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Unintentionally Unsympathetic / Anime & Manga

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  • In Assassination Classroom, the Reaper's dying moments were supposed to paint him in a sympathetic light. However, he was also a remorseless killer who betrayed Koro-sensei just because he didn't give him enough attention. There's also the fact that he begged Koro-sensei to train him, showing no empathy for the fact that he murdered his father.
  • Bleach:
    • Both of the captains who ditch Soul Society with Aizen. Tousen abandons his closest friend Komamura to travel the “path of least bloodshed” to justice, which apparently includes supporting Aizen’s slaughter of an entire town, and he repeatedly mocks Komamura’s appearance when he gains sight. Gin Ichimaru spends over a century helping the Big Bad with little reservation, and seemed to have a personal cruelty streak regardless of Aizen’s influence. When he reveals that he was always looking for an opportunity to kill him as revenge for taking a piece of Rangiku’s soul that she seems to be doing just fine without, the mournful tone over his death can feel a bit undeserved.
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    • Hiyori Sarugaki, one of the exiled Vizards, comes off as incredibly bratty, hot-headed and just an overall Jerkass ever since her debut. Sure, what happened to her was a horrible situation out of her control, but the Turn Back the Pendulum arc shows she was always like that, regularly attacked Shinji for no reason and gave Urahara a lot of shit just for being promoted to Captain and replacing the woman Hiyori looked up to, not to mention the other Vizards went through the same thing and manage to not lash out at every person who even slightly pisses them off. She even casually mentions wanting to kill Chad and Orihime for getting too nosy about the Vizards, even though Shinji is the one who suspiciously joined Ichigo's school despite clearly not being a teenager in order to put pressure on Ichigo. When she gets bisected by Gin when she rushes to attack Aizen (despite Shinji specifically warning her not to do that) during the Fake Karakura Town arc, a lot of the fans felt like her brash, reckless behavior finally and deservedly bit her in the ass.
  • Citrus
    • While Mei definitely has her reasons for being the way she is, the fact that Yuzu ends up putting in much more effort to get her to open up and keeping the relationship going to the point that it seems like the latter is carrying the entire thing on her back is not lost on many readers. This is especially apparent in Chapter 35 when it's noted that a full year had gone by and Mei is still more or less the same. Then when it's discovered that Mei is in another Arranged Marriage, the fandom hoped that she would finally open up to Yuzu. Chapter 36 then reveals that Mei did tell Yuzu at the last moment in a letter, which is basically the equivalent of getting a divorce via text message. While her reasons for doing so were also understandable, it felt like less of a want to protect Yuzu from a heartbreak and more of a result of Poor Communication Kills since there was really no reason to not let Yuzu know about it early on note . In Chapter 40, Mei becomes even more divisive when she quits school in order to rush the arranged marriage.
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    • Additionally, Shou himself is meant to be seen as sympathetic given how he's remorseful for being absent from Mei's life. However, from the looks of Chapter 40, he's done nothing to make his father reconsider the situation despite Yuzu telling him that she's in love with his daughter. Granted, he is shown talking with his father about it, implying that he did, in fact, play a role in getting Mei out of the Arranged Marriage, but some think he should have acted sooner.
  • In Happy Sugar Life, while Satou's reasons for being the way she is are explained (like how she lost both of her parents and was made to live with an aunt who was clearly unfit to raise her), this nevertheless does little to cover the fact that she commits horrible actions the most damning being murdering Shouko due to suspecting that she might go to the police to notify them about Shio's whereabouts.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z can count in the Frieza Arc, due to the Funimation dub's attempt to make him an Adaptational Nice Guy. He originally started out as an Arc Villain of the Saiyan Saga who wanted to destroy the earth, but did an Enemy Mine with Goku, Gohan and the rest of the Z-Fighters (except for Tien and Piccolo, who rightfully didn't trust him so easily). In the Frieza Arc when Vegeta gets killed by Frieza, the dub version of the show tries to get fans to feel sorry for him when he tells Goku his sob story about how Frieza conditioned him into the ruthless person he was. This ignores the fact that Vegeta still committed a lot of atrocious acts without Frieza. The manga and Japanese anime lack this sob story, and instead when he's dying, Vegeta simply tells Goku that Frieza is responsible for the extinction of the Saiyan race, and is annoyed that he had to submit to Frieza.
    • Mai (member of the Pilaf gang from the original Dragon Ball) from Dragon Ball Super is seemingly supposed to be viewed as a cute Love Interest for Kid Trunks. However she can come off as unsympathetic considering she's a grown woman in a child's body, and flirts (like with a flirtatious wink) with a child who's unaware of the truth (which is essentially rape by deception, realistically). Eventually dating the child, largely because it keeps a roof over the heads of the Pilaf Gang, and gives them food, and potential access to gadgets and the dragon balls. Made worse in the future timeline where the manga reveals she, and her comrades used up Shenron's last wish on the selfish desire for her, and her comrades to have young bodies again, preventing Future Gohan from wishing any of those killed back as shortly after Piccolo was killed causing the Dragon Balls to disappear. It also helps that if the genders were reversed in this scenario, people will be horrified and there would be many complaints about this aspect of the show.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The main character had this in The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya. Nagaru Tanigawa wants you to feel sorry for her after Kyon scolded her, but take it into account that the reason Kyon lashed out at her in the first place was because she spiked Mikuru's drink for a scene in a movie, kept hitting her, and said "Mikuru is my toy." This is probably the only time she ever gets called out for her Jerkass behavior.
    • Kyon also gets this, as well. After acting without thinking and nearly hitting Haruhi, which is not something one would expect a logical mind like his to do, he blows off his angry outburst in the days that follow and refuses to even accept a single iota of responsibility for his actions, even when Koizumi outright tells him to go apologize, and even when Haruhi has one of her biggest Pet the Dog moments in the entire series.
  • To a non-contemporary-Japanese audience, Momotaro from the World War II propaganda film Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors comes off as a monster rallying adorable animals together to go to war and brutally kill British soldiers.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke Uchiha rapidly becomes this as the series progresses, at first his Freudian Excuse is very strong i.e his brother Itachi murdered his parents and his entire clan and he naturally wants Revenge. However that excuse for all Sasuke’s misdeeds stretches thin when he antagonises his allies and dismisses the tragedies of those who have also lost their loved ones compared to his own trauma, Kakashi in particular highlights how selfish Sasuke is as he reveals to him that his loved ones (Obito and Rin) are already dead when Sasuke threatens them. After Sasuke's Face–Heel Turn it becomes even harder to sympathise with him as he betrays the village, actively tries to murder his friends, attacks the Kages and generally acts like a terrorist. It comes to the point where the whole cast (except for Naruto, Sakura and Ino) being prepared to bring Sasuke to justice is entirely justified and Naruto’s determination to redeem Sasuke is almost nonsensical. Also Sasuke being as Easily Forgiven in the Distant Finale conflicts matters more as the worst punishment he gets is being somewhat exiled from Konoha which is barely a slap on the wrist in the weight of his crimes.
    • The Belated Backstory of the legendary "Salamander" Hanzo, the ninja against whom the Sannin won their titles by surviving a battle with him sets Hanzo up as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who lost sight of his goals but is honored in defeat by his rival as a man who strove for peace. By starting a lot of wars and turning his homeland into an unlivable hellhole that produced the most psychologically broken, defeated human beings in the series, just because he was arrogant enough to think his strength could unite the world. Most fans still consider Hanzo an utterly unsympathetic character whose violent death at Pain's hands was richly deserved, as his claim of good intentions didn't make him any less of a paranoid warmongering dictator.
    • Sakura Haruno's angst over her Single-Target Sexuality the aforementioned Sasuke really makes her unsympathetic in many viewer’s eyes. Kishimoto claimed in interviews he tried to make her feelings for Sasuke as “realistic” as possible but that falls flat as in manga she hasn’t even had a proper conversation with him, and when she did talk to him he just called her annoying (even after she told him she loved him and was willingly to ditch her peaceful life just to be with him) and knocked her out. After the Time Skip she mellows out... until Sasuke comes back into the story and she Took a Level in Dumbass trying to take Sasuke down herself and of course fails, requiring Kakashi and Naruto to save her ass from the boy she love. The Final Battle and Distant Finale makes it worse as Sakura easily forgives Sasuke for trying to kill her multiple times, and she settles down and marries him having learned no lesson whatsoever.
    • The way Utakata's master Harusame tries to extract the Tailed Beast from his disciple in an anime-only Filler is supposed to be seen as good intentions to the point that upon realizing this, Utakata eventually rebuilt the pedestal with him after accidentally killing him. The problem is, extracting the Bijuu from a Jinchuuriki will also directly kill the host, and with no indication of Utakata having trouble with his Bijuu, nor even knowing why his master does it in the first place against his will, it comes off as Harusame crossing the Moral Event Horizon with Utakata having every right to defy his master and killing him sounds more like a Kick the Son of a Bitch than what is supposed to be.
    • Madara Uchiha, the Big Bad of the story, is probably the biggest example in this work. He’s apparently meant to be pitied as someone who was forced to grow up in a ninja world full of war, and is just trying to create a utopia so his dreams of peace can become reality. This is all well and good, if you forget that the story shows that he and his former friend, Hashirama, managed to accomplish peace with the creation of the Hidden Leaf Village. Hell, Hashirama even tries to make him leader of that new village, but Madara refuses. It’s even harder for viewers to see him as someone who wants peace at any cost due to his obvious glee before every battle. Add that to fact that his entire Start of Darkness is caused by him wanting to remake the world in his image, even screwing over his best friend to do so, and this makes him come across not as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but more of a hypocritical Jerkass. The fact that Hashirama actually said it wasn’t his fault after everything he did seriously pissed some fans off as a result.
    • Boruto Uzumaki, Naruto and Hinata's son. It's hard to sympathize with the boy who only wanted his father to come home when he is as bad (if not worse) than Naruto during his childhood. Unlike Naruto, Boruto doesn't have a crappy childhood but takes it all for granted and does the same antics his father used to do, all so his father can pay more attention to him. He keeps calling his father a bad parent, going as far as to wish he is dead and is unable to understand other people's feelings (such as complaining that his father is never around in front of Sarada, whose father was never with her for her whole life). And when Naruto finally spends some time with him, he ignores him and brushes away his affections.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Gendo Ikari. While his villainy is entirely driven by his own self-hatred and loneliness, it's hard to feel much for him given his downright horrible treatment of his son, creepy grooming of Rei, and generally coming off like he's completely insulting the memory of his late wife. It's no wonder that many Fix Fics have him face some kind of Laser-Guided Karma at the hands of one of those three.
    • Asuka Langely Sohryu is this for one half of the fanbase. She's clearly meant to be a Jerkass Woobie (even providing the page image) and her Dark and Troubled Past is undeniably tragic, but her abrasive and egotistical personality made her detractors feel her backstory wasn't quite enough to cover her more obnoxious traits. The downright ungrateful way she acts about Rei saving her from a horrible Mind Rape and general treatment of Shinji are just two of the many sore spots people have with her character.
    • Much like Asuka, for the fans that don't find him The Woobie, Shinji is this in spades. While he has plenty of good reasons to be an emotional wreck, his detractors can't help but find his fixation on his terrible circumstances to be over-the-top to the point of coming off as hysterical wangst. As a result, they wish they could slap him and make him shut up and grow a spine.
  • The title character from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. She is an emotionally unstable, distrusting, paranoid, bad-tempered character who sometimes acts ungratefully even to people who are on her side. She dislikes grown-ups, eating meat, and abhors killing of any kind, to the point where some viewers find her alienating as a character. Case in point: she shows no gratitude to Nemo when the latter kills a soldier (to save her from being shot) and loudly calls him a murderer. She also nearly ruins her friendship with Jean out of jealousy when she suspects she may lose him to Electra (despite his occasional obliviousness, Jean is otherwise dedicated to her). The island/Africa arc overemphasizes her character flaws and turns her into an insufferably bratty jerkass. Because of this, it is difficult for some viewers to reconcile this with the show's 35th episode finally shows her maturing. (All this, despite showing scenes where she's obviously growing to care for her new friends, notably Jean and Marie.)
  • Shaman King has Hao Asakura (the manga version), who is supposed to be a Tragic Villain, and the audience is supposed to see his eventual ascension to Shaman King as a good thing. Unfortunately, the cold hard truth is that most of the cast have pretty tragic backstories too, to one degree or another, and none of them grew up to be genocidal monsters out to exterminate "baseline" humanity! Many readers instead regard him as a Karma Houdini of the highest order, and one who hasn't necessarily abandoned his plans for worldwide mass death and destruction so much as delayed them. What doesn't help matters is that Hao's goals come as petty, arrogant, and hypocritical. He goes on big rants about how Humans Are the Real Monsters with them always fighting, killing each other or things that are different than them, and destroying the harmony of nature. The final nail in the coffin is that Hao is all of those things, and he's killed far more people than he cares to count (the body count is at least in the thousands). Many of his actions killed other humans or shamans alike; one of which that caused Lyserg's start of darkness. Compared to Hao who only lost a total of three people in his past lives: his mother, his first friend Ohachiyo (by his own fault due to revenge), and Matamune (who abandoned him when Hao went off the deep end). No wonder he comes off unlikable by a lot of readers. At least the anime adaption pointed out, in-and-out of universe, how wrong his philosophy and views were, and how they are most definitely not something you should sympathize with. Plus he avoids being a Karma Houdini in the anime. The manga tries to do this, but fails spectacularly and seems to almost agree with Hao.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Aigami, the Big Bad of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, is meant to be portrayed as a Tragic Villain he is due to the hardships he endured and the death of his beloved Master Shin, but his actions throughout the film completely destroy any sympathy for him to the point that you'll feel more sympathy for his sister Sera and his friend Mani. It's been said that prior to the film, he'd been using his Quantum Cube to erase anyone he deems "evil". He wants to kill Bakura because Bakura killed Master Shin, however, Bakura was under the control of the Millennium Ring at the time, meaning he wants to kill Bakura for something that was not even his fault. He also tries to kill Yugi, someone who has shown him nothing but kindness, because Kaiba wants to resurrect Atem and if that happens, he would lose the power of the Plana, meaning he's willing to kill someone just to keep his powers. He also tries to kill Joey when the latter tries to protect Bakura by sending him to another dimension, sadistically taunting him about how he's going to slowly erase all his memories, even though Joey had saved him from Scud and his gang earlier in the film. Also, unlike Bakura and Marik, Aigami doesn't have the excuse of being influenced by some evil force as the Millennium Ring only posesses him at the climax of the film, meaning that all of his actions throughout the film were done of his own volition. The fact that he practically gets away scot-free, with the closest thing to a punishment being him losing his powers thanks to Atem temporarily returning to the physical plane to save Yugi, only makes it worse.
    • The Commons of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. They're the unwealthy majority of the city and are regullarly abused and oppressed by the Tops, with some even being forced into slavery during the Friendship Cup. The dimension revolves around gladiatorial combat where only the strong move forward, and the weak are mistreated. The problem is, the Commons are just as blood-thirsty as the Tops. Yuya sees such a competitive outlook as abhorrent and aims to change that, but neither the Tops or Commons care what he has to say unless he wins duels and provides blood entertainment. Yuya's may be fighting back a long-standing history of another world's different values, but the people he's trying to help still ignore his message and act like jerks.
      • Shun Kurosaki, the brooding Sole Survivor of the Xyz Dimension, who lost everyone he cared about shortly after his sister was kidnapped. His major motivation is rescuing his sister from the bad guys. Characters like Yuzu will point out his tragic past to justify his behavior as a cold loner. The problem is that he knowingly trapped innocent people in cards so he could lure out Reiji, kidnap him and use him as leverage against his Big Bad father. He's a cold jerk to everyone he meets and is quick to using violence. Once in the Synchro Dimension, he abandoned his mission to live out his dreams of being a pro duelist (He claimed he was going pro to get into the Friendship Cup and convince people to join their cause, but even the Lancers think it's bullshit.) He frequently rejects the Lancers every time they try to help him, even after they've saved his life twice and helped him break out of prison. Worse still, he still says that he doesn't consider them comrades and doesn't acknowledge how they've helped him. So it's kind of hard to sympathize with the lone wolf when the reason he's alone is because he's horrible and ungrateful to nearly everyone for no real reason, and still hurt innocent people because it was convenient for his plans.
      • Battle Beast, a feral duelist introduced midway through the Fusion Dimension. Yuya eventually determines that he's just cornered prey lashing out at perceived threats and doesn't really want to fight. His actual portrayal before this point is more like a sadistic predator, assualting and carding people who weren't even aware that he was there, physically attacking Crow between defeating and carding him, and then bragging about it to Yuya, all the while displaying a Slasher Smile indicating that he's very much enjoying all this. Also, he really only admitted that he didn't want to take part in Academia's war, not that he disliked fighting in general.
      • Zarc, the show's Big Bad, has the motivation that he was an entertainer who was pressured into brutalizing people by the crowds when they cheered him on when he accidentally hurt an opponent. Therefore, he's intended as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who was corrupted by humanity's desires. The problem is, as far as we can tell, there was nothing stopping him from calling the crowd out or just not doing it again, and his initial disgust at accidentally hurting someone seems to subside really quickly in favor of hurting people For the Evulz. What's more, we never actually see Zarc claim any kind of remorse for it; his status as a victim is almost completely inferred after the fact. And even then, you'd think the endpoint of this would be him becoming a Heel, but instead he uses his vague spirit powers to try to destroy the world. More or less, his arc is "people liked it when I hurt people in the arena > I really enjoy hurting people in the arena > I am an Omnicidal Maniac," and for this, he blames humanity. It's really hard to call him the victim when minimal outside pressure sent him Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, and he made no effort to stop it at any stage.
  • WORKING!!: For many viewers, Mahiru Inami. We're supposed to feel pity because she can't help but punch any man that comes across, but that's something really hard to sympathize with, especially as she doesn't seem to do much to fix it. She also gets a romance plot with the main guy that is supposed to be endearing, but fails because it just looks abusive (and when the guy complains about being punched, he's the one shown as the bad guy).
  • Toriko: Midora comes off as this. Because Frohze died while treating his injuries he got while getting Heal Water for her, Midora throws away all of her's and Acacia's ideals to become the epitome of It's All About Me. To the point that after he defeats Ichiryuu before the Timeskip... he unleashes Meteor Spice on the entire Human World which causes 80% of it to become a barren wasteland, causes over 100 countries to break down, and displaces 32 billion people. When Meteor Spice was first revealed, people thought its because NEO intruded on his fight with Ichiryuu and killed him, and he was trying to wipe NEO out desperately, but when none of that happened... yeah... any sympathy he would have had has gone out of the window.
  • Matsukaze Tenma from Inazuma Eleven Go got this from a handful of people, especially in the western community. Many people find his trait of speaking about soccer like it's a person to be very annoying and childish, rather then cute and innocent like it's supposed to come off as. Incidentally, the characters in the show and the game make fun of Tenma for this exact reason.
  • Nakago, the Big Bad of Fushigi Yuugi, is supposed to be seen as a victim of circumstances that drove him to evil, and as a result, the intent is to make him come across as pitiable and worthy of forgiveness. Because of the horrific atrocities he commits, like driving Suboshi to murder Tammahome's family, this doesn't work so well: by the time his Dark and Troubled Past comes to light, many readers had lost all ability to sympathize with him.
  • Aquarion Evol tries to make Mikono Suzushiro come off as a shy girl that despite of having daddy issues and insecurity problems because of her apparent lack of powers as an element, tries her best to help and understand the people around her. But to many, she comes accross as uncaring, spoiled, indecisive and useless (both in and outside the Aquarion!), and only makes up misunderstandings that Amata must apologize for, showing no concern over his issues or how her indecisiveness causes him and Zessica trouble.
  • Saya Kisaragi of Blood-C. At first, the show presented her as a skilled warrior against the Elder Bairns. But the problem is that she fails in protecting and saving people. The most egregious example is episode 8 where she just watched several of her classmates die before she could attack and at the end, all of them, except the class representative, are dead. Her mourning of their deaths was supposed to come out as sympathetic. But given the track record of how many people died throughout the show and the Idiot Balls that these people had been holding on, it's not.
  • Area 88:
    • In the manga and OVA, Shin is intended to be sympathetic because his dreams were crushed after he was tricked into becoming a mercenary. However, he's not a particularly heroic or moral character. His self-absorption, wangst, and failure to contact Ryoko during his deployment make him unsympathetic in some fans' eyes. In the TV anime, he's so emotionally flat and withdrawn that it's difficult to sympathize with him.
    • Mickey, a traumatized Vietnam Veteran who struggled to adapt to civilian life, is intended to be sympathetic as well. However, he comes across as amoral, self-pitying, and self-absorbed, abandoning a fortunate life and the people who loved him. Instead of getting therapy, he chooses to fight in a bloody civil war that is tearing Asran apart. His anger issues and overbearing personality in the TV anime make him even less sympathetic.
  • Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket. While her childhood was understandably horrible, it all kind of rings hollow due to the fact that she herself horribly abused the rest of the Sohma family for the most childishly petty reasons. Just to start off, she put Kisa and Rin in the hospital due to their respective relationships with Hiro and Haru, verbally and emotionally abused Yuki, half-blinded Hatori and ruined his relationship with his girlfriend, planned on locking Kyo away from society once he became an adult, and tried to kill him and Tohru during a Villainous Breakdown. To say the fandom felt she was way too Easily Forgiven at the end would be an understatement.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji falls under this. He's a great fighter, a great cook, and a suave guy. So what's the problem? Being a womanizer and falling head-over-heels over every pretty girl he sees tends to get him in trouble. Because of Zeff’s teachings he won't hit a female opponent, even if his life literally depends on it, which it often does, he ends up getting himself injured and puts his friends at risk such as Robin in Enies Lobby. A particularly bad example is Pudding below, who drove him to tears and is eager to kill him, yet he still can’t help but be attracted to her only surviving because he happens to appeal to her Freudian Excuse.
    • Boa Hancock can fall under this, being an extremely self-centered, misandrist and petty bitch who embodies Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!. Her Freudian Excuse that she was enslaved by World Nobles doesn't make her misandry any less irrational, as there are plenty of female World Nobles and male slaves, and the later Fishman Island arc's narrative is quite adamant about not judging humanity as a whole based on the World Nobles, making the lack of criticism toward her general hatred of men a Broken Aesop.
    • Momonosuke on paper is a poor orphan kid whose parents were killed horribly, his country was taken over and has massive amount of responsibility laid on his shoulders as heir to his clan. But Mommonosuke is also a despicable Dirty Kid whose exploits his apparent innocence to grope Nami and Robin and acts like such a Bratty Half-Pint, that most readers/viewers would rather throw him under a bus than respect and sympathise with him.
    • Fujitora is clearly meant as a complex old blind man who sees right through (with all the blind/sight metaphor) the corrupt Marines and World Governement and wishes to reform it completely with his plan. However his completely passive attitude during the Dressrosa arc, doing nothing while citizens are slaughtered by the arc villain pirate and at some point crashing a meteorite that wiped out many inhabitations caused some readers to completely despise him. despite Fujitora having made clear he doesn't act to not let the World Government take merits for a trouble caused by its own Warlord system.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Meruem, the Arc Villain of the Chimera Ant Arc. He has something of a god complex, believes that genocide is the answer for humanity's atrocities, and abducts several gaming prodigies to test his own intellect and kills the losers. One of said prodigies is a blind girl named Komugi, who becomes a Morality Pet to him and eventually falls in love with her. Meruem's relationship with Komugi is supposed to be treated as his redeemable quality, but with the way he treated her, it bordered on Stockholm Syndrome. Not helping matters is that after he contracts radiation poisoning, rather than let Komugi leave with her life, he decides to play Gungi with her one last time. While he does warn her that his condition is contagious, he makes no effort to stop her when she refuses to leave.
    • By extension, the entire Royal Guard can be this. The narrative tries to portray them as noble and heroic. However, they have no problem aiding in mass murder and genocide. Neferpitou, in particular, spends a good chunk of their screentime acting sadistically. As such, this can damper the effect their deaths are supposed to have.
    • Gon can come across as this on numerous occasions due to his morality centering around his personal convenience rather than trying to accommodate to others. Some people didn't sympathize with his quest to find his father simply because he searched for a deadbeat that admitted he didn't want him, but shut out any information about his biological mother because his mind couldn't comprehend having two motherlike figures.
    • Killua. He's apparently meant to be seen as a sympathetic Anti-Villain who just wants a buddy and has some issues that he needs to work out. However when these "issues" are "I gut people who so much as take a tone with me while grinning ear-to-ear", it's hard to see him as anything but a monster. He gets better, however.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Moon: Examples from the 1990s anime/manga:
      • Mamoru's method of dealing with his nightmares/visions in Sailor Moon R. He receives visions of Usagi/Princess Serenity meeting her doom and a voice claiming that if he stays with her, she'll die. Rather than talk to her or anyone, or even assume it's a trick by a new enemy, he breaks up with her and does everything he can to make her feel unloved and unwanted to push her away. Ironically, it didn't work on her and made her even more determined to get back together with him.
      • Chibiusa: In the R season, she was transported from the 30th century to the 20th, while avoiding assassins from the Black Moon. Because of this, she's often ungrateful, distrustful, and frightened. This explanation wasn't enough for a lot of Japanese viewers, who complained about her bratty behavior towards her mother's younger self (Usagi), so she was toned down in the following seasons but was still a huge brat. However, she was no longer trapped in the past, removing the few original justifications. It seems like her role is merely to antagonize her mother and attempt to date her own father.
  • This trope is the main reason why Kyoma Mabuchi from Dimension W is such a divisive character. He is meant to be portrayed as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a soft spot for kids and a Dark and Troubled Past involving the deaths of his girlfriend and his fellow soldiers. But while his past is genuinely tragic, it does little to garner any sympathy for him, especially with his horrendous treatment of Mira due to her being a robot ( and resembling his deceased girlfriend.) He spends most of the series bossing her around and treating her like a robot and not a person, never calling her by name and referring to her as a piece of junk. One particularly egregious example is in episode 5 where after Mira manages to escape the other world, instead of being concerned, Kyoma punches her for not being there when he needed her (hurting his hand in the process). The fact that he warms up to Mira in the end does very little to make up for him treating her like shit for 11 episodes straight.
  • Sometimes, the Pokémon movies go just a bit too far with the claim that an antagonistic Pokémon is Not Evil, Just Misunderstood and this is the result:
    • Though Mewtwo is indeed portrayed as a villain in Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, it tries to mitigate by saying that he was driven to villainy by the revelation that he was an artificial being and is Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. However, his first violent act is blowing up the laboratory where he was created, killing all of the people there, after a conversation which lasts for no more than five minutes. His creator may be a bit of a jerk by rather callously brushing off his questions, but there was no indicationOriginally, anyway  that the scientists were actually mistreating Mewtwo or were going to do so in the future, thereby making him come off as a Manchild whining about how his life sucks because he never asked to be born.
    • Pokémon: The Movie 2000: The Power of One has Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres become this thanks to Early Installment Weirdness. When the movie premiered, the anime portrayed most Pokémon as just animals with superpowers, so it could be assumed that the legendary birds just didn't have the capability of higher thought and were acting on instinct. But as the show went on, more and more Pokémon, especially Legendaries, were given fully developed personalities and were implied to have human intelligence, retroactively making the birds so selfish that they're willing to wipe out all life on Earth just because they don't want to be around one another. Pretty much every Fan Fic that translates Pokémon Speak and references this movie has Lugia rip into them for their behavior.
    • Kyurem may have had a point in Pokemon Kyurem Vs The Sword Of Justice when he attacks Keldeo as punishment for the latter's arrogance in challenging him when not remotely ready and lying about being a Sword of Justice, but that doesn't excuse Kyurem chasing him miles out of the arena and attacking a train and then a city populated entirely by people and Pokémon who don't have the slightest knowledge of their quarrel, just because Keldeo is there. He is never called out for this.
    • The Genesect Army in Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened are supposedly Not Evil, Just Misunderstood figures who were revived 300 million years after their deaths and enhanced by humans, and their driving force is trying to reclaim their homeland. However, out of the five, only one actually cares about going home (and you might say it does so too much). The rest of them, by contrast, are less angsty about their situation, and are all too happy to invade a park and attack everything living there so they can have it all to themselves. Their leader, the Red Genesect, is a full-on jerkass who mind controls its fellow Genesect constantly, attacks anyone who disobeys it (up to and including its own kind and human children), and absolutely refuses to listen to reason. Oh, and when the evicted Pokémon return and fight back later on in the film, the audience is supposed to sympathize not with all the Pokémon who lost their home and try to get it back, but rather the overpowered Super Soldiers who forced them out at gunpoint. Ash even tells the Pokémon to stop fighting them, as if the Genesect Army had merely settled in peacefully!
    • About everyone sans Team Rocket in the episode "The Path To The Pokémon League". We're supposed to see AJ as this guy who's tough but fair to his Pokémon, especially his Sandshrew, but it's hard to think so with the whips he lashes out and giving them short breaks of rest. One also finds it hard to sympathize with Ash for losing because of him being petty and bragging that AJ's Sandshrew doesn't love him. And Misty and Brock don't get off scot-free either because they don't show a lot of concern about the possible abuse and goad Ash into battling AJ only because he insulted their gyms.
    • Serena can come off this way in her relationship with her mother, Grace. We're meant to see Serena feeling as though Grace is pushing her into following in her footsteps as a racer and wanting her to do things she doesn't want to do as being valid and reason to root for her. But it's made clear that Serena chose to try out Ryhorn Racing, actually does have a talent for racing but doesn't enjoy doing it because it gets too rough for her, and indeed has a history of giving up on something she takes on the moment it starts getting too hard and requiring more extra effort from her. Grace thus seems insistent that Serena stick to racing because she knows that's something she's skilled at and pushes for her to put in more effort and work harder at it so that she can get better at it, which isn't an unreasonable thing for a mother to want for her child. Yet Serena acts as though her mother was overbearing, even when Grace has given her enough comfort and freedom of choice that her striking out on her own in order to join Ash on his journey was possible in the first place.
    • Similarly, we're supposed to be on Lillie's side whenever her strained relationship with her mother is brought up. But while her mother isn't the best in the world (constantly busy due to her work), she doesn't bring this up at all - instead, Lillie is angry with her mother for once evolving a Clefairy that was under her (not Lillie's) ownership without consent. (If Lusamine's Imagine Spot is to be believed, Clefairy had no problem with evolving.) In the present day, Lusamine brings the whole gang to Aether Paradise for a tour, but when she uses the opportunity to try and make small talk with her daughter, Lillie actually takes offense and angrily storms off with the rest of the gang, more upset with being treated like a child than happy her mother is attempting to set aside time for her. When Lusamine is taken by Nihilego, Lillie continues to treat her mother as selfish and condescending for being absorbed despite Lusamine Taking the Bullet for Lillie's brother. The speech she gave her mother did get cleaned up and made a bit more impactful in the dub as Lillie did say near the end she respected her mother. Part of this issue seems to be because of the Adaptation Personality Change given to Lusamine. Lillie's behavior works for the game characters, but due to the anime's changes, she no longer comes out as being entirely in the right.
  • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, the Huckebein are this, essentially having a condition in which they must kill others in order to remain alive. While they were apparently intended as characters doing what is necessary to survive, and the author admitted to being surprised by how many people did not find them sympathetic, they come off as sociopathic mass murderers rather than sympathetic or well-intentioned characters.
  • Bayonetta: Bloody Fate:
    • There's the titular witch herself. While the movie stays true to her characterization in the game, it also plays up Bayonetta's more negative traits such as her Blood Knight tendencies, violent sadism, and her general Sociopathic Hero persona. It certainly doesn't help that some of the fight scenes are rather anticlimactic, making her come off as a boring Invincible Hero rather than the Showy Invincible Hero she usually is. Also, in the games she was very protective of Cereza, but in here, she leaves her with Luka and doesn't think about her until near the end.
    • Then there's her fellow Umbra Witch, Jeanne. While she played a villainous role in the first game, it was only because she was brainwashed into serving Father Balder and the Angels of Paradiso. The anime, however, makes no mention of said brainwashing, so it seems she's serving Father Balder willingly and takes great joy in the chaos she causes, such as shooting up a train full of people during her first meeting with Bayonetta. Thus, her sudden Heel–Face Turn near the end of the film comes off as shallow and fake.
    • Enzo also ends up being this. While he was was jerk in the games, he was largely entertaining due to his Butt-Monkey status and was noted by Bayonetta herself to be a respectable family man. Like with Bayonetta, the film plays up his more negative traits, transferring his Butt-Monkey status to Luka and portraying him as a greedy sleazeball who overcharges families for funerals, something that even disgusts Rodin. The fact that he never gets punished for this makes it worse.
  • Danganronpa 3:
    • Ruruka Andou. Her and Seiko Kimura were supposed to be portrayed as two former friends that ended up having a fallout together, but it came across as a victim finally standing up to her bully. Andou believes that the only thing good about herself is the sweets that she makes, but Kimura is on a medication that has a deadly reaction to sugar, so she can't eat Andou's sweets. Despite stating this multiple times, Andou blames Kimura for their All Take and No Give relationship, because if Kimura won't eat the sweets Andou has to offer, thus nearly killing herself, she must not care about her at all. The manga anthology shows that Andou is well aware that it might kill Kimura to eat her sweets, and doesn't seem to get why Kimura might be upset about that. Made even worse by Kimura's Extreme Doormat attitude, quietly accepting Andou's abuse until Komaeda indirectly causes their fallout.
    • Ryota Mitarai is a Hikikomori who works to the point of near-starvation or collapse, but considering it's his anime that directly results in the brainwashing of the Super Danganronpa 2 cast, thus creating Ultimate Despair for Junko and he is never directly punished for this left a very bad taste in a lot of fan's mouths. While the whole thing was Junko's fault, Mitarai keeps this information to himself for years, even when he could easily create a countermeasure, and refuses to admit his part in Junko's crimes until it's almost too late. Even then, he only focuses on how he was personally victimized as opposed to the damage he unintentionally caused.
  • Durarara!!:
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Oh boy, where to begin?
    • The Vagan: We are supposed to feel sorry for them because they live in disastrous conditions, infant mortality is high, and they were abandoned by the rest of the Earth Federation following the botched Mars colonization. However, nothing justifies their brutal attacks on civilians and slaughter of innocent people who had nothing to do with their plight.
    • Lord Ezelcant: He's a Visionary Villain who lost his son to the Mars Rays Disease and only has a few months left to live. He wants to create a new humanity that will be free of war and violence, but his methods are both so brutal and nonsensical that it's impossible to think he has a point.
    • Kio: His hypocrisy, constant whining about "understanding" and stubborn refusal to listen to more reasonable points of view overrides the fact that we're expected to pity him for being a naive Child Soldier. The utter stupidity of many of his actions, and the fact that the series itself considers him 100% right, painting negatively all those who disagree with him, and the plot bends over itself to make sure he's always right... don't really help.
  • In Detective Conan. The culprit of A June Bride Murder Case, Toshihiko Takasugi. While he does have a Freudian Excuse, his eventual redemption and the fact that he got a very light sentence for his attempted murder can make some feel sour. First, there is the fact that he goes for a Revenge by Proxy, instead of going after the man responsible for the death of his mother. And even then, Superintendent Kiyonaga Matsumoto wasn't fully responsible. He didn't see her when she was wounded during a car chase, because he was pursuing a criminal, and he never forgave himself for that. At the end of the episode, he feels remorse for what he did but it's only because he realizes that his victim was his childhood friend (and crush) all along, not because she was an innocent victim.note  Moreover, he has the dubious honor to be one of the few culprits in Detective Conan who don't go after an Asshole Victim, yet he has one of the lightest punishments and gets a happy ending three years later. All in all, he comes off as an Easily Forgiven Karma Houdini to some people, when a lot of the series' Sympathetic Murderers have their lives destroyed or even die.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, both Ryoko and Ayeka have been this to some fans, but the one character most fans strongly view as this is Haruna from Tenchi Universe, the Big Bad of The Movie Tenchi Forever! Originally Yosho's lover back on Jurai, the two ran away together because they could not get married due to her not being a noblewoman. But, on the way, she took ill and died by the time they reached Earth. Yosho buried her, and eventually fell in love with Tenchi's grandmother. But Haruna's restless spirit remained behind, and when she became aware of this, she was outraged. She kidnaps Tenchi into a pocket dimension, where she brainwashes him into forgetting all about his old life and beliving himself to be her lover. This would be creepy enough, except the film makes it pretty clear that their relationship includes sex. That's right, Haruna is, by almost every definition of the term, raping Tenchi repeatedly during the events of this film. Needless to say, most fans who pick up on this subtext are appalled and regard her as nothing more than a villain.
    • Although she's not as strongly disliked as Haruna, the OAV version of Washu falls into this for a significant number of the fans due to one particular case of Never Live It Down. Although we're supposed to feel bad about The Reveal that she had a son and a husband once, but her husband's family took them both away because she wasn't considered of sufficient social status, the infamous scene where she emotionally tortures her daughter Ryoko for giggles makes many fans skeptical that she deserved to be a parent in the first place!
  • This is without a doubt the most common reason given for a fan's dislike of The Familiar of Zero. We're supposed to sympathize with Louise because of her enormous insecurity complex, her miserable school life, an abusive older sister, emotionally distant and incredibly strict parents who are more interested in their daughter as an asset than as a person. Not to mention that being a noblewoman of minimal magical talent makes her a complete laughingstock by the norms of Halkeginia society. However, while Louise has plenty of reasons for the audience to side with her, she still drives off any supporters due to her infamously brutal and non-stop abuse of Saito; which is not only horrible on a basic human level, such as the legendary incident where she flogged him to a bloody pulp with a horse whip, but also makes her a blatant hypocrite given her home life. Less commonly, some fans view Saito himself in this light. This mostly stems from his lechery and his seemingly deliberate dedication to being a Jerkass, and is especially fuelled by one incident in the light novels where he makes a deliberate attempt to rape Louise. The sympathy level for Saito remains so high in comparison because, A: he genuinely does grow and become less of a hornball prick over the story, and B: most of his treatment by Louise is so awful that he looks better in comparison. The Reveal that the familiar spell on him essentially Mind Raped him to be completely loyal to Louise no matter how badly she abused him also earns Saito a lot of sympathy points.
  • The hero clan from The Testament of Sister New Devil come off as this. They deeply resent Basara Tojo for his involvement in the Brynhildr incident. It's supposed to be viewed as Jerkass Has a Point since their family and friends were all inadvertently killed when it happened... except that Basara's life was in danger from a demon hunter and would have been killed if nothing happened and that demon hunter caused that incident. Not to mention their over-eagerness to murder Mio Naruse, who Basara has sworn to protect, goes far beyond what they were ordered to do and the way they planned to throw it right at Basara once they succeed. Mio deciding enough is enough and calling them out with a Shut Up, Hannibal! was highly satisfying.
  • Altair/the "Military Uniform Princess" of Re:CREATORS wishes to get even with a world that bullied her Creator relentlessly and then drove her to commit suicide. OK, that in and of itself sounds sympathetic... except that she goes all Omnicidal Maniac about it and tries to cause a Negative Space Wedgie that would wipe out the planet and everybody in it (even the people said Creator loved), goes psycho and overkills the living hell out of the one Creation on the protagonists' side that tried to reach out to her and understand her (for having the gall of trying to understand her), and essentially weaponized Popularity Power In-Universe to manipulate reality and become an In-Universe Villain Sue that killed most of the cast via curb-stomping and then, in order to appease her, had to be given a twisted variation of Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending by the shell-shocked Creators of the people she killed and thus allowed to go away as a Karma Houdini. As a result many viewers felt the series had a tremendously disappointing finale.
  • Macross Delta has its own villain faction, the Kingdom of Windermere. At first glance their reasons for going to war seem understandable: they fought a bloody revolution to free themselves of the New UN, which culminated in a superweapon being detonated on their planet. Now they want to liberate other worlds from the New UN. For a portion of the fans, though, their methods of going to war, particularly the fact that they enslave anyone who tries to stand in their way via Mind Control, invalidates any moral high ground they might have otherwise had. Additionally, none of the planets they "liberate" are shown to have any problem with the New UN, making the Windermerians' actions seem unwarranted. This gets particularly bad as the series goes on and they announce their intention to conquer the whole galaxy because they believe themselves to have been "chosen" by the Protoculture. The narrative seems to want the audience to feel sympathetic to them, but the fact that they are the aggressors in the current conflict, justifying their conquering and enslavement of other people via notions of racial supremacism, made many fans give up on them as anything other than evil.
  • Shitsurakuen ends on the note that most of the boys in the story were just as victimized by the sexist and patriarchal system at the story's foundation as the girls, and with most of them being apparently paired up with the girls they used to be with. Except in the actual story, the girls's role in the system consisted of being turned into slaves, frequently physically, sexually, and emotionally abused, treated like objects, tortured, and trapped in these relationships for use as magic weapon fuel. The boys's role in the system was... doing all that stuff, often happily, with no justification for all the bad things they do besides, at most, peer pressure and ambition, and yet they claim they were hurting just as badly and the girls should have thought more about their feelings. Claiming they were equally victimized comes across as a baffling invocation of Both Sides Have a Point in a situation where they flatly did not, with a side of Victim Blaming in a story that'd previously been about how abuse and bullying were bad. Not to mention that there were a number of boys in the story who didn't become psychopaths when the opportunity to own women presented itself, yet this is still all blamed on the system. Needless to say, readers had reasons besides Ship Sinking and Het Is Ew to be horrified at the implication that these boys would be getting back together with their old paramours...
  • Chris Thorndyke from Sonic X is this for many viewers of the show. He’s written as an Audience Surrogate for children to relate to, but this backfired horribly. First off, he’s not the average kid. He’s wealthy and he has adults around to keep him company. He also had friends his age at his school. Second, while his parents aren’t necessarily good parents, they show many times that they do love and care for Chris and would drop everything just to help Chris when he is in trouble. Despite this, Chris still acts as though his parents are too neglectful. Even Cream calls him out on his attitude towards his mother one time because she saw Chris’s mother crying about how she felt she was a bad parent.
  • Though Yggdrasil in Digimon Adventure tri. is indeed the main villain, he's intended as a Well-Intentioned Extremist: his actions against humanity are to protect the Digital World, because he believes that humanity is a threat to Digimon. This is more or less a Recycled Script of his actions in Digimon Savers... with one big exception. In Savers, the villain for the first half of the series was an evil human who, of his own initiative, did some rather horrible things to Digimon, so Yggdrasil's fears, while ultimately inaccurate, weren't unfounded. In tri, there is absolutely no precedent to this idea that Humans Are Bastards. Every single threat the Digital World faced in the Adventure continuity was the result of an evil Digimon, with the sole exceptions being the Digimon Emperor and Oikawa, who were mind-controlled or manipulated by an evil Digimon. On the other hand, those same threats were resolved by humans bailing the Digital World out, so not only does this attitude make little sense outside of naked prejudice, but he's also an Ungrateful Bastard.

  • My Hero Academia: Part of the reason Katsuki Bakugo is a Base-Breaking Character outside of Japan lies with this. From the moment we first meet him as a child, he's picking on Midoriya simply because he can, and then when he meet him when he's grown up more, he's still a huge jerk who threatens Midoriya and even tells him to commit suicide because Midoriya dared to try and get into U.A. alongside him. From there, Bakugo is an aggressive Jerkass who threatens and yells at people for petty reasons while acting as if the world owes him everything. Thus, whenever the series tries to make him look sympathetic, a number of fans get critical of the writing because he has never earned people's sympathy or trust to warrant being portrayed as sympathetic. It doesn't help that the series keeps trying to push the idea that Midoriya and Bakugo are friends and rivals, when Bakugo has yet to even consider acting better towards Midoriya, the most improvement he has being that he grows to respect Midoriya's power more. Many of Bakugo's detractors often argue that if the story actually addressed Bakugo's bully behavior and used it to develop more, he'd be likeable, but point out that Bakugo's character development seems to be just him learning how to make friends.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Gabi is meant to represent the viewpoint of Eldians living in Marley, and is initially presented as a naive but ambitious military cadet who cares a lot for Reiner, who is her older cousin. However, as the arc progresses, Gabi grows increasingly unlikable due to her treatment of Falco and her buying more and more into Marley's anti-Eldian propaganda. Fans' dislike towards her has reached a peak when she is directly responsible for Sasha's death, and even to this day is regarded as one of the series' most hated characters.
    • Annie shares her backstory that she was born to a Marleyan woman and an Eldian man, but abandoned her and was subsequently adopted and trained by Mr. Leonhardt. It could have worked to make her more sympathetic in the eyes of fans who only view her as a sadistic monster... had she not stated that if she had to kill everyone she had killed all over again to get back to her father, she absolutely would.
  • Strange Dawn: Yuko. She was clearly intended to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and given the situation that she and Eri are in, we're clearly meant to sympathize with her. However, she spends so much of the story being obnoxious, rude and selfish with her nicer moments being rare that she just comes off as a straight up jerkass instead.


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