Top 5 Tragic Protagonist in Anime

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written anything about anime on this blog, and here I am again to share some thoughts. As you can read from the title, today’s blog will be talking about some of the most “tragic” protagonist in anime. Before I start, I really want to clarify the definition of tragic here, so that you don’t misunderstand the criteria.

1. Only applies to protagonist, the person with the most role in the story and drives the story, because it would be a super long (and with not as much impact) list otherwise.

2. Only applies to TV animated series.

3. The tragedy being talked about here is how much the protagonist have to suffer in the end, against whatever kind of consolation, salvation they may have received, in a dramatically sense. A character death doesn’t have to be tragic. To live but deprived of all things one love and having all one’s values denied is quite tragic!

4. Spoilers, obviously. Spoilers everywhere. If you haven’t seen the title, just skip to the next one.

#5 Simon, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Due to the peculiar nature of TTGL, mixed with crazy galactic battles and whatnot, the quite sad conclusion to the series is often not as talked about among fans. Still, if you think about it, the ending left our protagonist, Simon, at quite a deprived state. He lost his rank (as the leading figure of humanity), his reputation (his name is completed erased from history), most of his comrades, and most importantly, his love of life, Nia, and becomes just another homeless man. Fortunately, it seems that he haven’t lost his passion in life, and still try to inspire the next generation to walk his glorious path in life. This is why he only made number 5 in this list.

#4 Ouma Shu, Guilty Crown

Guilty Crown is what inspired me to write this post. More specifically, my recent play through for the visual novel Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas is what reminded me of the tragic conclusion in guilty crown, at least for Ouma Shu. I remember that in 2012, Ouma is a character who is often criticized by fans for his cowardness and unwillingness to act. I won’t be commenting on this here, but enough to say that at the conclusion of Guilty Crown, you don’t want to be this guy’s shoes. Seriously. Perhaps he was too gifted by fate and coincidences at the start, so that his fall is even more spectacular. He lost his king’s power (least of his concern), his whole family again (I think that mana is revived and killed again?), one arm and one eye, and most importantly (again), his erratic partner in battle and love, Inori Yuzuriha. His whole ordeal is quite similar to Simon’s, to be honest. His only salvation in the end is his connection with his friends in class, which doesn’t say much since he was never the outgoing person.

#3 Zwei, Phantom: Requiem of the Phantom

It’s harder to talk about this since the anime concludes in an open ending. However, it’s easy to see how fucked up this guy is by the end. This guy is forced to do many things that ultimately destroyed him. He rejected/abandoned a girl who loved him (and whom he has feelings for), killed his own student, who loved him (and whom he has feelings for), and finally, died together with his teacher and lover, not able to escape the curse of being an assassin. He didn’t rank any higher in the list because there is a sense that he himself submitted to his fate, and the two of them died on their own terms, sort of.

#2 Kiritsugu Emiya, Fate/Zero

Since F/Z is a very popular anime, I doubt I need to say much to convince you that this guy here indeed suffered a tragic life. Long story short, this guy believed in the principal of sacrificing the minority to achieve the greater good. He did exactly that in holy grail war, and betrayed many people for his selfless goal for the greater good. He was one step away from victory, but ended up losing everything. His lover/servant died, his wife died. Saber was returned to heroic realm with much remorse, and he failed to stop the holy grail war, instead bringing a calamity upon the world. Worst of all, he survived, by himself… and his enemies of course.

The only reason this guy didn’t make it to number one is that he was saved by his adopted son, Shirou Emiya, who is the only person he saved from the disaster. It’s ironic that the act of saving just one person was able to comfort his soul, and bring him salvation. However, it is clearly not enough to redeem himself of the regrets that will haunt him forever.

#1 Kyousuke Kousaka, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai

Suprised? Well, this is certainly not a troll, if that’s what you are thinking. Calm down, and disregard the fact that this series is supposed to be a comedy harem for a second.

Good? Ok, let’s talk about this.

As a completely average person with no super power nor super rich family background, it is quite unlikely to get into a situation where multiple girls (not to mention “high in beauty points”) holds affection for you at the same time. Suppose this happens, what would you do? A typical anime harem lead would go for the harem route, while a normal person would try to get together with the girl who is most compatible with him (and in real life, the girl who has the most beauty points, lol). Of course, compatibility depends on the person. In this case, a family oriented person would go for Ayase, an otaku would go for Kuroneko, pedophiles would go for Kanako, a safe person would go for the childhood friend……

and if you are really a hopeless siscon, you would go for Kirino.

Except that, it wouldn’t end pretty. In galgame term, it would be a BAD END.

It takes gut to abandon everything to make the person you love happy. It takes even more gut to reject your entire harem just for a moment of fleeting happiness in a marriage ceremony with your sister. Whether you sympathize with Kyousuke, he is undoubtedly deprived of everything at the conclusion of the story. He knew that he will never get another chance to have so many high-quality girls liking him, knowing that, he still chose his sister, spending a few days together before separating again, at the cost of losing most of his friends (admirers).

Whether you like or dislike the ending for Oreimo, it is painfully apparent that his choices ultimately led him to a BAD END with no chance of redemption.


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