There are so many different awesome anime characters out there, but here’s a category that doesn’t seem to get enough love: emo anime boys. For those who don’t know, the word “emo” first originated from a type of music that is more expressive and touches on emotional subjects. This music spawned the emo subculture, although many seem unable to differentiate emo with goth and punk.
However, the emo subculture does not exist in anime. Rather, we will take a look at what the word “emo” means which is “emotional” and give you 10 great emotional anime boys. They may not be your typical emo boys, but these 10 emo anime boys have a lot of complexities that you just won’t want to miss. Without further ado, here're our Top 10 Emo Anime Boys!
Beware: this article will contain spoilers so if you’re going to complain, read a different article.
10. Hei from Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha (Darker than Black)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
10 years ago, Heaven’s Gate showed up in South America while Hell’s Gate in Japan, creating a new sky reflecting false stars over the Earth. No one knows what the Gates mean, but they have allowed for Contractors to roam the earth. Creating trouble for the police is the Syndicate, but it is one special Contractor who truly boggles the Section 4 Chief and that is the Contractor known as the “Black Reaper”.
Don’t let his stoic expression fool you, Hei has a lot of complexities and emotions buried deep inside. Hei spends a lot of his time worrying about his little sister, Bai and obsessing over Amber. Amber and Hei have a very complicated past that makes Hei completely off kilter in season 1. However, it is in season 2, when Yin is gone, that Hei truly loses himself. Hei begins drinking heavily and lashing out at others. His demeanor completely changes from being calm and collected to 100% emo anime boy.
9. Zeref from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 102
- Aired: April 2014 - March 2016
In a world where magic exists and mages have power, guilds have formed for these mages to converse, flaunt their powers, and work together to take on requests. In Magnolia, the strongest guild is Fairy Tail, where the strongest gather to pretty much destroy the city on accident. Here, we have the dynamic trio that is Lucy Heartfilia, a Celestial Spirit mage, Natsu Dragoneel, a wizard raised by a dragon who has gone missing, and Happy, a cat-like creature capable of flight. Together, these three will fight against evil and get into a little trouble along the way.
Zeref is a complicated immortal who walks the earth awaiting a death that will not come. Zeref is fully aware of what evils he can bring but does not want any part of them unless provoked by those who wish to use Zeref to destroy Earthland. As a bringer of chaos, Zeref is seeking someone out who will be able to kill him, with his eyes set on Natsu, but still, it is not time. Zeref is too strong. And so, Zeref shall continue walking the earth in misery until the time when he can finally die at the hands of a worthy opponent.
8. Okumura Rin from Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2011 - October 2011
Satan is looking for a host that will allow him to enter the human world to wreck havoc on Earth. Unable to find a proper host, Satan sends his infant son to Earth to become a proper vessel. Okumura Rin has struggled throughout his life as a sort of delinquent, but things take a turn for the worse when he is attacked by demons. Apparently, Rin is the son of Satan, but instead of following his father’s wishes, Rin decides to train as an exorcist to fight against his father.
Rin can’t be forgotten on our list of top 10 emo anime boys. With his troubling upbringing, being belittled by those around him, losing his adoptive father, and finding out his real father is Satan, Rin has a lot to be emotional about! Rin goes through a flurry of different emotions from sadness to anger, all of which he channels into his drive to become an exorcist. Rin’s emotional, but he puts it all to good use!
7. Crona from Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: April 2008 - March 2009
Shibusen is a famous school where meisters and soul eaters study to raise a “Death Scythe,” a weapon the Shinigami Lord can wield to protect Death City from the many evils that have their eye on it. Soul Eater is the story of Soul Eater and Maka, a duo who work and study together to achieve their dream of raising a Death Scythe.
Crona is a character who just doesn’t seem to have any end to their emotions. Crona is constantly fearful, anxious, pitiful, or depressed about what is going on, will happen, or might happen next. It’s no wonder the other characters besides Maka are always getting irritated with Crona! However, with some understanding, as Maka has shown, Crona might be able to get over all the emotions that weigh on their heart.
6. Arima Kousei from Shigatsu wa Kimo no Uso (Your Lie in April)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2014 - March 2015
It has been two years since the death of his mother, but Arima Kousei has not been able to bring himself to play the piano the way he used to. His life has been monotonous as he has avoided friends and the piano. One day, Kousei meets Miyazono Kaori, a carefree violinist who changes his world.
Throughout Your Lie in April, Kousei battles thoughts about his self-worth, his feelings with his mother, and finding happiness in the current time. Kousei starts off very secluded and alone, wallowing in his own grief, unsure of how his mother felt about him because of all the pressure and abuse she forced on him. Kousei is bottling all of his emotions inside, but it is when he plays his piano that we get to see his sadness, his love, his pain, and his heart spill out before us.
5. Matsuyuki Atsumu “Yukiatsu” from Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2011 - June 2011
When there were six, they were the best of friends until one fateful summer day. Now, there are but five of them left and they are no longer friends. Their leader, Yadomi Jinta, became a hikikomori after that incident, skipping school to waste time to play video games. That is until Menma’s ghost pays him a visit to make him help her grant a wish that was long forgotten. Menma’s death caused the rest of them to grow apart, but now, her ghost will bring Jinta and his four childhood friends back together.
While some may argue that Jinta is the emo anime boy, Yukiatsu is the one who has the most emotions in him despite his prestigious appearance. Yukiatsu seems calm at first, but he has been stuck in the past thinking about his love for a girl who died, unable to move on. When Jinta shows he is able to see Menma’s ghost and converse with her, Yukiatsu loses himself to an intense rage, unable to accept the fact that his feelings are not reciprocated. Yukiatsu even goes so far as to pretend to be Menma and see her belittle Jinta. The tipping point of Yukiatsu’s emotions is shown when he is coping with his feelings alone while stroking a wig he purchased himself that merely resembles Menma’s hair.
4. Otosaka Yuu from Charlotte
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2015 - September 2015
Otosaka Yuu seems intelligent and charming, but in fact, he uses his ability to go into people's minds and control their body to his advantage, giving him the best grades. Just as Yuu is about to attend the most prestigious school, Tomori Nao forces Yuu to attend Hoshinoumi Academy after discovering Yuu’s deception. At Hoshinoumi Academy, Yuu must work with the student council to find other youths who take advantage of their powers to do bad things.
Yuu has been shown to be somewhat emotionally unstable from the beginning of the series when he is caught abusing his powers and forced to attend a different school instead of the prestigious academy that he sought after. However, it is not until after Yuu loses his sister that we see him go into a downward spiral of emotions. Yuu stops attending school to waste time binge eating ramen and watching TV. Yuu starts fighting. He completely loses himself. There is even a point where he becomes so emotional he starts taking drugs. Yuu is clearly not in control of his emotions and the death of his sister helped prove that Yuu deserves the #4 spot on our list!
3. Kiryuu Zero from Vampire Knight
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2008 - July 2008
At Cross Academy, students are separated into the Day and Night class. The Night class is extremely popular with the Day class students, but they don’t know the secret of the Night class. The Night class is actually full of vampires! Prefects Yuki and Zero are given the job of keeping order, or rather protecting the Day class, to ensure that humans and vampires can show they can attend school together in peace.
Kiryuu Zero may seem like your overprotective prefect, when in fact, Zero is merely dwelling in hatred for vampires. Zero’s history is a tragic one where he lost his family to a vampire so now, Zero harbors only hatred for them, allowing no other emotion to consume him. Zero dwells on the past, sulks in the present, and dreams of murder in his future. This explains why Zero can be cold, callous, and unaffectionate; Zero is just being an emo anime boy.
2. Okazaki Tomoya from Clannad: After Story
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2008 - March 2009
As the sequel to the anime Clannad, Clannad: After Story follows the life of Okazaki Tomoya and Furukawa Nagisa. This adorable couple proceeds from high school into marriage, persevering through any trouble along the way. While they both struggle with life after school, Nagisa and Tomoya find solace in each other. However, despite all their efforts, life proves that it doesn’t always get easier.
Tomoya doesn’t start off as an emo anime boy, but as Clannad: After Story progresses, we see Tomoya go from one of the happiest men to a tragic shell of his former self. With the loss of Nagisa, Tomoya turns to alcohol and solitude to mourn his loss. Tomoya closes himself off from everyone, turns away from his daughter Ushio, and becomes someone he completely resents: his father. Tomoya’s emotional outlet is by not letting it out at all, rather keeping it all to himself and drinking because of it. Tomoya becomes dark, spiteful, depressed, but it is imperative to Clannad: After Story and what makes him our #2 emo anime boy!
1. Uchiha Sasuke from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Aired: October 2002 - February 2007
The Kyuubi had once killed many in Konohagakure and was on a rampage in the village until the Fourth Hokage sacrificed his life to seal the Kyuubi in the newly born Uzumaki Naruto. While Naruto is an innocent young boy, the hatred for the Kyuubi has led many villagers to hate and fear him, while teaching their children the same. Despite all of this, Naruto has grown up to be a rather rambunctious child who does nothing but causes trouble for the village. With his upbringing, Naruto has vowed to become the Hokage to make things better in Konohagakure.
It’s impossible for Sasuke not to be #1 on a list of emo anime boys! Sasuke has spent years dwelling on getting his revenge on his brother Itachi. To Sasuke, Itachi was his whole reason for living. Then, during Shippuden, Sasuke’s desire for revenge turns and he no longer wants revenge on Itachi, but rather for Itachi. Sasuke spends a good part of his life seeking revenge and wallowing in hatred. To Sasuke, happiness is short lived. So much in Sasuke’s life is distorted and perverted, it is no wonder he has had to deal with a lot of emotions. This is what makes Sasuke our #1 emo anime boy!
When it comes to emo anime boys, we just can’t get enough. They show us that anime characters can be very real, very human. We can see ourselves in quite a few emo anime boys, can you? Now, let us know what you think. Are there any emo anime boys we haven’t named that you love? Let us know!