Anime has brought us all kinds of characters throughout the years. From the classic tsundere to the outgoing shounen hero, there are many different tropes that bring some of our favorite characters to life!
One of the more unusual trends is that of the expressionless character. These characters often have masks or a singular facial design, giving them essentially little to no visual emotional response. However, many of these characters are also some of the most expressive, either through their actions or other forms of appearance. Our article today is focused on these characters. Varying from main to side characters, each with a personality bigger than the last, the lack of emotion on these characters’ faces did not make us love them any less. In fact, if anything it made us appreciate their emotional outbursts all the more!
10. Fav from Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku (Magical Girl Raising Project)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016
What would you do if you were given the opportunity to become a real magical girl? For Koyuki Himekawa and a few other players of the RPG Magical Girl Raising Project, this is their chance! However, in a competition designed to reduce the number of magical girls, the loss of their powers and status might mean something more sinister than these girls could have expected…
Fav is one of the mascot characters in Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku. Specifically, he is the mascot of Cranberry, the Forest Musician. Like the other mascot characters, Fav lives in Cranberry’s magical phone. Though both Cranberry and Fav give off a serious and polite appearance and they share the same sadistic nature. The two are more interested in fighting with other magical girls than in collecting Candies, showing off their darker sides in killing off some of their opponents.
9. Thirteen from Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Apr. 2016 – June 2016
With most of the world’s population gaining superpowers known as “quirks,” almost everyone has something unique that they can do. Well, almost everyone… Izuku Midoriya is one of the few who have no gifts! Izuku has wanted nothing more than to be a hero, and looks up to his personal idol, All Might. But when he happens to meet his idol one day, All Might decides to pass on his ability to Izuku, giving him the powers he’s always dreamed of. Izuku joins U.A. High, learning how to use his newfound gifts alongside his new classmates. Along the way, they will learn what it means to be a true hero!
A Pro Hero and faculty member from U.A. High School, Thirteen has a desire to help others, specializing in search and rescue. Though there are many characters in Boku no Hero Academia, Thirteen manages to stand out because of how unusual they are. Thirteen has the amazing Quirk known as Black Hole, which creates a vortex and turns anything sucked through it to dust. Despite this powerful ability, Thirteen advocates using Quirks for helping others rather than fighting. There is much about Thirteen that is unknown, as we never see them outside of the space suit. And even when Thirteen’s suit is destroyed, it is shown empty, which leaves us with many questions… Yet Thirteen is able to show off their wise and kind personality, even without the appearance of their face in the series.
8. Canti from FLCL
- Episodes: 6
- Air Date: Apr. 2000 – Mar. 2001
There may be no one more ordinary than Naota Nandaba. When this sixth grader’s brother leaves to play baseball in America, Naota decides to take care of the things his brother left behind. This even includes his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Mamimi Samejima! But Naota’s organized existence is turned upside down with the appearance of the unusual Haruko Haruhara. After his first introduction with Haruko leaves him with tire tracks on his back, Naota is sure to be in for plenty of strange adventures!
Along his strange journey, Naota encounters Canti, a rather unusual robot. Canti was manufactured by Medical Mechanica, yet his emotions are far from mechanical. He is embarrassed by his broken head, which was broken after Haruko hit him. Canti doesn’t speak to any other character in the anime, but his actions convey how human-like he actually is. Although he is quite strong in a fight, Canti is polite, even to those who would have him destroyed.
7. Monokuma from Danganronpa (Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation (Danganronpa: The Animation)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Jul. 2013 – Sep. 2013
Hope’s Peak Academy is well-known for being a school for elite students. Yet each student enrolled has their individuality celebrated as well, with students given their own unique titles based on their abilities. Makoto Naegi is one of fifteen students admitted to the prestigious school this year, entirely on luck! Though the students are initially enthralled to be a part of Hope’s Peak, they soon discover that they face a unique challenge. Their school principal, Monokuma, traps them inside the school, with their escape and graduation riding on a difficult task… One of the students must murder another without being discovered; and being caught in the act has its own dark consequences!
Monokuma is recognized throughout the Danganronpa series as the Headmaster of Hope’s Peak. He is a bear, half-white and half-black, the white side represents innocence while the dark side shows off a more sinister look. This dichotomy reflects his personality – he is also dramatic and childish, making fun of his students in a sarcastic tone. Not only is he a bear, he is also a robotic bear, which makes his emotions even harder to read. Monokuma is difficult to predict, but he is definitely not without personality!
6. Hermes from Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series (Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct. 2017 – Dec. 2017
Kino likes to travel around to different countries with her motorrad Hermes. It is a wide, beautiful world that she lives in, and exploring every bit of it allows Kino to meet interesting people. And Kino is not as inexperienced as she might appear! Intelligent and armed with two handguns, Kino can take care of herself. When Kino and Hermes have spent three days in any one country, they move on to the next one. The world is dangerous and full of interesting moral values, and Kino is out to learn as much as she can.
Hermes is a talking motorrad and Kino’s constant companion, allowing Kino to give voice to her thoughts. He is quite intelligent, though he looks at the world objectively, without much stake in it himself. His purpose is merely to provide speed for whoever his rider is, meaning he shouldn’t mind who directs him. However, Hermes seems to be fond of Kino, traveling with her for as long as he has, and he enjoys talking through the different countries they explore. By nature, Hermes is inquisitive, asking questions of the humans he encounters. He often acts as the comic relief in Kino no Tabi, though his serious nature makes the humor come off as sarcastic.
5. Excalibur from Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Air Date: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Death City is the center for the Death Weapon Meister Academy, or D.W.M.A., where Lord Death himself resides. Maka Albarn, a serious meister at the school, studies there with her weapon partner, a Scythe named Soul Eater Evans. The two are striving for the ultimate goal – to defeat 99 evil souls and one witch’s soul, transforming Soul into a Death Scythe for Lord Death himself to use! Their fellow students are striving for the same thing, including the excitable Black Star and kindhearted Tsubaki, as well as the son of Lord Death, Death the Kid, and his twin pistols Patty and Liz. On their journey to become the best, these friends will learn how to have a sound mind, body, and soul while facing enemies that threaten to tear down the world around them.
Excalibur is the oldest and most powerful in the world of Demon Weapons. Despite his revered legends, Excalibur is also well-known as one of the most obnoxious and eccentric characters in the world, making anyone who is able to deal with his prattling and rules a true “hero.” Everyone who encounters Excalibur for longer than a few minutes ends up thoroughly annoyed, meaning that the Holy Sword has been left in a reclusive cave for a long amount of time. Excalibur is truly a unique character, able to exude his enormous personality beyond the limitations of his rather simple appearance.
4. Ryuk from Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Air Date: Oct. 2006 – June 2007
Light Yagami is a genius high school student who is upset by the state of society. One day, he happens to discover a Death Note, which allows him to kill anyone whose name is written in it. Light begins his plot to rid the world of all criminals, placing himself as the god of this newfound world. With the police and the best detective known only as L hunting him down, how far will Light be willing to go to achieve his dream world?
A Shinigami with a chaotic need to meddle, Ryuk is the owner of Light’s Death Note. Though Ryuk is merely an observer in Light’s games, he enjoys watching events unfold. He also enjoys the apples that Light frequently gives him, though he goes through withdrawals if he hasn’t eaten them for too long. Ryuk is an intriguing character with a high interest in watching humanity, though he doesn’t technically involve himself too much. His expression is usually one of a creepy smile that spreads across his face, with vacant eyes that watch everything. Ryuk’s facial features reflect his nature overall, changing only rarely and making him difficult for Light to read.
3. Lord Death from Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Air Date: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Lord Death is an ancient being with a long history of keeping order and balance in the world. After his first apprentice Asura became a Kishin, Death trapped him in his own skin, sealing him away and beginning the D.W.M.A. so that a similar situation would never again occur. His personality also underwent a change after this history, though his more serious side does show through on occasion.
An eccentric Shinigami, Death has many unusual mannerisms and quirks that exude from his presence. Despite how silly he acts, Lord Death is a powerful being. His soul is the largest seen in Soul Eater, as it is the size of the entire Death City itself. As such, Death is bonded to the city and its academy, making him unable to leave the premises. His mask hides a mysterious and quirky being, making him hard to read, even among his own family members.
2. Elias Ainsworth from Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: Oct. 2017 – Mar. 2018
When Chise Hatori was put up for auction, she had reached a real low in her life, a point where having any sort of home would be better than what she had experienced in her past. But she was never expecting the tall gentleman who purchased her to be a mysterious mage, leading her into a brand new magical world!
Elias Ainsworth is the unusual mage that Chise finds herself living with. He normally appears in his humanoid form, which is unobtrusive, except for the animal skull that serves as his head. However, when he transforms into his more beastly form, Elias takes on a more ghastly and vicious look. He is usually calm and collected, being an observant creature. But as his attachment grows for Chise his emotions begin to display themselves. Elias is unable to show emotions through his facial expressions, although Chise seems to recognize his feelings based on unknown signs. Despite this, Elias grows to be a highly emotional being.
1. Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Air Date: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
Edward and Alphonse Elric lost their mother at a young age. They decided to commit the forbidden act of alchemy, human transmutation, to bring their mother back to life. Though their attempt fails, they end up losing more than they had planned, with Edward losing his leg and Alphonse losing his body. Ed sacrifices his arm in order to fix his brother’s soul to a nearby suit of armor, and the two promise each other that they will find a way to regain their bodies. The Elric brothers search for a mythical Philosopher’s Stone, which allows an alchemist to create without having to give anything in return. Ed becomes a state alchemist to help their search, and the two soon find themselves caught up in affairs that could change the fate of their whole country…
Alphonse Elric is bound to a suit of armor after he and his brother attempt to perform the forbidden act of human transmutation. Alphonse is often mistaken for the Fullmetal Alchemist, since he is so much taller than his older brother and trapped in a large metal suit! Al is also skilled in alchemy, though not as much so as his brother. Despite being trapped in his stern suit of armor for most of the series, Al’s kind and caring personality shines through, particularly when it comes to cats. Alphonse is in the top spot on our list because even with his unusual situation in life, he is able to show others how kind and caring he really is. And besides, his chibi form is adorable!
The characters on our list prove that no matter what you look like, it’s your personality that really shines through! From the masked to the inanimate, our expressionless characters are able to show a lot of emotion through their intentions. Of course, there are always plenty of characters able to show a bit more emotion, like Korosensei from Assassination Classroom, that are still quite expressive even under unusual circumstances!
What did you think of our list? Were there any characters you found missing? Let us know in the comments section below!