The stereotype of the lone protagonist is one of the most widely used and appreciated. Everyone likes to see the classic silent and mysterious main character.
This behavior often stems from past traumas, and it’s usually reflected in deep characters with great development throughout the story.
And that is exactly why below we have collected the best anime with a lonely protagonist, so you just have to choose one and enjoy a quality series.
Table of Contents
19. Persona 5 The Animation
The anime is based on the globally successful videogame Persona 5, a JRPG made by Atlus.
The main cast can summon Personas in a fictional world called Metaverse. These beings are their masks and allow them to use several powers to bring justice.
The protagonist and leader of the group is Ren Amamiya, a silent and lonely boy due to past traumas. But the encounter with his companions will make him gradually more open and a better version of himself.
We recommend you play Persona 5 Royal, currently available for PlayStation 4, Steam, Game Pass, PlayStation 5 and even Nintendo Switch.
You can use this adaptation as a benchmark to understand if you like the vibe, but we are sure you will.
18. Kaze no Stigma
Kaze no Stigma is an action anime with magical and ecchi elements released in 2007 in 24 episodes that passed quietly, although it’s not that bad.
Four years before the story began, Kazuma Kannagi was defeated by his cousin Ayano in a duel to decide the successor to Enraiha, the sacred sword passed down from generation to generation within their clan.
This was because of his ability to control Enjutsu, the art of controlling fire, a specialty of the Kannagi, and he ended up being kicked out of the family.
After four years he returned to Japan, now master of Fuujustu, the art of controlling the wind, with a new name and a new personality: Kazuma Yagami, a quiet and lonely guy. A dense web of mysteries is about to begin.
Kaze no Stigma is a fighting anime that manages to present a fairly innovative plot in its premise, but unfortunately ends up becoming banal as the story continues.
But despite that, it can be enjoyable if you don’t have high expectations.
17. 3D Kanojo – Real Girl
3D Kanojo: Real Girl is a psychological romance anime that goes into important issues such as depression. It was released in 2018 in 24 episodes.
Tsutsui Hikari is a lonely boy who tries hard to avoid a social life. He is constantly laughed at by most of his classmates for being creepy and weird, which leads him to have problems.
One day he finds himself having to clean the school pool with Igarashi Iroha, one of the most popular end extrovert girls in the school.
She is everything that Tsutsui hates in real girls, but he will soon develop feelings for her since she is the first person to treat him like a normal guy.
The issue with this anime is that it’s a low effort in terms of character development and not even consistent in terms of pacing.
16. Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Recovery of an MMO Junkie is an anime that combines videogames with a deep psychological aspect.
Moriko Morioka is in her 30s and has just quit her job because she could no longer handle the burden and stress of work. She has thus become a NEET, isolating from the world, and now tries to fill her life with an online game: Fruits de Mer.
Back in the days when she was still employed, she had befriended another gamer, who in turn was trying to fill the loneliness through videogames and was always ready for her in time of need.
Perhaps by playing Fruits de Mer, she could meet that boy again? But in the meantime, while out shopping at the combini, she meets an attractive guy.
This anime talks about self-marginalization, social anxiety, and the desire to start over, combining it all loosely with the world of gaming in one of the best romance anime with some otaku MCs.
15. Classroom Of The Elite
Classroom of the Elite is a fairly popular anime released from 2017 onward in multiple seasons.
This anime is set in a seemingly regular school called Koudo Ikusei Senior High School. This particular school has its students ranked in classes from A to D, encouraging them to compete for better positions.
Our main characters are placed in class D, the lower tier. This sparks in them a sense of revenge and motivation to rise to the ranks of the school.
But while this peculiar school system pushes students to want to improve and challenge themselves, inevitably we also have certain side effects.
Students in the lowest ranks end up being bullied and ostracized, contributing to their lack of confidence and making them lonely.
Classroom of the Elite is an anime that makes its fresh and innovative story its strong point while having a cool and competent MC.
14. My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling has been able to make a name for itself thanks to its wise use of fanservice and a pleasant cast.
The events revolve around the young high school boy Wakana Gojo and his particular passions. His life will change considerably after he makes the acquaintance of his popular and beautiful classmate Marin Kitagawa.
The girl, after catching him sewing clothes for dolls, will ask for his help in creating custom-made clothes for her, as she is fond of cosplay.
The partnership between Gojo and Marin really is the highlight of this anime, as they’ll help each other to grow as persons with their clash of personalities.
A lonely boy who feels he has absolutely nothing to share with others because he is used to considering himself inadequate for what he loves to do.
And on the opposite, one of the best dominant female leads in recent years sees the world in an opposite way convinced that cultivating one’s passions is super cool.
This won’t only push the boy out of his comfort zone in several ways, but it will also open him up to a new way of thinking and finding love.
13. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
A 2016 anime adapted from a shonen manga that tells the story of Kusuo Saiki, a prodigious boy with psychic powers. They include psychokinesis and teleportation, transforming into anything, changing gender, telepathy, and ray vision.
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is about the struggle of Kusuo, a lonely and misunderstood boy with the goal to achieve a normal life, while put under pressure by many extravagant characters during the story.
But don’t be fooled by the appearances of these few lines of synopsis. Saiki is a super strong character who could defeat many of the most famous shonen characters of his own.
When he shows his true power, everyone will be 100% surprised, including you.
The anime pushes mainly on comedy and parody, with a touch of science fiction and action that never hurts.
Plus, this series is one of the best anime where only the MC have powers best anime where only the MC has powers that you can’t miss if you like this strange trope.
12. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom
This anime is set in a dystopian version of the United States where the Mafia is a regular occurrence and the main actor is an organization called Inferno that acts behind the scenes thanks to its agents called Phantoms.
One day a Japanese tourist called Reiji accidentally witnesses a Phantom and tries to escape but he is quickly knocked unconscious.
He will wake up in a warehouse where a young woman named Ein will train him and brainwash him to make him the latest puppet in the hands of the organization.
Being held captive forces the boy to make a choice: immediate death or become an assassin in the service of the organization. And that is how Zwei, an assassin as mysterious as deadly, is born.
Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom is a dark, mysterious, and fascinating anime. It is action-packed, tension-packed moments and features an interesting setting.
The only flaw is a not particularly brilliant animation, but it’s not a big deal.
11. Death Note
If you are a fan of psychological confrontations or the detective genre, Death Note is a must.
The work is the perfect example of a psychological thriller, able to perfectly tie together elements of the fantasy and gothic worlds.
Light Yagami is a young model student, who nevertheless harbors strong disgust and disappointment with the world around him. This makes him a lonely person, and one who tends to self-isolate, believing that no one is worthy of his attention.
His life will change drastically when one day he sees a mysterious notebook, the Death Note, fall from the sky, capable of causing the death of anyone simply by writing his name.
Light’s plans are clear, to use the notebook to kill as many criminals as possible to purge this world of evil, and that’s what makes him one of the best evil MCs.
But soon he will deal with L, one of the greatest private investigators, hired to unravel the mystery of the continuing deaths among criminals, and this will set the ground for a fight between 2 of the best genius MCs.
If you are a fan of thriller anime you will surely have already seen it, if not, do it now, because you can’t miss it. Everybody knows about it, even those who don’t are familiar with Japanese animation.
10. Ranking of Kings
Ranking of Kings is an excellent anime released recently, which has been able to attract a lot of fans and supporters to itself right from the start.
Bojji is a deaf and powerless prince whose dream is to become a great king, but his poor abilities make this dream of his difficult to achieve.
This also makes him subject to teasing by the people and those around him, which results in him being lonely and isolated. But the encounter with Kage, an assassin who is the last survivor of his clan, will change his life.
Ranking of Kings is an interesting anime based on the personal growth of the characters, especially Bojji. Its animation style is innovative and appealing, and its characters are interesting and well-written.
This anime premiered in 2012 and tells the story of high school freshman Houtarou Oreki. He’s a pretty apathetic and lonely guy who prioritizes energy conservation despite everything happening around him.
One day he is forced by his sister Tomoe to join the Classics Club to save it from disbandment. He will find out that an extroverted girl, Eru Chitanda, has already joined the club.
They will later be joined by his childhood friends Satoshi Fukube and Mayaka Ibara. Their hobby? Investigating a different school mystery each time, imagining supernatural scenarios.
Hyouka! is an extremely light and enjoyable anime that is composed of several self-contained and always creative stories.
The cast of characters is quite balanced, with the personalities of the characters intertwining perfectly.
Berserk is a masterpiece of the dark fantasy genre created by the notorious mangaka Kentaro Miura. Its 1997 anime adaptation is famous for its vintage style and fitting setting.
Few other works can match this one due to the complexity of its characters and for starring two incredible personalities: Gatsu and Griffith.
Gatsu is the main character, and he is one of the best examples of a character who, because of a difficult past, ended up losing faith in people and ended up isolating himself.
And that’s why, even though the anime is nothing compared to the manga, Berserk deserves such a high spot on this list. His development is simply perfect.
The contrast between Gatsu and Griffith examines some of the darkest sides of human nature, and the fantasy setting of the anime doesn’t subtract realism.
Texhnolyze is an anime that aired in 2003, produced by Madhouse Studio from the subject of master Yoshitoshi Abe.
The story takes place in the crumbling underground city of Lux, marked by a harsh conflict between 3 factions.
The conflict revolves around Raffia, a rare substance that can only be found in this dreaded city and it allows for the texhnolyze transplant of any limb with a prosthetic and more powerful one.
The protagonist Ichise is an orphan boy who has become a bounty hunter by circumstances. He was mutilated and left without a leg and arm, for them to be replaced by advanced inhuman, yet powerful technological prosthetics.
Texhnolyze shows us in an unprecedented way a cyberpunk-themed post-apocalyptic world with a focus on the underground and slum life. All this with an interesting protagonist, mysterious and silent yet with deep character development.
Texhnolyze is an interesting and innovative anime, but one that requires a lot of focus to be fully understood given its peculiar pacing.
6. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor
Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor is the best gambling anime out there, and the story is about Kaiji, a poor young man facing an enormous debt.
Kaji is an ordinary man who is forced to collect all of his skills and mental strength from the situation he has put himself into.
The story is set in 1995 Japan when after graduating from high school Ito Kaiji moves to Tokyo to look for work but finds the city in the greatest economic crisis in its history.
Depressed, in his tiny apartment, he turns to alcohol, smoking, and gambling, eventually racking up huge debts. From here he will face two choices: collect his money back become the greatest gambler or die.
Kaiji is an excellent anime for several reasons. It features a unique design that you won’t find anywhere else, and it will make you feel some goosebumps during gambling matches.
It also does a great job of making you sympathize and grow attached to a flawed man that is just trying to save himself at this point.
Trigun, one of the best Sci-Fi anime ever made, follows the adventures of Vash the Stampede, also known by the dreaded title Humanoid Typhoon.
He is a wanted man who travels alone throughout Gunsmoke, a fictional planet with strong Wild West vibes and atmospheres. This is because of the destruction of July City, of which he is believed to be the culprit.
But Vash is far from a criminal, and instead, he uses his keen skills to defend those in need, killing only on rare occasions and when strictly necessary.
Trigun is an excellent mix of action with a Sci-Fi twist, in which excellent characters fight strenuously for their ideals, Vash foremost among them.
It is hands down one of the greatest cult anime ever, and when it comes to gunfights in desert settings, we can safely say it’s unrivaled.
4. One-Punch Man
This anime, which initially began as a manga published on its author One’s website, soon achieved notoriety leading it to be compared to titles in the same genre while maintaining its uniqueness.
The story revolves around Saitama, a 25-year-old boy who decides to become a hobby hero and possesses the power to defeat any enemy with a single punch.
However, this power is also a curse, as it forces him into a life with no one with the strength to challenge him. This makes him quite depressed and lonely, condemned to a boring existence.
If you want to start with an anime with fast-paced fighting but with a large dose of comedy, you’ve come to the right place. But the real core of the story is Saitama, one of the strongest male leads by all means in recent years.
One Punch Man is a satiric take on many shonen manga stereotypes, as seen from the overpowered protagonist.
Born at the hand of legendary master Osamu Tezuka, it recently received a remake in 2019.
The plot revolves around Hyakkimaru, a cursed boy with a body made of prosthetics, who fights demons. When he was a child his impoverished father sacrificed the child to demons to seek prosperity.
These demons now possess his body parts and senses, so Hyakkimaru will have to seek them out and defeat them to regain his lost body in his lonely and stoic journey.
He will do this together with Dororo, a child that is keeping him company during the journey and making him constantly more open to the world.
Dororo is an anime with a solid plot accompanied by excellent animation and a soundtrack that will make the fighting even better.
The fleshed-out and diverse characters that populate one of the best dark fantasy-themed feudal Japanese worlds are the real stars of this immortal work.
2. Welcome to the NHK
Welcome to the NHK still remains one of the best anime products centered on the social phenomenon of the hikikomori without being too heavy, finding the perfect balance with comical interludes.
The protagonist of the events Tatsuhiro Sato is one of them, due to past dramas. One day like any other to his surprise and unbeknownst to him there will be a knock on his door from a religious old woman in the company of a girl.
But what Sato will not know is that the same girl will later get in touch with him, claiming that she can and will help him out of his condition.
Welcome to the NHK is one of the best romance with a depressed MC, and gives a message of hope to anyone suffering from this illness.
Although the series was not so well known a decade ago, also thanks to the Internet, it has been slowly rediscovered in the last few years, and we are all lucky for that.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an original anime created by Hideaki Anno that depicts a destroyed world under attack by so-called Angels, mysterious entities that threaten the quiet of humanity.
Through the use of special mechs, it is possible to fight these beings, for which the Special Agency Nerv has taken responsibility.
The protagonist Shinji Ikari will be hired by this same group to pilot one of the robots, EVA 01, and attempt to put an end to these attacks.
Evangelion is a kind of puzzle. Any person can watch it and give their own interpretation. The story is beautiful precisely because it develops the characters’ problems given by their dark pasts.
And this is in particular on the protagonist, Shinji, who against the backdrop of a war between humanity and transcendental creatures, from the first episode to the last, begins his personal journey of self-affirmation.
At the beginning of the story we will see him as a closed, lonely boy afraid of the world, and then gradually opening up more and more and seeking the help of those around him.