“You should never give up on life, no matter how you feel. No matter how badly you want to give up.” – Canaan
There’s something about anime characters who never give up on their goals and dreams.
No matter how hard life gets. And no matter how much pain and suffering they have to go through.
I guess it’s because as human beings we can relate to that. Seeing someone else overcome all odds (or try to) inspires us to do the same.
And it gives us the courage needed to stay strong and see things through until accomplished.
That’s why we see so many anime shows of this nature.
And even though it’s cliche, we’re still drawn to it as long as the anime is good enough to pull it off.
I’ve made a list of 15 of the best anime characters who refuse to give up on life.
Hopefully you take something from it!
1. Shinichi Izumi
Shinichi Izumi is the main protagonist in anime: Parasyte. A horror/psychological type of show.
Shinichi is attacked by a parasite that fails to take over his brain. And instead takes control of his arm.
From that point on he struggles with his emotions and coping with everyday life.
And as tough as things get, he never gives up.
It’s because of his “never give up” attitude that Shinichi becomes a stronger person as a result.
The pain, suffering and losses makes him mentally and physically stronger than he could have dreamed.
2. Glenn Radars
Glenn Radars is a new-comer on the block of anime since 2017.
He’s the main character in the anime: Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor.
The man’s a dedicated teacher despite his lazy-ish attitude sometimes. And when his students are in danger, he does whatever it takes to help them.
Even after almost being killed. And even when things seemed impossible, his drive carries him forward.
Making him deserving of this list of characters who refuse to quit on themselves. Or others.
3. Izuku Midoriya
How could I not mention someone like Izuku Midoriya?
He’s the main character from popular show: My Hero Academia.
Since childhood Izuku is bullied by his so called classmate: Bakugo Katsuki.
Bakugo’s friends also join in, and constantly tell Izuku he doesn’t have what it takes to become a hero.
Always downplaying him and stomping all over his self confidence.
Even so, Izuku refuses to give up on his dreams and his life. Even when things get difficult for the kid.
Izuku is the perfect example of hard work pays off. I think his journey is pretty inspirational.
4. Erza Scarlet
We can’t ignore a character like Erza Scarlet, the main character from anime: Fairy Tail.
The anime you either love or hate with a passion.
Born a child-slave in the tower of heaven, Erza’s “good childhood memories” are non-existent.
In-fact she had her whole childhood taken away from her. And it’s full of nothing but fear, pain and agony.
Yet she stands tall like a proud knight, and leads the way forward like she’s the king of the castle.
Similar to characters like Goku, Erza never knows when to give up.
And that’s what makes her so damn special.
5. Homura Akemi
Homura Akemi is a magical girl from anime: Madoka Magica.
She’s cold, distant, introverted, harsh and intense. But most of this is just a farce.
That being said Homura is the most persistent character around. Refusing to give up on her goals regardless of the pain she’s put through.
All for the sake of protecting those she cares about.
Most characters (or people) would have quit ages ago if they were in Homura’s shoes.
Related: 11 Homura Akemi Quotes That Go Deep
6. Satoru Fujinuma
Satoru is the main character from psychological/mystery anime: Erased.
If you had the power to go back in time if you wished hard enough, what would you do?
Satoru decides to change tragic events that happened in the past by preventing it.
And after tons of struggle and effort, he manages to pull it off in the end.
But along the journey Satoru is put through tons of pain, regret, sorrow and disappointment.
And yet not once does he decide to throw in the towel or wave the white flag.
7. Misaka Mikoto
Misaka Mikoto’s the main protagonist from anime: A Certain Scientific Railgun.
In season 2 Misaka’s put in a bad situation where 3 other characters are trying to kill her.
And throughout the whole ordeal Misaka’s worn-out, tired and close to collapsing.
Yet somehow she manages to motivate herself to survive long enough to figure out a plan and escape.
Refusing to give up even though she was at a disadvantage from the very beginning.
8. Lelouch Lamperouge
Lelouch Lamperouge, aka Lelouch Vi Britannia from anime: Code Geass.
This guys cold, ruthless, will stop at nothing to achieve his goals, and will crush anyone in his way.
While that’s not the most noble way to go about achieving your goals, it’s hard to deny Lelouch’s drive.
The kind of stuff that plays out through Code Geass is heartbreaking. And yet Lelouch pushes through all of it like a Juggernaut.
That in itself takes a shocking amount of commitment and perseverance
Triela is one of the main characters from anime: Gunslinger Girl.
She’s the big sister of the group of 4 other girls. And mentors each one of them throughout their struggle.
Each one of them, including Triela is conditioned to deal with the violence and murder they experience as assassins working under the government.
And when you realize Triela is barely a teenager you start to see just how strong she is.
None of this stops her from moving forward and doing what needs to be done.
It’s one of the saddest anime shows I’ve watched for this reason and more.
10. Kiritsugu Emiya
Kiritsugu Emiya is the main protagonist from anime: Fate Zero.
The kind of hardships this guy is put through is abnormal and ridiculous. He’s put through most of it in his early childhood.
These experiences shape him into a ruthless, cold, intense character. Who won’t hesitate to eliminate anything standing in his way.
His actions don’t make him the most noble of characters. But his story and the way he pushes past obstacles is powerful. And hard to deny or ignore.
11. Yuuki Konno
Yuuki Konno’s a main character from Sword Art Online: season 2.
Without revealing any spoilers, Yuuki Konno’s the type of character who’s been suffering since childhood.
And with the use of Virtual reality gaming, she’s able to live life beyond the pain she deals with in the real world.
Despite suffering for so long and having her “unfair-share” of life, she manages to smile, stay happy and keep a positive attitude.
And that’s what makes Yuuki Konno’s backstory and character so damn powerful for me.
Like Erza Scarlet, giving up isn’t a part of her nature in the slightest.
12. Satsuki Kiryuin
Satsuki Kiryuin reminds me a lot of Erza Scarlet. She’s the main character from anime: Kill La Kill.
Satsuki Kiryuin is a proud warrior and runs the Honoji Academy.
Like Erza she has high standards and expectations.
And when life gets tough throughout Kill La Kill, instead of giving and rolling over… Satsuki stands taller than ever, as if to say “this is nothing I can’t handle”.
She’s one of the most inspirational female characters I know of.
13. Iori Nagase
Iori Nagase is one of the main female characters from anime: Kokoro Connect.
Since childhood she’s always had to pretend to be something she’s not.
And had to go through the complications of having so many different fathers and family issues.
Iori looks strong on the outside, but is weaker than she looks on the inside. And yet, somehow she manages to pull through the difficult times and stand on top of her problems.
Personally I loved Iori Nagase’s character development from start to finish.
14. Masane Amaha
Masane’s the mother of Rihoko from action anime: Witchblade.
After a catastrophic event that killed thousands of people, Masane was the only survivor.
The reason being is because the Witchblade fused with her.
And this is where it gets interesting. Masane goes through a lot of trials and tribulations from start to finish.
Never giving up on her daughter: Rihoko and refusing to give up despite her unavoidable situation.
Making Masane Ahama one of the toughest character around. Especially when it comes to female characters who are also mothers.
15. Tomoya Okazaki
Tomoya Okazaki is a regular high school student in romance/slice of life anime: Clannad.
But where things turn out ugly is in the second season of Clannad.
To avoid spoilers all I can say is no man (or woman) should be put through what Tomoya experienced.
And yet he pushed through it like a soldier and fought until the bitter end. Never giving up on himself completely.
And still holding on with what he had to keep moving forward. Despite going through depression.
Other main anime protagonists worth mentioning
- Mine (Akame Ga Kill).
- Clare (Claymore).
- Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z).
- Yuuichirou Hyakuya (Owari No Seraph).
- Enju Aihara (Black Bullet).
- Sousuke Sagara (Full Metal Panic).
- Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach).
- Lucy Heartfilia (Fairy Tail).
Who else would you add to this list? I want to know!