Ask anyone and they’ll agree, our teen years can be a stressful time. They’re filled with adventure, transformation, and the hope of a better future even just going to school every day. Any age can be difficult when you’re fighting monsters, working a job, or trying to balance school and the supernatural! Yet these 16-year-old troopers make it happen. Here are the top 10 16-year-old anime characters to give us the inspiration to keep going!
10. Tohru Honda - Fruits Basket 1st Season
With the reboot of Fruits Basket, a new generation got to learn about the mysteriously yet cutely cursed Soma family alongside one of the most wholesome protagonists ever. Tohru is an absolute delight, being both kind and almost maddeningly patient while also sticking to her convictions and being very loyal. She’s gone through some pretty traumatizing stuff so perhaps that’s why her classmates turning into animals isn’t weird enough to send her away. Of course, that all pales in comparison to their toxic family dynamics. Most 16-year olds wouldn’t be able to roll with the punches as gracefully as Tohru can!
9. Ai Mizuno – Zombieland Saga (Zombie Land Saga)
Most teens go through the same worries and issues that come with that delicate age, but very few have to deal with them as a zombie! As a 16-year-old zombie, Ai continues living(?) but not aging. Imagine trying to come to terms with being a zombie and also being turned into an idol of a small town! Thankfully, she has some experience from her time as a human to look back on, but nothing quite prepares you to be a zombie performer. Even when she literally works her limbs off, Ai is always striving to improve herself.
8. Yuu Nishinoya – Haikyuu!!
You’d be hard-pressed to find any guy in Haikyuu!! that isn’t 100% lovable but Yuu has enjoyed popularity since the season’s beginning. At just 16 years old, his athleticism and dependability rival the flashier characters. He’s so high-energy that you’d think he’d get wrapped up in his emotions like Kageyama or Ryuunosuke but he manages to keep a cool head and offer amazing advice. Always there when you need him, Yuu is a 16-year-old that can both act his age and be the support you need when things seem too daunting.
7. Tsukasa Yuzaki – Tonikaku Kawaii (TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You)
Marriage is a huge obligation and not a vow that should be taken lightly. Yet at the tender age of 16, Tsukasa seems ready and excited to settle down! She’s super capable and mature that you can easily forget she’s only 16. That is until the topic of kissing her husband comes up and she blushes shyly! But beyond incredible homemaking skills, Tsukasa has some great secret and hinted-at abilities that show she is no ordinary 16-year-old. Beyond the ability to read ancient texts and heal incredibly quickly, her easy-going nature makes her a remarkable young lady!
6. Izuku Midoriya – Boku no Hero Academia 4th Season (My Hero Academia 4th Season)
Midoriya (Deku) Izuku has gone through a lot in his time as an aspiring hero and turning sweet 16 did little to make him feel like he was more in control. However, by season 4, Deku has not only grown older, but wiser and more confident as well. Boku no Hero Academia is extremely popular for both its fantastical story and its relatable characters of all ages. Now that he must take on a new adversary to protect a young girl, it’s time for Deku to grow into the hero he knows he can be!
5. Shinpachi Shimura - Gintama
After a few years as a 16-year-old, Shinpachi has got it down. From following the will of his older sister to managing Gin’s terrible temper and reigning in Kagura’s destructive tendencies, Shinpachi has a lot to do! Yet even in this insane environment of samurai and aliens, Shinpachi is still a relatable 16-year-old. He still has to answer to his older sister, he obsesses over his favorite idol, and works at a job that doesn’t pay him enough for all he’s expected to do. One of the great things about Gintama is that no matter how long it runs, you won’t be able to predict the future. And even though he’s not gifted with super strength or fighting abilities, his relentless determination and resourcefulness allow him to hold his own against some crazy opponents and often his own allies. Let’s hear it for Shinpachi doing his best time after time!
4. Kohaku – Dr. Stone
Both beauty and brawn, Kohaku is one of Senku’s trusted allies in bringing the world back to its former glory. After most of humanity was petrified and turned to stone, science is now akin to magic. Kohaku is understandably wary of strangers but is intrigued by Senku’s fascination and devotion to science. They both understand the value of putting off gratification for an even better reward, something not all humans come to value. For having lived her life in a primitive village, Kohaku is dependable, intelligent, and surprisingly adaptable even in the face of new inventions and ways of thinking.
3. Eren Yeager – Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 (Attack on Titan Season 3)
If you’ve followed Eren’s story from the time he was 15, you know his life hasn’t gotten much better at 16. By season 3, it’s revealed that Titans are not perhaps the greatest threat to his and his people’s safety. With the horrible truth of the depravity of man weighing on him mentally and the physical toll of the constant, dangerous battles with titans, Eren has far more to deal with than any 16-year-old should.
Heck, a lot of us would probably have given up if faced with what Eren went through. Gruesomely murdered mother and estranged father, fallen comrades, and untrustworthy higherups that would experiment on him as quickly as kill him. Being so young doesn’t protect him from being used and hunted and he is forced to grow up much faster than he should. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he channels his hatred and rage into a fierce desire to protect what little he has left.
2. Zenitsu Agatsuma – Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
Zenitsu isn’t the youngest demon slayer out there but he is perhaps the one that acts the most his age. At just 16, he’s tasked with defeating sinister, cruel demons that would make a grown man weep. We can’t blame him for wanting a simple, safe life with a wife and no demons anywhere near him! Most 16-year-olds just aren’t ready for that sort of commitment and dangerous lifestyle that comes with battling evil creatures. Blaming himself for being weak and a coward, if Zenitsu never saw another demon it would still be too soon.
There’s more to Zenitsu than even he himself knows. He often utilizes his incredible sense of smell and speed to avoid potential danger and better run away. But beyond being an already extraordinary fighter, his true potential is unlocked when he faints. That’s right, when Zenitsu is so scared and overwhelmed that he passes out, he becomes an incredible force to reckon with on just instinct and muscle memory. Many people might joke that a 16-year-old’s greatest skill is sleeping but with Zenitsu, he takes it to a whole new level!
1. Touka Kirishima – Tokyo Ghoul
It’s unsurprising when someone loses a loved one at an early age and has anger and abandonment issues as a result. But it’s beautiful to meet someone that struggles through their realistic pain and is still kind and capable. Touka has faced a lifetime of persecution that ultimately led to her parents’ deaths. While she’s incapable of ignoring injustice to ghouls, she still greatly desires humans and ghouls to coexist.
Teenagers are known for their tempers and Touka is no exception. She’s incredibly responsible and justice-oriented, but only so much can be expected of her. She has the same fears as others her age of not being able to fit in and being abandoned by those they love on top of her unique circumstances as a ghoul being hunted by the government. Pretty, powerful, and perfectly flawed, Touka is our number one 16-year-old just trying to make it in a harsh world. Let’s hope she never loses her smile at any age!
Maybe you’re 16 yourself and want to see characters with similar struggles to your own at this point in your life. Maybe you just appreciate the delicate age and all the growth that comes around that time. In either case, it’s incredible to see all these different 16-year-old characters and how similar yet unique they are. Sharing a fighting spirit and the desire to see justice, these ten 16-year-olds show us greatness can come at any age!