Top 10 Badass Male Characters in Anime

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Since the dawn of time, man has roamed the Earth in search of badassery to challenge themselves with. Flexing their glorious pecks glistening with sweat in the sunlight, these men must face harsh scrutiny as all will be laid bare in order to truly discover who will obtain the coveted title of “Most Badass Anime Dude”.

It will take more than just muscles to prove one’s willingness to kick butt. A fierce desire and personal apology must provide strength and motivation or else all that punching and trash talk mean nothing. It was a rough road, but here are the rankings given after much deliberation.

Warning!! There are Spoilers!!

10. Vegeta from Dragonball Z

  • Episodes: 291
  • Aired: April 1989 – January 1996

With an entire cast filled with crazy strong characters, the Saiyans Prince definitely stands out if we aren’t talking about height. Seeing as he is the only person with half a brain in the series able to think ahead, Vegeta makes a number of personal strides throughout the series that show he is capable of growing as a human being. His endless feud with Goku will never die though and sometimes this mars his judgment, but everyone has their flaws.

Vegeta has had a hard life. His entire planet was destroyed by Frieza and as a result, he has become quite bitter towards the world. He tries to compensate for his loss through his incredible pride for the Saiyan race leading him to be quite arrogant. When he first comes to Earth, he is absolutely repulsed, but through interactions with other characters, Vegeta begins to realize that life on Earth isn't so bad.

As a fighter, Vegeta has also evolved. During the Frieza saga, Vegeta murdered anything and everything without mercy or regret. He was a straight cold-blooded killer, until his defeat by Frieza where he breaks down and begins to second-guess himself and his previous way of life. From this point on, Vegeta begins to soften up but can still kick some major ass, as demonstrated with his fight against Majin Buu.


9. Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!!

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: January 2010 – June 2010

Only this man can simultaneously bring people to tears while also making them wet their pants. As a victim to his horrible temper, Shizuo can’t stand violence at heart and seeks to control his destructive outbursts that lead to massive destruction around Ikebukuro. He adores his kid brother and seeks to be more like him. Unfortunately, he does not have that luxury since Izaya seeks to make Shizuo’s life a living hell.

Since a young age, Shizuo was prone to destroy things when his temper flared up. It was only when a kind woman gave him milk that he was placated, but when he found she was being extorted for money, he blew up and ended up injuring her in his wrath. Since then, Shizuo has felt absolutely horrible and has sought to control his massive outbursts of strength thanks to adrenaline rushes linked to his anger.

In raw strength, Shizuo is almost unmatched. He can often be seen chucking vending machines towards Izaya whenever he makes an appearance in Ikebukuro. One time in particular, Shizuo dismantled a large road sign and used it as a scythe in order to cut a car in half. He also fought off a horde of people controlled by a bloodthirsty, love sword while being stabbed repeatedly. When Shizuo fights, he loses the feeling of pain and is indestructible to Izaya chagrin.


8. Gendou Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: October 1995 – March 1996

Gendou is a horrible person in every way imaginable. When his wife died, he burned all evidence of her and then secretly stole the body for genetic experimentation. The only family he had left was Shinji, his son, who he pretty much completely abandoned until he found some sort of use for him. It’s very hard to think of Gendou as an actual human being, but underneath the emotional void lies someone who is cunning, cold, and calculating. He isn’t afraid to make difficult decisions in order to “save” the world.

Gendou’s only weakness manifests in Rei, a biological clone of his wife. His strange attachment to a prepubescent copy of his spouse begs the question; does he love Rei more than his wife? Perhaps the truth will never be found. Rei in turn develops feelings for Shinji instead, allowing him to decide the fate of man, not Gendou.

Gendou has no real physical prowess to speak of, but his presence is commanding. He does not joke or take anything lightly, therefore, Gendou is all business, all the time. His main methods of plot execution lie in his ability to manipulate those around him, particularly Shinji, Ritsuko’s mother, and Ritsuko herself. Not until it is too late, does Shinji and Ritsuko break out of his spell.

But in the end, Ritsuko’s mother (now a magi), betrays her only daughter in favor of Gendou. Gendou’s ambition knows no limits and is void of compassion making him especially dangerous to those that wish to stop him.


7. Nicolas Brown from Gangsta.

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2015 – ongoing

Born to a tagged prostitute and a West Gate mercenary, who thought it easier to murder his mother and enslave his son, Nicolas was born with the cards stacked against him. In addition to his horrible family life, Nicolas is deaf and has had to learn how to communicate and kill with both his hearing disability and his dependence on the Celebrer he needs to survive. It wasn’t until he was assigned to protect a young Worwick, that his luck begins to change. Worwick begins to teach him basic reading and writing skills, as well as, sign language.

Nicolas is a killing machine who murdered Worwick’s family in cold blood after witnessing Worwick’s father put out a cigarette in his son’s eye. Afterwards, the two fled and eventually became the Handymen, people who take on the jobs others do not want. The two make a great team. Worwick deals with the business side of things, while Nicolas takes on the dirty work.

A katana can often be seen as Nicolas’ weapon of choice, but he his also more than capable of handling himself in hand to hand combat. Due to his nature, Nicolas has freakishly fast reflexes and strength, giving him the ability to jump up buildings while also fighting to the death against another tag.

When others see his A/0 tag status, they immediately start running or submit without even realizing that he his deaf until after the fight has finished. Not many can fight, even WITH the ability to hear, which is why Nicolas so amazing.


6. Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam

  • Episodes: 43
  • Aired: April 1979 – January 1980

Arrogant and revenge consumed, Char holds grudges for longer than he should. His sole mission for most of Mobile Suit Gundam is to destroy the Zabi family who murdered his father, but this switched to Amuro after he killed Char’s main love interest. His pride has led him to challenge Amuro to numerous amounts of fights despite Amuro’s rookie status. In regards to the Zabi family, Char leads them on for years and cleverly manipulated their battle plans to end in failure without them suspecting Char to be behind any of it.

Char’s personality has changed throughout Universal Century, from arrogant to compassionate and back to arrogant. Char can’t seem to make up his mind. In UC 0087, Char is quite different than the scheming and prideful person he was in Mobile Suit Gundam. Although, in Char’s Counterattack, he returns to his prideful roots and attempts to create an endless winter by attempting to have asteroids collide with the Earth.

Char is most at home in the cockpit and is well known to be a stellar pilot. His ability to read opponents and evaluate surroundings gives him an edge in battle. No matter the unity, Char is able to use all of its abilities with ease. On the ground, Char is a fantastic fencer and a cunning tactician who is able to outsmart and manipulate his enemies to his advantage. Char’s brain is where his true skills lie and combined with his years of training in the cockpit he is a force to be reckoned with.


5. Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

  • Episodes: 27
  • Aired: April 2007 – September 2007

The original “Man’s Man”, Kamina has always dreamed big. Despite being born under the surface of the Earth in a colony of humans continually living in fear, Kamina chose to face those fears head on in his quest to reach the outside world where his father set off to. When he finally breaches the surface, Kamina is faced with the reality of his father’s death and refuses to give in. The man was meant to grow and spiral outward.

Kamina is rather blunt in his ways, not caring what others actually think, causing those around him to continuously be embarrassed for him. Despite his crazy ideas, everything seems to work out fine with the added bonus of cool explosions and mech fusions. He inspires those around him to join in the fight to end their struggle, and is a powerful leader figure who can easily make allies.

Kamina’s muscular physique suggests that he could really hold his own in a one on one fight, but his true talents lie within the cockpit of the Lagann where he can seamlessly operate the machine without formal training. His idea to fuse with the Gurren sounds ridiculous at first, but actually pays off big time when the two combine.

They form an unstoppable powerhouse which shoots lasers and giant drills from all orifices and joints imaginable. His sacrifice for the rest of the group will never be forgotten and serves as a reminder to his brothers of the realities of losing their fight.


4. Whitebeard/ Edward Newgate from One Piece

  • Episodes: 708+
  • Aired: October 1999 – ongoing

Lovingly referred to his crew as “Pops”, Whitebeard is father to those who have none. The crew he commands is so large that he is even able to have several different divisions commanded by their own leaders, Ace being one of them. He is so well loved that many of his “children” would willingly die for him and his kindness is what they are repaying. His goals were always much different from other pirates as he never sought out fame or riches, only family, which gained him many followers.

Always prioritizing the lives of his crew, Whitebeard often covered for their mistakes. Ace deliberately disobeyed him, but Whitebeard covered his rebellion by claiming he ordered Blackbeard’s head. He also forgave Squard, who was manipulated by the Marines to stab Whitebeard in the back both literally and figuratively. Squard was suffering internally and Whitebeard understood his pain, allowing him to forgive the son who betrayed him.

Whitebeard managed to tango toe to toe with Gol D. Roger back when he was younger which is impressive, but as he was older and quite ill he still took on the entire Marine HQ during the Battle at Marineford and still managed to bring the World Government to their knees.

Whitebeard commands the abilities of the Gura Gura no mi, or the Quake Quake Fruit, which allows him to create earthquakes out of thin air crushing everything around him. Combined with his raw strength, Whitebeard is known as the “Strongest Man in the World”.


3. Dio from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: October 2012 – April 2013

Dio lives to make Jonathan suffer, as it's apparent upon his entrance into the Joestar Estate. Not only does he kill Jonathan’s dog and his main love interest’s first kiss, but he goes on to actually murder Jonathan’s father in an attempt to collect his inheritance over JoJo. He is exceedingly manipulative and hates to do things himself if he can have others do it for him. He is also extremely power hungry due to his poor upbringing. His intelligence helps him in his ambitions.

Dio whole heartedly believes his humanity to be a weakness and does not hesitate to wear the stone mask in order to relinquish it. As a result, he becomes a vampire with an even more arrogant and vile personality to match his new abilities. His more insane nature, accompanied with his arrogance, lead him to ignore his more intelligent side as it will eventually cost him dearly.

As a vampire, Dio gained the abilities of super strength, hypnosis, fusion, and the usage of tiny spores that can brainwash those he has infected. Combined with his superior intelligence and powers of manipulation, Dio is more than capable of creating destruction and anarchy wherever he goes. He does this without lifting a single finger as he will just have everyone else do it for him. Even before he gained his vampiric abilities, Dio was a force to be reckoned with as he mercilessly destroyed Jonathan in a fist fight and incinerated his dog, Danny.


2. Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star / Hokuto no Ken

  • Episodes: 109
  • Aired: October 1984 – March 1987

Kinshiro is a shiny example of manliness. Hard core on the outside, he makes both women and men swoon. As a child he was sent to Japan in an effort to escape the harsh political environment of his native land and to train under Ryuken in the art of Kokuto Shinken. He was named successor over his fellow students who later challenged Shin, from their rival school Nanto Seiken, to defeat Kenshiro. Shin kidnaps his fiancé Yuria and this brings about a long chain of events where Kenshiro loses his sense of mercy while trying to save her.

Kenshiro continuously fights for those without the power to fight for themselves. The trademark of a true hero. As an example, he takes in Lin and Bat, who are two orphans, unable to protect themselves in the post apocalyptic world and begins to gain a reputation as “Savior of the Century’s End”. Ultimately, the setting is similar in style to the Mad Max movies, and Kenshiro defeats all the horrible gangs taking advantage of the chaos.

As the successor of Hokuto Shinken, Kenshiro seems to have limitless power. According to a 1986 magazine called Hokuto no Ken Special: All About the Man, Kenshiro can hear a whisper from two kilometers away, can see his foes in darkness due to their aura, has a hound’s sense of smell, has the ability to mimic a plethora of animal cries, can go an entire week without sleep (three months is his limit for fasting), and so on and so forth.

This man is just not human. These are just his regular senses and do not include the hundred and eight sects of Nanto Sei Ken techniques, as well as, his Hokuto Shinken techniques. One thing is for sure, do NOT make him your enemy.


1. Guts from Beserk

  • Episodes: 25
  • Aired: October 1997 – March 1998

Guts has had to endure a lot in his life. Born from a hanging corpse, he was taken in by Gambino and his band of mercenaries who didn’t exactly welcome him with open arms. His adoptive father openly despised him and even sold him to a man for a night. When he was older, he stumbled across the Band of the Hawk led by Griffith and cut out his own place in the group, eventually becoming a reliable leader.

He gained the affections of their only female comrade, Casca, as well as Griffith himself. Due to jealousy, Griffith squandered a great opportunity for the group and wound up in a dungeon being tortured. Despite Guts breaking in and rescuing him, Griffith betrayed Guts by becoming a demon, relinquishing his emotions, and raping Casca in front of Guts.

Before his encounter with the Band of the Hawk, Guts isolated himself from the world and only focused on making a living for himself the only way he knew how, mercenary work. After he joined, he began to gain some of his humanity back through the love of Casca and the bond between fellow comrades he considered brothers.

All of this was stripped from him once Griffith mercilessly cut down the entire group and took advantage of Casca while Guts hopelessly watched, his arm stuck in a demon’s mouth.

Guts carries a large bastard sword on his back that is bigger than him. Many seem to believe that he is bluffing, but Guts can wield his sword with ease and never seems to tire or slow down despite the weight. As a child, he often out killed his fellow adult mercenaries which made him unpopular in the profession.

Carrying a giant sword builds muscle and so he is not helpless without his sword. During Griffith’s betrayal, Guts’ arm was ensnared in the mouth of a demon, and so Guts ripped it off in order to reach Casca. Ripped. It. Off. Once he awakened, he found Casca to be quite different from her former self. Now consumed by revenge, Guts cares little for others outside of Casca.


Well, ladies and gentlemen, there it is. Guts wins hands down. There were a lot of great contenders making the process of elimination quite hard, but after much deliberation, the final list game to fruition. Perhaps as more anime enters the arena, more contenders will appear and this list will change, bur for now the finalists are pretty solid. Don’t mess with any of these guys because you won’t live to see another day.

Is there a character in anime which you would like to add to this list? Let us know so we can all acknowledge the badass men in anime!

Nikki Flores

Writer

Author: Nikki Flores

You may know me by my witty and excellent prose, but I assure you there is a real person underneath this brilliant exterior. As a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, I traveled to Okinawa, Japan in search of the One Piece. Together my crew consisting of a white dog named Yuki, an evil cat named Kyubei, the wise feline Pickles, and my ever supportive husband Aaron, we travel the globe seeking life’s greatest treasures. Oh, and I’m sure one day I’ll eventually meet Trafalgar Law in the New World. I hope. Please? *pout*

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