As someone a bit prone to airheadedness myself, I have a soft spot for characters who wear their fool’s colours with pride. Anime is packed with champions and their irreplaceable comrades who prove that having the fastest brain isn’t all-important in achieving your goals. As you’re about to see, a pure, kind heart and keeping courage in the face of imminent embarrassment have brought every single one of our top five dunderheads a long way. So never lose hope if you’re not the smartest. We all have our ways to be heroes!
Goku – Dragon Ball
This perfect idiot’s stupidity seems to come less from a lack of intelligence and more from his unbelievable naïveté. But hey, you’d be the same if you grew up in isolation then got sucked into being a celebrity superhero on the basis of your race. He’s so eager to prove himself to his every friend and opponent that he dives into conflict without a care, like a kid who feels invincible until he scrapes a knee. But we admire the way he can brush himself down, laugh it off and take wisdom from his failures just as well as his successes.
Ayumu “Osaka” Kasuga – Azumanga Daioh
While Lucky Star’s Konata might have been the obvious pick for the school slice-of-lifers, Osaka gets points based on her unique perspectives on life. Determined to “get it together”, she can’t see that her real gift lies in being a lightning rod for life’s oddities and little wonders. She knows, somehow without knowing, that simple pleasures are key and real wisdom comes from contemplating what we can’t understand. Maybe it comes with being a country bumpkin.
Mey-Rin – Black Butler
Blundering and blushing her way through daily tasks as maid of the Phantomhive household, Mey-Rin’s propensity for getting on with the job nonetheless gives her a certain fascinating je ne sais quoi from the off. Layer by layer, we find she’s a brave heart with a love of spooky stories and a bold ownership of her kinky sexuality. She’s bred from tougher stock than she appears, this one. And we’re in total kinship with her as one of those wispy sprite you have to keep your eye on, lest you underestimate her.
Mako Mankanshoku – Kill la Kill
The ultimate ditz with a heart of solid gold, Mako may be aware that her head is full of fluff, but she knows what she’s good at – lifting others up to perform their best. Without Mako as her cheerleader, Ryuko would have fallen at the first hurdle of fighting in a ridiculous fan service getup. She of all people knows it would be easy just to give up, but there’s much more to get out of life than not looking like a fool.
Gon Freecss – Hunter x Hunter
Growing up on an island with his aunt and trusty fishing rod, Gon has so much to learn about the world that it’s dangerous for him to set out alone. But it’s for that exact reason he aims to become a Hunter, wanting to be just like his dad and facing all dangers head-on. No love or reward ever came from being scared to step out your door. Gon gains both in spades because his rose-tinted outlook always sees him through the risks.
Honourable mention: Aisha Clan-Clan – Outlaw Star
Ctarl-Ctarl and proud, she might stumble more than she strikes because of her hot-headedness, but she’s irresistibly cute and well-intentioned. All she wants is to restore the pride of her once illustrious race, and prove to her own kind that she isn’t a waste of space. Girl, we never once thought that.
Loveable dolts to a tee, every single one. We give thanks for this gang, who showed us we shouldn’t worry about being prats, as long as it’s the best prat we can be. Which characters enlightened you to this ultimate secret of life? Did we miss anyone who dunders with the best of them? Let us know!