When we think of Lancers, we tend to think of someone who’s trained for precision and someone who prefers safety. Spears, after all, lend the wielder a greater striking range. You also might immediately think of all those war movies where a line of soldiers trudges forward from behind their shields, while their spears strike out. However, anime tends to always glorify fighting, and having someone hide behind their shield could get very boring very quickly. So, in anime, lancers tend to be pretty reckless. They are at the point of any formation meant to split enemy forces. As such, they must hit quick and they must hit hard. Without any further ado, let’s talk about the top ten lancers in anime.
10. Sara from Samurai Champloo
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: May 2004 – Mar. 2005
Samurai Champloo is one of those anime that you can show to just about anyone, and they will enjoy it. As it follows the trio of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu around Japan; it’s hard not to fall in love with their antagonisms towards each other as well as the moments of quirky collaboration. At one point this trio runs into a wandering, blind musician by the name of Sara. She’s looking for a way to find her own child and joins the group for what seems like for quite some time.
Now Sara might come off as unassuming, but she’s actually an assassin who’s been sent by the Shogunate to kill off Mugen and Jin in particular. However, she did tell the truth about her child, who’s actually being held hostage by the group that has hired her. Now, by this time in the series, we are acquainted with the power of Mugen and Jin. Their skills are shown episodic, so when Sara proves herself to be more skilled with her yari, than both Mugen and Jin, you know you’re dealing with someone on a whole different level. Despite being blind, she forces Jin into a corner from which he cuts down the bridge they’re on, plummeting them both into a river. She then essentially beats Mugen twice, but allows Mugen the killing blow as she’s learned her son is dead.
9. Yukina Himeragi from Strike the Blood
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Mar. 2014
Kojou is perfectly fine spending his days as an average high school student. However, all of that comes to an end when his vampirism awakens, he obtains incredible power, and he is thrust into a position of power while defending his city. Oh, and despite his job as the city’s protector, if his power ever gets too out of hand, there’s a person close by to deliver a swift and fatal blow.
The person assigned to deliver that fatal blow is the young Yukina Himeragi. Now there are a couple interesting aspects about Yukina that come into play. First off, the Lion King Organization prepared her to be Kojou’s lover if he doesn’t lose control, something which she is unaware of and definitely skews their relationship. Then there’s the fact that she is rather unassuming and at times seems extremely naïve. This provides an epic contrast to how powerful she is and the amazing abilities she shows with her lance, Schneewalzer.
8. Edward Newgate (Whitebeard) from One Piece
- Episodes: 600+
- Aired: Oct. 1999 - Present
We’re all familiar with One Piece and the Straw Hat crew. Considering the show has been on for so long, it’s hard not to have seen at least a few episodes of Luffy and his eclectic team travelling the open seas or the clouds and taking on the navy as much as their fellow pirates. Now, there are a lot of crews in the One Piece universe, and one of them we happen to get a pretty decent look at is White Beard’s crew, thanks to the involvement of Luffy’s bro Ace.
When we get a behind the scene’s look at White Beard’s crew, it becomes clear that White Beard is a man among men. He’s incredibly powerful (reverently referred to the strongest man alive) and a leader who dictates by action more than anything else. He’s also known for being able to go head-to-head with Gol D. Rogers, which isn’t a small feat by any means. Thankfully, the creators were kind enough to display just how immense his power is in a couple cases. There was the time his lance met Shanks sword, splitting the heavens. Then the creators had him play a major role in the Battle at Marineford. Whitebeard leads the charge and basically controls the battlefield, allowing for the initial release of Ace.
7. Kazuki Muto from Busou Renkin
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct. 2006 – Mar. 2007
Busou Renkin starts with Kazuki Muto dying while saving a girl, and then waking up to a snake monster attacking him. Well, he did die and the monster, a hommonculus, was real and all of this is happening because the girl he saved decided to revive him. In doing so, she gave him a special device that allows him to form a special weapon, called a Busou Renkin, which allows him to fight against homunculi.
Now Kazuki Muto wouldn’t be on this list if his Busou Renkin didn’t happen to transform into a massive lance that is named “Sunlight Heart”. With this lance, Kazuki literally tears through his enemies time and time again. Think of Simon from Gurren Lagann consistently drilling through any obstacle before him. That’s essentially what Kazuki does. More important that his will to fight and overcome any obstacle though, is the fact that Kazuki is extremely selfless and frequently puts himself in harm’s way for the sake of others. This is what allowed him to receive his power after all.
6. Daryun from Arslan Senki
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Prince Arslan, despite being quite different from his father, has decided to leave the castle proper and enter the battlefield in order to show his people the type of king he will one day be. However, while he’s on the field, an advisor to his father commits treason and most of Prince Arslan’s forces are destroyed. Luckily he escapes with the incredibly skilled and incredibly loyal general Daryun.
If you haven’t watched this series yet, do so now and marvel at the glorious fight scenes, especially the ones with Daryun at their center. Daryun is the person you want to always have your back in a fight, because he will be there and he will save you time and time again. He is quick, precise, and extremely aggressive with his attacks, while still maintaining a thoughtful strategy and show mercy at critical moments. From beginning to end, it’s impossible to imagine that Prince Arslan would have had any hope without the guidance and protection of Daryun.
5. Kyoko Sakura from Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Madoka Magica is one of those shows that any fan of anime should watch. This is because it takes one of the most cherished, if not overly-done, genres, and flips it entirely on its head. That genre is that of the magical girl, and rather than enter into a fantasy world of adventure, our five heroines are thrown into a cycle of death and destruction.
One of the best things about Madoka Magica is that each character encompasses a wide array of emotion, which shows that the creators really put their time into developing each of them. One of the more exciting interlopers is Kyoko, who drops in, unafraid to speak her mind, and acts as a counterweight against Saya’s saga. Kyoko’s strong, fiery, and understands the dangerous role of a magical girl and so puts her interests in front of all else. However, she’s not beyond trying to help others move past their own weaknesses. In her own way, she tries to get Says to stop worrying about others and then becomes immensely concerned when Saya starts losing her mind.
4. Erza Knightwalker from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: Oct. 2009 – Mar. 2013
Fairy Tail is just one of those anime that everyone needs to watch. It throws viewers into a beautiful fantasy world where magical guilds are spread across the land. One guild of prominence is known as Fairy Tail and it's the adventures of its guild members that this anime follows in detail.
One of the most powerful members in the Fairy Tail guild, who also happens to be one of the main stars of the show, is Ezra Scarlet. However, this nomination goes to her counterpart, Erza Knightwalker, whose magic focuses on equipping weapons rather than armors and whose go-to weapon is the spear. In fact, every weapon change of hers is to a more powerful spear. Now it’s important to understand that Knightwalker, though ultimately beaten by Scarlet, is very much Scarlet’s peer in battle. She can and will plow through anyone standing before her and has rightfully earned herself the title of Fairy Hunter, for all the members she’s taken down from Edolas Fairy Tail.
3. Sanada Yukimura for Sengoku Basara
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2009 – Jun. 2009
Sengoku Basara is a show all about warring factions, and so you shouldn’t be surprised that at least one character in this show wields a lance and has made his way onto this list. That goes double, considering the fact that the character, Sanada Yukimura, happens to be one of the main faces/mascot for the series as a whole.
Now, Yukimura is a fiery warrior who wields two yari and is intensely loyal to Takeda Shingen. His main rival throughout the series is Date Masamune who he consistently crosses blades with in ever escalating battles. Compared to Masamune, Yukimura has a little more comedic relief tied to his character as he gets into frequent fist matches of love with his lord. However, this doesn’t change the fact that we watch him continuously improve his skills to the point that he’s able to take on a moving fortress single handedly.
2. Balsa from Seirei no Moribito (Moribito – Guardian of the Spirit)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Sep. 2007
Seirei no Moribito throws us into a visually beautiful world, where the human world and spirit world are increasingly coming into contact with one another. This has a lot to do with the fact that the young prince Chagum has a river spirit living within his body. To most of the officials, this spirit represents disaster for the people and so the prince is to be killed. However, his mother refuses to allow such murder and hands her son over to the spear wielder Balsa.
Now Seirei no Moribito is not as action packed as a good chunk of the shows on this list, but it definitely has some of the more intricate and semi-realistic battles out of all the series. This is because, each fight includes impressive mental strategies and footwork. Watching Balsa take on the royal’s elite troop, required a lot of planning, risk taking, and flawless execution. The animation for this battle is some of the smoothest and emphasizes each and every strike, enhancing the feeling of Balsa’s power and skill.
1. Lancer (Cu Chalainn) from Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Jun. 2015
The Fate series throws viewers into events known as Holy Grail Wars. These wars have seven magicians summon spirits to join them in battle for the opportunity to have the Holy Grail grant them a wish. Each spirit is designated a class, and there happens to be a specialized Lancer class, which provided a couple awesome candidates for this list.
Probably the toughest choice for this list was deciding which Lancer from the Fate series to include. Each show presents a pretty awesome character, with a strong sense of honor and deadly capabilities. However, Lancer from Fate stay night, the one whose spirit belongs to that of Cu Chalainn had just a little something extra. That is to say that the Lancer from that series has a little more ferocity in his actions that engage the audience more directly. That first battle with Archer is truly an epic way to start off the Holy Grail war, and his later struggle with Archer is just as epic, especially when he pulls out his noble phantasma. So there’s that aspect as well as more air time and a rather noble nature that is displayed quite powerfully when he collaborates with Rin and Emiya.
In anime, spear wielders are the farthest warriors from defensive fighters. They are the point that pierces the enemy and they are generally the first to attack. In other words, they lunge forward and obliterate everything and anything that stands before them. Thus, if you do see a show with a lancer as a protagonist, be prepared for some epic battles. Now, were there any lancers you wish were on this list?