Main Classical Antihero Discussion

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06:49:34 PM Nov 14th 2017
Brainstorming a new Trope Image.

I think the original image of Spider-man was good enough, but perhaps Luigi is a better choice.

Any suggestions?
10:56:05 AM Oct 18th 2012
edited by lu127
Examples moved from the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes here, as that page is too big to acommodate them. Too many Zero Context Examples are here, so they need to explain how the character fits the trope before they can be added.


Anime and Manga

  • Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion, who saves the day several times in spite of all the mental problems.
    • Though in the manga adaptation and the Rebuild of Evangelion series, Shinji's more of a Type II and sliding into Type IV at his more unstable moments.
  • Rock (and Benny) from Black Lagoon. The same can't be said for the other members of the Lagoon Company, though, who are Villain Protagonists.
    • Rock eventually subverts parts of this by being quite knowledgeable with negotiation skills make him dangerous in a different way compared to his kill-happy acquaintances. And he is eventually shown to have some serious balls despite being a Non-Action Guy he becoming a Type III then in El Baile de los Muertos he has become Type IV.
  • Nozomu Itoshiki of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. AKA Mr. Despair, he is constantly attempting suicide and angsting about the most ridiculous of things. Interestingly, he isn't an example of This Loser Is You, as he's very good looking, intelligent, and comes from a very wealthy (if bizarre) family. In fact, the irony of his character is that he acts the way he does despite having these advantages.
    • Throughout the series', Itoshiki develops and becomes more of a Type II.
  • Tatsuhiro Satou of Welcome to the N.H.K. is a highly unstable NEET who places all of the blame for his highly unstable life on a conspiracy organization known to him as the NHK.
  • Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven, who eventually graduated into a proper hero.
  • In 20th Century Boys, Kenji starts as this.
  • Yukiteru Amano of Mirai Nikki starts out as a Type I Anti Hero.
  • Kei Kurono from Gantz. He gets better.
  • The protagonist of The Tatami Galaxy, who is something of a Zetsubou-sensei expy, and is described in some promotional materials as a "not-so-lovable loser".
  • Saji Crossroads during the second season of Gundam 00. He gets better.
  • Usopp from One Piece is this in the beginning and mostly in the Water 7/Enies Lobby arc.
  • Mr. Satan from Dragon Ball
  • Vincent Law/Ergo Proxy of Ergo Proxy early on. He gets better and advances to a Type II.
  • Amuro Ray in the original Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • Kou Uraki of Gundam 0083.
  • Asemu Asuno in Gundam Age — at first.
  • Simon of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann before taking around five hundred levels in badass.
  • Kimba/Leo from the Jungle Emperor 2009 TV Special.
  • Gainer Sanga from Overman King Gainer, at first. Again, he matures into a real hero by the end of the show.
  • Yuu Kamishiro from Holyland. He steadily gets stabler and happier and closer to The Hero as the story goes on.
  • Father Garai of MW.
  • Eternal space case Osaka of Azumanga Daioh.


  • Rodney Dangerfield's entire shtick.

Comic Books

Fan Fic


  • Kung Fu Panda has its main character, Po. In a strange aversion as the movie begins he is a fat, stupid clumsy goofball who doesn't know Kung fu but has good intentions. As the movie comes to a close he has become the "the chosen one one." However he is STILL very much a fat stupid clumsy goofball who marginal knows Kung fu. And as the Second movie opens he is still fat stupid clumsy and a goofball. However he is now honored as the Dragon warrior and people now respect him
  • Wikus van de Merwe of the film District 9.
  • Most of the protagonists in Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse qualify.
  • Sgt. Neil Howie in the original version of The Wicker Man.
  • Napoleon Dynamite.
  • The portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network teeters between this and Villain Protagonist.
  • The eponymous character of Monty Python's Life of Brian, which makes all the funnier the fact that he is repeatedly mistaken for The Messiah.
  • Lester Burnham of American Beauty.
  • Rupert Grint as Tony in Wild Target. He sinks into Type IV territory when he sticks with Victor to learn his trade even after he learns of his true profession, but both pull a Heel–Face Turn when they realize that Rose is in grave danger.
    • He also plays Malachy (the goody-two-shoes who gets pulled by his Type IV Anti-Hero friend Luke into dangerous and potentially illegal acts for the love of the lead female) in Cherrybomb.
  • Everyone except Tom and Geri in Another Year.
  • The Narrator from Fight Club.
  • The character of Shaun of the Dead and his roommate Ed. Shaun subverts this by the end of film as he at leasts saves his ex-girlfriend and reconciliates with her, and he ends up surviving the whole Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Max Fischer from Rushmore.


  • Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.
  • Evelyn Waugh's first novel, Decline and Fall, has Butt-Monkey protagonist Paul Pennyfeather who is one of these in the way he is rather a pushover taken advantage of by the other characters.
  • Discworld's Rincewind as an inept wizard and Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward who is the Butt-Monkey of the universe. He's noticed it himself.
    • Rincewind is unusual in that, while he retains his constitutional allergy to danger, over time he becomes a bit of a mythic figure: It's implied that his survival instincts are nearly supernatural. At one point Death looks at the hourglass containing Rincewind's life span... only to find its shape not merely elongated and deformed, but no longer describable in human terms.
    • He did start off briefly as a Type V, having avaricious tendencies, and conning his employee out of his own money and betraying help from him, but then he slid gradually down the scale as the books passed before settling at Type I; his anti-hero traits softened, although he's no less cynical than he was at the start.
  • The narrator of Notes from the Underground is one of these, as is Franz Kafka's Josef K—in fact, in an existentialist novel, the hero is likely to either be this or a Type V (Meursault of The Stranger is a good Type V example).
  • Gilbert Norrell of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, while a skilled magician, is a humorless and petty character who is far from evil enough to be an Evil Sorcerer, but also far from sympathetic (or interesting) enough to be a traditional hero.
  • John le Carré's spymaster George Smiley is like this as a contrast to James Bond, living in the more cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, and as opposed to Bond being stylish and a Chick Magnet, Smiley dresses poorly and is a cuckold. Smiley also invites comparison to Harry Palmer also intended as a deconstruction of Bond but who is definitely a Type II.
  • Lily Bart from Edith Wharton's House of Mirth. Let's see: fails at anything and everything she tries her hands at? Check. Only ever succeeds at alienating the few people who genuinely do care about her? Check. Is a whiny, insufferable Jerk Ass with an entitlement complex bigger than Brazil? Check. Dies at the end? Check.
  • Lola from Kit Whitfield's Benighted is pathetic, self-loathing and self destructive, turning away from or turning on anyone who might help her.
  • Mick "Brew" Axbrewder from Stephen R. Donaldson's Man Who series, a self-pitying alcoholic who makes Thomas Covenant look like Binky the Clown.
  • Linden Avery in the second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant trilogy. Becomes a more standard heroine in the third trilogy. Stephen Donaldson is very fond of taking Type Is and transforming them.
  • Flinx of the Humanx Commonwealth series. He just wants the universe to let him be. Too bad he's The Chosen One and The Call Knows Where You Live, and he has a hidden romantic streak and a not-so-hidden streak of curiosity that constantly gets him into trouble.
  • Amir, the narrator of The Kite Runner starts out as a coward hiding from his past but grows throughout the story and is redeemed to become a 'true' hero.
  • David Levin of Everworld. He eventually grows into more a Type III later on.

Live-Action TV

  • Dave Lister, Cat, and Arnold J. Rimmer from Red Dwarf start out like this, although Rimmer is both a neurotic loser and a smeghead. Lister once goodnaturedly described himself as a "bum", while Rimmer would call him a lazy slob. Cat was vain, self-centered to the point of callousness, and not very smart... not surprising given that his species had evolved from a single, pregnant female housecat 3 million years ago (imagine the inbreeding), and other cats considered him a moron. However, all three became more competent in the course of the series. However, they never quite lost their essential quirks, their good qualities (such as Lister's selflessness and sense of fairness) merely became more pronounced. Or, in the case of Arnold Rimmer, who had no redeeming qualities, Rimmer had a run-in with his Knight in Shining Armor counterpart "Ace" Rimmer from an alternate reality.
  • Malcolm and Hal from Malcolm in the Middle.
  • Olivia Dunham from Fringe has her dark tendencies, but at heart, she's a typical reluctant hero.


Video Games

  • Travis Touchdown, of No More Heroes, a porn-obsessed Otaku without anything resembling a social life. He's also a Type V, however, eagerly slaughtering opponents and rarely showing any remorse for his killings (with some obvious exceptions, such as with Jeane.) He gradually loses Type V elements during the sequel, however, turning into a full Type I who vows to destroy the UAA for the lives they have cost.
  • Raiden is largely considered to be this in Metal Gear Solid 2, though he becomes more of a Type III in Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • Lester the Unlikely from the SNES game of the same name starts out as such a wimp that even turtles scare him. He does become more heroic about halfway through the game, however.
  • Almaz from Disgaea 3.
  • Cloud Strife, although he pretends to be Type III. By the end, he becomes a Type II.
  • Mike Dawson from Darkseed 2.

Web Comics

  • MegaTokyo's Piro probably fits. He's getting better, though.

Web Original

Western Animation

11:48:28 AM Oct 18th 2012
But certain examples were still added even without the explanations.
11:55:44 AM Oct 18th 2012
...Your point? Those examples need to be moved to the discussion page too. A Zero-Context Example shouldn't be on the page.
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