History EnsembleDarkHorse / Anime

6th Jan '17 2:03:45 PM StFan
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Most anime are well-known for their LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, especially when they are LongRunners. Sometimes those characters weren't meant to be all that special, and sometimes, they can't even be considered part of the main cast. Whatever the case, they ended up fan favorites.

[[index]]
* EnsembleDarkhorse/{{Gundam}}
* EnsembleDarkhorse/{{Naruto}}
* EnsembleDarkhorse/DragonBall
[[/index]]

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:A-D]]
* ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'':
** LoveGoddess Peorth has quite a following.
** All of its antagonists are {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s, to a degree, because of how badass and/or sympathetic they are: [[TheRival Sayoko]], [[NobleDemon Mara]], and [[{{Satan}} Hild]]. Unfortunately, Hild has more or less displaced the other two as of late.
* Makoto of ''Anime/AKB0048''. She easily has the least amount of screentime of the main understudies, alongside Linda, yet she still manages to rank 3rd on the official popularity poll, behind the two mains. She's very popular among the western fanbase, as well.
* For reasons that can't really be explained to outsiders (in part because we don't even quite know), the ''Manga/{{Akira}}'' fandom has a good-sized faction of obsessive Kai fans. Despite the fact that he gets about five lines in the film, never becomes more than a minor character in the manga, and most of the more casual fans don't even seem to notice him at all.
* In ''Manga/AliceAcademy'', Kokoroyomi, with the Alice of {{telepathy}}, definitely qualifies.
* ''VideoGame/{{Amagami}} SS'' has Miya Tachibana, the sister of the protagonist himself. Fans on both sides of the continent love her more than the other characters themselves. [[spoiler: [[BrotherSisterIncest There are more squicky reasons as well.]]]]
* ''Anime/AngelBeats'':
** TK is a one-dimensional side-character with almost no dialog, but in a [[http://www.tulip-tv.co.jp/research/index.html?TID_DT03=20100409104230&NO_RESEARCH=0&TOP_RESEARCH_RESULT=68 popularity poll]] shortly after the start of the series he was one of the only two characters (the other being the {{Moe}} antagonist) who got hundreds of thousands of votes, while the main viewpoint characters got just a few hundred. Of course, what with speaking almost entirely in silly GratuitousEnglish {{CatchPhrase}}s and acting like a cross between an action hero and Music/MichaelJackson, he may be an intentional example.
** Though not so much as TK, [[{{Ninja}} Shiina]] seems very popular as well. Her AloofDarkHairedGirl qualities along with her obsession with cute things seemed to have earned her a lot of points with the fans.
* ''Manga/AngelSanctuary'' has in a cast of dozens (or even hundreds) at the very least one character who didn't live to the end (damn, he didn't live through the first arc) but when he was finally killed got a whole chapter dedicated to him and his awesomeness (even the side bar was all about how Kaori felt for him to die and the fans were worried about what would become of him afterwards so it was included in the last chapter's epilogue). Meh, talking about Katou Yue here, of course.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''
** [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Sasha Blouse]] quickly became this after her [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments potato scene]] and for her many comedic facial expressions. [[spoiler:Her going BadassNormal on a Titan in the ''Breach Arc'' with a bow and arrows only cemented her popularity.]]
** Levi's squadmates have gotten a lot of respect from fans, [[NiceGal Petra]] especially. [[spoiler:They all end up being killed off, however.]]
** Bertolt is pretty popular for someone with [[TheQuietOne not many lines]] and notably less screentime than the other trainees. Especially on certain imageboards, where he is hailed as some sort of {{moe}} [[MemeticMutation Memetic]] [[TheWoobie Woobie]] due to his sweating and his awkward and distressed facial expressions. [[spoiler: And then it turns out he's the Colossal Titan that kickstarted (no pun intended) the plot and thus one of the most relevant characters]].
** [[ExaggeratedTrope Exaggerated]] and PlayedForLaughs with the so-called "[[http://i.imgur.com/cfXLLFbl.jpg Kawaii Titan]]". People keep making it out to be a marvellous, beautiful, innocent creature that had its life horribly cut short by Mikasa in the Warehouse battle, despite the fact that it was responsible for killing Mina Carolina and came scarily close to killing Sasha as well.
** Speaking of, Mina as well. She's a simple MauveShirt with only about a page's worth of dialogue before she's munched by the Kawaii Titan during the squad's [[CurbStompBattle ill-fated First Battle of Trost]], but she's got a surprising amount of attention from the fandom.
** Hange, Levi's [[TheLancer Lancer]], is extremely popular among Western fans for being ''crazy''.
** Rico as well, [[spoiler:[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome especially after that time she gouged a Titan's eye out]]]].
** Marco gained a lot of respect [[spoiler:after his death in Trost]].
** [[ThoseTwoGuys Marlo and Hitch]], Annie's squadmates from her ADayInTheLimelight subplot seem to be pretty popular, being dubbed 'unicops' by the fandom. [[spoiler: [[TheBusCameBack Turns out they're not just one-off characters, either.]]]]
* The female characters from ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', despite having quite sporadic apparitions [[CastFullOfPrettyBoys in an almost all-male cast]] (some having considerably more screen time than others), have gained quite the following, such as Hungary (OtakuSurrogate and NinjaMaid), Belarus (whose over-the-top {{Yandere}} traits have been embraced by a fandom that would normally bash her for them), Ukraine (Belarus's older sister, a mix of ShrinkingViolet and {{Bokukko}} whose boyish beauty makes some female fans [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer wet, hot and bothered]]) and lately the {{Anime Chinese Girl}}s Vietnam and Taiwan. And that's not yet even getting to the Nyotalia versions of the characters...
** O, Canada. (No, he really doesn't appear with the Allies as much as fanfic might make you think.)
** In the LJ based fandom, Bulgaria (who briefly appared in two panels and a very recent anime episode, as a brunet boy who looks a bit like a shorthaired China) and Thailand (recently introduced East Asian male {{Meganekko}}) are starting to get this fame as well. HotBlooded [[EvilAlbino Prussia]] is already there, tho.
*** Prussia, especially War of Austrian Succession Prussia, shows up at incredibly high levels of representation at any event involving Hetalia cosplay.
** Scotland. He's appeared once as a reference to England's miserable childhood (not even in person mind you) but is still extremely popular with the western fandom.
** Let's not even go into the huge amounts of love towards the mochi with America's face that appeared once or twice in Himaruya's blog, known as [[FanNickname "Mochimerica" or "Ameri Blob"]]. It's so popular that the Japanese fanartists often use it as a CensorBox in their porny fanarts involving America.
** The Nordics are gaining more and more popularity lately, specially [[BoisterousBruiser Denmark]] and [[DeadpanSnarker Norway]].
** The Baltic Trio ended up with some element of this, particularly after the strips of Lithuania's scars, Latvia's Yandere potential and Estonia in Bloodbath 2010.
** And did you guys forget about Holland? Ever since he finally stopped being TheFaceless, the fandom has fallen all over him.
** "Herr Stick" and the Flying Mint Bunny, thanks to the dub.
*** Flying Mint Bunny became popular enough to get a plushified form.
** From [[FountainOfMemes epic]] [[Memes/HetaliaBloodbath2010 2010 Christmas Bloodbath]], England's secretary [[FanNickname Workbitch Bartholomew]], [[SexySecretary who's really quite]] [[MrFanservice good looking.]]
*** Also thanks to the Bloodbath, Iceland's started getting quite a lot of attention from fans for his unique combination of suaveness, awkward {{moe}} cuteness, and {{Bishounen}} appearance.
** It's a safe bet that as of 2012, a good chunk of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters massive cast]] have become this. And it's pretty clear that Himaruya is also aware of this as well.
* ''LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts'' has Hideyoshi Kinoshita himself. [[DudeLooksLikeALady There's]] [[StupidSexyFlanders a]] [[ViewerGenderConfusion reason]] [[AttractiveBentGender why]] [[UnsettlingGenderReveal he's]] [[EvenTheGuysWantHim popular.]] Heck, on one of the polls, he's ranked '''THE MOST''' popular LightNovel character, beating out [[LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}} Araragi]], [[LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex Touma]], and [[LightNovel/SeitokaiNoIchizon Ken]].
** Just like Taniguchi and Misao, Hideyoshi also got his own solo ImageSong after the series. All three series were produced under Lantis, so this may be the case for any future Ensemble Darkhorses from a series they sponsor.
* In ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'', [[TheSlacker Hiramaru]], a side character who does not interact with or impact the main characters much, reached third in the popularity polls, past Takagi and [[LoveInterest Azuki]], while [[TheRival Eiji Nizuma]] took first place, also surpassing Mashiro.
* ''Manga/BattleRoyale'' has Takako Chigusa. Her CrowningMomentOfAwesome was when she stopped [[MemeticMolester Kazuhi Niida]] from raping her by stomping his nuts. In the live action movie, it was taken up a level when she stabbed him in his junk. Probably why Creator/QuentinTarantino chose ChiakiKuriyama to play [[Film/KillBill Go Go Yubari]].
* [[NiceGuy Judeau]] from ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' has only a limited role yet he is one of the most popular characters of the series due to his "average joe" stance and his genuine kindness that stands out in comparison to the [[BlackAndGreyMorality often assholish main characters]].
** Other examples include Slan, the female Godhand that often elicits fetish, and Luca, the HookerWithAHeartOfGold of the Convictions Arc with PluckyGirl undertones, one of the few genuinely good characters of the series.
* ''Manga/BlackButler'':
** Undertaker was probably never supposed to be as popular as he is. His voice in the anime might have something to do with it.
** Also: Grell Sutcliff in her[[note]]Grell is male-to-female transgender according to WordOfGod[[/note]] shinigami form, hoo boy. She had maybe a chapter in the manga, and she got so popular that she became a recurring character in the anime.
** There's an in-universe example in one of the OVA. Some children are bored when they watch the play ''Hamlet'' but they all love a character in particular, a seaweed played by Ran Mao.
* Roberta from ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' easily qualifies. It's not hard to see why as the moment she shows up in [[WretchedHive Roanapur]] the body count skyrockets. This in a town where murder is only a crime if you haven't paid off the police chief or are interrupting his golf game.
** Sawyer The Cleaner is a [[ElegantGothicLolita goth]] body disposal expert with a throat scar, voice synthesizer and a [[ChainsawGood huge freaking chainsaw]]. She only appears in one arc in the anime but it's [[FreakyIsCool pretty obvious why]] she's become so popular with the fans.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Creator/TiteKubo has admitted the popularity of Gin, Hisagi and the Espada was unexpected and did cause him some problems: Gin was designed to be creepy but the character experienced DracoInLeatherPants to a degree the author hadn't anticipated; Hisagi was a bit-character with no character expansion, so the author felt the fans jumped the gun in attaching themselves to a character they knew nothing about; The Espada were supposed to be quickly killed off in Good vs. Evil battles, but the unexpected popularity of Ulquiorra, Grimmjow and Starrk led to ExecutiveMeddling that generated ArcFatigue.
* ''Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner'': Gosterro, in a LoveToHate kind of way. Let's see, in ''VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars'', [[spoiler:he's the TrueFinalBoss inside the [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Devil Gundam]]]], and gets his own theme called [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZVid_i-1Zw&list=PL4hlNrdSAMaTxDzIgY3DUHZVJqtQlWx-E&index=27 Heavy Blow]] for Super Robot Wars OE. Not bad for a low-level starter villain-turned-miniboss.n
* ''Manga/BlueExorcist:'' Renzou Shima for his SugarWiki/FunnyMoments and interesting character development starting after the Illuminati Arc. His brothers, Juuzou and Kinzou are pretty popular too.
** Amaimon, who even managed to out-rank Rin (you know, TheHero) in the popularity poll.
** Reiji Shiratori, and the demon that possessed him in the anime, Astaroth, have quite a bit of fanart despite being only a StarterVillain that hasn't appeared again after the first episode.
* ''Manga/BoboboboBobobo'': Pickles, a designated ButtMonkey one-off character, won a "which character would you like to see again" popularity poll in Japan, and was thus given an integral role in the final arc of the series.
** [[LadyOfWar Torpedo Girl]] herself was also on that list; she and her EvilCounterpart OVER are among the many darkhorses of the franchise.
** [[ButtMonkey Jelly Jiggler]] was originally going to be a one-off character (similar to Pickles), but fans clamored for him to appear more during the early days of the manga. Yoshio Sawai then made him a part of the main cast.
** Rice is extremely popular [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff in the western fandom]], despite only fighting two major battles in the entire series.
* Lucy of ''Manga/BungouStrayDogs'' is fairly popular for someone who's only had a few appearances of note.
** Chuuya could have easily fallen into obscurity, had he not been attached to fan favorite Dazai as a former partner. Due to his popularity, he's the only one to have a "true form" of his ability and he's one of the most featured characters in merchandise (alongside the more obvious picks Dazai, the protagonist Atsushi and first-introduced-antagonist Akutagawa).
* Shizuku from ''Anime/CandyBoy'' manages to nearly completely overshadow her [[{{Twincest}} lovey-dovey older sisters]], even though she has only been around for about three episodes.
* ''Anime/CasshernSins'' has Sophita, a one shot character who shows up on a surprising percentage of fanart.
* An old fan favorite from ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' is Kaori Kanzaki. She even got her own spin off novel.
** Also, thanks to the ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'' anime, Saten and Harumi are very popular too. Saten has even taken over Mikoto herself on sites like NicoNicoDouga.
** Due to her recent many appearances in the light novels and the anime [[spoiler: Itsuwa]] is rather popular also.
** Accelerator's got a pretty big fanbase due to how AxCrazy [[CrazyAwesome Awesome]] he is.
* Thanks to the SoBadItsGood, [[MemeticMutation meme-spawning]] nature of the show, ''Anime/ChargemanKen'' has many of these. The most notable case would be Hoshi - he only appeared in the 4th out of 65 episodes, and still has more fanart and time in [=MADs=] (Japanese [[WebAnimation/YouTubePoop YTPMV]]s) than the main character.
* Tomoyo Sakagami from ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}''. She is one of the main heroines (including Kyou, another cast darkhorse) that doesn't have a dedicated arc for her in the anime (unlike Fuko and Kotomi). And the result? A special episode set in an alternate universe where Tomoya ends up with ''her'' instead of [[FirstGirlWins Nagisa]]. And then there's the sequel to her VisualNovel route, ''Tomoyo After''...
** A second Tomoyo-centric manga named [[http://www.akibaos.com/img/2008/10/08/20081008b11s.jpg Clannad - Tomoyo Dearest]] just got released, and said to be taking around After Story, not some Tomoyo After re-interpretation...
** The same could be said for [[{{Tsundere}} Kyou]]. She's backed by her army of [[FanBoy rabid fanboys]].
*** Especially after that [[{{fanservice}} gym locker scene]]....
*** Note that Kyou also got her own [[{{Alternate Universe}} AU]] special where she ends up getting with Tomoya.
** The reasons why Tomoyo and Kyou don't have an arc in the anime is because their arc is romantic and completely conflicts with Nagisa's. It just wouldn't work even if you have Tomoya cheating on everyone since it would ruin everything, especially "After Story."
** [[VisualNovel/SchoolDays Besides, we all know what happens when a guy decides to boink all the girls...]]
* Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is one of the poster boys for the Ensemble Darkhorse. Initially little more than a racist minor villain, the soul-crushingly [[HumiliationConga humiliating]] way in which [[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] bests him turned him into both TheWoobie (or the ChewToy) and an IneffectualSympatheticVillain - with a fan-following big enough that the producers rewrote his entire storyline, [[spoiler:preemptively sparing him from an ignoble early death and bringing him back for the Season 1 finale as a CrazyAwesome cyborg, who then goes on to [[LevelGrinding level grind]] [[TookALevelInBadass in badass]], pulls a HeelFaceTurn and eventually gets one of the happiest endings.]] His first full appearance in the second season even seems to include a tip of the hat to the fans, as his last line of dialog seems to be directed more at the viewers than the person to whom he is speaking. This was picked up on by the English dub and he was voiced by fan favorite Creator/CrispinFreeman, who delivered that RealitySubtext line ''perfectly''.
** It may be hard to remember, but Ohgi was originally something of a fan favorite amongst the Black Knights, being a VoiceOfReason and his belief in Zero as lampshaded at the end of the Narita battle. This was all of course before he stage dived into scrappydom the following season after several rash decisions culminated in [[spoiler:[[EtTuBrute the betrayal]]]].
** One of the few Black Knights who have remained on the good side of the [[BrokenBase fickle fandom]] is Shinichiro Tamaki, Zero's #1 fanboy. Tamaki [[TheFool dodged either death or serious injury so many times]] that fans eventually warmed up to him [[spoiler: and were ready to mourn the guy when he faced ''Suzaku''. Once again, Tamaki's luck didn't run out and he lived to talk about it, so his fans rejoiced]].
** Mao as well, sensational [[OneSceneWonder three episode wonder]] that he is, with all those fanclubs he has scattered over popular websites. And the sheer amount of fanmade media of him. And the [[MemeticMutation memes]] associated with him. And his status as a BaseBreakingCharacter and a DracoInLeatherPants. And [[http://mao.lamperouge.net his own fanlisting]]. And [[http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mao=2 his appearance in URBAN DICTIONARY]]. And then there are all those {{fan girl}}s who still demand more of him, and at least one critic has compared him with Lelouch and found '''Lelouch''' wanting. In fact, one of his fans has now written a PerspectiveFlip version of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' with Mao as [[AscendedExtra the protagonist]], the aptly named Fanfic/CodeGeassMaoOfTheDeliverance.
** For being characters that serve little purpose other than to look cute and die quickly and unsympathetically after less than a minute's worth the screentime (or less than 5 seconds in the case of the former; see: {{mooks}}), the Valkyrie Squad and Monica have more fan art than many of the other female characters that are relative mainstays.
*** Part of this may be due to their minor but significant role in the novel: serving as Cornelia's squad-girls in combat, they're also used to provoke discussion with Cornelia, doing a great deal to flesh out Cornelia's nature. It may be because of being popular from this appearance that they were permitted to appear in the animation at all.
** Guilford has a decent fanbase, being one of the more down to Earth Britannians, and for [[FanPreferredCouple anyone who ships him and his charge, Cornelia]].
** Urabe, the first of the Four Holy Swords [[spoiler:to bite it in R2, for [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificing himself in order to buy Lelouch and the rest of the Black Knights in Babel Tower enough time to escape, and kill Viceroy Calares]]. That he proclaimed his belief in and willingness to sacrifice himself for Lelouch was not lost on the fans, particularly after most of the remaining Black Knights later [[EtTuBrute turned on Lelouch]] after being manipulated by [[ManipulativeBastard Schneizel]]]].
* Mad Pierrot of the twentieth episode of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' has no relevance to the over-all MythArc, appeared in all of one episode, and was never spoken of or mentioned again. Yet, outside of the main cast, he is easily one of the most popular characters in the series.
* ''Manga/CrayonShinChan'' has Happiness Bunny and Action Bastard.
* ''Anime/CrossAnge'' has [[{{Meido}} Momoka Oginome]]. No, not [[Anime/MawaruPenguindrum ''that'']] [[Anime/MawaruPenguindrum Momoka Oginome]]. We're talking about the inverse of the TeamNormal, who possesses UndyingLoyalty to her FallenPrincess and who can effectively resist the mind control of the BigBad, who has [[BrainwashedAndCrazy inflicted extreme]] FantasticRacism [[BrainwashedAndCrazy onto her kind.]] Even getting a CrowningMomentOfAwesome of killing the BigBad ([[DeathIsCheap at least for once]]) and surviving against him [[FunnyMoments with a frying pan]].
* Kanda of ''Manga/DGrayMan'' is so insanely popular that he's even managed to beat out Allen (a [[{{Bishonen}} gorgeous]], adorable man) in popularity polls on occasion. Once it was when the anime had him briefly PutOnABus, even.
** Despite receiving less attention as time goes on, [[BarrierWarrior Miranda's]] popularity has increased with each successive popularity poll, and by the fourth one she reached ''fifth'', surpassing the consistently popular [[{{Adorkable}} Krory]].
* Western fans of ''Manga/DailyLifeWithMonsterGirl'' have taken a liking to the unnamed, high-strung policeman (AKA "Bike Cop") who is a RecurringExtra at best. In fact, artists and fanfic writers have started developing '''his''' daily life with monster girls, specifically the ones from the most harmful or troublesome subspecies. [[http://imgur.com/a/f7qNW/layout/horizontal#0 Here are]] some examples.
* ''Manga/DailyLivesOfHighSchoolBoys'':
** The weirdest example on this page might be the fact that the supposed protagonist of the series is an Ensemble Darkhorse. Since Tadakuni is the GenericGuy with no backstory whatsoever, he gets OutOfFocus after the ''first volume'' (after episode 5 in the anime), to the point that he's missing for entire volumes. And since it's a SliceOfLife series without any plot, neither his absence nor presence has impact to the series at all. Despite his status, he's one of the most popular characters, even more popular than this two quirky best friends and co-stars, who never lost any screentime.
** Yassan the Literature Girl is very popular due to her hilarious and (failed) romantic relationship with Hidenori.
** Toshiyuki Karasawa and Habara are also very popular thanks to them sharing a past, particular because of Habara's backstory as Archdemon. They also tend to take the top spots in popularity polls.
* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of Andou, and her talent. [[spoiler:Not even her contribution to Kyoko's [[BrokenBase divisive]] resurrection stopped the love; people who dislike it don't hold it against her, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone Seiko finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]
** Similarly to Seiko and carrying over his status from [[EnsembleDarkhorse/VisualNovels the visual novels]], Izuru is praised as one of the best parts of ''Side:Despair'', despite not even appearing until it was halfway done. He sealed the fandom's love by continuing to be a MemeticBadass, being one of the few characters in a {{Flanderized}} cast to receive CharacterDevelopment, said development clearing up his AmbiguouslyEvil nature for the better while still keeping him complex, and his [[StarCrossedLovers touching but tragic relationship with Chiaki]].
* Goran, a [[{{Lzherusskie}} Russian (well, the name itsef is Serbian, but it's at least somewhat plausible)]] contractor from the second season of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', who [[spoiler:apparently got himself killed]] with less than half-episode of screentime, managed to acquire a hugely active Instant Fandom seemingly just by [[BigEater eating hamburgers]] [[{{Bishonen}} cutely]].
* Ask any ''LightNovel/DateALive'' fan which character would they like to see more of and chances are that their answer is [[CuteAndPsycho Kurumi]]. How good is she? She's literally the difference between a bottom tier TwelveEpisodeAnime and a top tier one. People hated the first 6 episodes but loved the next 3 episodes for a reason.
* Matt from ''Manga/DeathNote'' has a huge amount of fans despite only appearing for a few panels. Probably because he's badass, gives a snarky one-liner before [[spoiler: getting killed]], drives a CoolCar, fires off a smoke bomb so Mello can kidnap Takada, plays [[VideoGameCulture video games]] and is good with electronics, seems to be pretty well-adjusted [[OnlySaneMan compared to the other Wammy's kids]], is quite handsome under his goggles, and has a rather [[HoYay ambiguous]] [[HeterosexualLifePartners relationship]] with Mello.
** Matsuda. Starts out as the ButtMonkey, only to get progressively more and more awesome, including his DayInTheLimelight where he kicks major ass. By the final episode, where he [[spoiler: ''shoots Light multiple times'' while [[ShutUpHannibal calling him out for what he did to his father,]]]] he's firmly catapulted into this status.
** Aizawa has a sizeable fanbase. He's smart enough to know what's going on without being a super genius, he's committed to catching Kira while also [[WhatTheHellHero calling L out for his extreme methods,]] and... the afro. Can't forget the afro.
** Also Naomi Misora, who not only got a spin-off prequel novel focusing on her, but a bigger role in the Live Action movie. The director of those films flat-out said he felt the character was terribly wasted in the manga. Also Beyond Birthday, the villain of that novel, is also an Ensemble Darkhorse.
* ''Manga/DescendantsOfDarkness'''s highly enthusiastic scientist, [[HotScientist Watari]]. In spite of only being a secondary character, he has a [[MrFanservice ton of fangirls]].
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' is full of these! Which isn't surprising, considering how [[LongRunners long the show's been running]].
** First ones that come to mind are [[TeenGenius Hattori Heiji]] and [[BelligerentSexualTension Toyama Kazuha]], the series' BetaCouple.
** Most of the [[CanonImmigrant cast]] of ''Manga/MagicKaito'' are dark horses when they appear in Detective Conan, most notably the [[PhantomThief Kaitou Kid]] himself, who some fans like even more than the main character, Shinichi.
** The Kaitou Kid's rival, [[ClockKing Hakuba Saguru]], despite being something of an ensemble Dark Horse within Magic Kaito itself, still has a rather large fan following among Detective Conan fans, despite having only appeared in two DC story arcs and [[spoiler: sort-of]] one movie.
** The officers Satou and Takagi are also big fan-favorites.
** Matsuda Jinpei, Satou's ex-half-boyfriend, appeared only in flashbacks for about three episodes, having died years before the events of the manga began, yet he got his own keyhole appearance on the back cover and is sometimes considered one of the (admittedly numerous) main characters.
** Natsumi Koshimizu was also a highly popular character in her only appearance in the Detective Koshien case. Helping her case was that she was the first female AmateurSleuth with a tomboy personality. However she cannot make any more appearances due to [[spoiler: being the case's SympatheticMurderer]]. She did become the inspiration for future addition Masumi Sera.
* In ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'', Blastmon is essentially a fan-favorite. His child-like behavior, his nonchalant approach to his duties, and his LargeHam way of speaking made him an instant favorite.
** Nene Amano is also very well-loved by many. And from [[Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime the sequel series]], we have Airu, the [[{{Moe}} cute]] and often hilarious BitchInSheepsClothing who is [[TheSmurfettePrinciple sole lead female]].
** Wizardmon in [[Anime/DigimonAdventure the original]] was one of two intriguing antiheroes in a show where only incompetent comedic characters had previously been allowed to straddle the line between good and evil. The other, Gatomon, was hit with RedemptionDemotion pretty hard, but Wizardmon [[spoiler:died too quickly to lose his awesome]]. (It helped that he was ''very'' well-voiced by Robert Axelrod in the English dub.)
** Beelzemon (aka Impmon) from [[Anime/DigimonTamers the third season]] quickly became popular with the fans after his HeelFaceTurn due to his very well-done CharacterDevelopment, [[PerverseSexualLust attractive voice and body]], and sheer badass-ery. [[spoiler:He's so popular he even got a [[TheCameo Cameo]] in ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime'', even when some of the main characters[[note]]Henry and Terriermon[[/note]] didn't.]]
* Badou in ''DOGS'', in the original graphic novel before the manga was picked up for serialization, was a one-off character in a gag side-story who became so popular that by the time the manga was serialized, he was added to the main cast and even given a Day In the Spotlight issue. To a lesser extent, [[EnfantTerrible Enfants Terribles]] twins Luki and Noki were also like this, again introduced in a one-off side-story but eventually added to the regular story as semi-recurring villains due to their popularity.
* [[{{ninja}} Yukikaze]] [[GenkiGirl Panettone]] from ''Anime/DogDays'' fits the bill. Notice how she becomes more prominent as the series progresses. If fan art is any indication, then her popularity is second only to the female lead.
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[[folder:E-M]]
* ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' has Rui Habashira of the Zokugaku Chameleons, a slimy delinquent who proved ''ridiculously'' popular with the show's fandom despite being at best a minor supporting character. Fans' prayers were answered when [[spoiler:he was revealed to be the mystery player on the World Cup team]]. In an even more baffling example, Gokuu of the Shinryuuji Nagas is an ''extremely'' minor character who has a decent-sized fanbase (well, in Japan).
* ''Manga/FairyTail'': Naturally, there's quite some. Notably:
** [[SocialDarwinist Laxus]] and [[HandicappedBadass Gildarts]] seem quite popular among the western fandom.
** Mirajane is quite popular for her [[CloudCuckooLander bubbly personality]] and being on par with Erza as one of Fairy Tail's premier [[ActionGirl Action Girls]]. In light of the growing [[AssPull controversy]] surrounding Erza's fights, many have pushed to see Mira in action more often.
** [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Gajeel]] is this for many after his HeelFaceTurn to the point that you would hear of fan disappointment for [[OutOfFocus not getting treated]] on the same level as his fellow Dragon Slayers, Natsu and Wendy; to the point that many are actually very forgivable of his AssPull moment against Rogue, because its [[ADayInTheLimelight actual screen-time for Gajeel]]!
** [[EvilIsSexy Ultear]]. She was the first established villain that went beyond just a one-off ArcVillain, and the fact that people tend to forget about how much of an evil biatch she was before Gray knocked some sense into her just goes to show how engaging her character turned out to be overall. She also brought Fairy Tail a vast majority of reasonable [[MsFanservice fan-service]] before Mashima went overboard after the TimeSkip.
** They're joined by [[BloodKnight Azuma]], the single most badass member of Grimoire Heart.
** And let's not forget [[spoiler:Mavis, the first Guild Master of Fairy Tail]], who manages to be [[BadassAdorable kind, cute, mysterious and hilarious]] at the same time, and [[LittleMissBadass badass]] enough to master and cast one of the most powerful protection spells in the Fairy Tail universe [[spoiler:''from beyond the grave'', [[SphereOfPower Fairy Sphere]]]]. On top of that she created and can probably cast [[spoiler: [[LightEmUp Fairy Glitter]] and Fairy Law]].
** Wendy Marvell as well. Enough to be considered a main character. Although she also gets BaseBreakingCharacter treatment for the same reason.
*** You can almost ''see'' the standing ovation Mashima is getting from the fandom for allowing Wendy to finally have a chance to truly shine--on her own (okay, fine, [[TeamPet Carla]] is with her)--for the first time since her fight with Chelia in the ''Grand Magic Games'' arc. [[spoiler:To clarify, it's not Natsu, Erza, or even Lucy who gets to defuse Face; it's Wendy. And she has to go through Ezel to do it.]] She [[ADayInTheLimelight did]] ''[[TookALevelInBadass not]]'' [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome disappoint]].
** [[TokenGoodTeammate Rogue]], pretty much the only member of Sabertooth who isn't a MASSIVE DICK.[[note]]Yukino sorta counts, but her allegiance with Sabertooth is an odd case, and while Sting ''does'' get better later on, people see his character as a missed opportunity anyway for his failures throughout the tournament.[[/note]]
** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a badass capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.
** Seilah has reached this point, too. She had quite a fair number of fans right out of the gate (mostly because EvilIsSexy and her [[LesYay relationship with]] [[TheBaroness Kyouka]] was perhaps the most well done villainous romantic relationship yet), many fans [[HesJustHiding refused to believe]] she could have ''possibly'' gone down because of [[spoiler:one punch to the back of the head in one of the biggest AssPull victories in the entire arc]]. It reached the point where fans were lobbying Hiro Mashima over Twitter, demanding she come back... and she did, in perhaps [[NotQuiteDead the]] [[DyingMomentOfAwesome most]] [[HeroKiller badass]] [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning way]] [[LastRequest possible]], giving her the send-off many fans believed she deserved and had been previously denied. [[spoiler: This might explain why Mirajane now can take on her form in the Albareth Empire arc]].
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' has a good example in the form of Mr. Heart, the GiantMook who works for Shin. Despite many of the other colorful martial artists in the series, he got to be a playable character in the [=PS2=] fighter and has been featured as a boss in other games as well. The series as a whole has tons of these, such as the Mad Colonel (who was a design inspiration for Rolento of ''VideoGame/FinalFight''), Rei (who got his own SpinOff series), and Raoh (who is getting his own series as well and was the focus of an OVA series). Raoh even got the rare distinction of being one of the few fictional characters to have a ''[[SeriousBusiness real-life funeral held for him]]'', in recognition of his incredibly manly death in the series.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''
** Maes Hughes, the friendly competent BadassNormal [[spoiler:whose death becomes an important part of Roy Mustang]], still consistently scores very high in popularity polls, even 20 volumes later. Another is Jean Havoc, TheWoobie who can never get a girlfriend [[spoiler:who isn't a homunculus, and gets paralyzed before helping out the coup with supplies]].
** Though the series is full of likeable people, Lan Fan is very popular among the Brotherhood fandom, despite only being a secondary character.
** Ditto Sheska, who many fans lament the disappearance of in the manga, where she simply goes "poof" plotwise. The fact that she looks like a female Kensuke Aida doesn't help matters at all.
** Being an EnsembleDarkhorse has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!! Both the Major and his sister are definite favorites of the fandom.
** Amongst the bara fans, Scar is a big time example. Darius and Heinkel were also popular enough in fanart to get a doujinshi.
** Greed is probably the most popular Homunculus behind Envy, especially considering how minor of a character the former is compared to the latter.
*** In the manga poll, Greed I and II were ranked the 12th and 13th most popular characters respectively (the highest ranked Homunculus, only behind Envy). If they were both ranked as a single character (since they are the same person), then Greed would have scored higher, maybe even higher than Envy.
** Barry the Chopper has quite a fan following despite being a minor character who dies less than halfway through the series, mainly due to his AxCrazy and CrazyAwesome characteristics.
* ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist''
** Lust's expanded role and backstory in this version and eventual Heel-Face Turn made her far popular in the 2003 fanbase.
** The one-shot background StockCharacter [[{{Meganekko}} Sheska]] was brought back into the first anime several times before being fully incorporated into the cast, becoming AffirmativeActionGirl and LovelyAngels with Winry and finally writing the EpilogueLetter at the end.
** The first anime!Sloth is also very popular, probably for [[spoiler: being the homunculus version of Trisha Elric]].
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' character popularity polls usually result in Nuriko, Tasuki and Chichiri taking the top three spots (in varying order), often winning handily over [[OfficialCouple Miaka and/or Tamahome]].
* ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'': Bleed Kaga, who despite making a few appearences in the first half of the TV series, is so popular with Japanese fans that he becomes a regular in the series, has number of [=CD=]s about him and he eventually is made into the main character in ''SIN'', the final OVA.
* We have several from ''Anime/GaoGaiGar''; Mic Sounders the 13th (to the point where he was the only survivor of his RedShirtArmy brothers), [=HyoRyu=], [=EnRyu=], and Volfogg too.
* ''Anime/GhostSweeperMikami's'' Luciola. [[spoiler: Being [[ChivalrousPervert Yokoshima's]] first ''real'' love--as in, not the primarily-lust he held towards Mikami--helps a lot, it seems.]]
* Takasugi Shinsuke in ''Manga/{{Gintama}}''. He's only appeared in a few manga chapters and episodes, he's the only one in the series ''not'' to have some sort of hilarious appeal -- and he ''still'' managed to place high in the popularity polls.
** Similarly, Shinsengumi member and badminton fanatic Yamazaki Sagaru ranked high among fans, but creator Sorachi Hideaki has stated he will never be featured on the cover of any of the manga volumes. One can only hope he'll change his mind. There's even A WHOLE STORY ARC ABOUT IT!
** And now, Kamui who only has been in one arc has been in the top ten polls ranking at 7th.
*** Kamui has since moved up to ''third place'' in the most recent poll despite only appearing in two chapters during the gap between the surveys.
* ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' has Saki (maybe better known as "[[MemeticMutation autism-chan]]"), a popular joke character with no lines (save one occasion in Episode 12) who's often seen staring off in weird directions. Many explanations have been given for this, from looking into alternative timelines/dimensions, to being a tank tracking device, to being aware of the 4th wall and looking at the viewers.
** There's also Jagdpanther-chan, an [[NoNameGiven nameless]] commander of a Jagdpanther in the finals, who gets detracked more than once and desperately races to repair her tank.
* In ''Anime/GoLion'', the black-shirted, original Blue Lion pilot, Takahashi Shirogane, was intended to be nothing more than a SacrificialLamb, KilledOffForReal in the 6th episode. But he proved to be enough of an Ensemble Darkhorse in Japan, that Toei studio tried to bring him back more or less, through the awkward method of creating a BackupTwin who showed up later to avenge his brother. When World Events Productions adapted ''Anime/GoLion'' into ''Anime/{{Voltron}}'', in an inspired stroke of {{Woolseyism}}, the two bothers were combined into one character, Sven, who was severely injured in that 6th episode, but later recovered. As ''Volton's'' popularity [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff skyrocketed around the world]], so did Sven's, a BadassNormal with more impressive credentials than either of of ''Anime/GoLion'''s two brothers could've had individually.
** [[AscendedExtra It's reached the point]] where he's become TheLeader and ([[EnsembleCast arguable]]) protagonist of ''WesternAnimation/VoltronLegendaryDefender''.
* ''Anime/GuiltyCrown'' has Colonel Dan Eagleman, who was one of the only nice members of the otherwise ObviouslyEvil GHQ organization. Many a fan found his [[BenevolentBoss cheerfulness, honesty and giving credit where it was due]] to be very endearing. Just as many were dissapointed that he was killed off not even halfway through the series, only a handful of episodes after being introduced.
* Bunji Kugashira from ''Main/{{Gungrave}}'' (both anime and game) is a supporting cast and shows up later in the anime, but he is more popular than Harry [=MacDowell=], one of two main characters [[spoiler:and the BigBad in the anime and the original game]]. He is only less popular than Brandon 'Beyond the Grave' Heat, the main character. This may be justified since behind his badass [[SmokingIsCool smoking]] CoolShades-wearing cold-blooded gangster exterior, he honors rules and promises and [[HitmanWithAHeart hides]] [[WouldntHurtAChild a streak of]] [[KindheartedCatLover gentleness within]]. In the game series, he makes a return in the second game [[spoiler:and is revealed to be Juji's (one of the playable characters) older brother]].
** Despite not having much screen time, Bear Walken is fairly popular as well. This may be justified because he is both a [[AFatherToHisMen charismatic leader]] to his squad of hitmen and a loving [[OverprotectiveDad (and perhaps, overprotective)]] [[PapaWolf father]] to his daughter, Sherry.
* Aoki from ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo''. He's a massive buttmonkey, but that doesn't stop him from continually ranking high on popularity polls.
* ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}'' has quite a few of them:
** Of the official members of the Ham-Ham Clubhouse, Panda and Cappy have appeared the least often in the series, making them considerate dark horses.
** Jingle, the wandering ham poet.
** Oxnard's girlfriend, Pepper, stands out quite a bit.
* WholesomeCrossdresser Watarase Jun in ''VisualNovel/{{Happiness}}!'' was so unexpectedly popular that he not only was he given [[DatingSim a path]] in the game, he was the star of the first OAV for the show. In fact, the game was rather bland and forgettable and wouldn't have had much publicity were it not for Jun. The other characters combined don't get as much fanwork as he does.
* ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' has a number of them, including:
** Hime Shirayuki/Cure Princess, especially with the Westerners, due to her brattiness not being annoying or over-the-top, as well as having the best, most well executed character development out of all the characters.
** Yuuko Omori/Cure Honey has a number of fans, mostly due to her [[TechnicalPacifist unique way of fighting]] compared to past Cures.
** The International Cures such as the American team, the Bomber Girl Pretty Cure, has ''plenty'' of artwork despite only being seen for, like, ten minutes tops. In fact, on the Pretty Cure Wiki, there was a poll to choose your favorite international team, and guess what? Bomber Girls beat them all by a land slide.
* Tsuruya from ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' practically embodies this trope, especially the megas [[MemeticMutation internet meme]] point, [[BeamMeUpScotty nyoro~n]]!
** To a lesser extent, Taniguchi (one of ThoseTwoGuys) also applies, especially after his voice actor's success as an Ensemble Darkhorse on ''Anime/LuckyStar''. In fact, Taniguchi and Minoru Shiraishi could be said to be one single, transcendental cross-series Ensemble Darkhorse. One word: "Wawawawasuremono."
*** Now he has a [[ImageSong Character CD]] coming out for the second season (as well Tsuruya).
* Nene Andou, the cheerfully bisexual {{class representative}} from ''Manga/{{Hyakko}}'', is being latched onto by a large group of fans, due to her ability to out-quirk the already very quirky lead characters of the show.
* Hinagiku Katsura from ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler''. She is so big an Ensemble Darkhorse, the last popularity poll landed her with a few dozen votes short... ''Of having as many votes as the ones ranked #2, #3 and #4 '''combined''', those three being the main characters''. In the second season of the anime, the entire first ED is entirely devoted to her, and the RelaxOVision shots are all {{fanservice}} shots of her as well. This from the female support character with the ''least'' screen time in the first season.
** Athena has been placed here by fans as well, even non-fans agree that she could put contention on Hinagiku for top-spot in the next character polls. And she didn't decide to even show up for 50+ chapters and didn't get serious character development for 150+ .
*** In the 3rd popularity poll (the first one she was eligible for), Athena came out 2nd with 2168 votes, while Hinagiku won in a landslide (again) at 4089 votes. The other placements haven't been published yet.
** Izumi is an interesting case of responding to the popularity. After she ranked so much higher than Miki and Risa, she started getting appearances independent of them as well as [[spoiler:an implied crush on Hayate as well as meeting him when they were both kids.]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Higurashi|When They Cry}}'''s Big Bird, Kuwabara Biker, Hitler Stache, and Swastika Biker all became ensemble darkhorses in some circles after their appearances.
* In ''Manga/IkkiTousen'', Kan'u Unchou (Guan Yu) has a lot of fan support despite not being the main character, being admitted as the sexiest of the bunch (for a series with that much {{Fanservice}}, that's saying a lot), her very sympathetic backstory (especially her BodyguardCrush on her childhood friend, Ryuubi) and, of course, her status as one of the strongest {{Action Girl}}s in the series. Even though her character was ''this close'' to be completely destroyed through {{Flanderization}} in ''Great Guardians'' (the third season), her fandom still remained as strong as ever. Being the GenerationXerox of one of the {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s of ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' does help a lot...
* ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'': Despite being a one-shot antagonist early on in the series, sultry Yura of the Hair became a fan favorite even though her role was only a momentary one. With an {{stripperific}} outfit like she has and her attractive human appearance on it's no wonder.
* ''Franchise/JoJosBizarreAdventure''--
** One of the earliest examples: Robert Edward O. Speedwagon ([[PunnyName you can stop laughing now]]) from [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventurePhantomBlood Part 1]]. Despite the fact that he can't use the Ripple and doesn't fight (Zeppelli even notes that he's more or less useless despite his friendship with Johnathan), he's popular with Western and Eastern fans alike. Must be his NiceHat (a bowler).
** Muhammad Avdol in [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders Part 3]] was [[spoiler:killed by Hol Horse]] but his popularity caused a fan backlash so big that [[spoiler:Araki figured a way to reintroduce him, BackFromTheDead by saying the "fatal" shot only grazed him]]
** The internet meme generation has also redeveloped a love for villain Dio Brando, mostly for his signature special attacks.
* Kyoya Hibari from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has been voted numerous times as the number one popular character in the series. Not to mention being voted and ranked the third most popular anime character in '08 from Animedia. He's one of Tsuna's guardians that initially had a very small role, only appearing once in a blue moon. However, it appears the mangaka has decided to give him a larger role in recent chapters to please the fans.
** On the subject, NietzscheWannabe Rokudo Mukuro had become very popular and had been voted many times as the most popular villain (and in a rather recent poll, the third favorite character in the series). The author seemed pretty surprised how popular he had become, and it's very likely that due to this, she decided to [[spoiler: give him more screentime by making him Tsuna's very unlikely guardian]].
** The only female Vongola boss Daniela is also insanely popular [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/c262/(ie.ranking sixth in the latest polls and being the only female character in the top 10 )]] considering that she's only been in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/c158/13.html ONE]] panel of the manga and LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS of the anime.
** The Acrobaleno Fon's adult form which has only ever appeared on a [[AllThereInTheManual poster]] in the manga and the {{FillerArc}} of the anime but still managed to rank in the top 20 in the latest poll. [[UncannyFamilyResemblance Looking identical]] to a fellow Ensemble Darkhorse probably helps.
** Enma Kozato almost immediately had a huge fanbase after his first appearance, even though all he did was get bullied, called a loser and had his pants stolen. Despite this, everyone fell in love with him. He was even assigned the standard Reborn fandom number within just a couple of days.
** [[PsychoForHire Squalo]] ranked number 6 in the sixth popularity poll, rising above Xanxus, who had always overshadowed him in all the previous polls.
** Hell, the entire Varia remained surprisingly popular after their stint as the bad guys in the Ring Battles Arc. So much that they were brought back in the TYL arc, with chapters completely dedicated to their battle against the Millefiore in Italy.
** Fran has made it to this position, being ranked 4th most popular in the [[http://www.mangareader.net/katekyo-hitman-reborn/361/2 latest poll]].
* ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'' has done this more than once, with characters introduced by the creators as one-off villains taken from fan submissions who end up becoming popular enough that they gain expanded roles later on. Examples include Ramenman, who ultimately got his own spin-off anime, and Buffaloman, who got himself promoted to leader of the Seven Devil Choujin over Black Hole because the creators recognized this trope in action.
* ''Anime/KirbyOfTheStars'':
** Sirica, the daughter of the legendary Galaxy Soldier Garlude, who appeared in Episode 60. Many fans came to love her so much that a lot of fan art of her can be found all over the internet. Sirica herself was so popular that she even later appeared in the final two episodes alongside Knuckle Joe, Sir Arthur and his three knights (Sir Percival, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Galahad).
** Garlude and Knuckle Joe's Father also got the same treatment as Sirica herself. And even the rest of the Star Warriors and Galaxy Soldiers, and even the traitor Yamikage.
** Chilidog/Wolfwrath is also quite popular, as a lot of fan art for it can be found across the internet as well. Some people would even draw a scarier version or a cuter version, or even a baby Wolfwrath puppy.
* From ''Manga/KOn'', there's Nodoka, whose popularity is helped by her being the [[OnlySaneMan most mature and normal]] of the series' very quirky cast.
* Minoru Shiraishi in ''Anime/LuckyStar'' is one of the most popular characters, at least [[AnimatedActors in-show]], despite being one of the [[ImprobablyFemaleCast few male characters]]. In ''[[ShowWithinAShow Lucky Channel]]'', he explains this as a odd tendency of fans to attach to [[OneSceneWonder characters who barely appear in a show]].
** Misao Kusakabe, who started as one of ThoseTwoGuys and whose screentime in the anime amounts to around a total of 15 minutes, has gotten so popular that she had her own figure made, and was given her own Image Song CD! Helped in no small part to her non-animated, more developed roles in the 4-panel comic. Like being the ''other'' tomboy of the series.
* ''Franchise/MachineRobo''
** In a rare protagonist example, Rom Stol is this thanks to his appearances in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''
** For Japan at least, Leina Stol, much of the show's promotional art features her heavily and the fact that she was the central focus of the OVA's that continued the story after the show ended pretty much solidifies this. Leina also gets plenty of fanart on pixiv and the sudden death of her voice actress, Creator/Yuko Mizutani in 2016 drove this home even further.
* Cinque of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', she was taken out ''one episode'' after her introduction, giving her one of the least screentime amongst the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Numbers]]. She's also an [[OlderThanTheyLook older than she looks]] white-haired LittleMissBadass [[EyepatchOfPower wearing an eyepatch]] [[BadassLongcoat and trenchcoat]] [[KnifeNut and wielding a set of throwing knives]] [[MadeOfExplodium that she could make explode]] [[LadyOfWar and she speaks in an old-fashioned tone]] [[OneeSama and greatly cares for her younger sisters]]. She quickly became the most popular of the Numbers amongst the fandom and Seven Arcs noticed this. Not only did they let her be the only one amongst the older Numbers to pull a HeelFaceTurn, but she was also adopted by Subaru's family ''and'' was appointed the squad leader of the [=N2R=] Nakajima Sisters, the SiblingTeam made up of former Numbers.
** Vivio is so popular that she got [[Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid her own spin-off]].
* The Occult Research Club President of ''Manga/{{Mahoraba}}'', despite being a rather minor character compared to everyone living in Narutakisou, took third place in a character popularity contest. Or depending on your view, second place, since first and second is Kozue, due to her multiple personalities.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** [[CuteMute Zazie Rainyday]] did nothing of note for over three hundred chapters or in either anime production and just as little background information. That seems to be part of her charm as the extreme lack of information has the fanbase clamoring for any info they can get. WordOfGod even stated that she wouldn't be getting her story revealed until closer to the end of the SERIES. And then the series ended way too early...
** Evangeline, thanks to her [[StoryBreakerPower ability to kick ass]] and complex characterization.
* [[SchoolgirlLesbians Schoolgirl Lesbian]] Shizuru Fujino from ''Anime/MaiHime'' was popular enough amongst fans that it likely contributed to her upgrade into a major recurring ally and part of one of ''Anime/MaiOtome'''s {{Official Couple}}s.
* Among ''Anime/MaiOtome'' characters (at least those original to the series), Erstin Ho was merely a secondary recurring character [[spoiler:who [[TearJerker died a tragic death]] halfway through the anime]], but her status as TheWoobie has made her almost as popular as main characters [[TheHero Arika]], [[TheRival Nina]] and [[WellExcuseMePrincess Mashiro]]. To the point where, in the manga, [[spoiler:not only does she [[NotQuiteDead not die]], but she even TookALevelInBadass, got a DeadlyUpgrade and was vital in defeating the BigBad]]. And she was even kept quite in-character, to boot!
** The Republic of [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Aries]] has quite a few of these, including the [[LargeHam boisterous]] general Haruka Armitage, [[ChivalrousPervert flirty]] upperclassman Chie Hallard, and [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes outlandishly-clothed]] #1 Otome Pillar Sara Gallagher (the last of whom only appeared in the final ''three'' episodes of the main series before being given time to shine in the {{OVA}}).
* Hoshino Ruri of ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', who was eventually made the star of the series' movie.
** There's also Gai Daigoji, the LargeHam AscendedFanboy who befriends Akito and openly espouses the values of the SuperRobotGenre, [[spoiler: only to be [[DroppedABridgeOnHim suddenly and unceremoniously killed off]] early in]]. It's no surprise that ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' [[spoiler: lets you save him, or at least gives him a cooler death]].
* How popular is [[AxeCrazy Kumogawa Misogi]] from ''Magazine/ShonenJump''[='s=] ''Manga/MedakaBox''? In the most recent popularity poll he received more votes than second place (Medaka, ''the Main Character''), third place, fourth place and fifth place '''''combined'''''. Don't believe it? [[http://www.mangareader.net/medaka-box/113/6 See for yourself.]] Slightly NSFW on account of all the HadakaApron.
** All the more remarkable for this character originally being a villain.
* ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun'': Tomoda is an example both in-universe and out-of-universe. In universe, he's the MrExposition of a dating sim game which Nozaki and Mikoshiba play, but because of his unending support for the game's protagonist, the two end up focusing on him instead of either the protagonist or the love interests, to the point that they write a comic where Tomoda and the protagonist get together, in order to give Tomoda the story he deserved. Out-of-universe, even though all of this takes place within the span of a single chapter/episode as a one-off gag and is not mentioned again, Tomoda's gained a lot of popularity with the fans due to [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments how funny the scene is]].
* In ''Manga/MuhyoAndRoji'', Panza only appears in Volume 6 [[spoiler:and dies at the end of the volume]], but ranks sixth in the popularity poll.
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia:'' [[PettingZooPeople Tsuyu Asui]] instantly caught the fanbase's attention before her name was even revealed. First, it was because of her [[UglyCute cute frog-like appearance]]. She gained even more fans after her BigDamnHeroes moment during the Villain's attempted invasion of Yuuei Academy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:N-T]]
* [[ApocalypseMaiden Kaworu]] Nagisa from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. He only appeared in one episode, with about fifteen minutes of screen time - counting all the freeze frames -, but being his optimistic, charming self, he managed to become one of the show's most popular characters - As it would seem, even the Creators (who originaly had intended him to be [[UncannyValley unsettling]]) got to like him, as the various adaptations and remakes of the anime have elevated him to one of the central characters, though his alliegiances vary.
** Mari, from ''[[Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion Rebuild]]'', seems to be on her way here as well, though she still has many haters to overcome.
** While not as popular as the above two, Maya Ibuki has a dedicated following which her small role would not attest to - her two fellow technicians, Makoto Hyuga and Shigeru Aoba, aren't nearly as well-liked. The fact that she's not nearly as screwed up as some the main characters probably helps.
** Rei is essentially a minor Darkhorse considering that early on she was hailed as the series' BreakoutCharacter by Japanese media, all the while creator Hideaki Anno by all appearances thinks very little of her.
* ''Manga/NuraRiseOfTheYokaiClan'' had a few surprises in the first popularity poll, namely when side character Tsurara Oikawa the [[AnIcePerson Yuki-Onna]] wound up only eight votes behind second place, leaving the designated love interest far behind her BodyGuardCrush.
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** Perona has shades of this as she ranked in the last popularity poll as fifth most popular female character in the series, and is also the most popular character from the Thriller Bark arc surpassing even Kuma. Her popularity has grown so much she is now playable in some of the new ''One Piece'' games, where most playable characters are either main villains, the Straw Hats, the Warlords or important Marines.
** The reason that Portgas D. Ace got more screentime in the anime than in the manga (in the manga he never traveled with the Straw Hats) was that he became so popular with the fans, even though he only appeared in a grand total of about two-three chapters.
** Pandaman started out as an EasterEgg-type character that would just show up in the background, and was so popular with the fans that he ended up with his own pirate crew and bounty.
** The most recent polls have shown that Kaku has reached this status, being the most popular character outside of the crew and Ace (9th overall). It is difficult to explain why without ruining some very wonderful surprises in the Enies Lobby arc, so let's just say he's a particularly good example of TheComicallySerious and leave it at that.
** The popularity polls have also placed Dracule Mihawk as high as eighth when he hasn't done a whole lot between the Baratie arc and his appearance during the Impel Down and Marineford arcs.
** CoolOldGuy Silvers Rayleigh, who appeared for a grand total of three chapters and had a fight which lasted about twenty seconds in the arc he was introduced in, yet is overly popular.
** Trafalgar Law, who appeared in the same arc as the aforementioned Rayleigh and got even less screentime [[spoiler: until recently]], ranked above [[LovableCoward Usopp]], [[CrazyAwesome Franky]], and [[FunnyAfro Brook]] in terms of popularity in Japan, and is quite popular in the West as well. Once he began to play a larger part in the story, he came in ''second'' in the fifth popularity poll behind Luffy, overtaking even Zoro (who held the #2 spot in every previous poll), meaning he's essentially become a BreakoutCharacter.
** Crocodile is quite possibly the most popular villain in the series, which may or may not have had something to do with his recent return to the main story. [[spoiler: As an ''[[EnemyMine ally]]'' of all things.]]
** There's also [[WholesomeCrossdresser Mr. 2 Bon Kurei]], or Bentham, whose hilarious mannerisms and gigantic heart have earned him the admiration of more or less the entire fanbase.
** CrazyAwesome Emporio Ivankov is also quite popular among some fans.
** Vice Admiral [[http://onepiece.wikia.com/wiki/Johnathan Johnathan]] might count to some degree. He only appeared in a rather good filler side story (the G8 arc) but can be seen assembling at Marineford in preparation for the Whitebeard Pirates war along with his two subordinates.
** The Fishman Island arc got a somewhat mixed reception by at least its Western audience, and so did most characters of the arc. However, ask basically any fan, and they will admit that the best new character of the arc was Zeo, a member of the arc's QuirkyMinibossSquad and a really good example of a ComicallySerious character with hilarious IMeantToDoThat tendencies.
** A unique LoveToHate example similar to Crocodile, would be Akainu, previously a one note vice admiral who had a notable action of exterminating a civilian ship with the possibility of there being a scholar on there, as well as the admiral with the least screen time. Cue the Marineford arc, his overall badassness, {{Determinator}} tendencies, control over the power of the magma Devil Fruit [[spoiler: and his choice of words that led to Ace's death, breaking the long standing rule of "No one important dies outside of flashbacks"]] has caused him to become one of the top enemies Luffy wants to defeat and notable villains in the series just based on his overall role in the arc.
* During the Sinnoh era of the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime, [[StalkerWithACrush Creepy Stalker]] Conway was introduced in the Tag Battle arc as a character-of-the-day smart guy with [[ScaryShinyGlasses a habit of shining his glasses in an over-the-top fashion]], but was brought back due to fan popularity for the Summer Camp arc and played up to be Dawn's [[StalkerWithACrush stalker]]. His continued popularity even got him upgraded further to being a contestant for the Sinnoh League.
** Another person getting an upgrade during Sinnoh was Ursula; a one-shot opponent for Dawn's 4th contest ribbon. After going through a good portion of the Sinnoh journey, one flaw fans always brought up about Dawn's contest journey was that she didn't have any rivals that wasn't all friendly towards her. The one-off character Ursula however, happened to be a {{Jerkass}} opponent which people, after lookin back at older episodes, enjoyed about her character since it was the closest thing to a non-friendly rival Dawn has had so far. Her popularity skyrockets because of this, causing the producers to make her a full-fledged rival for Dawn up to the eventual Grand Festival.
** Similar to the Ursula example, Harley somewhat counts during the Advanced era, ascending from a one-shot rival coordinator to a second rival for May. Mostly due to his [[LargeHam over-the-top acting]].
** As far as Gym Leaders go, Byron seems to top the list for his ''LOVE'' of defense. Maylene also applies due to people loving her character development during the Veilstone arc.
** And now for the Pokémon. Misty's Psyduck, Brock's Croagunk, and Ash's Charizard, Sceptile, Muku'''[[MemeticMutation BIRD]]''' (Staravia, now Staraptor), Buizel, and Gliscor, have ''all'' reached this status at one point or another.
*** Special mention goes to Ash's Infernape who started off as an EnsembleDarkhorse due to his rough background with Paul and people wanting to see Chimchar grow under Ash's tutelage, but delved into CreatorsPet and SpotlightStealingSquad territory in the later half of the Sinnoh journey.
** Lucario can also be one. In every episode it's a really good fighter, it had a MOVIE with the plot centered around it, is a playable character in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' and ''[=SSB=] for Wii U and 3DS)'', and the developers of the games responded to this by allowing the player to get their own on Iron Island.
** While he got little screen time in the anime series proper (apart from one episode, in full-body armour), the fans really warmed to Mewtwo from his two movie appearances. Also, in the second Mewtwo appearance, a teenage girl Team Rocket agent named Domino became really popular due to how [[EvilIsCool cool]] and [[EvilIsSexy sexy]] she was.
** Ash's first Unova companion, Cilan, has garnered a ton of fan appreciation since his debut. [[Creator/MamoruMiyano Award-winning seiyuu]]? Check. [[AmbiguouslyGay FABULOUS]] [[GratuitousEnglish expressions]]? Check. Entertaining focus episodes? Check. Though he has become something of a BaseBreakingCharacter as of late, so maybe it's a "too much of a good thing" situation.
*** Perhaps by proxy, Cilan's UnknownRival Burgundy became very popular before she even debuted.
*** On that note, while Iris is a BaseBreakingCharacter, her rival Georgia is hugely popular as well, perhaps for having a developed and interesting motivation and character, her dress sense, and... providing an opposing perspective to Iris. Fans are weird that way.
** Ash's Larvitar is probably the most popular egg-hatched Pokémon in the series - at the very least, it definitely maintains a greater degree than fellow egg-hatcher Togepi, despite the latter having stuck around for well over 200 episodes to Larvitar's seven. It mostly comes from its reasonably paced development arc, [[TheWoobie sad backstory]], and being a [[InfinityMinusOneSword pseudo-legendary]] (which makes [[TheBusCameBack its potential return]] major FanficFuel).
* Atobe Keigo and his Hyoutei Gakuen team from ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis''. Atobe attracts a ''ridiculously high'' quantity of fangirls both in story and outside of it, thanks to his [[LargeHam over-the-top]] MagnificentBastard behavior and his JerkWithAHeartOfGold background.
** Although no other character can rival Atobe in this sense, as a team, Rikkai also qualifies as {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}(including [[IllGirl Ill Boy]] Yukimura, AloofBigBrother Sanada, TroubledButCute Kirihara, and the Platinum Pair of Yagyuu and Niou).
* Considering how popular they are in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' fanfiction, you'd think Tsubasa, Konatsu and Pantyhose Taro were part of the regular cast. However, Tsubasa appeared only once in the manga (and in just one other episode, plus a couple of cameos in the anime), Konatsu twice (never in the anime), and Taro was in just three stories.
* Invoked in ''Anime/{{REDLINE}}''. After two contestants for the title race drop out, for fear of being shot at, JP is immediately voted in. Firstly, because of his epic and ImprobableHairstyle. Secondly, as the only modifications he adds to his CoolCar are an escape pod (well, that only appears in the 2nd part of the movie) and a booster system that makes most speed powerups in video games look like baby aspirin, the odds of him just ''surviving'' in a race full of [[WeaponizedCar cars mounted with every weapon under several suns]] are ''25000 to 1.'' A mafia type group exploits this little fact through race fixing by having him stay in last place until the final quarter of the race, then rocket up to pole (by which more people will bet on him) and then have him lose.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'':
** Mami is only seen for a few episodes [[spoiler: before getting KilledOffForReal (she does make appearances after that in two episodes),]] but due to her sheer badassery and really awesome theme, she is well liked by the fans.
** Kyoko is clearly a side character, but fans adore her for her badassery, her unique personality and character quirks, her villainous and [[AntiHero Anti-Heroic]] tendencies, and her [[spoiler: very well-done tragic backstory and CharacterDevelopment into a sympathetic KnightInSourArmor]]. In fact, she's the only character to have her own SelfDemonstrating page [[SelfDemonstrating/KyokoSakura on this very wiki]].
*** Largely because of their unexpected popularity, Mami and Kyoko got a spinoff manga, ''The Different Story'', in which [[BreakoutCharacter they're the main characters]]. The sequel movie has Mami [[TookALevelInBadass take about 100 levels in badass]] and heavily involves Kyoko in the main mystery arc as Homura's partner.
** Kyubey's face shows up in the strangest of places in Japan - namely arcades and price tags for stuff in specialty stores -, not quite rivaling [[Manga/OnePiece Tony Tony Chopper's]] popularity in that respect but getting there. A curious case considering [[spoiler:he is the closest thing to the series' [[BigBad main villain]]]].
** The witch [[KnightOfCerebus Charlotte]] is seen for all of ''two minutes'' and is also quite popular. Probably because she's [[KillerRabbit ador]][[CreepyDoll able]]. And there's not really anyone else to ship Mami with. It's probably no coincidence that when the official ''Madoka Magica'' video game was announced, Charlotte was the first witch to appear in the preview images. [[spoiler:Like Kyubey, she's a strange example since she ''devours Mami alive'' yet much of the fanart revolves around her cute, innocent appearance.]]
*** And Charlotte has now become an AscendedExtra and BreakoutCharacter in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion''.
* Jonathan Wolff in the ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'' series. He made one memorable appearance in the New Generation (Mospeada) segment where a big deal was made of him being a legendary hero. Then he was spun off into the aborted prequel Sentinels and a large number of comics and stories, all despite the fact that [[spoiler:(in that Robotech episode, he is shown to have sold out to the enemy and almost gets Scott Bernard killed)]]
* [[StalkerWithACrush Creepy Stalker]] Mizore Shirayuki is the overwhelming favorite for most Westerners in ''Manga/RosarioToVampire''.The anti-social yet earnest and sincere girl struck close to home for many of the more... socially awkward anime fans. The manga seems to be latching onto this, as an arc in the second season has focused on Mizore, giving her significant character development and a serious storyline.
** The driver of the bus between the human world and yokai world has gained much popularity with fans even though he has only appeared a few times. Although he does have an important role, as revealed later in the manga.
** Kokoa has also been quite well-received since her introduction, and there's a lot of fan art of her.
* One may not believe this, but ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'' started as a biography of UsefuleNotes/MarieAntoinette with her as main character, but a certain Oscar Francois de Jerjayes outpaced her in popularity and stole the main status from her.
* One of the [[WatchItForTheMeme main reasons]] people know of ''Manga/RozenMaiden'' is because of [[ScrewySquirrel eccentric trickster]] Suiseiseki and her addition of the [[VerbalTic "desu" copula]] to everything she says.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Somehow or another, Hotaru is one of the most popular characters, getting good results even when being the non-villain sailor to get the least screen time. Could be due to tropes TheWoobie, {{Moe}} (for which she is possibly the trope namer) or just being adorable.
** Thetis, a MonsterOfTheWeek from the [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime's]] twelveth episode, proven to be rather surpisingly successful in the fanbase, mainly because she's actually attractive in both human ''and'' monster forms, and she has an implied relationship with StarterVillain Jadeite.
** The Remules Pooko/Puko/Fuko the balloon woman from episode 132, mainly due to having more personality than other monsters of the week and was rather attractive when deflated.
** Sailor Iron Mouse is one of the most popular Sailor Moon characters on Japanese fanart sites, despite being just another member of the QuirkyMinibossSquad from the final season.
* TokenMiniMoe Yuki from ''Manga/{{Saki}}'' managed to gather quite a fanbase, even though she acts primarily as a comic sidekick.
** Momoko also has got her share of followers later in the series, perhaps due to her [[LesYay interaction with Yumi]]. Heck, she's popular enough to become the cover girl for Vol. 5, even though she only appears briefly there and has had very limited screentime beforehand. She only started appearing during the second half of the second to last match of the finals, [[spoiler:[[{{Invisibility}} 11111literally]]]].
** Hisa is also quite popular because of her competency and generally cool demeanor.
* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' brings us Hishigi, a [[{{Bishonen}} Biseinen]] AntiVillain, whose badass and IronWoobie traits, along with a truly impressive level of HoYay with Fubuki, turned him from a fairly minor character into this.
* In ''Manga/SasamekiKoto'', Kiyori's dry humor garnered her a significant fanbase, which got propelled by the way she is presented in the anime. This is an impressive feat for a straight female character in a [[GirlsLove yuri]] series, although her cute, laconic laugh ("ha-ha-HAAA") may have a lot do do with this.
* Eri and Yakumo's love triangle with Harima have caused them to eclipse Tenma as ''Manga/SchoolRumble'''s most popular female characters.
* Joe Asakura in ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman'' was initially not planned to be a major character, and instead would have taken a backseat to Ken, Jun, and Jinpei (who were to be the main characters). The original production art of him even shows that he was to be the third in rank, with Jun being second-in-command, but their numbers got switched last-minute in production. His popularity with fans caused Tatsunoko to make him more of a feature character as the show went on, and extended to the sequel series where [[spoiler:the previously "dead" Joe returns with cybernetic enhancements and gets even more screentime]]. This popularity even got him into the American port (And Japanese Expansion) of ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom''.
* Likewise, ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'''s "''[[JapanesePronouns ore]]-onna''" Yun instantly became very popular with fans, much to the surprise of the producers, which may have taken a RedShirt off of her. She later became very important, picking up a StoryArc meant for another character.
** Yun's best buds Rodoreamon and Mamiina are also fan-favourites and [[TearJerker their]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming subplot]] had many fans even more invested in it than in the ''main'' plot.
* As soon as Kate appeared in ''Anime/SketchbookFullColors'', she immediately pushed the other characters off stage--including Sora, the original protagonist. In the manga her role soon got relegated to word jokes, but her introduction halfway through the anime made sure that she is likely the most-recognized character from that series.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'': Among the less-major characters, [[TheMedic Sylphiel's]] replacement in the third season of the anime, [[{{Tsundere}} Filia]], has become extremely popular because of her status as an adorable, [[PluckyGirl headstrong, and mighty]] Golden Dragon with a lovely human form. Her being paired with [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Xellos]] is more or less one of the most popular pairings of the franchise.
** Xellos himself is also well-loved: an [[NighInvulnerable allmighty]] demon who [[LovableTraitor loves to tease]] and is probably the biggest mastermind of ''any'' character, even moreso than some of the gods and demons that are stronger than he is.
* ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'' has several despite it being a ContestedSequel.
** The villain Wolfrun has gained a surprising amount of popularity, almost to DracoInLeatherPants level. One day after the first episode of Smile Pretty Cure, Japanese art site, pixiv, displayed about 5 pages of fan art of him, a lot of it even [[CrackPairing pairing him with Miyuki]].
** Joker isn't immune from this either, particularly at {{Tumblr}}.
** After episode 23, Majorina in her more powerful AND sexy form is also getting this treatment, with quite a handful of Pixiv fanarts just hours after the episode aired.
** Ikuyo Hoshizora probably has more fanart on pixiv than any other Precure mother in the entire franchise.
** Yayoi Kise[=/=]Cure Peace. You know you're an EnsembleDarkhorse when you get [[Toys/SHFiguarts action figures]] ''before'' the the team leader does, ''and'' you have more member favorites on your MyAnimeList [[http://myanimelist.net/character/53673/Yayoi_Kise character sheet]] than [[http://myanimelist.net/character/54009/Miyuki_Hoshizora hers]] by a factor of nearly 3 to 1!
** The Bad End Precures received fan art on Pixiv ''a week before their debut episode even aired.''
** Pop is also loved for generally being much more tolerable and mature than Candy
* Anice Farm is this for ''Anime/SonicSoldierBorgman'', as evidenced by the fact that much of the show's promotional art features her and sometimes ''ONLY'' her, she still gets shitloads of fanart ''to this very day'' [[note]]the series first aired in 1988[[/note]] and she's one of the first things you see when you Google search this show in ''ANY'' capacity.
* Excalibur in ''Manga/SoulEater'' has become a [[MemeticMutation meme]] on that imageboard. His legend began in the 12th century.
** Stein is also very popular in fandom. The professor is a secondary character.
** Soul's older brother, Wes, is fairly popular, particularly with fanfiction writers. This is surprising given that every scene he appears in is either a flashback, or an illusion, that Soul is having. He never makes a proper appearance in series, and so what little we know of him comes from Soul's, most likely, skewed perception. But even so, he is more than often used in several fanworks.
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'':
** Shiro Sanada (Sandor in ''Star Blazers'') was unusually popular. Unusual because although he wasn't as old as Okita or Tokugawa, he was still considerably older than Kodai, Shima, Yuki, and the other young characters. This usually means that he would be in line to get killed off (along with the other older characters) so that the story can focus on the younger characters development. This did not happen and he went on to become, after Kodai, the most longeval character in the Yamato Saga. [[spoiler: In the most recent installment, ''Space Battleship Yamato: Ressurection'', Sanada (now head of the EDF) now outranks his old captain, Kodai]]
** Saburo Kato (Conroy in ''Star Blazers'') was also unexpectedly popular that the producers [[spoiler: regretted killing him off in the Yamato II series. They made up for it by introducing his younger brother Shiro Kato in the next installment. ''Star Blazers'' viewers won't notice the difference, however.]]
** Desler/Desslok was an EnsembleDarkhorse because he was so good at being bad. And because he was quite a Woobie when [[spoiler:his planet was destroyed by the Star Force.]]
* The North Maiden from ''Anime/StarDriver'' became very popular with parts of the fandom, even though she only appeared for 8 episodes. So much that it surprised the creators.
* Chikaru from ''LightNovel/StrawberryPanic'', with her cosplay outfits, QuirkyMinibossSquad, and casual indifference to the [[SchoolgirlLesbians girl-on-girl action taken to ridiculous extremes]], {{Wangst}}, and overall insanity quickly won her a spot in the fans' hearts.
* Boof from ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'' seems to get more merchandise than the lead character of the show, Witzy, or any of the other characters for that matter.
* Why is the almighty [[FanNickname Bruce Ironstaunch]] from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' so awesome? Because of his [[BicepPolishingGesture BICEP. POLISHING. GESTURE]], that's why.
** Also there's BeamSpam Mc Muppet, also occasionally known as Attenborough. He's mainly known for being the king of the WorfBarrage.
** Of course, they both pale in comparison to Guame; TheDragon of the first half.
* Keith Goodman a.k.a. Sky High from ''Anime/TigerAndBunny''. Biglobe ISP conducted a character popularity survey of most of the shows from the spring 2011 anime season. Behind the title duo (Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr.), Sky High was the most popular character in the series...[[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-06-13/biglobe-poll/favorite-character-in-spring-2011-anime And the entire season.]]
* ''Manga/ToLoveRu'': Yui is far and away the most popular girl in the cast. Momo also has a rather large fanbase in proportion to her screentime (which isn't that much), but nowhere near as much as Yui. Not surprising, since {{tsundere}} characters are usually always popular and Yui is pretty much a textbook example of a Type A tsundere.
** Mikan also is very popular, especially outside Japan.
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[[folder:U-Y]]
* Arguably, Lum in ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'', to the point where Creator/RumikoTakahashi was ''forced'' to [[ReTool retool]] the OfficialCouple from [[CasanovaWannabe Ataru]] and [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend Shinobu]] to Ataru and Lum. This is probably the reason for Takahashi's [[CleaningUpRomanticLooseEnds backlash against unintended fanon pairings]] in later series, as a safeguard against this kind of situation happening again.
* Askeladd of ''Manga/VinlandSaga'' is much more popular then the main character. Thorkell as well, though not to the same extent as Askeladd.
* Ask any ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' fan who their favorite character is, and chances are it'll be Dilandau, the [[WhiteHairBlackHeart white haired]], [[RedEyesTakeWarning red-eyed]], [[VocalDissonance squeaky]] [[AndrewFrancis voiced]], absolutely AxCrazy BloodKnight {{Jerkass}} PsychoForHire {{Bishonen}} who spends his days Bright-slapping his Dragonslayers, getting revenge on TheHero Van Fanel for scratching his face, disobeying his superiors, and setting things on fire ForTheEvulz. The fact that he has the [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau45.htm wildest]], [[http://www.100megspopup.com/catgurlmerle/dilscreamsvan.jpg craziest]], [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau59.htm and]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau118.htm wackiest]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau123.htm facial]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau128.htm expressions]] in the series and that he's voiced by Creator/MinamiTakayama in the Japanese version only cemented his popularity. Folken and Jajuka also get a lot of love too.
* ''Anime/{{Witchblade}}'': In a series full of scantily-clad women duking it out, it might surprise some that the fan favorite is typically Rihoko, the main character's adorable 6 year-old daughter.
* Danboard (Danbo) in ''Manga/{{Yotsuba}}'' is a mere cardboard robot suit and a one-shot character in Volume 5, however when it comes to merchandising, various Danboard action figures (primarily manufactured by Kaiyodo, Kotobukiya and Sen-Ti-Nel) are prominently used for photography, notably "365 Days of Danbo" by Arielle Nadel. Today, Danboard has spawned a huge variety of merchandises, from bags, USB hub to wireless LAN routers.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'''s Seto Kaiba gets this to such a degree that one could argue liking ''Yugi'', the ''main character'', is rarer.
** TheAbridgedSeries noticed this, of course, and delivered the following (Along with a note that Kaiba was going [[AnimatedActors way off script]]):
-->'''Kaiba''' (to Yugi): Can it, you loser! Do you have any idea how sick I am of your posing?! You're pathetic! Nobody cares about you! I'm the only reason people watch Yu-Gi-Oh! Me, Seto Kaiba! I have all the cool gadgets, I have the all best outfits, and I have all the most powerful monsters! Nobody would be watching this movie right now if it weren't for me, so just this once, I deserve to win!
** The easiest way to tell how popular Kaiba was at any point in the manga is how much taller he is than his original appearance. Where he was only tall compared to Yuugi initially, he gradually became taller, darker, and more handsome as time went by.
** On a related note, the character Tetsu Ushio, who before was known only as the first person to lose to Yami Yugi in a Dark Game, got a shot in the arm as a villain-ish character in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds''.
*** To top that off, Ushio has now started running around with the main characters as part of the group.
*** And in the dub, he's voiced by none other than Yami Yugi himself, '''[[Creator/DanGreen DAN GREEN!]]'''
*** Team Taiyou, both in and out-of-universe. Everybody roots for the underdog, but Taiyou pulled it off with such aplomb - a group of reasonably-skilled players from the countryside, named for the rising sun of hope, saddled with Decks full of ComMons not worth their paper and the living embodiment of AwesomeButImpractical for an ace card, riding a D-Wheel held together with tape and force of will. Not only did they match the main characters at every turn through superior tactics and teamwork, but they did so using a Stall/Burn strategy, in a season where AttackAttackAttack was the order of the day. Though the WRGP Arc is often regarded as a sufferer of SeasonalRot, Taiyou's arc is basically the only thing everyone agreed to be fantastic, with the only common complaint being that [[BrokenAesop they lose.]]
*** Carly Nagisa is well-loved by the fanbase for being an {{Adorkable}} LoveInterest to Jack Atlas not only by fans who ship them but also a full-fledged female character who perform her role as a DarkActionGirl quite well [[note]]Considering the franchise reputation for their treatment of females, it says a lot[[/note]]. It got to the point that her [[DemotedToExtra drastically reduced screentime]] and role as just another fangirl widely reviled.
** The card game itself arguably fits this. Originally it was only going to appear once, but the fan demand for it to return was so high that the series ended up being about it.
** Of the four new students introduced in the third season of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Jim "Crocodile" Cook is generally the most well-liked. This is partly due to the others having major BaseBreakingCharacter and SpotlightStealingSquad tendencies, and partly because... well, he was just a NiceGuy. It's pretty clear that nobody expected him to be a popular character: [[TooCoolToLive he dies first]], only [[MerchandiseDriven two of his cards]] were ever released in real life, and he vanishes altogether from the fourth season. To the fandom, though, he ended up being an incredibly likeable and slightly CrazyAwesome character (he carries a crocodile on his back at all times).
* [[FragileSpeedster Hiei]] was originally supposed to be nothing more than ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'''s StarterVillain, but fans kept asking when they were going to see him again, so when [[TheChessmaster Kurama]] was brought in to become part of the team, Hiei came with him.
* ''Anime/YuriOnIce'' has several:
** Mila Babicheva and Sara Crispino, the two female ice skaters of the show actually have quite the fanbase. They are beautiful, funny, intelligent and offscreen, quite the badasses, as they are ranked 3rd and 4th in the world. Not only that, but Sara/Mila is actually quite the popular ship.
** Phichit, Yuri's best friend from Detroit, who is an {{Adorkable}} NiceGuy. His popularity was upped even more when he was confirmed as a ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor.
** Leo de la Iglesia is popular with American fans for not being the typical [[PhenotypeStereotype blonde, blue-eyed]] and [[{{Eagleland}} bombastic]] American commonly seen in anime, since he's Mexican-American and pretty down to earth.
** Christophe was initially [[BaseBreaker quite divisive]], but episode 10 showing him as Victor's OnlyFriend and confidant, as well as another ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor upped his popularity. Before that, he already had his fair share of fans for his sex appeal, personality and hilarity.
** Otabek's popularity skyrocketed, even though he was the last ice skater introduced. His sweet friendship with Yurio, as well as his cool guy looks and being TheComicallySerious helped a lot to fall in the fans' good graces, who started to [[AbandonShipping jumping ship from J.J./Yurio]] to Otabek/Yurio.
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Most anime are well-known for their LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, especially when they are LongRunners. Sometimes those characters weren't meant to be all that special, and sometimes, they can't even be considered part of the main cast. Whatever the case, they ended up fan favorites.

[[index]]
* EnsembleDarkhorse/{{Gundam}}
* EnsembleDarkhorse/{{Naruto}}
* EnsembleDarkhorse/DragonBall
[[/index]]

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[[folder:A-D]]
* ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'':
** LoveGoddess Peorth has quite a following.
** All of its antagonists are {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s, to a degree, because of how badass and/or sympathetic they are: [[TheRival Sayoko]], [[NobleDemon Mara]], and [[{{Satan}} Hild]]. Unfortunately, Hild has more or less displaced the other two as of late.
* Makoto of ''Anime/AKB0048''. She easily has the least amount of screentime of the main understudies, alongside Linda, yet she still manages to rank 3rd on the official popularity poll, behind the two mains. She's very popular among the western fanbase, as well.
* For reasons that can't really be explained to outsiders (in part because we don't even quite know), the ''Manga/{{Akira}}'' fandom has a good-sized faction of obsessive Kai fans. Despite the fact that he gets about five lines in the film, never becomes more than a minor character in the manga, and most of the more casual fans don't even seem to notice him at all.
* In ''Manga/AliceAcademy'', Kokoroyomi, with the Alice of {{telepathy}}, definitely qualifies.
* ''VideoGame/{{Amagami}} SS'' has Miya Tachibana, the sister of the protagonist himself. Fans on both sides of the continent love her more than the other characters themselves. [[spoiler: [[BrotherSisterIncest There are more squicky reasons as well.]]]]
* ''Anime/AngelBeats'':
** TK is a one-dimensional side-character with almost no dialog, but in a [[http://www.tulip-tv.co.jp/research/index.html?TID_DT03=20100409104230&NO_RESEARCH=0&TOP_RESEARCH_RESULT=68 popularity poll]] shortly after the start of the series he was one of the only two characters (the other being the {{Moe}} antagonist) who got hundreds of thousands of votes, while the main viewpoint characters got just a few hundred. Of course, what with speaking almost entirely in silly GratuitousEnglish {{CatchPhrase}}s and acting like a cross between an action hero and Music/MichaelJackson, he may be an intentional example.
** Though not so much as TK, [[{{Ninja}} Shiina]] seems very popular as well. Her AloofDarkHairedGirl qualities along with her obsession with cute things seemed to have earned her a lot of points with the fans.
* ''Manga/AngelSanctuary'' has in a cast of dozens (or even hundreds) at the very least one character who didn't live to the end (damn, he didn't live through the first arc) but when he was finally killed got a whole chapter dedicated to him and his awesomeness (even the side bar was all about how Kaori felt for him to die and the fans were worried about what would become of him afterwards so it was included in the last chapter's epilogue). Meh, talking about Katou Yue here, of course.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''
** [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Sasha Blouse]] quickly became this after her [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments potato scene]] and for her many comedic facial expressions. [[spoiler:Her going BadassNormal on a Titan in the ''Breach Arc'' with a bow and arrows only cemented her popularity.]]
** Levi's squadmates have gotten a lot of respect from fans, [[NiceGal Petra]] especially. [[spoiler:They all end up being killed off, however.]]
** Bertolt is pretty popular for someone with [[TheQuietOne not many lines]] and notably less screentime than the other trainees. Especially on certain imageboards, where he is hailed as some sort of {{moe}} [[MemeticMutation Memetic]] [[TheWoobie Woobie]] due to his sweating and his awkward and distressed facial expressions. [[spoiler: And then it turns out he's the Colossal Titan that kickstarted (no pun intended) the plot and thus one of the most relevant characters]].
** [[ExaggeratedTrope Exaggerated]] and PlayedForLaughs with the so-called "[[http://i.imgur.com/cfXLLFbl.jpg Kawaii Titan]]". People keep making it out to be a marvellous, beautiful, innocent creature that had its life horribly cut short by Mikasa in the Warehouse battle, despite the fact that it was responsible for killing Mina Carolina and came scarily close to killing Sasha as well.
** Speaking of, Mina as well. She's a simple MauveShirt with only about a page's worth of dialogue before she's munched by the Kawaii Titan during the squad's [[CurbStompBattle ill-fated First Battle of Trost]], but she's got a surprising amount of attention from the fandom.
** Hange, Levi's [[TheLancer Lancer]], is extremely popular among Western fans for being ''crazy''.
** Rico as well, [[spoiler:[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome especially after that time she gouged a Titan's eye out]]]].
** Marco gained a lot of respect [[spoiler:after his death in Trost]].
** [[ThoseTwoGuys Marlo and Hitch]], Annie's squadmates from her ADayInTheLimelight subplot seem to be pretty popular, being dubbed 'unicops' by the fandom. [[spoiler: [[TheBusCameBack Turns out they're not just one-off characters, either.]]]]
* The female characters from ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', despite having quite sporadic apparitions [[CastFullOfPrettyBoys in an almost all-male cast]] (some having considerably more screen time than others), have gained quite the following, such as Hungary (OtakuSurrogate and NinjaMaid), Belarus (whose over-the-top {{Yandere}} traits have been embraced by a fandom that would normally bash her for them), Ukraine (Belarus's older sister, a mix of ShrinkingViolet and {{Bokukko}} whose boyish beauty makes some female fans [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer wet, hot and bothered]]) and lately the {{Anime Chinese Girl}}s Vietnam and Taiwan. And that's not yet even getting to the Nyotalia versions of the characters...
** O, Canada. (No, he really doesn't appear with the Allies as much as fanfic might make you think.)
** In the LJ based fandom, Bulgaria (who briefly appared in two panels and a very recent anime episode, as a brunet boy who looks a bit like a shorthaired China) and Thailand (recently introduced East Asian male {{Meganekko}}) are starting to get this fame as well. HotBlooded [[EvilAlbino Prussia]] is already there, tho.
*** Prussia, especially War of Austrian Succession Prussia, shows up at incredibly high levels of representation at any event involving Hetalia cosplay.
** Scotland. He's appeared once as a reference to England's miserable childhood (not even in person mind you) but is still extremely popular with the western fandom.
** Let's not even go into the huge amounts of love towards the mochi with America's face that appeared once or twice in Himaruya's blog, known as [[FanNickname "Mochimerica" or "Ameri Blob"]]. It's so popular that the Japanese fanartists often use it as a CensorBox in their porny fanarts involving America.
** The Nordics are gaining more and more popularity lately, specially [[BoisterousBruiser Denmark]] and [[DeadpanSnarker Norway]].
** The Baltic Trio ended up with some element of this, particularly after the strips of Lithuania's scars, Latvia's Yandere potential and Estonia in Bloodbath 2010.
** And did you guys forget about Holland? Ever since he finally stopped being TheFaceless, the fandom has fallen all over him.
** "Herr Stick" and the Flying Mint Bunny, thanks to the dub.
*** Flying Mint Bunny became popular enough to get a plushified form.
** From [[FountainOfMemes epic]] [[Memes/HetaliaBloodbath2010 2010 Christmas Bloodbath]], England's secretary [[FanNickname Workbitch Bartholomew]], [[SexySecretary who's really quite]] [[MrFanservice good looking.]]
*** Also thanks to the Bloodbath, Iceland's started getting quite a lot of attention from fans for his unique combination of suaveness, awkward {{moe}} cuteness, and {{Bishounen}} appearance.
** It's a safe bet that as of 2012, a good chunk of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters massive cast]] have become this. And it's pretty clear that Himaruya is also aware of this as well.
* ''LightNovel/BakaAndTestSummonTheBeasts'' has Hideyoshi Kinoshita himself. [[DudeLooksLikeALady There's]] [[StupidSexyFlanders a]] [[ViewerGenderConfusion reason]] [[AttractiveBentGender why]] [[UnsettlingGenderReveal he's]] [[EvenTheGuysWantHim popular.]] Heck, on one of the polls, he's ranked '''THE MOST''' popular LightNovel character, beating out [[LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}} Araragi]], [[LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex Touma]], and [[LightNovel/SeitokaiNoIchizon Ken]].
** Just like Taniguchi and Misao, Hideyoshi also got his own solo ImageSong after the series. All three series were produced under Lantis, so this may be the case for any future Ensemble Darkhorses from a series they sponsor.
* In ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'', [[TheSlacker Hiramaru]], a side character who does not interact with or impact the main characters much, reached third in the popularity polls, past Takagi and [[LoveInterest Azuki]], while [[TheRival Eiji Nizuma]] took first place, also surpassing Mashiro.
* ''Manga/BattleRoyale'' has Takako Chigusa. Her CrowningMomentOfAwesome was when she stopped [[MemeticMolester Kazuhi Niida]] from raping her by stomping his nuts. In the live action movie, it was taken up a level when she stabbed him in his junk. Probably why Creator/QuentinTarantino chose ChiakiKuriyama to play [[Film/KillBill Go Go Yubari]].
* [[NiceGuy Judeau]] from ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' has only a limited role yet he is one of the most popular characters of the series due to his "average joe" stance and his genuine kindness that stands out in comparison to the [[BlackAndGreyMorality often assholish main characters]].
** Other examples include Slan, the female Godhand that often elicits fetish, and Luca, the HookerWithAHeartOfGold of the Convictions Arc with PluckyGirl undertones, one of the few genuinely good characters of the series.
* ''Manga/BlackButler'':
** Undertaker was probably never supposed to be as popular as he is. His voice in the anime might have something to do with it.
** Also: Grell Sutcliff in her[[note]]Grell is male-to-female transgender according to WordOfGod[[/note]] shinigami form, hoo boy. She had maybe a chapter in the manga, and she got so popular that she became a recurring character in the anime.
** There's an in-universe example in one of the OVA. Some children are bored when they watch the play ''Hamlet'' but they all love a character in particular, a seaweed played by Ran Mao.
* Roberta from ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' easily qualifies. It's not hard to see why as the moment she shows up in [[WretchedHive Roanapur]] the body count skyrockets. This in a town where murder is only a crime if you haven't paid off the police chief or are interrupting his golf game.
** Sawyer The Cleaner is a [[ElegantGothicLolita goth]] body disposal expert with a throat scar, voice synthesizer and a [[ChainsawGood huge freaking chainsaw]]. She only appears in one arc in the anime but it's [[FreakyIsCool pretty obvious why]] she's become so popular with the fans.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Creator/TiteKubo has admitted the popularity of Gin, Hisagi and the Espada was unexpected and did cause him some problems: Gin was designed to be creepy but the character experienced DracoInLeatherPants to a degree the author hadn't anticipated; Hisagi was a bit-character with no character expansion, so the author felt the fans jumped the gun in attaching themselves to a character they knew nothing about; The Espada were supposed to be quickly killed off in Good vs. Evil battles, but the unexpected popularity of Ulquiorra, Grimmjow and Starrk led to ExecutiveMeddling that generated ArcFatigue.
* ''Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner'': Gosterro, in a LoveToHate kind of way. Let's see, in ''VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars'', [[spoiler:he's the TrueFinalBoss inside the [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Devil Gundam]]]], and gets his own theme called [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZVid_i-1Zw&list=PL4hlNrdSAMaTxDzIgY3DUHZVJqtQlWx-E&index=27 Heavy Blow]] for Super Robot Wars OE. Not bad for a low-level starter villain-turned-miniboss.n
* ''Manga/BlueExorcist:'' Renzou Shima for his SugarWiki/FunnyMoments and interesting character development starting after the Illuminati Arc. His brothers, Juuzou and Kinzou are pretty popular too.
** Amaimon, who even managed to out-rank Rin (you know, TheHero) in the popularity poll.
** Reiji Shiratori, and the demon that possessed him in the anime, Astaroth, have quite a bit of fanart despite being only a StarterVillain that hasn't appeared again after the first episode.
* ''Manga/BoboboboBobobo'': Pickles, a designated ButtMonkey one-off character, won a "which character would you like to see again" popularity poll in Japan, and was thus given an integral role in the final arc of the series.
** [[LadyOfWar Torpedo Girl]] herself was also on that list; she and her EvilCounterpart OVER are among the many darkhorses of the franchise.
** [[ButtMonkey Jelly Jiggler]] was originally going to be a one-off character (similar to Pickles), but fans clamored for him to appear more during the early days of the manga. Yoshio Sawai then made him a part of the main cast.
** Rice is extremely popular [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff in the western fandom]], despite only fighting two major battles in the entire series.
* Lucy of ''Manga/BungouStrayDogs'' is fairly popular for someone who's only had a few appearances of note.
** Chuuya could have easily fallen into obscurity, had he not been attached to fan favorite Dazai as a former partner. Due to his popularity, he's the only one to have a "true form" of his ability and he's one of the most featured characters in merchandise (alongside the more obvious picks Dazai, the protagonist Atsushi and first-introduced-antagonist Akutagawa).
* Shizuku from ''Anime/CandyBoy'' manages to nearly completely overshadow her [[{{Twincest}} lovey-dovey older sisters]], even though she has only been around for about three episodes.
* ''Anime/CasshernSins'' has Sophita, a one shot character who shows up on a surprising percentage of fanart.
* An old fan favorite from ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' is Kaori Kanzaki. She even got her own spin off novel.
** Also, thanks to the ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'' anime, Saten and Harumi are very popular too. Saten has even taken over Mikoto herself on sites like NicoNicoDouga.
** Due to her recent many appearances in the light novels and the anime [[spoiler: Itsuwa]] is rather popular also.
** Accelerator's got a pretty big fanbase due to how AxCrazy [[CrazyAwesome Awesome]] he is.
* Thanks to the SoBadItsGood, [[MemeticMutation meme-spawning]] nature of the show, ''Anime/ChargemanKen'' has many of these. The most notable case would be Hoshi - he only appeared in the 4th out of 65 episodes, and still has more fanart and time in [=MADs=] (Japanese [[WebAnimation/YouTubePoop YTPMV]]s) than the main character.
* Tomoyo Sakagami from ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}''. She is one of the main heroines (including Kyou, another cast darkhorse) that doesn't have a dedicated arc for her in the anime (unlike Fuko and Kotomi). And the result? A special episode set in an alternate universe where Tomoya ends up with ''her'' instead of [[FirstGirlWins Nagisa]]. And then there's the sequel to her VisualNovel route, ''Tomoyo After''...
** A second Tomoyo-centric manga named [[http://www.akibaos.com/img/2008/10/08/20081008b11s.jpg Clannad - Tomoyo Dearest]] just got released, and said to be taking around After Story, not some Tomoyo After re-interpretation...
** The same could be said for [[{{Tsundere}} Kyou]]. She's backed by her army of [[FanBoy rabid fanboys]].
*** Especially after that [[{{fanservice}} gym locker scene]]....
*** Note that Kyou also got her own [[{{Alternate Universe}} AU]] special where she ends up getting with Tomoya.
** The reasons why Tomoyo and Kyou don't have an arc in the anime is because their arc is romantic and completely conflicts with Nagisa's. It just wouldn't work even if you have Tomoya cheating on everyone since it would ruin everything, especially "After Story."
** [[VisualNovel/SchoolDays Besides, we all know what happens when a guy decides to boink all the girls...]]
* Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is one of the poster boys for the Ensemble Darkhorse. Initially little more than a racist minor villain, the soul-crushingly [[HumiliationConga humiliating]] way in which [[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] bests him turned him into both TheWoobie (or the ChewToy) and an IneffectualSympatheticVillain - with a fan-following big enough that the producers rewrote his entire storyline, [[spoiler:preemptively sparing him from an ignoble early death and bringing him back for the Season 1 finale as a CrazyAwesome cyborg, who then goes on to [[LevelGrinding level grind]] [[TookALevelInBadass in badass]], pulls a HeelFaceTurn and eventually gets one of the happiest endings.]] His first full appearance in the second season even seems to include a tip of the hat to the fans, as his last line of dialog seems to be directed more at the viewers than the person to whom he is speaking. This was picked up on by the English dub and he was voiced by fan favorite Creator/CrispinFreeman, who delivered that RealitySubtext line ''perfectly''.
** It may be hard to remember, but Ohgi was originally something of a fan favorite amongst the Black Knights, being a VoiceOfReason and his belief in Zero as lampshaded at the end of the Narita battle. This was all of course before he stage dived into scrappydom the following season after several rash decisions culminated in [[spoiler:[[EtTuBrute the betrayal]]]].
** One of the few Black Knights who have remained on the good side of the [[BrokenBase fickle fandom]] is Shinichiro Tamaki, Zero's #1 fanboy. Tamaki [[TheFool dodged either death or serious injury so many times]] that fans eventually warmed up to him [[spoiler: and were ready to mourn the guy when he faced ''Suzaku''. Once again, Tamaki's luck didn't run out and he lived to talk about it, so his fans rejoiced]].
** Mao as well, sensational [[OneSceneWonder three episode wonder]] that he is, with all those fanclubs he has scattered over popular websites. And the sheer amount of fanmade media of him. And the [[MemeticMutation memes]] associated with him. And his status as a BaseBreakingCharacter and a DracoInLeatherPants. And [[http://mao.lamperouge.net his own fanlisting]]. And [[http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mao=2 his appearance in URBAN DICTIONARY]]. And then there are all those {{fan girl}}s who still demand more of him, and at least one critic has compared him with Lelouch and found '''Lelouch''' wanting. In fact, one of his fans has now written a PerspectiveFlip version of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' with Mao as [[AscendedExtra the protagonist]], the aptly named Fanfic/CodeGeassMaoOfTheDeliverance.
** For being characters that serve little purpose other than to look cute and die quickly and unsympathetically after less than a minute's worth the screentime (or less than 5 seconds in the case of the former; see: {{mooks}}), the Valkyrie Squad and Monica have more fan art than many of the other female characters that are relative mainstays.
*** Part of this may be due to their minor but significant role in the novel: serving as Cornelia's squad-girls in combat, they're also used to provoke discussion with Cornelia, doing a great deal to flesh out Cornelia's nature. It may be because of being popular from this appearance that they were permitted to appear in the animation at all.
** Guilford has a decent fanbase, being one of the more down to Earth Britannians, and for [[FanPreferredCouple anyone who ships him and his charge, Cornelia]].
** Urabe, the first of the Four Holy Swords [[spoiler:to bite it in R2, for [[HeroicSacrifice sacrificing himself in order to buy Lelouch and the rest of the Black Knights in Babel Tower enough time to escape, and kill Viceroy Calares]]. That he proclaimed his belief in and willingness to sacrifice himself for Lelouch was not lost on the fans, particularly after most of the remaining Black Knights later [[EtTuBrute turned on Lelouch]] after being manipulated by [[ManipulativeBastard Schneizel]]]].
* Mad Pierrot of the twentieth episode of ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' has no relevance to the over-all MythArc, appeared in all of one episode, and was never spoken of or mentioned again. Yet, outside of the main cast, he is easily one of the most popular characters in the series.
* ''Manga/CrayonShinChan'' has Happiness Bunny and Action Bastard.
* ''Anime/CrossAnge'' has [[{{Meido}} Momoka Oginome]]. No, not [[Anime/MawaruPenguindrum ''that'']] [[Anime/MawaruPenguindrum Momoka Oginome]]. We're talking about the inverse of the TeamNormal, who possesses UndyingLoyalty to her FallenPrincess and who can effectively resist the mind control of the BigBad, who has [[BrainwashedAndCrazy inflicted extreme]] FantasticRacism [[BrainwashedAndCrazy onto her kind.]] Even getting a CrowningMomentOfAwesome of killing the BigBad ([[DeathIsCheap at least for once]]) and surviving against him [[FunnyMoments with a frying pan]].
* Kanda of ''Manga/DGrayMan'' is so insanely popular that he's even managed to beat out Allen (a [[{{Bishonen}} gorgeous]], adorable man) in popularity polls on occasion. Once it was when the anime had him briefly PutOnABus, even.
** Despite receiving less attention as time goes on, [[BarrierWarrior Miranda's]] popularity has increased with each successive popularity poll, and by the fourth one she reached ''fifth'', surpassing the consistently popular [[{{Adorkable}} Krory]].
* Western fans of ''Manga/DailyLifeWithMonsterGirl'' have taken a liking to the unnamed, high-strung policeman (AKA "Bike Cop") who is a RecurringExtra at best. In fact, artists and fanfic writers have started developing '''his''' daily life with monster girls, specifically the ones from the most harmful or troublesome subspecies. [[http://imgur.com/a/f7qNW/layout/horizontal#0 Here are]] some examples.
* ''Manga/DailyLivesOfHighSchoolBoys'':
** The weirdest example on this page might be the fact that the supposed protagonist of the series is an Ensemble Darkhorse. Since Tadakuni is the GenericGuy with no backstory whatsoever, he gets OutOfFocus after the ''first volume'' (after episode 5 in the anime), to the point that he's missing for entire volumes. And since it's a SliceOfLife series without any plot, neither his absence nor presence has impact to the series at all. Despite his status, he's one of the most popular characters, even more popular than this two quirky best friends and co-stars, who never lost any screentime.
** Yassan the Literature Girl is very popular due to her hilarious and (failed) romantic relationship with Hidenori.
** Toshiyuki Karasawa and Habara are also very popular thanks to them sharing a past, particular because of Habara's backstory as Archdemon. They also tend to take the top spots in popularity polls.
* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of Andou, and her talent. [[spoiler:Not even her contribution to Kyoko's [[BrokenBase divisive]] resurrection stopped the love; people who dislike it don't hold it against her, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone Seiko finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]
** Similarly to Seiko and carrying over his status from [[EnsembleDarkhorse/VisualNovels the visual novels]], Izuru is praised as one of the best parts of ''Side:Despair'', despite not even appearing until it was halfway done. He sealed the fandom's love by continuing to be a MemeticBadass, being one of the few characters in a {{Flanderized}} cast to receive CharacterDevelopment, said development clearing up his AmbiguouslyEvil nature for the better while still keeping him complex, and his [[StarCrossedLovers touching but tragic relationship with Chiaki]].
* Goran, a [[{{Lzherusskie}} Russian (well, the name itsef is Serbian, but it's at least somewhat plausible)]] contractor from the second season of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', who [[spoiler:apparently got himself killed]] with less than half-episode of screentime, managed to acquire a hugely active Instant Fandom seemingly just by [[BigEater eating hamburgers]] [[{{Bishonen}} cutely]].
* Ask any ''LightNovel/DateALive'' fan which character would they like to see more of and chances are that their answer is [[CuteAndPsycho Kurumi]]. How good is she? She's literally the difference between a bottom tier TwelveEpisodeAnime and a top tier one. People hated the first 6 episodes but loved the next 3 episodes for a reason.
* Matt from ''Manga/DeathNote'' has a huge amount of fans despite only appearing for a few panels. Probably because he's badass, gives a snarky one-liner before [[spoiler: getting killed]], drives a CoolCar, fires off a smoke bomb so Mello can kidnap Takada, plays [[VideoGameCulture video games]] and is good with electronics, seems to be pretty well-adjusted [[OnlySaneMan compared to the other Wammy's kids]], is quite handsome under his goggles, and has a rather [[HoYay ambiguous]] [[HeterosexualLifePartners relationship]] with Mello.
** Matsuda. Starts out as the ButtMonkey, only to get progressively more and more awesome, including his DayInTheLimelight where he kicks major ass. By the final episode, where he [[spoiler: ''shoots Light multiple times'' while [[ShutUpHannibal calling him out for what he did to his father,]]]] he's firmly catapulted into this status.
** Aizawa has a sizeable fanbase. He's smart enough to know what's going on without being a super genius, he's committed to catching Kira while also [[WhatTheHellHero calling L out for his extreme methods,]] and... the afro. Can't forget the afro.
** Also Naomi Misora, who not only got a spin-off prequel novel focusing on her, but a bigger role in the Live Action movie. The director of those films flat-out said he felt the character was terribly wasted in the manga. Also Beyond Birthday, the villain of that novel, is also an Ensemble Darkhorse.
* ''Manga/DescendantsOfDarkness'''s highly enthusiastic scientist, [[HotScientist Watari]]. In spite of only being a secondary character, he has a [[MrFanservice ton of fangirls]].
* ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' is full of these! Which isn't surprising, considering how [[LongRunners long the show's been running]].
** First ones that come to mind are [[TeenGenius Hattori Heiji]] and [[BelligerentSexualTension Toyama Kazuha]], the series' BetaCouple.
** Most of the [[CanonImmigrant cast]] of ''Manga/MagicKaito'' are dark horses when they appear in Detective Conan, most notably the [[PhantomThief Kaitou Kid]] himself, who some fans like even more than the main character, Shinichi.
** The Kaitou Kid's rival, [[ClockKing Hakuba Saguru]], despite being something of an ensemble Dark Horse within Magic Kaito itself, still has a rather large fan following among Detective Conan fans, despite having only appeared in two DC story arcs and [[spoiler: sort-of]] one movie.
** The officers Satou and Takagi are also big fan-favorites.
** Matsuda Jinpei, Satou's ex-half-boyfriend, appeared only in flashbacks for about three episodes, having died years before the events of the manga began, yet he got his own keyhole appearance on the back cover and is sometimes considered one of the (admittedly numerous) main characters.
** Natsumi Koshimizu was also a highly popular character in her only appearance in the Detective Koshien case. Helping her case was that she was the first female AmateurSleuth with a tomboy personality. However she cannot make any more appearances due to [[spoiler: being the case's SympatheticMurderer]]. She did become the inspiration for future addition Masumi Sera.
* In ''Anime/DigimonXrosWars'', Blastmon is essentially a fan-favorite. His child-like behavior, his nonchalant approach to his duties, and his LargeHam way of speaking made him an instant favorite.
** Nene Amano is also very well-loved by many. And from [[Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime the sequel series]], we have Airu, the [[{{Moe}} cute]] and often hilarious BitchInSheepsClothing who is [[TheSmurfettePrinciple sole lead female]].
** Wizardmon in [[Anime/DigimonAdventure the original]] was one of two intriguing antiheroes in a show where only incompetent comedic characters had previously been allowed to straddle the line between good and evil. The other, Gatomon, was hit with RedemptionDemotion pretty hard, but Wizardmon [[spoiler:died too quickly to lose his awesome]]. (It helped that he was ''very'' well-voiced by Robert Axelrod in the English dub.)
** Beelzemon (aka Impmon) from [[Anime/DigimonTamers the third season]] quickly became popular with the fans after his HeelFaceTurn due to his very well-done CharacterDevelopment, [[PerverseSexualLust attractive voice and body]], and sheer badass-ery. [[spoiler:He's so popular he even got a [[TheCameo Cameo]] in ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime'', even when some of the main characters[[note]]Henry and Terriermon[[/note]] didn't.]]
* Badou in ''DOGS'', in the original graphic novel before the manga was picked up for serialization, was a one-off character in a gag side-story who became so popular that by the time the manga was serialized, he was added to the main cast and even given a Day In the Spotlight issue. To a lesser extent, [[EnfantTerrible Enfants Terribles]] twins Luki and Noki were also like this, again introduced in a one-off side-story but eventually added to the regular story as semi-recurring villains due to their popularity.
* [[{{ninja}} Yukikaze]] [[GenkiGirl Panettone]] from ''Anime/DogDays'' fits the bill. Notice how she becomes more prominent as the series progresses. If fan art is any indication, then her popularity is second only to the female lead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:E-M]]
* ''Manga/{{Eyeshield 21}}'' has Rui Habashira of the Zokugaku Chameleons, a slimy delinquent who proved ''ridiculously'' popular with the show's fandom despite being at best a minor supporting character. Fans' prayers were answered when [[spoiler:he was revealed to be the mystery player on the World Cup team]]. In an even more baffling example, Gokuu of the Shinryuuji Nagas is an ''extremely'' minor character who has a decent-sized fanbase (well, in Japan).
* ''Manga/FairyTail'': Naturally, there's quite some. Notably:
** [[SocialDarwinist Laxus]] and [[HandicappedBadass Gildarts]] seem quite popular among the western fandom.
** Mirajane is quite popular for her [[CloudCuckooLander bubbly personality]] and being on par with Erza as one of Fairy Tail's premier [[ActionGirl Action Girls]]. In light of the growing [[AssPull controversy]] surrounding Erza's fights, many have pushed to see Mira in action more often.
** [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Gajeel]] is this for many after his HeelFaceTurn to the point that you would hear of fan disappointment for [[OutOfFocus not getting treated]] on the same level as his fellow Dragon Slayers, Natsu and Wendy; to the point that many are actually very forgivable of his AssPull moment against Rogue, because its [[ADayInTheLimelight actual screen-time for Gajeel]]!
** [[EvilIsSexy Ultear]]. She was the first established villain that went beyond just a one-off ArcVillain, and the fact that people tend to forget about how much of an evil biatch she was before Gray knocked some sense into her just goes to show how engaging her character turned out to be overall. She also brought Fairy Tail a vast majority of reasonable [[MsFanservice fan-service]] before Mashima went overboard after the TimeSkip.
** They're joined by [[BloodKnight Azuma]], the single most badass member of Grimoire Heart.
** And let's not forget [[spoiler:Mavis, the first Guild Master of Fairy Tail]], who manages to be [[BadassAdorable kind, cute, mysterious and hilarious]] at the same time, and [[LittleMissBadass badass]] enough to master and cast one of the most powerful protection spells in the Fairy Tail universe [[spoiler:''from beyond the grave'', [[SphereOfPower Fairy Sphere]]]]. On top of that she created and can probably cast [[spoiler: [[LightEmUp Fairy Glitter]] and Fairy Law]].
** Wendy Marvell as well. Enough to be considered a main character. Although she also gets BaseBreakingCharacter treatment for the same reason.
*** You can almost ''see'' the standing ovation Mashima is getting from the fandom for allowing Wendy to finally have a chance to truly shine--on her own (okay, fine, [[TeamPet Carla]] is with her)--for the first time since her fight with Chelia in the ''Grand Magic Games'' arc. [[spoiler:To clarify, it's not Natsu, Erza, or even Lucy who gets to defuse Face; it's Wendy. And she has to go through Ezel to do it.]] She [[ADayInTheLimelight did]] ''[[TookALevelInBadass not]]'' [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome disappoint]].
** [[TokenGoodTeammate Rogue]], pretty much the only member of Sabertooth who isn't a MASSIVE DICK.[[note]]Yukino sorta counts, but her allegiance with Sabertooth is an odd case, and while Sting ''does'' get better later on, people see his character as a missed opportunity anyway for his failures throughout the tournament.[[/note]]
** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a badass capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.
** Seilah has reached this point, too. She had quite a fair number of fans right out of the gate (mostly because EvilIsSexy and her [[LesYay relationship with]] [[TheBaroness Kyouka]] was perhaps the most well done villainous romantic relationship yet), many fans [[HesJustHiding refused to believe]] she could have ''possibly'' gone down because of [[spoiler:one punch to the back of the head in one of the biggest AssPull victories in the entire arc]]. It reached the point where fans were lobbying Hiro Mashima over Twitter, demanding she come back... and she did, in perhaps [[NotQuiteDead the]] [[DyingMomentOfAwesome most]] [[HeroKiller badass]] [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning way]] [[LastRequest possible]], giving her the send-off many fans believed she deserved and had been previously denied. [[spoiler: This might explain why Mirajane now can take on her form in the Albareth Empire arc]].
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' has a good example in the form of Mr. Heart, the GiantMook who works for Shin. Despite many of the other colorful martial artists in the series, he got to be a playable character in the [=PS2=] fighter and has been featured as a boss in other games as well. The series as a whole has tons of these, such as the Mad Colonel (who was a design inspiration for Rolento of ''VideoGame/FinalFight''), Rei (who got his own SpinOff series), and Raoh (who is getting his own series as well and was the focus of an OVA series). Raoh even got the rare distinction of being one of the few fictional characters to have a ''[[SeriousBusiness real-life funeral held for him]]'', in recognition of his incredibly manly death in the series.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''
** Maes Hughes, the friendly competent BadassNormal [[spoiler:whose death becomes an important part of Roy Mustang]], still consistently scores very high in popularity polls, even 20 volumes later. Another is Jean Havoc, TheWoobie who can never get a girlfriend [[spoiler:who isn't a homunculus, and gets paralyzed before helping out the coup with supplies]].
** Though the series is full of likeable people, Lan Fan is very popular among the Brotherhood fandom, despite only being a secondary character.
** Ditto Sheska, who many fans lament the disappearance of in the manga, where she simply goes "poof" plotwise. The fact that she looks like a female Kensuke Aida doesn't help matters at all.
** Being an EnsembleDarkhorse has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!! Both the Major and his sister are definite favorites of the fandom.
** Amongst the bara fans, Scar is a big time example. Darius and Heinkel were also popular enough in fanart to get a doujinshi.
** Greed is probably the most popular Homunculus behind Envy, especially considering how minor of a character the former is compared to the latter.
*** In the manga poll, Greed I and II were ranked the 12th and 13th most popular characters respectively (the highest ranked Homunculus, only behind Envy). If they were both ranked as a single character (since they are the same person), then Greed would have scored higher, maybe even higher than Envy.
** Barry the Chopper has quite a fan following despite being a minor character who dies less than halfway through the series, mainly due to his AxCrazy and CrazyAwesome characteristics.
* ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist''
** Lust's expanded role and backstory in this version and eventual Heel-Face Turn made her far popular in the 2003 fanbase.
** The one-shot background StockCharacter [[{{Meganekko}} Sheska]] was brought back into the first anime several times before being fully incorporated into the cast, becoming AffirmativeActionGirl and LovelyAngels with Winry and finally writing the EpilogueLetter at the end.
** The first anime!Sloth is also very popular, probably for [[spoiler: being the homunculus version of Trisha Elric]].
* ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' character popularity polls usually result in Nuriko, Tasuki and Chichiri taking the top three spots (in varying order), often winning handily over [[OfficialCouple Miaka and/or Tamahome]].
* ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'': Bleed Kaga, who despite making a few appearences in the first half of the TV series, is so popular with Japanese fans that he becomes a regular in the series, has number of [=CD=]s about him and he eventually is made into the main character in ''SIN'', the final OVA.
* We have several from ''Anime/GaoGaiGar''; Mic Sounders the 13th (to the point where he was the only survivor of his RedShirtArmy brothers), [=HyoRyu=], [=EnRyu=], and Volfogg too.
* ''Anime/GhostSweeperMikami's'' Luciola. [[spoiler: Being [[ChivalrousPervert Yokoshima's]] first ''real'' love--as in, not the primarily-lust he held towards Mikami--helps a lot, it seems.]]
* Takasugi Shinsuke in ''Manga/{{Gintama}}''. He's only appeared in a few manga chapters and episodes, he's the only one in the series ''not'' to have some sort of hilarious appeal -- and he ''still'' managed to place high in the popularity polls.
** Similarly, Shinsengumi member and badminton fanatic Yamazaki Sagaru ranked high among fans, but creator Sorachi Hideaki has stated he will never be featured on the cover of any of the manga volumes. One can only hope he'll change his mind. There's even A WHOLE STORY ARC ABOUT IT!
** And now, Kamui who only has been in one arc has been in the top ten polls ranking at 7th.
*** Kamui has since moved up to ''third place'' in the most recent poll despite only appearing in two chapters during the gap between the surveys.
* ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' has Saki (maybe better known as "[[MemeticMutation autism-chan]]"), a popular joke character with no lines (save one occasion in Episode 12) who's often seen staring off in weird directions. Many explanations have been given for this, from looking into alternative timelines/dimensions, to being a tank tracking device, to being aware of the 4th wall and looking at the viewers.
** There's also Jagdpanther-chan, an [[NoNameGiven nameless]] commander of a Jagdpanther in the finals, who gets detracked more than once and desperately races to repair her tank.
* In ''Anime/GoLion'', the black-shirted, original Blue Lion pilot, Takahashi Shirogane, was intended to be nothing more than a SacrificialLamb, KilledOffForReal in the 6th episode. But he proved to be enough of an Ensemble Darkhorse in Japan, that Toei studio tried to bring him back more or less, through the awkward method of creating a BackupTwin who showed up later to avenge his brother. When World Events Productions adapted ''Anime/GoLion'' into ''Anime/{{Voltron}}'', in an inspired stroke of {{Woolseyism}}, the two bothers were combined into one character, Sven, who was severely injured in that 6th episode, but later recovered. As ''Volton's'' popularity [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff skyrocketed around the world]], so did Sven's, a BadassNormal with more impressive credentials than either of of ''Anime/GoLion'''s two brothers could've had individually.
** [[AscendedExtra It's reached the point]] where he's become TheLeader and ([[EnsembleCast arguable]]) protagonist of ''WesternAnimation/VoltronLegendaryDefender''.
* ''Anime/GuiltyCrown'' has Colonel Dan Eagleman, who was one of the only nice members of the otherwise ObviouslyEvil GHQ organization. Many a fan found his [[BenevolentBoss cheerfulness, honesty and giving credit where it was due]] to be very endearing. Just as many were dissapointed that he was killed off not even halfway through the series, only a handful of episodes after being introduced.
* Bunji Kugashira from ''Main/{{Gungrave}}'' (both anime and game) is a supporting cast and shows up later in the anime, but he is more popular than Harry [=MacDowell=], one of two main characters [[spoiler:and the BigBad in the anime and the original game]]. He is only less popular than Brandon 'Beyond the Grave' Heat, the main character. This may be justified since behind his badass [[SmokingIsCool smoking]] CoolShades-wearing cold-blooded gangster exterior, he honors rules and promises and [[HitmanWithAHeart hides]] [[WouldntHurtAChild a streak of]] [[KindheartedCatLover gentleness within]]. In the game series, he makes a return in the second game [[spoiler:and is revealed to be Juji's (one of the playable characters) older brother]].
** Despite not having much screen time, Bear Walken is fairly popular as well. This may be justified because he is both a [[AFatherToHisMen charismatic leader]] to his squad of hitmen and a loving [[OverprotectiveDad (and perhaps, overprotective)]] [[PapaWolf father]] to his daughter, Sherry.
* Aoki from ''Manga/HajimeNoIppo''. He's a massive buttmonkey, but that doesn't stop him from continually ranking high on popularity polls.
* ''Anime/{{Hamtaro}}'' has quite a few of them:
** Of the official members of the Ham-Ham Clubhouse, Panda and Cappy have appeared the least often in the series, making them considerate dark horses.
** Jingle, the wandering ham poet.
** Oxnard's girlfriend, Pepper, stands out quite a bit.
* WholesomeCrossdresser Watarase Jun in ''VisualNovel/{{Happiness}}!'' was so unexpectedly popular that he not only was he given [[DatingSim a path]] in the game, he was the star of the first OAV for the show. In fact, the game was rather bland and forgettable and wouldn't have had much publicity were it not for Jun. The other characters combined don't get as much fanwork as he does.
* ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' has a number of them, including:
** Hime Shirayuki/Cure Princess, especially with the Westerners, due to her brattiness not being annoying or over-the-top, as well as having the best, most well executed character development out of all the characters.
** Yuuko Omori/Cure Honey has a number of fans, mostly due to her [[TechnicalPacifist unique way of fighting]] compared to past Cures.
** The International Cures such as the American team, the Bomber Girl Pretty Cure, has ''plenty'' of artwork despite only being seen for, like, ten minutes tops. In fact, on the Pretty Cure Wiki, there was a poll to choose your favorite international team, and guess what? Bomber Girls beat them all by a land slide.
* Tsuruya from ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' practically embodies this trope, especially the megas [[MemeticMutation internet meme]] point, [[BeamMeUpScotty nyoro~n]]!
** To a lesser extent, Taniguchi (one of ThoseTwoGuys) also applies, especially after his voice actor's success as an Ensemble Darkhorse on ''Anime/LuckyStar''. In fact, Taniguchi and Minoru Shiraishi could be said to be one single, transcendental cross-series Ensemble Darkhorse. One word: "Wawawawasuremono."
*** Now he has a [[ImageSong Character CD]] coming out for the second season (as well Tsuruya).
* Nene Andou, the cheerfully bisexual {{class representative}} from ''Manga/{{Hyakko}}'', is being latched onto by a large group of fans, due to her ability to out-quirk the already very quirky lead characters of the show.
* Hinagiku Katsura from ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler''. She is so big an Ensemble Darkhorse, the last popularity poll landed her with a few dozen votes short... ''Of having as many votes as the ones ranked #2, #3 and #4 '''combined''', those three being the main characters''. In the second season of the anime, the entire first ED is entirely devoted to her, and the RelaxOVision shots are all {{fanservice}} shots of her as well. This from the female support character with the ''least'' screen time in the first season.
** Athena has been placed here by fans as well, even non-fans agree that she could put contention on Hinagiku for top-spot in the next character polls. And she didn't decide to even show up for 50+ chapters and didn't get serious character development for 150+ .
*** In the 3rd popularity poll (the first one she was eligible for), Athena came out 2nd with 2168 votes, while Hinagiku won in a landslide (again) at 4089 votes. The other placements haven't been published yet.
** Izumi is an interesting case of responding to the popularity. After she ranked so much higher than Miki and Risa, she started getting appearances independent of them as well as [[spoiler:an implied crush on Hayate as well as meeting him when they were both kids.]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Higurashi|When They Cry}}'''s Big Bird, Kuwabara Biker, Hitler Stache, and Swastika Biker all became ensemble darkhorses in some circles after their appearances.
* In ''Manga/IkkiTousen'', Kan'u Unchou (Guan Yu) has a lot of fan support despite not being the main character, being admitted as the sexiest of the bunch (for a series with that much {{Fanservice}}, that's saying a lot), her very sympathetic backstory (especially her BodyguardCrush on her childhood friend, Ryuubi) and, of course, her status as one of the strongest {{Action Girl}}s in the series. Even though her character was ''this close'' to be completely destroyed through {{Flanderization}} in ''Great Guardians'' (the third season), her fandom still remained as strong as ever. Being the GenerationXerox of one of the {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}s of ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' does help a lot...
* ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'': Despite being a one-shot antagonist early on in the series, sultry Yura of the Hair became a fan favorite even though her role was only a momentary one. With an {{stripperific}} outfit like she has and her attractive human appearance on it's no wonder.
* ''Franchise/JoJosBizarreAdventure''--
** One of the earliest examples: Robert Edward O. Speedwagon ([[PunnyName you can stop laughing now]]) from [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventurePhantomBlood Part 1]]. Despite the fact that he can't use the Ripple and doesn't fight (Zeppelli even notes that he's more or less useless despite his friendship with Johnathan), he's popular with Western and Eastern fans alike. Must be his NiceHat (a bowler).
** Muhammad Avdol in [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders Part 3]] was [[spoiler:killed by Hol Horse]] but his popularity caused a fan backlash so big that [[spoiler:Araki figured a way to reintroduce him, BackFromTheDead by saying the "fatal" shot only grazed him]]
** The internet meme generation has also redeveloped a love for villain Dio Brando, mostly for his signature special attacks.
* Kyoya Hibari from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has been voted numerous times as the number one popular character in the series. Not to mention being voted and ranked the third most popular anime character in '08 from Animedia. He's one of Tsuna's guardians that initially had a very small role, only appearing once in a blue moon. However, it appears the mangaka has decided to give him a larger role in recent chapters to please the fans.
** On the subject, NietzscheWannabe Rokudo Mukuro had become very popular and had been voted many times as the most popular villain (and in a rather recent poll, the third favorite character in the series). The author seemed pretty surprised how popular he had become, and it's very likely that due to this, she decided to [[spoiler: give him more screentime by making him Tsuna's very unlikely guardian]].
** The only female Vongola boss Daniela is also insanely popular [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/c262/(ie.ranking sixth in the latest polls and being the only female character in the top 10 )]] considering that she's only been in [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/kateikyoushi_hitman_reborn/c158/13.html ONE]] panel of the manga and LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS of the anime.
** The Acrobaleno Fon's adult form which has only ever appeared on a [[AllThereInTheManual poster]] in the manga and the {{FillerArc}} of the anime but still managed to rank in the top 20 in the latest poll. [[UncannyFamilyResemblance Looking identical]] to a fellow Ensemble Darkhorse probably helps.
** Enma Kozato almost immediately had a huge fanbase after his first appearance, even though all he did was get bullied, called a loser and had his pants stolen. Despite this, everyone fell in love with him. He was even assigned the standard Reborn fandom number within just a couple of days.
** [[PsychoForHire Squalo]] ranked number 6 in the sixth popularity poll, rising above Xanxus, who had always overshadowed him in all the previous polls.
** Hell, the entire Varia remained surprisingly popular after their stint as the bad guys in the Ring Battles Arc. So much that they were brought back in the TYL arc, with chapters completely dedicated to their battle against the Millefiore in Italy.
** Fran has made it to this position, being ranked 4th most popular in the [[http://www.mangareader.net/katekyo-hitman-reborn/361/2 latest poll]].
* ''Manga/{{Kinnikuman}}'' has done this more than once, with characters introduced by the creators as one-off villains taken from fan submissions who end up becoming popular enough that they gain expanded roles later on. Examples include Ramenman, who ultimately got his own spin-off anime, and Buffaloman, who got himself promoted to leader of the Seven Devil Choujin over Black Hole because the creators recognized this trope in action.
* ''Anime/KirbyOfTheStars'':
** Sirica, the daughter of the legendary Galaxy Soldier Garlude, who appeared in Episode 60. Many fans came to love her so much that a lot of fan art of her can be found all over the internet. Sirica herself was so popular that she even later appeared in the final two episodes alongside Knuckle Joe, Sir Arthur and his three knights (Sir Percival, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Galahad).
** Garlude and Knuckle Joe's Father also got the same treatment as Sirica herself. And even the rest of the Star Warriors and Galaxy Soldiers, and even the traitor Yamikage.
** Chilidog/Wolfwrath is also quite popular, as a lot of fan art for it can be found across the internet as well. Some people would even draw a scarier version or a cuter version, or even a baby Wolfwrath puppy.
* From ''Manga/KOn'', there's Nodoka, whose popularity is helped by her being the [[OnlySaneMan most mature and normal]] of the series' very quirky cast.
* Minoru Shiraishi in ''Anime/LuckyStar'' is one of the most popular characters, at least [[AnimatedActors in-show]], despite being one of the [[ImprobablyFemaleCast few male characters]]. In ''[[ShowWithinAShow Lucky Channel]]'', he explains this as a odd tendency of fans to attach to [[OneSceneWonder characters who barely appear in a show]].
** Misao Kusakabe, who started as one of ThoseTwoGuys and whose screentime in the anime amounts to around a total of 15 minutes, has gotten so popular that she had her own figure made, and was given her own Image Song CD! Helped in no small part to her non-animated, more developed roles in the 4-panel comic. Like being the ''other'' tomboy of the series.
* ''Franchise/MachineRobo''
** In a rare protagonist example, Rom Stol is this thanks to his appearances in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''
** For Japan at least, Leina Stol, much of the show's promotional art features her heavily and the fact that she was the central focus of the OVA's that continued the story after the show ended pretty much solidifies this. Leina also gets plenty of fanart on pixiv and the sudden death of her voice actress, Creator/Yuko Mizutani in 2016 drove this home even further.
* Cinque of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', she was taken out ''one episode'' after her introduction, giving her one of the least screentime amongst the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Numbers]]. She's also an [[OlderThanTheyLook older than she looks]] white-haired LittleMissBadass [[EyepatchOfPower wearing an eyepatch]] [[BadassLongcoat and trenchcoat]] [[KnifeNut and wielding a set of throwing knives]] [[MadeOfExplodium that she could make explode]] [[LadyOfWar and she speaks in an old-fashioned tone]] [[OneeSama and greatly cares for her younger sisters]]. She quickly became the most popular of the Numbers amongst the fandom and Seven Arcs noticed this. Not only did they let her be the only one amongst the older Numbers to pull a HeelFaceTurn, but she was also adopted by Subaru's family ''and'' was appointed the squad leader of the [=N2R=] Nakajima Sisters, the SiblingTeam made up of former Numbers.
** Vivio is so popular that she got [[Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaVivid her own spin-off]].
* The Occult Research Club President of ''Manga/{{Mahoraba}}'', despite being a rather minor character compared to everyone living in Narutakisou, took third place in a character popularity contest. Or depending on your view, second place, since first and second is Kozue, due to her multiple personalities.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'':
** [[CuteMute Zazie Rainyday]] did nothing of note for over three hundred chapters or in either anime production and just as little background information. That seems to be part of her charm as the extreme lack of information has the fanbase clamoring for any info they can get. WordOfGod even stated that she wouldn't be getting her story revealed until closer to the end of the SERIES. And then the series ended way too early...
** Evangeline, thanks to her [[StoryBreakerPower ability to kick ass]] and complex characterization.
* [[SchoolgirlLesbians Schoolgirl Lesbian]] Shizuru Fujino from ''Anime/MaiHime'' was popular enough amongst fans that it likely contributed to her upgrade into a major recurring ally and part of one of ''Anime/MaiOtome'''s {{Official Couple}}s.
* Among ''Anime/MaiOtome'' characters (at least those original to the series), Erstin Ho was merely a secondary recurring character [[spoiler:who [[TearJerker died a tragic death]] halfway through the anime]], but her status as TheWoobie has made her almost as popular as main characters [[TheHero Arika]], [[TheRival Nina]] and [[WellExcuseMePrincess Mashiro]]. To the point where, in the manga, [[spoiler:not only does she [[NotQuiteDead not die]], but she even TookALevelInBadass, got a DeadlyUpgrade and was vital in defeating the BigBad]]. And she was even kept quite in-character, to boot!
** The Republic of [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Aries]] has quite a few of these, including the [[LargeHam boisterous]] general Haruka Armitage, [[ChivalrousPervert flirty]] upperclassman Chie Hallard, and [[ImpossiblyCoolClothes outlandishly-clothed]] #1 Otome Pillar Sara Gallagher (the last of whom only appeared in the final ''three'' episodes of the main series before being given time to shine in the {{OVA}}).
* Hoshino Ruri of ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'', who was eventually made the star of the series' movie.
** There's also Gai Daigoji, the LargeHam AscendedFanboy who befriends Akito and openly espouses the values of the SuperRobotGenre, [[spoiler: only to be [[DroppedABridgeOnHim suddenly and unceremoniously killed off]] early in]]. It's no surprise that ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' [[spoiler: lets you save him, or at least gives him a cooler death]].
* How popular is [[AxeCrazy Kumogawa Misogi]] from ''Magazine/ShonenJump''[='s=] ''Manga/MedakaBox''? In the most recent popularity poll he received more votes than second place (Medaka, ''the Main Character''), third place, fourth place and fifth place '''''combined'''''. Don't believe it? [[http://www.mangareader.net/medaka-box/113/6 See for yourself.]] Slightly NSFW on account of all the HadakaApron.
** All the more remarkable for this character originally being a villain.
* ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun'': Tomoda is an example both in-universe and out-of-universe. In universe, he's the MrExposition of a dating sim game which Nozaki and Mikoshiba play, but because of his unending support for the game's protagonist, the two end up focusing on him instead of either the protagonist or the love interests, to the point that they write a comic where Tomoda and the protagonist get together, in order to give Tomoda the story he deserved. Out-of-universe, even though all of this takes place within the span of a single chapter/episode as a one-off gag and is not mentioned again, Tomoda's gained a lot of popularity with the fans due to [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments how funny the scene is]].
* In ''Manga/MuhyoAndRoji'', Panza only appears in Volume 6 [[spoiler:and dies at the end of the volume]], but ranks sixth in the popularity poll.
* ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia:'' [[PettingZooPeople Tsuyu Asui]] instantly caught the fanbase's attention before her name was even revealed. First, it was because of her [[UglyCute cute frog-like appearance]]. She gained even more fans after her BigDamnHeroes moment during the Villain's attempted invasion of Yuuei Academy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:N-T]]
* [[ApocalypseMaiden Kaworu]] Nagisa from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. He only appeared in one episode, with about fifteen minutes of screen time - counting all the freeze frames -, but being his optimistic, charming self, he managed to become one of the show's most popular characters - As it would seem, even the Creators (who originaly had intended him to be [[UncannyValley unsettling]]) got to like him, as the various adaptations and remakes of the anime have elevated him to one of the central characters, though his alliegiances vary.
** Mari, from ''[[Anime/RebuildOfEvangelion Rebuild]]'', seems to be on her way here as well, though she still has many haters to overcome.
** While not as popular as the above two, Maya Ibuki has a dedicated following which her small role would not attest to - her two fellow technicians, Makoto Hyuga and Shigeru Aoba, aren't nearly as well-liked. The fact that she's not nearly as screwed up as some the main characters probably helps.
** Rei is essentially a minor Darkhorse considering that early on she was hailed as the series' BreakoutCharacter by Japanese media, all the while creator Hideaki Anno by all appearances thinks very little of her.
* ''Manga/NuraRiseOfTheYokaiClan'' had a few surprises in the first popularity poll, namely when side character Tsurara Oikawa the [[AnIcePerson Yuki-Onna]] wound up only eight votes behind second place, leaving the designated love interest far behind her BodyGuardCrush.
* ''Manga/OnePiece''
** Perona has shades of this as she ranked in the last popularity poll as fifth most popular female character in the series, and is also the most popular character from the Thriller Bark arc surpassing even Kuma. Her popularity has grown so much she is now playable in some of the new ''One Piece'' games, where most playable characters are either main villains, the Straw Hats, the Warlords or important Marines.
** The reason that Portgas D. Ace got more screentime in the anime than in the manga (in the manga he never traveled with the Straw Hats) was that he became so popular with the fans, even though he only appeared in a grand total of about two-three chapters.
** Pandaman started out as an EasterEgg-type character that would just show up in the background, and was so popular with the fans that he ended up with his own pirate crew and bounty.
** The most recent polls have shown that Kaku has reached this status, being the most popular character outside of the crew and Ace (9th overall). It is difficult to explain why without ruining some very wonderful surprises in the Enies Lobby arc, so let's just say he's a particularly good example of TheComicallySerious and leave it at that.
** The popularity polls have also placed Dracule Mihawk as high as eighth when he hasn't done a whole lot between the Baratie arc and his appearance during the Impel Down and Marineford arcs.
** CoolOldGuy Silvers Rayleigh, who appeared for a grand total of three chapters and had a fight which lasted about twenty seconds in the arc he was introduced in, yet is overly popular.
** Trafalgar Law, who appeared in the same arc as the aforementioned Rayleigh and got even less screentime [[spoiler: until recently]], ranked above [[LovableCoward Usopp]], [[CrazyAwesome Franky]], and [[FunnyAfro Brook]] in terms of popularity in Japan, and is quite popular in the West as well. Once he began to play a larger part in the story, he came in ''second'' in the fifth popularity poll behind Luffy, overtaking even Zoro (who held the #2 spot in every previous poll), meaning he's essentially become a BreakoutCharacter.
** Crocodile is quite possibly the most popular villain in the series, which may or may not have had something to do with his recent return to the main story. [[spoiler: As an ''[[EnemyMine ally]]'' of all things.]]
** There's also [[WholesomeCrossdresser Mr. 2 Bon Kurei]], or Bentham, whose hilarious mannerisms and gigantic heart have earned him the admiration of more or less the entire fanbase.
** CrazyAwesome Emporio Ivankov is also quite popular among some fans.
** Vice Admiral [[http://onepiece.wikia.com/wiki/Johnathan Johnathan]] might count to some degree. He only appeared in a rather good filler side story (the G8 arc) but can be seen assembling at Marineford in preparation for the Whitebeard Pirates war along with his two subordinates.
** The Fishman Island arc got a somewhat mixed reception by at least its Western audience, and so did most characters of the arc. However, ask basically any fan, and they will admit that the best new character of the arc was Zeo, a member of the arc's QuirkyMinibossSquad and a really good example of a ComicallySerious character with hilarious IMeantToDoThat tendencies.
** A unique LoveToHate example similar to Crocodile, would be Akainu, previously a one note vice admiral who had a notable action of exterminating a civilian ship with the possibility of there being a scholar on there, as well as the admiral with the least screen time. Cue the Marineford arc, his overall badassness, {{Determinator}} tendencies, control over the power of the magma Devil Fruit [[spoiler: and his choice of words that led to Ace's death, breaking the long standing rule of "No one important dies outside of flashbacks"]] has caused him to become one of the top enemies Luffy wants to defeat and notable villains in the series just based on his overall role in the arc.
* During the Sinnoh era of the ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' anime, [[StalkerWithACrush Creepy Stalker]] Conway was introduced in the Tag Battle arc as a character-of-the-day smart guy with [[ScaryShinyGlasses a habit of shining his glasses in an over-the-top fashion]], but was brought back due to fan popularity for the Summer Camp arc and played up to be Dawn's [[StalkerWithACrush stalker]]. His continued popularity even got him upgraded further to being a contestant for the Sinnoh League.
** Another person getting an upgrade during Sinnoh was Ursula; a one-shot opponent for Dawn's 4th contest ribbon. After going through a good portion of the Sinnoh journey, one flaw fans always brought up about Dawn's contest journey was that she didn't have any rivals that wasn't all friendly towards her. The one-off character Ursula however, happened to be a {{Jerkass}} opponent which people, after lookin back at older episodes, enjoyed about her character since it was the closest thing to a non-friendly rival Dawn has had so far. Her popularity skyrockets because of this, causing the producers to make her a full-fledged rival for Dawn up to the eventual Grand Festival.
** Similar to the Ursula example, Harley somewhat counts during the Advanced era, ascending from a one-shot rival coordinator to a second rival for May. Mostly due to his [[LargeHam over-the-top acting]].
** As far as Gym Leaders go, Byron seems to top the list for his ''LOVE'' of defense. Maylene also applies due to people loving her character development during the Veilstone arc.
** And now for the Pokémon. Misty's Psyduck, Brock's Croagunk, and Ash's Charizard, Sceptile, Muku'''[[MemeticMutation BIRD]]''' (Staravia, now Staraptor), Buizel, and Gliscor, have ''all'' reached this status at one point or another.
*** Special mention goes to Ash's Infernape who started off as an EnsembleDarkhorse due to his rough background with Paul and people wanting to see Chimchar grow under Ash's tutelage, but delved into CreatorsPet and SpotlightStealingSquad territory in the later half of the Sinnoh journey.
** Lucario can also be one. In every episode it's a really good fighter, it had a MOVIE with the plot centered around it, is a playable character in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrosBrawl'' and ''[=SSB=] for Wii U and 3DS)'', and the developers of the games responded to this by allowing the player to get their own on Iron Island.
** While he got little screen time in the anime series proper (apart from one episode, in full-body armour), the fans really warmed to Mewtwo from his two movie appearances. Also, in the second Mewtwo appearance, a teenage girl Team Rocket agent named Domino became really popular due to how [[EvilIsCool cool]] and [[EvilIsSexy sexy]] she was.
** Ash's first Unova companion, Cilan, has garnered a ton of fan appreciation since his debut. [[Creator/MamoruMiyano Award-winning seiyuu]]? Check. [[AmbiguouslyGay FABULOUS]] [[GratuitousEnglish expressions]]? Check. Entertaining focus episodes? Check. Though he has become something of a BaseBreakingCharacter as of late, so maybe it's a "too much of a good thing" situation.
*** Perhaps by proxy, Cilan's UnknownRival Burgundy became very popular before she even debuted.
*** On that note, while Iris is a BaseBreakingCharacter, her rival Georgia is hugely popular as well, perhaps for having a developed and interesting motivation and character, her dress sense, and... providing an opposing perspective to Iris. Fans are weird that way.
** Ash's Larvitar is probably the most popular egg-hatched Pokémon in the series - at the very least, it definitely maintains a greater degree than fellow egg-hatcher Togepi, despite the latter having stuck around for well over 200 episodes to Larvitar's seven. It mostly comes from its reasonably paced development arc, [[TheWoobie sad backstory]], and being a [[InfinityMinusOneSword pseudo-legendary]] (which makes [[TheBusCameBack its potential return]] major FanficFuel).
* Atobe Keigo and his Hyoutei Gakuen team from ''Manga/ThePrinceOfTennis''. Atobe attracts a ''ridiculously high'' quantity of fangirls both in story and outside of it, thanks to his [[LargeHam over-the-top]] MagnificentBastard behavior and his JerkWithAHeartOfGold background.
** Although no other character can rival Atobe in this sense, as a team, Rikkai also qualifies as {{Ensemble Darkhorse}}(including [[IllGirl Ill Boy]] Yukimura, AloofBigBrother Sanada, TroubledButCute Kirihara, and the Platinum Pair of Yagyuu and Niou).
* Considering how popular they are in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' fanfiction, you'd think Tsubasa, Konatsu and Pantyhose Taro were part of the regular cast. However, Tsubasa appeared only once in the manga (and in just one other episode, plus a couple of cameos in the anime), Konatsu twice (never in the anime), and Taro was in just three stories.
* Invoked in ''Anime/{{REDLINE}}''. After two contestants for the title race drop out, for fear of being shot at, JP is immediately voted in. Firstly, because of his epic and ImprobableHairstyle. Secondly, as the only modifications he adds to his CoolCar are an escape pod (well, that only appears in the 2nd part of the movie) and a booster system that makes most speed powerups in video games look like baby aspirin, the odds of him just ''surviving'' in a race full of [[WeaponizedCar cars mounted with every weapon under several suns]] are ''25000 to 1.'' A mafia type group exploits this little fact through race fixing by having him stay in last place until the final quarter of the race, then rocket up to pole (by which more people will bet on him) and then have him lose.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'':
** Mami is only seen for a few episodes [[spoiler: before getting KilledOffForReal (she does make appearances after that in two episodes),]] but due to her sheer badassery and really awesome theme, she is well liked by the fans.
** Kyoko is clearly a side character, but fans adore her for her badassery, her unique personality and character quirks, her villainous and [[AntiHero Anti-Heroic]] tendencies, and her [[spoiler: very well-done tragic backstory and CharacterDevelopment into a sympathetic KnightInSourArmor]]. In fact, she's the only character to have her own SelfDemonstrating page [[SelfDemonstrating/KyokoSakura on this very wiki]].
*** Largely because of their unexpected popularity, Mami and Kyoko got a spinoff manga, ''The Different Story'', in which [[BreakoutCharacter they're the main characters]]. The sequel movie has Mami [[TookALevelInBadass take about 100 levels in badass]] and heavily involves Kyoko in the main mystery arc as Homura's partner.
** Kyubey's face shows up in the strangest of places in Japan - namely arcades and price tags for stuff in specialty stores -, not quite rivaling [[Manga/OnePiece Tony Tony Chopper's]] popularity in that respect but getting there. A curious case considering [[spoiler:he is the closest thing to the series' [[BigBad main villain]]]].
** The witch [[KnightOfCerebus Charlotte]] is seen for all of ''two minutes'' and is also quite popular. Probably because she's [[KillerRabbit ador]][[CreepyDoll able]]. And there's not really anyone else to ship Mami with. It's probably no coincidence that when the official ''Madoka Magica'' video game was announced, Charlotte was the first witch to appear in the preview images. [[spoiler:Like Kyubey, she's a strange example since she ''devours Mami alive'' yet much of the fanart revolves around her cute, innocent appearance.]]
*** And Charlotte has now become an AscendedExtra and BreakoutCharacter in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion''.
* Jonathan Wolff in the ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'' series. He made one memorable appearance in the New Generation (Mospeada) segment where a big deal was made of him being a legendary hero. Then he was spun off into the aborted prequel Sentinels and a large number of comics and stories, all despite the fact that [[spoiler:(in that Robotech episode, he is shown to have sold out to the enemy and almost gets Scott Bernard killed)]]
* [[StalkerWithACrush Creepy Stalker]] Mizore Shirayuki is the overwhelming favorite for most Westerners in ''Manga/RosarioToVampire''.The anti-social yet earnest and sincere girl struck close to home for many of the more... socially awkward anime fans. The manga seems to be latching onto this, as an arc in the second season has focused on Mizore, giving her significant character development and a serious storyline.
** The driver of the bus between the human world and yokai world has gained much popularity with fans even though he has only appeared a few times. Although he does have an important role, as revealed later in the manga.
** Kokoa has also been quite well-received since her introduction, and there's a lot of fan art of her.
* One may not believe this, but ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'' started as a biography of UsefuleNotes/MarieAntoinette with her as main character, but a certain Oscar Francois de Jerjayes outpaced her in popularity and stole the main status from her.
* One of the [[WatchItForTheMeme main reasons]] people know of ''Manga/RozenMaiden'' is because of [[ScrewySquirrel eccentric trickster]] Suiseiseki and her addition of the [[VerbalTic "desu" copula]] to everything she says.
* ''Franchise/SailorMoon'':
** Somehow or another, Hotaru is one of the most popular characters, getting good results even when being the non-villain sailor to get the least screen time. Could be due to tropes TheWoobie, {{Moe}} (for which she is possibly the trope namer) or just being adorable.
** Thetis, a MonsterOfTheWeek from the [[Anime/SailorMoon first anime's]] twelveth episode, proven to be rather surpisingly successful in the fanbase, mainly because she's actually attractive in both human ''and'' monster forms, and she has an implied relationship with StarterVillain Jadeite.
** The Remules Pooko/Puko/Fuko the balloon woman from episode 132, mainly due to having more personality than other monsters of the week and was rather attractive when deflated.
** Sailor Iron Mouse is one of the most popular Sailor Moon characters on Japanese fanart sites, despite being just another member of the QuirkyMinibossSquad from the final season.
* TokenMiniMoe Yuki from ''Manga/{{Saki}}'' managed to gather quite a fanbase, even though she acts primarily as a comic sidekick.
** Momoko also has got her share of followers later in the series, perhaps due to her [[LesYay interaction with Yumi]]. Heck, she's popular enough to become the cover girl for Vol. 5, even though she only appears briefly there and has had very limited screentime beforehand. She only started appearing during the second half of the second to last match of the finals, [[spoiler:[[{{Invisibility}} 11111literally]]]].
** Hisa is also quite popular because of her competency and generally cool demeanor.
* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' brings us Hishigi, a [[{{Bishonen}} Biseinen]] AntiVillain, whose badass and IronWoobie traits, along with a truly impressive level of HoYay with Fubuki, turned him from a fairly minor character into this.
* In ''Manga/SasamekiKoto'', Kiyori's dry humor garnered her a significant fanbase, which got propelled by the way she is presented in the anime. This is an impressive feat for a straight female character in a [[GirlsLove yuri]] series, although her cute, laconic laugh ("ha-ha-HAAA") may have a lot do do with this.
* Eri and Yakumo's love triangle with Harima have caused them to eclipse Tenma as ''Manga/SchoolRumble'''s most popular female characters.
* Joe Asakura in ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman'' was initially not planned to be a major character, and instead would have taken a backseat to Ken, Jun, and Jinpei (who were to be the main characters). The original production art of him even shows that he was to be the third in rank, with Jun being second-in-command, but their numbers got switched last-minute in production. His popularity with fans caused Tatsunoko to make him more of a feature character as the show went on, and extended to the sequel series where [[spoiler:the previously "dead" Joe returns with cybernetic enhancements and gets even more screentime]]. This popularity even got him into the American port (And Japanese Expansion) of ''VideoGame/TatsunokoVsCapcom''.
* Likewise, ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'''s "''[[JapanesePronouns ore]]-onna''" Yun instantly became very popular with fans, much to the surprise of the producers, which may have taken a RedShirt off of her. She later became very important, picking up a StoryArc meant for another character.
** Yun's best buds Rodoreamon and Mamiina are also fan-favourites and [[TearJerker their]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming subplot]] had many fans even more invested in it than in the ''main'' plot.
* As soon as Kate appeared in ''Anime/SketchbookFullColors'', she immediately pushed the other characters off stage--including Sora, the original protagonist. In the manga her role soon got relegated to word jokes, but her introduction halfway through the anime made sure that she is likely the most-recognized character from that series.
* ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'': Among the less-major characters, [[TheMedic Sylphiel's]] replacement in the third season of the anime, [[{{Tsundere}} Filia]], has become extremely popular because of her status as an adorable, [[PluckyGirl headstrong, and mighty]] Golden Dragon with a lovely human form. Her being paired with [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Xellos]] is more or less one of the most popular pairings of the franchise.
** Xellos himself is also well-loved: an [[NighInvulnerable allmighty]] demon who [[LovableTraitor loves to tease]] and is probably the biggest mastermind of ''any'' character, even moreso than some of the gods and demons that are stronger than he is.
* ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'' has several despite it being a ContestedSequel.
** The villain Wolfrun has gained a surprising amount of popularity, almost to DracoInLeatherPants level. One day after the first episode of Smile Pretty Cure, Japanese art site, pixiv, displayed about 5 pages of fan art of him, a lot of it even [[CrackPairing pairing him with Miyuki]].
** Joker isn't immune from this either, particularly at {{Tumblr}}.
** After episode 23, Majorina in her more powerful AND sexy form is also getting this treatment, with quite a handful of Pixiv fanarts just hours after the episode aired.
** Ikuyo Hoshizora probably has more fanart on pixiv than any other Precure mother in the entire franchise.
** Yayoi Kise[=/=]Cure Peace. You know you're an EnsembleDarkhorse when you get [[Toys/SHFiguarts action figures]] ''before'' the the team leader does, ''and'' you have more member favorites on your MyAnimeList [[http://myanimelist.net/character/53673/Yayoi_Kise character sheet]] than [[http://myanimelist.net/character/54009/Miyuki_Hoshizora hers]] by a factor of nearly 3 to 1!
** The Bad End Precures received fan art on Pixiv ''a week before their debut episode even aired.''
** Pop is also loved for generally being much more tolerable and mature than Candy
* Anice Farm is this for ''Anime/SonicSoldierBorgman'', as evidenced by the fact that much of the show's promotional art features her and sometimes ''ONLY'' her, she still gets shitloads of fanart ''to this very day'' [[note]]the series first aired in 1988[[/note]] and she's one of the first things you see when you Google search this show in ''ANY'' capacity.
* Excalibur in ''Manga/SoulEater'' has become a [[MemeticMutation meme]] on that imageboard. His legend began in the 12th century.
** Stein is also very popular in fandom. The professor is a secondary character.
** Soul's older brother, Wes, is fairly popular, particularly with fanfiction writers. This is surprising given that every scene he appears in is either a flashback, or an illusion, that Soul is having. He never makes a proper appearance in series, and so what little we know of him comes from Soul's, most likely, skewed perception. But even so, he is more than often used in several fanworks.
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'':
** Shiro Sanada (Sandor in ''Star Blazers'') was unusually popular. Unusual because although he wasn't as old as Okita or Tokugawa, he was still considerably older than Kodai, Shima, Yuki, and the other young characters. This usually means that he would be in line to get killed off (along with the other older characters) so that the story can focus on the younger characters development. This did not happen and he went on to become, after Kodai, the most longeval character in the Yamato Saga. [[spoiler: In the most recent installment, ''Space Battleship Yamato: Ressurection'', Sanada (now head of the EDF) now outranks his old captain, Kodai]]
** Saburo Kato (Conroy in ''Star Blazers'') was also unexpectedly popular that the producers [[spoiler: regretted killing him off in the Yamato II series. They made up for it by introducing his younger brother Shiro Kato in the next installment. ''Star Blazers'' viewers won't notice the difference, however.]]
** Desler/Desslok was an EnsembleDarkhorse because he was so good at being bad. And because he was quite a Woobie when [[spoiler:his planet was destroyed by the Star Force.]]
* The North Maiden from ''Anime/StarDriver'' became very popular with parts of the fandom, even though she only appeared for 8 episodes. So much that it surprised the creators.
* Chikaru from ''LightNovel/StrawberryPanic'', with her cosplay outfits, QuirkyMinibossSquad, and casual indifference to the [[SchoolgirlLesbians girl-on-girl action taken to ridiculous extremes]], {{Wangst}}, and overall insanity quickly won her a spot in the fans' hearts.
* Boof from ''Anime/SuzysZooDaisukiWitzy'' seems to get more merchandise than the lead character of the show, Witzy, or any of the other characters for that matter.
* Why is the almighty [[FanNickname Bruce Ironstaunch]] from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' so awesome? Because of his [[BicepPolishingGesture BICEP. POLISHING. GESTURE]], that's why.
** Also there's BeamSpam Mc Muppet, also occasionally known as Attenborough. He's mainly known for being the king of the WorfBarrage.
** Of course, they both pale in comparison to Guame; TheDragon of the first half.
* Keith Goodman a.k.a. Sky High from ''Anime/TigerAndBunny''. Biglobe ISP conducted a character popularity survey of most of the shows from the spring 2011 anime season. Behind the title duo (Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr.), Sky High was the most popular character in the series...[[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2011-06-13/biglobe-poll/favorite-character-in-spring-2011-anime And the entire season.]]
* ''Manga/ToLoveRu'': Yui is far and away the most popular girl in the cast. Momo also has a rather large fanbase in proportion to her screentime (which isn't that much), but nowhere near as much as Yui. Not surprising, since {{tsundere}} characters are usually always popular and Yui is pretty much a textbook example of a Type A tsundere.
** Mikan also is very popular, especially outside Japan.
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[[folder:U-Y]]
* Arguably, Lum in ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'', to the point where Creator/RumikoTakahashi was ''forced'' to [[ReTool retool]] the OfficialCouple from [[CasanovaWannabe Ataru]] and [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend Shinobu]] to Ataru and Lum. This is probably the reason for Takahashi's [[CleaningUpRomanticLooseEnds backlash against unintended fanon pairings]] in later series, as a safeguard against this kind of situation happening again.
* Askeladd of ''Manga/VinlandSaga'' is much more popular then the main character. Thorkell as well, though not to the same extent as Askeladd.
* Ask any ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' fan who their favorite character is, and chances are it'll be Dilandau, the [[WhiteHairBlackHeart white haired]], [[RedEyesTakeWarning red-eyed]], [[VocalDissonance squeaky]] [[AndrewFrancis voiced]], absolutely AxCrazy BloodKnight {{Jerkass}} PsychoForHire {{Bishonen}} who spends his days Bright-slapping his Dragonslayers, getting revenge on TheHero Van Fanel for scratching his face, disobeying his superiors, and setting things on fire ForTheEvulz. The fact that he has the [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau45.htm wildest]], [[http://www.100megspopup.com/catgurlmerle/dilscreamsvan.jpg craziest]], [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau59.htm and]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau118.htm wackiest]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau123.htm facial]] [[http://www.artoki.co.uk/slayground/pictures/slayercaps/Dilandau128.htm expressions]] in the series and that he's voiced by Creator/MinamiTakayama in the Japanese version only cemented his popularity. Folken and Jajuka also get a lot of love too.
* ''Anime/{{Witchblade}}'': In a series full of scantily-clad women duking it out, it might surprise some that the fan favorite is typically Rihoko, the main character's adorable 6 year-old daughter.
* Danboard (Danbo) in ''Manga/{{Yotsuba}}'' is a mere cardboard robot suit and a one-shot character in Volume 5, however when it comes to merchandising, various Danboard action figures (primarily manufactured by Kaiyodo, Kotobukiya and Sen-Ti-Nel) are prominently used for photography, notably "365 Days of Danbo" by Arielle Nadel. Today, Danboard has spawned a huge variety of merchandises, from bags, USB hub to wireless LAN routers.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'''s Seto Kaiba gets this to such a degree that one could argue liking ''Yugi'', the ''main character'', is rarer.
** TheAbridgedSeries noticed this, of course, and delivered the following (Along with a note that Kaiba was going [[AnimatedActors way off script]]):
-->'''Kaiba''' (to Yugi): Can it, you loser! Do you have any idea how sick I am of your posing?! You're pathetic! Nobody cares about you! I'm the only reason people watch Yu-Gi-Oh! Me, Seto Kaiba! I have all the cool gadgets, I have the all best outfits, and I have all the most powerful monsters! Nobody would be watching this movie right now if it weren't for me, so just this once, I deserve to win!
** The easiest way to tell how popular Kaiba was at any point in the manga is how much taller he is than his original appearance. Where he was only tall compared to Yuugi initially, he gradually became taller, darker, and more handsome as time went by.
** On a related note, the character Tetsu Ushio, who before was known only as the first person to lose to Yami Yugi in a Dark Game, got a shot in the arm as a villain-ish character in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds''.
*** To top that off, Ushio has now started running around with the main characters as part of the group.
*** And in the dub, he's voiced by none other than Yami Yugi himself, '''[[Creator/DanGreen DAN GREEN!]]'''
*** Team Taiyou, both in and out-of-universe. Everybody roots for the underdog, but Taiyou pulled it off with such aplomb - a group of reasonably-skilled players from the countryside, named for the rising sun of hope, saddled with Decks full of ComMons not worth their paper and the living embodiment of AwesomeButImpractical for an ace card, riding a D-Wheel held together with tape and force of will. Not only did they match the main characters at every turn through superior tactics and teamwork, but they did so using a Stall/Burn strategy, in a season where AttackAttackAttack was the order of the day. Though the WRGP Arc is often regarded as a sufferer of SeasonalRot, Taiyou's arc is basically the only thing everyone agreed to be fantastic, with the only common complaint being that [[BrokenAesop they lose.]]
*** Carly Nagisa is well-loved by the fanbase for being an {{Adorkable}} LoveInterest to Jack Atlas not only by fans who ship them but also a full-fledged female character who perform her role as a DarkActionGirl quite well [[note]]Considering the franchise reputation for their treatment of females, it says a lot[[/note]]. It got to the point that her [[DemotedToExtra drastically reduced screentime]] and role as just another fangirl widely reviled.
** The card game itself arguably fits this. Originally it was only going to appear once, but the fan demand for it to return was so high that the series ended up being about it.
** Of the four new students introduced in the third season of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', Jim "Crocodile" Cook is generally the most well-liked. This is partly due to the others having major BaseBreakingCharacter and SpotlightStealingSquad tendencies, and partly because... well, he was just a NiceGuy. It's pretty clear that nobody expected him to be a popular character: [[TooCoolToLive he dies first]], only [[MerchandiseDriven two of his cards]] were ever released in real life, and he vanishes altogether from the fourth season. To the fandom, though, he ended up being an incredibly likeable and slightly CrazyAwesome character (he carries a crocodile on his back at all times).
* [[FragileSpeedster Hiei]] was originally supposed to be nothing more than ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'''s StarterVillain, but fans kept asking when they were going to see him again, so when [[TheChessmaster Kurama]] was brought in to become part of the team, Hiei came with him.
* ''Anime/YuriOnIce'' has several:
** Mila Babicheva and Sara Crispino, the two female ice skaters of the show actually have quite the fanbase. They are beautiful, funny, intelligent and offscreen, quite the badasses, as they are ranked 3rd and 4th in the world. Not only that, but Sara/Mila is actually quite the popular ship.
** Phichit, Yuri's best friend from Detroit, who is an {{Adorkable}} NiceGuy. His popularity was upped even more when he was confirmed as a ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor.
** Leo de la Iglesia is popular with American fans for not being the typical [[PhenotypeStereotype blonde, blue-eyed]] and [[{{Eagleland}} bombastic]] American commonly seen in anime, since he's Mexican-American and pretty down to earth.
** Christophe was initially [[BaseBreaker quite divisive]], but episode 10 showing him as Victor's OnlyFriend and confidant, as well as another ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor upped his popularity. Before that, he already had his fair share of fans for his sex appeal, personality and hilarity.
** Otabek's popularity skyrocketed, even though he was the last ice skater introduced. His sweet friendship with Yurio, as well as his cool guy looks and being TheComicallySerious helped a lot to fall in the fans' good graces, who started to [[AbandonShipping jumping ship from J.J./Yurio]] to Otabek/Yurio.
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27th Dec '16 11:47:55 AM GhostHouse
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** Ash's Larvitar is probably the most popular egg-hatched Pokémon in the series - at the very least, it definitely maintains a greater degree than fellow egg-hatcher [[TheScrappy Togepi]], despite the latter having stuck around for well over 200 episodes to Larvitar's seven. It mostly comes from its reasonably paced development arc, [[TheWoobie sad backstory]], and being a [[InfinityMinusOneSword pseudo-legendary]] (which makes [[TheBusCameBack its potential return]] major FanficFuel).

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** Ash's Larvitar is probably the most popular egg-hatched Pokémon in the series - at the very least, it definitely maintains a greater degree than fellow egg-hatcher [[TheScrappy Togepi]], egg-hatcher Togepi, despite the latter having stuck around for well over 200 episodes to Larvitar's seven. It mostly comes from its reasonably paced development arc, [[TheWoobie sad backstory]], and being a [[InfinityMinusOneSword pseudo-legendary]] (which makes [[TheBusCameBack its potential return]] major FanficFuel).
27th Dec '16 11:46:25 AM GhostHouse
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* The female characters from ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', despite having quite sporadic apparitions [[CastFullOfPrettyBoys in an almost all-male cast]] (some having considerably more screen time than others), have gained quite the following, such as Hungary (OtakuSurrogate and NinjaMaid), Belarus (whose over-the-top {{Yandere}} traits have been embraced by a fandom that would normally [[TheScrappy bash her for them]]), Ukraine (Belarus's older sister, a mix of ShrinkingViolet and {{Bokukko}} whose boyish beauty makes some female fans [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer wet, hot and bothered]]) and lately the {{Anime Chinese Girl}}s Vietnam and Taiwan. And that's not yet even getting to the Nyotalia versions of the characters...

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* The female characters from ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'', despite having quite sporadic apparitions [[CastFullOfPrettyBoys in an almost all-male cast]] (some having considerably more screen time than others), have gained quite the following, such as Hungary (OtakuSurrogate and NinjaMaid), Belarus (whose over-the-top {{Yandere}} traits have been embraced by a fandom that would normally [[TheScrappy bash her for them]]), them), Ukraine (Belarus's older sister, a mix of ShrinkingViolet and {{Bokukko}} whose boyish beauty makes some female fans [[EvenTheGirlsWantHer wet, hot and bothered]]) and lately the {{Anime Chinese Girl}}s Vietnam and Taiwan. And that's not yet even getting to the Nyotalia versions of the characters...
27th Dec '16 11:43:58 AM GhostHouse
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* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of [[TheScrappy Andou]], and her talent. [[spoiler:Not even her contribution to Kyoko's [[BrokenBase divisive]] resurrection stopped the love; people who dislike it don't hold it against her, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone Seiko finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]

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* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of [[TheScrappy Andou]], Andou, and her talent. [[spoiler:Not even her contribution to Kyoko's [[BrokenBase divisive]] resurrection stopped the love; people who dislike it don't hold it against her, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone Seiko finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]
14th Dec '16 8:59:37 AM Oecchi
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** Leo de la Iglesia is popular with American fans for not being the typical [[PhenotypeStereotype blonde, blue-eyed]] and [[{{Eagleland}} bombastic]] American commonly seen in anime, since he's Mexican-American and pretty down to earth.
12th Dec '16 10:02:55 AM Arcana4th
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* ''Anime/YuriOnIce'' has several:
** Mila Babicheva and Sara Crispino, the two female ice skaters of the show actually have quite the fanbase. They are beautiful, funny, intelligent and offscreen, quite the badasses, as they are ranked 3rd and 4th in the world. Not only that, but Sara/Mila is actually quite the popular ship.
** Phichit, Yuri's best friend from Detroit, who is an {{Adorkable}} NiceGuy. His popularity was upped even more when he was confirmed as a ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor.
** Christophe was initially [[BaseBreaker quite divisive]], but episode 10 showing him as Victor's OnlyFriend and confidant, as well as another ShipperOnDeck for Yuri/Victor upped his popularity. Before that, he already had his fair share of fans for his sex appeal, personality and hilarity.
** Otabek's popularity skyrocketed, even though he was the last ice skater introduced. His sweet friendship with Yurio, as well as his cool guy looks and being TheComicallySerious helped a lot to fall in the fans' good graces, who started to [[AbandonShipping jumping ship from J.J./Yurio]] to Otabek/Yurio.
3rd Dec '16 9:54:31 PM TheShugoTV
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* ''Franchise/MachineRobo''
** In a rare protagonist example, Rom Stol is this thanks to his appearances in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars''
** For Japan at least, Leina Stol, much of the show's promotional art features her heavily and the fact that she was the central focus of the OVA's that continued the story after the show ended pretty much solidifies this. Leina also gets plenty of fanart on pixiv and the sudden death of her voice actress, Creator/Yuko Mizutani in 2016 drove this home even further.
29th Nov '16 10:45:52 AM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a badass capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious GodModeSue streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.

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** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a badass capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious GodModeSue streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.
29th Nov '16 10:45:30 AM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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* Matt from ''Manga/DeathNote'' has a huge amount of fans despite only appearing for a few panels. Probably because he's {{Badass}}, gives a snarky one-liner before [[spoiler: getting killed]], drives a CoolCar, fires off a smoke bomb so Mello can kidnap Takada, plays [[VideoGameCulture video games]] and is good with electronics, seems to be pretty well-adjusted [[OnlySaneMan compared to the other Wammy's kids]], is quite handsome under his goggles, and has a rather [[HoYay ambiguous]] [[HeterosexualLifePartners relationship]] with Mello.

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* Matt from ''Manga/DeathNote'' has a huge amount of fans despite only appearing for a few panels. Probably because he's {{Badass}}, badass, gives a snarky one-liner before [[spoiler: getting killed]], drives a CoolCar, fires off a smoke bomb so Mello can kidnap Takada, plays [[VideoGameCulture video games]] and is good with electronics, seems to be pretty well-adjusted [[OnlySaneMan compared to the other Wammy's kids]], is quite handsome under his goggles, and has a rather [[HoYay ambiguous]] [[HeterosexualLifePartners relationship]] with Mello.



** Beelzemon (aka Impmon) from [[Anime/DigimonTamers the third season]] quickly became popular with the fans after his HeelFaceTurn due to his very well-done CharacterDevelopment, [[PerverseSexualLust attractive voice and body]], and [[{{Badass}} sheer badass-ery]]. [[spoiler:He's so popular he even got a [[TheCameo Cameo]] in ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime'', even when some of the main characters[[note]]Henry and Terriermon[[/note]] didn't.]]

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** Beelzemon (aka Impmon) from [[Anime/DigimonTamers the third season]] quickly became popular with the fans after his HeelFaceTurn due to his very well-done CharacterDevelopment, [[PerverseSexualLust attractive voice and body]], and [[{{Badass}} sheer badass-ery]].badass-ery. [[spoiler:He's so popular he even got a [[TheCameo Cameo]] in ''Anime/DigimonXrosWarsTheYoungHuntersLeapingThroughTime'', even when some of the main characters[[note]]Henry and Terriermon[[/note]] didn't.]]



** They're joined by [[BloodKnight Azuma]], the single most {{badass}} member of Grimoire Heart.

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** They're joined by [[BloodKnight Azuma]], the single most {{badass}} badass member of Grimoire Heart.



** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a {{Badass}} capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious GodModeSue streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.

to:

** Silver, an AntiVillain who's spawned a TON of WildMassGuessing, has an amusing personality, and a {{Badass}} badass capable of instantly freezing [[spoiler:the spirit of a dragon MADE OF FLAMES]] and later Natsu, cutting off a rather obnoxious GodModeSue streak he had going on. Indeed, after TheReveal, his status only grew, despite the fact that [[spoiler:not only was he EvilAllAlong, but Silver wasn't even his original name - it's Deliora.]] Many are calling it the single greatest plot twist in the last ''hundred'' or so chapters... at least before he decided to reveal that the plot-twist was all a lie.



* Bunji Kugashira from ''Main/{{Gungrave}}'' (both anime and game) is a supporting cast and shows up later in the anime, but he is more popular than Harry [=MacDowell=], one of two main characters [[spoiler:and the BigBad in the anime and the original game]]. He is only less popular than Brandon 'Beyond the Grave' Heat, the main character. This may be justified since behind his {{Badass}} [[SmokingIsCool smoking]] CoolShades-wearing cold-blooded gangster exterior, he honors rules and promises and [[HitmanWithAHeart hides]] [[WouldntHurtAChild a streak of]] [[KindheartedCatLover gentleness within]]. In the game series, he makes a return in the second game [[spoiler:and is revealed to be Juji's (one of the playable characters) older brother]].

to:

* Bunji Kugashira from ''Main/{{Gungrave}}'' (both anime and game) is a supporting cast and shows up later in the anime, but he is more popular than Harry [=MacDowell=], one of two main characters [[spoiler:and the BigBad in the anime and the original game]]. He is only less popular than Brandon 'Beyond the Grave' Heat, the main character. This may be justified since behind his {{Badass}} badass [[SmokingIsCool smoking]] CoolShades-wearing cold-blooded gangster exterior, he honors rules and promises and [[HitmanWithAHeart hides]] [[WouldntHurtAChild a streak of]] [[KindheartedCatLover gentleness within]]. In the game series, he makes a return in the second game [[spoiler:and is revealed to be Juji's (one of the playable characters) older brother]].



** A unique LoveToHate example similar to Crocodile, would be Akainu, previously a one note vice admiral who had a notable action of exterminating a civilian ship with the possibility of there being a scholar on there, as well as the admiral with the least screen time. Cue the Marineford arc, his overall {{Badass}}ness, {{Determinator}} tendencies, control over the power of the magma Devil Fruit [[spoiler: and his choice of words that led to Ace's death, breaking the long standing rule of "No one important dies outside of flashbacks"]] has caused him to become one of the top enemies Luffy wants to defeat and notable villains in the series just based on his overall role in the arc.

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** A unique LoveToHate example similar to Crocodile, would be Akainu, previously a one note vice admiral who had a notable action of exterminating a civilian ship with the possibility of there being a scholar on there, as well as the admiral with the least screen time. Cue the Marineford arc, his overall {{Badass}}ness, badassness, {{Determinator}} tendencies, control over the power of the magma Devil Fruit [[spoiler: and his choice of words that led to Ace's death, breaking the long standing rule of "No one important dies outside of flashbacks"]] has caused him to become one of the top enemies Luffy wants to defeat and notable villains in the series just based on his overall role in the arc.



** Kyoko is clearly a side character, but fans adore her for her {{Badass}}ery, her unique personality and character quirks, her villainous and [[AntiHero Anti-Heroic]] tendencies, and her [[spoiler: very well-done tragic backstory and CharacterDevelopment into a sympathetic KnightInSourArmor]]. In fact, she's the only character to have her own SelfDemonstrating page [[SelfDemonstrating/KyokoSakura on this very wiki]].

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** Kyoko is clearly a side character, but fans adore her for her {{Badass}}ery, badassery, her unique personality and character quirks, her villainous and [[AntiHero Anti-Heroic]] tendencies, and her [[spoiler: very well-done tragic backstory and CharacterDevelopment into a sympathetic KnightInSourArmor]]. In fact, she's the only character to have her own SelfDemonstrating page [[SelfDemonstrating/KyokoSakura on this very wiki]].



* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' brings us Hishigi, a [[{{Bishonen}} Biseinen]] AntiVillain, whose {{Badass}} and IronWoobie traits, along with a truly impressive level of HoYay with Fubuki, turned him from a fairly minor character into this.

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* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' brings us Hishigi, a [[{{Bishonen}} Biseinen]] AntiVillain, whose {{Badass}} badass and IronWoobie traits, along with a truly impressive level of HoYay with Fubuki, turned him from a fairly minor character into this.
11th Nov '16 3:03:34 PM Apocrypha
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* Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' (pictured above) is one of the poster boys for the Ensemble Darkhorse. Initially little more than a racist minor villain, the soul-crushingly [[HumiliationConga humiliating]] way in which [[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] bests him turned him into both TheWoobie (or the ChewToy) and an IneffectualSympatheticVillain - with a fan-following big enough that the producers rewrote his entire storyline, [[spoiler:preemptively sparing him from an ignoble early death and bringing him back for the Season 1 finale as a CrazyAwesome cyborg, who then goes on to [[LevelGrinding level grind]] [[TookALevelInBadass in badass]], pulls a HeelFaceTurn and eventually gets one of the happiest endings.]] His first full appearance in the second season even seems to include a tip of the hat to the fans, as his last line of dialog seems to be directed more at the viewers than the person to whom he is speaking. This was picked up on by the English dub and he was voiced by fan favorite Creator/CrispinFreeman, who delivered that RealitySubtext line ''perfectly''.

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* Jeremiah "Orange" Gottwald from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' (pictured above) is one of the poster boys for the Ensemble Darkhorse. Initially little more than a racist minor villain, the soul-crushingly [[HumiliationConga humiliating]] way in which [[MagnificentBastard Lelouch]] bests him turned him into both TheWoobie (or the ChewToy) and an IneffectualSympatheticVillain - with a fan-following big enough that the producers rewrote his entire storyline, [[spoiler:preemptively sparing him from an ignoble early death and bringing him back for the Season 1 finale as a CrazyAwesome cyborg, who then goes on to [[LevelGrinding level grind]] [[TookALevelInBadass in badass]], pulls a HeelFaceTurn and eventually gets one of the happiest endings.]] His first full appearance in the second season even seems to include a tip of the hat to the fans, as his last line of dialog seems to be directed more at the viewers than the person to whom he is speaking. This was picked up on by the English dub and he was voiced by fan favorite Creator/CrispinFreeman, who delivered that RealitySubtext line ''perfectly''.



* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of [[TheScrappy Andou]], and her talent. [[spoiler:Even people who dislike Kyoko's sudden resurrection don't hold it against Seiko, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone her finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]

to:

* While ''DanganRonpa3'' ended up having a huge BrokenBase, Seiko manages to be with one of the few things that is met with universal praise in that anime. Fans love her for her CreepyGood personality, her surprisingly tragic backstory, being the sworn enemy of [[TheScrappy Andou]], and her talent. [[spoiler:Even [[spoiler:Not even her contribution to Kyoko's [[BrokenBase divisive]] resurrection stopped the love; people who dislike Kyoko's sudden resurrection it don't hold it against Seiko, her, seeing it as [[ThrowTheDogABone her Seiko finally getting to save someone as she always wanted]], while those who do like it see it as just another point in her favor.]]
This list shows the last 10 events of 636. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=EnsembleDarkHorse.Anime