Sometimes it’s hard to be a hero, especially in anime. The world is ending, or a demon king is attacking, or everyone’s out to get you because you’re a bit different. That’s why, when we see a character who keeps the mood high no matter what, we can’t help but adore them. Case in point, this trio of anime boys from the season’s newest shows.
From zombie apocalypses to fantasy wars to crimes against humanity, these dudes are still smiling through it all. Who are some of your favorite cheerful heroes this season?
Akira Tendo – Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead
When the world is collapsing around you, it’s hard to keep smiling… unless, of course, your world already was collapsing around you. Take Akira Tendo, one of the season’s most put-upon anime boys. Even his optimistic smile fades after several rounds of corporate gaslighting, and he finds himself trapped in a dead-end job. That is, at least, until the zombie apocalypse happens.
With his life turned upside down as of the beginning of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira has rediscovered his joy. The threat of being eaten alive by the undead doesn’t worry him. If anything, it inspires him to start doing everything he never got to do!
Tsugaru Shinuchi – Undead Murder Farce
Anime boys come in all shapes and sizes. Some are human; some are demons. Some are something a little different in between. That’s Tsugaru Shinuchi, the full-bodied protagonist of Undead Murder Farce. Mad science made him a half-demon, and now he bides his time fighting demons for money until the oni side takes over. Then he meets Aya Rindo, an immortal talking head in a cage and everything changes.
Now he travels Victorian Europe, solving paranormal mysteries and seeking revenge on the man who ruined both his and Aya’s life. Through it all, he keeps surprisingly chipper. But you know what? When you’re facing down literary legends and creatures of the night, a little levity probably keeps you sane.
Helck – Helck
A competition is underway to name the new Demon King. And one of the competitors is a little different from the rest. Helck, one of the beefiest anime boys this side of Fist of the North Star, is all human. Not only that, he’s the brother of the hero who defeated the previous demon king. But the crowd loves him. And he cheerfully claims to despise all humans. But surely this is all an act as part of a long game to bring down the empire, right?… Right?
As the other champions and high-ranking general Vermilio get closer to Helck, things start to come into focus. He remains supportive and upbeat through it all… but the longer we watch, the more we’re starting to see why he might be chilling with demons these days.
Whether they’re facing down the end of the world or a more personalized threat, these heroes are smiling their way through the new season. Will they still be going strong by the end of summer? We’ll have to watch and find out.