacrifice anything.

Being sick since a young age always gave him the image of a young child who needs the protection and care from others but that changed after a while making his tactical sense an asset that ended up crucial in many moments.

Not only that but the capability to deal with the worst case scenarios and make counter measurements where even any adult would fall into despair and hopelessness.

Imagine the reality surrounding you, the happy and cozy reality you are living in turns upside-down and suddenly you don’t know who you could trust anymore, who is your enemy and who is your ally?

Despite the fact he fully trusts Emma and does not show any emotional outbreaks next to her and other kids, is a strength for itself while you know it could be the end of it all.

It doesn’t mean he is fearless it’s quite the opposite, but due to his responsibility as one of the eldest among the kids and the will to protect the others he can just gulp it down and step forward.

Without him the whole situation would have escalated in the first place but he kept a calm and composed attitude, took the next step and showed us all that you don’t need physical strength to survive a horrible fate but that your courage, will and brain alone can lead you to take action in whole different ways than anyone would expect.

Norman showed us that you don’t need to be supernatural or the typical shounen anime Hero to be strong and capable of changing your own fate.

What characters do you think are underestimated and strong in an unusual way?

Do you measure characters by their physical strength or what makes a character strong for you?

I am really excited to know what you guys think!

(This is a parallel post to Nissa’s emotionally strongest female character post, check it out if you crave for more!)

Until then let’s get some fresh tea again next time with another blog post!

Cheers!

– Makii!

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