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Stock Light-Novel Hero

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"He stands out from the crowd a little bit and has a dark brooding edge to him that lets you know that he's the most important dude around. He's just generic enough to project yourself onto, but just stylish enough to look like a cool guy when the chips are down and there's an ass to be kicked."

The Light Novel counterpart to the Stock Shōnen Hero. Since this archetype also comes from Japanese Media, it shares a lot of overlap but also plenty of differences. In fact, the Stock Light Novel hero would probably be the Stock Shōnen Rival in another series, except in this case, we're seeing the story through HIS eyes.

While the Stock Shōnen Hero is Hot-Blooded, Book Dumb, and usually starts off at the lower end of the Power Level food chain, the Stock Light Novel Hero is typically an Unfazed Everyman, Genius Bruiser, Deadpan Snarker or Stoic badass (except when he isn't) with power, skill, ability, or moral character that puts most other characters to shame. Further, very few shonen heroes are a Chick Magnet, and usually only have one "serious" Love Interest. The Light Novel hero commonly gains a harem, wanted or otherwise, without fail.


Appearance-wise, shonen heroes typically have outlandish costumes, bright and/or spiky hair, and rough facial features. The Light Novel protagonist is, more often than not, an Ordinary High-School Student, a NEET, or some other kind of Ridiculously Average Guy with dark and/or neat hair and soft facial features. Even in a fantasy setting, he'll probably be an attendee of the local Extranormal Institute or just your average blue-collar joe taking jobs at the Adventure Guild. Costume-wise, the Light Novel protagonist wears either an ordinary high school uniform or some other simple outfit, often equipped with a Badass Longcoat.

While shonen heroes focus more on "power growth" (training hard, and gradually strengthening their abilities to prove their worth), the Light Novel protagonist is focused more on "power acquisition". Rather than training to improve their abilities, the Light Novel protagonist usually starts out already nigh-unbeatable, and typically "unlocks" new abilities as the story goes on. Not through training, but merely as a consequence of adventuring or overcoming the Monster of the Week. If the hero is a Non-Action Guy, then his growing Battle Harem is often how he faces the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.


Another way to put this is comparing the powers of a shonen battle manga hero to a muscle that has to be trained and developed, and the light novel heroes to a toolset required to progress the story. In fact, they may already have everything needed to succeed in the first place, but simply become a lot more stylish at it.

The Light Novel is markedly influenced by video games and mixes in Dating Sim and Visual Novel elements, such as the most common "acquisition" that the Light Novel hero makes being new members to his harem. The very act of romancing the harem may also be how power is achieved.

As the genre evolves, it has split into several types of stock Light Novel protagonists, with their Unique Protagonist Asset being tweaked depending on the setting:

  • The Everyday Hero: This guy lives in a world that's Like Reality Unless Noted. If he goes to school, it will be on the more mundane end, if not a bit quirky. Should this guy be an adult, he'll usually be stuck as a Salaryman or a freeter, or in some more unfortunate cases may become a Hikikomori or a NEET due to pressure. His special skills tend to focus around social talents, such as Awesomeness by Analysis or being The Heart of the group. Sometimes, he'll be a Light Novel author or videogame creator himself. See the full trope at Stock Light-Novel Everyman.
  • The Fantasy Hero: This type of hero lives in a Standard Fantasy Setting, a futuristic setting, or an Urban Fantasy that is almost like our own, except with magic. As a young man, the schools he attends are, at the very least, Extranormal Institutes. If he lives in (or becomes trapped inside) a fantasy world, he can be anything from a complete nobody to a nobleman or even royalty. Where he begins doesn't usually matter much, though, because when his special ability awakens, it'll likely be some sort of Story-Breaker Power that instantly shoots him to the top of the social sphere, and even if his power level is rather mediocre, his pragmatism will see that he can apply his abilities in ways that others have never thought of.
    • The Isekai Hero:note  An extremely popular subtype which falls into the Isekai genre. Isekai protagonists usually reach the other world through being summoned or reincarnation, where you can expect them to have a New Life in Another World Bonus. If said world is an RPG-Mechanics Verse then they will likely be a Godlike Gamer. In practice, these guys are pretty much a fusion of Everyday and Fantasy types: all the upbringing and modern knowledge of a mundane protagonist, plus the supernatural abilities and skillset of a fantasy one. Some may even involve a creator of a game or story being drawn inside their own creation.
  • The "Princess" Heroine: The Distaff Counterpart subtype, introduced in the late 2010s and early 20s, being an opposite-gender counterpart of the stock fantasy and isekai protagonist. As the name would suggest, this type of protagonist is Always Female and shows up in light novels aimed at women. While, like her cousin the Stock Shoujo Heroine, she's not likely to be a fighter (or, if she is one, is usually a ranged magician or marksman), her knowledge and interpersonal relationship skill are her greatest power.note 

The Trope Codifier is Kirito from Sword Art Online (pictured far left above), who laid down the standards for this trope due to the incredible success of the series. While this is not quite the Omnipresent Trope that its shonen cousin is (due to being newer), it's getting there. See our Analysis Page for a quick explanation on why this trope became so successful, so quickly.

See also Harem Genre for another genre it overlaps with, and Schoolgirl Series for one feminine counterpart. See also Marty Stu for a trope this archetype frequently overlaps with.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dog Days: Cinque Izumi is a near perfect example, even though he's one of the rare cases where he isn't from a light novel. He starts off as an Ordinary High-School Student where he was an ace athlete before abruptly being summoned to another world inhabited by animal people. In that other world he's The Chosen One and becomes The Hero with a very large Unwanted Harem comprised of the many girls there. He's the World's Best Warrior and is on the verge of becoming an Invincible Hero, being gifted with a Legendary Weapon and an assortment of powerful skills. Though personality wise he's quite cheerful and fun loving which is more in line with a Shonen hero.
  • Kemono Michi: Animal Mask is a powerful pro-wrestler who also happens to adore animals way too much. He is summoned to another world to fight the vicious, carnivorous demon beasts plaguing the world, but refuses to harm any "beast" or "beast person" and instead begins to tame them for his dream of opening a pet shop. Later his rival, Manchurian Ogre (nicknamed "MAO") is summoned to oppose him. The show takes the standard isekai tropes and mercilessly parodies them, with Animal Mask being exceptionally strong but considered a pervert and weirdo for how much he loves animals and beast men (to the point that the latter is comedically compared to sexual harassment).
  • Yoshichika Tsurugi of Luck & Logic basically fits this trope dead-on. He's the most powerful Logicalist in the country if not the world and a seasoned combat veteran, has the standard light novel protagonist appearance, and gets assigned to a squadron made up of nothing but cute girls (with one token guy). He immediately and effortlessly takes command from their leader (who's implied to have held the position for a very long time), and despite the girls being presented at the start of the series as capable fighters, they start needing to be rescued by him more and more the further the series goes on. In fact, this is lampshaded as the Rival Turned Evil (the aforementioned token guy)'s justification for his Face–Heel Turn is his jealousy that Yoshichika arrived and almost effortlessly managed to do everything that he himself had been working hard to do on his own, but never quite got there, which made him susceptible to being taken over by the Big Bad.
  • Yogiri Takatou from The Other World Doesn't Stand a Chance Against the Power of Instant Death appeared to be an Ordinary High-School Student until one day he fell asleep on a high school field trip and finds the bus being attacked by a dragon. Turns out the bus was summoned to a parallel world by an Ax-Crazy sage named Sion, who declares all the students to be sage candidates and either granted them strange powers to become sages... or left them to be killed by the dragon, except for one girl, his classmate Tomochika Dannoura who gets nothing and remains his sole companion. In this new world, Yogiri has the power to One-Hit Kill, thus starts his overpowered journey Trapped in Another World. Except it turns out that he already had those powers before he got transferred to the new world and according to the conversations of people who used to watch over him, he's actually a lot weaker than what he could do on Earth.
  • Parallel Paradise: Youta is a unique example of the Isekai Hero, an Ordinary High-School Student who violently enters the world (via falling from a third story building window) he is the only male human being in the parallel world whose touch can cause Fantastic Arousal to any female character in the world. Unlike most examples while he isn't a bad fighter, most of the female characters are much more skilled in combat than he is. Moreover, Youta Really Gets Around, but in the context of the world this is also justified because most of the female characters cannot live past 19-20 unless he sleeps with them.

    Fan Works 
  • Kirito from Sword Art Online Abridged is a deconstruction given that it's an Abridged Series that pokes fun at the genre. He's far from the Nice Guy Hero that are common to the genre, being a sociopath who holds little regard for human life and part of his Character Development being learning to care. While he's similarly overpowered, he's also a Smug Super who loves rubbing it in everyone's faces. He starts off as a Chick Magnet who attracts girls, but his obnoxious personality always repels them away before he acquires his Unwanted Harem, with only Asuna so far being able to remain romantically involved with. note  He also learns his skills along the way rather than being given them with no explanation.

    Light Novels 
  • The 8th Son? Are You Kidding Me?: Wendolin von Benno Baumeister ticks every box. A normal Salaryman falls asleep and wakes up as a nobleman with extremely high magical power. He then gains a harem of female consorts, and amasses both wealth and authority that make him one of the key players within his new fantasy world.
  • Accel World: Haruyuki mostly fits the trope. He was once an Ordinary High-School Student, albeit a very unattractive one with a Non-Standard Character Design, who finds his life changed forever when he gets introduced to Brain Burst, an augmented reality game. As a Burst Linker, Haruyuki gains Powered Armor and fights other Burst Linkers. While he's fairly pathetic at first, he soon discovers he's one of the only Burst Linkers to have a Duel Avatar with wings, giving him the ability to fly and a huge advantage over everyone else. As the series progresses, he also acquires an Unwanted Harem of girls fawning for his attention.
  • Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor: Glenn Radars appears to be a subversion at first, as he's a Jerkass Apathetic Teacher at the local Wizarding School who openly complains about his job and students and was only forced to take it because he was threatened to do so by his foster mother and appears to have very little power to speak of. That is, until he's properly motivated to work thanks to Rumia talking about her goals and dream. In his teachings he shows them how to actually practically apply magic to real world situations like the ones he's been in. Later it's revealed he's one of the strongest Mage Killers in existence, making it very likely he's holding back in the Wizard Duel. Furthermore, he's shown to be more heroic than thought as shown through the lengths he's willing to go to to protect his students from the Villains of the Week that target his students (or more specifically Rumia) for one reason or another quickly earn the respect of nearly all the students he teaches and the affection of two of his students. However this trope isn't truly played straight, but more played with since he's still a Gold Digging lazy bastard.
  • Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest both double-subverts and deconstructs the trope. In the case of the main character, it double subverts it as his life in Tortus is initially much worse than Earth, and Earth was pretty bad. After Hajime goes through hell, quite literally, he's forced into the trope when he meets Yue, falls in love with her, and then has a harem so unwanted, he's actually shot at them and they still insist on following him around and trying to get into his pants. The deconstruction comes from several supporting characters, Kouki, the "hero" and Yukitoshi Shimizu. Both of them get the nifty powers and abilities the average fan of isekai stories desire, but have personalities that show why such a thing is not always a good idea. Kouki has his "hero" title go straight to his head and makes him even more of an obnoxious twit than he was back on Earth, where he actually comes down on Hajime for the "crime" of getting assaulted, 4 on 1 by the school bullies, and then doubles down, thinking he's the indisputable paragon of virtue who is fated to save the world, and everyone must follow him, regardless of how stupid and reckless his actions are. As for the other one, Yukitoshi, despite being granted control of the powerful "Dark Magic," he's a total Super Loser who completely falls apart the moment even the tiniest thing goes wrong and insists that he should be the "hero" and lets his resentment blind him to the nature of the Demon race, as long as he gets to be a "hero" for them.
  • Assassins Pride: Zigzagged with Kufa. In terms of appearance and role in the plot, he seems to be the definition of this trope: he has the short dark hair with soft facial features that one would expect of a Japanese protagonist (even though the series doesn't even take place on our Earth), wears dark clothing, is much stronger than most of the cast from the start, and is surrounded by pretty girls who like him and fight together with him. When you see his personality and backstory however, he has a lot of unique aspects: his skill is not simply innate power, but also from having far more experience in battle than a person his age should have. He may look like an All-Loving Hero at first glance, but that's just a façade he puts on for the sake of his mission, in reality he is cold and calculating. And while he does comes to genuinely care about one girl, his core personality remains the same and he only looks more heroic than he actually is due to pragmatism.
  • The Asterisk War: Ayato Amagiri is a talented fighter who claims ownership of one of the most powerful weapons in the world thanks to his enormous magical potential, becomes an instant celebrity amongst his peers and gains the affection of several girls across the Asterisk city. The family of one of the aforementioned girls has even considered putting him in an Arranged Marriage because of the possible political benefits such union could bring.
  • Asura Cryin': Tomoharu is an Ordinary High-School Student who happens to have a best friend that's a ghost. However, it turns out that said "ghosts" are actually the power sources of Humongous Mecha called "Asura Machina". In addition to this, various factions become worried about Tomo's growing relationship with various beautiful demon girls, because any romantic and/or sexual commitment to a demon allows a human to gain a Familiar called a "Daughter". A human with both an Asura and a Daughter is called an "Asura Cryin"—a Person of Mass Destruction whose own powers erase both their memories and ability to love, driving them mad.
  • Bakemonogatari: Koyomi Araragi is a blend of both this trope and Stock Light-Novel Everyman. He's your average guy possessed by the strongest vampire in existence and suffers from a desire to help any cute girl he meets even if he barely knows her. But in a world where problems are solved with words and not fighting, his powers are hardly useful. He's gotten his ass kicked to the point of death multiple times. In fact, his Chronic Hero Syndrome comes from a Friendless Background; his sense of self-worth is so low that the only way he feels useful is to sacrifice himself for someone. He does his best to help, but can't fix their problems for them—they have to do it themselves, and some of the arc resolutions make you wonder if his actions even made a difference at all. Furthermore, most of the girls he saves end up attracted to him. Sounds great, except that he enters a relationship with one of them very early in the story, and stays with her until the end. The way neither the other girls nor his girlfriend seem to care about the Unwanted Harem only shows that they're all really traumatized in some way or another, and it's not usually presented as something cute or healthy. In fact, Koyomi's inability to just reject his Hopeless Suitors ends up causing the main conflict of the Second Season of the novels, when Nadeko Sengoku ends up possessed by an evil god due to her insane love for him and threatens to kill him and Senjougahara if he doesn't go out with her instead...and everything above is mentioned in Kaiki's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Koyomi, because all of it could have been avoided if he'd just had the courage to reject Nadeko, and continuing to act in a way that would convince her she still had a chance with him was just causing her to suffer for no reason.
  • Being Able to Edit Skills in Another World, I Gained OP Waifus: Nagi Soma is summoned to another world along with his entire highschool class when the schoolbus they were riding gets summoned there. Because he's Genre Savvy enough to ask King Nadla the proper questions regarding their situation, instead of simply going along with what the king says at face value, like the rest of his class does, the king has the royal knights literally throw him out with little more than the clothes on his back. The rest of the story is him getting one slave haremette after another dumped on him by circumstances beyond his control, and having to use his unique "skill restructure" ability to make them all into over-powered warriors, just to get by.
  • BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense: A unique light-hearted take on the subgenre. Maple is a newbie gamer whose timid disposition motivates her to build her character with every point placed in Defense. Thanks also to Maple's fearless ignorance she also stumbles into some of the strongest monsters that the game devs never intended to be fought with her specific set of skills, and thus gains insanely powerful skills and equipment from the rewards. Maple quickly becomes known for being one of the most powerful players in the game, but her cute and friendly personality can't help but win her many friends and allies. This being a "cute girls doing cute things" type of show, Bofuri lacks any type of harem elements.
  • Bladedance of Elementalers: Kamito Kazehaya is the only known male Elementaler, a person who is able to make contracts with spirits. This, of course, means that he is the only boy to attend a school devoted to that craft, thus guaranteeing an Unwanted Harem. Also, he is secretly Ren Ashbell, the world's greatest bladedancer, capable of defeating just about any opponent singlehandedly once he gets serious. Further, he is contracted to two immensely powerful spirits: Est, one of the most powerful holy swords ever created, and Restia, another powerful sword which is the literal manifestation of the goddess of Darkness.
  • The Boogiepop Series makes this an Unbuilt Trope, as they were written long before this character archetype became standard. Nagi Kirima is Crazy-Prepared, extremely physically and intellectually gifted, and throws herself into danger on a daily basis for no reason. Unlike other examples, her Chronic Hero Syndrome is a deliberate choice because she actually does have a death wish, and even though she has plans within plans, she rarely saves the day on her own, generally requiring the timely intervention of the title character. Unlike other stock light novel heroes who tend to be magnetic, most others, save for the few who know, just find her weird and avoid her.
    • Her younger stepbrother Masaki shares her combat prowess and Chronic Hero Syndrome as well as being a Chick Magnet, but his naivety and trust of others makes it easy for them to trick him by exploiting his personality for their own ends.
  • Campione!: Godou Kusanagi is another Ordinary High-School Student who winds up being The Chosen One that kills a god and thus becomes the seventh and youngest "Campione". He is even special amongst that elite group by defeating the God of Victory, whose power allows him to kill any other god once Godou understands the god's origins and powers. The moment Godou becomes a Campione, Erica throws herself at him and "permits" him to have mistresses (although she insists he only have one) so long as it helps him fulfill his destiny. However, the fastest way to grant a Campione knowledge is by kissing them, and the Girl of the Week is usually the only one with the knowledge he needs.
  • A Certain Magical Index plays with this in regards to Touma Kamijou, despite being one of the earliest and most copied examples. Sure, he may have an ability that is incredibly overpowered, but that doesn't mean he himself is invincible. In fact, his tendency to take quite the beating before winning, his spiky (if generically black) hair, his Determinator status, as well as being an All-Loving Hero, put him closer to a Stock Shōnen Hero than the typical light novel protagonist. Played straight, however, with his Unwanted Harem, most of whom were his former enemies. If anything, he could be seen as a sort of "Missing Link" between the Stock Shōnen Hero and the Stock Light-Novel Hero.
    • Accelerator, in a way, fits this to a T. If it only weren't for the fact that he used to kill 10,032 people to become a Level 6, so...
  • Date A Live: Shido is, of course, an Ordinary High-School Student. The necessity to build a harem, though, is baked right into the plot—the danger threatening the world are Apocalypse Maidens called "spirits" who can only be saved by falling in love with him and then kissing Shido, who absorbs their power into his body. This is because, before the story started, he was temporarily killed and resurrected to be capable of wielding Spirit powers without any drawbacks. When he achieves adulthood, he will have the potential to become a magical god.
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody: Satou is a quintessential example of the trope, being an Everyman summoned into another world, who quickly gains an absurd level of power, can acquire new abilities basically any time he wants, and gains an ever-growing harem of pretty girls to accompany him. Even appearance-wise, he sports the standard short black hair and Badass Longcoat.
  • Demon Lord, Retry!: Oono Akira is translated into a game world where he takes up the appearance and identity of Maou the Demon King (who, in this world, takes the position of a stoic, chain-smoking adult Badass in a Nice Suit). Due to being one of the game's developers, he has access to numerous Administrator privileges, which makes him practically a god in this new world. Early into his travels, he meets several beautiful girls who fall in love with him (or one of his many other alter ego characters that he can randomly transform into).
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer!:
    • Well, to start with, Maou is The Devil (granted, only the latest in a long line of them, but still) and was the most powerful demon back in home world. On Earth, however, his power can't replenish itself without human emotion, which means each arc requires him to figure out a way to reacquire his abilities. He's rather unremarkable with plain black hair and a wardrobe that consists of Unislo and a fast food uniform. He's also quite intelligent and perceptive, having completely mastered everyday living on Earth in virtually no time at all. And finally, he of course winds up with an Unwanted Harem (albeit a small one). The overshadowing joke about all this, however, is that all he wants to be at the moment is to live as a regular part-time employee and Take Over the World by playing society's rules.
    • Emilia is the Hero Antagonist of the story and, thus, an inversion. But otherwise, Emilia fits the role of a Stock Light Novel protagonist including her massive fighting power that allowed her to almost single-handedly defeat Maou's forces. However, because she lacks the main character status, she lacks the rest of the trope's requirements, such as a harem. In fact, by later volumes, she is slowly becoming a member of Maou's harem.
  • Didn't I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?: Adele von Ascham (born Misato Kurihara) is a rare female example which lampshades and parodies this trope. Being an overachieving student who is burdened with high expectations in the real world, upon performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save the life of a little girl from being struck by a truck, Misato meets God and is given the chance to reincarnate. However Misato requests in her next life she be as average as possible. But the Creator's idea of 'average' has her reincarnated as Adele, a girl with power that is exactly half of the highest possible value, which is still still massively overpowered compared to everyone else.
  • Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?: This trope is mercilessly parodied through the premise "What if the standard Light-Novel guy was shown up by his mother in the game just like in real life?" Masato's mother Mamako is the one who is insanely overpowered, and though he starts out as a Harem Seeker, being so reliant upon his mother (and extremely immature in his own right) eventually makes any girls uninterested. Many of these factors turn out to be inherent to the setting, with mothers always being superior to their children in power, and their presence in an adventuring party being an Instant Turn-Off to most sexual shenanigans within that party.
  • Dragonar Academy: While not quite The Stoic nor an Ordinary High-School Student, Ash has a Unique Protagonist Asset in that he and his sister can ride any Dragon besides the one that belongs to him. In only a few chapters/episodes, he goes from being on the lowest end of the power spectrum to one of the highest as a Dragonar, with various characters promising that he isn't even close to his fullest potential. He's also the only known person whose Parr, Eco, has human form. In addition to the aforementioned Eco, he also has several girls who are either in love with him or want to have his child for a variety of reasons. And that's not even getting into the other things related to being the Knight of Avalon which make him even more special.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: The protagonist was just a nameless Homunculus created by the Yggdmillenia to be a slave in the Holy Grail War, until he attempts to escape and gets heavily injured. The hero Siegfried sacrifices his heart to save him, dying in the process. Renaming himself Sieg in honor of his fallen savior, the protagonist goes on to become a leader to his fellow homunculii, a major figure in the war and one of the most powerful characters in the story albeit not without cost. He lacks the Harem traits though, as he's both Oblivious to Love and only one girl character is actually in love with him, though his male best friend (not that you could tell at a glance) isn't shy about his affection either.
  • Gamers!: This is parodied by way of subversion. While Amano has the plain appearance and Unwanted Harem, he lacks every other traits like skill or exceptional moral character, and the show repeatedly demonstrates that he has no interest in either. One short scene further cements this by demonstrating that a minor character, Misumi, actually has every cliche and characteristic that the standard SLNH would possess, but isn't concerned with his story at all.
  • Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!: Souji Mitsuka/Tail Red is a huge twin-tail fanboy who protects the world from evil aliens, earning an Unwanted Harem that consists of his childhood friend, the perverted scientist that gave him his powers, the Student Council President and even one of his enemies. The parody is that his superhero alter ego is a little girl, and he doesn't mind as long as he gets to enjoy his twintails, completely ignoring his harem. The one time he showed interest in the female gender instead of just their twintails, he lost will to fight for twintails, got stuck in his female form and even experienced a mild depression. It's only when he/she gets over it that Souji becomes more powerful than ever.
  • Hai To Gensou No Grimgar: Haruhiro and his party members aren't even close to being overpowered, nor are they particularly Genre Savvy or quick to adapt to the world they've been transported to. They struggle to defeat even low-level monsters, and most of the series is just focused on them trying to survive rather than going on an adventure. Which furthers the deconstruction: Haruhiro isn't the strongest party member, nor is he the main focus of the series. It's only due to the entire party that they're able to keep going. In any other series, they'd be the nameless, faceless background characters that the actual stock light novel heroes save.
  • The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious: A hilarious parody of the trope. The goddess Ristarte is charged with saving an S-ranked world (the most difficult) and chooses to summon Seiya because he has some of the highest stats of any potential hero. Seiya is also a dark-haired, handsome hunk with a chiseled body and stoic persona. From the moment he appears, Rista lusts over him, and eventually, he gains the admiration of several other goddesses within the divine realm. ...However, he is The Paranoiac that won't do anything unless he is "Ready Perfectly". He will spend weeks at a time doing nothing but training or working out until he has maxxed out every single skill available, synethesizes the most powerful weapon as well as backups of those weapons and backups to the backups, buys hundreds of helpful items in bulk, and treats every single person he meets with complete suspicion and caution...including his own pary members and Ristarte herself. And it's a good thing, because the villains of this world are just as savvy and prepared. His strength and paranoia are even eventually given a concrete turns out it isn't his first rodeo being summoned to another world, and his lack of caution back then cost him dearly. In effect, he's actually closer to a Stock Shōnen Hero.
  • High School D×D: Issei Hyoudou sits on the fence between this trope and Stock Shōnen Hero. He looks and acts more like a shonen protagonist, but (aside from literally debuting in a light novel) fills the Harem Genre, Ordinary High-School Student and "power acquisition" requirements. He's the current host of the Red Dragon Emperor—a being so powerful that Angels, Demons AND Fallen Angels had to join forces to break up a fight with its Arch-Enemy. The harem aspect, however, is not by accident—Issei's greatest dream is to become the "Harem King".
  • In The Hero Who Returned Remains The Strongest In The Modern World, Daiki has all the trappings of one. He has dark hair, is an Ordinary High-School Student Trapped in Another World, soft facial features, and is a Showy Invincible Hero. A lot of the humor of the story comes from him trying to use these powers as perks while living a normal life, only to run headlong into more supernatural situations than he'd care to deal with. Despite this, his personality quirks, such as his Bizarre Taste in Food, move him farther away from The Everyman version of this trope as the story goes on.
  • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord: This trope is Played for Laughs regarding Diablo with the cliches exaggerated to ridiculous levels. He's a Godlike Gamer and a shut-in NEET back in the real world before he is abruptly summoned into an RPG Verse where he becomes his overpowered player avatar, and finds that everyone around him is laughably under levelednote . He gets a harem of two girls fighting over him from his very first appearance, however the twist is that they actually get turned into his slaves by accident so he technically owns them, and he keeps acquiring more girls after that. He's unusual that he's not a Bishōnen human, but a imposing demon lord. Unlike most examples of this trope, he roleplays the mean, selfish Demon Lordnote , meaning he generally doesn't show altruistic traits on the surface like the typical light novel protagonist. This extends to the relationship he has with the girls, who he is quite perverted towards including groping them on a few occasions. It takes scratching the surface and getting to know him better to see his nicer side underneath who is willing to help his girls when they are in trouble.
  • I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job: Raul was once one of the strongest Heroes of his world and led a party of other Heroes against the forces of the Demon King. However, at some point during their adventure, someone else got to the Demon King first and slew him, meaning that the war was over and there was suddenly no need for Heroes like Raul. With no other prospects, he's forced to take a job in a department store. However, this is turned upside-down when Fino, the Demon King's daughter, starts working at the same store and troubles from his past begin popping up. Raul's skills as a Hero come in handy for dealing with these problems, and his bravery and Nice Guy status still draw the attention of an Unwanted Harem.
  • In Another World with My Smartphone: Touya Mouchizuki takes the trope to an extreme. He's an Ordinary High-School Student who dies and gets transported to another world, acquires a Badass Longcoat, and quickly becomes a Showy Invincible Hero with a harem. Unlike many shows of this type, however, this is the entire point—God feels guilty for killing him before his time and actively works to give Touya the best life ever, with nigh-unbeatable power and an endless supply of women willing to share him in marriage.
  • Infinite Stratos: Ichika Orimura is the only male in the world that can pilot the titular Powered Armor, which means he is the only male in a school dedicated to training IS pilots and gets an Unwanted Harem. He is also a pretty good homemaker, dedicated and passionate about his beliefs and draws strength from his conviction to protect his loved ones. Unlike other examples of this trope, though, Ichika is not overpowered. His successes are due simply to his determination, courage and whit. In addition, he has no idea that the girls have feelings for him and the series derives lots of its humor from his lack of romantic awareness, until it is later implied he only pretends to be unaware of the girls' romance towards him as to avoid getting into further trouble with them.
  • The Irregular at Magic High School: One of the oldest Trope Codifiers, especially for the Extranormal Institute variety of trope. Further, unlike many later characters like this, the traits associated with the trope are analyzed or deconstructed. Thanks to its heavy political themes, Tatsuya Shiba discovers this trope's setbacks. Invincible Hero? His soul was changed when he was still in his mother's stomach, and in childhood was forced to become Child Soldier to master the most powerful magic known to man so that he could guard the Yotsuba family forever. Many people, however, fear a possible Beware the Superman scenario and would rather keep their distance from him. The Yotsuba family even created Miyuki to restrain him. Stoicism? Not by choice. To prevent him from destroying the world on a whim, the Yotsubas altered his brain chemistry and made him unable to feel any strong emotion, except for his love for his sister Miyuki.
  • Isekai Cheat Magician: Taichi Nishimura seems like a pretty standard example, being an Ordinary High-School Student where he was whisked away to another world full of magic, swords, and monsters. While there he discovers he possesses overwhelming magical powers which is so great he was considered a 'cheat'. However what sets this series apart is Taichi isn't the sole protagonist, sharing the spotlight with a girl named Rin who is the identical situation to him of being trapped in the world with cheat magic powers.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?:
    • Bell Cranel is a less straight example, but still fits most of the criteria. He starts off being deemed weak by everyone and rejected from most familia, which led him to a steep learning curve of training to increasing his power and actually has to be rescued several times. However, he is able to rapidly grow in strength compared to everyone else due to his unique skill Realis Phrase, going from being overwhelmed by a Minotaur to being the one to defeat the borderline Hopeless Boss Fight. While he is introduced as a Harem Seeker who goes dungeon crawling to try and pick up girls, this gets dropped early on and he ends up being a Chick Magnet who acquires his own Unwanted Harem. Unlike most light novel protagonists, his physical appearance stands out due to being an albino, and he doesn't belong to any modern society which is reflected in his fashion. In addition, while he isn't exactly an Idiot Hero, he has a Horrible Judge of Character due to being naive and overly trusting.
    • Memoria Freese introduces Argonaut, who also plays with this trope. Although he's an All-Loving Hero who eventually becomes the world's Hope Bringer through his efforts and incredible optimism, he's ineffectually weak for most of the story, having to run from most threats and get by through the help of others or through his manipulations as a Guile Hero. Even after getting a massive power boost from the spirit Jupiter, he ultimately fails to defeat the Minotaur on his own, requiring Aria to help him finish the beast off. He's also a Casanova Wannabe who can't help but flirt with everyone he meets, but he only manages to steal the hearts of two girls, and this is only after he saves their lives and get to know him. Most of the other girls he tries to help tend to rebuke him or run off thinking he's a weirdo.
  • Is This a Zombie?: Ayumu Aikawa was an Ordinary High-School Student until one day he died. But soon after he gets brought back to life as a zombie. Though he's not the stereotypical flesh-eating, mindless, rotting zombie. He's an intelligent, attractive Friendly Zombie who doesn't act any different to how he was back when he was alive. Really, the only difference after he was brought Back from the Dead the assortment of powers he gained, such as a Healing Factor, Super Strength, and being Nigh-Invulnerable. Also, he has his own Supporting Harem of girls who are all supernatural creatures, including the very necromancer who brought him back to life.
  • I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level: A rare female protagonist case, Azusa Aizawa was an office lady — or she prefers calling it, a "corporate slave" — who died of overworking and reincarnated into a fantasy world as an immortal witch with nothing but a knife and an isolated house. Determined to relax as much as humanly possible, she embraces a lazy lifestyle of living outside of town, killing slimes when she goes to do her shopping, and selling their remains to buy what few resources she needs. By the time she is asked to check her status again, it turns out she's been killing slimes for three hundred years and maxed out her level. Unfortunately, news of her updated status as one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful people in the world, leaks out and is quickly confirmed, which sets off the plot — leading to her gaining a harem / family and generally dragging her out of her isolated, lazy life and into a life of adventure.
  • Mushoku Tensei: Dying on Earth saving a couple high schoolers from an incoming truck, Rudeus Greyrat was reborn in a new world with the loving family he always wanted, as well as an immense amount of magical capabilities to become the World's Strongest Man and gains himself a harem. In an interesting twist, it's his descendants that are the Chosen One that will save the world.
    • Somewhat of an Unbuilt Trope example as well, due to having to work hard to get powerful unlike most examples, and that he was originally a fat, overweight 34 something NEET as opposed to being a teenager, and that he's reincarnated as a child as opposed to transmogrified to another world like his contemporaries.
  • Kämpfer: Natsuru Senou gets dragged against his will in a fight between Kampfers, superpowered girls who act proxies in a war between two planets. Since all Kampfers are female and Natsuru is a male, that means he is transformed into a girl upon becoming a Kampfer. His female form attracts the romantic interest of almost every guy and girl in his high school, with only one girl interested in his male form, and he remains oblivious to their interest because he is already in love with one girl who is actually working for the bad guys and is not above manipulating Natsuru in both forms to get what she wants. To top it all off, any meaningful development of the Kampfer war is largely put on hold for what's basically an ecchi comedy focusing on Natsuru's love life.
  • Knight's & Magic: Ernesti Echevalier is a former otaku reincarnated into another world where Mecha are the primary combat tools, and immediately manages to increase his kingdom's technology level by a comparable magnitude to what it took the kingdom's best military minds hundreds of years to do in the past despite being only in middle school, gets a carte blanche from the king to engage in adventure wherever he likes with a small band of his True Companions, and eventually almost singlehandedly saves another small kingdom from an invasion by The Empire, all the while treating warfare as nothing but a fun game because he's just that overpowered. He lacks the appearance (as he's a silver-haired, androgynous preteen boy) and the harem (as only one girl shows signs of attraction toward him, and because of their age it's ambiguous whether it's truly romantic or just platonic in nature), although those are justified as the novel is for a younger demographic than what's normally intended here.
  • Konosuba:
    • Kazuma is a light-hearted parody of the trope. When he first arrives in his new world, he thinks he'll be overpowered, but turns out to have some of the weakest stats, aside from luck and intelligence. And his teammates form the very definition of an Unwanted Harem, as each one of them is hilariously incompetent except for VERY specific circumstances as well as having character flaws which indicate very questionable levels of sanity.
    • Kyouya, Kazuma's rival and foil, is the epitome of this trope: an extremely attractive Chosen One with an overpowered sword and his own adoring harem. The irony is that Kazuma's harem includes the heroine, Aqua, who Kyouya thought was his main heroine, but it turns out she forgot all about him. In fact, Kazuma's entire harem hates Kyouya and, despite denying it, adore Kazuma for various reasons.
  • Log Horizon: Shiroe is trapped in a game world along with many other players, and he happens to be one of the greatest strategists alive with the highest level cap (at first) in the game. His exploits earn him the affections of multiple women, and as he learns more about how the mechanics of the game world work, he learns that his abilities and his intellect are perfectly suited to allow him to break reality itself through Magically Binding Contracts.
  • The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar: Yuuto was an Ordinary High-School Student and a bit of a history nerd. He's summoned to the magical world of Yggdrasil to help the Wolf Clan win battles against their neighboring clans and, by the time the story begins two years later, his strategies and knowledge of future technology have helped him evolve into the Patriarch of the Wolf Clan as it expands and absorbs several other neighboring ones. This earns him not only the reverence of the clan, but (by way of the "chalice oath" system of fealty in this world) the loyalty and love of several beautiful girls, who he adopts as daughters or sisters, and all of whom want to bear his seed.
  • Maoyu: Yuusha is the Legendary Hero fated to defeat Maou, the Demon Lord. To this end, he was born with absurd skill and power well beyond that of any human or demon, capable of defeating entire armies with ease. However, when he meets Maou (the Demon Queen), he learns that she's a very wise and benevolent woman who knows that even if this war comes to an end, nothing will change. She instead proposes that the two of them join forces to introduce the very primitive and socially backward world to concepts such as agriculture, advanced economics, and social reform. However, this causes him to to feel that he's become useless outside of the occasional use of force when peaceful measures won't work. Further fitting the trope, he turns out to be quite the Chick Magnet, with both the Demon Queen and the Female Knight vying for his well as many more female admirers who desire him as well.
  • Moon Led Journey Across Another World: Reconstructed. Makoto Misumi has the Story-Breaker Power most Isekai type heroes have, but everyone who understands this about him treats him like a living Doomsday Device, one that must be kept far away from politics and taking sides in conflicts, lest he starts wiping out civilizations. Fortunately for the world, he's more interested in being a merchant...Which he's less than talented at. As for his appearance, the goddess he was summoned to serve found him ugly and sent him out of sight. And his companions are balanced between men and women, and while the women are interested in him, he's a Celibate Hero (And even distrusting a few of them), Until he consummates a proper harem.
  • My Entire Class Was Summoned To Another World Except For Me: Parodied. Yato looks as though he will be a stereotypical Isekai Hero, except he is the only one of his class who did not get summoned over. For his trouble he does get powers though.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Catarina Claes parodies the "Princess" and otome flavor of heroine. In her previous life, Catarina was a free-spirited girl who took a liking to a Romance Game called Fortune Lover. When she dies young and reincarnates, she realizes she's been reborn in the game's world as the snobbish, villainous Hate Sink Catarina Claes and seeks to avert the myriad terrible fates the character faced in the game — except that her combination of Past-Life Memories and sincere Nice Girl demeanor causes every other character's backstories to go Off the Rails and make her the target of the love interests' affections (including the characters that were supposed to be female rivals and the original main character). She's different from many characters of this type in that she is a very blatant Idiot Heroine, and she wasn't actually all that good at Fortune Lover when she played it back in her previous life. Also, she is utterly skillless and lackluster in both swordsmanship and magic. Thus, it's not her knowledge, pragmatism or skill that make her special, but her quirky and magnetic personality that causes everyone to adore her.
  • Myriad Colors Phantom World: Haruhiko Ichijo is a Chick Magnet, Bishōnen, Ordinary High-School Student in a world where supernatural creatures known as phantoms roam free. He joins a club where students accept jobs in handling phantoms, with his club being full of girls that make up his Battle Harem. He also possesses special ability to seal phantoms in his sketch book.
  • Nidome no Yuusha: Deconstructed with Ueki Kaito. Possibly the darkest deconstruction to date. Summoned against his will, home and family destroyed outside his knowledge, he spent three years struggling to save the new world from the Demon Lord, only to have his "companions" turn on him when he succeeds, get hunted down like an animal for a year, and stabbed to death by said "companions" as they're happily patting themselves on the back rejoicing at "the death of evil" and whining about how long it took them to kill him. And then the universe resets to the day he was summoned, the the local god having assumed that anyone summoned to another world would have died far, far earlier and had planned on giving him a second chance to get it right. Now having some (but not all) of his powers, but every single bit of his memories, he decides to do a swan dive off the slippery slope and punish as many people as possible for what they did to him in the previous timeline.
  • No Game No Life: Sora fits most of the criteria; he's a NEET that is unparalleled in both his gaming skills. In addition, and the main reason he fits this trope more than his sister, is because he gains a veritable harem of hot women (including said sister) who either love or become his property by one means or another. What distinguishes him from most light novel protagonists is he's not a stereotypical Nice Guy, being incredibly arrogant and often manipulates those around him for personal gain, along with the fact he's in all aspects still a normal human and defeats others using his own wits rather than any powers that he acquires along the way. It's a plot point that Immanity are the "weakest" species in Disboard, Sora instead sees this as the ultimate strength and he only becomes more formidable as he defeats and forms alliances with the various other species.
  • Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World: Iska is an obvious Kirito expy, and one of (of not the) strongest Saint Disciples in the world. He's got the standard unremarkable and pretty-boy facial features, and while not quite building a "harem", there are multiple women that are implied to have feelings for him.
  • Overlord: Ainz (aka Momonga aka Satoru) is an interesting variation in that he's not a human but a lich, finding himself incarnated as his MMORPG character In a World... that shares a lot of similarities with said MMO, but he soon discovers it's not the same as being inside the game. While he does possess ridiculous power (being at max level and inheriting everything from his former guild), he also tries to avoid flaunting it for fear of other players hearing about him and deciding to kill him (and he constantly misjudges just how overleveled he is compared to the rest of the world), and most of his early plans involve recruiting many unique-ability-having people (as it seems neither he nor his allies can learn new abilities) to work for him to round out Nazarick's skillset. His lich body also constantly suppresses his emotions for good or evil, and he finds himself committing ever more atrocities without batting an eye in the name of his utopia. He also has an Unwanted Harem, but he simply can't benefit from it in anyway, lacking the necessary parts or even emotions for love (and of the three girls, none are human, one was programmed to be a necrophile, one is In Love with Your Carnage, and another was accidentally programmed to love him as a joke). Finally, he went through an edgelord phase a few years back and is now thoroughly ashamed of what it produced: a Large Ham NPC prone to Putting on the Reich and Gratuitous German.
  • Redo of Healer: main character Keyaru is a dark example (picture Kaito without any informed consent), similar to The Rising of the Shield Hero minus the isekai part and with the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism turned so far into the "cynicism" end that it's at serious risk of breaking the scale. Main character Keyaru, a young apple farmer, finds out that he is a Hero destined to fight alongside a party of other legendary heroes. Unfortunately for Keyaru, his power is healing, and he's a healer of the empathic variety. Even more unfortunately, the kingdom where he lives is a hopelessly corrupt tyranny and a World of Jerkass, and the "heroes" he's to fight alongside are awful to match and don't really need much healing in the first place, so he's Made a Slave and mostly used as a pack mule and a sex toy. By the time he manages to break himself free of their hold, he is a deeply broken Villain Protagonist whose sole reason for existing is dishing out proportionately horrific revenge, almost always involving Karmic Rape galore. As usual for the trope, Keyaru is a Guile Hero with the obligatory "cheat" ability (turns out, the umbrella of what classifies as "healing" is much more more versatile than you'd think). His obligatory harem, however, is unusual - about half of it consists of people with a similar grudge to his to whom he's giving a chance to act out their revenge in return for helping him with his, while the other half were Brainwashed into joining.
  • Re:Zero: When he first arrives in his new world, Subaru assumes he's gained powerful magic or some other talent, but initially has none. The only unique ability he gained is to start over from a "save point" after he dies, which is only a blessing considering the horrible ways he constantly meets his end. Gaining a harem (with a couple of reciprocated loves but also others with varying degrees of interest) means he has more people to protect or save. And one of those girls, Satella, the Witch of Envy, leaves a trail of corpses whenever she makes an appearance. To top it all off, all of the ability acquisitions he gains throughout the series are extremely nerfed compared to the original users or have conditions that Subaru cannot match, making them completely useless.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: The series begins by lampshading the usual formula, having protagonist Iwatani Naofumi constantly point out all the traits that make him a standard Light Novel hero, right up to him being summoned to another world. The subversion starts immediately after that, with him being only one of four heroes summoned, the only one of the four that isn't a confident badass, the only one of the four that isn't a Godlike Gamer, and the one unfortunately chosen to bear the shield, a weapon that even the people that summoned them snub their noses at. He quickly learns why: the shield has no offensive power whatsoever, meaning he struggles to even kill the weakest enemies, meaning that he can't earn any XP to level up, and even when he does level up, it still only increases his defense and just makes the next level even harder to achieve. Thus, he is continually disrespected at every turn, and though his first party member is an incredibly beautiful woman, she winds up betraying, robbing, and falsely accusing him of attempted rape, thus destroying the little respect he had to the point that the entire kingdom sees him as pure scum. This event is the Cynicism Catalyst that defines Naofumi's personality for the rest of the series, as he decides to play up his role as a jerkass hero because no one will take him seriously otherwise. Later points in the story slowly start the Double Subversion, with Naofumi starting to learn more useful abilities, and gaining a party of female charaters that could technically be considered a "harem".
    • Moreover, the series even deconstructs many aspects of the typical protagonists in this genre through the other three heroes. Ren is a heroic but overall stoic badass who prefers to let his actions speak over words, and is bad at working with other people because nobody can tell what he's planning or thinking, resulting in him being an Ineffectual Loner at the core. Motoyasu is The Casanova and a Harem Seeker whose party is all filled with girls, making him easy prey for the manipulations of Malty because he'll always fall for a pretty face, and doesn't realize that some of the members of his "harem" are Pretty Freeloaders who deep down can't stand him. Lastly, Itsuki is portrayed as an overall Humble Hero who wants to help those in need, but he intentionally plays himself as the Ideal Hero to get praise and is actually more arrogant than he lets on, not being above intentionally letting others fall into danger so he can step in and save them at the last second.
    • Deconstructed even further with Tact. Between his insanely high level, "rightfully taken" weapons and his harem of girls, Tact only looks like your standard light novel protagonist when the truth is much more sinister and cynical. His high levels are much less impressive relative to his subpar stats and pitiful fighting experience, the weapons he stole were from their rightful owners who kept the bulk of their powers regardless and aren't nearly at their full power in his hands because of this, and the girls under him are either gold diggers all too keen on taking advantage of him or brainwashed into seeing him as a hero and a savior. As a result, he ends up causing nothing but problems in the blind delusion that he alone was meant to save the world, gets numerous people on both sides killed in the process, and when others opposing him are put on a more equal footing with him, he ends up getting his shit kicked in because behind his (poorly maintained) hero facade is a complete idiot who doesn't even know how to fight properly.
  • The Saga of Tanya the Evil: Tanya Von Degurechaff is a very dark take on the genre that turns the cliches on its head. It involves a cynical aetheist Japanese HR manager who was a jerkass to his workers, leading one of them to murder him by pushing him in front of a train. The man was then confronted with a being who claimed to be GOD, only for the bitter atheist to not only refuse to believe the God (who he dubs "Being X") but to challenge him on how the world didn't need any faith. Angered by this, Being X punished him by reincarnating him a world of constant magic and warfare, in the body of a little girl named Tanya Von Degurechaff, who finds herself as a powerful unstoppable sorceress fighting in what resembles World War I. In place of an Unwanted Harem, she is the squad leader of a platoon of male soldiers who serve as her supporting cast along with one female companion. While the empire she serves sees her as a hero, Tanya is concerned for no one but herself and only seeks to further her own power and self preservation.
  • Skeleton Knight In Another World: Arc Raratoia was an otaku gamer who one day fell asleep and woke up in the body of his online game avatar, which has the appearance of a Knight in Shining Armor on the surface and a skeleton underneath. He is substantially more powerful than other characters with endless grinding having pushed his level to a maximum of 255, which grants him Super Strength and an assortment of mystical powers. While he doesn't quite have a harem yet, he does encounter and help out a lot of girls on his adventures so he's getting there.
  • Slave Harem in the Labyrinth of the Other World invokes the trope. He not only actively chose to go to this New World, but was actively warned that return would be impossible. He actively seeks out sex-slaves, purchases them purely to have sex with them, which he does, and doesn't do anything that different from the locals except being quite talented and seemingly having an eye for "recruiting" very, very talented individuals (said sex slaves) to staff his adventuring party that most others somehow overlooked and dismissed. In fact, the sex slaves are all well aware that he purchases them purely for the sex, and the fact that he actually needs them to fight in labyrinths is only a convenient excuse. He doesn't escape the trope entirely, however, because he genuinely loves his slaves and not only secretly unlocks more and more potential in them, but actively pampers them like crazy.
  • Strike the Blood: Kojou Akatsuki has silver hair and often wears a hoodie, but other than that, perfectly fits the style of an LN hero. He's the Fourth Progenitor, by his own admission "the most powerful vampire in the world". Progenitors can summon an entire army of familiars—each one by itself a Person of Mass Destruction, but to awaken familiars he must drink blood. The familiars literally won't respect a "virgin" vampire, and some of them still won't respond if he only drinks blood from the same people over and over, thus requiring him to acquire an Unwanted Harem. Even if he didn't have to, though, Kojou's power, good looks, and desire to protect others draws a large number of girls (and some men) to him.
  • Sword Art Online: Kirito is the most well-known example of the trope and quite possibly the Trope Codifier. He's an Ordinary High-School Student with a Badass Longcoat, a Clueless Chick Magnet with a Battle Harem, and is known to be a stoic Ineffectual Loner. He's a Godlike Gamer in an RPG-Mechanics Verse which allows him to become the World's Best Warrior of SAO, routinely gets given new abilities and skills such as his Dual Wielding, and he's an Invincible Hero with most enemies being fodder to him. He also quickly climbing the ranks in other virtual-reality games as well and is able to keep defying the limits the System has set. This is subverted in Alicization where despite this arc shifting the series closer to the Isekai genre, Kirito himself moves away from the usual cliches for this character archetype. He is a lot more underpowered than previous arcs as he has to gradually learn about the new world and work towards power, unlike previous arcs where he was often at his peak when he took on obstacles. Also the girls that join his Supporting Harem each arc has largely been replaced by a Bash Brothers dynamic with Eugeo.
  • Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online: LLENN is a rare female example, but nonetheless still falls into this due to being Wish Fulfillment for a Feminist Fantasy. She starts off as an ordinary college student who decides to try out VR gaming. Upon landing in Gun Gale Online she gets given an advantageously short and speedy avatar which made her one of the deadliest players in the game. Noted for being able to defy the conventional laws of physics and proving to be a Godlike Gamer in her own right, she ends up almost single-handedly winning the first Squad Jam tournament and becomes Famed in Story. While the harem aspect is mostly absent due to her being a female, she still ends up garnering a few female admirers to her annoyance.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a pretty ridiculous take on this trope. Rimuru Tempest was once an ordinary otaku human who died and got reincarnated in another world that was magical. The twist however is he got reincarnated, as the title suggests, as a slime. He discovers that the nature of his reincarnation granted him the unique Predator Skill that allowed him to quickly amass power by absorbing enemies he defeated and acquire their abilities, so that after a few weeks he's already an Invincible Hero. He gets an assortment of girls following him in a Supporting Harem and as much as he'd like to give up his virginity, as a slime he now lacks the equipment necessary, and to complicate matters further he ends up acquiring a humanoid form that has a female appearance.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Lux Arcadia is the legendary Black Hero that destroyed his own empire to save innocent people, is the only guy in an all-girls school (which means an Unwanted Harem), saves the newly formed kingdom (ruled by one of the girls in the aforementioned harem) on a regular basis and, along with his sister and Aeril, is the only good person in family of hideous and pathetic excuses for human beings.
  • Unlimited Fafnir: Yuu Mononobe is the sole male "D", which automatically makes him incredibly special and an attendee of a school where he is the only guy. In addition to this, he is considered the world's strongest assassin and capable of defeating any human opponent(s) in combat. Even against the series' main antagonists (the Dragons), he has the Unique Protagonist Asset of being chosen by one of the Dragons to kill its own kind, with the price for such power being his memories. Later in the story, it's revealed that he's even more special than that, being considered one of the "Counter Dragons" created by Gaia to defeat the "True Dragons" that threaten the world. It's later revealed that he might even be a True Dragon himself.
  • When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace: Andou is the sole male member of the Literature Club, with every other member being part of his Unwanted Harem (in addition to the Student Council President). The catch is that he's actually more of a Stock Light-Novel Everyman than this trope; after the Mass Empowering Event that grants he and the other girls superpowers, his ability turns out to be the weakest of all of them with absolutely no combat or support utility whatsoevernote . He is also a massive chuunibyou obsessed with indulging his overactive imagination and living on Rule of Cool. However, these traits are also what not only endears him to the girls, but also makes him the pillar of their lives; without his Genre Savviness, none of the girls would have the slightest idea what to do with their incredible powers, nor their own personal failings. He also takes advantage of this very trope by convincing an enemy with Power Parasite abilities to steal his powers by telling her that main characters always start the weakest and become the most powerful.
  • The Wise Grandson: Shin Wolford is a former Japanese Salaryman who died and managed to Reincarnate in Another World as an absurdly gifted youth with innate magical talent, combat prowess and an incredible moral fiber. He only lacks a harem because he falls in love with and becomes engaged to his primary Love Interest within days of meeting her, just before he enters a Wizarding School where his talents can be recognized.
  • World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman: Moroha is a first-year student at an Extranormal Institute which instructs "Saviours", students who can use powers gained from Past-Life Memories. Almost instantly, he gains the attention of two girls who were once his lovers in a past life, which also means that with two reincarnations to draw from, he has more innate power than anyone else at his school. In fact, it immediately becomes clear that he is an S-Rank Saviour—only seven of which exist, including him. And his power is so immense that he still puts the other S-Ranks to shame, easily defeating two of their ranks when they threaten his friends. As the story progresses, he only acquires more powers and gains the affection of more women.
  • WorldEnd: What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?: The main character, Willem, was a standard light novel protagonist 500 years before the main story. He acquired a formidable number of skills and abilities in typical light novel hero fashion. However, his strength ultimately had zero impact on humanity’s fate. His final battle was a Senseless Sacrifice and everything he held dear was destroyed by the 17 Beasts. He learns this unfortunate fact after being unfrozen 500 years later and discovering he’s the last living human. To add insult to injury he lost most of his fighting ability due to being petrified for so long, resulting in him being forced to remain a bystander while others fight and die in his place. WorldEnd shows just how insignificant even a Stock Light-Novel Hero is in what is basically a Cosmic Horror Story.

  • The King's Avatar: Ye Xiu is acknowledged as a Living Legend for the In-Universe Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game "Glory" and its eSports league, having won multiple championships and earned dozens of accolades to his name for years. He's so knowledgeable and skilled at the game that some of his epitaphs include "Battle God", "Glory Encyclopedia/Textbook" and "Master Strategist". Despite being forced to retire from the competitive scene at the start of the story, he winds up coming back to the league by forming his own team of like-minded talent, all whom defer to his leadership, winning another championship after their debut. Downplayed when the series has no Fantasy, isekai or Science Fiction elements at all; Glory is simply a video game and The King's Avatar dives into the Real Life aspect and environment of eSports as its primary narrative. While Ye Xiu is certainly touted as one of the best players of the game, there are just about as many equally talented players like him, who have also won championships, earned accomplishments and titles that he does not have. Furthermore, a single person cannot hope to win competitive Glory when it's a team sport, thus group effort is necessitated, particularly when his team, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, struggles to even make it into the playoffs upon joining the league. Finally, The King's Avatar has no notions of romance due to an explicit No Hugging, No Kissing policy - despite being close with female characters, the most Ye Xiu's chalked up to is Like Brother and Sister with the Childhood Friend, Vitriolic Best Buds to his employer and serving as The Mentor for a co-worker, negating any harem element at all.

  • Kagerou Project kicked off its plot with Shintaro Kisaragi, a dour loner and the newest member of the Mekakushi Dan. He starts the story as a Hikikomori and skips school constantly, but back when he went he found the material to be too easy. It takes him meeting the rest of the gang to start opening back up and understand the eye powers they've all been given. He also has some of the most significance in the story: he was personally friends with Ayano before her passing, of which drew him into being a hikikomori in the first place, it's his actions in Route XX that inadvertently doom the timeline, and his eye power, "Recording Eyes", has been secretly aiding him in each timeline and is critical to ending the loop once and for all.

    Video Games 
  • Tokyo Xanadu: Kou Tokisaka is a downplayed version of the trope. While he fits most of the criteria of being a typical light novel hero; a Stoic Ordinary High-School Student who is also a Ridiculously Average Guy and an everyman who likes to help out people in need, even if it isn't his own business, and obtains his Soul Device through "power acquisition" to defeat otherworldly monsters called Greeds, that's where the similarities end. When it comes to his actual combat skills in the Eclipse, he is far from being an Invincible Hero, and this is demonstrated by his amateur fighting style and lack of understanding of his own Soul Device when he first obtains it, in contrast to his classmate Asuka Hiiragi, who is far more powerful and experienced than he is. Kou's growth throughout the game is instead the result of him working together with his friends and fellow X.R.C. members as part of his Character Development. In addition, he has no harem to speak of. The closest thing he has to harem are his female allies; Asuka, Sora, Mitsuki, Rion, and even his Childhood Friend Shiori, but with the exception of the latter, the other girls show very little romantic interest in Kou, and they consider him more of a friend than anything (and in fact, Sora and Mitsuki get Ship Tease with other male members of the party). Not to mention that his group is balanced out by an equal amount of male students as well, who can equally bond with Kou in friendship events just as much as the girls.
  • Rean Schwarzer from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel posseses an array of cliches that fit this trope. He's The Leader of Class VII, Chick Magnet extraordinare that as of Cold Steel IV has up to eleven women all vying for him romantically, a Super Robot that only he can pilot, is adopted to a noble family, has a Superpowered Evil Side with no idea how he got it, is an overall Nice Guy and polite to other people, and is considered The Chosen One by a lot of characters (his master names Rean the one true successor who will learn the true meaning of the Eight Leaves One Blade sword style, his biological father names Rean the national hero of Erebonia, and Ishmelga), along with other characters from the Liberl and Crossbell arcs, believe that he's the center of everything. Unfortunately, even all these tools are not enough for him to win the day. In fact, he's on the losing side at the end of three games and things go From Bad to Worse for him. It literally takes a Deus ex Machina on top of a time travel plot to actually make him win the fourth game in the Erebonia arc.
  • Hyde Kido from Under Night In-Birth hits a few ticks from this trope. Namely, he's a rather plain looking high schooler who awakens to a powerful ability and has quite a few girls implied to have deeper feelings for him. He does however subvert the usual personality traits, being an Idiot Hero. While he does acquire a powerful ability, he's considered a complete greenhorn compared to the more experienced cast members and he's firmly Unskilled, but Strong. Makes sense given the developers being the ones who made a spin off to a visual novel.

    Visual Novels 
  • An early but very influential example is Shiki Tohno, a seemingly normal teenage everyman with short black hair... and the ability to permanently kill anything, a Superpowered Evil Side, and extensive childhood training in assassination that lets him instantly detect supernatural beings and kill them easily.
    • This is a Nasuverse staple, with Shirou Emiya following right after Shiki, though his orange hair stands out more. He's also an everyman - just one who happens to be a magus with the power to copy any weapon he sees. While initially incompetent, unlike most modern examples, he learns fast and is deceptively intelligent.
  • Grisaia Series: Yuuji Kazami is a Decon-Recon Switch of the trope. He fits most of the criteria: incredible skills, a growing Unwanted Harem, a stoic persona, a compulsion to help others, and an average appearance. However, his backstory reveals the circumstances under which he gained most of these. He suffered years of Parental Neglect in favor of his far more intelligent and talented older sister, which turned into Parental Abuse from his father after their cash cow died, culminating in his mother's murder. Yuuji killed his father in retaliation before being picked up as a Child Soldier by a terrorist who also sexually abused him. Some time later, he was then trained and raised by a female mercenary, who also took him as her lover before she, too, died and left him all alone. By the time the series begins, Yuuji is a suicidal, broken shell who wants to lead a "normal" life for a while and only helps the girls that eventually form his harem because he promised his deceased master that he'd help five people in need before he killed himself However, the various games and the anime have numerous ways that Yuuji can finally earn his happy ending and live happily with some, or all, of his harem.


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