10 Anime Characters Who Didn't Reach Their Heights (2023)

Rock Lee

Similar to the injustices in real life, anime can also present situations that feel profoundly unfair. Whether it's a beloved character with a captivating personality who ends up being marginalized, or an individual possessing extraordinary powers that meet an untimely demise, the frustration is universal when potential goes unrealized.

In this exploration, we delve into the realm of anime to uncover instances where characters possessed immense promise, only to be cast aside thoughtlessly by their creators.

10. Rosalia

Sword Art Online


While certain fans might find her distinctive "dress sense" to be a standout feature, it appears that this attribute might be among the few commendable aspects of Rosalia's character.

However, even this unique style doesn't necessarily translate to overall benefit for her. During her significant confrontation with Kirito, Rosalia's self-absorption plays a detrimental role as he swiftly overpowers her with minimal effort. This outcome compels her to beseech Kirito to accept her into his party, a request he rightfully declines given her previous attempt to take his life. Consequently, Rosalia not only ends up appearing as a somewhat pitiable figure, but her presence in the narrative prompts one to ponder: "What purpose did her inclusion in the show truly serve?"

9. Yasutora Sado (Chad)


Yasutora Sado (Chad)

Appearing from the second episode of this expansive anime, this individual stands as one of Ichigo Kurosaki's closest companions. Undoubtedly, Chad possesses a formidable level of power that places him on the higher echelons.

However, Chad's recognition largely hinges on... well, he's best known for... It's a bit challenging to pinpoint, isn't it? He appears to occupy a space without much tangible impact; his contributions are subdued, his words sparse.

Participating in several battles and flashbacks, Chad's record reveals an instance of substantial hype preceding his only major fight, which regrettably culminated in defeat.

The question that arises is: Why was Chad granted such limited prominence? Unlike Orihime, who was eventually endowed with a role of significance, Chad's presence fell somewhat short of expectations, considering the apparent magnitude of his role within the overarching narrative.

8. Gates Capa

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Gates Capa

Upon Gates Capa's introduction in Mobile Suit Zeta, a plethora of distinct and intriguing aspects characterized his persona. Remarkably, however, the majority of these attributes either remained unexplored or were summarily overlooked within the narrative's progression.

One of these noteworthy facets involved his status as a male Cyber-Newtype, a distinction that held potential for narrative exploration. Additionally, his unique position as a Cyber-Newtype who managed to retain a semblance of sanity due to hypnotic conditioning offered a distinctive angle to his character.

Yet, despite the promise and intrigue surrounding Gates Capa, the actual trajectory of his presence proved rather anticlimactic. In the anime adaptation, his storyline concludes abruptly with an unexpected demise, devoid of adequate foreshadowing or justification. Conversely, the manga adaptation takes a possibly even grimmer turn, thrusting him into a sudden descent into madness, culminating in a tragic demise shared with his partner.

Consequently, the ultimate question emerges: What purpose did his character serve within the overarching narrative? Regrettably, the answer appears to be quite minimal, with Gates Capa's existence failing to find substantial meaning or significance within the story's framework.

7. Elizabeth Liones

Seven Deadly Sins

Elizabeth Liones

Opinions diverge significantly when it comes to this particular entry – some perceive it as contentious, while others might argue that I'm exercising leniency in addressing how this character was mishandled in the show.

Strangely enough, Elizabeth seems to attract a noteworthy amount of animosity for reasons that aren't always clear to me. While I may not grasp the full extent of the negative sentiment she receives, I can undoubtedly identify why her portrayal left a sense of untapped potential.

Throughout much of the show's duration, Elizabeth's presence appears centered around objectification – a role that involves being groped, exposed, and used primarily as a visual spectacle, rather than a fully realized character with depth.

Regrettably, the abundance of possibilities for her character development often became overshadowed by the creators' preoccupation with showcasing her in a certain manner. In essence, the essence of this issue can be summarized in just two words: fan service.

6. Tonpetty

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure


In the realm of characters such as Tonpetty, it's often the initial anticipation that ultimately becomes the source of the ensuing disappointment.

Tonpetty emerged as a compelling character, embodying strength and sage-like guidance that strongly hinted at his potential pivotal role in aiding Jonathon Joestar to triumph over Dio. The expectation was practically set in stone – Tonpetty would undoubtedly contribute to Jonathon's victory and proceed to mentor him in preparation for future adversities.

However, reality took a different turn. Tonpetty's significance underwent a reduction to mere sidekick status as Jonathon confronted Dio, and subsequently, he abruptly "retired." This euphemistic term essentially implies that he vanished from both the narrative and discourse, leaving no trace of his presence.

In the wake of this, a rallying cry emerges – a call for justice for Tonpetty, whose potential and importance deserved a more substantial narrative exploration.

5. Paninya

Fullmetal Alchemist


Our roster for the "wasted potential" category is nearly finalized, and I must say, Paninya encompasses every point on the checklist with remarkable accuracy.

While certain characters might partially meet one or two criteria, Paninya achieves an unequivocal full sweep.

Firstly, she presents an intriguing backstory that holds much promise, yet remains insufficiently explored – a resounding check in the box.

Secondly, Paninya strikes a chord with fans, but regrettably, her character remains underdeveloped, leaving her to gradually fade into the background – another notable check.

And to conclude the trifecta, she experiences the epitome of vanishing acts – a disappearance that occurs abruptly, leaving no trace and offering no explanation. In fact, the vanishing act is so complete that it's virtually a triple checkaroo.

The utter lack of explanation or rationale is staggering – Paninya simply evaporates from the narrative canvas.

This reality is a lamentable one, for Paninya undoubtedly possessed something valuable to contribute to the show. However, instead of witnessing her potential unfold, she is abruptly written out of existence – an unfortunate testament to the harshness of life within the realm of the story.

4. Tarble

Dragon Ball Z


The Dragon Ball series seems to grapple with an ongoing issue of introducing obscure siblings, only to subsequently cast them aside into oblivion.

Initially, this slot could easily be occupied by Raditz – Goku's older brother who exists in relative obscurity throughout most of the show.

Yet, it's Vegeta's younger brother, Tarble, who emerges as a prime example of the writers' neglect.

Tarble's role in the narrative feels entirely circumstantial, merely a means to propel the story forward before he meanders aimlessly for a brief period and promptly disappears.

Remarkably, he doesn't even secure a place at the table during the culminating moments when every other character gathers to partake in a shared meal.

One might be inclined to sympathize with Tarble's fate, but the truth is, there wasn't even an opportunity to invest enough emotion in his character to evoke such sentiments.

3. Rock Lee


Rock Lee

The Naruto anime underwent a substantial power shift early on, courtesy of a significant timeskip that led to the relegation of numerous once-formidable characters.

Among those who bore the brunt of this shift, Rock Lee emerged as the most affected.

His character's evolution up to that point had been solid, marked by his journey from a ninja lacking distinct skills to someone who underwent specialized training – a transformation that viewers witnessed in considerable detail.

This allowed us to gain comprehensive insights into various facets of his character.

However, the advent of Shippuden marked a turning point, as Rock Lee's prominence plummeted drastically, reducing him to little more than a background figure despite the substantial investment in his development.

The outcome was a squandered opportunity to integrate what could have been a remarkable and impactful addition to the unfolding story.

2. Naomi Misora

Death Note

Naomi Misora

Naomi's predicament is indeed pitiable. Ironically, possessing intelligence can sometimes lead to the writer trapping the character in a narrative corner that can only be escaped through death.

In Naomi's case, her intellectual prowess appears to be her undoing. Her potential, if fully realized, could have shortened the show's length by nearly half – a scenario that wouldn't necessarily bode well for crafting a compelling narrative.

Consequently, once she unravels certain truths, her departure from the narrative is expedited, serving the purpose of showcasing Light Yagami's perceptiveness and omniscience. This outcome comes at the expense of her intrinsic value within the story's fabric.

In the realm of anime characters, it seems being astute might not be as advantageous as one would hope – a cautionary tale for the discerning viewer.

At least, this seems to be the case for anime characters who possess such traits.

1. Houtarou Oreki


Houtarou Oreki

Boasting remarkable intelligence and an aptitude for deducing intricacies that would confound most characters, Houtarou is unfortunately undercut by a pivotal flaw – his propensity for "energy conservation."

This notion, however positively couched, essentially translates to his pronounced inclination towards slothfulness.

Had he summoned motivation beyond the bare minimum, Houtarou could have effortlessly ascended to the ranks of the show's standout characters.

In fact, had the writer refrained from employing his indolence as a narrative crutch to ensure his peers didn't pale in comparison, Houtarou could have evolved into a more fully realized and authentic character overall.

Regrettably, the portrayal we were left with barely surpasses that of an apathetic teenager who remains steadfast in his indifference.

While this portrayal may align with realism, it lacks the compelling intrigue that would captivate audiences.

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