The Idiot Hero is a common character in action series. Often, they are both The Protagonist and the central character of the narrative. They will frequently use the Indy Ploy, will be too stupid to be afraid of imminent peril, and will often have a short memory span. Despite all of this, they are the most effective member of the cast at fighting. They will also usually be the leader of a tight-knit group of characters, despite the fact they don't have the brains to lead a cat out of a paper bag. This is because they are so stupid as to be incorruptible, and has the ability to maintain a childlike innocence and faith in people that inspires those around them.
The Idiot Hero comes in many breeds, like The Fool. The most common variation, known as the Stock Shōnen Hero, usually has some idealistic goal in mind. It is usually becoming the "best warrior ever", and is usually much more aggressive when irked. Such a hero/heroine usually enjoys fighting, and is always looking for a challenge. The only way to actually anger this kind of Idiot Hero will be inevitably to hurt one of their friends, or Innocent Bystanders. In some cases, their idiocy may become the best weapon to ruin an evil plan inadvertently.
Tends to overlap with Small Steps Hero, being too lacking in ambition or easily distracted to plan anything truly long-term. In their early stages, they may be little more than an Invincible Incompetent; however, with Character Development, the Idiot Hero may mature into a Messianic Archetype. The Idiot Hero is usually opposed or rivaled by The Stoic or the Aloof Big Brother (or sister). If the Idiot Hero is not nearly as aloof when things get serious, then their stupidity is actually an Obfuscating Stupidity.
The Lancer to the Idiot Hero takes two common forms: either they are a Hero-Worshipper willing to look past their obvious drawbacks, or a Sour Supporter who acts as his Foil. In either case, they often act as Mr. Exposition (or Ms. Exposition), explaining the hero/heroine things they really ought to already know. Their other True Companions will usually get annoyed or even outright be embarrassed by their presence. But deep down, they know they are the one whom they can depend on to protect them from the evils of the world.
Compare with All-Loving Hero (or Heroine), Failure Hero (or Heroine), Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, Hero with an F in Good, Good Is Dumb, Stupid Good, and Butt-Monkey. Contrast with Pragmatic Hero, Guile Hero (or Heroine), and Byronic Hero (or Heroine). Will frequently be a Manchild (or Womanchild) — or even a Psychopathic Manchild (or Womanchild) if crossed with Sociopathic Hero. However, that would border on an outright Deconstruction of the archetype.
- Anime & Manga
- Live-Action TV
- Mythology & Religion
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- Beetle of Beetle Bailey is probably one of the best examples every of an Idiot Anti-Hero.
- Bananaman is the Super-Powered Alter Ego of schoolboy Eric Wimp. He's a Flying Brick with "the muscles of twenty men" but also "the brains of twenty mussels".
- Spider-Man's newspaper incarnation is most generously described as a bumbling slapstick character who isn't very good at his job. One memorable arc with Ant-Man has him shrunk down to bug-size. When a tarantula about ten times his size shows up, Spidey charges ahead because he's "got the proportional strength of a spider."◊ It takes another character to point out that the spider also has the proportional strength of a spider and so because it's bigger it's "got a lot more of it." By this time Spider-Man is basically in the tarantula's chompers.
Spider-Man: "Yeah, guess I should have figured that out - for myself!"
- In Your Human And You, the main character, Max, is a prime example of this.
- For the most part, this trope is often averted when possible in fanfiction for a variety of reasons Depending on the Writer.
- In The Sparkle In His Eye, this trope is taken to the extreme, as Captain Quark has the ability of being so stupid, he changes reality. As in, if you told him the door could be blown up by throwing a rock at it, it could actually happen.
- The main protagonists of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic. There's an entire page dedicated to listing every example of their (and other character's) stupidity.
- Neddie Seagoon in The Goon Show. Well, at least Bluebottle and Eccles look up to him as a hero. Most of the other characters look on him as just an idiot or an easy mark.
- Lord Vidar in ElvenQuest.
- Captain Kremmen from the radio series of that name.
"I shall break out of this cell using the hardest substance known to Mankind! MY HEAD!"
- Battler Ushiromiya from Umineko: When They Cry, at least until he wisens up.
- Homestar Runner 20X6:
- Stinkoman, can be seen as a parody of this character type.
- It's entirely possible that Homestar Runner himself started off as one of these when he was first created. However, Character Development exaggerated the idiot part while diminishing the "Hero" part. He's still a well-meaning guy, if thoughtless.
- Jaune Arc of RWBY is this compared to his more educated and better-trained peers. However, he's aware of it and it causes him great distress for a while, until he decides to start training with Pyrrha to overcome it.
- X-Ray & Vav. "Sometimes you gotta do something stupid to get results!"
- Taco-Man has served as a superhero in both his world and the video game world, despite suffering from a lack of focus and poor video game skills.
- Sparadrap from Noob moves from The Fool to this over the course of the story. The earliest signs appear in the webseries when he gets angry over enemies threatening to hurt his friends and his idealistic goal emerges when some of the friends in question leave the guild and he gets obsessed with Putting The Band Back Together. The power vaccum caused by the departures has also made him master of what's left of the guild.
- Tobuscus in the Wizards Game. In fact, if he animated it, you can be reasonably sure of this.
- Wayne from Vigilant is a failure in every aspect of his life, repeatedly testing fate. And yet, he is the central protagonist of the show.
- All three of the protagonists of The Adventure Zone. Especially Magnus, who is the most heroic and also the dumbest.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged turned Goku into a major idiot hero. It's implied that Goku's status was caused by brain damage from his fights coupled by moments of Goku being unable to breathe (Freeza trying to drown him and Goku's inability to stop screaming in abject pain when the heart disease hits).