25 Best Anime Protagonists of All Time

Best Anime Protagonists

Who is the best anime character for you? Many anime fans associate the name of the protagonist with an anime title. There are various attractive characters in addition to a main character in popular anime, but I’d like to focus on the protagonists including both male and female characters.

Here is the list of 25 best anime protagonists of all time, which covers the famous powerful heroes and the adorable girl characters.

<<Check out the new best anime of 2022 for every anime lover!>>

25. Saitama (One-Punch Man)

Saitama (One-Punch Man)
Saitama (One-Punch Man)/©ONE・村田雄介/集英社・ヒーロー協会本部

Saitama (サイタマ), the hero protagonist in One-Punch Man, is a 25-year-old bald-head man. The most powerful character in One-Punch Man has the overwhelming power to beat any enemies with a single punch, which he gains by a daily training of 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats and 10 km running everyday. He never cares about his reputation as a hero unlike many other heroes.

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24. Nadeshiko Kagamihara (Laid-Back Camp)

Nadeshiko Kagamihara (Laid-Back Camp)
Nadeshiko Kagamihara (Laid-Back Camp)/©あfろ・芳文社/野外活動委員会

Nadeshiko Kagamihara (各務原なでしこ) is one of the female protagonists in the slice-of-life anime series Laid-Back Camp. The high school girl with pink-colored hair is active, innocent, kind and mindful of others. She is good at cooking and develops a fondness for camping joining the school Outdoor Activities Club.

23. Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)

Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)
Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)/©米スタジオ・Boichi/集英社・Dr.STONE製作委員会

Senku Ishigami (石神千空) is the protagonist of the sci-fi adventure anime series Dr. Stone. The 16-year-old boy with silver hair has liked science and other fields around it and gained a  deep scientific understanding. The inquisitive genius survives in the Stone World, where the civilization is completely lost, using his various scientific knowledge.

▽Check the following story earlier than the new anime season’s coming!▽

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22. Denji (Chainsaw Man)

Denji (Chainsaw Man)
Denji (Chainsaw Man)/©藤本タツキ/集英社・MAPPA

Denji (デンジ) is the antihero of the hottest manga and anime series Chainsaw Man. The extremely-poor boy gets the power to transform himself into the Chainsaw Man by incorporating his pet dog, which is the Chainsaw Devil, into his body. He works as a Devil Hunter with his self-assured personality, seized by a desire to maintain a certain level of life.

21. Kiyotaka Ayanokoji (Classroom of the Elite)

Kiyotaka Ayanokoji (Classroom of the Elite)
Kiyotaka Ayanokoji (Classroom of the Elite)/©衣笠彰梧・KADOKAWA刊/ようこそ実力至上主義の教室へ製作委員会

Kiyotaka Ayanokoji (綾小路清隆) is the coolest protagonist in the popular light novel and anime series Classroom of the Elite. He apparently looks a nondescript and less-communicative character in his class of the high school, however, he has incredibly high athletic and scholastic abilities from a secret background. He moves behind the class to control his classmates and opposite characters.

20. Yui Hirasawa (K-On!)

Yui Hirasawa (K-on!)
Yui Hirasawa (K-on!)/©かきふらい・芳文社/桜高軽音部

Yui Hirasawa (平沢唯) is the female protagonist in the slice-of-life anime series K-on! while there are four other main characters, who form the Light Music Club in the high school. She is an active, cheerful, fearless and sympathetic girl, taken into care by her dependable younger sister Ui in a daily basis. She practice very hard to get better at playing guitar as a beginner.

19. Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)

Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)
Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)/©和月伸宏/集英社・フジテレビ・アニプレックス

Kenshin Himura (緋村剣心) is the Samurai protagonist in the classic adventure anime Rurouni Kenshin. The red-haired man with a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek has a tranquil flow of life roaming across the nation while he used to be greatly feared as the most strongest and cruelest Samurai in the end of the Edo period.

18. Inuyasha (Inuyasha)

Inuyasha (Inuyasha)
Inuyasha (Inuyasha)/©高橋留美子/小学館・読売テレビ・サンライズ 2000

Inuyasha (犬夜叉) is the titular protagonist of the fantasy adventure manga and anime series Inuyasha. The 200 years old half-human, half-Yokai (Japanese demon), who looks around 15-year-old man, is easily recognized by his long silver hair and red Kimono. He is an an aggressive type but is kind and considerate at heart. He fights against enemies with his sharp claws and a large sword called Tessaiga.

17. Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)

Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)
Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)/©暁佳奈・京都アニメーション/ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン製作委員会

Violet Evergarden (ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン) is the titular female protagonist in the modern coming-of-age light novel and anime series Violet Evergarden. The young-looking blonde girl with brightly blue eyes works as an Auto Memory Doll, who is a kind of ghost writers for those who cannot write or express their feelings well. Through the job, she is searching for the meaning of “I love you” that is the word her beloved Major Gilbert leaves to her during the war. She lives with silver prosthetic arms since she fights as an army soldier in the war and loses her arms there.

16. Giorno Giovanna (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)

Giorno Giovanna (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
Giorno Giovanna (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)/©LUCKY LAND COMMUNICATIONS/集英社・ジョジョの奇妙な冒険GW製作委員会

Giorno Giovanna (ジョルノ・ジョバァーナ) is the protagonist in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, the fifth part of the famous Hirohiko Araki’s manga and anime series. The 15-year-old boy with golden hair is the son of Dio Brando, who is the main antagonist in the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series. The righteous and courageous man joins the Neapolitan gang organization Passione to eliminate their crimes from inside. He uses a humanoid Stand named Gold Experience that gives life energy to anything he touches.

15. Subaru Natsuki (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-)

Subaru Natsuki (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-)
Subaru Natsuki (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-)/©長月達平・株式会社KADOKAWA刊/Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活1製作委員会

Subaru Natsuki (ナツキ・スバル) is the main male character in the Isekai light novel and anime series Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-. The undistinguished 17-year-old boy is suddenly sent to the fantasy world, and he helps the heroine Emilia using his special ability called Shinimodori (return by death). He copes with difficult times for the hundredth time with a strong sense of responsibility incorporating humor into every scene.

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14. Yuji Itadori (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Yuji Itadori (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Yuji Itadori (Jujutsu Kaisen)/©芥見下々/集英社・呪術廻戦製作委員会

Yuji Itadori (虎杖悠仁) is the protagonist in the modern dark-fantasy manga and anime series Jujutsu Kaisen. He is a normal high school student with the lively and friendly personality. In addition to the inherent superhuman athletic abilities, he gets the cursed energy to fight against Curses by taking in a finger of Ryomen Sukuna that is the king of Curses. He is raised by his deceased grandfather instead of parents and cherishes his last words to help people.

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13. Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)

Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)
Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)/©諫山創・講談社/「進撃の巨人」製作委員会

Eren Yeager (エレン・イェーガー) is the protagonist in the popular action dark-fantasy anime series Attack on Titan. The 15-year-old boy joins the Survey Corps to eliminate the Titans since his mother is killed by them. He battles against the Titans with other Survey Corps members and his brave and passionate personality.

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12. Howl Jenkins Pendragon (Howl’s Moving Castle)

Howl (Howl's Moving Castle)
Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle)

Howl Jenkins Pendragon (ハウル・ジェンキンス・ペンドラゴン) is the protagonist of the 2004 Studio Ghibli movie Howl’s Moving Castle. The young wizard is wonderfully talented and has steady calmness while there are wimpiness and immatureness in his personality. He is growing up with the residents in the moving castle including the heroine Sophie and his apprentice Markl.

11. Kirito/Kazuto Kirigaya (Sword Art Online)

Kirito/Kazuto Kirigaya (Sword Art Online)
Kirito/Kazuto Kirigaya (Sword Art Online)/©諫山創・講談社/「進撃の巨人」製作委員会

Kazuto Kirigaya (桐ヶ谷和人), who is usually called Kirito (キリト), is the protagonist in the popular light novel and anime franchise Sword Art Online. The 14-year-old boy is trapped in the virtual reality MMORPG called Sword Art Online and becomes famous as the Black Swordsman, who fights with dual swords. He meets the heroine Asuna Yuki first in the game world. The earnest young boy is trusted by many friends and family. He loses his parents in his childhood but now lives with his sister-in-law named Yuzuha.

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10. Gon Freecss (Hunter x Hunter)

Gon Freecss (Hunter x Hunter)
Gon Freecss (Hunter x Hunter)/©POT(冨樫義博)1998年-2011年 ©VAP・日本テレビ・集英社・マッドハウス

Gon Freecss (ゴン=フリークス) is the protagonist in the adventure manga and anime series Hunter x Hunter. The innocent teenager becomes a licensed Hunter to look for his disappeared father Ging Freecss. The spiky-haired boy wearing a green jacket and shorts is loved by his family and friends including other main characters Killua and Kurapika. He grows up training to control his enhanced Nen with his curious and passionate personality.

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9. Porco Rosso (Porco Rosso)

Porco Rosso (Porco Rosso)
Porco Rosso (Porco Rosso)

Porco Rosso (ポルコ・ロッソ) is the protagonist character in the classic Hayao Miyazaki movie Porco Rosso. Porco makes a living as a bounty hunter fighting against air pirates in the Adriatic Sea, who is also known as the ace pilot of the Italian Air Force during World War I. The pig-shaped man pilots his beloved cardinal red seaplane, who is favored by a heroine Madame Gina and a young girl Fio.

8. Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)/©荒川弘/鋼の錬金術師製作委員会

Edward Elric (エドワード・エルリック) is the protagonist of the dark-fantasy anime Fullmetal Alchemist. The 15-year-old alchemy genius with blond hair has his younger brother Alphonse. Edward lives with his left prosthetic leg and right artificial arm since he loses his leg and arm in compensation for the taboo broken to try to revive their dead mother with alchemy while Alphonse loses his entire body. The youngest State Alchemist expresses his talent fully, however, he worries about his shorter height than average. He is very compassionate for his brother and his childhood friend Winry.

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7. Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)/©カラー

Shinji Ikari (碇シンジ) is the central protagonist in the Neon Genesis Evangelion series including the remake movies Rebuild of Evangelion. The 14-year-old boy is designated as a pilot of Evangelion Unit-01 by his father Gendo, who is the commander of NERV. He is fragile, pure-hearted and introversive but gets stronger while he meets other children pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley.

6. Koyomi Araragi (Monogatari Series)

Koyomi Araragi (Monogatari Series)
Koyomi Araragi (Monogatari Series)/©西尾維新/講談社・アニプレックス・シャフト

Koyomi Araragi (阿良々木暦) is the only male main character in Monogatari Series including the afirst anime series Bakemonogatari and the anime movies Kizumonogatari. The third-grade high schooler is transformed into a vampire by the king of Kaii (apparitions) named Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade. The passionate boy has a huge sense of justice and helps heroines who are involved in apparition problems. He has his parents of police officers and two younger sisiters Karen and Tsukihi. He falls behind his academic performance except mathematics. The humorous protagonist is also depicted as a kind of pervert.

5. Chihiro Ogino/Sen (Spirited Away)

Chihiro Ogino/Sen (Spirited Away)
Chihiro Ogino/Sen (Spirited Away)

Chihiro Ogino (荻野千尋), who is also known as Sen (千), is the female protagonist of the renowned Studio Ghibli movie Spirited Away. The 10-year-old girl, who is totally dependent on her parents, is forced to work at a bathhouse in the fantasy world to help her parents who are transformed into pigs by the bathhouse’s owner witch Yubaba. The honest girl gets more and more patient and strong-willed through the works and the interaction with the colleagues.

4. Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)

Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)/©吾峠呼世晴/集英社・アニプレックス・ufotable

Tanjiro Kamado (竈門炭治郎) is the main protagonist of the modern dark-fantasy adventure manga and anime series Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, who is depicted as the young boy ranging in age from 13 to 15 in the whole story. The highly-responsible teenager decides to become a strong Demon Slayer with a strong will since his family is killed by a demon and his only survived sister Nezuko is transformed into a demon.

Tanjiro, who is easily distinguished by a facial scar in his forehead and Hanafuda-designed earrings, develops his sword skills with Water Breathing Style, supported by a master Sakonji Urokodaki and the strongest combatants called Hashira. He always shows a friendly and considerate attitude to his friends, family and anyone else he meets.

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3. Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)

Nausicaä (ナウシカ) is the female protagonist of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the earliest masterpiece of Hayao Miyazaki. The 16 years old girl with her beloved fox-squirrel Teto on her shoulder is the princess of the Valley of the Wind.

She is trusted by the people throughout the kingdom for her kindness, sympathy for them and strong leadership. She makes a great effort to mediate a compromise between humans and nature, communicating with people, animals and even the insects in the Toxic Jungle.

2. Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)
Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)/©岸本斉史 スコット/集英社・テレビ東京・ぴえろ

Naruto Uzumaki (うずまきナルト) is the main hero of the worldly famous adventure manga and anime series Naruto. His story begins as an inferior 12-year-old Ninja student who loses his parents in his childhood and falls behind in his academic and fighting performances. However, he gradually grows up in Ninja skills and mentality due to his extremely patient and competitive personality and supports by his teacher Kakashi Hatake and other superior masters.

He likes a heroine Sakura and looks on Sasuke as his rival who Sakura has affection for. The straightforward boy decides to become the leader of the village called Hokage and fights for the village using his specialities such as the Shadow Clone Technique and the Rasengan.

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1. Son Goku (Dragon Ball)

Son Goku (Dragon Ball)
Son Goku (Dragon Ball)/©バードスタジオ/集英社・フジテレビ・東映アニメーション

Son Goku (孫悟空), one of the most famous and popular characters worldwide, is the protagonist in the legendary Dragon Ball franchise. His adventure starts in search of the seven Dragon Balls with Bulma when he is 12 years old. He grows up and develops his martial-arts skills training under Master Roshi, Karin and so on.

It is found that his birth name as a Saiyan is Kakarot by other Saiyans like Vegeta, and Goku finally awakens his untapped power that allows him to transform into the Super Saiyan with golden-blond hair. He fights against various characters using his special techniques including Kamehameha, Instantaneous Movement and Energy Sphere. The innocent and cheerful boy marries Chichi, the princess of Fire Mountain, and has two sons named Gohan and Goten.

Son Goku has been the most beloved as the best anime protagonist by anime fans all over the world for a long time because of his best-loved personality, strength, and coolest battle techniques.


▽Check out the list of best new anime series released in 2022, too!▽

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Did you find the best anime protagonist for you above? I’d like to list over 100 names of anime protagonists honestly, so it is quite difficult to narrow down the list. This Best Protagonist list will be updated as more attractive main characters newly show up in the future.

▽How about best heroines and supporting characters in anime?▽

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