Whether it would be in American comics or animation or with its counterpart in Japan, a main character or cast is always going to need someone who is not just a sidekick, but a worthy partner and someone who can truly contribute to the story and be able to develop based on their own merits. Thankfully, anime for the longest time has been able to provide supporting characters who don’t only make the main character look good, but do something that make themselves look cool as well. At times, they even exceed the main character in popularity. In the past, this has been seen with Shiryu in Saint Seiya, and with Fujii in Prince of Tennis. For the past decade, Levi has been Attack on Titan’s most popular character despite being a supporting character as well. As for 2018, let’s review our top 10 picks for best male supporting characters.
10. Hayato Kamitani from Gakuen Babysitters (School Babysitters)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Dates: January 7, 2018 – March 25, 2018
Kamitani is the second member of Morinomiya Academy’s Babysitting club after its founding member, Ryuuichi. In addition to participating for the Babysitting Club, he’s also the ace of the baseball team. Unlike the outgoing Ryuuichi, Kamitani is quieter and more reserved. At times, he comically shows anger but he deep down inside, he cares about his friends and family. He tends to have a hostile personality but a lot of is understandable considering his relationship with his father, who is a teacher at the school. When you put aside his personality, he’s someone who is never hesitant to help out, which is why he’s a great example of a supporting character.
9. Mayuta Andou from Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (Chio’s School Road)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Dates: July 6, 2018 – September 21, 2018
Andou is a total bonehead, but you can’t help but like the guy. When it comes to supporting characters, you can define him under comic relief, and for a list like this, you need someone who fits that bill! He is initially introduced as a gang member and despite the circumstances of his attempts at reforming, you have to give him credit that he’s trying as hard as possible to live an honest life for the titular Chio-chan, and hopefully for himself. Though he does get frustrated over certain mistakes anyone could make, he progressively shows he’s not afraid of appealing to Chio-chan’s personal interest in Yaoi to the point that he even tries to re-enact a scene from one of her favorite Yaoi games with one of his old thugs. The comedic and yet genuine development Andou gets in this comedy makes him a unique addition to this list.
8. Ginji from Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Dates: April 2, 2018 – September 24, 2018
From Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi, we have Ginji. As opposed to calling him a supporting character to Aoi, he’s more of a co-lead. Many anime audiences may have learned of the Japanese folk tale of the Nine-tailed Fox in Naruto, and Ginji is another interpretation of that myth. In this series, Ginji helps manage a restaurant in the dimension for Japanese mythical creatures. Like the Nine-tailed fox, he also has the ability to shape shift (this includes to being a little boy, a beautiful woman, a baby fox, a grown fox, but mostly stays as a very handsome young man). Thanks to his presence and how he helps Aoi, audiences can see that these ayakashi can be kind and helpful, and not malicious or scary. After tasting her cooking, her encourages her to open her own restaurant so she could repay her Grandfather’s debts.
7. Luke from Garo: Vanishing Line
- Episodes: 24
- Air Dates: October 7, 2017 – March 30, 2018
Luke may be with the good guys, but his presence as a supporting character is meant to be a contrast to Sword, the main character. Unlike Sword who tends to have more of a casual and open personality, Luke is a recluse who would rather work alone, so a portion of the development is focused on him. His backstory of how his father, a Makai Knight, who betrayed his family perfectly explains and justifies his initial qualities. Eventually, he comes to learn that thanks to his unique skill set, he is someone who is of value when he works in a team. When you see how he works with Gina and Sword, he’s someone you want watching your 6 when you’re out slaying terrors of the night. When it’s all said and done, he eventually comes to accept Sword as who he is, and embrace his own lineage his a Makai Knight.
6. Siegfried Kircheis from Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Niue These (Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Dates: April 3, 2018 – June 26, 2018
The relationship Kircheis and Reinhard share is an ideal that all friendships should aim to be. They have known each other since childhood and they ride until they die. After witnessing Reinhard having his sister taken away from him, he joins Reinhard’s quest to take over the Empire to make the galaxy a better place. Since Kircheis comes from a commoner’s background, he sees how Reinhard’s success will be of benefit to the underprivileged.
He’s not just a simple yes-man to Reinhard, he’s there to make sure Reinhard doesn’t let the success get into his head and keep him grounded. Though Kircheis is slightly lower in rank, but in terms of intelligence, charisma, and effective leadership, he’s equal to Reinhard and there are moments where you get the impression that he could be superior in context to those traits. Thankfully, Reinhard recognizes those qualities of Kircheis and feels that with him by his side, they balance each other out. So without Kircheis, there is no Reinhard (we can put aside what happens to him based on the older anime for another time) which is why he qualifies for this list.
5. Bruno Bucciarati from Jojo no Kimyou Na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo)
- Episodes: 39
- Air Dates: October 6, 2018 - ongoing
Bucciarati may be a street punk, but he’s a street punk who cares about his community. You rob from an old lady’s bakery, you’ll be answering to him! After his initial fight with Giorno, they come to learn they’re one in the same when they both show disgust for how minors are being addicted to drugs in their town, and Bucciarati respects Giorno for his spirit in their fight. After coming to a truce, they team up to make Naples a better place! As opposed to being a supporting character, considering the significant role Bucciarati plays in Golden Wind, he’s more of a co-star! He’s the leader of the unit of the gang he belongs to and plays an important role as its leader. He’s someone who leads by example and fights for what he believes in. He’s not afraid to show tough love, but he genuinely cares about his men and always has their back when it counts.
4. Daru from Steins;Gate 0
- Episodes: 23
- Air Dates: April 12, 2018 – September 27, 2018
On the outside, Daru (real name Itaru Hashida) is your typical hentai otaku, but he’s a caring friend to Okabe, who is going through PTSD after the events of the first series. When Okabe gives up on the time machine and saving the future, Daru is willing to carry on the mission. He can be relied on for his programming and hacking skills, which plays a part in getting the time machine working. Eventually, we come to learn that the time machine that his daughter from the future used was of his own invention, and he plays a significant part in fixing it and saving the future. After no longer tolerating Okabe’s indifference and pessimism, he shows some tough love and brings him back to his former eccentric self, and reviving Okabe’s alter ego, Hououin Kyouma. Thanks to Daru’s friendship, he helps Okabe remember his role and they work together to stop World War III from happening.
3. All Might from Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (My Hero Academia 3)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Dates: April 7, 2018 – September 29, 2018
All Might is not just a supporting character, he’s the break-out character to this series and serves as an inspiration to the people. However, as his power diminishes, he further embraces his role as a teacher at UAE, most especially for Bakugo and Izuku. What makes him a great supporting character is that he will always have your back. As he is portrayed, he’s the true definition of a hero who understands it’s about helping people, and not trying to look cool. In his final moments as a hero, he sacrificed whatever power he had left to save Bakugo, who has been nothing more than a total punk throughout the duration of the series.
After that, instead of using his muscles to be a hero, he decides to use his wisdom as a teacher, which he has accumulated through his years of being a hero, and also having the right people around him. However, he is also capable of acknowledging that he’s not perfect since he failed to nurture Bakugo’s motivations and his frustrations which ultimately demonstrates why he’s an amazing supporting character.
2. Lizardman from Goblin Slayer
- Episodes: 12
- Air Dates: October 7, 2018 – December 30, 2018
What do you get when a humanoid lizard “culturally appropriates” Native American culture and loves cheese as much as Steve Urkel from the legendary Sitcom Family Matters? You get the Lizardman! Along with the Elf, the Lizardman is another member of the Goblin Slayer’s party, and is probably his number one teammate. He may be scary on the outside, but when you speak to him, he’s very reasonable, kind, and speaks in a very dignified manner. Not only is he capable of backing you up in a fight with a sword or with his bare fists, but he’s also capable of summoning a skeleton soldier, healing magic, and can also use special telepathic powers to communicate with people who speak in different languages. However, if you want to keep him on his good side, be sure to have that cheese!
1. Shinya Ozeki from Hinomaru Zumo (Hinomaru Sumo)
- Episodes: 24
- Air Dates: October 5, 2018 - ongoing
While Ozeki isn’t the strongest member of Odachi High School’s sumo team, due to his age, he serves as the team captain. Like Hinomaru, Ozeki is passionate about sumo and for the first two years of his high school life, served as the sole member. Thanks to his encounter with Hinomaru, he gets Hinomaru to enroll in Odachi High School and join its sumo club instead (as opposed to joining Ishigami High School, which has one of the best sumo stables in the nation). As their team gets the minimum members to compete, the series begins to focus on developing its supporting cast, especially with Ozeki. He learns to stand up for himself and applies himself to becoming a better sumo wrestler.
Not only does he care about his own progress, he also cares about the progress of his teammates as seen with Yuma. After spending time training together, you see that Ozeki has forgiven Yuma for how he previously treated the Sumo dojo as a gang hangout and genuinely wants him to be the best that he can be. The fact that he goes out of his way to want to be of help to everyone both athletically and as a friend regardless of past issues, demonstrates why he’s not just a great supporting character, but a great captain.
Whether male or female, a quality supporting character serves many roles. Some serve as an equal but as a contrast to the main character, and there are others that are mentors. Then there are those that are love interests and the comic relief. They not only contribute to the progress of the story, but many of them have their own journeys that shows that they matter. In many instances, the supporting character(s) tends to be more popular than the main characters. In comparison to the main characters, they feel more human and relatable, which is one reason why they’re popular. In other instances, they could be stronger, but they use that role to serve as the mentor to the main cast. We hope that based on the many definitions of what makes an effective supporting character, this list makes that criteria. So, who else from 2018 are some of the best male supporting characters? Leave your thoughts in the comments!