This applies to many forms of media, not just anime, really. There are many times where a show isn't as good as its supposed to be because of...its protagonist. Maybe its for the plot, maybe its for future development, but if your protagonist is a douche bag or just unlikable overall its quite difficult to enjoy the entire show because your god damned main character sucks! Many main characters in anime are cliched, high school boys that value their friendship and protect their friends because...they're simply friends.

I mean...that's alright and all for the first time I heard that explanation. But it gets really old if every protagonist fights for their friends for the sake of fighting for them...where's the fun in that? "Why'd you protect me?", "BECAUSE WE'RE FRIENDS!". That kind of talk gets old if you watch a lot of anime, same for harem and would be romance shows, when the main guy constantly reminds the girl that they're friends...I would be pretty damn pissed off if I was the chick. As I said, sometimes its for the character development, sometimes its for the plot....but there are times, things work out even if your main character did something different. To make your protagonist likable, you have to make them different, make them stand out from the crowd, make them do awesome stuff. Hell, it'll be okay even if their special trait is being funny. Here are some protagonists that I grew to love and how they made their respective shows a blast to watch.

The Hidden Badasses

These guys are actually really simple main characters. They hide something from the rest and they don't show what they can really do, but when the time comes for them to take action, they're usually a cut WAY above the rest. These guys are usually looked down upon, underestimated or straight out bullied by other characters in the show when they are unaware of their true potential, hell, sometimes they are even picked on when their true powers have been revealed. When watching these guys I can't help but wonder when is the next time they are going to act, because when they go all out, almost nobody else stands a chance.

Of course it goes without saying that these guys are incredibly OP in their respective shows. Tatsuya is a course 2 student because the school's evaluating methods are unable to measure his true potential, because of this, he is scorned by many other course 1 students at the start of the series. He doesn't really care, and when it comes to actual combat, he easily creams all of them with his wide array of lethal spells or physical combat prowess, even triumphing some of the best in the business..despite being only 16 years old.

Mao on the other hand, IS known for being the demon lord by the peers in the human world, however, he is unable to use his full power....and probably doesn't want to for no reason int he first place. He keeps his disguise as a human serving as a simple employee at a fast food restaurant, tricking his colleague and fooling all other outworlders that he has lost his touch. Obviously, when the time to kick ass arrived, he did so flawlessly, showing off the power of the Demon Lord. And Kenshi? Do I need to say anything? All the female Seikishi underestimated him for some regular cute boy with talents, but this dude is a master Seikishin pilot as well as an absolute beast in hand to hand combat. The scene where he unveils his piloting talent and crushes all the fools who challenged him in the arena was really satisfying to watch.

The Smart Guys

Well its not too difficult to stop the common theme in these guys. Instead of overpowering their enemies with sheer strength and might, they demonstrate their superiority with their extreme intellect. Its quite hard to ever beat these guys in a game of chess, but that's beside the point. While the shows that they belong in might have stronger, more powerful characters, its always satisfying to see those guys lose to our heroes because of the difference in strategy, or sometimes, just intelligence. They think their way out of their toughest situations, and whether or not they have an army to command, their plans always work out. Why? Because failure isn't in their books...either that, or they're  just that damned smart.

As mentioned, these guys are never really powerful in comparison to other characters in their respective shows. Shiroe plays the weakest offensive class in the game, the Enchanter, but its the best class to use in terms of support. He'd never be able to do much by himself, but because of how much his friends trust him and fight for him, he is able to micro manage his teams so well, carrying them to victory. That, and he's always finding ways to break the system or change the game. Lelouch is a whole different story, smart he may be, but his methods are a lot more extreme. Taking the mantle of a masked terrorist, he commands the Black Knights to wreak all sorts of havoc on Britain as he tries to overthrow the current king. He always comes out on top despite having the weaker force, and that is something worth mentioning. Even after coming back from being brain washed, he still maintains his cool to brew all sorts of plans.

Sora kind of just plays for the sake of playing. He never f**king loses in a game as long as he's with his sister Shiro, and together as blank, they're pretty much an unstoppable team. Self proclaiming themselves as the master of games, they take every game as seriously as they take their lives. Whether its looking at a game within many different perspectives or playing around with the rules to ALTER the very game itself AND not make it illegal is pretty freaking impressive, especially under that much pressure. When you're looking into a game's script code and learning how to play around AI algorithms, you've got pretty much a pair that you can NEVER beat in a game, ever.

The Funny Ones

This one is simple enough. In a show that has comedy slapped on to it, I, want, to, laugh. Its simple as that, isn't it? Asking to laugh in a comedy show isn't asking for too much, I hope? Fortunately there are a lot of funny anime out there, though not everything with a comedy in its genre is, per say, funny to everybody. Its hard to make comedy that appeals to everyone, but of course, if you want to get into the meat of the show that makes people laugh, you've got to make your main character someone that makes the audience laugh....I mean, you'll be looking at him/her a lot, so it only makes sense that in a comedy show, your protagonist has got the comedy part down right. Here are some of my favorites.

Many don't consider "Lucky Star" to be THAT funny, most watch it just because it has a cute visual style and its very casual. Obviously, there are some really good moments, most involve its incredibly charismatic main character, Konata Izumi. Now, that girl is probably the funniest out of the 4 main heroines in that anime, and let's be honest, Tsukasa, Kagami and Miyuki aren't even close to her on the levels of comedy. Konata, being an otaku, makes plenty of ridiculous references to her daily life and other shows, making her incredibly out of place in the group of 4 friends, which works out incredibly well. It helps even more that her interactions with everyone else is different.

Akisa is another good one, this man is absolutely ridiculous. Another great way to make your audience laugh is to make sure that the main character is silly as heck, Akisa is a straight out idiot. He's so stupid that he does the dumbest things possible, and those don't end too well for him. Most of the time, he makes himself look ridiculous, so much so that its hard NOT to laugh at his antics. Kazama Keiji, on the other hand, is pretty much the only NORMAL human being in his circle of retarded, delusional school mates so its always nice to see him over-react to everybody else's insane comments. Seeing him try to keep up with their stupidity is always refreshing to watch as he screams and shouts in frustration, anger or fear when trying to stay sane. Well, to be honest, sometimes he just screams for the sake of screaming, the idiocy might have gotten to him.

They Just Want To Have Fun

Time and time again you see main characters always being committed to something. Sometimes, there are these main characters that appear that....don't really seem to main character-ish. They might be the overly cheerful little sister or the clingy childhood friend in other shows, but when they take the lead in their own shows, you can't help but just smile. Its quite hard to hate these kinds of main characters (partially because they always happen to be female), simply because they want to have fun. They might be the chosen one to save a broken world, an ally of justice, or simply a descendant of an unholy clan of mighty god slayers, but they don't really care TOO much. At the end of it all, as long as they enjoy doing what they do, it doesn't matter how they do it, at the end of the day, a smile is retained on their face, and they'll just laugh it off.

Koto, pretty much sharing the same name as her mother (great idea, right?), was thrown into the mirror world Kyoto for no apparent reason and wanted to go back to her own world. However, little did she know that she gained the favor of the 3 rulers of that world, and that she was the long lost little sister of the 3. PLUS, she was the key for the 3 of those rulers to locating their mother. Guess what? Koto doesn't care, she just does what she THINKS is the best, whether or not its right or wrong, she just doesn't give a hoot. Hajime is also pretty awesome. Despite being burdened to be one of the few defenders of the world against an alien threat, she doesn't really follow the rules.

Instead of killing the alien species, she goes as far as to befriend one of them. Why? Hell, because its "cute". Because of that she just saved the entire Gatchaman squad a whole lot of trouble as the aliens suddenly became docile. The way she thinks and fights is so carefree that her squad mates can't help but leech off her positivity. Eruna? Do I even need to say anything? This girl is like a walking, living, shining sun that's FULL of positive thoughts. Enrolling to Mikagura because of the cute uniforms and a cute girl was a sufficient reason for her, then when she finds out that everyone in Mikagura has powers, she gets even MORE stoked. Her finishing move is even based off on how hyped up she is in a battle. This girl LIVES to have fun, be it in battle or out of it, she's all about doing what she wants and that's pretty awesome.

The Arrogant, Pervertic, Cocky Nice Guys

The state and likability of these kinds of protagonist varies from person to person, but I personally love them. These guys are ridiculously powerful, and they know it. Unlike "The Hidden Badasses", these guys like to flaunt their strength, they constantly remind those around them how ridiculously powerful they are, and they aren't afraid to get into a fight if they need to. They are arrogant, they are cocky, but most importantly, they are nice people. Albeit they like to fool around as well, most of these kinds of characters end up being perverts, and love to look at a good woman or two. They are badasses, they know it, and they pretty much just do or say what they think it best without giving too much thought about it.

Let's start with Izayoi. This guy is ridiculous, he just entered the realm of "Little Garden" and his power surpasses that of the strongest beings in the world. He challenges a water god on his first visit and pretty much stomps the poor bastard. He KNOWS that he's strong, and seeks to challenge those that can match his might. To top it off, the dude is a cheeky pervert, constantly complimenting and lusting over his female companions, though he doesn't take it too far, which is probably why the girls can stand being around him. Staz is another one. This dude is a boss of a group of underworld dwellers, and even owns his part of the underworld as his territory. He knows that he is respected and feared because of his vampiric lineage, but above all, he doesn't care what others think about his hobbies.

Staz is a massive otaku and a pervert at that. He's pretty outlandish when it comes to his fetishes, however, he doesn't mind picking a fight or two, because he knows that he can pretty much kick anyone's ass. Anyone that isn't his brother, at least. Akatsuki is probably the biggest one we have to talk about. This guy loves boobs, panties and asses over everything else. He just, doesn't, care. He loves to sexually harass the girls around his age, be it verbally or physically, he doesn't care, he'll do it. Yet, why do the ladies flock around him? The bastard is strong, very strong. Few can match his might and even the strongest students in school keep an eye on him, for even they can't stop him if he goes out of control. And yeah, he knows his strenghts, he constantly picks fights with people that he doesn't like. Well, let's just say that he doesn't like a lot of people.