It’s not hard to find world-ending and chaotic battles in Anime. In fact, there’s a treasure trove of war-mongering and battle-loving characters who thrive on such conflicts. On the other hand, characters out to bring peace and avoid these tribulations tend to be much harder to find. In honor of the characters dedicated to making the world a better place, we here at Honey’s Anime have scoured through our databases to find the Top 10 Peacemaker Characters in Anime.
We had plenty of criteria for what we sought in peacemaking characters. Firstly, we wanted to find characters whose goals were to achieve peace, often on a grand scale. Secondly, we wanted to find characters who’ve outright stopped or ended tragic conflicts. Thirdly, we wanted to find characters who are trailed by conflict, often due to their less virtuous past or overwhelming power, but instead of engaging in these conflicts, seek to end them.
10. Sharyuu from Juuni Taisen (Juni Taisen: Zodiac War)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct. 2017 – Dec. 2017
Every 12 years, 12 mercenaries – each representing one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac – gather for the Zodiac Tournament where the victor is granted any wish they want. The tournament’s stakes are even higher for the 12th Zodiac Tournament; the 12 mercenaries have ingested a poison in the form of a gem and have approximately 12 hours before that poison kills them. To win the Zodiac Tournament, a mercenary must gather all 12 poison gems. These mercenaries are all uniquely gifted and, in certain cases, have participated in the Zodiac Tournament before, but this one promises to be fatal for anyone who falls short of victory. Each mercenary will manipulate, fight, and kill to be the one to survive, but only one mercenary can win.
Sharyuu, one of the 12 mercenaries competing in the Zodiac Tournament, is the monkey representative and sports a motto of killing peacefully. She makes her mark from the very first episode when she tries to negotiate peace between all the mercenaries. She nearly manages to get half of the mercenaries to agree to a plan she has that would end the 12th Zodiac Tournament in a way that assures that they all survive. One of the mercenaries, Dotsuku, even points out that Sharyuu has a history of solving conflicts across the world, and she likely entered the Zodiac Tournament for the sole purpose of ending the conflict. He goes as far as to suspect that if there is anyone capable of ending the Zodiac Tournament, it would be Sharyuu. She outright considers herself a pacifist, has a tag line that says she kills peacefully, and is a worthy mediator for any war.
9. Satoru Fujinuma from Boku dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Jan. 2016 – Mar. 2016
Satoru Fujinuma has a unique ability: when a tragic accident happens, he is taken back several minutes before the accident in question. He calls this ability “Revival” and uses it to prevent the accident from ever happening, sometimes to his own detriment. To most eyes, Satoru is an ordinary and unexceptional man; he works a pizza delivery job and doesn’t have much to show for his stalled career as a manga artist. One day, one of the few people close to Satoru is murdered, and his presence at the crime scene makes him a suspect. Instead of being sent back in time minutes before the accident, he’s sent back 18 years into the past. Somehow, preventing a murder that happened in his childhood may be the key to preventing the murder happening in his adulthood.
Compared to many other characters on this list, Satoru Fujinuma’s achievements are modest, but that makes him no less of a fitting entry. Satoru’s life is spent selflessly preventing tragedy from happening. He doesn’t gain anything from it, and often, no one even knows he’s done anything. Perhaps because of his abilities, accidents appear to surround Satoru, but even if it lands him in a hospital bed, Satoru will go out of his way to prevent the accident from happening. When he is sent back in time to his childhood, Satoru makes it his mission to save both the lives of those who he was close with and those he merely knew of.
8. Shanks from One Piece
- Episodes: 828+
- Air Date: Oct. 1999 - Ongoing
Gol D. Roger, the greatest pirate in the world, is executed by the World Government, but not without leaving a message to the world. He confirms the existence of his treasure called the One Piece, and initiates the Age of Pirates. Across the world, people set sail for the Grand Line to find Gol D. Roger’s infamous treasure, including a 17-year-old by the name of Monkey D. Luffy. Having been inspired by a pirate in his own childhood, Luffy sets sail to embark on adventure for One Piece, become Pirate King, discover new places, and make friends along the way.
Shanks, one of the four Pirate Emperors, and Luffy’s childhood hero, holds a spot on our list of peacemakers for a particularly pivotal moment in One Piece; however, his actions go beyond just that moment. Despite being one of the stronger characters in One Piece, Shanks often avoids exercising his power, even against those drastically weaker than him. Ahead of the Battle of Marineford, Shanks stops another Pirate Emperor from interfering in the war. Furthermore, he leads his pirates into putting a stop to the battle itself, preventing further bloodshed and saving many lives. He brokers a temporary treaty between the Whitebeard Pirates and the Marines when remaining on the sideline would have benefited him, and that’s his crowning moment as a peacemaker.
7. Kenshin Himura from Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (Rurouni Kenshin)
- Episodes: 94
- Air Date: Jan. 1996 – Sep. 1998
Hitokiri Battousai is the name of a legendary assassin, and the mere mention of that name would make the most fearsome man shiver. Battousai suddenly disappeared during the Japanese Revolution and hasn’t been heard of since. He now goes under a new moniker, Kenshin Himura, and he lives a simple life. He hasn’t abandoned his sword, but he has abandoned ever killing again; to redeem himself for his sins as an assassin, he spends his days protecting the innocent. However, despite his best intentions, he will find his vow not to kill tested repeatedly both by ghosts from his past and new foes.
Kenshin Himura dealt with a lot of tragedy in his youth, so he made it his mission to bring a peaceful era in Japan. Unfortunately, while Kenshin began working towards achieving peace in Japan at a young age, he went about it the wrong way and became responsible for countless political assassinations for what he believed to be a righteous cause. After he’s met with more tragedy, he decides to try and achieve peace in smaller and more direct ways. Kenshin no longer kills and is deliberate about using a reverse blade in fights to avoid shedding blood. He wanders around protecting the innocents and helping other villains see the moral side of things.
6. Kira Yamato from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny
- Episodes: 50
- Air Date: Oct. 2004 – Oct. 2005
A second war breaks out between PLANT and the Earth Alliance after an attack on a ZAFT military base results in the stealing of three of ZAFT’s new Gundams, and thereafter widespread destruction on Earth. Orb, once a neutral faction, joins the Earth Alliance to avoid the casualties they suffered in the first war for their neutrality. Kira Yamato, a former Earth Alliance hero, represents his own faction, and disillusioned with both sides, attempts to prevent as much bloodshed as he possibly can. With blurred lines and hidden intentions, it becomes hard to tell who is in the right and who is in the wrong in the war between PLANT and the Earth Alliance.
Kira Yamato, scarred from the first war, has settled down to help with an orphanage by the start of the second war. An assassination attempt on his girlfriend, Lacus, drags Kira back into the war. Having been traumatized by the many lives he’s taken in the first war, Kira is deliberate in avoiding killing his enemies this time around. Instead of joining either side of the war, Kira chooses to remain neutral, eventually becoming an admiral for Orb when it retains its neutrality. He becomes notorious for dismembering Gundams instead of killing the pilots and is more interested in ending the conflict than helping either side win.
5. Vash the Stampede from Trigun
- Episodes: 26
- Air Date: Apr. 1998 – Sep. 1998
Vash the Stampede has a $$60,000,000,000 bounty on his head, which means a lot of people are out to kill him. Thanks to the endless amount of bounty hunters he must fend off, Vash also has a tendency of leaving destruction in his wake. Meryl Stryfe and Milly Thompson, two insurance agents, have the unfortunate responsibility of preventing Vash from causing even more destruction and further racking up bills for their agency. Vash isn’t actually a killer, in fact, he’s a pacifist whose reputation precedes him, but his bounty puts him in a terrible cycle of fighting off bounty hunters, saving collateral lives, and creating collateral destruction.
Despite Vash the Stampede’s reputation and incredible fighting prowess, he makes it a point to save anyone and everyone. Because of his idealistic intentions, Vash finds himself riddled with scars and causing mass destruction wherever he goes. Furthermore, his pursuers go out of their way to cause suffering around him knowing his desperation to prevent it, and his refusal to kill even the worst of villains leaves them free to continue hurting innocents. Still, in a world where everyone is out for themselves, Vash’s willingness to go to the most extreme of lengths to prevent death makes him stand out as one of anime’s best peacemakers.
4. Nausicaä from Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
- Episodes: 1
- Air Date: Mar. 1984
A jungle filled with giant insects and toxic spores covers most of Earth after a nuclear war called the “Seven Days of Fire” ravaged it. The remnants of humanity now struggle to survive against the encroaching jungle. The Valley of the Wind is one of the few places that provides a haven against the jungle thanks to its proximity to the sea. When a plane crashes into the Valley of the Wind containing an object that could result in the end of humanity, the Tolmekian empire begins infiltrating the valley to take the weapon for themselves. Nausicaä, the princess of the Valley of the Wind, must protect both her home and Earth from both the ancient weapon and the continuously expanding jungle.
Director Hayao Miyazaki has become infamous for the anti-war themes in his films, and as a result, has an ample number of peacemakers in his films. With the people of the Valley of the Wind, the Pejite, the Ohmu, and the Tolmekians all enveloped in a war that serves little purpose but to hurt every side, it’s Nausicaä who must break past all the tensions. She engages in friendships with a baby Ohmu, the Pejite prince, and saves the Tolmekian princess to finally achieve peace between Earth’s many races.
3. Zheng Ying from Kingdom
- Episodes: 38
- Air Date: Jun. 2012 – Feb. 2013
Xin Li and Piao, orphans and slaves from the endless wars between China’s seven states, dream of becoming the next Great Generals of Qin. Piao is recruited to become a doppelganger for the king of Qin, Zheng Ying, because of a threat to the king’s life. The next time Piao returns to Xin Li, it’s with his dying breath and the request that he protect the king. Xin Li will help Zheng Ying retake his throne, and the two will encourage one another to achieve their dreams of uniting all seven states of China under one banner.
Zheng Ying, the king of Qin, grew up as a political hostage in the rival state of Zhao. His mother neglected him, tried to kill him, and the Zhao citizens deliberately abused him during his childhood. Thanks to the kindness of strangers, Zheng managed to escape Zhao and return home. As a king with a unique upbringing, Zheng has one goal: to unite all seven states of China under one banner and end all wars. He wants to create absolute equality among all citizens of China and end all conflict among his people. Of course, to achieve such admirable goals, Zheng first must conquer all the other six states, and he will have to go through bloodshed to achieve it.
2. Ashitaka from Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
- Episodes: 1
- Air Date: Jul. 1997
The village of Emishi is attacked by a demon boar, until the village’s prince, Ashitaka, slays it. As it dies, the demon boar curses Ashitaka, gifting him supernatural powers but also ensuring he will eventually die from the curse. Ashitaka is forced to leave his village and head out in search of a cure. He will discover that the demonic state of the boar came about because of the constant expansions into the forest of a mining town called Irontown. Ashitaka will have to come between Irontown, the spirits of the forest and the Japanese Empire to prevent mutually assured destruction from all parties.
Ashitaka follows Nausicaä’s roots as one of Hayao Miyazaki’s many anti-war heroes. Though Ashitaka has been cursed and exiled from his village and has many reasons to hate both the sacred spirits of the forest and Lady Eboshi of Irontown, he avoids acting on his hatred. Ashitaka finds himself saving villagers from Irontown, attempting to convince both sides to cease their transgressions, and physically coming between the two figureheads of both sides, San and Lady Eboshi. Ashitaka’s efforts to broker a peace between the spirits of the forest and Irontown put him in danger, but he never relents from those goals.
1. Naruto Uzumaki from Naruto: Shippuuden (Naruto: Shippuden)
- Episodes: 500
- Air Date: Feb. 2007 – Mar. 2017
Naruto Uzumaki left his village, Konohagakure, to train under his mentor Jiraya’s guidance. Naruto returns to his village with new-found strength and knowledge two and a half years later, and reunites with his old squad mate Sakura and squad captain Kakashi to find their lost friend, Sasuke Uchiha. All the while, Naruto must keep getting stronger to survive the threat of the terrorist group, Akatsuki, and to protect both his village and friends from ancient enemies.
Naruto Uzumaki is notorious for his ability to talk his way through conflicts and allow the darkest of hearts to see a sliver of light. Though he never advocates for pacifism, and trains endlessly to get stronger, his greatest strength lies in getting through to his enemies and the inner conflicts that drove them to their current states. Naruto has a number of peacemaking achievements, such as forming a friendship with the destructive demon inside of him and achieving his goals of getting Sasuke back by his side. His most notable moment as a peacemaker comes when he chooses to talk to the leader of the Akatsuki instead of fighting him despite all the crimes he’d committed .
Anime has its share of world-ending plots and characters who thrive on getting stronger and stronger, so finding characters that attempt to buck that trend is a treat. On our list, we have characters who are immensely strong yet prefer to exercise diplomacy and avoid abusing that power, we have characters who are out to save the people around them and the world, and characters who are outright dedicated to achieving peace worldwide. Do you think we missed a character worthy of our list of Top 10 Peacemaker Characters in Anime? Let us know in the comments down below.