Top 7... Oddest Japanese video game heroes

5. Doshin

Appeared in: Doshin the Giant 1/Kyojin no Doshin 1 (64DD), Kyojin no Doshin Kaihou Sensen Chibikko Chikko Daishuugou (64DD), Doshin the Giant (GameCube)

The oddness: The navel is perhaps the most underestimated constituent part of a true hero. Appropriately, Doshin the Giant has a belly button the size of a small car. He knows that the little people down there on the ground will only respect a god whose stomach looks like a weapon – especially given his proclivity for trampling on their houses, flooding their population centres and building mountains because he’s got nothing better to do. A successful game sees Doshin worshipped like a hero, even if he acts like a twat. What a curious fellow.

Career high: His underrated GameCube classic Doshin the Giant managed to gain an English-language PAL format release.

Career low: Appearing as a mere trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, when he really should have been included as a playable fighter – with that belly button and those stretchy Plasticine arms he coulda been a contender, he coulda been somebody...

4. Rent-A-Hero, aka Taro Yamada

Appeared in: Rent-a-Hero (Mega Drive), Fighters Megamix (Saturn), Rent-a-Hero No. 1 (Dreamcast/Xbox)

The oddness: If you’ve got something heroic that needs doing and you don’t mind paying for his decidedly average services, Taro Yamada is yer man. He’ll dress up as a self-titled Rent-A-Hero because he can and because he needs to.

You see, he got a special super-powered suit one time when he ordered a pizza, only he's obligated to lease the thing if he wants to keep on wearing and using it. Catch 22. Result: Taro will wander aimlessly around your little town and, if you push him too far, he will beat up gangs of youths. Then he’ll go back to his room and have dinner with his parents, just like any self-respecting suburban superhero.

Career high: Making a comeback in an extra dimension – and with a girlfriend, the puntastic “Rent-A-Hiroko” – in this 3D Dreamcast/Xbox remake of Mega Drive classic Rent-A-Hero:

Career low: Having his long-awaited Western Xbox appearance cancelled by those pesky publisher bureaucrats even though it had already been translated and was on sale in Japan. Give ‘em a beating, Taro! Here's a dollar! GO ON!

3. Captain Rainbow, aka Nick

Appeared in: Captain Rainbow (Wii)

The oddness: Probably the most extreme example of the “ordinary guy + transformation = instant superhero” equation, a lad called “Nick” turns into Captain Rainbow – the yo-yo-wielding star of a self-titled Wii game.

Like so many heroes (but especially Batman), Nick's main objective is to be popular. And he's got a yo-yo, so how could he possibly fail?

Career high: His theme song...

Career low: The start of his debut game, when he finds himself on an island populated by washed-up minor Nintendo characters and is dejected and blue because nobody likes him anymore...