Male anime characters are their own brand of extraordinary. Whether it’s the dreamy ones everyone has a crush on; the cold, sarcastic ones with their unique charm; the silent, mysterious, warrior types; the loud, friendly ones who are a joy to watch; or the ones who defeat their inner demons – all male anime characters have something to offer. Whether in the spotlight or on the sidelines, these characters have all left a mark on their fans. Here is a list of the 20 best male anime characters of all time.
Table of Contents
- #20 Killua Zoldyck — Hunter x Hunter
- #19 Levi Ackerman – Attack on Titan
- #18 Tanjiro Kamado – Demon Slayer
- #17 Naruto Uzumaki – Naruto
- #16 Kakashi Hatake – Naruto
- #15 Monkey D. Luffy – One Piece
- #14 Shoyo Hinata – Haikyu!!
- #13 Izuku Midoriya – My Hero Academia
- #12 Shoto Todoroki – My Hero Academia
- #11 Light Yagami – Death Note
- #10 Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist
- #9 Yuri Plisetsky – Yuri!!! on Ice
- #8 Satoru Gojo – Jujustsu Kaisen
- #7 Megumi Fushiguro – Jujutsu Kaisen
- #6 Ken Kaneki – Tokyo Ghoul
- #5 Denji – Chainsaw Man
- #4 Ichigo Kurosaki – Bleach
- #3 Ash Ketchum – Pokémon
- #2 Natsu Dragneel – Fairy Tail
- #1 Son Goku – Dragon Ball
#20 Killua Zoldyck — Hunter x Hunter
One of the major characters from Hunter x Hunter, Killua is a member of the Zoldyck family. This notorious family of assassins is renowned for their skill, and Killua is no exception. Raised to be an assassin since the day he was born, this twelve-year-old has the capabilities of a killing master. During the Hunter Exam, Killua befriends Gon Freecss. The one reason he isn’t in the limelight is that he’s the main character’s best friend.
Killua’s first appearance was that of a cold, indifferent assassin, one whose abilities rivaled people three times his age. While fans loved his seemingly superhuman abilities and the extent of his powers, his real winning quality was his growth as a character. As the series progressed and Killua strengthened his friendship with Gon, he realized the value of friendship and underwent some phenomenal development.
#19 Levi Ackerman – Attack on Titan
In Attack on Titan, Levi Ackerman is a captain of the Survey Corps. Paradis Island’s best soldier with the capability of killing numerous titans single-handedly, no one can match Levi’s prowess in battle.
With a dark childhood, Levi knows full well how difficult life can be, especially living in a world where his everyday life is threatened by the presence of human-eating titans. Strong, swift, and smart, he is undoubtedly amongst the best of the best, confident in himself and his soldiers. Someone fans expected to be a cold person turned out to care deeply for his comrades, as he always looks out for their well-being. Whether it’s his fighting abilities, honest but brutal advice, or his fierce determination to only do the right thing, Levi Ackerman is the total package for viewers.
#18 Tanjiro Kamado – Demon Slayer
The protagonist of Demon Slayer, Tanjiro Kamado’s life turned upside down in minutes during a demon attack where his whole family was killed and his sister was turned into a demon. But Tanjiro refused to give up, setting out to find a cure for his sister and revenge for his parents.
Tanjiro is a caring brother and supportive friend, causing him to win numerous fans within the Demon Slayer world as well as in real-life audiences. He soon becomes an outstanding soldier in the hunt for demons, unafraid to face anyone in battle. Not only is Tanjiro a skilled warrior but also an incredibly kind person, honest, and always ready to help those in need. He even goes so far as to aid an enemy in peril.
#17 Naruto Uzumaki – Naruto
Naruto Uzumaki is the protagonist of the epic Naruto saga, an orphan who dreams of becoming the Hokage just like his late father. Naruto is a phenomenal story of his growth, which culminates in the ultimate fulfillment of this widely loved character’s goal.
Alone since childhood, Naruto is an incredibly strong-willed and determined individual, unafraid of facing any obstacle in his path head-on. Blessed with incredible powers, Naruto achieves his true potential, surpassing all expectations before eventually becoming the Hokage. Due to his troubles, Naruto is incredibly empathetic and kind. Amiable, funny, and loyal to a fault, he also made many amazing friends on his journey.
A passionate and hopeful person, Naruto is an inspiration for fans, many of whom feel their life struggles are reflected through his character.
#16 Kakashi Hatake – Naruto
A major character from Naruto, Kakashi Hatake is one of the protagonist’s mentors and close friends. Kakashi is the ideal teacher, given his incredible warrior prowess and strategic mind.
Kakashi is one of the few adult characters in Naruto. As such, he was a veteran who had already faced the harsh realities of life. Along with being the Hokage and a trainer for future ninjas, he also had to shoulder the burden of his past actions and regrets. Kakashi is also considered one of the most realistic characters in Naruto, with his self-doubts and guilt illustrated in multiple parts of the series. Kakashi’s struggles in life were very real – and fans love that despite those hurdles, he stayed strong throughout.
#15 Monkey D. Luffy – One Piece
The protagonist of the One Piece franchise, Monkey D. Luffy is the captain of a pirate crew, the Straw Hats. He has two main goals: to become the Pirate King and to find the legendary treasure, One Piece. Going strong since the 1990s, Luffy is another character who has grown with his fans and is one of the most popular male anime characters out there.
As a pirate with a huge goal in mind, Luffy is strong-willed, passionate, and persevering. He is also highly charismatic, with his unique charm and great sense of humor. Furthermore, Luffy is also a great captain; he trusts his crew and never gives up on them. His crew returns this trust through their unwavering loyalty and determination to see Luffy’s dream fulfilled.
#14 Shoyo Hinata – Haikyu!!
The main character of the sports anime Haikyu!!, Shoyo Hinata is a fan-favorite volleyball player. As an athlete, Shoyo is blessed with natural talent. But due to a lack of coaching, he is abysmal at the sport he yearns to play. However, his optimism, determination, and tenacity make him one of the most relatable and inspiring characters in the anime world.
As a player, Hinata soon becomes an outstanding decoy with the help of his natural ability and burning desire to play volleyball. Suffering from nerves at the beginning, Shoyo learns to gain a handle on his anxiety. Extremely supportive and lively, he is a joy to have as a teammate, bringing his friends out of their shells and giving them confidence through his boundless energy. Perhaps his best and most fan-loved quality is the bubbly and gregarious nature that allows him to make friends with just about anyone.
#13 Izuku Midoriya – My Hero Academia
Izuku Midoriya (aka Deku) is the protagonist of My Hero Academia. In a world where everyone has a superpower or quirk, Deku is powerless. However, he still dreams of becoming a hero. When All Might chooses him to be his successor and grants him his power, One-for-All, Deku gives his all to become like his idol.
Deku is a nerdy, dorky teenager, kind and compassionate to others. Stemming from the bullying he faced, Deku is also highly empathetic. Often described as plain, he has the heart of a true hero. Completely selfless and extremely courageous, Deku is always on the lookout to help those in need. As he did not naturally have a quirk, Deku is highly determined and diligent when he finally joins the U.A. High School. Above all, Deku’s emotional side and his growth as All Might’s successor make him a fan-favorite character.
#12 Shoto Todoroki – My Hero Academia
Another character from My Hero Academia, Shoto Todoroki is a student at U.A. High School and a hero in training. Shoto Todoroki has not one, but two quirks. In addition, as the son of a great hero, he has been in training since childhood. As such, he is incredibly powerful and has honed his battle senses, making him a formidable opponent and an amazing hero at a very young age.
However, Shoto’s story is not all sunshine and rainbows. His father abused him by pushing him beyond his limit as a child and abused his mother as well when she tried to intervene. As such, Shoto comes from a broken family and is a cold person with no clear path in life. Throughout the series, Shoto grows to become more empathetic and caring as well as a team player. He learns to let go of the past and to make up with his family. This growth as an individual is something that connects with viewers, granting him admiration from the audience.
#11 Light Yagami – Death Note
In Death Note, Light Yagami is a high school genius who comes across a very special notebook. If you write the name of a person in it, that person dies. Light uses this notebook to assassinate criminals, inspiring his mission to give birth to a new world with him as its “god.”
Light is extremely intelligent; as a teenager, he is able to confound even the most renowned detectives, who struggle to catch the serial killer murdering all the criminals in the world. Initially, Light’s view of justice is something fans agree with. However, his perspective gradually becomes more twisted as the Death Note threatens his sanity. As a protagonist who is also the villain of the story, Light Yagami offers viewers a unique point of view.
#10 Edward Elric – Fullmetal Alchemist
Edward Elric is the lead character of Fullmetal Alchemist. To bring their dead mother back, Edward and his brother Alphonse perform an illegal body transformation, but the process causes Al to lose his body and Edward an arm and a leg. The two brothers are now searching for the philosopher’s stone to restore their bodies. Edward loves Al dearly, and their deep bond is apparent many times in the series.
Edward is different from most shonen protagonists, as he aims to right a wrong rather than seek power or revenge. Having suffered a difficult childhood, Edward is compassionate, absolutely refusing to kill to fulfill his goals. He is a genius, using his superior intellect and combat skills on his journey. As a teen, Edward faces self-doubt, guilt, and indecisiveness, all of which make him a relatable character.
#9 Yuri Plisetsky – Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri Plisetsky is a character from Yuri!!! on Ice who shares a name withthe protagonist. Yuri is a Russian figure skater, an athlete in training, and considered a prodigy. He is, in fact, a rival of the Japanese Yuuri Katsuki, the lead character. Considered one of the top skaters in Russia, Yuri travels to Japan, looking for Victor.
When Yuri is assigned to perform “Agape,” a performance that requires a composed and quaint demeanor, he struggles because his arrogant and narcissistic attitude is at odds with it. Although cold and temperamental to most people, Yuri is a caring person, as evident in his relationship with his grandfather. Throughout the series, fans witness Yuri’s growth from a mean and obnoxious fifteen-year-old to a kinder and more mature person, all the while being blown away by his sensational skating.
#8 Satoru Gojo – Jujustsu Kaisen
Satoru Gojo, considered the most popular male anime character from Jujustu Kaisen, is the strongest Jujutsu sorcerer and also a teacher at Jujutsu High.
Gojo is, of course, incredibly strong. When faced with enemies in battle, he is often narcissistic, fully aware that no opponent can defeat him. As such, he is completely unafraid in battle. With friends and students, however, a completely different side to Gojo appears. Bubbly and cheerful, Gojo is a highly supportive individual who may appear nonchalant but cares deeply for his students and helps all those deserving. This is obvious as he helps Maki, Yuta, and then Yuuji, as well as taking in Fushiguro and Sumika. Fans love how wholesome Gojo is as a character, someone who confidently fights with authority for the betterment of the world.
#7 Megumi Fushiguro – Jujutsu Kaisen
A part of the main trio from Jujutsu Kaisen, Megumi Fushiguro is an incredibly powerful Jujutsu sorcerer. Cool, collected, and laidback, Megumi might seem quiet and brooding but is a great friend.
Fushiguro suffered a difficult childhood, as his sister has been cursed and unconscious since the beginning of the series. It is revealed that he cares deeply for her, as he follows any leads that could revive her.
Fushiguro is highly intelligent and skilled in combat, adept with both cursed techniques and tools. While he chooses his battles and the people he wishes to protect, he is extremely loyal to his friends and acquaintances at Jujutsu High. Fushiguro has immense potential as a Jujutsu sorcerer but often sells himself short and is unable to see the extent of his abilities.
#6 Ken Kaneki – Tokyo Ghoul
Ken Kaneki is the main character of Tokyo Ghoul. As the leader of a psychological thriller, Kaneki’s character is a highly intriguing one. Kaneki is a student and avid reader. He is shown to be quiet and gentle, the epitome of optimism. After an unfortunate accident leaves Kaneki a half-ghoul, half-human, his life changes drastically.
Now forced to consume human flesh, Kaneki refuses to accept himself or to harm other humans. At the start of his journey, Kaneki faces torture at the hands of other ghouls and humans while dealing with his inner turmoil. Once a compassionate person, Kaneki begins to hate the world for what it did to him. Eventually, however, he grows to accept himself, has a family, and learns that everyone in life has obstacles to overcome. The world is not evil; it is just a test for everyone.
#5 Denji – Chainsaw Man
The protagonist of Chainsaw Man, Denji isa homeless teenager who makes ends meet by hunting down devils. On one of his hunts, Denji’s pet devil fuses with him, giving him the ability to grow chainsaws with his body. Therefore, Denji becomes an incredibly powerful fiend, able to take down even the strongest of devils.
Denji is, in simple terms, completely self-centered, uncouth, and perverted. He is homeless, broke, and desperate, making him an underdog in the real world. As such, his character is extremely realistic. Denji’s many antics make the show hilarious. In addition, due to his selfish nature, Denji is unable to befriend or coexist with anyone. When he has to live with Power and Aki, all three of them are in for a miserable time. Lighthearted moments aside, Denji’s phenomenal character growth makes the series especially enjoyable.
#4 Ichigo Kurosaki – Bleach
The main character of Bleach, high schoolerIchigo Kurosaki can see ghosts, an ability that plunges him into the world of souls and hollows.
As a person, Ichigo is cool and calm, determined to live his best life – and also has a great sense of fashion! As a hero, Ichigo is highly proactive, deliberate, and confident in himself. Taking on fighting as a responsibility, he does what he has to do, at the same time not abandoning the life of a normal human being. With his awesome weapon Zangetsu and incredible combat skill, Ichigo is second to none as a Soul Reaper, saving many of his peers and comrades from deadly fates. A fascinating addition to his character is a hollow within Ichigo, an evil side of him that he must counter.
#3 Ash Ketchum – Pokémon
Pokémon is everyone’s favorite childhood show and Ash Ketchum is the show’s beloved protagonist. The saga begins with Ash starting on his journey as a Pokémon trainer, and follows his personal growth throughout. Pokémon is one-of-a-kind: Ash Ketchum is still a ten-year-old despite the series going strong for over two decades.
Ash is inspiring to his many fans due to many laudable qualities. Cheerful and amiable, Ash is quick to make friends on his journeys. He is determined and persevering, never showing any signs of hesitation in the face of danger. Throughout his journey, he proves to be extremely adaptable, able to make the best of any situation. No matter what, he is willing to take on new challenges, always on the hunt for stronger opponents. Ash is also incredibly caring toward his Pokémon and never gives up on them.
#2 Natsu Dragneel – Fairy Tail
The lead character of Fairy Tail, Natsu Dragneel is one of the members of the Fairy Tail Guild and is on a quest searching for his father. With an incredibly tragic backstory, Natsu is a warm, open, and excitable person who is the life of the Guild and also the anime.
Fans love the relationship he has with his guild members and his friends, all of whom are like a family. Natsu has a heart of gold and always stands for justice. Thus, despite mistakes or selfish actions at times, his heart is in the right place. Natsu’s imperfection makes him all the more relatable. Powerful, passionate, and determined to fulfill his goal, he is an incredible warrior. His tendency to have reckless and bizarre ideas is a double-edged sword, one that will either save the day or lead to his downfall. In short, Natsu Dragneel is full of surprises.
#1 Son Goku – Dragon Ball
Son Goku, the protagonist of the Dragon Ball series, is a Saiyan living on earth. As such, he has superhuman abilities and powers. When young Goku is swept on a quest for the dragon balls, he sets out on an epic journey that changes his life forever.
Goku is a character who grew up with his fans. As such, viewers have a deep connection with this character, watching his childhood, adolescence, and finally adult life. His struggles, although fantastical, were also relatable. Goku reached higher heights, unlocking his full potential, working hard, and persevering until the very end. Moreover, despite being considered one of the best, Goku refused to stop growing. Goku is not just a hero due to his strength and prowess in battle (which no one seems able to match), but also because of his kindness, loyalty, and amiability as a person and as a friend.
It is no exaggeration to say that anime cannot be anime without these marvelous characters. Amongst the diversity of extraordinary characters in the anime world, you are sure to find someone you can relate to. I am positive you found some of your favorite characters in this list. And if a certain character has intrigued you, then it is time to explore a new series and delve into a new world. Peace!