Ever since the days of Yusuke Urameshi from YuYu Hakusho, the concept of delinquent hasn’t been so black and white. Yusuke wasn’t a saint in school and always had an air of delinquency about him but we otaku would know him not for his actions as a school yard troublemaker but a hero to the world of humans/spirits. Characters like Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach and Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto would prove to anime viewers worldwide that heroism can exist even in those who don’t look like your typical hero.
That being said, we decided to honor the “misunderstood” delinquents with a top 10 just for them! These ten delinquents probably won’t make the honor roll but they have saved the world in various ways making them genuine heroes. From the cool delinquents to the crybaby ones—which sound ironic in hindsight—these delinquents are special in our hearts! Here are the Top 10 Delinquent Heroes in Anime!
10. Hinako Nakayama from Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys
Removing the cliché that boys are the only delinquents in the world, Hinako Nakayama might be a cute girl—that passes as a boy due to her short hair and facial features—but she’s no dainty flower. Hinako hails from the anime Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys—a very fitting title—where she ends up taking the place of her “twin” sibling who throws her into his school where only delinquents attend. Hinako is a capable fighter, which saves her brother from getting his face and body smashed to pieces and makes Hinako a true hero for both delinquents and girls all around the world!
9. Karma Akabane from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
Karma Akabane’s first impression screams traitor due to his overly cool but sinister attitude. Karma excels in academics and in sports but still comes across as devious. Luckily for Earth, Karma isn’t a bad dude, despite his appearance, and helps prevent the end of the human race by assisting class 3-E in assassinating Kuro-sensei. Karma unites his special assassin talents with friend/classmate Nagisa Shiota and the other oddities of class 3-E which allows them a decisive victory. See, delinquents can be both tough and cool/heroic!
8. Ichigo Kurosaki from BLEACH
We mentioned our boy Ichigo earlier but no matter what, we knew this list of the Top 10 Delinquent Heroes in Anime wouldn’t be complete without him making the top 10. Ichigo is crass, rude, and mean-looking but underneath that hard exterior lies a caring soul who always puts others before himself. Time after time, Ichigo has gone to great lengths to ensure his friends were kept safe from the world of evil spirits and has saved the human world countless times. Ichigo is a substitute soul reaper but his actions have saved countless lives making him a true delinquent hero.
7. Sakamoto from Sakamoto Desu ga? (Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto)
Define delinquent. Most assume that being a delinquent means you’re basically a bully, but if you’re Sakamoto, then you are a delinquent by just being too cool. Sakamoto, from the world of Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, goes against the normal themes of delinquency by being so cool that even delinquents can’t deny his coolness. Sakamoto wouldn’t be a hero as a student—unless you consider his altering of being delinquent as heroic—until he ends up saving a space mission when he was chosen to be an astronaut. Sakamoto proves that you can bend the rules of both nature and life—he literally sits in the air when his chair is removed—and still be so cool despite being categorized as a delinquent.
6. Yuu Otosaka from Charlotte
Yuu Otosaka initially looks like your average smart teenager who wouldn’t dare dabble in delinquent actions. Ironically, though, Yuu isn’t average as we quickly discover he has the ability to enter the mind and body of others and he utilizes this special power to cheat on tests and be kind of a mean-spirited human. Yuu ends up recruited by similarly powered teens and harnesses his powers to help others and stop people who were once like him. Yuu doesn't start as a hero but eventually, he becomes one who makes a sacrifice that most couldn’t even fathom mimicking.
5. Takemichi Hanagaki from Tokyo Revengers
The crybaby hero, Takemichi Hanagaki from Tokyo Revengers is more akin to a wannabe delinquent—he can barely fight and tends to try to act tough—but that doesn’t stop him from trying his hardest. Given the strange ability to go back in time via a handshake, Takemichi has made it his mission to rise in the delinquent world to overtake his childhood friend’s gang—Tokyo Manji Gang—and become the leader to prevent several deaths that will occur in his present. Despite the overwhelming odds set before him, Takemichi is a hero through and through, never giving up and never backing down. We have yet to see if his actions will lead to his ideal future but for now, we’re rooting for the crybaby delinquent!
4. Subaru Natsuki from Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-)
For the first few seasons of Re:Zero we knew of Subaru Natsuki as only a hero, a kind of mediocre hero early on, but a hero nonetheless. Then season 2 came into play and we learn that Subaru—in his original world—wasn’t what we expected. Subaru was once a delinquent as he was a class clown, skipped class, and seemed to really avoid people altogether. Subaru was a delinquent in his original world but ended up the hero we have witnessed him become. Good on you, Subaru, now you’re beloved by many and are truly a hero in title and in action!
3. Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto
Another no-brainer for our Top 10 Delinquent Heroes in Anime list is the hero of the Hidden Leaf, Naruto Uzumaki. Before he was the Hokage and savior of the ninja world, Naruto was a literal delinquent in every way possible! Naruto painted on landmarks, learned perverse jujutsu, and even stole an ancient scroll to learn hidden abilities. Poor Naruto wasn’t a delinquent to be mean or hurt others but sought attention from those who considered him a menace and curse to the Hidden Leaf. Eventually, Naruto would rise up as a ninja and become the hero that saved hundreds of fellow ninja and proved to everyone delinquents aren’t to be considered useless.
2. Katsuki Bakugou from Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
Most saw Katsuki Bakugou, the loudmouthed hero—who occasionally comes across as villainous—as anything but a hero. Bakugou strove to one-up All Might and always wanted to prove that his explosive Quirk made him the strongest up-and-coming hero around. Bakugou is a delinquent in the sense that not only was he a bully—the complete opposite of what a hero should be—but went against the usual heroic nature. As My Hero Academia has shaped our explosive hero more and more through numerous challenges and battles, Bakugou has started to finally act more like a hero and less like a villain in hero clothing. Now, if Bakugou would only quiet down a little…
1. Joutarou Kuujou from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 3: Stardust Crusades (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders)
Coming in at number one is everyone’s favorite delinquent Stand User Joutarou Kuujou from JoJo Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders. Wearing an almost comically cliché delinquent school uniform and hat, Joutarou screams delinquent more than anything else. He even starts off the series in jail—though he put himself there—just to set his image in stone. However, despite his stoic personality and tough-guy persona, Joutarou is a kindhearted Stand User who saves the world from the evil Dio, a being his grandfather fought long ago. Joutarou is arguably the prime definition of a delinquent hero and that is why we doubt anyone can argue his first-place status on our list! Probably even trying would cause Joutarou to come down and scare the living heck out of you…
Those who have braved the waters of school no doubt have mixed feelings towards tough guys and delinquents. In your mind, they probably are just mean-spirited individuals who vent their frustrations out on their fellow classmates all while ruining the school experience. However, maybe some of those same troublemakers are in fact heroes or might one day become them! That’s why we impart the age-old cliché line "don’t judge a book by its cover".
Did our list do a good job of naming all the delinquent heroes in the anime world? Let us know your thoughts via the comments below! For even more lists like this one be sure to keep stuck to our non-delinquent hive here at Honey’s Anime!