One of the most disappointing things in anime is when an insanely cool or lovable character with lots of backstory and potential growth is relegated to the sidelines, forgotten about, or killed off.
It's like the exact opposite of fan service, in which a fan favorite character becomes more important than they were originally meant to be just to please fans. In this case, we want more but we're denied.
And it's even worse when an anime character with lots of potential is wasted and/or killed off for the sake of another character's big moment. (At least when a character is overlooked with zero development or screen time, there's hope for growth in the future.)
Here are the most promising anime characters who had lots of potential to be truly awesome but were ultimately wasted.
15. Majin Buu (Dragon Ball Z)
Majin Buu was the main antagonist of Dragon Ball Z's Majin Buu Saga, but was turned into a supporting character in following arcs and series (Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super).
His power is known to rival the Kais as he was purposely awakened by Bibidi to kill them. What makes Majin Buu even more powerful is that he has already absorbed two Kais: the South Supreme Kai (which made him bulky) and the Grand Supreme Kai (which made him chubby).
Double godly powers should come in handy, right?
But during the Tournament of Power, Majin Buu was excluded from the Universe 7 team because he failed the exam and overslept just before the game started. That's frustrating since his godly powers would absolutely make his team overpowered.
14. Raiha (Flame of Recca)
There are too many names in Flame of Recca who had great potential for development but ended up being background characters or omitted. Some of this can be excused due to the series being rushed and forced to deviate from its source material, but it's still a bit much.
Raiha might be the worst of them. He was featured in several major incidents right from the beginning of the story. He had a decent introduction and was known as one of the strongest characters among the roster of Kurei's allies.
But we never saw him in action, nor did we get to experience his intriguing mystical weapon that's related to Fuuko's Fujin.
13. Kite (Hunter X Hunter)
Kite became a fan favorite character in Hunter X Hunter with his appearance right after the Greed Island Arc. He's a Hunter and Gon's only lead as to where his father is.
With abilities that are far superior and more refined than the main protagonists, he's obviously a tough guy. But he was thrown away as a character when he was killed in his fight against Pitou, making him little more than a trigger for Gon's immense development.
12. Commander Pyxis (Attack on Titan)
Commander Pyxis is the type of leader who doesn't care for the rich man's order. He has his own way of influencing people and being a leader, and that makes him cool and badass.
Unfortunately, he doesn't end up doing much over the course of Attack on Titan and eventually succumbs to Zeke's scream.
11. Buggy (One Piece)
Buggy is one of the legendary Gol D. Roger's crew, who stood and made his crew like Shanks. He somehow managed to get out of the Marineford War alive, even after being cut by the world's greatest swordsman.
He had the potential to be a great ally to Luffy or a great enemy of the Marines, but he was reduced to being just a clown with a big name in the series. His comedic side always takes over his capabilities in battle and his story developments.
10. Chad (Bleach)
Most of the characters in Bleach have solid and well-built stories, but a few of them failed to keep up with the main characters' progress. One of those characters is Chad, Ichigo's close friend in the real world.
As Ichigo progressed and became a legendary Soul Reaper with flashy abilities, Chad—despite being one of the original gang—was set aside and didn't get as much development as Ichigo, Inoue, or Uryu.
9. Neji (Naruto)
Neji is one of the geniuses of Konoha and a masterful close-combat fighter. He had some fantastic story developments in Naruto, with the series building him up to be a fan-favorite badass ninja.
But he was severely neglected in Naruto Shippuden.
During the Fourth Great Ninja War, he jumped off to save Naruto and Hinata from the deadly wooden spikes of the Ten-Tailed Beast, resulting in his death. If he wasn't killed in war, he could've been a great Jonin and a teacher to the new generation of Hidden Leaf ninjas.
8. Uchiha Madara (Naruto)
Uchiha Madara is one of the strongest ninjas to ever live in the world of Naruto, and the series proved it with in-depth backstories that built up his character—all the way to his reanimation.
He then proved his immense capabilities in the Fourth Great Ninja War, able to ward off multiple world-class opponents without breaking a sweat, and even knocking down entire Tailed Beasts.
But he was played dirty by the narrative. His reanimation was just a plot to revive Kaguya Otsutsuki, with Black Zetsu stabbing him from behind. He should've been the ultimate Big Bad of Naruto, but instead everything he did was undermined by this plot twist.
Not only that, but it also ruined the most anticipated fight between Sasuke (who acquired the Rinnegan) and Naruto (who acquired the Sage of Six Paths' chakra).
7. Yamato (Naruto)
While most of the characters from Naruto are present in the sequel series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Yamato was pretty much cast aside and forgotten once the Fourth Great Ninja War started.
Yamato had so much potential as a unique character, being able to use the Wood Style so effectively. Sadly, he was absent for most of the War Arc after he was abducted by Kabuto and used to power up the White Zetsus and gather intel from him.
6. Nel (Bleach)
Nel saved Ichigo from Nnoitra, regaining her former physique and powers. But she was forgotten and never to be seen again after that very fight, which is disappointing given that she's a higher rank Espada that could be a formidable ally to Soul Society against Aizen.
5. Eastern Supreme Kai (Dragon Ball)
The Eastern Supreme Kai, now known as the Supreme Kai (due to the events prior to Majin Buu Arc), rules and overlooks Universe 7 along with Beerus as the God of Destruction to maintain balance.
Though he was supposed to be all-powerful like other Kais, he's actually weaker than the rest of the Z fighters, and eventually, the character faded into the background as a minor character.
4. Kaio Ryu (Baki)
Anyone who faces Yujiro "The Ogre" Hanma is fated to be a loser, but Kaio Ryu got it even worse. After he was held up by the community of martial artists in the Great Raitai Tournament, his match against Yujiro ended quickly with him losing his face.
Before the fight, he's seen in Retsu's flashbacks where he dedicated his whole life to their art. Many fans thought he'd put up a good fight against the Ogre, but the results were disappointing.
3. Doyle (Baki)
The first episode of Baki introduced us to Doyle, one of the five badass death row prisoners who escaped jail to answer the mysterious phenomenon, who could survive death by electrocution.
Throughout the story, he puts up a good fight against known fighters and builds relationships with some of them. But he was set aside entirely when the story shifted to the Great Raitai Tournament.
He was defeated instantly, with no resistance at all, which made it feel like his character simply needed to be erased.
2. Levi (Attack on Titan)
Many would agree that Captain Levi is the most wasted character in Attack on Titan. He has skills, courage, wits, and all the other characteristics needed to survive within and beyond the walls.
Unfortunately, he was blasted by an explosion that rendered him wrapped up like a mummy with a few fingers missing. It's a disappointing end to the character's arc, who certainly would've played a larger role if he didn't end up disabled.
1. Kisho Arima (Tokyo Ghoul)
Kisho Arima trained Kaneki Ken as one of the Doves. He was also known to be one of the best inspectors, able to match the One-Eyed Ghoul.
The Tokyo Ghoul anime misses most of the major events in the source material, and that means the characters miss out on meaningful developments as well—and that includes Kisho Arima.
With him being on the side of the Ghouls and the revelation of the "V," there's so much more to his character that we didn't get to see because he was basically reduced to a recurring side character.