10 Anime Characters Who Had One Job (But Failed)
These ten characters only had one goal they needed to accomplish, and they somehow still managed to mess it up.
Whether they're heroes or villains, anime characters are usually driven by one mission. Sometimes this is an ambitious goal that would affect the world at large, or it's a personal one that can change their lives for better or worse. All they'd have to do is accomplish this one job and their lives would be as complete as could be.
In the cases of these characters, though, failure seems to be the only option. At times this is because of circumstances beyond their control, but in most cases, it's entirely their fault. They had one job to accomplish and yet, despite their best efforts, they always fail.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
10. Pokémon - The Team Rocket Trio Can't Kidnap Pikachu At All
Team Rocket's objective is to amass an army of the strongest Pokémon so that they can take over the world. Hoping to impress their boss Giovanni, the anime's famous Team Rocket trio of Jessie, James and Meowth focus all their energy on capturing Ash's mighty Pikachu.
For more than two decades, the three have been on a single-minded hunt for Pikachu. They've hatched countless schemes and cons, all of which ended with them being blasted off again. On the rare instances they did capture Pikachu, they'd either fight each other over who'd get credit, or dumb luck would knock Pikachu out of their grasp again.
9. Lupin III - Inspector Zenigata Always Misses Lupin By A Second
Lupin and his gang are always ten steps ahead of the authorities, but the one man they can't outsmart is Interpol's Inspector Zenigata. For years on end in Lupin III, Zenigata is always close to capturing them but either luck sides with Lupin or Zenigata is outsmarted. This doesn't mean he's a failure, though, since he's the only lawman who could be considered Lupin's equal.
Zenigata is actually able to capture Lupin on a few occasions, but keeping him in custody is usually beyond his control. There are even some times when Zenigata lets Lupin go as a favour or even allies with him to take down a bigger threat. Zenigata may keep failing at fulfilling his one reason for living, but he has some good reasons for doing so.
8. Dragon Ball - Yamcha Fails At Being A Z Fighter
The Z Fighters are Earth's defenders in Dragon Ball so, unsurprisingly, it's comprised of the planet's strongest fighters...which is why Yamcha feels like the odd man out. As a Z Fighter, Yamcha's one job is to defend Earth by defeating alien invaders and warriors - something he fails at consistently.
Heroic and valiant as he may be, Yamcha is leagues below the likes of Son Goku and Trunks. Either he's easily beaten by the villain (e.g. Dr Gero), or he's quickly killed off by one after putting up a fight (e.g. the Saibamen). Yamcha's loss record is so abysmal that the jokey fraud Mister Satan is arguably more useful than he is.
7. Death Note - L Died Before Exposing Kira's Identity
Shortly after Kira (aka Light Yagami) begins executing those he deems evil in Death Note, the authorities bring in L - the greatest detective in the world - to help them pin down the self-proclaimed God of the New World. L quickly suspects that Light could be Kira, but without any evidence beyond a hunch, he doesn't have a case.
L engages in a relentless game of wits against Light, but he drags it out for fun. Because he enjoys messing with Light too much, L inadvertently buys Light enough time to lay down the steps for his assassination. L successfully brings Kira down through his successors Mello and Near, but he dies before doing so himself while also letting Kira's kill count grow before his final defeat.
6. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Jonathan Joestar Couldn't Stop Dio
The first chapter of the JoJo saga is a period melodrama that focuses on Jonathan Joestar's quest to restore his honour after his evil adopted brother, Dio, tried to oust him from his own clan. What may have caught viewers off guard was how, contrary to genre conventions, Jonathan died and failed to defeat Dio.
Phantom Blood ends with Jonathan believing he finally killed Dio after a string of struggles, only for the vampiric severed head to come back with a vengeance. The results of Jonathan's failure are twofold: he inadvertently makes Dio stronger when the latter takes over his body, and Dio's survival leads to the bloodshed and chaos of Stardust Crusaders.
5. My Hero Academia - Overhaul Killed The Yakuza Instead Of Reviving It
Following All Might's retirement in My Hero Academia, Japan's criminal element saw the perfect opportunity to make a comeback after years of laying low. At front and centre was the Yakuza clan Shie Hassaikai, led by the powerful villain Overhaul. Determined to restore the Yakuza's former glory, Overhaul declared war on heroes and society at large with his Quirk-erasing bullets.
Instead, Overhaul doomed the Shie Hassaikai to collapse shortly after announcing its planned resurgence. Overhaul's chief mistake was underestimating the League of Villains, who not only helped the heroes eradicate the Yakuza but also neutralized Overhaul by taking away his hands. In the end, the Yakuza was little more than a stepping stone for the League.
4. Attack On Titan - Eren "Saved" His Family By Declaring War On The World
After the Colossus Titan broke Wall Maria and destroyed his once-innocent life, Attack on Titan's main character Eren Jaeger swore vengeance on the Titans and promised to free humanity from the walls no matter what. However, the revelation that Paradis Island is barely a dot in a larger world that's also hateful of the island's inhabitants broke Eren's mind.
By the time of the final season, Eren's goals technically remained the same, even if they fell off the deep end. To save his fellow Eldians, Eren declared war on humanity by threatening to activate the Rumbling. Eren's one, the self-appointed job was to protect his race and especially those closest to him, only for him to endanger everyone by dragging them into a world-ending conflict.
3. Puella Magi Magica Madoka - Homura Trapped Madoka In An Existential Prison To "Save" Her
In Puella Magi Magica Madoka, to repay Madoka for being her one true friend, Homura dedicated her wish and life to save Madoka from either dying fighting the world-ending witch Walpurgis Nacht, or becoming one herself. Homura spent countless time loops desperately trying and failing to save Madoka, and this boiled over in the worst ways imaginable during the movie Rebellion.
When Madoka finally frees Homura, she rejects salvation and instead embraces the witch in her. With her newfound powers, Homura creates a perfect but hollow world where she and Madoka can live blissfully as normal girls. Instead of saving Madoka, Homura traps her in something arguably worse than either of her original fates.
2. Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo - Shinji Should (Not) Have Gotten In The Robot
In a subversion of the most famous joke about Neon Genesis Evangelion, the third Rebuild Of Evangelion movie could be summarized as "Don't get in the robot, Shinji." For vague reasons, in Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo, Shinji is warned by just about everyone in WILLE that no matter what, he absolutely must not pilot an Eva Unit ever again. Unfortunately, he does just that.
Due to WILLE's lack of communication and clarity, Shinji is easily manipulated by Gendo into piloting Eva Unit 13. In doing so, Shinji inadvertently triggers yet another Impact that kills even more people in a post Near Third Impact-world, while also getting Kaworu's head blown off by WILLE's neck bomb. Whether this is permanent or fixable will be determined by Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0.
1. Osomatsu-San - The Matsuno Sextuplets Can't & Won't Do Anything Right
As a bunch of hopeless NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training), the Matsuno brothers' only job in Osomatsu-san is to literally get any job. By extension, all they have to do is grow up. Doing so would be the first step out of their miserable stagnation, and it would also help them finally mature.
Rather than better themselves, the brothers instead revel in juvenile hedonism. More often than not, the Matsunos violently reject change or even drag one another down. Since their comedy anime is pretty successful, it will be a really long time before the Matsunos even realize that something has to change.