I enjoy a solid plot, good execution, a creative setting, pretty art, and smooth animation in my anime as much as the next person, but if the characters invoke feelings of homicidal rage, then more often than not that show is going to get dropped. Unless they decide to pull a School Days and brutally slaughter all of the characters that I hate, I just can’t seem to force myself to get through it. In fact, I still have no idea how on earth I managed to watch all 167 episodes of InuYasha when all I wanted to do was slam my face into a wall every time Kagome opened her mouth. Characters can either make or break a show for me, and so, since characters are such an important part of anime, I have collaborated with Renn to bring you our top 10 anime guys of all time! Take it away, Renn~
I’ve got to say straight-up there are lots of series I need to see. I began watching anime only last year, and I’ve had to play some major catch-up. So, admittedly, this list is subject to change with every other anime I watch. Top five for me was easy, but top ten ended up a bit of a stretch. With any luck, that’ll change soon. Obviously, there’s a lot of promise in some older series, but also, there’s some promise in some of the newer ones. Tiger and Bunny and Steins;Gate, I’m looking at you.
So, upfront, apologies if my list is a little unimpressive and not as eclectic as Elyon’s here. But in my defense, anime girls are more impressive than anime guys.
Recommendations for me are more than welcome. Still, I hope you all enjoy looking at the twenty or so characters listed below!
Alright. Hit it, gentleman!
Elyon – Watanuki Kimihiro (xxxHolic)
Brief description: A neurotic ball of spazz who can see spirits. He works at Yuuko’s shop in hopes of having her grant his wish to no longer see them, he’s a total tsundere when it comes to Doumeki, and he’s obsessed to a creepy degree with Himawari.
-I can’t remember where I read this, but there was someone who described Watanuki as an “adorable little goober”, which had me hysterically laughing. A goober he most certainly is. There’s just something kind of endearing about his personality that I’ve always really liked, even if the way he’s always so spazzy and obnoxious may annoy some people.
-His cartoonish antics and silly over-the-top reactions to things are guaranteed to either put a big grin on your face or make you want to bang your head against the wall. Being among the former, I couldn’t help falling in love with Watanuki’s character right from the beginning.
-As far as I’m concerned, Fukuyama Jun can do no wrong.
Renn – Yuuta Takemoto (Honey and Clover)
Brief description: All around nice guy who just can’t get employed… or get laid. Falls in love with a mysterious blonde dwarf who in turn falls in love with a psycho nutcase. Not a bad architect, but becomes a builder. Also goes on one of the most epic bike rides in existence, complete with boy band music in the background.
-Without a doubt, one of the better done everymans around. Takemoto is the average dude who really is an average dude; he irrationally dislikes his step-father, he gets jealous of his best friend, he can’t interview, he’s madly in love with a girl who will never return his feelings, but he’s still the nice guy you end up rooting for. I really liked Mayama, too, for living the dream of landing the hot, older chick, but it’s hard not to resonate with Takemoto. Well, at least not as a struggling university student with the future too close in sight. Huh… Well, that may be a narrow category.
Elyon – Shuu Koibuchi (Kuragehime)
Brief description: A 30-year old virgin politician who falls in love for the first time with Tsukimi. Considering his occupation, he actually doesn’t reek of corruption, and is in fact oddly naive and innocent. When a devious vixen traps him in a sticky situation, he finds himself in a bit more trouble than he knows how to handle…
-Two words: Shuu shove! QUICK! You were just raped by a skanky whore so what do you do? PUSH THAT BITCH ASIDE AND RUN LIKE HELL!!!! …Priceless.
-Oh man, Shuu just covers every fetish on my list from “dorky and socially awkward” to “black hair and glasses” to “sexy Suwabe Junichi voice.” Plus, there’s just something very “DAAAAWWWWW” about 30-year old virgins in love, which is why I will forever ship Shuukimi (sorry Kuranosuke fans, but megane > trap. )
-Is it weird that I find the concept of an innocent politician to be almost an oxymoron? HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! If only they were all like Shuu…
Renn – Kuranosuke Koibuchi (Kuragehime)
Brief description: Forceful, fierce, and FABULOUS trap, and “Stylish” star of Kuragehime. Because of cross-dressing habits, is a major hit with men, and despite cross-dressing habits, is a major hit with ladies. Unfortunately for him, the lady he favors most will only speak to him when she sees him as a girl.
-I’ve a huge fondness for FABULOUS characters. Kuranosuke wears a blonde wig, a red wig, a pink wig, and a purple wig throughout Kuragehime’s brief broadcast run. Yeah, he managed to jam that much FABULOUS into eleven episodes. And it must be said, I ship him with Tsukimi. Not only does he recognize Tsukimi out of make-up, he finds her completely adorable. Shuu and Tsukimi may have chemistry, but Kuranosuke actually understands her. Sorry, Shuu fans. I like the dork, too, but FABULOUS trumps all especially in matters like true love.
Elyon – Toshio Ozaki (Shiki)
Brief description: The young doctor who runs a clinic in Sotoba. He’s the glorious anti-hero of Shiki who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty in order to protect the town. Toshio may be jaded and overworked, but his cunning and underhandedness are ultimately what lead him to become the biggest obstacle in the Shiki’s way.
-Toshio is just a brilliant character. It takes him some time and a brief period of batshit to reach the level of awesome that he hits, but my god does he shine as his plans slowly come together during that incredible climax. I think my jaw hit the floor when he SPOILER’D Chizuru.
-He’s also really the first person whose actions made me question whether or not the situation was as black and white as I had thought. Suddenly it was no longer the Shiki preying on the humans- it was a war between two sides who were both doing evil things to protect their own kind. He was the first human to cease being a helpless victim, and I just think that’s cool.
Renn – Excalibur (Soul Eater)
Brief description: Fabulously powerful weapon and ladies man extraordinaire. Leaves others positively speechless in his wake, whether they be loud-mouthed ninja wannabes or the son of death himself.
-Complete base breaker. Epitomizes his series: ridiculous, lovable, occasionally aggravating, surprisingly significant, and indisputably badass all at the same time. Other Soul Eater characters (Soul, Kid) could have been on this list if not for the existence of the Holy Sword. He simply out Soul–Eater’ed them.
Elyon – Kanou Soutaro (Kaichou Wa Maid-sama!)
Brief description: A withdrawn hypnotist who is afraid of women. He’s totally gay for Yukimura (it’s undeniable) and he dresses in rabbit outfits.
-Now that we’ve gotten that out of our system, hell to the yes! Girls are icky, hypnotism is awesome, and blushing profusely is just adorable. Is there anything to dislike? I think not. Bonus points added for the bunny hood because I want it, and even more added for the gay undertones.
-Oh dear god, I feel like a tween girl talking about Justin Bieber.
Renn – Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (Gankutsuou)
Brief description: Elegant, flamboyant, and mysterious nobleman who toys with the fools surrounding him. Speaks in fancy metaphors, prefers a baroque side to style, diets more than a Hollywood starlet (however involuntarily). Possessed, quite literally, by revenge.
-There are a lot of fabulous, magnificent bastards (many set on revenge) in anime; anime, after all, is the perfect medium for that kind of camp. Lelouch Lamperouge is a good example (Akio Ohtori is another), and Lulu would’ve made this list if not for the animated adaptation of Dumas’s count. There’s just that extra factor–maybe it’s because his skin is blue, maybe because he’s a suave adult–that pushes the Count over the edge and onto my list. Ultimately, I think it comes down to him being one of the few anime males I can easily see with other guys. Hmm… Maybe it’s because he can get me to admit that out loud.
Elyon – Jacuzzi Splot (Baccano!)
Brief description: A socially awkward crybaby who suddenly acquires great courage in the face of serious danger. He’s currently dating Nice, though you wouldn’t know it with how they act around each other.
-Despite being a coward, a crybaby, and a socially awkward weirdo most of the time, Jacuzzi just blew me away with how brave he was when the time really called for it. I mean, he looked a total psychopath like Ladd straight in the eye and said that he would kill him without even a hint of hesitation. That’s pretty admirable in my book.
-Jacuzzi really grew on me after a while. There was just something about him that really struck me as genuine, and things like his adorably innocent relationship with Nice and his desire to save everyone in the train just made him a lovable little guy. I can understand why some of his crying would get on someones nerves, but I couldn’t help but feel like there was something very endearing about it. There’s nothing wrong with manly tears!
-Plus, you know that tattoo is awesome.
Renn – Kyon (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu)
Brief description: Professional snarker and quasi-lapdog to the titular heroine. Still, manages to get the best lines when she’s not looking, and sometimes, just sometimes, outright defies the 16-year-old god. Keeps up with aliens, time-travelers, and espers as the everyman that’s anything but ordinary.
-Sure, Haruhi may be the titular character, but Kyon makes this series work. His sarcastic commentary grounds each episode of the series whether the episode is in slice-of-life, slapstick, sci-fi, or mystery (very, very poorly done mystery) mode. He makes Haruhi consistent, and, barring Endless Eight, consistently good. Honestly, I think Kyon could stand as a great character without Haruhi and in almost any genre. He’s simply easy to like and relate to. After all, and not to spoil this list or anything, only one character makes this list twice.
Elyon – Keiichi Maebara (Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni)
Brief description: A troubled teen with a violent past who moves to the village of Hinamizawa with his family and makes friends with four seemingly normal girls. An initially charismatic, kind, and fun-loving guy, he is quickly driven to murder by paranoia.
-He beats people to death with baseball bats. Need I explain more?!
-I also really like how he grows over the course of the series’ from someone who can’t trust others and lets himself be driven to brutally murdering his closest friends to someone who is able to withstand the influence of the Hinamizawa disease and band everyone together. His character is exceptionally well developed despite coming off as a generic male lead in the very beginning, and although I usually hate when “the power of RABU” saves the day, I thought it really worked well in this particular case.
Renn – Colonel Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Brief description: Known as the Flame Alchemist, Colonel, or military dog. Hopes to be known one day as Fuhrer. Seals wounds with fire, and he doesn’t cry; it rains. Grows a mustache, keeps a harem, and still has Riza. Now, that’s a real man right there.
-Hardest decision I had to make. Who would it be from Fullmetal Alchemist: Ed or Al, Roy or Wrath, Louis, Ling or Greed? I actually did put down Louis for a moment–I just love men so shiny their skin looks like plastic–and then I put Wrath–he had the best fights and the best backstory–but I need to give credit where it’s due. Not to demean Ed or Al, but Roy stole the best moments of the show from “It’s raining” to “I sealed it with fire” to his truly epic Envy thrashing. You just can’t beat that. Plus, he may not be a redhead, but he’s called the Flame Alchemist for a reason. Drop it like it’s hot.
Elyon – Envy (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Brief description: A sadistic homunculus who hates humans and can transform into anything he wants. His true form is that of an ugly beast, but let’s just pretend that doesn’t exist, okay?
-That is one sexy bellyshirt he’s got there. Haters just gonna hate.
-As a fan of sadistic, merciless, and brutal characters, Envy was like love at first sight. He was fun to follow (and secretly root for…sorry Ed, but the homunculus were cooler than all of you good guys) throughout the course of the series, and I only wish his fabulousness could have remained instead of being killed by the same jerk who killed Lust, my second favorite character in the show. DAMN YOU ROY MUSTANG!
-“Don’t you like to watch fools dance?” YES I DO!! And I like power-tripping! These are fun things!!
Renn – Daisuke Motomiya (Digimon Adventure 02)
Brief description: Second leader of the Digidestined, known to my eight-year-old self by his dub name, Davis. Has big hair, but only half as big as predecessor, Taichi. Likes camera girl Hikari for the first twenty-five episodes, loves life itself by the end of the second half. Saves the world from the deception of Malomyotismon.
-I loved this kid back when I didn’t know what anime was and before I thought anime was dumb. There may be worthier candidates for my favorites list, but whatever. Daisuke is my childhood hero. Not only is he a redhead, but he (his Digimon, at least) uses fire. In addition, he lands the cover of
TIME TOME magazine for running a successful noodle-cart business. Read that sentence twice. Now, I may have hated the epilogue with a passion, but if I had the choice, I’d keep the whole thing for this one shining moment.
Elyon – Alois Trancy (Kuroshitsuji II)
Brief description: A psychopathic shouta who wears flamboyant outfits and goes out of his way to make other people unhappy. The truth, however, is that underneath his confident facade is a miserable, used up little boy clinging to Claude with the delusion that he’s loved. He serves as Ciel’s rival in the second season.
-I swear I’m not a pedo (…even though I did watch Boku No Pico once…)
-There’s something very tragic about his character that just made me bawl my eyes out which, as I’ve mentioned, is extremely rare (because I have no soul.) Alois is absolutely pathetic, but so moved was I by his desperate pleas for love and acceptance that I came to adore his character over the course of Kuroshitsuji II more than I had expected to (I just….I just want to give him a big ol’ hug…..) I’m a sucker for these little emo characters that JUST WANT TO BE LOVED!!
-Not to mention, psychos happen to be my thing. The crazier they are the more I love them, and Alois is definitely nuts.
Renn – Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)
Brief description: Deep space bounty-hunter. Sees just the present in his right eye and just the past in his left. Can be goofy, sarcastic, serious, badass, and everything in between. Complex and ambiguous from his conception to the end… much like the great series Cowboy Bebop itself.
-Spike’s so iconic at this point, there’s not much to say rather than “Watch Cowboy Bebop,” but I’ll run my mouth with two points anyway. 1. Makes cancer sticks look cool. 2.”Bang.” Well said.
Elyon – Kyon (Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu)
Brief description: Cynical and sarcastic member of Haruhi’s SOS Brigade and the only normal human being. He’s somehow always dragged into Haruhi’s shenanigans. I also love him more than Renn. Hahahahahahahahaha!
-He told off Haruhi, and he told her off good. The tyrannical bitchdere…ACTUALLY GOT TOLD OFF! That right there makes him amazing.
-To be honest, it was really his sarcastic remarks and consistently witty dialogue that made the Haruhi franchise bearable. Without him, I wouldn’t have been able to deal with Haruhi’s incessant self-centered whining.
PICSPAM [You lucky Kyon fans get double the spam!]
Renn – Ginko (Mushishi)
Brief description: Competent, fiercely intelligent, and unceasingly calm and collected mushishi who, by nature of his occupation, exterminates the supernatural for a living. Almost always remains cool and detached, but always tries his best to help people in need.
-Ginko is the perfect, quiet hero for the near-perfect, beautiful series he resides in. He’s interesting and smart and a real adult–not something you can say about many protagonists. And he may be a bit sly, but he’s ultimately a very good, very kind dude who respects both the world he lives in and the beings (people and mushi alike) who reside there with him. In short, he beats fellow traveler Kino in badassery, and there’s no higher compliment than that.
Elyon – Izaya Orihara (Durarara!!)
Brief description: An infamous information broker who can manipulate an entire city like puppets on his own personal stage. He loves all humans with the exception of Shizuo Hiewajima. So he says. But every fujoshi on the planet will argue otherwise.
-Predictable choice for number 1? Ehh, maybe, but it can’t be helped. Before I go stepping on anyone’s cornflakes, let it just be known that Overcooled is the #1 Izaya fan around these parts, and my love for him pales in comparison.
-So what’s to like about Izaya? Obviously it’s because his hobbies are just so wholesome and productive. He’s a kind and loving individual who wants the best for the humans he adores. Obviously.
-But seriously, there’s the cellphone stomping, head shaving, and mindscrewing that make him so…delightfully evil (Oddly enough, that’s also how I describe Kyuubey,) Every time I saw him spinning on his chair with a grin on his face after having just spread chaos and discord, I couldn’t help but grin with him. He genuinely amused me, and it’s not often that I can say that. Not to mention, how awesome is it to have an entire city under your thumb?
-Also, I have an Izaya dakimakura pillow. It’s my only friend. ;__;
Renn – Kamina (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
Brief description: True hero of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Speaks the iconic phrases, “YOUR DRILL IS THE DRILL THAT WILL PIERCE THE HEAVEN,” “BELIEVE IN THE YOU THAT BELIEVES IN YOURSELF,” “WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!” Not even CAPS can do them justice. Not the way Kamina can.
-Sure, Simon’s a better bet in real life, and he grows taller than Kamina by the end, getting those sunglasses to boot, but screw that. Kamina bags the hotter chick, screams the cooler catch phrases, and SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER in episode eight only to SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER in episode twenty-six. Yeah, that’s right, Kamina is the man.
-Before Kamina, I thought of anime as mere cartoons. Cartoons watched by geeks and hipsters and my cute but nerdy little sister and her friends. Then I saw the first episode of Gurren Lagann and fell further in the madness than anyone I actually know. Couldn’t have been anyone else.
There’s a bit of history behind this post. Elyon did a great “Top 10 Bishounen” draft, but it was tragically wiped before it was ever posted. Since I love reading lists, I read it beforehand
like a major creeper. I really liked it, but it hardly resembled my own list; after all, I prefer older, manlier leads (with an injection of FABULOUS) while she likes pretty-boy villains. And then, I realized, it’d be even more fun if I got to egotistically talk about myself compare my list and her list with the public!
Also, some caps taken by me, but most are ripped from the good folks at Random Curiosity. And Elyon, I’m willing to be your friend along with your Izaya pillow cover. Just admit that Kuranosuke is the better man.
Renn’s List Abridged
It’s almost a good thing that the original post got wiped off the face of the earth since I’ve changed my mind like 5 times since then. Just you wait- a week from now I’ll have a totally new set of favorites. Anyone who frequents my MAL
(lolnobody) can probably tell you I’m so bipolar with my favorite characters that sometimes I change them 3 times in one day.
Another reason why I’m glad it was terminated is because I got the opportunity to write this post with Renn, which was a lot of fun! Our tastes are so different (Renn’s are much more manly men~), but at least we can agree on how awesome Kyon is. There were moments where I twitched (“Kamina bags the hotter chick.” LIES!!!!!!!!!!!), but it’s that difference in preference that made this post more interesting. Anyone who enjoyed reading this list can look forward to a “Top 10 Anime Females” list in the future too, which I’m admittedly a bit more enthusiastic about since, for some odd reason, the majority of my favorite characters are girls. So until then, thanks for reading! (I almost said “Ja ne~”, but that’s Kyokai’s trademark. ;D )
Side note: I have a feeling if we had been a part of SJ while Kuragehime was still airing, we would have had one hell of a shipping war. Because those are srs bsns you know. (SHUU FTW! )
Elyon’s List Abridged
So, is your list more like Elyon or Renn’s? Feel free to share your own list in the comments!
Thanks for reading! See you with the ladies!