It is estimated that between 70 and 95 percent of the world's population is right-handed. Historically, many cultures have had a bias against lefties for deviating from the genetic norm as seen in Western Christianity, Islam, many traditional Indian cultures and many parts of Asia, including Japan, where many natural lefties are forced to use their right hands from a young age. While left-handedness is becoming more and more accepted, there are still places where they can struggle, such as in the design of everyday items like scissors, computer mice, and musical instruments.
That being said, lefties have a little bit of their own special mystique and excel in certain areas where it benefits them, perhaps most notably in sports like baseball and boxing, where their unique orientation gives them a slight edge over their predominantly right-handed opponents. Anime also has its share of lefties that we're going to celebrate in this list. Here are our picks for the top left-handed characters in anime!
10. Elucia "Elsie, Ellie" de Lute Ima from Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (The World God Only Knows)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct . 2010 - Dec. 2010
Along with being left-handed, Elsie happens to be one of those “well, actually, she's a 300 year old demon” anime characters. Despite looking nothing like Ryuk of Death Note fame, Elsie is a shinigami (god or spirit associated with death) who has been sent from Hell on a mission to capture evil spirits that have escaped into the human world. Enlisting the help of dating sim “god” Keima Katsuragi when he unknowingly accepts the challenge, the two work together to conquer real-world girls who have been possessed by these spirits. This begins a long series of adventures full of parodies of character archetypes where Keima must put his gaming skills to the test with actual girls or else literally lose his head!
What makes Elsie such a great character is that she is very much unlike what anyone would expect of a demon from hell in both personality and looks. Akio Watanabe's iconic cute character design makes this little hell spawn look more like a magical girl than a death god. With her frequently beeping skull-shaped hair clip, pink, cloud-like scarf, witch-style flying broomstick, bubbly, child-like personality, fascination with fire trucks, and sporadic cleaning spurts (before becoming a spirit hunter she was a cleaner!), Elsie's antics make her a very lovable character and good contrast to the gloomy, brooding Keima. Her left-handedness is also showcased as the left-handed bassist for Chihiro's band, the 2-B Pencils!
9. Kagami Hiiragi from Lucky☆Star
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: Apr. 2007 - Sep. 2007
Lucky Star is a slice-of-life comedy that follows the lives of four high-school girls: the short, obsessive otaku Konata Izumi, the bespectacled, polite and smart Miyuki Takara, and fraternal twin sisters Tsukasa and Kagami Hiiragi, as they go about their daily lives and discuss facets of Japanese tradition, the proper way to cook and eat foods, academics, specifics of nerd culture and more!
Tsukasa and Kagami could be described as “sugary” and “spicy” or as different sides of the same (left) hand respectively with Tsukasa being much more outwardly sweet, caring, and a little bit of a klutz, while Kagami is a classic tsukkomi character, prone to being grumpy and tsundere when she does show affection. We chose Kagami as our #9 on this list, but if this were a ranking of shows, Lucky Star would have to be our #1 with all of the main characters being left-handed except Konata (who is ambidextrous) and most of the supporting cast as well! Kagami is our pick for her relatable frustration at not having a lot of common interests with the other girls, her cute bouts of tsundere shyness, and the special moments when we get to see her smile.
8. Kallen Stadtfeld from Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch (Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Oct. 2006 - Jul. 2007
Code Geass takes place in an alternate history where the British Empire maintained control of the American colonies and continued to expand, becoming known as the Holy Empire of Britannia. Set in 2010, the tyrannical Britannia is fighting off the last of the resistance forces in District 11 (a renamed Japan), Code Geass chronicles the story of the titular Lelouch Lamperouge, the exiled crown prince of Britannia. Lelouch receives a magical power called Geass from mysterious immortal girl C.C. and embarks on an action-packed quest for revenge against Britannia as his masked vigilante alter ego Zero in a story full of political intrigue and awesome mechs!
Like Lelouch, Kallen Stadtfeld has a double life. Seemingly demure and frail, she attends the prestigious Ashford Academy where she is a member of the student council with outstanding academics but she is also secretly part of the guerrilla resistance forces fighting against Britannia. Kallen is an awesome lefty, a fiery redhead fighting for what she believes in with her badass Guren Type-02 mech specially designed for her, left-handedness included!
7. Haruko Haruhara from FLCL
- Episodes: 6
- Air Date: Apr. 2000 - Mar. 2001
FLCL or Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri is a bizarre 6 episode OVA produced by legendary studio Gainax about 12-year-old Naota Nandaba. Living in his suburban town of Mabase, the cynical preteen hates his boring town. Living in the shadow of his older brother who moved to America to play baseball, he is obsessed with trying to act mature to hide his loneliness. His ordinary life is violently interrupted when our #7 lefty Haruko Haruhara crashes into him with her Vespa scooter and then proceeds to bash him in the head with an electric blue Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar! It only gets weirder from there when strange things start popping out of Naota's forehead, beginning with an oddly-shaped horn. Thus begins the wild, nonsensical, reference-fueled coming-of-age adventure that is FLCL!
Pink-haired, hyperactive weirdo Haruko Haruhara (or maybe Haruha Raharu if you ask Amarao) is quite an enigma. She claims to be a 19-year-old alien working for an organization called the Galactic Space Patrol Brotherhood and seems to be after the power of the “Pirate King” Atomsk, but otherwise, her intentions and backstory are completely unknown. With her bizarre powers, unique sense of style, and over-the-top personality, Haruko Haruhara is an extremely memorable character who gets bonus lefty points for using her right-handed guitar despite being left-handed and being amazing at baseball in classic lefty fashion. “He who conquers the left side conquers the world” might just hold true for Haruko.
6. Mio Akiyama from K-On!
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Apr. 2009 - Jun. 2009
K-On! is about the members of the all-girl Sakuragaoka High School's Light Music Club. Freshman Hirasawa Yui has zero experience playing instruments or reading sheet music and mistakenly joins the club believing that the “light music” in Light Music Club means “easy music” like humming or whistling. When she meets the other girls, Ritsu Tainaka, Tsumugi Kotobuki, and Mio Akiyama, she finds out that the club is in danger of disbanding because of a lack of members and she ends up joining anyway. The girls name their band Ho-kago Tea Time and work together through their school studies and daily lives while Yui tries to learn guitar as they get ready for their debut at the school festival.
Mio Akiyama tries really hard to act mature, calm, and collected around others but is also really shy and afraid of most anything that could be considered macabre or gross like ghosts, blood, haunted houses, injuries, and even barnacles. She's a model student with excellent grades and is often strict with others, especially in tsundere ways towards the immature Ritsu. She writes most of the songs for Ho-kago Tea Time, plays a left-handed, 3-color Fender Jazz Bass, and also provides many of the vocals alongside Yui, but tries not to be the center of attention because of her shyness. She is easily excitable when she sees rare, left-handed instruments. Another great lefty bassist from a Kyoto Animation classic!
5. Tomoya Okazaki from CLANNAD
- Episodes: 23
- Air Date: Oct. 2007 - Mar. 2008
Based on the 2004 KEY-developed visual novel of the same name, CLANNAD follows school delinquent Tomoya Okazaki. With a troubled past, Tomoya has pretty much given up on having a future and frequently skips school, idling his days away with his fellow delinquent friend Youhei Sunohara. That slowly begins to change after he encounters a strange girl named Nagisa Furukawa who he overhears exclaiming words of things she likes in an attempt to motivate herself. This begins an unlikely friendship of sorts where Tomoya tries to help Nagisa achieve her dream of reviving the school's drama club. As things progress, Tomoya meets more girls, each with their own problems, who he assists in this emotional drama speckled with bits of comedy and supernatural elements.
Tomoya Okazaki is well-loved for his strong character development across CLANNAD and CLANNAD: After Story. While initially coming across as an aimless delinquent cynic, as we learn more about his traumatic childhood, we start to understand his frustrations in life and as the story moves on and you can't help but want to cheer him on as he develops a compassionate understanding of what it means to be friends and family. Through the emotional rollercoaster that is CLANNAD, Tomoya's growth and persistence is inspiring. He's also left-handed!!
4. Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto
- Episodes: 220
- Air Date: Oct. 2002 - Feb. 2007
Konohagakure, the hidden leaf village, is attacked by a gigantic nine-tailed fox demon called Kyuubi. In a desperate attempt to save the land, their leader, the Fourth Hokage, seals Kyuubi inside the newborn Naruto, sacrificing himself in the process. The main story follows the socially outcast Naruto, who dreams of becoming the next Hokage, from his ninja training to fighting many different opponents, to making friends, exploring new lands, and discovering himself in the process. Naruto, to many, was a gateway anime and continues to be a very popular shounen series.
One of the people that Naruto meets early on in his journey is Sasuke Uchiha, another student living in the hidden leaf village who trains with Naruto and others. Sasuke has an immense drive for revenge against his older brother Itachi who murdered nearly the entirety of the Uchiha clan when Sasuke was a young child. Sasuke is matched with Naruto and Sakura Haruno, forming Team 7 in the Chunin Exams where Sasuke begins to form a bond with Naruto, one of the few people who can relate to his hardships. Ninjas are trained to be ambidextrous when possible but Sasuke's natural inclination is towards his left, likely another way to express his wayward character.
3. Taiga Aisaka from Toradora!
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Oct. 2008 - Mar. 2009
Ryuuji Takasu's scary face labels him as a delinquent by the students of his high school despite his actual kind, housework-obsessed personality, while fellow student Taiga Aisaka's small frame and doll-like features hide an often violent, feisty demeanor that gives her the nickname of “Palmtop Tiger.” After the two find out that each has a crush on the other's best friend, Yuusaku Kitamura and Minori Kushieda, they form an unlikely bond as they try to help each other get together with their respective crushes. Based on the award-winning light novel series, Toradora! is one of the best romantic comedies of recent times largely thanks to its memorable characters.
The titular Taiga Aisaka (tora means tiger) is often seen brandishing a bamboo sword around school. Her explosive personality and aggressive antics makes her a sight to behold, especially coupled with her tiny stature. In reality, Taiga is a troubled girl with a history of family issues that have caused her to lose trust in others, save for her best friend Minori, who she calls Minorin, and Ryuuji who she slowly warms up to over the course of the story. As we learn more about Taiga throughout the story, she becomes more and more of a sympathetic character, which makes her tsundere shows of kindness even more beautiful.
2. Zoro Roronoa (or Zolo Roronoa) from One Piece
- Episodes: 830+
- Air Date: Oct. 1999 - Currently airing
As one of the longest running anime series of all time, most anime fans have already probably at least heard of One Piece, in particular if they prefer pirates to ninjas (sorry Naruto). One Piece tells the tale of Monkey D. Luffy, a 17-year-old boy who dreams to find the titular treasure called One Piece, a hidden treasure trove left by the “Pirate King” Gol D. Roger, who revealed its existence in his final breath, saying that anyone who could find it could claim it. Now countless pirates cruise the Grand Line in hopes of finding the treasure that can make their dreams come true, Luffy and his Straw Hat crew included.
Zoro, as he is described in the infamous 4Kids English dub opening, is like a samurai but not actually one, though he does somewhat subscribes to the tenets of bushido. A master swordsman with a unique style of fighting called santoryu that utilizes using three katana swords at once, Zoro is generally considered the most powerful member of Luffy's crew after Luffy himself and was also the first to join the Straw Hats. Zoro seeks to truly master the art of swordsmanship, aiming to be the greatest in the world; his many battle scars a testament to his dedication. An awesome, left-handed warrior, Zoro carves his way into being our #2 pick!
1. Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist
- Episodes: 51
- Air Date: Oct. 2003 -Oct. 2004
When brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric attempt the forbidden alchemic act of human transmutation to resurrect their dead mother, they get more than they bargained for. Alchemy abides by the law of equivalent exchange, sacrifices must be made to achieve results. This alchemy gone awry cost Edward a literal arm and a leg and Alphonse his entire body and nearly his life. If not for Edward hastily binding his soul into a suit of armor, he would have been gone forever. Fullmetal Alchemist follows the story of the two brothers in their quest to find the legendary Philosopher's Stone, said to amplify the abilities of any alchemist far beyond what is normal, even bypassing the law of equivalent exchange.
Edward's first step in trying to find the legendary stone is to become part of the military as a State Alchemist, which the brilliant 12-year-old achieves as the youngest person in all of history. Edward (or Ed) is also unusual in his stature and appearance, the former being a recurring sticking point with his short stature and the latter, his mechanical arm and leg called automail, being the source of his namesake Fullmetal title, as well as qualifying his inclusion in this list due to him only having a left arm (and hand) of his own. Ed is our number one pick because of his awesome skills in both martial arts and alchemy (and the combination thereof, especially his ability to transform the metal in his limbs) and his undeniable charm in spite of often being an overly stubborn hothead. For those close to him, he is incredibly loyal and capable of great compassion, and it's in these deeper moments that we understand his complex character. A truly memorable character from a fantastic series, and as left-handed as one can get, Edward Elric is surely a character you'll never forget!
Handedness is an unusual aspect of people and characters to explore and one that can easily be overlooked unless you're looking for it. With both cultural and physical ramifications, left-handedness and left-handed people add unique variety to our lives and stories. Its usage in anime can be as simple as it being a character quirk to it being subtle symbolism of their lifestyle or destiny or even using it as a central part of that character's skills or identity. Lefty power!
For real-world lefties trying to find similarities with their favorite characters or fans just wanting to know more about them, we hope that this list as been interesting and informative! What do you think of our list? What other characters do you know that are left-handed and/or should have they been included here? Let us know in the comments below!