Underrated Shonen Anime Side Characters

Shonen anime characters are known for being dynamic. Most shonen shows involve epic battles and supernatural powers that make many of the characters into superheroes. Other, more realistic shonen tales focus a lot on character development and growth. These aspects are mostly attributed to the series’ protagonists. Yet, many shonen side characters have just as much of a bombastic presence as the main characters.

These side characters are not featured as much as the main cast, but they affect the story enough that the anime would be poorer without them. They provide particular skills or emotional impact that the main cast couldn’t go without. They may be side characters, but these underrated shonen cast members demonstrate how valuable they are at every junction in their stories.

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10 Sakura Kono (Horimiya)

sakura kouno horiyama

Sakura Kono is a severely underrated character in Horimiya. Although she isn’t in the main cast, her emotional journey from being a random student council member to becoming a fully-fledged love interest deserves more credit than it gets. Sakura is not only smart but kind and brave.

Despite fearing rejection, Sakura works up the courage to confess her feelings to Tooru Ishikawa. When he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, Sakura is filled with pride in having the courage to ask him in an unexpectedly poignant character moment, especially considering that most characters in that situation would have only been sad. Sakura has more strength than a lot of the other characters in the show, and she should be commended for her bravery and poise.

9 Jack (Beastars)

Jack from Beastars

Legoshi slumps around like he’s a lone wolf in a sea of characters who don’t understand him, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Jack, Legoshi’s criminally underrated best friend, has more to do with Beastar’s story than most fans would initially realize.

Not only does Jack stay by Legoshi’s side when he’s clearly in distress, but Jack even accepts Legoshi after Legoshi falls for Haru. Jack is kind, encouraging, and the best friend Legoshi has. It’s a wonder that Jack and Legoshi aren’t seen more together since Jack’s down-to-earth nature could help Legoshi feel less like he was constantly on unsteady ground.

RELATED: 10 Most Toxic Shonen Couples

8 Takumi Aldini (Food Wars)

takumi aldini

Though the Aldini brothers are better together, Takumi Aldini alone has just as much culinary knowledge and techniques as Souma Yukihira does but receives much less attention.

Takumi has held his own against Yukihira multiple times and proves how great of a chef he is with each new challenge. While he mostly sticks to Italian cuisine, Takumi can branch out to other cultures as well. He is extremely skilled with knives and easily makes his way through every challenge he faces. Takumi could finally prove his worth if Yukihira would simply agree to battle him over and over again.

7 Jean Kirstein (Attack On Titan)

Jean leaning and smiling AoT

Jean Kirstein joined the military to get a laid-back job defending the inner wall of Paradis. Unfortunately, great tragedy convinces Jean to fight for his people and his lost friend, Marco. Although Marco did not survive long in the show, his absence can be felt more and more accurately with every step Jean takes.

Jean is such an interesting character in Attack on Titan because he is a reluctant hero. He has seen firsthand what happens to people who don’t make it out of a battle. Yet, he fights so that no one else has to have the same fate as Marco. Plenty of other characters lose people they are close to in this show, but Jean’s connection to Marco helps him make more careful, thoughtful decisions – especially when other people’s lives are on the line.

6 Tsuyu Asui (My Hero Academia)

Tsuyu Asui on Selkie’s ship from My Hero Academia.

Tsuyu Asui is one of the most underrated students in Class 1-A. Not only does she have an adorable hero name, and cool abilities, but she is often the voice of reason in a sea of emotionally-driven teenagers.

Unlike most of her friends, Asui makes careful, logical decisions before she jumps into danger. Even in the middle of a fight, she can analyze her situation to come up with the optimal plan. Still, as much as she is driven by logic, Asui loves her friends just as much as anyone else, and will always be there for them, even if she doesn’t agree with their actions.

RELATED: 10 Most Important Pieces Of My Hero Academia Lore That New Viewers Need To Know

5 Yuma Isogai (Assassination Classroom)

Yuma Isogai serving coffee - Assassination Classroom

Yuma Isogai is the hardest-working student in Assassination Classroom. Not only is he the male student representative, but he regularly scores at the top of the class and works several part-time jobs to support his family.

Isogai’s presence in Class 3E is directly related to how much responsibility he’s had to take on. Although he’s not supposed to work, he does it anyway to keep his family afloat. As teachers add on school work as well as assassination training, it becomes more clear that Isogai is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to perfectly balancing all of his life’s activities.

4 Kazuma (Noragami)

Noragami - Kazuma looking down with a blue sky and clouds in the background.

Kazuma seems like an incredibly devoted follower when he is first introduced. However, it is because of his tragic past that he stays so devoted to his beloved Bishamonten.

As much as he would like to forget, Kazuma was the only survivor after the massacre of Bishamon’s original regalia family. Now, he is steadfast in trying to make it up to Bishamon and does everything he can to protect her and all her new regalia. Thankfully, his efforts have paid off, as he is now Bishamon’s blessed Shinki.

3 Kaseki (Dr. Stone)

Kaseki from Dr. Stone.

Kaseki is written off by his village as a frail, old man. It is only thanks to Senku Ishigami that Kaseki finds renewed vigor in his life and becomes a loyal member of the Kingdom of Science.

Though Kaseki is overlooked by his people, Senku realizes the potential he has for their many experiments since Kaseki was an artisan. Kaseki uses his skills to make innumerable instruments and parts that Senku and the others need for their projects. Without Kaseki, the Kingdom of Science would be lost, since they wouldn’t have someone as deft as Kaseki creating everything they need for their creations.

2 Damian Desmond (Spy x Family)

Damian Desmond blushing in Spy X Family

Damian Desmond is the key to Agent Twilight moving forward with his mission. However, there is a lot more to Damian than simply being a bully and a means to an end.

The more fans see Damian, the more they realize that he’s just another little kid like Anya and Becky. He certainly acts more mature for his age, but in the end, he just wants his father’s approval and love. Damian is great as a semi-antagonist, but he’s an even better character when he is put through a more human filter. His hopes and desires align more with Anya than even he realizes.

RELATED: 10 Most Important Pieces Of Spy x Family Lore That New Viewers Need To Know

Prince Ling Yao from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

Ling Yao’s mission to obtain a philosopher’s stone to ascend the throne in his country puts him in contact with Edward and Alphonse Elric occasionally. However, Ling’s path is almost more harrowing than the Elric’s.

After his body is taken over by the Homunculus, Greed, Ling still retains consciousness, and even talks to Greed. Eventually, Ling takes his body over, but not before grieving for his now-lost companion. Ling’s ability to make friends with someone who should be his worst enemy shows that he has the patience and temperament to be a just emperor. It also speaks to his character that he was able to survive so long despite such a strong presence taking over his body.

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