10 Anime Where the MC Gets a Massive Glow Up

By Evanshi Mavani / September 25, 2021

A good story in anime is necessary, of course, but let’s be honest, cool-looking main characters are just as important in attracting viewers. However, not every character is simply graced with attractive looks from the get-go.

Whether it's because of a lack of confidence or simply puberty at play, some anime characters get their long-due glow-ups throughout the series. This is especially the case in series with multiple seasons, where the viewers actually get a chance to see their favorite characters go from looking wimpy to being young adults ready to take on the world. And for fans, it is incredibly satisfying to witness that moment. 

While there’s no shortage of anime with this particular theme, some glow-ups are more memorable than others. The main characters in these ten anime go through dramatic transformations for the better. So with that said, let’s dive right in!

10. Masamune-kun no Revenge

Masamune-kun no Revenge

As the name suggests, Masamune-kun no Revenge centers on Masamune Makabe’s glow up and revenge. After Aki Adagaki humiliates him in public following his confession, Masamune vows to transform and take his revenge.

His plan? Losing weight, dressing fashionably, changing his whole look in the hopes of making Aki fall for him, and then dumping her. While Masamune does get a brilliant glow up, his revenge against the girl who called him piggy would not be as easy as he thought.

Despite the slightly cliche plot, the anime actually focuses on the difficulties that come with losing weight and bettering one’s health. Masamune-kun no Revenge is hugely entertaining to watch and will be sure to thrill viewers who enjoy the ugly-duckling-to-graceful-swan plotline in anime.

9. Tokyo Ghoul

tokyo ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul has been one of the more hyped-up anime in the community due to its very popular manga created by Sui Ishida. The premise itself is easy to follow. The world is inhabited by humans and ghouls who eat people as a source of food. After being turned into a half ghoul-half-human hybrid, the main character, Kaneki Ken, tries to figure out his identity while desperately trying to survive the harsh world of humans and ghouls.

Well, there's still much debate about whether Ken Kaneki's transformation can be called a glow-up, but it is undoubtedly astonishing. After being horrifyingly tortured, Kaneki finally breaks, and his hair changes from black to white. This is believed to have happened due to Marie Antoinette syndrome, a rare condition that causes the hair to become white in response to great stress or shock.

However, this is not the only transformation Kaneki goes through. His subsequent “glow-ups” also consist of growing physically stronger after embracing his ghoul side and taking on a part black part white hair color.

Kaneki goes from being a wimpy nerd in the beginning to a strikingly handsome edge lord, and all it takes is a date with a ghoul.

8. Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan

This list would have been incomplete without mentioning Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan, while the “glow up” only extends to his looks and power. One hundred years before the start of the anime, humanity has been on the bridge of extinction due to monstrous humanoids called Titans that devour humans. These giants are truly terrifying because their taste for human flesh is not born out of hunger but pleasure.

Now, in the present, the remaining small population of humanity lives confined within three “heavenly” walls, resulting in 100 years without a single titan encounter. However, that calm is soon broken when a titan manages to breach the outer wall and initiates a massacre.

During this tragedy, our main character, Eren Yeager, witnesses his mother’s horrific death and vows to exterminate all titans one day. To do so, he enlists into the Survey Corps, an elite military unit that combats the titans outside the protection of the walls. Along with his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and his childhood friend Armin Arlert, they join the brutal war against the titans and race to discover a way of defeating them before the last walls are breached.

After finding the basement and unlocking his father's memories, Eren learns about the truth about the Titans and the history between Eldia and Marley. Now vowing to destroy his true enemies, Eren has a complete personality change, which extends to his looks. With gloomy eyes, long hair, and hints of a mustache, Eren grows up to become a cynical powerhouse who just might take over the world.

7. Horimiya


Horimiya follows Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura, both of whom hide who they truly are at their high school. Hori is seen as the typical popular student who is the perfect combination of beauty and brains by her classmates. In contrast, Miyamura is viewed as a meek and distant classmate. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Due to a coincidental meetup between the two, Hori and Miyamura see the true and bare selves of each other. Though Hori may seem like the popular and outgoing girl at school, she has little time to socialize due to household work piling up on her. On the other hand, Miyamura is actually a daring and bright person who hides his piercings and tattoos from his fellow classmates.

Despite having opposing personalities, they become friends quickly and often spend their time together at Hori’s house. As Miyamura and Kyouko slowly open up to each other, their friendship starts to evolve into something else entirely!

Miyamura’s transformation from a nerdy middle schooler to a confident young adult with piercings can definitely be considered a glow-up.

6. Kiss Him Not Me

Kiss Him Not Me

As a "fujoshi," Kae Serinuma loves to indulge in wild fantasies when she sees boys getting along. After watching the death of her favorite anime character, she loses a lot of weight and transforms into a petite beauty. As a result, four popular guys from her school ask her out, a dream situation for everyone except Kae, since she would instead prefer they go out with each other!

Kiss Him Not Me begins with Kae Serinuma, who is fat, has tiny eyes, dull hair, and wears unflattering glasses and clothes. After her transformation over the course of a week, she becomes thin, dresses differently, and her eyes appear luminous and beautiful. While no one said extreme makeovers had to make sense, this one goes over the top for sure.

5. Gurren Lagann

Gurenn Lagann

Simon and Kamina were raised in a secret underground village, hidden from the world's attention as children. One day, Simon discovers a curious object while excavating the earth, which turns out to be the ignition key of an ancient instrument of war that the pair names Lagann.

Together, Simon and Kamina use their new weapon to defend themselves against an assault from above, aided by Yoko Littner, a fiery redhead with a huge pistol who traverses the world above. The sky is now in plain view, and Simon and Kamina set off on a journey alongside Yoko to explore the wastelands of the surface.

At the age of 14, Simon was 5 feet tall and looked like a child compared to the guys around him. He had a shy personality with a weak constitution and relied on the people around him to fight. However, by the end of the series, Simon had a growth spurt, became confident, and grew into a handsome young man. Simon is basically the epitome of what every short kid wanted to become once they grew older.

4. Black Clover

Black Clover

Black Clover is one of the most popular anime in recent years, and undoubtedly, its characters are one of the reasons why.

Asta and Yuno are both discovered abandoned in a cathedral and are raised up as brothers in an orphanage. However, in this universe where magic is everything, Asta lacks magical abilities, whereas Yuno has them in abundance. At the age of 15, Yuno receives a four-leaf Grimoire, while Asta receives a five-leaf Grimoire that allows him to use anti-magic. Despite being opposites in their talents and blessings, Asta and Yuno form a healthy rivalry and aim to become the Wizard King.

While Asta has always been toned from the beginning, his appearance becomes more defined as time passes. With him mastering the anti-magic power, his muscles have been struggling to remain hidden, thus resulting in Asta’s Captain America glow up.

3. Parasyte

With parasitic aliens arriving on Earth and infiltrating humankind by burrowing into their brains, it's no wonder that Shinichi Izumi, a sixteen-year-old high school student, falls victim. However, the parasite fails to take over his brain and instead ends up in his right hand. Because it is unable to migrate, the parasite, now known as Migi, must rely on Shinichi to survive. As a result, both are forced to cohabit and must defend themselves from hostile parasites.

Shinichi Izumi begins as an average teenager who, frankly, looks a little dull-witted. However, after being infected by a parasite, his appearance makes a drastic change for the better. Izumi becomes stronger, his muscles develop, and he grows to become far more confident. The alteration of Shinichi's cells due to the invading force results in the man's glow up.

2. Naruto


Naruto was 12 years old when the anime first aired and dreamed of becoming the Hokage and gaining the villagers' approval. Despite being looked down on due to his possession of the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon, Naruto worked stupidly hard to gain acknowledgment. In the beginning, Naruto was of average height compared to boys of his age and wasn’t really taken seriously. Yes, he worked hard and inspired countless people, but the word “cool” was more so associated with his team member - Sasuke Uchiha.

After Naruto went on a three-year journey to train under Jiraiya, he returned with a significant glow up. He came back more mature, stronger, with a toned body and confidence oozing out of every cell of his body.

1. Yuri!!! on ICE

Yuri!!! on ICE

In the Figure Skating Grand Prix, Yuri Katsuki carried the hope of all Japan on his shoulders, but he was crushed in the finals. He returned to his hometown in Kyushu, half wanting to skate and half wanting to retire. That's when five-time world champion Victor Nikiforov appeared and decided to coach Yuri for the Grand Prix.

After losing horribly in the international skating competition, Yuri stops exercising and starts binge-eating. As a result, his formerly athletic body is nowhere to be found, and all that can be seen is fat. However, with Victor's arrival, Yuri emerges from his depressed state of mind and starts exercising once again. With a goal in mind, Yuri gets a glow up as his body and personality change for the better. It seems that love and passion can truly change a man in marvelous ways.

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