10 anime heroes who find it hard to believe in themselves

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Self-esteem is a crucial trait that enables people to become the best versions of themselves. Those who suffer from a poor self-image have a harder time proving themselves, and it’s no different with anime characters. An anime character with little self-confidence is cause for celebration, however, as it allows them to grow as characters.

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In fact, there are plenty of cowardly, self-doubting anime characters that have gotten amazing arcs. There are a multitude of reasons why an anime character can have a bad self-image, but most of them manage to overcome their doubts and emerge as stronger characters on the other side.


ten Usopp’s cowardice fuels his insecurity (One Piece)


Usopp being a coward

As the biggest coward of the Straw Hats, Usopp doesn’t seem to have a shred of self-respect in A play. He is the first of the Straw Hats to try to avoid confrontation, and he relies on lies to find his way through life.

Usopp’s insecurities lead him to pointlessly boast in order to improve his image in the eyes of others, potentially in an effort to strengthen his own sense of self. But he’s still one of the weaker members of Luffy’s crew, even though he has evolved a bit during the time jump.

9 Hinata grew to recognize that her sweetness was lacking (Naruto)


A young Hinata hides behind a tree in Naruto

When her father realized that she did not have the strength to act as the leader of the Hyuga clan, Hinata was disinherited from her family by Naruto. This event eroded Hinata’s self-confidence and led to a growing sense of insufficiency and shyness, despite one of the strongest bloodline limitations in her village.

Fortunately, Hinata found inspiration in Naruto, whose fiery determination made Hinata feel that she could grow strong too. By the time she is an adult, Hinata finds it much easier to believe in her own strength.

8 Daisuke lets the darkness affect his confidence (DNAngel)


black mouse and daisuke niwa from dnangel

Originally released in 1997, Yukiru Sugisaki’s film DNAngel the manga finally ended in 2021 after a long hiatus. Daisuke Niwa is DNAngel‘s protagonist and he’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to confidence.

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On the one hand, he is a skillful thief with above average athletic skills and intelligence. But when he compares himself to his alter ego, Dark Mousy, Daisuke finds it hard to believe in his own skills. Every now and then, he attributes his own talents to the legendary Phantom Thief within him, even though Dark is not the source.

7 Simon doubted himself despite his talents (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)


Ferocious Gurren Lagann Simon

As a child, Simon was incredibly unsure of his own talents in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Even though Simon showed talent for both digging and fighting, he still clung to Kamina as a source of confidence and inspiration.

But it ended once Kamina met her unfortunate fate, leaving Simon to learn to assert himself when he barely knew where to start. Fortunately, Simon is able to pull himself out of his depression, emerging as a transformed self that embodies the best qualities of Kamina and himself.

6 Confidence is the main thing that holds Gohan (Dragon Ball Z) back


It’s kind of weird that Goku’s oldest son is the one least like him in Dragon ball z. Rather than a fiery Saiyan fighter, Gohan tends to be hesitant and peaceful, away from his father’s battle-obsessed personality.

But what’s most important about Gohan is that he has unlimited potential to become as strong as he wants. Even though Gohan knows it, he nonetheless retains a sense of reluctance and humility which can be an awkward obstacle in difficult times.

5 Deku struggles with self-esteem but still does his best (My Hero Academia)


Since Izuku “Deku” Midoriya was born Quirkless in My hero university, he struggled with his self-image and his self-confidence. After all, 80% of the people in the world My hero university were born with an Quirk, so it’s inevitable that Midoriya internalizes what he’s missing as a suggestion that something is wrong with him.

But Midoriya’s enduring dream of being a professional hero has helped him consolidate his weaknesses by improving his strengths. And now that he’s inherited One For All from his own hero, All Might, it’s only a matter of time before Midoriya regains his confidence.

4 Shinji’s cowardice is meant to be relatable (Neon Genesis Evangelion)


Shinji Ikari instrumentality

As the protagonist, Shinji Ikari is quite disappointing in Neon Genesis Evangelion. He’s a slacker and coward who spends most of his time in abysmal depths of self-loathing and fear. But that’s the point of Shinji’s character; the audience is supposed to relate to their situation.

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Coming from a neglected childhood is enough to ruin anyone’s self-confidence, and Shinji is no stranger to neglect. His mother is dead and his father only cares about him as long as Shinji is useful, so it’s no wonder that Shinji often doubts himself.

3 Joe Subjects To Excessive Stress (Digimon Adventure 1999)


the years 1999 Digimon Adventure teleports his cast to a dangerous world that literally seeks to kill them, and Joe Kido is the oldest child at just 12 years old. Since he’s the oldest, Joe puts a lot of pressure on himself on the show to be exemplary and reliable, and those traits stay with him as he ages. Joe’s sense of responsibility leads him to frequently question his own skills and usefulness, even though his Digimon partner, Gomamon, is more supportive of him.

2 The strongest magical girl ironically doubted herself (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)


Madoka smiling and portrayed as the ultimate Madoka in the anime Madoka Magica

In other timelines, Madoka Kaname was the most confident member of the magical girl group she led. Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But after the countless resets of Homura Akemi’s timeline, Madoka’s confidence shrank until she was just a shadow of herself.

The current Madoka Kaname struggles to understand how important or useful she is to anyone in her life, and part of the series is about Madoka realizing her own strength. As the strongest magical girl of all time, she is able to make the greatest wish: free all the magical girls from fate to become witches.

1 Zenitsu has no confidence in his own skills or strength (Demon Slayer)


Zenitsu is losing his temper (again)

Tanjiro’s team’s most cowardly ally in Demon slayer is undoubtedly Zenitsu Agatsuma. Despite being trained by a highly skilled demon slayer who was once a Hashira, Zenitsu still doubts his abilities. His doubt is so great that he can only unleash his full potential when he is unconscious.

Fans know that once Zenitsu passes out in fear, they are about to see an awe-inspiring spectacle of Zenitsu’s hidden prowess. It remains to be seen in the anime, but Zenitsu eventually realizes his potential and becomes a little more confident.

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