The Struggle of Stagnation A Look at Manga Protagonists Who

The Struggle of Stagnation: A Look at Manga Protagonists Who Can’t Level Up

Manga and anime are known for their thrilling stories of adventure and growth. The protagonist starts as a weak and inexperienced character and slowly evolves into a powerful and skilled hero. However, not all manga protagonists can level up or improve their skills. Some characters struggle with stagnation, and despite their best efforts, they can’t seem to get stronger. This article will explore this topic and examine the reasons behind this issue.

What is Stagnation?

Stagnation is a state of being where an individual’s progress or development has come to a halt. In manga, this concept is often applied to the protagonist, who is unable to level up and improve their skills. Characters who struggle with stagnation may start strong but fail to progress throughout the story. They find themselves stuck at a certain level, unable to overcome the challenges that come their way.

Examples of Stagnant Manga Protagonists

One of the most prominent examples of a stagnant manga protagonist is Guts from Berserk. Guts is a skilled warrior who is renowned for his physical abilities and swordsmanship. However, despite his talent, he cannot drastically improve or change his skills throughout the story. His character remains the same, and his experiences and struggles do not lead to any growth or development.

Another example is Kazuma from KonoSuba. Kazuma is a gamer who gets transported to a fantasy world, where he becomes an adventurer. Despite his love for gaming and his vast knowledge of RPGs, Kazuma cannot level up his skills. He often finds himself in difficult situations, but instead of getting stronger, he relies on his wits and strategy to overcome them.

Reasons for Stagnation

There are several reasons why manga protagonists may get stuck and struggle with stagnation. One major reason is the nature of the story itself. Some manga prioritize plot development over character growth. In these stories, the protagonist may not have the opportunity to level up or improve their skills. The focus of the story may be on external conflicts instead of the internal development of the characters.

Another reason for stagnation is the lack of challenges or obstacles that the characters face. If the protagonist has no significant challenges to overcome, they may not have the opportunity to level up their skills. Additionally, if the protagonist is already at a high level or has a unique ability, there may be no room for improvement or growth.

Breaking Free from Stagnation

Breaking free from stagnation is not an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. One way to do this is changing the focus of the story. Instead of focusing solely on external conflicts, the story can shift to internal conflicts, such as the protagonist’s struggles to improve their skills. By doing so, the story can explore the character’s psyche and motivations, leading to growth and development.

Another way to break free from stagnation is introducing new challenges and obstacles for the protagonist. These challenges should be significant enough to push the character to their limits and force them to overcome their limitations.


Q: Are there any examples of manga protagonists who overcame stagnation?
A: Yes, there are many examples of manga protagonists who overcame stagnation. For instance, Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto started as a weak and unpopular student at the ninja academy. However, through hard work and perseverance, he became one of the most powerful ninjas in the world.

Q: Can a manga protagonist be too powerful to level up?
A: Yes, if the protagonist is already at a high level or has a unique ability, there may be no room for improvement or growth. In these cases, the story may focus on the protagonist’s internal conflicts instead of their external challenges.

Q: Can a protagonist’s personality affect their ability to level up?
A: Yes, a protagonist’s personality can affect their ability to level up. For instance, a character who lacks ambition or motivation may not have the drive to improve their skills, leading to stagnation.


Stagnation in manga is a common issue that affects many protagonists. However, it’s essential to note that stagnation is not a death sentence for a story. There are many ways to break free from it and explore new avenues for growth and development. By introducing new challenges, shifting the story’s focus, and delving into the character’s psyche, manga creators can keep their stories fresh and exciting.

By Manga