We all love a good underdog story, especially in anime. There’s something gratifying about seeing anime where mc humiliated and start off weak or downtrodden, only to gain inner strength and overcome the obstacles in their path.
Some anime takes this trope to the extreme, featuring main characters who are relentlessly bullied, humiliated, and even physically abused in the beginning.
Though difficult to watch at times, these harsh storylines set the stage for the character to eventually stand up to their oppressors and turn their lives around.
While featuring Zero to Hero plot settings, I have compiled a list of anime where MC is insulted and humiliated but eventually returns becoming overpowered and badass character.
10: Asta from (Black Clover)
In the anime, Black Clover, the main character Asta was humiliated a lot. He was born with no magical powers whereas almost everyone else has strong magical abilities.
On top of that, he was super convinced to pursue his dream of becoming a wizard king for which, magic is essential.
In the world of magical Grimoires, Asta was mocked and humiliated by his juniors for not having a Grimoire even after his fourth attempt.
But he never gave up. He trained his body to be strong since he couldn’t use magic.
Eventually, A 5 leaf Black Clover came out of nowhere and made a pact with Asta, the most useless kid.
9: Ittoki from (Shinobi No Ittoki)
Members having no relatable powers or capabilities in the hierarchy of their noble and powerful tribes can become a hassle for them.
Ittoki Sakuraba comes from a family of powerful ninjas. But unlike them, Ittoki has no ninja skills. He can’t use ninja magic well because he was unaware of his Ninja Clan.
This makes his family look down on him. They bully Ittoki for being weak. At ninja school, the other students also make fun of him. They see him as a failure who shames his ninja clan.
Ittoki gets insulted and humiliated all the time for not being a strong ninja. People laugh at him and call him useless.
But Ittoki keeps working hard to improve his ninja magic, and you can expect what would happen next! like a typical zero-to-hero storyline!
8: Mio from My Happy Marriage
My Happy Marriage is 2023’s latest supernatural romance anime where MC is an orphan girl Miyo, who got humiliated for having no supernatural elements.
Her mother passed away in her childhood, and her father abandoned her after a mock test which proves, she has no supernatural capabilities.
She was tormented by her stepmother and stepsibling despite being so good. Eventually, they plan to get rid off her by forcefully marrying her to a cruel reputed man.
More synopsis would ruin the whole plot, so you better watch it by yourself.
7: An Lin from (War God System! I’m Counting On You!)
There’s this regular guy named An Lin who lives in a city. One day he meets a powerful practitioner who gives him something called the God of War system.
This practitioner sends An Lin off to a spiritual realm to practice his skills. But when An Lin arrives there, he’s made fun of as the weakest person from all the strong households.
Even though An Lin has average abilities, everyone mocks him for not being as good as them.
An Lin decides he wants to prove them wrong that he’s not weak. So he starts using the God of War system in a positive way to improve his cultivation techniques.
This is the start of An Lin’s journey to turn his life around and show everyone they were wrong about him.
6: Lu Shu from Spare Me, Great Lord!
Lu Shu is a talented cultivator from a distinguished sect. But Lu Shu is betrayed by his fellow sect members and expelled.
They mock him as weak and useless. Homeless, Lu Shu is forced to wander alone.
After the humiliating betrayal by his fellows, Lu Shu was determined to show off his worth to them.
Witnessing Lu Shu’s transformation from an abandoned outcast to a respected hero is a cold breeze to the eyes of fans who had witnessed his humiliation.
5: Tenjou Yuuya from (I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World)
The main character of the anime is Tenjou Yuuya, who was tormented by his parents, siblings, and society for his hideous looks.
From the whole world, only his grandpa took care of him, but unfortunately, his only caretaker also dies.
Suffering from a miserable mental condition, Tenjou discovers another world portal. Spending day-to-day time while honing his physique, he eventually evolves into a tall splendid boy.
The boy who was annoying to everyone has now become a charismatic guy.
All things aside, but humiliated by own siblings and blood-related family hits differently even if talk about anime.
4: Park Hyung Suk from (Lookism)
There’s this high school kid named Park Hyung Suk. He has to deal with bullies every day at school.
They make fun of him for being chubby and insecure. The bullies violently beat him up and call him names.
They treat him like a human punching bag. Park just wants to disappear from the constant bullying.
He gets his wish when he enrolls in a new school. Park hopes he can have a fresh start there.
And miraculously, when Park wakes up for the fist day at new school, he’s in a totally different body. Now he’s tall, athletic, and good-looking.
The whole anime story revolves around looks and personalities; you can expect how humiliated our MC would be for his chubby appearance.
3: Rain from (Beast Tamer)
It’s might-be-only harem anime where mc is humiliated and used by his team members.
Rain was expelled by his hero team members after using him for their self-proclaimed activities.
He was not just expelled but humiliated by his fellow members for having weak abilities.
Determined to chase his dreams, Rain encounters a strong cat girl. Due to his kind and honest personality, the cat spirit girl has formed a pact with the beast tamer.
The rise of great beast tamer begins from here.
2: Keyaru from (Redo of Healer)
Redo of Healer is a tormented and vengeful tale of Keyaru the protagonist who becomes a kind of antagonist with agony.
Keyaru’s healing powers were not very useful for the League of arrogant heroes. When he refused to constantly use his healing powers, because it was a painful process, he was secretly imprisoned by league members.
Due to its mature borderline ecchi theme, it’s not suitable to define how brutally he got tormented by his fellow members.
But after becoming overpowered, he embarks on a journey to settle things with those who had mistreated her.
1: Naofumi Iwatani from (The Rising of Shield Hero)
This is the only Isekai anime whose whole first season consisting of 25 episodes is a tormented tale of a defensive Hero. In other words, this is a anime where mc is abused and humiliated from beginning to end.
The events of abusive humiliation of protagonist never ends in this anime, that can even annoy its watchers to utmost limits.
The main character is Naofumi Iwatani, one of four summoned heroes in The Rising of the Shield Hero anime.
Naofumi becomes the Shield Hero, considered the weakest hero. He is mocked and looked down upon by others who see him as useless in battle.
When Naofumi is falsely accused of crimes, the King exiles him. Branded a criminal, Naofumi is abandoned and betrayed. Penniless, he must rebuild his reputation alone.