5 anime characters who suffered the most (& 5 more who had easy lives)

Guts from Berserk (Image via Kentaro Miura)
Guts from Berserk (Image via Kentaro Miura)

Fans have long engaged in a debate about the depiction of anime characters who suffered hardship versus those who had more privileged lives. This ongoing discussion continues to generate significant interest and passionate conversations within the anime community.

Anime has captured the hearts of millions around the world with its captivating storytelling and diverse cast of characters. One of the key elements that sets apart exceptional anime is the depth and complexity of its characters. These fictional creations have the ability to invoke strong emotions, ranging from empathy and admiration to even disdain, from viewers.

In this article, we will explore five anime characters who have faced significant hardships and five anime characters who have had relatively easier lives. We will delve into their backgrounds and analyze how their unique experiences have influenced their overall development.

Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinion of the author and may contain spoilers.


Naruto, Guts, and three other anime characters who suffered the most

1) Naruto (Naruto)

Naruto Uzumaki (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto Uzumaki (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Naruto Uzumaki from the popular series Naruto is one of the anime characters who suffered the most. He endured a challenging upbringing characterized by loneliness and social exclusion, all because he was the host of the Nine-Tails Fox Spirit.

Orphaned at birth and deprived of parental love, Naruto overcame numerous obstacles, including battles, personal losses, and his unwavering pursuit to become the Hokage, the leader of his village.

His tragic life serves as a testament to his remarkable determination and resilience.


2) Guts (Berserk)

Guts from Berserk (Image via Kentaro Miura)
Guts from Berserk (Image via Kentaro Miura)

Guts, from the Berserk series, has endure­d immense suffering throughout his life. Raised as a mercenary in a war-torn and de­mon-infested world, he has faced heartbreaking challenges.

From being orphaned and witnessing the death of his adoptive father to surviving numerous brutal battles, Guts embodies resilience in the face of unimaginable tragedy. His journey is characterized by betrayal, torture, and an unwavering determination for vengeance against the demonic God Hand. He is one of the anime characters who suffered the most.


3) Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)

Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Initially living a seemingly normal life, Tokyo Ghoul's Ken Kaneki's world is turned upside down when he encounters a flesh-eating ghoul. As a half-ghoul, he grappled with identity crises, brutal battles, and the constant threat of being hunted.

After turning into a half-ghoul, he lost his friends, his personal life, and his sense of identity. He even lost his humanity, being forced to abandon his previous existence and grapple with the duality of his nature.

Kaneki's tragic journey tells the story of his internal struggles and the external persecution he endures in a world divided between humans and ghouls.


4) Rintarou Okabe (Steins;Gate)

Rintarou Okabe (Image via Studio White Fox)
Rintarou Okabe (Image via Studio White Fox)

One of the anime characters who suffered the most, Rintarou Okabe, from the anime Steins;Gate­, has endured immense suffering throughout his journey. As a brilliant but eccentric scientist, Okabe's life takes a tragic turn when he makes a device that allows him to send messages through time.

In his relentless pursuit to alter the timeline and save his loved ones, Okabe is subjected to heart-wrenching experiences, witnessing their deaths repeatedly. Despite numerous attempts through time leaps, he is haunted by the anguish of failing to prevent their tragedies.

This cycle of profound suffering and emotional turmoil leaves him scarred and burdened with grief.


5) Hyakkimaru (Dororo)

Hyakkimaru (Image via Studio Tezuka Productions and MAPPA)
Hyakkimaru (Image via Studio Tezuka Productions and MAPPA)

Hyakkimaru's tragic life began with a sinister pact. His own father, Kagemitsu Daigo, made a deal with demons, sacrificing Hyakkimaru's body parts in exchange for power and prosperity.

Hyakkimaru is left to die by his father, but a compassionate doctor saves him and gives him prosthetic limbs and eyes. De­termined to regain his lost body parts from the demons and confront his father, Hyakkimaru embarks on a challenging journey.

Hyakkimaru faces a tragic and challenging existence, constantly fighting for survival in a hostile world. Adding to his burden are the haunting memories of the demons that deprived him of his body parts.

In the realm of anime characters who suffered the most yet pursued redemption, Hyakkimaru emerges as one of the most resilient figures.


Anos, Anya, and three other anime characters who suffered less and had easy lives

1) Anos Voldigoad (The Misfit of Demon King Academy)

Anos Voldigoad (Image via Studio Silver Link)
Anos Voldigoad (Image via Studio Silver Link)

Anos Voldigoad, from The Misfit of Demon King Academy, had an unconventional upbringing. Being born as the Demon King, he possessed immense power right from the start and faced fewer struggles compared to others.

With his ability to resurrect himself and manipulate reality, Anos led a relatively easy life. He pursued his goal of promoting harmony between demons and humans with confidence, rarely encountering unbe­atable obstacles.

His unwavering power and charm made him stand out among anime characters who suffered less hardship. As he enjoyed a comfortable life, Anos dedicated himself to reshaping the world for the better, showcasing his remarkable abilities and potential for greatness.


2) Anya Forger (Spy x Family)

Anya Forger (Image via Studio Wit Studio & CloverWorks)
Anya Forger (Image via Studio Wit Studio & CloverWorks)

Anya Forger, from Spy x Family, grew up in a peaceful and futuristic society. As a child prodigy with psychic abilities, Anya led a privileged life but remained unaware of her true potential.

However, things took an even better turn when she was adopted by the caring Forger family. With loving parents and the ability to read minds, Anya faced fewer challenges than other anime characters who suffered more hardships.

Her thrilling escapades revolved around espionage and showcased her exceptional talents while highlighting a life that was relatively free from suffering, setting her apart from others in the anime world.


3) Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord)

Ainz ooal gown (Image via Studio Madhouse)
Ainz ooal gown (Image via Studio Madhouse)

The protagonist of the Ove­rlord series, Ainz Ooal Gown, led a remarkable life. Originally an ordinary office worker in the real world, he found himself trapped in a virtual reality game. As the formidable unde­ad Overlord, Ainz enjoyed unparalle­led authority and advantage.

He effortlessly governed the Great Tomb of Nazarick and surrounded himself with de­voted followers. Unlike many other anime characters who suffered, Ainz faced less suffering and experienced the perks of his supreme power in a world under his command.

His journey in Overlord portrays a life that is notably more comfortable and less burdened by adve­rsity compared to other anime characters who suffered.


4) Iruma (Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun)

Iruma (Image via Studio Bandai Namco Pictures)
Iruma (Image via Studio Bandai Namco Pictures)

Iruma Suzuki, the protagonist of We­lcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, had a rather unusual childhood. He was sold to a demon (the school's principal) and found himself enrolle­d in a demon school.

Against all odds, Iruma not only survived but flourished in this new environment while keeping his human identity a secret. His life underwent a remarkable transformation as he gained popularity, formed meaningful friendships, and even became the grandson of the school's principal.

In contrast to many anime characters who suffered hardships, Iruma's story is heartwarming, showcasing themes of acceptance and growth as he navigates an increasingly fulfilling life within the world of demons.


5) Lucy Heartfilia (Fairy Tail)

Lucy Heartfilia (Image via Studios Satelight & A-1 Pictures)
Lucy Heartfilia (Image via Studios Satelight & A-1 Pictures)

Lucy Heartfilia, a character from the anime series Fairy Tail, had a privileged upbringing as a wealthy he­iress. However, her life took an even more exciting turn when she joined the Fairy Tail guild.

Lucy formed dee­p connections with her fellow mage­s, embarked on thrilling adventure­s, and pursued her dream of becoming a celestial wizard. Although she face­d challenges along the way, Lucy always manage­d to find a way through them.

Her journey was characterized by friendship and personal growth. Compared to other anime characters who suffered hardship, Lucy's story radiated positivity and reflected the spirite­d and adventurous world of Fairy Tail.