Actions speak louder than words, and these characters are the personification of that mantra. Whether afflicted by a speech impediment or they just prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves, anime is not lacking when it comes to mute heroes or villains. While certain shows are known for their witty banter and dialogue; at the end of the day, animation remains a visual medium that can succeed without the inclusion of words.
When someone has obvious physical challenges, their personality tends to revolve around that trait. While it would be ridiculous to completely ignore that part of their persona, the best characters rise above their limits and refuse to be defined by their weaknesses!
10. Saty from Blood Lad
- Episodes: 10
- Air Date: Jul 8, 2013 to Sep 9, 2013
A short-lived series that only lasted 10 episodes, Blood Lad came and went way too quickly. Due to the painfully limited amount of time we get to spend with the anime's colorful cast of demons and monsters, Saty remained somewhat of a mystery. At first glance, the girl might seem unassuming and almost sweet, but she is actually a demon and an entrepreneur! Accompanied by her business partner Mamejirou, Saty runs a cafe called "The Third Eye."
Even though she works in the customer service business and regularly interacts directly with her clientele, Saty has never uttered a word. That is not an exaggeration, as the seemingly emotionless demon has not even spoken to Mamejirou. In spite of her silence, a single stare from Saty is enough to quiet down the rowdiest of patrons!
Besides running a business and giving Staz the stink eye, the humanoid demon's third eye allows her to examine someone's soul to see whether they can leave the demon world.
9. Rinnosuke Mitobe from Kuroko no Basket (Kuroko’s Basketball)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Apr 8, 2012 – Jun 22, 2012
If participating in a team sport, you would quite rightly assume that communication is crucial. While that is definitely the case, Rinnosuke Mitobe proves that talking is not the only way to get your message across. A regular on Seirin High's basketball team, at least until Teppei Kiyoshi returned to the fold, the second year student is arguably the calmest and most subdued player in Kuroko no Basket. While Mitobe prefers silence, that should not be mistaken for a lack of passion, as the teenager's drive is just as unrelenting as the rest of the team!
Outside of the court, Mitobe has to contend with a massive family. With six younger brothers and three younger sisters, when at home, the shy player takes on a fair amount of responsibility. After Kiyoshi returned to the team, Mitobe was largely relegated to the bench, but he used his experience to teach Kagami how to properly defend.
Hailed as the unsung hero by the club's coach, Mitobe does not need to speak to score a slam dunk!
8. Toshinari Seki from Tonari no Seki-kun (The Master of Killing Time)
- Episodes: 21
- Air Date: Jan 6, 2014 to May 26, 2014
With his name in the title, Toshinari Seki must be a pretty interesting character! Tonari no Seki-kun's premise is on the simple side; during class, Seki loves to mess around with games and inventions, driving his neighbor, Yokoi, up the wall! Over the course of 21 short episodes, Seki never utters a single word, while his actions drive Yokoi insane.
Seki is a fantastic and hilarious character, as we cannot help but look forward to what he conjures up next. Unlike some other mute characters who do not seem to have much of a reason behind their silence, Seki cannot talk because he is in the middle of class. Even though he cares little about his teacher or classmates, the student keeps as quiet as feasibly possible to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Unfortunately, Yokoi is incapable of ignoring him.
Tonari no Seki-kun delivers one hilarious scene after another and the eponymous character is the main reason why! If nothing else, Seki knows how to add a bit of excitement to education.
7. Elizabeth from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Air Date: Apr 4, 2006 – Mar 2010
Gintama and comedy are synonymous with each other. Hideaki Sorachi's series loves loud and obnoxious personalities, so a mute character sticks out like a sore thumb. To be fair, even if stuck in a silent movie, someone is sure to notice a man dressed up as a giant white duck!
Serving as Katsura's best friend and companion in arms, Elizabeth is shrouded in mystery. Who is she and where did she come from? Is she human or an alien? Even if concrete answers are never provided, Elizabeth remains one of Gintama's many highlights. Violent and bordering on criminal, Elizabeth is more than just a comedic character. Besides being an avid painter, the mischievous duck often acts as the only voice of reason in a chorus of insanity.
Whether launching missiles from her mouth or using sign boards to communicate, Elizabeth is a regular scene stealer!
6. Kozue Orihara from ChäoS;HEAd
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct 9, 2008 to Dec 25, 2008
If someone uses their telepathic powers to communicate, can they really be described as mute? In Kozue Orihara's case, we are going to say yes! ChäoS;HEAd follows Takumi Nishijou, a high school student who inadvertently gets caught in the middle of a murder case. With the fabric of reality breaking around him, Takumi runs into an array of quirky schoolgirls.
For as long as she can remember, Kozue has been able to hear people's inner thoughts; or, to be more specific, their true selves. Up until the first year of high school, Kozue could speak normally, but things changed when her voice got stolen by a mirror. Luckily, Kozue's ability allows the schoolgirl to talk directly into someone's brain.
While she might seem rather easy going, looks can always be deceiving. Kozue is a broken and highly disturbed individual, who reacts to any threat by screaming bloody murder. For a character that cannot speak, Kozue really has a lot to say!
5. Kazuyoshi Usui from SKET Dance
- Episodes: 77
- Air Date: Apr 7, 2011 to Sep 27, 2012
Anyone in need of a good cry? If the answer is in the affirmative, then Kazuyoshi "Switch" Usui's backstory should do the trick! Based on Kenta Shinohara's manga with the same name, Sket Dance follows three eccentric students who run a high school club that helps anyone willing to ask. Bossun is the leader, Himeko is the muscle, and Switch is the brains of the operation.
For the most part, Sket Dance is a comedy and makes great use of Switch's silence. After a tragic incident in his childhood, Kazuyoshi changed his appearance, asked people to call him Switch, and started to communicate via a computer. Prior to the inauguration of Sket Dance, Switch was a hikikomori and suffered from depression. Largely thanks to Bossun, Kazuyoshi managed to break out of his shell and return to school.
Switch is a heartbreaking character who happens to be hilarious. The club tends to leave the thinking to Kazuyoshi, who loves to conjure up some of the most outrageous plans imaginable. Usually calm and stoic, this silent high school student's wicked sense of humor never misses the mark!
4. Nicolas Brown from Gangsta.
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Jul 2, 2015 to Sep 24, 2015
In Nicolas Brown's case, the former mercenary actually has a medical condition behind his imposed silence. Forming part of Benriya with Worick Arcangelo and Alex Benedetto, Nicolas is deaf and, for the most part, avoids speaking. Due to his condition, Nic communicates via sign language and only talks if the other person is completely oblivious to what he is trying to say.
Gangsta. is set in the city of Ergastalum, which is a haven for criminals and people with the worst luck. The charming Worick and the deadly Nicolas garnered a reputation as guns for hire known as the "Handymen." In a city littered with corruption and dangerous characters, Benriya is the last remaining hope for anyone at their wit's end.
Nicolas is a Twilight, meaning his forefathers received an ability-enhancing drug. Due to this legacy, the highly capable combatant is treated as a monster by the larger society. Unsurprisingly, Nic has little patience for anyone who wrongs him but the handyman is not above acts of kindness. At the same time, Worick's partner belongs on the battlefield!
3. Eucliwood Hellscythe from Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? (Is This a Zombie?)
- Episodes: 22
- Air Date: Jan 11, 2011 – Jun 7, 2012
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? follows a high school student who is viciously murdered by a serial killer. After Ayumu's life is painfully cut short, a necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe brings him back to life as a zombie. Did we mention that Studio Deen's anime is a laugh out loud comedy?
Eucliwood, henceforth referred to as Eu, is the anime's main female protagonist and, arguably, the harem's best girl. In a fashion choice best described as quirky, the necromancer manifested as a young girl clothed in medieval armor. Initially, Eu seems completely without emotion, as she never utters a sentence and communicates only by writing words on a notepad. As the story progresses, it becomes apparent that Eu's magical abilities are directly tied to her emotional state and simply uttering a word could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Eu's deadpan style of humor juxtaposes seamlessly with the rest of the cast's chaotic hijinks. Even if the necromancer cannot show or say it, she is genuinely kindhearted and treasures Ayumu's friendship.
2. Shouko Nishimiya from Koe no Katachi (A Silent Voice)
- Episodes: 1
- Air Date: Sep 17, 2016
Whether referring to Yoshitoki Ooima's manga or Kyoto Animation's highly regarded anime adaptation, Koe no Katachi sits among the best of both industries. Simultaneously harsh and uplifting, A Silent Voice tackles serious issues including bullying and forgiveness. At the heart of the story lays Nishimiya Shouko, a partially deaf girl who is mercilessly mocked by her elementary school classmates.
Shouko wears hearing aids and communicates by writing on a notepad. After transferring to Ishida Shouya's school, she is eventually deemed to be dragging the class down and ends up victimized by her classmates. In spite of the undeserved hell she is put through, Shouko earnestly yearns to befriend her peers. Throughout her entire life, she has been treated like an outsider, but the girl retained her optimism and humanity.
Nishimiya Shouko is inspirational. A Silent Voice is a masterpiece that effortlessly tackles bullying without dehumanizing any of the involved children. As her bully, Shouya is a fantastic character and goes through a ton of development, while Shouko remains largely the same. Even if the world is unwilling to try understanding her, Shouko refuses to give up on herself.
1. Celty Sturluson from Durarara!!
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: Jan 8, 2010 – Jun 25, 2010
Durarara!!'s Celty Sturluson has a pretty decent justification for her silence - she lacks a head. Known as the Black Rider, Celty is a fairy from Ireland and, accompanied by her trusty motorcycle, she works as an underground transporter. In spite of her rather strange backstory, Celty remains one of the more down-to-Earth and normal inhabitants of the anime's alternate version of Tokyo.
Dressed in her iconic helmet and black jumpsuit, Celty develops from a relatively stoic supernatural entity to someone who is sweet and relatable. Partially due to her relationship with Shinra Kishitani, the Dullahan fairy has developed an eye for human entertainment like video games and movies.
In the series' opening episode, Celty is presented as this strange and mystical anomaly, but that is only the case if viewed from the perspective of an outsider. In reality, the Black Rider is a strong but self-conscious person who values intimacy and comfort.
Even if they utter the best words, people can be hard to comprehend. Once the easiest form of communication is removed, a character has to rely on their actions to accurately convey their inner feelings. A unique beauty can be discovered in silence, with these anime boys and girls serving as prime examples.
Which mute character connected the most with you? Please let us know in the comment section below.