Posted by: AceRailgun | July 29, 2012

Protagonist syndrome

A common aliment which affects approximately half the adult males in anime and a  portion of female high school students whenever they are in the presence of a male protagonist. It is an unfortunate plague which is spreading to all corners of anime affecting all genres and is not isolated to just one character per story.


Protagonist syndrome can be caught just by being in the presence of a male protagonist and it’s more easily transmitted by smaller less motivated characters. Symptoms are both mental and physical and can ultimately lead to death if not treated.


By acting as a secondary father figure in place of an absent father or an older brother or male role model you are at most risks of contracting this illness. It is advised that if you do find yourself in this position that you do not do the following.

  • Tell stories about your past (Especially if they are of a sad nature)
  • Believe with a passion that the protagonist in question is a savior. It is okay to really think this but don’t openly admit it.
  • Act coldly towards the protagonist. This might seem like a good idea but it can often lead to the protagonist craving your approval and attention and this is one of the lead ways for him to pass the protagonist syndrome.


If you think you have attracted the attention of a male protagonist and are in fear of contracting this disese there is a few countermeasures you can attempt

  • Become bedridden with a less serious illness. Often you need to be in vaguely dangerous situations for protagonist syndrome to affect you mentally causing you to heroically sacrifice yourself.
  • Act like a comical relief character. It’s almost fool proof but at the same time this could pass the protagonists attention to somebody else and that is not good.
  • Lie about your age. It’s hard to tell the age of an anime character and whatever age you say you are will stick. The closer your age to the protagonist in question the safer you will be. Between 30-50 you are at the greatest risk.


Protagonist syndrome can also affect females between 14 and 22. If you find yourself in the presence of a male protagonist you will automatically fall in love with him if he does not have a partner already. It is harder for you to deflect this illness onto other as it usually affects large groups of girl. The worst outcome is instant and unconditional love with bland characters which can last a lifetime. It’s not rare for this to be avoid as only one girl in the group will ultimately become the “boyfriend” and the rest will be spared the cruel fate.

There is countermeasures for this and the best strategy is to work together with your female companions to form a strong “friendship” which would be tarnished by love. It’s possible to work as a team and overcome protagonist syndrome but it requires the whole group to pro-actively form strong bonds.


If you feel you have caught protagonist syndrome do not panic as there is a lot of easy ways to avoid the second stage.

  • Do not act coldly to the protagonist if he speaks to you however do try and avoid him wherever possible. The less contact you have the better.
  • Do not reveal any details of your past to him and try not to share common interests with him. If you do share a common interest change your priorities and hobbies.
  • Be careful not to request aid from him or have him help you in any way. This is a dangerous flag and will lead to your ultimate demise.
  • Never join a club


It is imperative that we work together to overcome this dreadful illness and one day I believe it is possible for writers to become more creative and we will see an end to this atrocity but until then we must grin and bear it as our favorite anime dudes die and all the hot girls fall for the same loser.


  1. ….
    AceRailgun? More like AceInfectiousDiseaseSpecialist…

    I think I’m safe because my past is a lie, I don’t believe in other people’s ideals, and I’m a nice guy. ….right?

    • Yeah you’re safe. Lelouch on the otherhand…..

  2. I like to think that one day we’ll be able to find a cure for this dreadful condition, but until then we should do all we can to help those who have been afflicted. In the most extreme cases, though, there’s not much we can do to help aside from leaving them alone.

    • Yeah it might be an idea to stay far far away from some of them. I’m just glad it’s only anime which is affected.

  3. This post is hilariously awesome!

    • Thanks. It was a lot of fun to write.

  4. My past isn’t particularly sad but I guess it’s time to manipulate my own past to save my ass from the “evil” protagonists. Then I had to “manipulate” my own age too. Indeed, we should join our arms together to protect ourselves from this deadly disease.

    • Joining arms would probably help deter the protagonists and I know working together can keep us safe from them.

  5. Being close to the male/female protagonists is becoming more and more dangerous these days!
    I once thought that this illness is a genetic disease resulting in deaths of protagonists’ parents (Anime Parents syndrome – But now, everyone is at risk!

    • Wow nice post which I’d never seen until now. I kind of feel like I copied it now but oh well deep down in my heart I know I had this idea on my own.

      It’s got to suck being in an anime because death is always looming even more so in some anime then others but nobody is 100% safe. Maybe it’s genre which keeps you alive because there is some safe genres which never kill characters. This is something I’ll have to look into more deeply.

      • Nah, I don’t feel like you copying anything. In fact, I thought this post of yours was more like a another missing part of the puzzle. We are moving closer to fully understanding this mysterious disease!

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