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I’ve met my fair share of anime fans that like to jerk it to an overpowered main character, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Anime is fantasy, and if you can relate to a main character that can crush worlds beneath their heel, then good on you. However, sometimes a main character struggling among their strong peers is pretty good too. Nothing says relatable like watching a character that is basically just a normal, flawed person get mixed up in something big.
Although played for comedy that even in his isekai life he still sucks, Kazuma is truly the weakest of all his peers. His adventuring party are all difficult to work with, but they do have skills that make them incredibly powerful. Kazuma, despite having the superpower of being a functioning human, does not have any particularly powerful skills.
The entire set up for Grimgar is that all the seemingly strong and friendly people all broke off to form adventuring parties. What remained was all the people that were not picked, so they made their own party. While not played for comedy like Konosuba, Grimgar is filled with their struggles.
While Touma has his moments, Touma’s power in this world of magic and science is that he can cancel out other powers. Good for not dying horribly, but less good for having an offense in battle. Still, it is less about the power and more about how creatively you use it.
Like in many harem series, the actual main character of Sekirei, Minato, is not actually good at anything. He simply possesses the necessary gene to activate a Sekirei’s power. Even when it comes to reigning in his battle partners, he is not particularly adept.
Re:Zero, thanks to Subaru’s ability to return to a point in time after his death, is very much about failing and repeatedly trying again. Subaru is not great at combat, nor is he particularly clever. He often simply throws himself at an issue, dies, and then tries it again. It does have the distinct downside of filling him up with repeat trauma, though.
While a legendary ecchi series, High School DxD is notable for something other than its oppai. It is one of the few ecchi series to acknowledge, and have the character acknowledge, how useless they really are. When you are just a human fighting with devils against angels, there isn’t much you can do. He does find ways he can support his stronger gaggle of girls, and does eventually grow in power.
Typically the protagonist in survival game anime series are either talented or earnestly charming. It is how they succeed and get people to help them. Yukiteru is neither. He is actually kind of a huge wuss for almost the entire series. Indecisive and unwilling to fight, he’s lucky that he has a literal psychopath to defend him.
What happens when you put the eye powers of a true god into a boy who can barely comprehend them? Not good things. While Leonardo has the All-Seeing Eye of the Gods, he can’t really use it very effectively. It is capable of predicting the future, reading minds, controlling the eyes of others, and creating hallucinations, but most of the time when Leonardo uses the power, he uses it unsuccessfully.
One of the major jokes in the sea of jokes that is When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace is that the main character is a chunibyou, but his power, while very edgelord-ish, truly sucks for any applicable purpose. The girls in his club all have wildly useful powers, but not him. He does succeed in being able to cheer up and motivate his peers, though.
Despite every inch of attitude being of shounen protagonist level, Mikumo’s combat skills are the one thing that fail him. He is out-shined by members of even his own squad and often pretty ineffectual in battle. He does make up for it later by being pretty decent at strategy.
The entirety of Rosario+Vampire’s plot is that a normal human boy is enrolled in a high school full of supernatural beings. While incredibly vulnerable at first, he forms himself a monster harem of girls that protect him.
It takes a bit of watching the series to understand why, but this isn’t a fun school life series filled with normal kids just messing around. I guess when the main character starts the series saying he doesn’t believe in aliens, time travelers, and espers, that immediately means he must be surrounded by them.
She is the titular character, and while it is pretty difficult to be “underpowered” in a slice of life comedy series, she found a way. Kobayashi is a pretty great office lady, but there is just no denying how underpowered she is compared to the dragons that have infested her life.
When not delivering oxygen around the body, the Red Blood Cell, the main character of Cells at Work, is pretty useless. She is, however, what we call a framing device, albeit a cute and endearing one. She is the lens through which we watch all the other interesting things happen.
Do you have more anime series where the main character is actually the underpowered one? Let fans know in the comments section below.