Attack on Titan

10 Anime Heroes Who Were Ruined By Being Redeemed

10 Anime Heroes Who Were Ruined By Being Redeemed
Written by publishing team

Redemption arcs are common in anime, but they have to be earned and well-written. The best redemptions give even the most dastardly characters a second chance, while the weakest ruin their reputation in-universe and with fans.

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These anime heroes, unfortunately, suffered after being redeemed. In some rare cases, this was deliberate on the creators’ parts. But more often than not, this rush to forgive supposedly complex anime heroes did more harm than good.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

10 Attack On Titan — Reiner Braun’s Brotherly Façade Was Demolished

When the 104th Training Corps was introduced, Reiner was shown to be the big brother figure that everyone looked up to. Unfortunately, in one of attack on titans most tragic twists, Reiner was only putting up a brotherly front because he was a Marley sleeper agent whose mission was to weaken the Eldians and capture the Founding Titan.

Torn between two loyalties, Reiner tried to redeem himself in the eyes of both his homeland of Marley and found family in Paradis but failed miserably. This isn’t a bad thing, as Reiner’s fall from grace turned him into one of the most compellingly tragic anti-heroes not just in the grim attack on titanbut in anime history.

9 Yu Gi Oh! Duel Monsters — Seto Kaiba Was Better As A Rival To Yami Yugi

Seto Calculates His Next Move In Yu Gi Oh Duel Monsters

Though he was introduced as Yami/Yugi Muto’s first major opponent, Seto wasn’t exactly a villain. Instead, he was Yami’s arrogant rival and the anti-hero of his own story. Seto was at his best when he was Yami’s myopic rival duelist, but the moment he was redeemed and even added to Yugi’s friend group, he lost his edge.

Where Yu Gi Oh! Duel Monsters’ villains had grand designs, Seto just wanted to beat Yami at a children’s card game. Seto dueling Yami to, for example, save his younger brother Mokuba made him just another generic villain with a sob story. In Seto’s case, the lack of sympathetic motivations would’ve made him a better character.

8 A Certain Scientific Accelerator — Accelerator Didn’t Need An Entire Redemption Series

Accelerator Holds On To Last Order In A Certain Magical Index

As the most powerful Level 5 Esper, Accelerator was one of the most feared antagonists of A Certain Magical Index and its spin-offs. Following his defeat, Accelerator became an anti-hero and wild card that the heroes barely trusted. This was the perfect fate for Accelerator, but it was undermined in his spin-off, A Certain Scientific Accelerator.

Here, Accelerator redeemed himself by watching over the youngest Misaka clone, Last Order. In brief, this was an edger version of Kamijou Touma’s tandem with Index. Worse, Accelerator’s status as a reforming but still brutal anti-hero was further watered down as he slowly became just another member of Touma’s group.

7 Goblin Slayer — Goblin Slayer Lost His Most Unique Asset

Archer Pesters The Goblin Slayer In Goblin Slayer

The selling point of Goblin Slayer was that the titular Goblin Slayer had little in the way of character beyond murdering goblins as violently as possible. Goblin Slayer made true of this in his anime debut, where he saved Priestess by massacring a cave full of goblins (including newly born ones) in the first episode.

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However, Goblin Slayer rediscovered his humanity the longer he stuck with Priestess. In fact, they even formed a party of adventurers. As a result, the anime became another fantasy series that just so happened to be gorier than usual, while Goblin Slayer himself became yet another anti-hero who was nice to his friends and brutal to his foes.

6 Dragon Ball Z — Vegeta Became A Punching Bag After Becoming AZ Fighter

Beerus Pushes Vegetas Buttons In Dragon Ball Super

When it comes to redemptions, no one can beat Vegeta’s in terms of legacy. Starting out as a ruthless Frieza Force minion before turning into Goku’s most determined rival, Vegeta turned his life around during Majin Buu’s rampage by sacrificing himself for others for the first time in his life. However, things went downhill for him after that.

Vegeta may be one of dragonball‘s most beloved and well-developed anti-heroes, but it’s hard to deny that his intimidation factor took a significant hit after joining the side of good. Every time he showed up for a fight, Vegeta lost to new villains like Beerus, Broly, or Hit to establish how powerful of a threat they were to their true opponent: Goku.

5 Overlord — Ainz Ooal Gown’s Humanity Clashed With His True Darkness

Ainz Looms Over His Subjects In Overlord

Those unfamiliar with Overlord‘s light novels may be surprised by how vile Ainz actually is. In the anime, Ainz is more of an anti-hero than a supervillain, though he’s willing to resort to violence when absolutely necessary. In the text, though, Ainz is a ruthless monster whose ambitions are only hindered by his incompetence.

What made Overlord‘s novels special was that they were explorations of an irredeemable villain protagonist. The anime, conversely, gave Ainz some redeeming qualities to make him more appealing. This backfired during later arcs, where Ainz’s evil couldn’t be hidden any longer – much to the horror of fans who thought he was an anti-hero.

4 Redo Of Healer — Keyaruga Didn’t Need A Humane Side

Keyaruga Makes His Move In Redo Of Healer

As an obvious power fantasy for a very specific audience, Keyaruga mostly fulfilled his job. Keyaruga was at his best when he was a merciless avatar of hatred and revenge, and he didn’t need to do anything else to give fans what they came to Redo Of Healer for. However, the anime erroneously tried to show that he wasn’t all that evil.

Believe it or not, Keyaruga had a nice side that only his harem and the kingdom’s underclass saw. Redo Of Healer unwisely painted Keyaruga as an anti-hero, squandering its edgy potential. Instead of the shamelessly indulgent evildoer he should’ve been, Keyaruga was demoted to a nominal hero who kept making pretentious excuses to do good.

3 The Promised Neverland — Norman Should’ve Committed To William Minerva’s Darkness

Norman Checks His Wounds In The Promised Neverland

When Norman reemerged in The Promised Neverland, he was no longer the idealistic boy that Norman and Ray grew up with. Having adopted the name of William Minerva, Norman was now the pragmatic leader of an extremist human faction that was determined to make the Demons pay for what they did to people.

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Norman’s descent could’ve been one of the anime’s darkest turning points, but, instead, it was a temporary roadblock that Norman backed out of as quickly as it was introduced. If the anime was quick to give Norman a redemption arc that barely lasted one episode, the manga had Emma fight tooth and nail to pull him from the darkness.

2 Mobile Suit Gundam AGE — Flit Asuno’s Redemption Was Too Easy

Yurin And Flit Reunite In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

A core theme of the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise is that no one – including the heroic Gundam pilots – is safe from the horrors and trauma of war. Gundam AGE hammered this point home in its deceptively kid-friendly opening arc, where a young Flit’s idealism was shattered when he saw his loved ones die in the middle of combat.

Flit became the final villain, but, at the last minute, he stopped the Earth Federation and Vagans from fighting and was rewarded for doing so. In redeeming Flit, Gundam AGE denied itself the chance to tell a truly poignant war story, where a typical anime protagonist’s heroism was just another side of the same bloodstained coin.

1 Naruto — Sasuke Uchiha Only Got A Slap On The Wrist For His Atrocities

Sasuke Leads The Akatsuki In Naruto Shippuden

To this day, Sasuke’s betrayal remains one of the most iconic acts of treachery seen in anime. Not only did Sasuke leave his best friend, Naruto, and his love interest, Sakura, for futile revenge, but he even became one of the deadliest terrorists in the ninja world. Despite helping the Akatsuki and leading them at one point, Sasuke was easily welcomed back.

Naruto never gave up on Sasuke and successfully pulled him back to the side of good after a grueling fight. While this is a great testament to the strength of their friendship, Sasuke’s questionably easy redemption and the anime’s refusal to commit to what could’ve been a legendary villainous turn robbed the story of a fittingly tragic overall antagonist.

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