10 Anime Characters Who Experienced Agonizing Pain (& Came Out On Top)

Injuries and emotional turmoil are common elements in anime. Anime characters go through enormous amounts of pain, which makes viewers sympathize with them and wonder how they can withstand it. Few things tug at heartstrings like a sweet or admirable character undergoing some trauma or agony that they don’t deserve.


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Thankfully, there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Many of these characters survive their situations and heal. Furthermore, they end up in a better position than before, showing how there is hope for circumstances to improve.

10 Kyo Heals And Ends Up With Tohru After Years Of Abuse And Guilt (Fruits Basket)

Kyo Sohma is one of the long-suffering characters in Fruits Basket. From birth, he is possessed by the Cat Spirit thanks to his family’s curse. Kyo’s family hates and excludes him because of this, and their other cursed members also endure isolation and torment. Kyo’s father despises his son and emotionally abuses his wife for birthing the Cat.

Kyo also carries guilt for failing to save Kyoko Honda and then unintentionally falling in love with her daughter. Thankfully, Kyo finds closure for his past trauma. His love for Tohru encourages him to work on his hotheadedness. In the end, Kyo inherits his master’s dojo and marries Tohru.

9 Vivi Puts Herself Through Constant Risk To Save Alabasta And Succeeds (One Piece)

Princess Vivi Nefertari from One Piece bravely volunteers to infiltrate the sinister Baroque Works. The organization is destabilizing her country, but she uncovers its enigmatic leader’s identity. After two years of putting herself at risk, she is targeted by Crocodile for discovering his role. RELATED: 10 Times Love Destroyed One Piece’s Heroes

Vivi races home to save her beloved country from upheaval even though Crocodile always seems to be a step ahead. Fortunately, Vivi is able to get everyone to listen to her and lay down their arms. Though she leaves the Straw Hats, their bond remains while she proudly takes her place as Alabasta’s heir. Eventually, she plans to help the country rebuild.

In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ed regrets convincing his brother to help him do human transmutation to resurrect their mother. The experiment failed and Truth took Ed’s leg and Al’s entire body. The brothers then learn their government is a conspiracy that has controlled Amestris since its infancy. The government’s ultimate goal is to turn Amestris’s people into a Philosopher’s Stone so that Father can consume God.

Thankfully, Ed defeats Father, saves everyone, and returns Al to his usual body. Unlike Father, Ed learns that he is a human who shouldn’t play God and he doesn’t need alchemy if he has his loved ones. Ed concludes Brotherhood by leaving to explore the world, and the credits show his and Winry’s happy family.

7 After A Lonely Childhood And Many Trials, Naruto Reaches His Dream (Naruto)

The main character of Naruto has a rough childhood. Not only is he orphaned, but Naruto is also ostracized and hated for being the Jinchuuriki container for the Nine Tails. He is consistently at the bottom of his class at the Academy and repeatedly flunks the test to become Genin.

The anime follows Naruto as he strives to level up and grow in power. Along the way, he experiences Team 7’s fracturing, Sasuke’s defection, and the deaths of multiple allies. However, Naruto keeps his optimism, earns his village’s respect, redeems Sasuke, and eventually fulfills his dream of becoming Hokage. He also finds the unconditional love he always wanted with Hinata Hyuga.

6 Zuko Goes From Exiled Disgraced Prince To Fire Lord (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

In Avatar: The Last Airbender, young Prince Zuko spoke out at a war meeting against a morally objectionable idea. Challenged to an Agni Kai for impudence, Zuko found himself facing his father. Though Zuko begged forgiveness, Ozai burned his face and sent him on a humiliating hunt for the long-disappeared Avatar. RELATED: 10 Best Anime Uncles, Ranked

Zuko had already faced hardships; his mother left and he felt inferior to Azula. It takes Zuko a lot to overcome this hardship, but he regains his honor before he switches loyalties to Team Avatar in Book 3. At Avatar’s end, Zuko ascends the throne as Fire Lord of the Fire Nation and seeks to improve the Fire Nation and the world by working with Aang.

5 Chihiro Makes Friends Despite Her Human Nature And Frees Herself And Her Parents (Spirited Away)

In Studio Ghibli’s 2001 film Spirited Away, 10-year-old Chihiro is lost in a spirit world that is hostile toward her human nature. After her parents turn into pigs and the connection to the human world disappears, Chihiro is trapped. She seeks employment from Yubaba to protect herself and must work hard for the first time in her young life.

Although Chihiro is forced to work alone while figuring out a way to help her parents, she grows stronger and makes many friends. Because of this, she succeeds in freeing Haku, her parents, and herself from Yubaba’s contract. Chihiro then returns to the human world with her parents, having gained self-confidence from her experiences.

4 Chise Gains Control Over Her Powers And Reconciles With Elias (The Ancient Magus Bride)

Chise from The Ancient Magus Bride is in a dark place when the anime begins. Her father abandoned the family and took her baby brother. She was nearly strangled by her mother, who horrified by her own actions and later died by suicide. In the present, Chise cares little for her well-being and sells herself at an auction. Elias purchases her and intends to marry her.

Through Elias, Chise connects with the fey and her potential as a Sleigh Beggy. By the end, Chise gains confidence and develops agency outside of Elias. She even nullifies the impact being a Sleigh Beggy has on her lifespan by absorbing the Dragon’s Curse and Cartaphilus’ curse.

3 Mei Survives Alienation And Her Classmates’ Attempts To Kill Her (Another)

Mei Misaki from Another is ignored by her fellow students, who want to avoid the Calamity. Fans sympathize with Mei as her classmates accuse her of not doing her part. On top of feeling lonely, Mei struggles with the grief of her twin sister’s recent death.RELATED: 10 Horror Anime That Broke Their Own Rules

When the curse takes effect and begins killing, Mei’s classmates blame her, make her apologize, and eventually set out to kill her under the mistaken belief she is the Extra. Though many of her classmates die in the ensuing horror and fighting, Mei survives the year and even figures out the true Extra before Kouichi does.

2 Erina Overcomes Her Father’s Control And Becomes The School Dean (Food Wars!)

In Food Wars!, Erina is a talented student at Totsuki Academy. She is treated like royalty for being the heir to the Nakiri family and possessing the “God’s Tongue.” However, she inherited her abusive father’s close-minded snobbery. He trained her to judge food his way through intimidation and pain, which made her fear him.

Later on, Erina still suffers from her father’s conditioning, but she slowly begins to heal. Eventually, Erina loosens up and absorbs some of Soma’s humble principles in cooking, wins the Regiment de Cuisine, and becomes the Dean of Totsuki Academy.

1 Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)

In Tokyo Ghoul, Ken Kaneki is turned into a half-human, half-ghoul hybrid by Akihiro Kanou. As a result, Ken is stuck with a life he never wanted or asked for. Before his conversion, Ken endured the pain of his parents’ death and his aunt’s neglect.

As a ghoul, Ken sees and participates in plenty of violence. He loses his memories, unintentionally kills innocents, and becomes darker. However, he overcomes it all by Tokyo Ghoul’s conclusion. At the end, Ken is working to foster good relationships between humans and ghouls and is raising a family with Touka in a rebuilt Toyko.

NEXT: 10 Anime Villains Who Always Fight Intelligently

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