Let’s take a look at 10 individuals for whom Lady Luck is most definitely not on their side!
Fortune favors the bold, so the saying goes. But sometimes, luck just isn’t on your side. Whether it’s an unlucky time at the gambling tables, the constant taste of defeat as victory slips out of your fingers every single time, the inability to find that special someone, or just seeming like a rain cloud is constantly parked over your life, being unlucky is never great. For some people, though, it just seems like their luck is never going to turn around! In anime, sometimes this manifests itself as a cosmic reason for unlucky turns, a personality flaw, or even a literal stat line in your character profile! But for some of these characters, their lack of luck is their own reward, making them memorable or even funny; for others, their misfortune is part of their tragic fate, making their coming up short even more heart wrenching as we realize they’re probably never going to make it.
While these characters may not have anything lucky to look forward to, they’ve at least lucked their way into our list of unluckiest characters! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our lucky (or unlucky…) winners! And as a final reminder, there will be some spoilers spread out, so read at your own risk, and don’t curse you luck if you get spoiled!
10. Yamcha (Dragon Ball / Dragon Ball Z / Dragon Ball Super)
Yamcha is certainly one of the saddest cases not just because he's really unlucky, but because his misfortune continues to magnify over the course of the story. Starting off in Dragon Ball as a dashing rogue bandit, Yamcha’s transformation through the years has seen him on a steady decline, always on the back foot while the rest of the Z warriors step forward. Yamcha’s first blow comes with his break up with Bulma, followed by his tragic (and now iconically funny) death at the hands of the Saibamen. While Yamcha would recover from death like most Dragon Ball characters, his pride and place in the cast never seemed to follow, as he would spend successive sagas always in the background, and finally in Dragon Ball Super as the butt of jokes for his cowardice and weakness… but at least he never died again!
9. Meow (Space Dandy)
Frankly, none of the Blockhead, Bonehead, and Pinhead trio of Dandy, Meow, and QT are particularly “lucky,” save perhaps Dandy, whose odd qualities revealed in the finale to have a very special ability through successive shifts in alternate universes. But of the three of them, Meow is probably the unluckiest, which he contributes to quite a bit through his laziness and carefree personality. Always the butt of jokes and Dandy’s pranks, everything bad that happens to the cast tends to happen to Meow first. When a zombie outbreak hits the galaxy, Meow is the first crew member of the Aloha Oe to succumb, and that’s one of the least bad things to happen to him! Meow generally finds his advice ignored, and his cowardice tends to get him into more trouble than it gets him out of. Perhaps Meow’s purpose is to be the counterbalance to Dandy’s quirky luck, but no matter what, Meow always seems to get the short end of the stick, even missing out on getting to taste the greatest ramen in the universe! If that isn’t unlucky, I don’t know what is.
8. Koichi Zenigata (Lupin the 3rd)
Sometimes luck isn’t focused on how successful you are with money or chance, but instead about how successful you are at your job. To that end, there’s probably no one unluckier than Inspector Zenigata, the hard-boiled but soft-hearted man tasked with bringing Lupin to justice for his crimes. Zenigata is routinely the foil for Lupin’s schemes, always arriving a second too late, finding more questions than answers, and left with fixing the messes that Lupin leaves for him. Even when Zenigata manages to capture Lupin, such as in classic episodes “One Chance to Break Out” or “The End of Lupin”, things just don’t go the inspector’s way! Lupin and Zenigata might have a warped sense of friendship and respect, but that doesn’t change the fact that the poor inspector will likely spend the rest of his life always coming up tragically short. And that isn’t even taking into account his abysmal luck when it comes to love, where all of his romances end tragically one way or the other for the detective. Keep that chin up, Zenigata!
7. Touma Kamijo (A Certain Magical Index)
It’s an odd fate when your luck is the cost of your special power, and it’s even more of an odd fate when you don’t even know that’s what you’re giving up! But such is the case of Touma, whose magical ability “Imagine Breaker” allows him to negate any and all magical, divine, and esper abilities… including his own luck! Touma’s childhood was nothing but miserable due to his then misunderstood ability, as people cursed him for their bad luck and constant misfortunes. Touma’s father eventually sends him to Academy City to enable him to get a fresh start and take him away from the superstitious and cruel people that haunted his childhood. While Touma’s power is indeed amazing, allowing him to stand up for people and be a hero, it’s one that’s come at a great cost to his personal life. Perhaps the saving grace here is that Touma’s always taken his fate with stride and done his best to live as a good person, even as he finds himself in constant troubling situations and problems.
6. Iyami (Osomatsu-san)
It’s possible to consider that one’s luck is a reflection of their personality, as if luck is a karmic cycle: you get what you give. In that case, pretty much everyone in Osomatsu-san gets exactly what they deserve from Lady Luck, but there is perhaps no one quite so deserving of their bad luck than Iyami. It’s tough to stick out of the crowd of miscreants and misanthropes the way Iyami does, to the point that it’s hard to even feel bad for him when things go wrong! Iyami’s always looking for a quick and easy fix to his problems, made worse by his lack of scruples and his frankly off-putting personality. Even when things start going his way, his greedy sense of self-worth always ends up sabotaging his plans, leading him right back to where he started… and let’s just say that in a world where your words can manifest as a boomerang and come back to hurt you, Iyami’s are so powerful they wipe out a whole city just to scrub him off the earth!
5. Ichiko Sakura (Good Luck Girl)
Is it possible to be *too* lucky? An overabundance of luck might seem like a good thing at first, but not when it comes at the suffering of those around you. That seems to be the case for Ichiko, whose Fortune Power is so high that it causes bad things to happen to people around her instead, absorbing their luck and turning it into her own! To make matters worse, Ichiko is at first not even aware that her power exists, and has no idea why bad things seem to happen to the people she spends time with and cares about. Ichiko keeps herself distant from other people, trying to avoid a repeat of her childhood trauma, but it isn’t until the God of Misfortune Momiji appears that things start to change… and not in the way you’d think! With Momiji’s (reluctant) help and the assistance of a weird monk, Ichiko finds a way to start giving her luck to other people, saving them from their troubles and dangers!
4. Anne Hanakoizumi (Anne-Happy)
Taking enjoyment in the misfortune of others might seem cruel in general practice, but in the case of the cast of Anne-Happy, that’s where all of the fun is! Class 7 is a class if misfits who all suffer from some odd misfortune, and that’s nowhere better encapsulated than in Anne, who viewers meet hanging off of a bridge after trying to rescue a dog! Anne’s constant misfortune doesn’t seem to sway her always cheerful disposition, and she constantly tries to do her best despite falling into manholes and other ridiculous unlucky events! But Anne’s misfortune seems to have a way of working out for the best, and the members of Class 7 find friendship and happiness together despite their constant mishaps. They say “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, but Anne might trump that with “When life opens a giant pit underneath you, turn it into a hot springs trip for you and your friends”!
3. Homura Akemi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
If you had the ability to try and stop the greatest misfortune in your life, what would you do? Most people would likely leap at the chance, but as most situations prove, it isn’t always that simple. For Homura, she wants nothing more than to save her beloved Madoka from suffering her tragic fate and becoming one of the worst monsters in creation. To prevent this, Homura uses her ability to slip through time in order to try and prevent the cycle from completing, but always finds herself coming up short, having re-lived the same tragic events nearly 100 times! Homura’s misfortune may not seem the luck based kind, but it is perhaps one of the worst fates someone could have, always seeing the same things happen time and again and never knowing what could have gone wrong, living alone and trapped in a cycle that never ends. Even by the end of the series, its questionable whether Homura really achieved what she wanted, indicating that maybe this cycle is still not over, and Homura’s wish may never come true.
2. Taizou Hasegawa (Gintama)
Sometimes, life deals you a bad hand. In the case of Hasegawa, life didn’t stop there, making sure that probably everything that could ever go wrong went so wrong it became abstractly hilarious. Hasegawa starts Gintama as a government employee tied to the alien prince Hata, and after losing his job, becomes known as “MADAO”: Totally Hopeless Old Guy (and, as the series progressed, a lot of other insulting alternative titles!). Hasegawa’s problems are mostly due to miserable luck and cruel twists of fate, as he’s a good and kind person at heart who tries to do the right thing whenever he can. Unfortunately, those things require him to be humiliated, usually by the same people he considers friends and allies, such as winning a rigged gameshow to help a sick girl, that success comes at public and extreme humiliation. Being a MADAO is a lonely existence, and for Hasegawa, his only solace is his sunglasses. But at least by the end of the series, Hasegawa gets some redemption as being hailed a hero, so at least he ends up better than he started off! Whether or not it was worth all of the humiliation and defeat, well...
1. Lancer [Diarmuid] (Fate/Zero) / Lancer [Cu Chulainn] (Fate/Stay Night)
Now, this is technically two people, but perhaps no two characters share such unlucky fates as the Lancers of the Fate universe! Such seems to be the fate of Servants with such abysmal luck attributes, both at E rank! The two spearmen have a lot in common, from dashing good looks and affable personalities, to their deadly abilities with their weapons. Unfortunately, the Holy Grail War isn’t won by simple ability, and for these two servants, the failures of their human masters, and their seemingly unfortunate fates, seem to be working against them!
Diarmuid, betrayed in life by his master, finds himself in death summoned by Kayneth El-Melloi Archibald, and the pair seem quite possibly able to win the Holy Grail easily. Unfortunately, Kayneth’s pride and arrogance get him into trouble, and Diarmuid’s cursed beauty mark bewitches Kayneth’s fiance, Sola-Ui, who in her obsession to have Diarmuid all to herself tortures Kayneth and throws their plans to the winds. With no real leadership at the helm, Diarmuid tries his best, wanting to engage Saber in fair combat… until Saber’s Master, Kiritsugu, takes Kayneth and Sola-Ui hostage, forcing the crippled Master to use his last command seal to force Diarmuid to mortally wound himself! Betrayed again and denied a warrior’s death, Diarmuid dies cursing the Holy Grail and everyone involved… fittingly, his curse seems to have some merit, as almost all of the people involved go on to suffer tragic fates.
Fate/Stay Night’s Lancer fairs relatively just as poorly. Cu Chulainn was one of history’s greatest warriors, but finds himself stuck serving the odious Kotomine Kirei after Kirei steals the right to wield a servant from Lancer’s true master, Bazett, behind the scenes. Cu is an affable opponent and spends much of the series trying to do the right thing despite the control of his twisted master, and in the alternative routes of Heaven’s Feel and Unlimited Blade Works, Cu manages to redeem himself somewhat, although his fate is never truly reversed to a happier ending. Although the Blue Panther never manages to win the Holy Grail, he does get to take his revenge on Kirei, giving him the comeuppance he’s deserved since Fate/Zero! Bittersweet victories taste the best when your luck is so abysmal! At the very least, in the timeline of Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family, Cu’s finally gotten something close to happy ending…
Have any other unfortunate characters you think deserve to be on the list? Let us know in the comments!
Nicole is a features and a social video script writer for Crunchyroll. Known to profess her love of otome games over at her blog, Figuratively Speaking. When she has the time, she also streams some games. Follow her on Twitter: @ellyberries