One of the most enjoyable aspects of a great anime is watching the main character start out weak, then grow and develop into a better version of himself, eventually becoming overpowered as hell.
This development can sometimes be quite dramatic, to the point that the character is an entirely different person by the end of the series.
There’s My Hero Academia, an anime in which the main character, Izuku Midoriya, transforms from a helpless weak middle schooler to a formidable unbeatable, and awesome hero (even though he still cries all the time).
If you’re looking for anime where the main character progresses from being a weakling to becoming an invincible overpowered monster, this list is for you.
Best Anime Where MC Is Weak But Becomes Strong
15. Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Fear, survival, and instinct Thrown into a distant nation with just foggy recollections and the knowledge of their name, they can only sense these three emotions deep within their souls. A gang of strangers is forced to assume the only paying profession in this game-like environment, that of a soldier in the Reserve Army, and to destroy everything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar.
When all of the stronger candidates band together, the survivors must form a party: Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a happy hunter; Shihoru, a shy wizard; Moguzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight. Despite the similarities, this is not a game—there are no redos or respawns; it’s kill or be killed.
It is now up to this motley crew of unlikely combatants to stay together in a world where life and death are separated by a razor’s edge.
Hajime Nagumo’s regular life is upended when he and his classmates are summoned to a magical world and tasked with saving humanity. While his peers have outstanding combat talents, Hajime is mocked for simply earning an inferior transmutation skill with no genuine attacking strength.
Hajime is deceived by one of his classmates during an expedition in the Great Orcus Labyrinth, plunging him to the bottom of an abyss. Despite surviving the fall, Hajime is confronted with scary monsters and disasters that drive him into a bleak nightmare. Desperate to live and return home one day, he decides to fight for his life—only to meet Yue, an imprisoned vampire who is also trying to escape the labyrinth. Yue and a few others accompany Hajime on his adventure to find a way back home, while gradually transforming from commonplace to the world’s strongest.
13. Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Few beings in this world have the ability to convert their souls into formidable weapons. These people, dubbed “Blazers,” study and train at the prestigious Hagun Academy to become Mage-Knights; among them is so-called failure Ikki Kurogane, the only F-rated Blazer. When the academy’s worst student finds Stella Vermillion, an A-ranked Blazer who also happens to be a princess, naked, she challenges him to a duel with severe consequences—the loser becomes the winner’s slave. Stella couldn’t possibly lose, right?
Chivalry of a Failed Knight follows Ikki as he seeks to prove his power to a world that believes he is the weakest, all the while making new friends, acquiring wisdom, and gaining experience.
12. My Hero Academia
The emergence of “quirks,” or newly discovered superpowers, has been slowly expanding over the years, with 80 percent of humanity holding talents ranging from element manipulation to shapeshifting. This renders the rest of the world impotent, and Izuku Midoriya is one such person.
Since he was a toddler, the aspirant middle schooler has desired to be a hero. Izuku’s unfortunate fate causes him to admire heroes and take notes on them whenever he can. But it appears that his perseverance paid off: Izuku meets the number one hero and his personal idol, All Might. All Might’s quirk is an inherited ability, and he has picked Izuku to be his successor!
Izuku enrolls in UA High, a prestigious high school known for its exceptional hero training program, after months of arduous training, and this year’s freshmen look especially promising. With his strange but bright peers and the rising threat of a malevolent organization, Izuku will quickly discover what it truly means to be a hero.
11. The Rising of the Shield Hero
The Four Cardinal Heroes are a group of regular men from modern-day Japan who have been summoned to the kingdom of Melromarc to save it. Melromarc is a country besieged by Waves of Catastrophe, which have wrecked the land and caused misery to its residents for generations. To defeat the Waves, the four heroes are given a sword, spear, bow, and shield. Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku, is cursed with the role of “Shield Hero.” Naofumi is mocked and belittled by his fellow heroes and the people of the kingdom because of his mediocre offensive abilities and personality.
When the heroes are given resources and friends to train with, Naofumi goes out with Malty Melromarc, the only person eager to train alongside him. However, he is soon betrayed by her and wrongly accused of taking advantage of her. The residents of Melromarc then begin to discriminate against and despise Naofumi for something he did not accomplish. Naofumi embarks on his path of self-improvement and reputation-building with a raging storm of hurt and mistrust in his heart. Later on, though, the difficulty of being on his own sets in, so Naofumi purchases Raphtalia, a demi-human slave on the point of death, to accompany him on his journey.
As the Waves approach the kingdom, Naofumi and Raphtalia must fight for the kingdom’s survival and shield the people of Melromarc from their doom.
10. Demon Slayer
Tanjirou Kamado has carried the weight of maintaining his family on his shoulders since his father’s death. Despite living in poverty on a lonely mountain, the Kamado family leads a relatively tranquil and happy life. Tanjirou decides to go down to the local village one day to make some money selling charcoal. On his journey back, Tanjirou is forced to seek refuge in the home of a strange man, who warns him of the presence of flesh-eating demons in the woods at night.
When he returns home the next day, he is faced with a horrible sight: his entire family has been slain. Worse, his sister Nezuko, who has been transformed into a ferocious monster, is the solitary survivor. Tanjirou, consumed by fury and hatred, vows to revenge on his family and stands by his sole remaining sibling. Tanjirou will do whatever it takes to battle the demons and safeguard the last vestiges of his beloved sister’s humanity alongside the enigmatic Demon Slayer Corps.
9. Hajime no Ippo
Ippo Makunouchi, a teenager, works hard to help his mother operate her fishing boat rental business while his father is away. Ippo’s shy temperament, lack of sleep, and the smell of the sea make him an easy target for bullies who leave him battered and abused on a daily basis. Mamoru Takamura, a rising boxer, saves Ippo from a violent after-school incident and transports him to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym for treatment. Takamura and his fellow boxers, Masaru Aoki and Tatsuya Kimura, are taken aback by Ippo’s tremendous fists, which are the consequence of strong muscles acquired during years of physically demanding family business service.
Ippo impresses the other boxers in a practice battle against prodigy Ichirou Miyata after a brief training session with Takamura. He acquires a competitor in Miyata as well as a coach in Genji Kamogawa, the gym owner and a former boxer himself. As Ippo begins his professional boxing career, he will face a series of formidable opponents, each more powerful than the last. Victory, defeat, and a cycle of committed training await Ippo on his quest for greatness. The gentle young man wants to take on the world with his muscular body and irrepressible fighting spirit.
8. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Simon and Kamina grew up in a secluded, underground town buried beneath the famous surface. Kamina is a free-spirited loose cannon determined to make a name for himself, whereas Simon is a timid young child with few ambitions. Simon discovers a weird thing while mining the dirt one day, which turns out to be the ignition key to an ancient artifact of war, which the team names Lagann. Simon and Kamina use their new weapon to repel a surprise attack from the surface, with the assistance of Yoko Littner, a hot-blooded redhead with a big gun who roams the world above.
Following the conflict, the sky is now visible, forcing Simon and Kamina to embark on a voyage with Yoko to explore the surface wastelands. Soon after, they join the struggle against the “Beastmen,” humanoid beings who torment the surviving humans in powerful robots known as “Gunmen.” Despite several difficulties and failures, the group battles heroically alongside other survivors to recapture the surface while progressively revealing a galaxy-sized secret.
7. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Life is never dull in the bustling city of Orario, especially for Bell Cranel, a naive young man who aspires to be the best adventurer in the region. His dreams become a little more real after a fortuitous meeting with the lonely goddess Hestia. Bell embarks on a wonderful expedition with her help, venturing deep under the city’s monster-infested dungeons known only as the “Dungeon.” In the vast depths of this frightening labyrinth, death lurks around every turn, and a mysterious power glides among the shadows.
Surviving is a hard-won privilege, even on the surface. Indeed, nothing is ever guaranteed in a world where gods and humans coexist, especially when they frequently clash. But one thing is certain: the dauntlessly hopeful protagonist of this tremendous narrative will face a slew of failures, successes, and friendships.
6. Yona of the Dawn
The kingdom of Kouka is graced with a lovely princess whose childish innocence enchants everyone who meets her. Yona, as she is known, has grown up in the royal palace, safe from any harm that may come her way. All wonderful things, however, must come to an end.
Yona’s ideal life is shattered when a horrible act of betrayal threatens to ruin all she cherishes, including her birthright as Princess of Kouka. She is compelled to abandon the palace because she has no one to trust but her childhood friend and devoted bodyguard Son Hak. Yona finds that her country is no longer the secure sanctuary it once was as she is faced with the hazards of surviving in the wild with a target on her back.
Yona swears to do everything in her ability to overcome her ignorance and grow powerful enough to crush her foes. With Hak by her side, she must put together the shattered shards of ancient mythology that may hold the answer to recovering her country from those who plotted to steal it from her.
The greedy samurai lord Daigo Kagemitsu’s land is dying, and he would do anything for power, even renounce Buddha and make a pact with demons. His prayers are answered by 12 demons who grant him the power he desires by aiding his prefecture’s growth but at a price. When Kagemitsu’s first son is born, the boy has no limbs, no nose, no eyes, no ears, nor even skin—yet still, he lives.
This infant is thrown into a river and forgotten. However, he is saved by a medicine man who gives him prosthetics and weapons, allowing him to survive and fend for himself. The boy grows and lives, and despite his inability to see, hear, or feel anything, he must overcome the demons that took him as a sacrifice. With each death, he reclaims a piece of himself that is rightfully his. He walks alone for several years until he meets Dororo, an orphan boy. On an unforgiving, demon-infested planet, the unlikely couple of castaways must now fight for their lives and humanity.
4. Black Clover
Asta and Yuno were abandoned at the same church on the same day. Raised together as children, they learned about the “Wizard King,” a title granted to the strongest mage in the realm, and swore to compete for the role of the future Wizard King. However, as they grew older, the dramatic contrast between them became clear. While Yuno can wield magic with incredible force and control, Asta is unable to use magic at all and desperately seeks to awaken his powers through physical training.
When they reach the age of 15, Yuno is given a magnificent Grimoire adorned with a four-leaf clover, but Asta receives nothing. However, Yuno is soon ambushed by a man named Lebuty, whose main goal is to steal Yuno’s Grimoire. Asta fights Lebuty, but he is outmatched. When he hears Yuno’s voice, he finds the strength to persevere even though he is without hope and on the verge of defeat. In wrath, Asta unleashes his inner emotions and acquires a five-leaf clover Grimoire, a “Black Clover” with enough power to defeat Lebuty. A few days later, the two companions set out into the world with the same objective in mind: to become the Wizard King!
3. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
The Holy Empire of Britannia is developing itself as a dominant military nation in 2010, beginning with the conquest of Japan. After being renamed Area 11 following its rapid defeat, Japan has experienced substantial resistance against these dictators in a bid to reclaim freedom.
Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian student, is trapped in the crossfire between the Britannian and Area 11 rebel armed forces. He escapes, however, thanks to the timely appearance of a mysterious girl named C.C., who bestows Geass, the “Power of Kings,” on him. Recognizing the tremendous potential of his newfound “power of total obedience,” Lelouch embarks on a risky trip as the masked vigilante Zero, launching a brutal offensive against Britannia in order to exact final vengeance.
2. Tokyo Ghoul
A sinister threat is invading Tokyo: flesh-eating “ghouls” who look just like humans and blend in. Ken Kaneki, a reserved college student, hides his face in his studies to avoid hearing about the increasing disaster. When a lovely woman named Rize Kamishiro approaches him and asks him out on a date, his loneliness is shattered.
Kaneki discovers when taking Rize home that she isn’t as sweet as she appears and that she has led him on with evil intent. He awakens at a hospital after a heartbreaking struggle to learn that his life was spared by transferring the now-deceased Rize’s organs into his own body.
Kaneki’s physique begins to morph horrifyingly, transforming him into a human-ghoul hybrid. Kaneki clings to his humanity as he embarks on his new horrific journey in the evolving brutal war between society’s new monsters and the government agents who seek them.
1. Vinland Saga
Thorfinn grew up hearing stories about elderly sailors who had traversed the seas and arrived in the legendary realm of Vinland. It’s reported to be warm and productive, with no need for fighting—a far cry from the frigid town in Iceland where he was born, and certainly not his current existence as a mercenary. His new home is war. Despite the fact that his father once informed him, “Nobody can accuse you of having enemies. There is no one it is acceptable to hurt “Thorfinn realized as he grew that nothing could be further from the truth.
With each passing year, the battle between England and Denmark worsens. Death has become the norm, and the Viking mercenaries are relishing it. Allying with either side will result in a huge shift in the balance of power, and the Vikings are content to build a name for themselves and take whatever prizes they can. Thorfinn must exact his revenge on Askeladd, the man who murdered his father, in the midst of the turmoil. The only nirvana for the Vikings appears to be the ongoing era of war and death.
BONUS: Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy
Makoto Misumi is sent to another planet to meet the goddess and become the hero as part of a strange contract made years ago by a goddess and his parents. However, the deity regards Makoto as “hideous,” refusing to even look at him and rescinding his heroic title. In exchange for the ability to understand all languages save humans, the goddess forces Makoto to the darkest reaches of the wasteland, far from human civilization.
Makoto’s latent physical and magical talents awaken as a result of the discrepancy between Earth and this new universe, making him tremendously powerful. He encounters other demihumans and legendary beings who are all charmed by his characteristics and join Makoto in creating a new community where they may all cohabit together.
Nonetheless, despite his achievements, Makoto longs to meet other people. Makoto and his comrades must realize his yearning in a world where the goddess herself has forbidden him from mingling with his kind—and perhaps transform society along the way.
That was it for this list, be sure to let us know what’s your favorite anime where the mc starts weak but becomes overpowered in the comments below!
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