Anime characters who are insecure is a common theme in Shounen. It serves as the basis to develop the main character into something more, making it relatable for people watching.
But it goes well beyond Shounen when it comes to insecure anime characters, and having them develop overtime.
It’s also in genres like:
- Slice of life.
And similar genres that fit the glove.
Here’s a list!
Anime characters who start out insecure:
1. Izuku Midoriya (My Hero Academia)
Izuku Midoriya, or “DEKU” is an obvious one worth getting out of the way.
In Izuku’s childhood, he has dreams of becoming a hero one day. But those dreams are crushed when a quirk doctor of sorts tells Izuku’s mother he has no potential to develop a quirk.
When she breaks the news to Izuku, he can’t stand it. It kills him inside as a kid. And he’s bullied for his LACK of a quirk by Bakugo, the so called friend.
In spite of his struggles Deku holds onto the idea of it, and studies hero’s by taking notes in his notebook. And ends up getting the chance to become a hero himself.
His confidence has grown over the past 5-6 seasons, and he’s no longer the insecure kid who feels like he has no worth.
2. Kotomi Ichinose (Clannad)
Kotomi Ichinose is an anime girl from Clannad. Not a main character, but still a relevant one from this Kyoto Animation classic.
In the beginning she’s the quiet girl. The awkward girl. The one people struggle to talk to or understand. Kotomi is introverted.
She likes reading and enjoys personal development, and has some hidden insecurities under the surface.
Her “arc” with Tomoya Okazaki improves on this, and she later becomes more open and confident in herself. And this is shown when she reappears in season 2 to an extent as she’s grown up.
3. Ruiko Saten (A Certain Scientific Railgun)
Ruiko Saten is a support character in the Railgun franchise. She’s the best friend of Uiharu Kazari, but is good friends with Mikoto Misaka (main character) and Kuroko Shirai.
At firsts he thinks people from Tokiwadai middle school are arrogant, but that changes once she meets Mikoto Misaka who’s a modest girl.
Unlike other characters in this series, Ruiko Saten is a level 0 and has no power to speak of. She wants to level up but she starts to feel useless in comparison to others.
This isnecurity leads to bad decisions but it’s also a major part of her growth and character development.
Ruiko’s role in the anime is useful even without her powers being developed because of her own curiosity and willingness to take risks.
4. Emilico (Shadows House)
Emilico is the little blonde haired girl from Shadows House. She’s a main character of the series along with Kate, her other half (yang to her yin).
As a doll created to serve nobles, and one who’s a low rank, Emilico is more chipper and cheerful than people would expect.
She doesn’t care about status and things of that nature. She doesn’t value it. That said, her insecurities in the beginning are clear. But she compensates with her optimism and positive attitude.
As the anime builds, her relationships grow, and so do her experiences, and this in turn builds up her self confidence and self esteem.
5. Yui Kiriyama (Kokoro Connect)
Yui Kiriyama is one of the main characters of this series. There are 5 main characters in Kokoro Connect.
Being the more “fragile” of the group, Yui Kiriyama’s journey is different to the rest.
She was attacked by a man at night which was a traumatic experience for Yui. And so she’s afraid of Men to some degree.
This insecurity affects her life and her confidence in general, to the point of making her stop doing Karate. A martial arts she’s skilled at.
6. Kenichi Shirahama (Kenichi The Mightiest Disciple)
Kenichi Shirahama is a legend in the Shounen genre. The series is classic and is filled with life lessons to the brim.
His nickname in school is “weak knees Kenichi” because he’s so scared and frightened of his bullies. He takes it on the chin and puts up wit it.
After running into Miu Furinji, a girl who’s trained by martial artists and lives in a dojo, Kenichi’s life changes and so does his self esteem.
He slowly learns Karate, Muay Thai boxing, and other disciplines in the world of Martial Arts. This grows his confidence because he realizes he’s good at it.
He uses his new confidence and strength to defeat his bullies, gain respect, and more importantly, to be able to defend himself and put a lid on the bullying all together.
Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)
Naruto Uzumaki is a classic example in the Shounen world and even though he’s referenced a lot, it’s not by accident or a mistake.
He grows up with a demon inside his body. Because of this he’s judged and feared by villagers in the leaf village.
He’s also doubted and treated as if he’s a failure and a loser. Only Iruka Sensei see’s potential in him and shows him respect, which no one else bothered to.
This is the beginning of
8. Gojo Wakana (My Dress Up Darling)
Gojo Wakana is the main character of My Dress Up Darling, an anime so popular no one can ignore it right now.
This slice of life/Seinen series with romance elements is about two characters: Marin Kitagawa, a girl who loves to cosplay, and Gojo Wakana, a doll lover.
He also creates Hina dolls as part of his grandfather’s business but girls don’t see him as being “masculine” because of it. Instilling insecurities in Gojo.
These insecurities wash away after meeting Marin, a girl who appreciates his talents. And they work together to fulfill each other’s passions, goals and hobbies.
9. Nino Nakano (Quintessential Quintuplets)
NIno Nakano is the red headed sister, and the most insecure as mentioned by other sisters at different times in the anime.
She’s hard headed, stubborn, has a mouth on her (disrespectful), and is easily the most aggressive and straightforward.
She never holds back as a general rule.
This behavior is Nino over compensating and projecting to a degree. It’s her way of hiding her insecurities by appearing to be strong on the surface.
Nino is the one who ends up being the most confident when all is said and done, and is the most aggressive when pursuing Uesugi, the anime’s love interest.
10. Komi Shouko (Komi Can’t Communicate)
Komi Shouko, or Komi San as she’s called, has a communication disorder. Because of this she’s basically mute and struggles to get her words out.
This leads to awkward situations and people misinterpreting her feelings or intentions. Her awkward expressions only make it worse.
Her self confidence is in the toilet prretty much, but that starts to shift and change when Tadano, her classmate, makes the effort to help her.
11. Onna Shinkan (Goblin Slayer)
Onna Shinkan, or “priestess” as she’s called is the main female character of Goblin Slayer. And one who’s traumatized in the first episode after almost being r*ped by goblins.
“Goblin Slayer” as he’s called saves Onna, and this becomes the beginning of her own journey in personal development and regaining any confidence she lost.
Onna is gentle, kind, and a thoughtful person who makes an effort with others. And that’s even if it’s someone like Goblin Slayer who’s awkward and annoying to talk to at rimes.
12. Wendy Marvell (Fairy Tail)
Wendy Marvell is the blue haired girl who’s introduced later in
Being the youngest dragon slayer she’s not strong compared to the others, and in general she lacks confidence in herself and her own abilities.
She’s easily frightened and shook by the smallest things, and seems to have no courage when it comes to fighting.
Wendy’s character development is one of the most noticeable in
It’s a night and day difference, and it’s why she’s one of the most liked characters in
13. Bell Cranel (Danmachi)
Bell Cranel is the white haired main protagonist of Danmachi, also known as Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?
He’s a wimp, a weakling, and a bit of pussy in the early stages of Danmachi. He almost gets himself killed but is saved by Ais from the Loki Familia.
Bell goes through major character development over the 3 seasons of this anime. He learns how to fight after Ais Wallenstein trains him in secret.
His confidence clearly grows and you can see the changes he goes through for the better.
14. Subaru Natsuki (Re:Zero)
Subaru Natsuki is a character who can return by death, meaning come back to life after dying. This is the ability he gains after dying in the real world and being reincarnated.
The problem is each and every death is painful, like any ordinary death, and those memories, feelings, and experiences stick with Subaru.
It’s the reason why he’s basically driven insane, even though he manages to keep his sanity and become miraculously stronger through all the savage trials and tribulations.
You see Subaru go from an older teenager who’s confused and depressed, to a man who’s capable and confident enough to shape the future and dare to try.
15. Hatori Chise (The Ancient Magus Bride)
Hatori Chise is the red headed girl who’s the main character in The Ancient Magus Bride. She’s an ex-slave, and one who was passed around.
After being put up an auction and bought off by Elias Ainsworth, her life starts to change for the better. And you see it in her attitude.
She’s more positive, hopeful, relaxed, and feels like she has a future ahead of her now that she has a place she can call home.
She also becomes a magic user. Her art style and design are stunning, just like the anime with its scenery and backgrounds.
16. Hina Tsurugi (Diary Of Our Days At The Breakwater)
Hina Tsurugi is the girl who’s manipulated and tricked into becoming part of a “fishing” group, run by Yuuki, the president.
After moving to a new place and even meeting an old friend while there, Hina spends her days fishing at the breakwater, a type of barrier by the seaside coast.
If you know anime like Mitsuboshi Colors, Non Non Biyori, K-On, and similar anime, then this is the fishing version of that.
17.Shouko Nishimiya (A Silent Voice)
Shouko Nishimiya goes through a type of pain and trauma that many can’t relate to.
She’s a deaf girl. She can’t hear. Her disability becomes the reason for her traumatic experience in school.
She’s bullied, mistreated, abused (physically and mentally), and made to feel excluded and different for the wrong reasons.
Later in life this wounds her soul and almost destroys Shouko emotionally. But somehow, some way, she’s able to start rebuilding and gaining self confidence, and fixing her self worth.
This is in part thanks to Shoya, a guy who also bullied her but is later looking for forgiveness for how bad he feels about what he did.
18. Haruhime Sanjouno (Danmachi)
Haruhime from Danmachi also deserves a mention from the same anime. Her backstory is different.
Being a demi human she’s already different to others in the world of Danmachi. And at some point in her childhood, she’s basically forced into a lifestyle she never asked for.
She’s taken away and is made to live out her life as a prostitute in a certain district. And she can’t leave since she has a neck garment that stops her from doing so.
Being a literal slave and a prostitute over the years weakened her spirit and killed any hope of her ever getting out and being able to gain freedom.
That changes in serendipitous ways and she manages to overcome a massive personal hurdle and finally put her insecurities behind her.
Id have to say it’s one of the best arcs and emotional episodes I’ve seen in any anime.