The world is going to end and only one person can stop it. The world is reeking of injustice and only one person can change it. The idea of the Chosen One goes all the way back to the Greek epic The Iliad. Achilles, born to a human father and a nymph mother, was possibly the first ever Chosen One character since the poem dates late 8th or early 7th century BC.
Fast forward to today, the Chosen One trope is so prevalent that as long as you have read a book, watched a movie, or played a video game in your life, it’s impossible to not have encountered it. Harry Potter or The Boy Who Lived is a quintessential example of the Chosen One.
Here are the best Chosen One characters in anime!
7. Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion
Shinji Ikari, a whiny and insecure 14-year-old student is one of the half-dozen people on the entire planet who’s capable of piloting a giant biomechanical robot designed to protect the earth from colossal extraterrestrials that are hell-bent on wiping out humanity.
On top of that, the secret government program responsible for building these mechas is headed by Shinji’s father, who happens to share a very strenuous relationship with him.
Could the stakes be any higher?
6. Light Yagami from Death Note
What’s more terrifying than a human stumbling upon a notebook that belongs to the God of Death? A high schooler with a God complex using that notebook to kill everyone he thinks deserves to die.
You could say Light Yagami is a self-proclaimed Chosen One, but that doesn’t lower the stakes as the cat-and-mouse game between him and the mysterious detective L will decide the fate of crime and justice itself.
5. Subaru Natsuki from Re:Zero
What if you landed in a medieval fantasy RPG world with unlimited lives and save points? You would feel like the Chosen One, wouldn’t you?
Subaru thought the same, and he’s right to think so. But as he realizes soon, in a world of magic and dragons, being the Chosen One isn’t really a privilege in this anime.
He has no purpose and no powers, except his ability to experience terrifying deaths again and again only to revive and hope to save the people he loves the most! That’s a very clever subversion of the Chosen One trope, and quite hardcore!
4. Dr. Kenzo Tenma from Monster
What if you were a neurosurgeon who had to choose between operating on the mayor and a little boy that had survived a family massacre? What if you chose the little boy and a decade later, he became a psychopath murderer?
What if you’re the only one who could stop it? Well, Dr. Kenzo Tenma is giving all of it up to stop this murder!
3. Rintaro Okabe from Steins;Gate
Time travel is kind of never a good idea.
But Okabe doesn’t really have a choice. After figuring out a way to send text messages to the past, the self-proclaimed mad scientist ends up changing the timeline in very minuscule ways that later threaten to change the course of civilization itself.
Okabe has to race against and with time to save the world and the ones he loves the most, but it’s very unlikely he can do both. Would you trade shoes?
2. Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass
Similar to Death Note, high schooler Lelouch acquires the power to alter memories and control people which he terms as “Geass”. Except he wants to use it to destroy the oppressive Britannian Empire and create a just world.
But at what cost? How many people will Lelouch need to sacrifice to rebuild the world itself?
1. Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan
Having your mom eaten by naked and towering titans in the first episode already sets a precedent for some kickass vengeance story.
But Eren isn’t really a chosen one in this sense. His mother is one among the thousands who got devoured by the monsters in the wall breach. It doesn’t make him special.
Rather, it is the secrets that Eren hides – his ability to transform into a titan among others – that he often isn’t privy to himself that turns him into “humanity’s only hope” against the tyranny of titans.
Eren, the clichéd, hot-headed child protagonist, is the only flicker of hope that people could afford as well as detest in a world where all humanity has ever known is defeat. He also internalizes this belief, making way for some of the greatest subversions in the Chosen One tropes present in anime.