We all love good character development in anime, but it doesn’t always happen—even in well-made anime series—and the end results can be disappointing. It’s particularly bad when a character arc goes in a direction that’s against the core nature of the character.
Most of the time, these disappointing character arcs and developments are born from a need to make a certain plotline work, or when the story needs to be rushed for whatever reason, or when the writer runs out of ideas. It’s disappointing, but we learn to accept it.
From wasted character potential to unexpected character developments, here are some of the most disappointing character arcs in anime that we’ve seen.
9. The Taming of Chopper’s Monster Point (One Piece)
During the Enies Lobby arc, Tony Tony Chopper showed us a terrifying transformation—an ability he doesn’t want to use. Upon turning into a huge monster that enhances his attributes, he becomes uncontrollable and loses consciousness, resulting in him attacking his friends.
This transformation perfectly fits as “the final weapon” and a last-resort technique, but Chopper manages to control his Monster Point after the timeskip, making it not terrifying at all. Though it’s a big advantage for the crew, it was cooler when the powerhouse had risk to it.
8. Juzo Suzuya Being Calm (Tokyo Ghoul)
Juzo Suzuya is a badass Ghoul Investigator, though he seems a bit crazy when it comes to fighting. He has a high tolerance for pain and he seems to enjoy hunting and the blood-splattered killings.
Unfortunately, the bloodlust of Juzo was replaced with a more calm and composed personality, although his fighting skills are still good. It was way cooler to see him fight and slaughter Ghouls as his former self.
7. Tenten’s Weapon Mastery (Naruto Shippuden)
Many side characters in Naruto were tossed aside, but Tenten has the least character development of all the female characters.
The Naruto Shippuden episode “Deploy! Team Tenten” proved that she still has potential with her weapon mastery, featuring her fighting with a gigantic prototype weapon named Jidanda.
But during the War, she simply throws kunai knives with paper bombs attached to them. When she had a chance to make good use of the weapon from the Ginkaku-Kinkaku twins, she failed to use it.
6. Genos (One Punch Man)
Genos is a cyborg whose abilities are recognized by the Hero Association as deadly, ranking him as an S-Class hero. He was introduced with a high-powered firing weapon, but still lost to his enemy and that left him no choice but to self-destruct.
He was then repaired with upgraded body parts and received new weapons for his arms—but after all the upgrades, he still lost to the monster who claimed to be the Lord of the Seas.
Despite all his preparation to face off against Black Night, he couldn’t even handle a small fry properly, which he brushed off by saying he let his guard down.
5. Mika Shimotsuki Failing as Leader (Psycho-Pass)
Inspector Mika Shimotsuki was introduced as a competent inspector in the second season of the Psycho-Pass anime series. She’s someone with a strong will and understanding of the rules of the Sibyl System, and she applies it well which earns her a position as Lead Enforcer.
During the third season, when they’re facing one of the foxes of Bifrost, they unfortunately end up walking right into their enemy’s trap. Even though they found a way out (thanks to the help of their seniors), it’s disappointing to see that she can’t execute as a leader.
4. Erza Scarlet in Nakagami Armor (Fairy Tail)
Erza Scarlet is an S-Wizard who owns different armor suits and different swords that complement those armor suits. She changes between them depending on who and what she’s fighting.
One of them is the Nakagami Armor, which is one of the best in her arsenal. She used it when she fought Minerva, who uses dimensional magic spells, and Erza was able to cut through it like cake.
In the final season, when she fights her birth mother, the Nakagami Armor would’ve been great against that powerful wizard whose magic lived for more than 400 years. And yet, she uses the Clear Heart which is said to have no defensive powers.
3. Kusaribe Hakaze and Her Love Interest (Blast of Tempest)
Known as the Princess whose will was supported by the Tree of Genesis, Kusaribe Hakaze is considered the strongest mage.
She’s introduced as a witty woman who’s trapped alone on an island and able to survive for so long because of her belief that the Tree of Genesis is there for her and that everything happens for a reason.
But as soon as she gets off the island, she’s torn between her purpose for existence and her feelings for a guy, Takigawa Yoshino. To think that she would be swayed by her emotions and neglect the necessary decisions she needs to make with her clan? Pretty disapponting.
2. Misa Amane as Light’s Tool (Death Note)
Misa Amane is a Death Note holder like Light Yagami. She has the potential to be the best in their field, except that she’s way too dedicated to serving Light and his principles.
Aside from her Death Note, she also has Shinigami Eyes that she got by making a deal with Rem. This proves that she’s even more capable than Light, as she’s being aided by two Shinigamis. But in the end, she was nothing more than a tool for Kira and his objectives.
1. Allen Walker and the Piano (D.Gray-man)
After the ground-shattering bouts between Tyki and Allen Walker’s group, the scene quickly switched to this melodramatic “piano” scene.
It featured Allen as their only hope, who plays the piano to control the ark they’re in. It’s also the same scene when the Fourteenth and his relation to Allen is introduced.
The episode is heart-touching and emotional and well-done, so it isn’t totally disappointing—but most watchers expected a badass fight scene since Marshall Cross appeared and their lives were in grave danger.