I’m sure everyone knows of at least one person that is socially awkward. Whenever they say or do something, your reaction is something along the lines of “uh…” followed by an awkward silence and backing away. It’s uncommon for socially awkward people to be very popular, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with anime characters. Here is a list of some anime characters that are socially awkward, but ironically have a number of fans in the real world.
Kenji Harima (School Rumble)
At first glance, Harima looks like the typical delinquent high school boy with a motorcycle, but he’s actually just a guy that’s crazy in love. It’s because of his love for fellow classmate, Tenma Tsukamoto, that he does some bizarre things. Some of his strange behaviour has included dressing up as a bird in the middle of the night, eating apple cores, and taking care of a pet giraffe. It’s hard not to appreciate how much effort Harima puts into trying to get Tenma’s attention, but at the same time he’s an amusing character to watch because of all the wacky things that happen to him that cause him to fail.
Harunobu Madarame (Genshiken)
When you think of someone socially awkward, a character like Madarame may likely pop into your mind. Madarame is the definition of a hardcore otaku; he has no style, talks only of the “visual arts”, spends almost all of his money on doujinshi, and has difficulty interacting with non-otaku. Despite all of this, Madarame has a strong following of fans in the real world, largely due to his passion for anime, manga, and games. Madarame also shows it’s possible to form a friendship with a “commoner” no matter how socially awkward you are.
Mahiru Inami (Working!!)
It’s understandable for a father to be concerned about the well-being of his daughter, but Inami was taught by her father that all men will attack her if they get close enough. This belief was so deeply ingrained into Inami that she now has androphobia and violently attacks any men that get close to her. Unfortunately for Souta Takanashi, a co-worker in the restaurant that Inami works at, he shares a shift with her and ends up facing her wrath on a regular basis. Ironically, Inami develops a crush on Souta. How often do you see a girl pulverize the guy she likes?
Erio Touwa (Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko)
Erio is one of those people you’d think is crazy when you meet them. Due to something that happened earlier in her life in combination with her situation at home, Erio believes that she is an alien awaiting transmissions from the universe. She also wraps herself up in a futon, though gradually starts to walk around without it as the series progresses. Erio’s strange behaviour has alienated her from everyone in town, including her own mother. Many viewers of the anime have fallen in love with her though, due to how cute and funny she is. Maybe one day she’ll pick up some signals from the third dimension and realize she’s not as alone as she thought.
Rintarou Okabe (Steins;Gate)
Experimenting with advanced technology and fighting the organization is part of Okabe’s job description as a mad scientist. Unlike other socially awkward characters, when Okabe says something strange in public, he knows how regular people will perceive him and he simply doesn’t care; Okabe simply wants to have fun and role play as a mad scientist. As a viewer, Okabe isn’t someone you laugh at like the others, but a hero that you admire.
Sawako Kuronuma (Kimi ni Todoke)
When the horror film The Ring came out, I’m sure that the scariness of girls with long black hair skyrocketed. It certainly doesn’t help shy and timid Sawako that she looks like the girl from the film. Combined with her habit of over-thinking about social situations, Sawako finds herself alone for many years. One of the things that make Sawako so endearing to fans though is that she is genuinely sweet and innocent. You can’t help but cheer for her no matter what the situation.
Tomoko Kuroki (Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui)
As with Sawako, Tomoko is another social outcast with long black hair, but that’s where their similarities end. While Sawako’s situation is mostly due to her similarity to a film character, Tomoko has no one to blame but herself. An obsessed player of erotic games, Tomoko views the world through a different lens and has no clue about social norms. Everything she does creeps out the people around her and she doesn’t even realize it. Of course, as bad as it sounds, those of us watching her attempts to become popular enjoy seeing her fail and love her for that.
Tsumugi “Mugi” Kotobuki (K-ON!)
Mugi may not be a character that comes to mind when you think of socially awkward people. Admittedly, Mugi is probably the least socially awkward character on this list, but there are still some things she does that are awkward. Due to growing up in a wealthy household that sheltered her from the outside world, Mugi is unusually excited by things such as fast food, working a part-time job, haggling, and seeing two girls getting unusually close. Occasionally, you can also see Mugi doing some weird things in the background, like shown below.
Sousuke Sagara (Full Metal Panic)
If you aren’t around normal people for most of your life, you’re bound to be socially awkward when you get dumped into a normal school environment. That’s what happened to Sousuke, who spent most of his life on the battlefield. He may have a keen sense of danger, but that ends up in him blowing up his locker for fear of a bomb when someone simply left a letter, and other explosive situations. What makes him so funny is that he takes everyday occurrences, looks at them through a military lens, and turns them into some armed conflict. It’s hard not to enjoy seeing Sousuke’s interpretations of ordinary life.
Mr. Kimura (Azumanga Daioh)
A lot of schools have that one teacher that simply creeps out all of the students. In Azumanga Daioh, that teacher goes by the name of Mr. Kimura. What makes Mr. Kimura creepy (and socially awkward) isn’t only that he always just appears out of nowhere, but he seems obsessed with looking at schoolgirls, especially in gym clothes and swimsuits. Oddly enough, he has a beautiful wife and daughter, cleans up litter, and donates to charity. Mr. Kimura is viewed as a champion among men, both at the school in the series and in the 3D realm.