The success of an anime depends on the success of its characters. These are some of the most well-liked and beloved anime characters.
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Unfortunately, the writing and animation quality aren’t the only factors to consider while making an anime judgment. Many fans of any age return to their middle school lunchrooms, when domination is established by a popularity contest rather than intellect or strength. When it came to footwear, which child had the most stylish? Whose Lunchables have a cookie in them? Which child’s father “works at Nintendo”?
Anime and its characters are no exception to this rule, where the next casual fan may have their next anime of choice defined by what they see the most, either in the recommendations of YouTube or on the backpacks and t-shirts of their fellow weebs.
Anime is frequently defined by its most popular characters, whether they are the most attractive, fascinating, or badass. Anime characters are a performance worth paying for on their own, whether they perfectly compress all that one loves about a series or just absolutely steal the show. On this list, it’s all about deciding who actually is the coolest of the cool, as it sifts through anime’s Top 10 most popular characters of all time (according to the community votes of My Anime List as of this writing).
There will be an update to this page on May 20th, 2020. The landscape of the anime industry is continually altering, just like in any other industry. In addition to studios vying for viewers, anime characters are also in a perpetual state of competition for the attention of the industry’s fans. It’s time to add a few new faces to the ranks of anime, as well as adjust for MyAnimeList’s new rankings and votes.
1. Kazuto Kirigaya (40,164 Votes)
When it comes to influencing the current isekai boom and becoming one of the most successful anime franchises ever, Sword Art Online is unrivaled. So, even though each character has had a role to play, Kirito will always remain the show’s central figure.
No matter if it’s because of his reserved demeanor or the thrill of following his romantic exploits in video games, Kirito is winning over hearts everywhere he goes.
2. Kurisu Makise (42,666 Votes)
In many aspects, Steins;Gate was an important and significant anime, but the most important aspect is the creation of one of the most famous tsunderes in anime history. The series’ protagonist, Kurisu “Christina” Makise, is a reluctant accomplice in crime and science (more on him later). Her biting tongue and sweet side complemented the series’ well-known endearing nature, and she was a fantastic addition to the cast.
These characteristics, while admirable in and of themselves, lent credence to the premise that she could die at any point during the story. Christina’s plight grew on viewers as the show progressed, making them care about her even more.
3. Hachiman Hikigaya (42,723 Votes)
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU’s long-awaited return has been delayed due to the present crisis in the anime industry. Perhaps the largest source of worry for anime lovers is the prospect of having to wait even longer for Hachiman Hikigaya, the show’s king of self-deprecation.
People who get to know Hachiman can’t help but fall in love with him because of his unique take on the high school protagonist.
4. Itachi Uchiha (43,223 Votes)
To be sure, Sasuke Uchiha is one of anime’s most well-known edge lords, but that wouldn’t be the case had it not been for the older brother whose CDs and T-shirts he presumably stole.
As they gazed into his dreamy, Sharingan-filled eyes, they didn’t think of Itachi Uchiha as an anti-hero at all. Iconic design, fascinating history, and fantastic skills made millions of fans wonder why Itachi wasn’t the Uchiha the series was focused on.
5. Killua Zoldyck (48,832 Votes)
Hunter x Hunter isn’t a one-man show at all. Fans are in awe of Shonen’s versatility and complexity, even as the series has taken a complete turn in its narrative. There is no better character to represent the breadth and depth of this series than Killua Zoldyck.
It’s hard to ignore Killua, even though he’s supposed to be Gon Freecss’ sidekick, with his enigmatic family history, deadly talent, and incessant ruminations on life’s meaning and ethics.
6. Sakata Gintoki-Gintama (51,200 Votes)
To begin, we have the anime equivalent of a high school prankster who can make anyone laugh or cry at the drop of a hat. Gintama stands alone as a series hailed as the king of anime comedy, recognized for its weird humor, endearing characters, and a slew of pop culture references that rivals even Family Guy in scope. Gintama
Gintoki Sakata (called the “White Demon”) leads the cast of pranksters in this series. To make money meet, Gin has taken on “odd jobs” throughout town, from helping out at a sushi restaurant to solving local detective cases to battling off extraterrestrial invaders. One of Gin’s greatest assets is his ability to deliver stern, endearing lines while simultaneously portraying the hapless fool and the hard-boiled badass with such perfection that he truly believes he has no equal in the entertainment world.
7. Naruto Uzamaki-Naruto (58,366 Votes)
The “Nine-Tailed Fox” of Hidden Leaf Village, Naruto Uzamaki, occupies the ninth spot on the list. In many ways, Naruto epitomizes the phrase “started at the bottom.” He began his ninja career as the incompetent outcast of his school, only to have his fans cheer and cry as they watched him work and scrape his way to the top, training with the perviest of sages, fighting off the most powerful ninjas, and still finding time to look after his friends.
Some of the best anime battles, character dramas, and underdog stories came from the #1 Knucklehead. Just a few years ago, Naruto joined the select group of shounen heroes who succeed in realizing their aspirations by becoming the 7th Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, a moment that made fans of the manga and anime feel like parents.
8. Roronoa Zoro-One Piece (62,906 Votes)
“Pirate Hunter,” first mate of the Straw Hat pirates, Roronoa Zoro, proves that secondary characters and second in command may be loved in their own right. A loudmouthed kid who felt having more swords made him stronger in the beginning, Zoro has since matured. Nevertheless, he was able to learn the legendary three-sword method and grow into the stoic badass that fans have come to know to this day with dedicated training and the anguish of a lost rivalry.
Zoro’s route to becoming the strongest swordsman in the world has been littered with the wreckage of buildings, robots, and some of One Piece’s most memorable enemies. As the Captain of the Straw Hats, he has been a pillar of stability for Luffy and a devoted friend who has demonstrated to the audience what true loyalty means.
9. Rintarou Okabe-Steings;Gate (64,901 Votes)
Instead of focusing on anime’s most well-known hero, Rintarou Okabe, the head of the Future Gadget Research Establishment, this list explores sci-fi, suspense, and visual novel area. Rin embodies the ideals of a struggling college or STEM student.
In his first year at Tokyo Denki University, he has chosen to build a time travel research facility in Akihabara, where he will supervise a squad of engineers who are more otaku than scientists. As the show delves deeper into its own mysteries, Rin finds himself in a variety of high-concept, moral dilemmas that give an already interesting character plenty to work with. Rin draws viewers in with his eccentric and over-the-top behavior, but he absolutely captures their attention with his hidden levels of sincerity and intrigue.
10. Light Yagami-Death Note (68,258 Votes)
Similar to “Kira” Light Yagami, the youthful hero who saves humanity and punishes the evils of the world is “Kira” Light Yagami. It wasn’t until he was given the chance of a lifetime to embark on a mission of world redemption and mass slaughter that Light, the good-looking prodigy of his high school, began to distance himself from the banal features of day-to-day existence.
With the Death Note and Ryuk’s help, Light can kill anybody, anywhere, simply dictating their name and even the cause of death within the Death Note. In the name of “Kira,” Light kills all of the world’s most dangerous criminals, bringing closure to some and creating a worldwide conspiracy/mystery to others, all at the same time. One of anime’s greatest cat-and-mouse chases has been led by Light’s genius level intelligence and quirky passion.
11. Edward Elric-Fullmetal Alchemist (69,513 Votes)
The “Fullmetal Alchemist” Edward Elric has given viewers the kind of feisty, underdog passion and ethically torn human drama that few, if any, other Shounen heroes have been able to achieve as the protagonist of one of the best Shounen anime of all time.
He lost his limb and his brother’s soul when his alchemy experiment went horribly wrong, and since then, Ed has taken his fans on a breathtaking voyage of philosophical and religious drama, political intrigue, warmhearted friendships, and high-concept alchemical combat on the most epic scale. In spite of his arrogant and loudmouthed persona, Edward Elric served as the protagonist of an adventure that anime fans throughout the world hoped would end happily.
12. Levi Ackerman-Attack on Titan (71,809 Votes)
Levi Ackerman, the strongest soldier in the world and the head of the Scouting Legion and the Special Operations Squad, is the next master of blades. As the icy, stern-faced captain who scares to near Fullmetal Jacket levels but is balanced by his sensitive demeanor and true concern for his mission and crew, Levi has gained more than just the fans’ adoration since his arrival. He’s taken their respect, as well.
Levi is not just a charismatic commander who commands respect from everyone around him, but he is also a fearsome warrior who has appeared in some of Attack on Titan’s most violent battles against titans and other troops alike. Anyone who underestimates this man because of his small stature could wind up on the wrong end of a knife.
13. Monkey D. Luffy-One Piece (77,532 Votes)
The Straw Hat Pirates’ Monkey D. Luffy, the captain of Shounen Jump’s “Big Three,” enters at number three, fittingly. It’s surprising to learn that Luffy, the famous pirate’s adopted son and grandson, was born into such a well-known family, having grown up the son of a revolutionary and the grandson of an honorable marine. To become King of the Pirates, Luff would head a gang of misfits and outcasts that infused the series with a great deal of personality after eating the Gum Gum fruit and being reared by bandits.
To sum it up, there is no other member of the crew who has more personality than Luffy. The fun-loving, simple-minded rubber man’s particular brand of justice and freedom are both provocative and endearing to fans. Even though Luffy is a Shounen protagonist, he has a unique taste that encourages acceptance and hope unlike any other Shounen protagonist before him.
14. L Lawliet-Death Note (92,662 Votes)
L Lawliet, Light Yagami’s nemesis and the world’s finest investigator, is a force to be reckoned with. Because he’s so visually distinct, it’s no surprise that L received so many votes. Because of his high level of intelligence, eccentric demeanor, off-kilter stance, or sweet tooth diet, L leaves an impression on viewers, adding mystery to an already riveting thriller series.
L is an ideal foil in aesthetics alone, since his social ineptitude and weird aura allow him to outsmart Light’s more nuanced strategic and social thinking abilities. In a large popularity contest, it’s surprising that L comes out on top against the outcast who’s impossible to look away from.
15. Lelouch Lamperouge-Code Geass (112,860 Votes)
One of anime’s most intricately constructed and multidimensional series has a complex character at the top of the heap. After his mother was murdered and his sister was left paralyzed, Lelouch Lamperouge, the 17th prince in line to the throne, gave up his position. He discovered his chance for revenge and redemption in C.C., a mysterious girl who bestows him with the power of Geass, an ability that allows him to control the acts of anybody he wishes for only one time.
Following the discovery of his new talent, Lelouch embarks on a journey of atonement and destruction, leading the revolutionary group “Order of the Black Knights,” which sees him betray and lie to his closest allies while slaughtering a large number of innocents. To see what kind of man he turns out to be on the other side is tantalizing enough to pique the interest of viewers interested in moral analysis and human drama.