Press "Enter" to skip to content

5 Cutesy Anime Characters Who Are Tougher Than They Look (& 5 Who Are Total Softies)

Anime characters are created with an infinite combination of personality traits, appearances, and mannerisms. A good character will always have flaws to balance out their strengths, character quirks, and unique mannerisms. For example, a highly intelligent character may suffer from crippling shyness or struggle to navigate social conventions.

One character type that has maintained popularity for a long time is the ‘cute’ character, a character designed to make the viewer’s heart melt. They frequently fall into one of two categories: the cute character who has a secret power or strength, and the cute character who is exactly as they appear. Though the soft-hearted character may not be as physically strong, they often have great emotional strength, resilience, and altruistic tendencies, making them equally necessary to a story.

Secret Strength: Shana’s Small Size And Sweet Appearance Mask Her Identity As A Flame Haze In Shakugan No Shana

Shana of the highly-regarded anime Shakugan no Shana is a character with many sides to her: she is a token tsundere, often hiding her feelings or getting angry rather than being honest with herself, and is very naive in many ways, having been raised away from other people. She loves melon bread and is often found happily munching on her favorite snack.

However, Shana is also a Flame Haze, a capable fighter who kills the Rinne that consume the souls of humans. While Shana’s design is without a doubt very cute, she is highly capable in battle and can go from eating one second to cutting someone down the next.

Soft-Hearted: Shizuka’s Supportive Nature Boosts Jonouchi’s Spirits In Yu-Gi-Oh!

Shizuka from the manga-turned-anime Yu-Gi-Oh! is so sweet she has multiple men vying for her in-series, much to her brother’s annoyance. Shizuka, also known as Serenity in the English dub, becomes a driving force for her brother when her eyesight begins to fail, becoming his motivation to learn how to duel and to try to win the tournament.

Shizuka later joins the main group during the Battle City arc and becomes her brother’s strength and biggest cheerleader. When Jonouchi loses to Marik, Shizuka is by his side the entire time he is in the hospital. Shizuka is not much of a duelist, preferring to stay on the sidelines, but she is definitely one of the kindest members of the group and a very dedicated sister.

Secret Strength: Madoka’s Altruistic Tendencies Lead To Amazing Potential In Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname of the hit anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica is kind, considerate, and as sweet as she looks. Madoka seems like the epitome of a supporting soft-hearted character. However, this description is not quite accurate, as she also has the potential to become the strongest magical girl.

Her devotion to helping others and saving Homura leads Madoka to make a contract, becoming the Law Of Cycles, affectionately nicknamed ‘Godoka’ or ‘Madokami’ by fans. As the Law Of Cycles, Madoka watches over all magical girls as a benevolent god, saving them from despair.

Soft-Hearted: Tomoyo Supports Sakura With Unwavering Loyalty In Cardcaptor Sakura

Tomoyo of Cardcaptor Sakura is a very well-designed character, as expected of popular mangaka group Clamp. Her expressive face and clothing really help convey her personality to the viewer, and her kindness and dedication to Sakura make her a great friend as well. While Tomoyo does not possess powers of her own, she is Sakura’s biggest supporter and is always finding ways to help her out, whether it is with a cute costume or as moral support.

Tomoyo’s kind heart and reliability are some of the most consistent supports for Sakura in the series and play an important role in her journey.

Secret Strength: Yoshino Controls The Element Of Water In Date A Live

Yoshino of Date a Live has a very unique and adorable design. Her Spirit Form outfit is a green raincoat with bunny ears and ruffled trim over a white sundress. When not in her Spirit Form, Yoshino often wears dresses and seems to favor hats. Her sweet appearance matches her personality, which is far shyer than the other spirits. She is kind and gentle, as long as she has her puppet, Yoshinon.

In the anime series, it is not uncommon to hear characters comment on how cute she is. However, like the other girls, Yoshino has her own powers, though she tends to only use hers defensively. Yoshino controls water in solid, liquid, and gas form, and her emotions directly affect the weather, meaning that upsetting her could lead to disaster.

Soft-Hearted: Kotori Is Honoka’s First Supporter In Love Live!

Kotori of Love Live! is one of Honoka’s most devoted friends in the anime. Kotori has been by group leader Honoka’s side since childhood, willing to support her in whatever she is doing. When Honoka decides to become an idol to save the school, Kotori joins to support her by becoming an idol as well.

With her sweet voice, kind personality, and tendency to always put others first, it’s no wonder so many fans find her character so appealing. Kotori is intelligent and charismatic to boot, and uses her charm to her advantage, even convincing Umi to take on the songwriting.

Secret Strength: Filo’s Angelic Appearance Masks Her True Power As A Filolial

Filo of The Rising Of The Shield Hero looks like an angel. Literally. Filo is a Filolial, a bird-like monster, and can change her form at will between a human girl and her Filolial bird form due to her advanced status as a Filolial Queen. As a child, Filo has blond hair, blue eyes, wings, and an angelic appearance. Her love of food and dedication to Naofumi gained her many fans and make her character all the more adorable.

However, Filo is no pushover. When she assumes her true form, Filo can knock back enemies with ease, and her strength and speed are second to none.

Soft-Hearted: Nanako Loves Helping People In Persona 4: The Animation

Nanako of the Persona franchise appears in many games, as well as Persona 4: The Animation. Her adorable appearance and mix of mature and childish tendencies have melted the heart of many a fan. Nanako plays a supporting role in the series and refers to Yu as her ‘big brother’, despite being his cousin.

Nanako has many adorable quirks, such as her shyness and love of the Junes song that she can’t help but sing along with. Nanako never has a bad thing to say about anyone, and always finds a way to compliment them instead.

Secret Strength: Honey Is A Martial Arts Master In Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Clubs Mitsukuni, nicknamed ‘Honey’ in-series, looks like a young child. In reality, he is the oldest club member in his third and final year of high school. His love for cake, sweets, and his rabbit plush Usa-chan only accentuates the comparison.

Even Honey’s personality is very childlike, as he is usually free-spirited, sweet, and very innocent. However, Honey is also a trained martial artist capable of fighting on a professional level and is highly intelligent. While he rarely shows this side of himself, the times he does fight just go to show how skilled he truly is.

Soft-Hearted: Menma Puts Her Friends First In Anohana

Meiko Honma, more commonly referred to as Menma both in-series and by fans, is the epitome of cute character design. She appears in the anime Anohana, a tragedy that is almost guaranteed to make the viewer cry. Menma’s large eyes and ruffled dress add to her childlike look, while her personality exudes kindness and love. Menma died in a tragic accident as a child, and her death changed the lives of her group of friends forever.

Years after her death, Menma appears in front of Jintan, one of her friends, to fulfill her final wish. Throughout the series, Menma takes care of her friends in any way she can, comforting them and helping them to move forward again. Menma’s sweet design is no facade, she truly is a one-of-a-kind character with a heart of gold.