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Everybody’s got that certain type of character they look for when watching certain anime. Maybe it’s the comedian, who can never take anything seriously. Maybe it’s the nerd, who always seems to know the answer. Maybe it’s the happy-go-lucky guy or girl, who believe everything will work out even if they don’t know how. Maybe it’s the badass, who doesn’t make a big deal about the feats they perform and doesn’t tolerate any nonsense from anybody, least of all their opponent. Or maybe it’s the thief, who somehow gets away with stealing something very valuable and is able to avoid getting captured.
Thieves serve a variety of roles in anime. If they are a minor character, then they can be used as the typical “bad guy” that the good guys have to stop. However, they can fulfill bigger roles than that, such as serving as good guys doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. They can also have a variety of motivations as to why they’re stealing, whether it’s to help someone else or for their own selfish reasons. Whatever the reason, these are the top 10 thieves in anime.
10. Robès Redondo (Kiba)
Robès Redondo may be known more for his vast wealth (having inherited everything from his father) as well as being the Shard Champion after winning the Shard Casters Jousting Tournament. However, despite his wealth and his unique skills in combat, Robes still chooses to steal from the wealthy under the disguise “No Face” just for his own amusement. Even though being a thief isn’t his signature thing, Robès’ reasoning for stealing as well as possessing the skills to do so in addition to his rapier and shard wielding abilities certainly qualify him as a legit thief.
9. Phantom Thief Joker (Kaitou Joker)
Jack Jones was just a young kid when he lost both his parents, resulting in thieves attempting to steal his father’s treasure. However, after a thief named Silver Heart helps Jack stop two thieves posing as his parents, Jack is inspired to become a thief like Silver Heart. After some intense training by Silver Heart and graduating from the Phantom Thief Academy, Phantom Thief Joker is now skilled enough to perform his own miracles as he travels the world going after one treasure after another with his friends. Joker certainly has his faults, as he tends to be a hothead at times and struggle to deal with his rival’s skills. That being said, Joker is an incredibly accomplished thief for someone so young, and blazes new territory in terms of not only what life is like for a thief, but also how to become one.
8. Psiren (Fullmetal Alchemist)
A normal woman by day and a thief by night, Clara aka Psiren is actually considered to be a hero of sorts by the people of Aquroya. Because the city is sinking into the water that surrounds it, it is only a matter of time before the city is destroyed altogether, and the city folk see Psiren as a type of “last hurrah” of sorts before the inevitable happens and they must move away from their home for good. However, while Al chooses to be optimistic and believe this, Ed is more suspicious, as Psiren had lied to them about her intentions to raise money for a hospital, a church, and a school, all of which collapsed. In addition to being a seductress, adopting multiple disguises, and possessing some impressive acrobatic skills, Psiren herself is an alchemist, as she also possesses a unique transmutation circle on her chest so she can perform alchemy almost instantaneously as a means of escaping capture. Definitely skilled at what she does, and could possibly be higher on this list if it weren’t for her appearing only once in the 2003 version of the show.
7. Rinslet Walker (Black Cat)
One of the main characters that plays a bigger role in the manga, Rinslet Walker is a world class thief-for-hire that enlists Train and Sven’s help multiple times. Rinslet serves as another example of a thief who uses flirtation and disguise as methods to steal something, but she is actually very resourceful and takes great pride in that. One thing that sets Rinslet apart from most thieves is her belief in refusing to steal something if she feels said item is too powerful or dangerous for any one person to handle. This comes into play when Rinselt is looking into Eve and what exactly she can do. With this outlook in addition to looking out for those close to her, Rinslet is definitely a thief with a heart of gold.
6. Kaito Kid (Detective Conan)
Kaito Kuroba aka the Kaito Kid is the antagonist that Shinichi Kudo aka Conan Edogawa is (mostly) trying to thwart over many cases. The original Kaito Kid was actually Kuroba’s father, but after he died, Kuroba took up the role as a way to discover who his father’s killer actually was. Kaito Kid stands out as a thief in the sense that he possesses a vast multitude of physical attributes, magic skills, an IQ of over 400, and the ability to impersonate anyone, making it very difficult to capture or outwit him. With all of these skills and a vast amount of both episodes and movies to display them, Kaito Kid clearly deserves to be on this list.
5. Jing (King of Bandit Jing)
Jing seems a contradiction of sorts, as he displays a laid-back manner and seemingly chooses his targets as if on a whim. Yet the skills he displays, such as the Kir Royale attack, indicate a lot of dedication. Travelling the world with Kir, a talking albatross and his best friend, Jing has multiple stand-alone adventures where he seeks to acquire a certain treasure of sort and has a detailed plan in order to do so. However, Jin somehow also has a knack for improvising on the rare occasion his plan somehow fails. Jin also has a hidden retractable knife that he uses as a weapon in addition to making anything around him a viable weapon. Despite his stature and young age, Jin demonstrates more than once that there’s a reason he’s the “King of Bandits”.
4. Ban (The Seven Deadly Sins)
A member of the Seven Deadly Sins representing the Sin of Greed, Ban is powerful to say the least. In addition to being immortal, Ban also possesses an ability called “Snatch”, which puts a different spin on stealing compared to the rest of the characters on this list. Snatch allows Ban to essentially “take” both his opponent’s physical objects in addition to his opponent’s skills and abilities, all without ever laying a hand on him. Ban effectively uses this to improve both his strength and his speed as well as disarm his opponent multiple times. He can even use a technique known as “Zero Sign” that makes him invisible and basically undetectable, something every thief would die for. Definitely a unique way of having a thief fight their opponents head on as opposed to relying on evasion and distraction in order to avoid confrontation.
3. Daisuke Niwa (D.N. Angel)
A regular 14 year old boy, Daisuke Niwa begins the series crushing hard on a girl only to be rejected. While there are many ways to respond to that, awakening a mysterious phantom thief from a 40 year slumber who somehow resides in your DNA would not be typical. Yet Daisuke experiences this mutation by changing into Dark Mousy, a thief who repeatedly stole art pieces from the Hikari family. This thief-centered anime stands out due to both Daisuke and Dark being master thieves. Daisuke already possesses an incredible gift for lock picking and can dodge multiple traps and sneak into multiple locations. Likewise, Dark can masterfully do all of these things in addition to using magic through the use of black feathers. Throw in the fact that both Daisuke and Dark harbor feelings for twin sisters and will transform in the other due to the intensity of their feelings, and you have one unique anime when it comes to thieves.
2. Nami (One Piece)
The navigator of the Straw Hat Pirates, Nami is also an incredibly master thief. Right from her first appearance we can tell that Nami excels at stealing in addition to manipulating those around her in order to get what she wants. As the series progresses, we learn that while Nami loves money, she really wants to buy back her village from Arlong as part of a deal they made when she was younger. Even though she goes through a lot of growth throughout the Arlong Park arc in terms of finally trusting someone other than herself, she still pulls a fast one on her village as she leaves with Luffy and crew for the Grand Line when she swipes all their wallets as she races for the ship. Nami’s skills are all the more impressive early on in the series due to her not being able to truly fight one on one; it is only due to her skills as a thief that she is able to survive until she finally does learn to fight. Definitely the thief with one of the most compelling backstories on this list.
1. Lupin III (Lupin the 3rd)
The first anime character you should think of when you hear the word “thief”. Arsène Lupin III is considered to be the world’s greatest thief whose trademark is sending a calling card to the owner(s) of the desired item(s) he is about to steal. With the help of Daisuke Jigen, an incredibly expert marksman, Goemon Ishikawa XIII, a master swordsman who can cut through anything, and sometimes Fujiko Mine, Lupin’s love interest (and who sometimes tries to steal what Lupin is trying to steal for herself), Lupin travels the globe searching for the rarest of the rare. Lupin and his friends are also constantly being pursued by Inspector Koichi Zenigata, who has personally made it his goal to put Lupin and his friends behind bars. Lupin’s exploits are numerous: there are so numerous manga versions, anime TV series, TV specials, and films to choose from, all of which started in 1967 and is still going strong to this day. It’s without a doubt that the number of successful heists Lupin has been on proves that Lupin is the #1 anime thief.
Thieves can certainly serve as great characters if used properly. The best examples, as this list shows, occur when there is proper motivation established for their stealing in addition to one’s unique take on how they go about stealing. But what are your thoughts? Is there an obvious thief missing from this list? Should a certain thief be ranked higher or lower? Let us know in the comments!