4 beta anime protagonists (and 4 main characters who personify Chad behavior)

A good comparison for the sake of this article (Image via Telecom Animation Film, Wit Studio)
A good comparison for the sake of this article (Image via Telecom Animation Film, Wit Studio)

The difference between a beta protagonist and a Chad one is very noticeable in anime. More often than not, those in the former category are average-looking. By comparison, those in the latter category are cool, strong, and personify alpha male tendencies. It's generally apparent which category each character will fall under, as their leading character status means viewers will see them a ton.

Some beta characters eventually become more alpha as their anime series progresses. This article will primarily focus on characters who would count as "beta" near the start of their series. It's not necessarily a bad trait, but some anime fans don't like their protagonists having features like that.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.


4 beta anime protagonists: Exploring some who evolved while some did not

1) Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Neon Genesis Evangelion was hugely influential (Image via Gainax)
Neon Genesis Evangelion was hugely influential (Image via Gainax)

Some anime protagonists have a reason for seeming beta on the surface level. It's not necessarily a bad thing per se, as evident in Shinji's overall popularity. That said, there are certainly critics of how realistic his insecurities were. He's vulnerable, passive, and emotionally fragile.

His mother died when he was young, and his father abandoning him shortly afterward did wonders to his psyche. Hence, there is some realistic lore to why he is the way he is.


2) Takemichi Hanagaki (Tokyo Revengers)

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Anime protagonists can exemplify beta characteristics, even in a relationship. Takemichi is a perfect example of that, as he has low self-esteem and cries a lot like other noteworthy beta protagonists. To his credit, he becomes a lot better as the series progresses.

Still, having bad hygiene and the aforementioned personality traits are common things that people would consider beta. He's also not a great fighter, but at least he is durable and a competent leader.


3) Yukiteru Amano (Future Diary)

Yukiteru during one of his weaker moments (Image via Asread)
Yukiteru during one of his weaker moments (Image via Asread)

If one wants to watch an anime with an alpha protagonist, Future Diary is certainly not their show. It doesn't help that the other main character greatly overshadows one protagonist. What makes Yukiteru less memorable than Yuno is that he cries a lot and is notably indecisive at times.

Whereas Yuno is instrumental to Yandere culture, Yukiteru is just a forgettable protagonist with several beta characteristics. Some fans of the series appreciate that he can act realistically at times, but others see him as being too timid with hardly any ambition.


4) Naoto Hachiouji (Don't Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro)

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As far as notable beta protagonists go, it's hard to top Naoto Hachiouji. Fans of this anime will likely know him as Senpai since that's the name he goes by due to being too frail. He's a year older than the other main character, Nagatoro, yet his role as a senpai is used jokingly at the start of this series.

Senpai has all of the stereotypical qualities of a beta male, although he does gain some confidence as the series progresses. He's weak, unathletic, terrible at social interactions, and is regularly poked fun at for being a virgin. Still, his personality is the main reason for the series existing, as it wouldn't make any sense if he were a cool and tough protagonist at the start of the anime.


4 Chad-like anime protagonists: A mixed bag of characteristics

1) Kusuo Saiki (The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.)

He looks goofy, but he's a fantastic character (Image via J.C Staff)
He looks goofy, but he's a fantastic character (Image via J.C Staff)

An overpowered psychic who doesn't care about romance and regularly helps out his friends (even if it is begrudgingly) is quite Chad-esque. Several popular women like Kokomi and Mikoto have a crush on him, along with minor characters like Chiyo and Imu.

Kusuo uses his powers for good and successfully manages to save the planet from utter destruction. He could do much more if he wanted to, so it's admirable to have a cool anime protagonist like Kusuo Saiki, especially since he's so different from the earlier protagonists.


2) Loid Forger (Spy x Family)

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Loid is a good-looking anime protagonist who is exceptionally intelligent, physically strong and an excellent marksman. He's certainly no beta male within the Spy x Family universe. He's not as kind as the previous character on this listicle, especially regarding his job.

He debuts as a spy who dumps a woman when the relationship is no longer necessary to his work. Ergo, some people view him as mean, but the series clearly shows that there is a better side to him shortly afterward. Being a great father is a remarkable trait, especially when he's strong enough to help those in need.


3) Kenshirō (Fist of the North Star)

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The catchphrase "You are already dead" is unquestionably fantastic, especially since it is a prelude to a foolish person getting whooped. Kenshirō personifies many macho characteristics that aren't as prevalent in modern animes. He's stoic and rugged, yet he can be emotional when the time comes.

That latter part is exciting, given that crying isn't typically seen as something alpha. Nonetheless, it makes him more human when juxtaposed with his sheer strength and occasional anger.


4) Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bepop)

He exhibits a fantastic aura different from the previous Chads (Image via Sunrise)
He exhibits a fantastic aura different from the previous Chads (Image via Sunrise)

Spike Spiegel is a safe bet if somebody wants who is Chad-like. He's cool and sophisticated in several Cowboy Bepop scenes, yet it's not as if he's a Marty Stu. He has legitimate flaws, yet it never makes him annoying like some beta characters tend to be.

Spike is a competent fighter with many skills that, coupled with his fun personality, make him an easy character to love. His love for Julia is admirable, especially since it goes beyond mere physical attraction.