One of the things many people have become accustomed to when watching anime is the idea that a human is going to be the species that’s mainly seen. Considering how many anime there are that’s based around life in school or a young adult with special abilities, it’s not that surprising. However, there are plenty of anime where animals, aliens, monsters, demons, and other beings that are not human are present. Yet some appear more frequently than others, and one of the types we don’t usually see in anime are skeletons.
To be fair, the skeleton is somewhat limited on how and where it can be used based on its ties to horror and death. But there are anime, some of which that are widely known, that have figured out creative ways to incorporate the use of a skeleton. Here are the Top 10 Skeleton Characters in anime.
10. Shiro, Shakugan no Shana (Burning-Eyed Shana)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2005 - Mar 2006
Once known as Merihim, one of the nine Crimson Lords, Shiro’s main role in the series is to be a mentor for Shana, the heir to Mathilde’s title. Merihim fought alongside Illuyanka in the Great War, becoming known as the “Pair of Wings” as well as Asiz’s most powerful subordinates. However, the man known as the Rainbow Swordsman suffered a defeat as a result of a bet with his love, Mathilde Saint-Omer, on the outcome of Illuyanka’s match with Wilhelmina. As promised, Merihim hid the last of his powers away in order to test the heir to Mathilde’s title and took the form of a skeleton known as Shiro while he waited for the next heir to come.
While Shiro is a real skeleton wearing a purple cloak, his true character is seen mainly as when he was Merihim, especially when he resumes his normal self in the Mathilde’s Successor Arc. That being said, even though it may have been brief compared to other characters on this list, we do get to see Shiro the skeleton in action, thus qualifying him to make this list.
9. Over Justice, Space Patrol Luluco
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 2016 - Jun 2016
The head of Ogikubo's Space Patrol department, Over Justice is the one responsible for Luluco joining the Space Patrol in order to obtain the money needed to unfreeze her father. Over Justice is basically a skeleton in a typical police uniform wearing Kamina Glasses, but this comical appearance pretty much makes sense in the context of the series. His name certainly explains who he is as a character right from the very 1st episode, where he is seen constantly trying to arrest Luluco and repeatedly shouting “You’re under arrest!” Definitely one of the funnier attempts in anime with using a skeleton character.
8. Dokuro Skull, Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai (The World God Only Knows)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct 2010 – Dec 2010
The Hell Counter Measures Branch Chief, Dokuro Skull starts out as only a minor character that pops up from time to time yet stands out in comparison to her compatriots. Dokuro can be usually seen working at her post and is one of the few devils that doesn’t harass Elsie due to her respectful attitude. In one of her few appearances, we learn from a flashback that Dokuro appeared to be a healthy looking skeleton as compared to her appearance in the present day, where she resembles a cute miniature Grim Reaper with huge eye sockets. Despite this unorthodox appearance, Dokuro certainly exemplifies the appearance of a skeleton, thus qualifying her for this lsit.
7. Admiral Perry, Space Dandy
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan 2014 to Mar 2014
The ruler of the Gogol Empire and one of the key villains in the series, Admiral Perry believes that Space Dandy is the key to the future of the universe and orders Dr. Gel to capture him. Admiral Perry is not only serious in all situations and has no sense of humor, but also has anger issues. Perry’s appearance is certainly unique as a skull surrounded in flames with miniature planets orbiting around it, but this turns out to be an illusion, as his real from turns out to be a middle aged man wearing a gray business suit. Nevertheless, Admiral Perry’s unique take on the skeleton appearance makes him stand out.
6. Inferno Cop, Inferno Cop
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Dec 2012 - Mar 2013
A reckless police officer with a flaming skull as a head and a revolver that blows up almost anything, Inferno Cop will stop at nothing to dispense justice. Losing his family to an organization known as Southern Cross (and possibly his own life as well), Inferno Cop seeks revenge. However, he ends up in one crazy encounter after another, such as fighting a zombie apocalypse or traveling through time. One thing’s for sure: regardless of the evidence, if Inferno Cop believes you to be a lawbreaker, you will face his wrath.
5. Skull Knight, Berserk
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 1997 - Apr 1998
One of the main protagonists, Skull Knight is not only 1000 years old, but also has a great understanding in terms of what is happening in the world and therefore what will happen next. Aloof, cold, and harboring a mysterious past, Skull Knight’s actions actually show him to be both heroic and merciful, saving Guts multiple times throughout the series. Skull Knight’s abilities with a sword are very impressive, going up against some of the most powerful characters in the series. Yet another example of defying the norm regarding a skeleton character by making him an unstoppable badass.
4. Baraggan Louisenbairn , Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: Oct 2004 - Mar 2012
An Arrancar in Sōsuke Aizen's army, Baraggan Louisenbairn appears as an elderly man at first with white hair, a white moustache, and scars all across his face. However, he soon takes on the form of a skeleton when using his Resurrección ability with a purple cloak around his body as well as black fur around his neck. With the addition of his crown, one might even mistake him for a lich. With his abilities regarding time, levitation, and his weapons, Baraggan Louisenbairn skeletal appearance only adds to how scary he really is, solidifying his spot on this list.
3. Eliza, Shaman King
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Jul 2001 – Sep 2002
The wife and guardian ghost of Faust VIII, Eliza first appears in the series as a giant skeleton that fights Yoh early on in the series and hands him his 1st defeat. When she was alive, Eliza had a fatal disease that Faust was able to cure; however, later on in life a burglar broke into their home and shot Eliza in the head from point-blank range. As a result, Faust decided to join the Shaman fight and become the Shaman King so that he could bring her back to life. As the series progresses, Faust becomes strong enough to not only restore Eliza’s original form over the skeleton, but with the help of Anna is able to summon Eliza’s spirit as well as solely rely on her in combat. Relying on the scary appearance skeletons bring as well as amplifying that terror is what helped Eliza make this list.
2. Momonga, Overlord
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul 2015 - Sep 2015
The main protagonist of Overlord, Momonga was once one of many players that played YGGDRASIL, a popular online game. However, after deciding not to log out after it was shut down, Momonga is suddenly transformed into his avatar, a skeleton wearing a jet-black gown and a powerful magic caster. As the non-playable characters, or NPC’s, become more lifelike, Momonga makes the decision to give up on the real world and to conquer the new world he was now a part of. Momonga’s appearance as a skeleton factors very much in the series, as it helps with his goal of taking over the world in various ways, such as utilizing it for fear or helping to establish authority. While this is also another character that can possibly be confused with being a lich due to his magic, Momonga is certainly seen as a skeleton first, which is why he is on this list.
1. Brooke, One Piece
- Episodes: Ongoing
- Aired: Oct 1999 - present
If you’re a fan of anime, then this is most likely the first character you thought of when you read the title of this article. The 9th person to join Luffy’s Straw Hat Crew, “Soul King” Brooke is a musician that ate the Revive-Revive Fruit, meaning (among other things) that he could come back to life a second time after dying. Unfortunately, due to the location of where Brooke’s ship was, his body had become a skeleton by the time he found it. Luckily, with his new Devil Fruit powers, his skills as both a swordsman and a musician, and his comedic personality, Brooke was a natural fit for the Straw Hats. It is because of Brooke’s use of his skeletal body for comedic purposes as well as his Devil Fruit powers in combat for serious ones that we get to see a wide range of what being a skeleton is like, hence Brooke taking the #1 spot.
All of these anime in some form or another were able to assimilate a skeleton character into their larger narrative. Some of them stuck to the normal themes people associate with skeletons; others were able to be more creative with them. As a result, some of these characters seem to stand out more as skeletons more than others, especially in terms of appearance. Regardless, what matters the most is how the skeletons serve as characters, and each of the characters on this list was able to effectively contribute to their respective stories.
Here are the top 10 Skeleton characters in anime. What do you guys think? Should Death from Soul Eater count as a skeleton? Should certain characters on this list have been higher? Are there characters that shouldn’t even be on this list at all? Let us know in the comments!