When used to a story’s hero, the phrase “overpowered” or “OP” quickly gains negative connotations. It seems pointless to go into the past of someone who has reached the pinnacle of their profession, right? Thankfully, stories with OP protagonists can still succeed in anime because of absurd antics or overpowering threats that any viewer will want to see triumph against.
Anime featuring overpowered main characters may not be for everyone, but their debut episodes can be compelling enough to hook even the most jaded viewer. And fortunately for admirers of the medium, there have been excellent anime with OP MCs long before the release of major titles.
How Not To Summon A Demon Lord
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord has one of the craziest premise ideas for an isekai anime, with hikikomori gamer Takuma Sakamoto becoming the object of a summon by ladies Rem and Shera who want to manage their own demon lord.
But in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game “Cross Reverie,” where Rem and Shera live, Takuma plays the role of the evil Demon Lord Diablo. When the girls’ spell to control Takuma fails, the tables are turned and the girls find themselves under Takuma’s authority.
With his social anxiety at an all-time high, Takuma channels his inner Diablo and offers to assist the two females free themselves from their restrictive collars.
How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is unique among isekai anime in that its protagonist, Takuma, is almost obsessed with the MMORPG from the get-go. Throughout the narrative, Takuma is shown to be able to use the game’s statistics and his own knowledge of the game’s lore to easily circumvent most of the game’s difficulties.
Despite his social nervousness and his desire to help Rem and Shera on a more personal level, Takuma rarely resorts to physical force.
Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious
Cautious Hero Seiya Ryuuguuin, whose hero Takuma is similarly overpowered, counters this by being, well, too cautious. Like the protagonists of earlier isekai tales, Ristarte summons Seiya to help her protect the world of Gaeabrande from the wicked Devil Lord. Even though Seiya is more powerful than any heroes Ristarte has faced, his extreme caution is what ultimately frustrates her.
Seiya’s overpowering nature is shown not by his ability to casually shrug off most obstacles, as is typical of an isekai protagonist, but by his deliberate tendency to overprepare for most scenarios.
The fact that Seiya is shown to be extremely powerful and capable of dealing with any challenge she faces is not helpful. In the end, the story of Cautious Hero demonstrates that the true mark of an overpowered hero may not be the extent to which he or she displays incredible power, but rather the extent to which he or she is prepared to resolve the most intense conflicts with the barest minimum of effort.
Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy
Makoto Misumi, a resident of Tokyo, would have been left for dead in the Wasteland after being abandoned by the Goddess who was supposed to escort him to the Goddess’ World, if not for Tsukuyomi, the Goddess of the Moon.
Makoto, now one of the most potent beings in the Goddess’ World, sets out there with her blessing. Makoto’s respect for life and his own humanity lead to him rarely using his abilities outside of self-defense or assisting his allies.
Makoto and his comrades start off Tsukimichi with the knowledge that he has tremendous magical potential, setting him apart from previous overpowering protagonists in isekai stories. Makoto’s equipment almost always ends up becoming carriers of his magical energy due to his excessive mana supply, necessitating him to continually wear mana-dampening rings.
As it turns out, Makoto’s abilities were granted godlike status by Tsukuyomi herself. In addition to his spellcasting talents, Makoto can also heal others, communicate with animals, enhance his own abilities, and even will things into existence.
The Misfit Of Demon King Academy
During the Magical Age, when Anos Voldigoad enrolled in the Demon King Academy, he quickly earned a reputation as an outcast due to his shenanigans. The protagonist of The Misfit of Demon King Academy, however, spends the whole novel trying to conceal the fact that he is the reincarnation of Anos, the Demon King of Tyranny.
Anos’s motivation to reassert his authority in his resurrected form stems from the fact that he has seen a decline in the power of his progeny. This worked out well for Anos since he is consistently shown to be more powerful than his classmates who employ source-based magic in The Misfit of Demon King Academy.
Since Anos is the wielder of the Source of Destruction, his magic increases in strength the closer he gets to death, allowing him to overcome the normal restrictions of his frail body.
Along with his extraordinary magical abilities, he also possesses superhuman physical abilities that put other characters to shame, such as the ability to casually travel faster than the speed of light and the strength to hold a castle and spin it with one hand.
In Charlotte’s world, a fictitious comet with the same name hits Earth once every 75 years, leaving dust that gives some preteens their superpowers when they reach puberty. Yuu Otosaka’s temporary body control talent is revealed by Nao Tomoro, a user of invisibility, and he is subsequently coerced into enrolling in Hoshinoumi Academy and becoming a member of the Student Council along with other individuals with similar abilities.
Though Yuu’s body-swapping antics take up a large portion of Charlotte, the plot takes a more serious turn when Yuu finds that his powers’ actual purpose is not to control the bodies of others but rather to steal their skills.
At some point in the anime, Yuu abandons his memories and sense of self in order to steal the powers of every power user on Earth. No one knows the full extent or nature of Yuu’s powers, but the fact that he could travel through time even before his power-grabbing rampage cements him as one of the most formidable protagonists in anime history.
It’s one thing for someone to become so powerful that they get to save the world, and quite another for them to become so powerful that they’re dreaded for actually destroying it. In Trigun’s future, Vash the Stampede wanders the desert planet of No Man’s Land in search of peace, but he is constantly pursued by people who only want to murder him.
This is due to his reputation as the “Humanoid Typhoon,” earned after he used his extensive supernatural powers to level an entire city.
Two insurance agents tail Vash of Trigun, who has a $60 billion bounty on his head, and eventually come to the conclusion that the destruction in his wake isn’t caused by Vash himself but by those who are after the bounty. Vash has exceptional physical traits and is proficient with weaponry, which he can use to his advantage when he is properly angered.
The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.
In anime, the hero with the most power is usually the one who has to save the world. In contrast, powerful psychic Kusuo Saiki just wants a normal life in The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K. Kusuo Saiki’s ability to keep his skills hidden is put to the test in The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K by putting him in a number of awkward circumstances at school.
The result is an anime that celebrates an abundance of antics. Saiki is frequently harassed by students who want or need something from him, and he is usually so befuddled that he wishes he could just utilize his powers to get away from them.
Hellsing is widely recognized as one of the most excessively powerful anime in existence. Alucard, the “original” vampire, pledged his allegiance to the Hellsing family after suffering defeat at the hands of Abraham Van Helsing in Hellsing, an alternate-history series starring vampires. So the Royal Order of Protestant Knights hires Alucard to go after vampires all around the globe.
Well, the point is, Hellsing isn’t exactly the most “calm” person around. The Millennium is a gang of Nazi holdouts who wish to form a battalion of vampires to restore Nazi Germany; Alucard and the Knights use Alucard’s bloodlust and love of violence to hunt them down.
So I’m A Spider, So What?
A spider has to be one of the most unusual super-powered protagonists in anime history. Okay, I Guess I’m A Spider; So What? attempts to demonstrate this through a unique spin on the isekai style. The plot of the anime revolves around a powerful spell that “misfires,” travels through time and space, and accidentally wipes out an entire school during a climactic battle between a Hero and a Demon Lord.
Unfortunately for high school student Shiraori, she ends up reborn as a spider in a dungeon, while the rest of the deceased goes on to enjoy happier lives. The inmates of the dungeon have a social hierarchy that makes her an easy target, but not on her watch. Throughout the series, she gradually develops into an enormously strong entity, with disastrous results.
Vampires are nothing new to anime, but Noblesse flips the concept on its head by focusing on the most powerful vampire in the world. In Noblesse, Frankenstein (that one) helps the vampire aristocratic Cadis Etrama Di Raizel acclimatize to modern life after 820 years of hibernation.
Strange supernatural occurrences in his South Korean neighborhood preceded Raizel’s awakening, prompting him to quickly put an end to them with a smell of his palms and some blood magic here and there.
However, Raizel is a Noblesse, a being so powerful that he goes beyond the realm of vampires. Fans may worry that Raizel’s “Superman-like OP” stories aren’t always going to be the case as threats soon grow so overpowering that hidden vampires start showing up.
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