Eve no Jikan
Android characters have long been an essential part of many anime series. With their human-like appearance, individual personalities, and occasional ability to feel or learn to feel emotion, android characters often make us question the immutability of human nature. What's more, watching their struggles as they try to fit into society, whilst being significantly different from real people, offers comfort for those viewers who may feel they differ from the norm. Androids also have the effect of pulling us into a world that may not be all that far off, when you consider our rapidly-advancing technology, especially in regards to Artificial Intelligence.
With this in mind, we've assembled this list of the top ten android characters in anime, from a range of time periods and genres. Did your favourite make the list?
10. Monochrome from Miss Monochrome
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2013 - December 2013
No anime list could be complete without an adorable idol! Enter Miss Monochrome: an aspiring android idol determined to make it big in the music world. However, the road to fame isn't easy, and after being tricked out of all her money by her former manager, Monochrome is sadly stuck working in a convenience store.
Although created and played by much-loved voice actor Yui Horie, Miss Monochrome is more than just a great voice. Watching her build relationships with those around her, and chasing after a fateful promise from her past is bound to give any viewer a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
9. Clear from DRAMAtical Murder
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
Our third character in the list comes from the anime adaptation of internationally-popular Boy's Love game DRAMAtical Murder. He might look like your regular weirdo what with that gas mask covering his face and a lab coat with Mary Poppins-esque pockets, but behind all of that he has a heart of gold (and the face of a true bishounen!).
Following his first appearance when he falls from the sky and his various adventures following around his "Master" Aoba Seragaki, Clear is always fun to watch. His childish innocence regarding the world makes for an interesting clash with his high-level fighting skills, and the way he cares for his comrades is nothing short of adorable. With a stunning singing voice to boot, this particular android clearly (sorry) deserves to make the list.
8. Tres Iqus from Trinity Blood
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2005 - October 2005
Next we have an android that was built for battle. Both a Catholic priest and an AX Agent, Trinity Blood's Tres is quite literally a fighting machine, able to carry out any mission with a calm demeanour. Also known as Gunslinger, Father Tres blesses Trinity Blood viewers with intense action scenes that leave us praying for more.
Tres' use of language reflects the fact he isn't human, preferring to use military-esque, emotionless terminology in lieu of natural-sounding conversation. Although this may make him seem unfeeling at first, viewers soon learn that he is loyal to a fault, and even capable of deeper emotions such as love. Although he may deny his own humanity, viewers are bound to see him as more man than machine.
7. Isla from Plastic Memories
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2015 - June 2015
In the future, people live side by side with Giftia, androids that resemble humans in every way possible - they even possess emotions! However, there's just one catch: their limited lifespan. Once this has passed, they become "Wanderers" - extremely powerful but uncontrollable. Isla is just one of these Giftia, working for SAI Corporation's Terminal Service, who deal in recovering Giftia before their lifespan ends.
Due to her clumsy nature, Isla is at first given little responsibility. However, when partnered up with newbie Tsugasa Mizugaki, she goes back out into the field for the first time in years. Whilst she is at first distant and cold, she slowly opens up and allows herself to feel the emotions she has denied herself for so long. Plastic Memories would not be such a touching series without this particular android.
6. Tama from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 - March 2010
Created by Professor Hayashi in order to keep his sickly daughter company, Tama became able to feel human emotion due to a terrible experiment in which the professor tried implant said daughter's personality into Tama, costing his daughter her life.
Although abandoned, Tama (or what's was left of her, in any case) is picked up by Gintoki, and ends up spending a lot of time at his Yorozura. Eventually, Tama puts her past behind her, and starts working at Otose's Snack House, allowing her to slowly learn more and more through her interactions with various people. Although she is still limited in her understanding due to her android status, her warm personality and determination to help others make her wonderful to watch.
5. Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Episodes: 14
- Aired: April 2006 - July 2006
She may look like your everyday high school girl, but Yuki Nagato is a humanoid interface, created to observe human activity on Earth and in particular protagonist Haruhi Suzumiya. Although she is capable of human emotion, Yuki struggles to understand feelings and rarely expresses them. In fact, she rarely expresses anything, preferring to keep her interactions with other characters short and simple.
But behind Yuki's stoic personality lie intense supernatural powers and superhuman intelligence, allowing her to quickly assess and defeat any opponents, and making her a reliable member of the SOS Brigade. She also isn't as cold as she may seem at first. As the series progresses, Yuki slowly becomes more expressive, proving herself to be a trustworthy, caring character and more than worthy of fifth place on our android list.
4. Nano Shinonome from Nichijou
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2011 - September 2011
Next up is Nano Shinonome from everyone's favourite not-so-ordinary slice of life anime, Nichijou. Built by child Professor Hakase Shinonome, Nano has the appearance of your everyday schoolgirl - or at least she would, if it weren't for the rather large yet completely useless key protruding from her back.
Unlike the more serious characters in this list, Nano provides a joyous sense of comic relief. Waiting to see which of her limbs will suddenly fall off next to reveal one of the Professor's new inventions is fun enough, but Nano's cute reactions and determination to be seen as a regular high school girl will have you giggling for sure.
3. Cell from Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 291
- Aired: April 1989 - January 1996
Sometimes bad guys make the best characters. Especially when they're as epic as "perfect warrior" and all-round evildoer Cell from world-famous masterpiece Dragon Ball Z. The ultimate combination of computer and cloning, Cell is an amalgamation of the cells and personalities of other characters in the series, which in an odd way serves to make him completely unique.
Made by evil scientist Doctor Gero, Cell also has a unique way of developing his own character, namely through time travel and absorbing his enemies. What better android character could there be than a sentient deadly weapon from an ultimate classic anime?
2. Chii from Chobits
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2003 - September 2002
When Hideki Motosuwa finds a Persocom, an android that doubles up as a fully-functioning computer, in the trash, he counts his lucky stars. But why would anyone throw away such a cute computer? Maybe it's the fact she can only say "Chii"? Or maybe it's because she might be a Chobits, a legendary Persocom said to be capable of human emotions?
No matter the reason, Chii is well-loved by viewers not only for her adorable appearance, but the way her character develops throughout the series. Watching her take tiny steps forward as Hideki teaches her how to do simple tasks and speak, and seeing her learn and grow as a person - or rather, android - and is a joy in itself.
1. Astro Boy from Astro Boy
- Episodes: 193
- Aired: January 1963 - December 1966
From the genius known as the "God of Manga" Osamu Tezuka comes this classic title, and the original android protagonist. Also known as Tetsuwan Atom in Japanese, Astro Boy was created by Doctor Tenma to replace his son who passed away. Although due to multiple series he travels through many different storylines to get there, Astro always ends up as a hero for justice, fighting evil across the world.
Arguably the starting point for all anime and with multiple remakes and comebacks, Astro Boy has stood the test of time as the most popular android character, earning him the number one spot in this list.
There you have it, the top 10 android anime characters! With anime series ranging from oldies-but-goodies to this years' new releases, these characters have managed to span over forty years of anime, showcasing just how memorable many of them are. Whether you're into idol girls, fighter guys, baddies or heroes, there should be an android for you on this list.
So, did we cover all your favourites? Or is there someone you think could beat them all to the top spot? Let us know in the comments below!