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Fan of Underdog
aka: Fan Of The Underdog

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"You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive."
Spoon, "The Underdog"

The fan of the Loser Protagonist (or mild equivalent) is almost always oblivious to that character's real troubles and failures. This is more amusing when the idolized character is already established as the show's ditz or Unlucky Everydude. When the idolized character becomes aware of this, it will prompt an embarrassed conversation explaining they're not anything special. And then his friends will chime in, a little too enthusiastically.

Naturally, this only serves to make the fan more enthusiastic. Occasionally, the fandom is impressed by this lack of Comedic Sociopathy and makes them an Ensemble Dark Horse.

See also The Knights Who Say "Squee!". Contrast Warts and All. For aversions in games where a character is instead hated by the audience for their ineptness, see the low-tier examples in Low-Tier Letdown. Not to be confused with the fandom of a certain cartoon superhero dog.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Black Clover, After spending time with Asta and seeing his accomplishments throughout the story, Secre believes he can achieve his dream of becoming the Wizard King, telling him this as motivation for him to land the killing blow on Zagred.
  • Meiling of Cardcaptor Sakura acted as such to The Rival Syaoran. While Syaoran wasn't exactly undermined by the rest of the cast (especially not Sakura herself), he was the Butt-Monkey and an unofficial candidate for Master of the Cards with the rest of the band rooting for Sakura. Meiling spent the entire first arc rooting for Syaoran and trying to help him capture the Clow Cards.
  • In Case Closed, Ai Haibara, despite being not a soccer fan, is a fan of the player Ryusuke Higo of Big Osaka. He was transfer player from the rival team and was hated and unaccepted by both fanbases, and Ai can relate with him very well because of her backstory.
  • Cesilee and Marcus in The Cyantian Chronicles.
  • In Deadman Wonderland, Senji (AKA Crow) is shown to take a huge liking to Ganta (partly because Ganta defeated him, but that was mostly by a fluke), even though Ganta showed himself as being quite a coward and weakling.
  • Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket could be considered a straight take on this, she's easily the cat of the zodiac's biggest fan (this includes Kyo). She's not so much oblivious of his faults as understanding that there are some serious underlying causes. When she heard the legend of the zodiac as it's usually told she explicitly declared the cat her favorite for exactly this reason before she even met him.
  • The second Greed in Fullmetal Alchemist expresses this in regards to humanity, in the context of his fellow Homunculi and their machinations.
  • When Sora Naegino from Kaleido Star is shunned by almost all the performers and her mentor isn't sure she can make it, her only supporters were two new recruits (Mia and Anna), her stage manager (Ken), the dorms manager (Sarah) and the lead stagehand's daughter (Marion).

  • Shinobu Maehara in Love Hina seemed inordinately optimistic about Keitaro compared to others. It makes a bit more sense if you consider *her* as a Loser Protagonist; many of her problems are feminized versions of the troubles he has.
  • In Maria Watches Over Us, Kanako looks up to Yumi.
  • One of the results of Yurika Misumaru's similarly obsessive crush on Akito in Martian Successor Nadesico.
  • Present Mic behaves this way in My Hero Academia during the fight between Uraraka and Bakugo, openly stating he's rooting for her to win. She doesn't, but she put up a damn good fight.
    • Uraraka herself is one for Midoriya, ever since they saved each other in the Entrance Exam.
  • Naruto:
    • Hinata Hyuga is partly defined by her shyness, partly by her kind, gentle personality, and partly by her love for the titular character who eventually loves her back. However, the trope itself is subverted, because Hinata is completely aware of Naruto's shortcomings, and yet she admires him exactly because he has the determination and self-confidence to change them.
    • Ironically, Naruto is a fan of Rock Lee for being an underdog like himself.
  • In One-Punch Man, Genos is Saitama's first and biggest fan.
  • Pretty much half the cast of Reborn! (2004) admires Tsuna for unclear or misguided reasons.
  • Tamao looks up to "victim-chan" Nagisa in Strawberry Panic!, as does Chiyo.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe's harebrained schemes never go right and tend to annoy all the rest of his coworkers, but his love interest Jeanne doggedly believes he's a genius. In one instance, their car wound up stuck in a tree, and she wouldn't believe he didn't do it on purpose to get them a better view.
  • In Identity Crisis (2004), Ralph Dibny recounts how he and his wife Sue met. He and The Flash had shown up at some fancy event and saved everyone there. A-lister Flash had nearly everyone's attention — everyone except Sue, who was immediately interested in B-lister Ralph. Ralph claims that's one of the reasons Sue is so special — despite being surrounded by superheroes with heroic builds and chiseled good looks, she's never had eyes for anyone but Ralph.
  • Don Rosa's two Three Caballeros comic stories portray Panchito and José as idolizing hapless Chew Toy Donald Duck, in a nice contrast to all the comical abuse he takes from everybody in Duckburg.

    Fan Works 

  • A Bug's Life: Dot is the only one who has faith in Flik's quest to find warriors to fight off Hopper's gang and consistently remains his friend throughout the movie, even after everyone else has given up on him.
  • The Hunger Games: President Snow explains to Seneca why he personally hates underdogs, because ruthlessly oppressing the underdogs is the only thing keeping Panem afloat.
  • Walter from The Muppets (2011) is the muppet personification of this trope. He loves The Muppets regardless if they have been out of the loop for 30 years and has an unbridled admiration for them. Case in point: he finds Fozzie Bear genuinely funny.

  • Practically the entire relationship between Rincewind and Twoflower in the Discworld novels The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Interesting Times. Twoflower is incredibly naive, and a few off-the-cuff bravado remarks by Rincewind have cemented him in Twoflower's eyes as a great wizard, despite the fact that he can do no magic whatsoevernote  and his talents rely entirely on running away from things.
  • Ron from Harry Potter is a fan of the Chudley Cannons Quidditch team, whose terrible losing streak (going on for about a century now) is a recurring gag of the series.
    • Ron himself gains a "fangirl" in Lavender Brown in Half-Blood Prince.
  • In Outlander Leander, Valli thinks of Leander as a brave adventurer, constantly asking him about places he's been to even though he doesn't know the answers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Brother winner each year is the person at the biggest disadvantage: a transgender person, a Tourette's sufferer, Alex, etc.
    • This is most likely related to how the British are famous for supporting the underdog.
  • Flight of the Conchords' entire in-universe following consists of a single Loony Fan, Mel.
    Jemaine: What fanbase?
    Murray: The fanbase of the band.
    Bret: You mean Mel?
    Jemaine: That's not a fanbase, that's just a woman.
    Murray: Yeah, but I'm calling it a fanbase from now on. It's just easier when I call, because if you say, "Oh, the fan will be there," they can tell there's only one person. I'm trying to make it look bigger. It's a base...put "base" on the end of it, okay?
  • In Hawkeye, Kate Bishop states that Hawkeye is her favorite Avenger, and that he was the one who inspired her to become an archer. She was in awe of the man who was not afraid despite the fact that he was fighting aliens that came through a hole in space with little more than a stick and some string, and who jumped off the roof of a building even though he couldn't fly. It lead her to believe that if he wasn't afraid, she didn't have to be, either.
  • Exploited in Money Heist, where the Professor plans to have the heist team appear more vulnerable on TV to make the police look bad.
  • In the That '70s Show episode "Street Fighting Man", Eric invokes this as his reason for wearing a Bears jersey among Packers fans.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Peanuts has Charlie Brown's devoted love for Joe Shlabotnik, a baseball player who keeps getting bumped from the major to minor leagues before finally retiring (and working at a car wash). Naturally, his continual attempts to get Shlabotnik merchandise — let alone meet the man in person — are about as successful as Shlabotnik's career.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Many Jobbers have their own devoted fanbases.
  • In the World Wrestling League, Mr. 450 says that Puerto Ricans cheer for Sensational Carlitos because they like underdogs but the fact of the matter is he's the best wrestler in the world and would beat Carlitos no matter how much they wanted the underdog to win.

  • Back when ABC was covering the Olympics, they would always make it a point of finding and highlighting the unlikely Olympians who, despite their shortcomings and their lack of ability, embodied the "Olympic spirit" by actually getting to the Olympics and giving it their all anyway because, damn it, that's what the Olympics is all about. These athletes had absolutely no hope of winning, but didn't seem to care because the point was showing up and trying.
    • Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee saw these sorts of "athletes" as an embarrassment rather than an embodiment and changed the qualification rules. It's highly unlikely we'll ever see stories on Olympians like Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards again.

    Video Games 

  • Muko's first match in Furry Fight Chronicles shows that her only fans are Harry, Mellow, and Shira, whereas the rest of the audience in her debut don't care about her presence.
  • Ricky "Turtle" Tuttle in PvP manages to be an even bigger loser than Francis while idolizing him to a fanatic level. He even kills himself by literally jumping off a bridge because he thought Francis would approve.
  • Jareth in Roommates to a ridiculous extent. He roots for all people who aren't treated well / fairly in / by their story (no matter how ditzy or otherwise flawed they may be). The guy ended up with the "Unwanted" as court theme!
    • One of his minions (Socks) was a fan of James, who is the biggest Woobie in the series. While the guy has the qualities for a hero but not the narrative (he is The Lancer at best)... and his fan (albeit unwittingly) "died" for making him one. In quotes because death is not so simple there.
  • Boxjam, in Boxjam's Doodle, to a comical degree. His favorite basketball team is the Generals — that is, the guys who play against the Harlem Globetrotters.

    Western Animation 
  • The more outspoken, zealous fans of the character Lemongrab of the show Adventure Time tend to be this IRL, as they tend to overlook the painfully obvious fact that the character, though he is downtrodden, is a complete asshole to everybody around him.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: "The Littlest Planeteer" had a boy named Jason idolize Wheeler. It would be a stretch to call Wheeler a "loser," but he is usually the least knowledgeable and biggest screw-up of the team.
  • One episode of Hey Arnold! combines this with Warts and All. The chronically unlucky geek Eugene discovers his favorite superhero's actor is really a Jerkass and abandons his usual attitude in order to "go bad." Unfortunately, there's a younger kid who looks up to Eugene, and suffers a similar sense of disillusionment at Eugene's change. (In the end, though, both get a happy ending after being rescued from near-death by the previously-nasty actor.)
  • Milo of Pepper Ann only cheered for the school team when they were on a losing streak, his mantra regarding sports being "choose to lose." Once they started winning, he quickly lost interest.
  • Recess had Gus (the underdog, and general Unlucky Everydude of the series) being idolized by a kindergartener named Hector who called him "Safety Man" and believed him to be the coolest of all the older kids on the playground. In a later episode when Gus does become "cool" in the eyes of his peers, Hector is the one who tells him he was more respectable before as "Safety Man."
  • South Park has Pip, Butters, and Dougie who are all "Melvins" prone to bullying at school, and so often act as their only friends. Stan and Kyle occasionally Throw the Dog a Bone as well (so long as no one else is around).
  • In one Tiny Toon Adventures episode, Acme Loo has lost every single football game of the season. Sneezer is the only fan, specifically of Plucky.
  • On Total Drama, Sam keeps switching between support for Cameron and Lightning during the Season 4 finale, since "they keep trading underdog status! It's confusing."
  • X-Men: Evolution portrays Amanda Sefton as one of these, in regards to Kurt "Nightcrawler" Wagner.

Seneca Crane: Everyone likes an underdog.
President Snow: I don't.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Oblivious Admirer, Fan Of The Underdog


Like a teenage drama show

Suzukiri explains to D that she's helping him out like in the teenage romance drama shows where she'd like the secondary character to have a good ending at least instead of the main character.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / FanOfUnderdog

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