Top 5 Anime Characters with bad childhoods

Have you ever complained about your parents? Maybe wished that you could trade them in for different ones?

Well, I know a lot of anime characters with childhoods much worse than yours. Anime are known for their tendency to create drama. And what better way to create a lot of sympathy for the hero than a really bad childhood?

We have come up with a list of the worst childhoods in anime. Let yourself be warned though, this article includes minor spoilers so you may want to proceed with care. For everyone who doesn’t mind, allow me to introduce you to these characters while you get the chance to appreciate your own background. Enjoy!

5. Elric Brothers from Fullmetal Alchemist

Elric Brothers

Let us begin with a pairing that probably won’t surprise many of you. There is a reason why Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the top candidates when it comes to “shows that made me cry”.

Not only do the two alchemist brothers grow up by themselves, they also have to sacrifice their bodies in an attempt to save their dead mother. While Edward Elric loses his left leg and right arm, his brother Alphonse loses his entire body and from that day on his soul has to rest inside a suit of armor. Fullmetal Alchemist shows their journey as they try to find the philosopher’s stone that holds the power to give them back their original bodies.

No parents, no healthy bodies and a life-long journey in front of them – the fate of the Elric Brothers easily makes them our first choice for this Top 5 list.


4. Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan


I have to admit that I was tempted to pick Eren instead of Mikasa. But then I remembered that Eren at least got the chance to grow up with two loving parents for a longer part of his life. Mikasa on the other hand had to watch her parents being killed in front of her eyes as well as murder a man herself in order to survive.

Even though Mikasa gets taken in by Eren’s family she still has to live with her troublesome past. From that day on she also has to keep fighting in order to survive in this world. It’s no wonder that Mikasa desperately tries to protect Eren and to keep him alive; he’s the only person left that she could consider a family member.

Mikasa’s strength and skills make her one of the most popular characters of Attack on Titan. Yet, her strength derives from her horrible past and her skills only hide her inner weaknesses.


3. Gaara from Naruto


Even though Naruto has had a pretty bad upbringing himself, I personally think that Gaara’s childhood is at least as bad if not even worse. The shinobi from Sunagakure might look like an emotionless monster at first, but his cold facade only hides a horrible childhood.

His own father sealed the beast Shukaku within him to turn Gaara into the ultimate weapon for his village. He was born as a frail and loving child that wanted nothing more than being accepted by his townspeople. Yet, he was feared and despised and ultimately grew up to become a cold person that doesn’t require the love of anyone else anymore.

Desperately trying to be loved but never being able to get any affection makes Gaara Top 3 on our list.


2. Masami Iwasawa from Angel Beats!

Iwasa Masami

Picking just one character with a bad childhood from Angel Beats is almost impossible. Every single one of the main characters has a bad past to say the least. So instead, I decided to pick a character with a backstory that really moved me personally – Masami Iwasawa.

The punky rock girl with crazy pink hair is the guitarist and leader of the band Girls Dead Monster. However, this is a dream come true for her since she lost the chance to become a rock star in her former life. Growing up as the child of two constantly fighting parents and suffering under domestic violence, Masami discovered music as her only escape. It saved her from her terrible life and for a moment it seemed like becoming a musician could turn her life around.

I don’t want to give away the rest of her story since some of you might haven’t seen this masterpiece yet but let me just say that Masami ultimately has to abandon music as well as all the joy it offered her.

Maybe it was the fact that her terrible backstory was one of the first ones to be introduced in the show that moved me so much. But I think what really moved me to tears was seeing her having to give up the only thing that gave her hope and realizing how unfair this world can be.


1. Lucy from Elfen Lied


This choice might be surprising for some of you since Elfen Lied’s male lead Kouta already seems to have the worst background story possible. Still, I chose Lucy as part of my personal Top 5 List. I mean, could there be a worse childhood than the one of a human experiment?

Like some other characters from this list, Lucy (or Kaede as she has a split personality) grew up without parents while being despised by children her age. She soon has to realize that the world is cruel and she has to become at least as cruel if she wants to survive. Her only friend and joy in life is Kouta who she meets as a young girl for the first time. While trying to protect what’s important to her Kaede still has to grow up becoming a human monster and having to brutally murder others in order to stay alive.

Elfen Lied was one of the first shows that managed to move me deeply. Lucy’s story is as tragic as it is gruesome and this makes her my personal number one when it comes to characters with bad childhoods.


Are you feeling better about your own past now? As we’ve written before there are a lot of reasons why you should be watching anime. Let me give you another one at this point: anime give you perspective. They show you how hard and challenging your life could really be. So please appreciate your daily lives and be thankful that you’re not as troubled as the characters of this article.

Let us know what you think of our list and which characters you would like us to add. As always, your input is more than welcome in the comment section down below.


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