They may not have as much screentime or recognition as the main heroes, but the best supporting characters in an anime can leave just as big of an impact. Fan-favorite side villains, friends who have their own interesting character arcs, and background characters who rise to prominence in a later season are all worthy of our praise, and they’re who we’re going to be looking at today. Let’s give our full attention to the top 10 supporting characters in anime of 2018!
10. Haida from Aggressive Retsuko (Aggretsuko)
- Episodes: 10
- Air Date: April 2018
Haida the hyena plays the role of a corporate crony who knows how to weave his way through office politics, but he has a soft spot for his coworker Retsuko. He always falls for Fenekko’s morbid jokes about Retsuko overworking herself and going insane, which just gives away that he has a massive crush on the red panda girl.
He flails desperately to get Retsuko’s attention, but she’s far more focused on a boring guy who she’s built up in her mind as the perfect boyfriend. Surprisingly enough, Haida learns to back off eventually and wishes for his crush’s happiness while remaining her trustworthy friend. What a gentleman!
9. Chelia Blendy from Fairy Tail: Final Series
- Episodes: 19+
- Air Date: October 2018 – currently airing
Fairy Tail has such a huge cast that side characters are lucky if they get character arcs at all. When Chelia first appeared during the Grand Magic Games storyline, her only real purpose was to be a rival to Wendy and an additional member of the Lamia Scale Guild. But in the Alvarez arc, which the anime is covering right now, we get to see this young mage realize her true potential.
Wendy and Chelia grew to be very close friends during their year together in Lamia Scale, but when the Fairy Tail guild reformed, Wendy had to say her goodbyes. Chelia follows her friend into the war against Alvarez, stepping on Natsu’s toes a bit to rebuild her relationship with Wendy. However, her Sky God Slayer magic proves to be a vital asset in battle, leading up to her most badass moment ever in a fight that will be animated this year. We can’t wait!
8. The Platelets from Hataraku Saibou (Cells at Work!)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: July 2018 – September 2018
In real life, platelets are small cells that control blood clotting to close up injuries. In the anthropomorphized anime world of Cells at Work, platelets are represented as an unfathomably adorable team of kindergarten students. Their intrepid leader (whose cheeks Red Blood Cell can’t help but poke every time she sees them) uses a whistle and simple rules to keep the group organized as they go about their construction duties and use large nets to form scabs over injuries.
But despite their efficiency and courage, the platelets are still just little kids. They’re completely defenseless against threats to the body, so they rely on the red and white blood cells to protect them. We know that it’s just a dramatization of blood cells fighting against heat stroke, but seeing Red and White Blood Cell carry the platelets on their backs and pour them iced tea to cool them down in episode 11 was one of the most heartwarming things we’ve ever seen.
7. Brute Pangolin from Killing Bites
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: January 2018 – March 2018
Brute Pangolin, real name Takeshi Kido, is by far the most powerful contestant in the Destroyale tournament. He doesn’t even have to use his full pangolin transformation to punch a hole clean through an opponent’s stomach, and when he uses his full power, he’s close to unstoppable. But unlike the other criminals in the tournament, Kido doesn’t kill people for fun.
When he was a child, his sickly mother taught him that caring for flowers and other plants was a way for him to take care of her indirectly. So if anyone harms the environment, such as when his abusive father destroyed the flowers he was raising after his mother died, Kido won't rest until the offender is beaten to an unrecognizable paste. This doesn’t bode well for our main hero Hitomi when she accidentally rips apart a patch of the same flowers that Kido’s mother gave him so long ago...
6. Polpo and Black Sabbath from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
- Episodes: 39
- Air Date: October 2018 – currently airing
When Giorno decides to join the Passione gang to reform it from within, he has one very large roadblock standing in his way–Polpo, the imprisoned capo. This monster of a man speaks in a demonic voice, gorges himself on delicacies, and initiates potential gang members with the nigh impossible task of keeping a special lighter ignited for 24 hours straight.
If the flame goes out and the examinee relights it in an attempt to cheat the system, Polpo’s automatic stand Black Sabbath will appear to hunt them down. Resembling a medieval grim reaper, Black Sabbath materializes from the darkness and stabs anyone who relit the lighter with a stand arrow. Either they’ll die from the wound or rise from the ashes as a “chosen” stand user, benefiting Polpo no matter what happens. But when Giorno witnesses the capo’s blasé reaction to his stand murdering an innocent man, Polpo’s days are numbered...
5. Himiko Toga from Boku no Hero Academia 3rd Season (My Hero Academia 3)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: April 2018 – September 2018
If you’ve attended an anime convention in the past five years or so, you’ll be very familiar with My Hero Academia through the medium of cosplay. And if you’re wondering who that girl with hair buns and a giant jaw device strapped around her neck could be, it’s everyone’s favorite yandere schoolgirl from season 3–Himiko Toga.
Toga is part of the League of Vllains, following in Stain’s footsteps to shake up the elitist system of professional heroes. She can change her appearance to match anyone whose blood she sucks, and the sheer cutesy pleasure she takes from overpowering her opponents is spine-chillingly creepy. But somehow, we can’t seem to take our eyes off of her whenever she’s onscreen. We hope to see more of her next season!
4. Moyuru Koda from Devilman Crybaby
- Episodes: 10
- Air Date: January 2018
The “super high schooler” track star Koda is a character created from the whole cloth for Devilman Crybaby, having no equivalent in the original manga, but we think he’s a fantastic addition to the story. His life changed forever when he and his boyfriend went to a Sabbath party together–demons took over and killed everyone, leaving only Koda alive as a newly possessed Devilman. Now he uses his newfound power for his own gain, unable to repress the horror of that night.
He unwittingly causes a massacre at a televised track meet (courtesy of Ryo manipulating him), spiraling him even further into darkness. He brushes off Akira when he tries to encourage Koda to join in a righteous fight against the demons, instead opting to side with the enemy for a better chance at life. Koda is a tragic character who suffered great loss at an early age, and we think his character arc makes sense for someone who isn’t as squeaky clean as Akira. He’s one of the greatest teenage athletes in Japan, but on the inside, he’s just a scared kid.
3. Rio Futaba from Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai (Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: October 2018 – December 2018
We adore all of the girls from Bunny Girl Senpai since they’re all deep, complex characters with realistic struggles and lovable personalities. But what we didn’t expect was for Sakuta’s sardonic scientist buddy Futaba to be one of the best of the bunch. She seems like just your average side character, providing vaguely plausible explanations for the supernatural happenings in the show and quietly pining after the third member of their trio, Yuuma. But when it’s time for her own mini-arc, she shows her true colors.
Futaba splits into two people–one seems more or less normal and the other posts risqué photos of herself online. It turns out that Futaba hates how her womanly curves garner so much attention and eventually decides that it’s all she’s good for, since she can’t seem to woo Yuuma when her shyness holds her back. It’s up to Sakuta to help his friend realize that she’s worth more than just her body.
2. Historia Reiss from Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 (Attack on Titan Season 3)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: July 2018 – October 2018
Krista Lenz was a cute, but somewhat blandly optimistic character in the first two seasons of Attack on Titan. Her friendship with Ymir revealed that she was hiding something darker beneath her smile, but it wasn’t until season 3 that we found out her whole story.
Krista is really Historia Reiss, the forgotten true heir to the throne that governs the walled city. Neglect from her parents left her empty on the inside, but Ymir gave her the courage to stand up for herself. So when her father suddenly returns and tries to force her to fulfill her duty as the Founding Titan, she snaps out of her fatalistic attitude and resolves to make her own decisions. She lands the killing blow on a gigantic titan threatening the city and declares herself queen, earning the role through her own actions instead of being dragged around by those who would use her for their own gain.
1. Anzu from Hinamatsuri
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: April 2018 – June 2018
Initially sent as an assassin to kill Hina, Anzu mellows out significantly when she’s soundly defeated in a game of telekinetic rock-paper-scissors and winds up in a camp for homeless people. There, she learns the value of working hard for money and carries that attitude with her even after she’s given a new home with a couple that runs a Chinese restaurant.
Anzu puts up an abrasive façade but underneath lies a genuinely sweet girl who only wants to help others. Fans love her terrible singing voice, her matter-of-fact personality, and her devotion to her new family and friends. She’s the best supporting character of 2018 because, even though we want to protect and love her, we know that she can take care of herself just fine.
Many of these characters only get a few moments in their series to really shine, but sometimes that’s all that’s needed to cement their place in our hearts. We’re on the lookout for 2019 supporting characters who can join them, and people like Mio from Dororo and Sister Krone from The Promised Neverland are strong contenders even this early in the year! We can’t wait to see more!
What did you think of our list? Who were your favorite supporting characters from 2018 anime, and who are you loving so far in 2019? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!