Goku, Sailor Moon, Vash the Stampede, the examples are countless. In anime, being an idiot is a shorthand way to show that a character is all-around good or at least innocent. It’s prevalent enough to have its own trope: Lawful Stupid. It’s not limited to anime but it is most prevalent there. Why is this? Is there a cultural or literary tradition? Is it just a fun trope to play with? The dea is definitely worth examining more in-depth.
I think most of the time it exists to add a bit of comic relief, and also allows the characters to get into more silly situations because if the character were at a genius level, they wouldn't fall for traps and stuff that could put them in unique situations. – xFezziwig5 months ago
I agree that it is essential to the comic relief of the stories, but I think it also makes an important point. Our culture places a great deal of value on intelligence, but these animes propose that intelligence is not the most important part of being a hero. You don't have to be particularly clever to triumph over difficulties. Your values (hard work, friendship, etc.) are more important. I think this is an important message. – C8lin5 months ago
I think stupidity is also a good way to show how characters are human. At some point, we all make dumb mistakes so it's natural for anime characters to show these same traits as well. – seouljustice5 months ago
I've wondered this as well. For example in Naruto, the hero is incredibly powerful and has a good heart yet he is clearly depicted as not being the brightest bulb in the room. His struggle to be accepted and to overcome his learning disabilities portray him in an underdog light. Showing us that hard work and goodness reign the day. – lion3 months ago