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Memetic Loser / Anime & Manga

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  • Pokémon:
    • Ash gets this treatment in the fandom, due to never winning a major league (just the anime-only Orange Islands, and there's him being offered as a Frontier Brain). Still, he has shown to be a competent trainer, hero in many movies, and a champion of the Battle Frontier, which is harder than the champion league in the games. Still, "Gary was here, Ash is a loser." (Originally Shigeru is the best, Satoshi is an Idiot.) Which is ironic, considering how despite all the teasing Gary did, Ash has always been better than him, it's just that Gary's antics are more memorable. Ash is odd because fans switch between him being a Memetic Badass and a Memetic Loser frequently. Black and White didn't help, despite it being his second best showing in spite of that, and the less said about his performance at the Kalos League, the better. Note  During April Fools' Day 2018, the Official Pokémon website got in on the fun by pointing out that Jessie's Coordinator career was equally successful to Ash's Trainer career-despite Ash trying his hardest for 20 seasons worth of television. After his victory in the Alola League, the website decided to hype it up by highlighting all the times he lost, complete with catchy names and using "And then Ash loses." as a Running Gag.
    Jessie's character page: Several Pokémon Coordinators with a conspicuous resemblance to Jessie—Jessilina, Jessibella, and Jessica, just to name a few—have proven quite capable in Pokémon Contests. This medium is a perfect fit for Jessie, allowing her to show off her creativity, sense of style, and battling ability. She's been so successful in this realm that it's clear she could have a second career—she made it all the way to the semifinal round of the Sinnoh Grand Festival ("Coming Full-Festival Circle!"). A certain Twerp who wants to be a Pokémon Master has only achieved that placement in a major region's Pokémon League competition twice, and he's been trying for 20 seasons!
    • From said Kalos League, Ash's Greninja is subject to a lot of jokes among the fandom regarding how they performed in it - going down to a Mega Charizard X's Blast Burn, and failing to defeat it even with a strong Water Shuriken - one stronger than the one that knocked out a Mega Sceptile. Quite ironic considering Greninja is otherwise a Memetic Badass.
    • When he finally wins a league, the Alola league, fans still give him crap for it; the win is seen as inferior due to the Alola League just having been established and its rules not to other Leagues' standards (and thus not a "real" League, much like the Orange Islands). Even when he wins, he's still a loser.
    • Team Rocket are the in-universe Goldfish Poop Gang, but have their Not-So-Harmless Villain moments (including a few outright victories) and generally a character beating them down is supposed to demonstrate their potential as a trainer. Unfortunately most fans fail to even treat it as an accomplishment anymore, to the point the trope sometimes extends to characters who over rely on Team Rocket battles for any source of badassery:
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    • For example, Serena of XY never finished a battle outside of Team Rocket, and even then needed dumb luck or rescuing from them during their more formidable bouts, once even against Meowth, leaving many fans considering her the anime's most incompetent protagonist.
    • Team Rocket themselves are such an iconic example of loser villains that "Team Rocket" has become fan-speak for the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain in general, and many fans upset about a character's Villain Decay will complain they're turning into Team Rocket.
  • Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. While early-series Simon is trying to find his footing and hence is not as Crazy Awesome as Kamina, late in the series he surpasses his "Aniki" in spades and Kamina himself acknowledges it (if posthumously). Alas, Simon pretty much remains a useless and whiny little sidekick in much of the fandom's eyes, and if they do acknowledge his late-show achievements, they do so in a bizarre way: Simon's not one guy who outgrew his problems and faced his fears and became a badass - it's more like there's two men called 'Simon', one who is whiny and one who is pure high-octane GAR with no in-betweens.
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  • Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. He has throwing roses, an extendable cane (which he uses as a baton), and a propensity for dramatic entries to save and encourage the Sailor Senshi. He's somewhat useful in most adaptations, but the anime put him Out of Focus for a couple of seasons and killed him off (temporarily) in another. This has lead to Fanon of him being useless, and getting curb-stomped in (mostly Crossover) Fan Fiction. It's notable the original manga version of the character had mostly non-combat oriented powers, avoided direct fighting, and functioned more as a kind of scout or information gatherer for the team, and generally held in high regard by the audience of that version. It's quite possible the changes to the anime were, ironically, intended to make the character seem more formidable and avoid perception of Tuxedo Mask was useless. But several of the showrunners didn't like the character or didn't know what to do with him, one of the reasons of this whole mess. This only applies for fandom of the first anime. Mamoru fares much better in the manga and Crystal, where he is clearly shown as a Sailor Guardian and he even gets an official attack.
  • Jean from Attack on Titan. In canon, his loser status consists of crushing on the oblivious Mikasa and generally being second best to Eren; over the series, he develops into a capable soldier and gains some humility. In fanon, his loserdom is shown through anything from being hopelessly in love with Eren to Mikasa outright hating him. Rule of Funny may be the culprit.
  • Bleach:
    • Chad gets this often. In this case, the canon isn't much different from the meme. He suffers from a really terrible case of The Worf Effect, losing almost every single fight he participates in during the manga's 500+ chapter run. Making it worse is the fact that he has minimal effect on the plot despite being the main character's best friend. Abarai Renji gets this to a lesser degree for similar reasons.
    • Orihime too, for having a notorious arc dedicated to getting stronger that goes nowhere, with her in fact achieving the exact opposite results in the Hueco Mundo arc.
  • Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame. He was meant to be a deconstruction of a typical anime action hero, a guy who really wasn't cut out for fighting horrifying monsters and who suffered extreme emotional problems because of it. He also lacks a backbone when dealing with the other characters, and almost never stands up for himself. Some viewers expected he would come onto his own like Simon above, but the angst fest the series became means he only got more and more screwed up. It's a topic of heavy debate whether he was an effective examination of his character type, or if he was just too whiny to be sympathetic. Pretty much every spin off (including the manga and Rebuild of Evangelion movies) writes Shinji to be more confident, which makes it seem like it wasn't just the casual viewers who had a problem with his portrayal. Heck, even his English VA got annoyed with him for it. note 
  • Kamille Bidan from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam starts out whiny but grows out of his anger issues as the series goes on. Despite this, most fans bringing him up are likely to talk about him getting pissed at having a girl's name (usually mocking him for it at the same time) and then getting beat up by someone else after he lashed out at them.
  • Lunamaria Hawke gets this in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny. Canonically, she's supposed to be an elite pilot on par with the likes of Dearka or Yzak, not quite to the level of the main characters but just below them. However, the fact that she never had any outstanding moments of awesome piloting (like Dearka and Yzak got), and the fact that the one time it looked like she might she missed (it was established early on that her marksmanship isn't the best), leads fans to view her as little better than the Cannon Fodder pilots.
  • The Leo mobile suit model in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is considered non-human example of this. While the Gundam universe is full of disposable grunt suits piloted by Cannon Fodder pilots and destroyed en-mass, the Leo stands out for not having awesome moments compared to its peers. Other Grunt suits from various continuities like the Zaku II were at least developed into more powerful Ace Custom versions piloted by a major antagonist. But the Leo is always on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle from Gundams and even its older peers like the Aries and Cancer mobile suits, and tends to explode even from missed shots. While its specs aren't terrible, the fans (albeit affectionately) always regard it as low-level cannon fodder that will explode if it is so much as sneezed on.
    • Despite being the titular Gundam and having an extremely devastating weapon, the Wing Gundam is subject to a fair amount of derision from fans due to its relatively limited screen time, lack of upgrades (it's the only one of the five Operation Meteor units to be replaced, rather than improved), and its tendency to be abandoned or ignored by its pilot. This is likely referenced in the Mythology Gag-riddled Gundam Build Fighters, where it serves as Sei's first Gunpla and gets completely thrashed by a Gyan.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Sayaka Miki is often considered as one in the fandom, considered to be a weak magical girl, and while she is the weakest of the main cast the others all have extensive experience or unique powers that give them an edge. She also gets a lot of flak for "not being a strong character" and reacting to the situation that she was thrust into like... like any normal underage girl would probably have reacted in such a situation, really.
    • Strangely enough, the Rebellion movie has seen Homura go from a Memetic Badass to this. Despite being more powerful than ever, Akuma Homura is often portrayed as a tryhard who can't stop her own familiars from picking on her, or somebody that ruined everything trying to "fix it" when it wasn't really needed. Heck, there's a Memetic Mutation about it "Local Girl Ruins Everything". Ironically, the fandom portrayal is pretty much how Homura sees herself at the end of the movie.
    • Mami Tomoe is the Yamcha of PMMM, known for one thing and one thing only, getting her head bitten off in the third episode. It's gotten bad enough that for Japanese fans (and even some English ones), "getting Mami'd" has become a synonym for being decapitated.
  • Fist of the North Star
    • Despite being one of Kenshiro's most depraved opponents, Jagi of the four Hokuto Brothers is rather infamous for being ludicrously below the skill of his brothers and the series itself ignoring his existence when talking about the three Hokuto Brothers. This got taken to its head in DD Fist of the North Star where Jagi is The Woobie who can't even beat regular people and is constantly put down by his brothers.
    • Falco of the second series, despite being a powerful martial artist, is very infamous for being defeated by a Shura Mooks that other characters would easily kill, similar to Yamcha's situation.
    • Zeed and pretty much any mohawk-wearing thug from Fist of the North Star. While they are a legitimate threat to the war-torn society, even the weaker martial artists don't even break a sweat slicing them to ribbons or making their heads pop like balloons. Zeed deserves special mention for simply doing nothing during his fight but threaten to kill a little girl, watch his friends die, and let himself get pummeled to death by Kenshiro until his head explodes. But the most famous is Filler Villain Garekki whose supposed deadly Martial Arts style involves putting himself in a cannon, and firing himself at people. Buronson, and Hara, the creators even asked the anime studio why they created such a silly martial arts.
  • Bellamy the Hyena in One Piece is best known as "that guy Luffy beat with one punch". Though this died down quite a bit after he came back in the Dressrosa Arc and Took a Level in Badass.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • After the seven-year Time Skip, Lucy initially came across as this, doing incredibly poorly in the Grand Magic Gamesnote  and only getting chances to shine against characters who were effectively cannon fodder. Thankfully, this changes after chapter 379, where she proves instrumental in defeating Franmalth, and a few chapters down the line, takes several levels in badass by summoning three Celestial Spirits at once, as well as the Celestial Spirit King, when she's the only member of the guild who is capable of acting, but it was still a long period of time where she was constantly losing or being humiliated.
    • Sting of Sabertooth is well-known for the amount of failure he accomplishes through the Grand Magic Games arc. From finishing last in chariot race, to losing to Natsu in a one-on-two fight where Natsu didn't even use 100% of his strength, to having his pet Exceed, Lector, taken away from him, and then, to top his losing streak off, he completely surrenders before even attempting to fight a single Fairy Tail member in the final match despite how badass he thought he became after learning the values of friendship. It's amazing the guy didn't fall apart afterwards. It only gets worse in the Tartarus arc, where he and Rogue fight Marde Guille, who has spent the entire fight Just Toying with Them and mocking them as the Puny Humans hes sees them as, all while No Selling every single thing they throw at him. Sting then demanded Marde fight them seriously. With his track record, Be Careful What You Wish For doesn't even begin to cover it. Later on, though, he actually manages to defeat one of the stronger Spriggan 12 with help from Rogue and Kagura.
  • Karin from Yuki Yuna is a Hero was this for most of the show's run. She was a laughing stock in the fandom due to being perceived as The Load of the group. In the final episodes she was lifted straight into Memetic Badass territory when she single-handedly destroyed several enemies and kept fighting even when deaf, blind, and partially paralyzed.
  • If Misuzu Kamio from Air will ever be remembered for anything big, it's her death at the very end. Fortunately, there's Eternal Fighter Zero, where Misuzu appears as a playable character, a strong yet tricky Trap Master.
  • Naruto:
    • Tenten has this status amongst the Konoha 12. She has almost no screentime in manga canon (her Curb-Stomp Battle against Temari was outright offscreen in the manga), her two teammates completely overshadow her, she is never given a surname despite being a character since the second arc, and her use of weapons often gets teased due to seeming easy to counter. The anime artists even forgot to put her in the original High School A.U. ending, and had to create a second version where she's depicted sulking in the Corner of Woe. Tenten's status as this serves to make her more popular though, as fanon instead depicts her as a woobie-ish determined orphan who doesn't let her shoddy life get her down.
    • Sakura started gaining this reputation during Shippuden, and the opinion really started to blow up after the series ended. She's marketed as one of the main heroines, yet she's constantly mocked for being behind the curve compared to Naruto and Sasuke and her obsession with Sasuke is routinely seen as pathetic and self-destructive (especially in comparison with Naruto and Hinata), with their marriage in the far future coming off as forced and loveless due to Sasuke being away for long periods of time and Sarada left wondering if Sakura is really her mother come The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring. Add to the fact that Sakura has a good number of jokes at her expense in the anime filler, and you've got a prime target for mockery. And then it turned out that, out of the Rookie Nine, Sakura was Kishimoto's personal Creator's Pest and treated her as such.
    • Sasuke gets this from a large amount of fans, especially western ones. In canon he's a cool and aloof boy who gets in over his head with avenging his family. To many fans he instead comes off as a broody Emo Teen obsessed with killing his brother who ignores anything and anyone unrelated to his goals. This isn't helped post-series as Naruto Gaiden and Boruto screwed up his perception even more. Sasuke is also known as a shoddy, borderline Disappeared Dad and mediocre husband who never bothered to contact his wife and kid for over ten years. The fact his first date with Sakura only lasted a few minutes has only strenghtened this portrayal. Even his fans portray him as this, ranging from an actual loser to simply being a socially awkward mess. 2019 saw a sudden, only partly ironic trend of people editing the scene where he gets a Neck Lift from Itachi and replacing Itachi with obviously weaker characters like Shaggy, Gordon Ramsay or Phil Swift as a derogatory comment on Sasuke's perceived fighting prowess.
    • Naruto gets this treatment, at least prior to Shippuden. In canon he is a boisterous Idiot Hero but this gets exaggerated in fan-works. Many fans also take pot shots at his bright orange clothes (which isn't even brought up in canon) and constantly yelling "Believe it!"
    • Team Dosu as a whole really haven't aged well. Despite the fact that some of them had quite impressive accomplishments in the context of their story arc, they're still early villains at a low power level relative to the rest of the series, meaning that compared to later villains like Pain and Danzo, they look like mediocre small-fry who died quickly and easily and served their supposed purpose as minor henchmen. Dosu himself is one of the most perceptive and intelligent ninjas of his arc, but is mostly remembered for getting worfed while trying to kill Gaara.
    • Naruto's son Boruto receives this by many fans. In canon he's a spoiled kid who is also upset at his father for being busy with work. Many fans instead see him as a whiny, overconfident brat.
    • A number of the villains have gotten this reputation for being defeated in extremely anticlimactic and disappointing ways, whether it was being killed by literally a single shot to the back despite being hyped up as a supremely powerful Invincible Villain (Madara Uchiha) or falling victim to the Sexy Boy No Jutsu and being sealed away forever only ten chapters after being introduced (Kaguya).
    • Kankuro has the problem of being the middle sibling of two popular and cool-looking characters. He has his fans, but he's usually in the shadow of his siblings. He gets made fun of a lot for not doing much besides getting poisoned. His design also gets poked fun of, with fans either saying he looks like a cat or making fun of his make-up.
  • Making fun of Shuichi is very common in the Sound! Euphonium. An overwhelming amount of fans prefer Kumiko with her best friend Reina, so when Shuichi doesn't get Die for Our Ship treatment he just gets poked fun at. It doesn't help that in canon Kumiko is utterly Oblivious to Love and acts more like she hates Shuichi being near her. In the original book Kumiko and Shuichi become the Official Couple, but this doesn't happen in the anime until the Chikai no Finale movie so Kumiko spends the series tolerating her Childhood Friend Shuichi at most. Fans exaggerate this into complete disdain from not only Kumiko but her friends as well.
  • Kabru and his party in Delicious in Dungeon. Canonically, they’re actually not that bad, just much lower leveled then the protagonists and ill-prepared for the threats in the dungeon. However, given their tendency to get constantly wiped out by monsters that Laios’ Party have little problem with and Kabru’s incompetence, fans love to mock them as “Team Scrub” and crack jokes about them being noobs.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero produces three losers, Ren Amagi, Motoyasu Kitamura & Itsuki Kawasumi. Despite having many advantages the protagonist Naofumi Iwatani lacks, such as weapons with actual offensive power, parties of various specialized fighters, and the backing of the king, they all show themselves to be hilariously incompetent heroes. Their only noticable accomplishment is defeating the boss of the first wave offscreen, leaving nothing else but a downright abysmal track record. Not helping their case is Naofumi frequently has to fix the messes they unwittingly make in their solo adventures, how they proved to be highly ineffective against the boss of the second wave, got curbstomped by Glass in a single move (Naofumi also loses against her, but his defeat is far more dignified), proved to be highly ineffective against the boss of the third wave (and to add insult to the injury, they expected to loot the boss' drops) and got curbstomped by L'Arc in a single move, again. Considering that Glass and L'Arc both see Naofumi as the only hero worthy of any respect, this is likely an Intended Audience Reaction. Motoyasu manages to mostly escape this fate by virtue of having his own spinoff title, which allows him to showcase his full potential with very little of the drawbacks that he had in the main series.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:


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