It’s common for anime heroes to fight for the ones they love. Out of any protagonist’s motivation, having loved ones they’re willing to do anything for is perhaps the most understandable and realistic.
However, there are a handful of anime heroes who don’t love anyone. They don’t actually love anyone, meaning that they are much more unpredictable than many of their constituents.
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Scar: Fullmetal Alchemist
The only person Fullmetal Alchemist’s Scar loved was his brother. When he died, the man spiraled into a dark quest for revenge that nearly destroyed his own soul. After realizing that not all of Amestris was corrupt, Scar showed a willingness to cooperate with the heroes in order to take down King Bradley.
Despite coming to grips with alchemy and using his brother’s hand of creation, there wasn’t anyone in Edward’s ranks that he actually liked. He simply tolerated them since their objectives matched his own.
Merlin: Seven Deadly Sins
Merlin was one of the most powerful characters in Seven Deadly Sins. Her intimate familiarity with the arcane made her a welcome addition to the Sins’ rank and afforded her perks that her comrades would not have otherwise. Despite Merlin’s efforts against the Demon Clan, she didn’t actually love Britannia or anyone in it.
Since the beginning, she’d been working as an agent of chaos to perpetrate their whims. This ruse was maintained up until the moment of Escanor’s death, he kissed her without ever knowing her true intentions.
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Kurapika: Hunter X Hunter
Hunter X Hunter’s Kurapika was fixated on destroying the Phantom Troupe. Although befriended the heroes during their time in the Hunter Exam, he grew distant from them over time. Since Gon and Killua convinced him to spare Chrollo in order to disband the villains.
Kurapika felt resentment that his heart wasn’t yet at peace. This was seen through the fact that he didn’t visit Gon in the hospital after the brutal events of the NGL. He was too busy obsessing over his own hatred to visit.
Nighteye: My Hero Academia
Nighteye was one of the most enigmatic characters in My Hero Academia. Despite being a pro, his premonition of All Might’s demise caused a wedge between the two and left him emotionally distant. Nighteye appreciated spending time with his assistant, but they were never especially close.
He may have been willing to give his life in the line of duty, though such diligence reflected the strength of his conviction rather than profound sentimentality. Nighteye’s death was tragic, but it would have been worse if there was anyone he was actually close to.
Sai’s troubled childhood was unlike most Naruto characters. Raised by the Foundation, emotion was trained out of him to such an extent that he had to actively learn human behaviors through a handbook. Despite Sai’s attempts to fit in, he stood out from the Konoha 11 as a detached and emotionally devoid shinobi.
All the same, Ino found him charming, which resulted in their marriage sometime between Shippuden and Boruto. Sai may still struggle with loving others, though he does not use his past as an excuse not to try.