10 Best Anime Defined By Their Side Characters


Though most anime series are driven and defined by their protagonist, some of them are recognized for their lovable side characters. While series like Naruto and One Piece have iconic protagonists who have become mascots for the medium, other series’ side characters steal the show from the protagonist and truly form the anime’s identity.



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Some have weak protagonists, leaving plenty of room for other characters to steal the show. Others have well-written protagonists whose compatibility with the side characters’ personalities could make or break the series. These individuals have become synonymous with the very identity of their respective anime series.

10 Hunter X Hunter’s Side Characters Stole The Show From Gon

Though Gon Freecs is a well-written protagonist and generally hard to dislike, there’s no denying that side characters stole the show from him. With characters like Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio, Hunter X Hunter is jam-packed with interesting individuals whose personalities have defined the show.

For example, Hisoka is one of the most recognizable characters in the series. Despite his controversies, his overall aesthetic and interesting fashion choices make him easy to spot in a crowd. Even if someone hasn’t watched Hunter X Hunterthey’ve most likely seen Hisoka somewhere on social media before.

9 Tokyo Revengers’ Side Characters Are Just More Interesting Than Its Protagonist

Takemichi, despite his best efforts, isn’t exactly one of Shonen’s most likable protagonists. Many find his constant crying obnoxious and that he gets in the way of the plot. His personality is bland compared to some of the series’ side characters. Mikey, for example, is Toman’s leader. He comes off as a happy-go-lucky badass who’s always looking for the next adventure, but his character arc explores his inner darkness and shows the effects of growing up in street gangs.

Most of the series’ side characters have intriguing, colorful designs that make viewers want to learn more about them. Characters like Kazutora, Draken, Chifuyu, and Baji have distinct designs and thought-provoking arcs in the story. Consequently, they steal the show from Takemichi every single time in Tokyo Revengers.

8 Tohru Is A Great Protagonist, But Fruits Basket Needs Its Ensemble Cast To Function

Tohru Honda is one of Shojo’s most lovable protagonists. She’s no doubt one of the defining aspects of Fruit Basket. However, the show wouldn’t function if it all revolved around her. At its core, the series is about Tohru helping the Zodiac members overcome their generational trauma and break the curse.

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By extension, the side characters help her overcome her own issues. Tohru’s ability to get along with all types of people and see the good in them is a crucial aspect of the series. She can get along with everyone, from the bubbly, energetic Momiji to the mysterious but volatile family head, Akito.

7 Neither Of Sword Art Online’s Protagonists Can Compare To The Series’ Side Characters

Kirito and Asuna both fade into the background throughout Sword Art Online. Even though they’re the protagonists, they’re not the series’ most intriguing characters. Unlike other great isekai leads, the duo just didn’t impress the audience. Characters like Seijurou, Kuradeel, Alice, and even Klein continually steal the spotlight from the series’ leads.

They have interesting back stories and fascinating aesthetics. Most importantly, they have intriguing character arcs and developed significantly throughout the series. Unlike the protagonists, their growth never felt contrived. Therefore, the audience grew to favor them instead of the leads.

6 My Hero Academia’s Cast Deepens The Series’ Immersive World-Building

The cast of My Hero Academia is extensive, colorful, and captivating. In every popularity poll, many of the series’ side characters beat the protagonist, Izuku. The hotheaded Katsuki Bakugo won fans’ hearts, as did the icy-hot Shoto Todoroki. Even villains like Tomura Shigaraki, Dabi, and the germaphobe Overhaul have dedicated fanbases.

Many characters have well-thought-out backstories that deepen the series’ immersive world-building. The villains represent and reveal hero society’s inherent flaws. UA High’s hero-hopefuls represent the unbreakable optimism of youth, proving that good almost always triumphs over evil.

5 Assassination Classroom’s Side Characters Drive The Story

Though Nagisa is a pretty cool protagonist, there’s no denying that many of Assassination Classrooms side characters are the best part of the show. From the cunning and manipulative Karma Akabane to the lovable yellow octopus Koro-sensei, there’s no shortage of entertaining characters in this ensemble cast.

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Class 3-E is full of lovable personalities that the audience instantly latches on to. They all have important bonds with each other and with their eccentric teacher. Nagisa is just as important to the plot, but he’s not the series’ focal point.

4 Re:Zero’s Side Characters Compensate For Natsuki’s Bland Personality

People who haven’t watched Re:Zero have probably heard of Rem, but they likely have no idea who Natsuki is. Even dedicated fans of the series tend to forget Natsuki, even though he’s the protagonist.

He has a bland personality and is often sidelined in favor of the side characters. Luckily, they compensate for his lack of individual charm. Rem, in particular, is one of anime’s most popular characters. She doesn’t have much physical strength but makes up for it with her willpower and strong personality.

3 The Rental Girlfriends Outshine The Protagonist In Rent-A-Girlfriend

Kazuya from Rent-A-Girlfriend is one of shonen anime’s most disliked protagonists. Viewers can’t root for a guy who constantly complains and doesn’t do anything to make himself less of a pushover. Luckily, the rental girlfriends are a bright spot in the series. Fans love them all, but picking favorites is inevitable.

Chizuru is a strong-willed girl who works as a rental girlfriend to make ends meet while practicing her acting skills. Ruka’s blunt honesty and unabashed determination to go after what she wants is entertaining. Even Kazuya’s ex-girlfriend, Mami, has plenty of likable qualities that don’t quite make her the villain she’s supposed to be.

2 Boruto’s Side Characters Make The Series Entertaining

The titular protagonist of boruto just doesn’t live up to his father’s hype. Luckily, the series’ supporting characters make watching it worthwhile. Characters like the impressively strong Shinki and the lazy but brilliant Shikadai are entertaining callbacks to the original series, making fans equally entertained and nostalgic.

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Plus, reappearances from OG characters like Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto himself help compensate for Boruto’s lack of presence in his own series. Even the series’ worst side characters like Kabuto and Denki have more likable personalities than Boruto.

1 A Few Bungo Stray Dogs Side Characters Have Become Iconic

Atsushi is a great protagonist in Bungo Stray Dogs, but a few of the side characters outshined him. Dazai Osamu, in particular, won fans’ hearts with his constant antics and intriguing backstory. Even if someone hasn’t watched Bungo Stray Dogsthey can recognize Dazai by his perpetual grin, iconic trench coat, and signature bandages.

He isn’t the only iconic character from the series, either. Kunikida Doppo and Chuuya Nakahara are equally as popular. Kyoka is a Port Mafia escapee with a lovable personality and terrifyingly overpowered ability. Even Akutagawa has a massive fanbase thanks to his cool goth aesthetic and overpowered ability, the Rashomon.

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