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The Top 13 Best Anime Characters of All Time

The Top 13 Best Anime Characters of All Time

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When it comes to the Best Anime Characters Of All Time, there’s a lot to be said. Everyone, of course, has their favorite anime characters for their own reasons. 

We are no exception. So we’ve compiled for you our top picks for the Best Anime Characters Of All Time. Read along to find out who these characters are, which anime they hail from, and what makes them so special!

#13 Erwin Smith (Attack on Titan)

The Commander of the Scouting Legion, Erwin Smith is the one character from Attack on Titan who would never compromise his mission to save humanity—even if it means sacrificing himself. He’s led a death charge into enemy territory to protect the only hope for humanity: the Attack Titan. 

Fans love him because of his charismatic leadership and intelligence. For the sake of humanity, he turned some ragtag trainee scouts into proper members of the legion, sieved out the traitors among them, and placed his trust in Eren’s Attack Titan. He’s one of the pillars keeping Eldia alive. 

#12 Denji (Chainsaw Man)

How could someone from such a new show have made this list? Well, Denji from Chainsaw Man is different from our run-of-the-mill protagonists as he doesn’t have any prominent end goal other than to live a normal life (surrounded by women). Denji yearns for the things that almost every normal teenager has, and thus, from selling his body parts to becoming a devil hunter, he works hard to achieve that goal. 

The fact that many teens can relate to Denji’s nonchalant way of life is one of his biggest selling points. Fans love him because there are hardly any shonen protagonists whose sole purpose is to be loved by a woman. And his main goal is to touch boobs…. What man could hate someone with such a noble cause? 

#11 Yabuki Joe (Ashita no Joe)

Next up on the list is a character you might not be acquainted with: the esteemed boxer Yabuki Joe from Ashita no Joe. An orphaned delinquent, he came into contact with a boxing coach who recognized his talents and forced him to box. At first, his juvenile habits kept him from the sport. However, he eventually fell so deep into the sport that he fought until only white ash remained.

Yabuki Joe’s fans fall for the intricate character he becomes later in the series. A boy who had given up on life finds a thing that he can cling to, something that makes him feel as if he’s alive—boxing. This character evolution is not something many can achieve.

#10 Light Yagami (Death Note)

One of the main pillars of Death Note, Light Yagami is bestowed with the power to kill any person by simply writing their name in a notebook. Light exercises his power to show the world his absolute justice and rid the world of sin.

Although overconfident, Light has the brains and skills to warrant his self-importance, often outsmarting his enemies by leaps and bounds. What engages audiences most is the anticipation of discovering his grand plot. 

#9 Guts (Berserk)

Guts’ name speaks volumes. This iconic character from the medieval fantasy manga Berserk has been the standard for seinen protagonists for decades. Guts started his life from the lowest possible point, and when he gained something, it was taken away by none other than his dear friend. Afterward, Guts set out to help the girl he loves regain her humanity, but the journey slowly changes him into a distrustful, cruel swordsman. 

All those who have watched Berserk through the years develop a certain attachment to Guts. You can’t help but appreciate the masterpiece of his character once you see how far he has come. His suffering inspires pity, but the way he overcomes his problems is inspiring. And, alongside the dark-fantasy world, that is the selling point of Berserk.

#8 Reinhard Von Lohengramm (Legend of the Galactic Heroes)

Legend of the Galactic Heroes’ Reinhard Von Lohengramm grew up in the corrupt Galactic Empire, where aristocracy is prevalent. After becoming the Kaiser, he aims to correct the system. But a democratic civilization inhabits another corner of the galaxy: the bright Yang Wen-li’s home. The two forces have been in a state of warfare for centuries. But following the birth of these two stars who will shake the very fabric of the universe, history is about to change. 

Reinhard’s goal is to unify the galaxy under one leader, and he does so using military tactics. With several talented people under his umbrella, he manages to have the galaxy wrapped around his finger in no time. Although his goal ultimately blinds him, the humanity within such a prominent figure is one of many things fans love about him. 

#7 Araragi Koyomi (Monogatari)

The next character on our list is a strange half-vampire, Araragi Koyomi from the Monogatari series. Araragi lives in a town where he is constantly in contact with several oddities, A.K.A. supernatural phenomena. And those oddities often appear as girls. Being the selfless guy he is, Araragi sacrifices himself without much consideration several times to save said girls. Through doing that, he eventually finds himself some dear friends and even a girlfriend.

Fans of the series love the fact that throughout all the ordeals, Araragi never changes. He learns and molds, but his selflessness remains the same. A high schooler living his life as he intends to, but surrounded by girls—now, who wouldn’t want that?

#6 Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon)

The first female character on our list is none other than the sailor guardian of love and justice. Usagi Tsukino, from the show titled after her, Sailor Moon, is a regular middle-schooler with the dream of becoming a sailor guardian. But one day, she randomly receives this power. Now, she works to save her city with the other guardians every day.

Usagi inspired many girls and boys to spread love and justice just as she did. And a girl superhero was something new for children in the 2000s. Even now, Sailor Moon is one of the few shows to perfectly execute a superhero theme.

#5 Johan Liebert (Monster)

Next up is a villain: Johan Liebert from Naoki Urasawa’s Monster. An eccentric man who was once saved from the verge of death, he now works toward becoming the last man left in the world. To achieve this goal, he uses his charisma to manipulate people because. Ultimately, he decides to commit the perfect suicide and erase himself, “the monster,” from the world.

The extent of manipulation and trickery he goes to gets fans thinking about what his next move is. And many fail to predict what he will do. Even more mysterious is why Johan does what he does. Many consider him to be an antihero rather than a villain. 

#4 Gintoki Sakata (Gintama)

The next character is a bit odd. Formerly called the “White Demon,” Gintoki Sakata from the hilarious comedy show Gintama was formerly a strong swordsman who fought in the war, but after modernization, he became lazy and started a group that does odd jobs. His nonchalant attitude, together with the serious bits, makes for a special individual.

Not only is Gintoki a hilarious guy, but like many of us, he too is an avid reader of Weekly Shonen Jump. And he can get serious when the need arises. The lessons fans learn from a character with such experience make them appreciate him even more.

#3 Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

The character in the third spot is everyone’s favorite ninja, Naruto Uzumaki. He went from being a below-average ninja to the leader of his village. His tenacious spirit made him into the leader he is now. The character has impressed millions around the globe, and even his running style has spread across the world.

Naruto is a show that many watch as their first anime, so it often sticks with viewers for a long time. Naruto’s will and resilience have influenced many, and his journey from 0 to 100 is amazing to watch. 

#2 Son Goku (Dragon Ball)

The greatest martial artist in all of anime is Son Goku from Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball series. From the moment he lands on Earth in his ship, Goku craves fighting. And throughout life, he has advanced with every bout. From fighting for his friends to saving the universe, Goku has done it all—even from the afterlife. 

What makes Goku special is that he’s iconic. Most kids have probably watched him saving the world in the old and modern Dragon Ball sequels. His absolute goodwill and fighting spirit make everyone love him. And let’s be honest: it’s no secret that we have all tried the iconic Kamehameha! 

#1 Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)

At the top of the list is none other than the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, Monkey D. Luffy from the best-selling manga in history, Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. Luffy’s ability is rather odd, as he turns into a rubber man by eating the Gum-Gum fruit. Luffy’s lofty goal is to become the Pirate King. In a world booming with pirates, corrupt government, and world-shaking secrets, Luffy’s journey is a slow but satisfying descent into the world created by Oda. With his positive energy, Luffy overcomes his adversaries in creative and satisfying ways.

Like Goku, Luffy is the childhood hero of many people around the globe. But what makes him different from the former is his character progression. Even though it is slow, his character progresses by leaps and bounds. And long-term fans are always left with the feeling that Luffy is growing with them. 

What are Your Top Anime Characters of All Time?

That concludes the list of the top 13 anime characters of all time. There are so many more that I would have liked to mention, but our time is short. These monumental characters have influenced generations, and no amount of words could capture their brilliance. This might be a good opportunity to watch the shows on this list that you haven’t seen yet. What are your favorite anime characters of all time? Do you agree with our list?

Jack is an avid anime enthusiast with a passion for all things Japanese culture. He spends his days watching the latest series, reading manga, and discussing the merits of his favorite characters with his friends. When he's not writing (or debating) about manga and anime, Jack can be found playing video games or practicing Ju-Jitsu. Despite his nerdy interests, Jack is confident and outgoing. He's always eager to share his enthusiasm with others.