Anime has developed from an unfamiliar platform to an international sensation over the last decade. It has evolved so much that even non-anime fans can recognize many popular anime characters that are vital to the worldwide popularity of the genre. Let’s take a look at the top 15 popular anime characters even known to non-otakus!
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Popular Anime Characters
15. Dante (Devil May Cry)
Anime: Devil May Cry
Dante is one of those popular anime characters who have enchanted the audience with their killing hunting style. He indeed is a demon hunter who has taken it upon himself to exterminate all evil forces from the face of Earth. He is half human and half demon. His two guns Ebony and Ivory and one sword Rebellion accompany him on every mission. ‘Devil May Cry’ is the name of the business that he runs that specializes in demon hunting and supernatural problems. When one faces a blood-thirsty demon, they know who to call.
14. Kazuto Kirigaya
Anime: Sword Art Online
Kazuto Kirigaya also known as ‘Kirito’ is one of the few lucky ones who got to play the new online role-playing virtual reality game: ‘Sword Art Online’. With other thousands of players, he enters the vast and beautiful world of Aincrad. He is often seen wearing all black in the game and thus, go his name the ‘Black Swordsman’. For the most part, he fights and plays as a solo player but there are few times when we see him in a group. He joins the ‘Moonlit Black Cat’ and then ‘Knights of the Blood’. Moreover, with his extraordinary fighting skills, he wins many battles along the way and tries to win the game in the end.
13. Shoutarou Kaneda
Shoutarou Kaneda is the main protagonist of the anime series Akira. He is the leader of the biker gang ‘Capsules’. His striking red bike is the main attraction in the series. It is the most technologically advanced vehicle with high performance including a reverse function and ceramic double-rotor two-wheel disk drive. Tetsuo is his best friend but unfortunately, his friendship ends soon after Tetsuo gains psychic abilities. Now, Kaneda is a member of the resistance group with Kei. Kei is Kaneda’s love interest.
12. Dio Brando
Anime: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Dio Brando is the main antagonist of the series Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. His ruthless disposition and violent nature are highlighted when he kills Jonathan Joestar. Being brought up in poor and abusive conditions, he is one of those popular anime characters who are made cruel by their circumstances. Similarly, he then resolves to become the richest person and the most powerful person in the world. His power driven hunger blinds him and he uses anyone or anything to attain his goal. Without being bound by any sense of empathy or morality, he becomes the ultimate villain in the series. His unquenching thirst for power is shown again and again where he cannot even stand a person of his equal or greater stature.
11. Spike Spiegel
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Spike Spiegel is a bounty hunter and the partner of Jet Black from the year 2071. He fakes his own death and escapes from the group ‘Red Dragon Crime Syndicate’. Both of them fight criminals on different planets traveling in their ship Swordfish II. Apart from being lazy and slothful, he is also a smoking addict to which he rarely admits. He is often seen slouching on the Bebop lounging watching TV.
There are some rare occasions where we see him practicing ‘Jeet Kune Do’, which is a martial art form that Spike is deft at. In the whole series, he continuously talks about his aversion towards women with attitude, dog, and children. But to everyone’s surprise, he ends up getting attaching to the very three things he said he hated the most. Also, he is tormented by the ghosts of his past, but it doesn’t bother him in his fight against Vicious, who is a rival from the ‘Red Dragon Crime Syndicate’ and is hell bent on killing him.
Have you ever imagined having a friend who would take out gadgets from his pocket whenever you are in a problem? Well, Nobita is surely lucky! Doraemon is a futuristic robot cat sent from the future by Nobita’s grandson to help Nobita in his daily life. He is one popular anime character that is loved by children worldwide. Its accessories and toys are sold all over the place to fulfill every child’s dream of having a robot best friend. Whenever Nobita is in any predicament, which happens more than you can imagine, Doraemon comes to his rescue like a knight in shining armor. Doraemon has the toughest job in the world because Nobita is bad at almost everything one can think of.
9. Eren Yeager
Anime: Attack on Titan
There is nothing better than a strong-willed, tough, determined, and righteous protagonist in a series like ‘Attack on Titan’. His will to keep moving forward and face any challenge head-on is something that makes him unique and one of the most popular anime characters of all time. He vows to eliminate every titan when he sees the traumatic death of his mother by a titan. He was born in the Shiganshina district at the southern edge of the wall Maria. Throughout the series we see him risking his life with great fortitude to save his family and friends from the jaws of death. Due to his loss, he becomes more ardent about protecting those who are left. With his best and only friend Armin, and his adoptive sister Mikasa, he sets on a dangerous path of revenge and justice in the world.
8. Lelouch Lamperouge
Anime: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Lelouch Lamperouge is an exiled prince of Britannia. While continuing his normal life as a student of Ashford Academy High School, he suddenly finds himself in the crossfire between the Holy Empire of Britannia and Japan. On his way to escape, he finds a mysterious girl named C.C. She saves him from the armed forces and gives him the ‘power of the king’. The great power of Geass makes people obey him without any question. With these new powers, he takes on a new identity as ‘Zero’ to fight against the military and forms the order of the Black Knights to get his revenge.
7. Edward Elric
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
In an attempt to bring his mother back from the dead, both Edward and his brother Alphonse Elric suffer a huge loss. They commit the ultimate sin of performing a human transmutation but it all goes horribly wrong. The thing that comes back is far from human. Moreover, Edward loses his leg and one hand in the transmutation and his brother loses his whole body. Both of them then set on a path to get their bodies back to normal with the help of a mysterious and powerful ‘Philosopher’s Stone’, that supposedly nullifies the one and only rule of alchemy- ‘equivalent exchange’. Through which they can gain anything without giving anything back. Edward is the youngest state alchemist and gets the name of Fullmetal from the Fuhrer himself. His dedication, love for his brother, and will to keep moving forward are worth watching in the whole series. It is these qualities that make him one of the most popular anime characters in the history of anime.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog
Anime: Sonic X
Sonic the Hedgehog, also called the “Blue Blur,” is renowned for his speed, known as “second to none.” His best friend is Miles Prower, behaving as a sidekick and progressing steadily as the games go on into more of a partner; the young fox has a talent for inventing items and other equipment. He’ll also team up with Knuckles the Echidna, Master Emerald’s protector, several times. Sonic is proud and hates limiting himself, loving liberty, and doing things at his own pace. He is someone who will never turn his back on a friend in need or to protect the common good, although he is cocky and very restless.
Anime: Dragon Ball
Vegeta is the Prince of the fallen Saiyan race. He started as a villain but eventually gives up fighting for the wrong cause and comes back to Earth. Ending up fighting with some of the most powerful warriors in the universe, he soon becomes one of the main protagonists of the series. His transformation made him one of the most popular anime characters in the world. While he still remained the same egoistic, self-centered, ruthless, and arrogant person with a sense of superiority. His royal nature never seems to fade away. Freiza destroyed his home planet Vegeta and since then his rage and hatred towards Freiza have only increased in the series.
4. Monkey D. Luffy
Anime: One Piece
Monkey D. Luffy or Straw Hat Luffy sets out on an adventure to find the legendary treasure ‘One Piece’. On his journey, he forms the infamous Straw Hat Pirates and becomes its leader. But he is not the only one who is in the search of this great treasure. As a result, he meets many people, some friends, some foes. He fights many battles with some of the most prominent and powerful people in the world. Winning in the majority of them, he gains recognition and fame in the world. Also labeled as the ‘Dangerous Future Element’, many consider him to be a threat. It is interesting to see if he get the treasure that he so dearly wants.
Anime: One Punch Man
There is no one in the world who can go up against Saitama. His powerful punch can knock down an enemy in just one second. Although he is powerful, he gets bored sometimes as he cannot find a worthy opponent. Many are curious to know his secret and how he gained this power. Ever since he was a kid, he wanted to become a superhero. So he started a stringent daily exercise routine of 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10 km running. No matter how difficult his exercises got, or how much pain he was in, he never quit. And finally, after 100 days, he becomes the ultimate one-punch man.
02. Naruto Uzumaki
Since childhood, Naruto Uzumaki, a ninja born in Konohagakure, has been despised by his fellow villagers purely because the nine-tailed fox was sealed inside him. His only goal is to win his villagers’ recognition and become the Hokage. There were many struggles he went through. He became, under the mentorship of the legendary Sannin, Jiraiya, a competent ninja regarded by the villagers and soon by the world as a hero. He played a major role in winning the 4th Great Ninja War, which made him the village’s Seventh Hokage. Also, he has worked tirelessly to create world peace since becoming the Hokage and is always willing to die for the sake of the ninja world.
Anime: Dragonball Z
When we talk about the most popular anime characters, we can not leave Dragonball Z Golu. Son Goku (Saiyan name: Kakarot) is a Saiyan who was born on Planet Vegeta and sent to Earth to eradicate it as a child. But a head injury changed his memory at an early age, and he became one of Earth’s greatest guardians after training with Master Roshi. He is one of the few Saiyans, the Super Saiyan, to accomplish the legendary transformation. His ambition to become the greatest warrior in the world led him to transcend his barriers and reach new heights, several times saving the Earth and the universe from being destroyed. He battled several villains alongside his mates in the following years and made some powerful allies, too.
Even if you are not an anime fan, still there are some curious bones in your body that want to know more about these popular anime characters. Well, this is the magic of anime. The intense storyline and deep history of the characters tie the viewer to the show. They form a deep connection that lasts forever. These top 15 anime characters are the embodiment of that connection.