Trolls in anime tend to wield a variety of weapons as well as come in various sizes and shades of green… Sadly, these are not the trolls that this article will focus on. This top ten list is all about those characters who love to cause drama. Whether it’s causing massive socio-political chaos for a large community or simply pranking a friend, you can almost always tell these characters apart by their wicked smirks. In true troll fashion that’s all there is to say. The list you see below with ten characters has absolutely nothing to do with trolls. Alright, no more messing around, these trolls are legit so let’s begin.
10. Ami Kawashima from Toradora!
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2008 – Mar. 2009
With the endless weaving of relationships and emotions, Toradora sets up a lot of opportunities for people to get on one another’s nerves. This is especially so when you have a hot-headed girl face off with a calculating manipulator.
Ami Kawashima fakes just about every single part of her personality in order to catch people off guard when she finally decides to strike. Though her maturity in general is a part of this illusion of perfection that she has crafted, it’s hard to deny that she does see the bigger picture in Toradora’s web of relationships. It is from this vantage point that she consistently questions, actually interrogates is a better word, everyone else on their feelings. Though her interrogations are often used to put an end to everyone’s BS, there are times when she goes too far. For example, when she pushed Minori to the point of tears when interrogating her about why she shut down Ryuji.
9. Ranma Saotome from Ranma ½
- Episodes: 161
- Aired: Apr. 1989 – Sep. 1992
Ranma ½ is one of Rumiko Takahashi’s masterpieces that covers the daily misadventures and relationship struggles of Ranma and Akane, whose fathers have prearranged their engagement to each other. Well, being engaged to someone you just met would be tough as is. However, add in rival lovers who all have a knack for some extremely specific martial art techniques (Fish Cake Blizard) as well as some frequent gender swapping and you have endless possibilities.
As the male protagonist, Ranma is an extremely skilled fighter; and he also tends to be loud, boisterous, rude, cocky confident, and, most importantly, a complete troll. This is the type of character one should expect when his martial arts style is called Anything Goes. In Ranma’s case, being able to transform into a rather cute girl, when splashed with cold water, allows him to both utilize some underhanded techniques. He has no issue whatsoever showing a little skin or using his feminine charms to gain the advantage over an opponent. Plus, if there’s ever an all female competition, he’s quite willing to change into a girl just to ensure that things go the way he wants them to.
8. Ed from Cowboy Bebop
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 1998 – Apr. 1999
Cowboy Bebop is simply the show that proves anime is art, even to those who wish to look down on anime as some formulaic means of fan service. It takes such giant leaps as it follows the legendary bounty hunter crew of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed, and Ein around space. Helping to push this show into the realm of perfection, is none other than the youngest member of the crew Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, or more commonly known as Ed.
To begin, you probably spent the first few episodes trying to figure out whether Ed was a boy or girl (don’t worry even Faye has trouble figuring that out), but that just adds only a little flair to how SHE’S trolling everyone. Ed is first and foremost one of the best hackers and gets away with whatever she sets her mind to. When the crew tries to get away from her after their first encounter, she is quick to hi-jack the Bebop’s controls and bring them back to her location. Little stunts like this and her aloof attitude that no one can fully comprehend make her one of the best at trolling and confusing people. Thankfully, she just wants to have a little fun and enjoy herself rather than actually control anything.
7. Kisuke Urahara from Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: Oct. 2004 – Mar. 2012
One of the biggest mysteries in Bleach is Kisuke Urahara, and he likes to keep things that way. He really doesn’t mind sending people in to do his dirty work, and he will remain on the sidelines unless it’s absolutely necessary for him to get involved. For crying out loud, the manga has just finally reached the point when his bankai is going to be revealed, and he’s been a character in it since the beginning.
Not only does he keep everything about himself a secret, but he is definitely the means by which Ichigo is able to stir Soul Society up quite a bit. If it wasn’t for Kisuke’s secret underground training facility as well as his guidance through the Senkaimon, then Ichigo would never have made it to Soul Society or have the strength to take on any Shinigami. So a tip of the hat to this particular troll who self-describes himself as a "mere honest, handsome, perverted businessman."
6. Mai Minakami from Nichijou
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2011– Sep. 2011
Mai Minakami is an expert when it comes to trolling, because she has the best poker face in anime. At first glance, one might assume that she is just your average anime bookworm. Well, you’d be dead wrong. Her stoic face is a façade for a girl who has multiple talents that range from a mastery at arm wrestling to a skilled use of projectiles.
However, her aptitude for pranking others, especially poor Yuuko, exceeds all of her other abilities.
Throughout the entirety of the show she always has a comeback. Plus, no matter what the situation, she can always flip things on top of their heads. Two prime examples are the time she stares down Yuuko and Mio during a game of “Red light, Green light”; and the moment she shoots a Frisbee after throwing it for her dogs to catch. The fear and confusion on her friends’ faces for the first moment and the extreme terror her dogs experience for the second are reactions that are hard to forget. Clearly, the devil makes work for idle hands, and no one is safe from her sharp tongue and wit.
5. Haruko Haruhara from FLCL
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: Apr. 2000 – Mar. 2001
This girl’s crash landing is the energy that FLCL feeds off, and as she seriously tears Naota’s life to shreds, one can only imagine how many other lives she’s thrown into chaos while searching for the Atomsk. She does have the Department of Interstellar Immigration chasing her after all, which further proves that her trolling antics have affected lives across the whole universe. If that’s not enough then how about her telling line “Small, as usual," which is either a direct attack on Amarao, poor guy, or a comment on how many times she’s gone through this process. It could even be both of those.
However, those are simply the final touches to her character. At the very beginning, she runs Naota over with her Vespa and then proceeds to hit him on the head with her guitar in hopes of reaching Atomsk. After that moment, she invades his home and causes hormonal rampaging in both the maturing Naota and his lonely father with her “Fooly Cooly.” It’s a literal nightmare for Naota, as he can’t help but find himself attracted to this woman who gladly toys with his budding emotions and personal struggles.
4. Haruhi Suzimiya from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu
- Episodes: 28
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Sep. 2009
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu was a major hit in 2006 mainly because of how much of a relentless troll Haruhi was. In her mind, or more precisely her world, anything and everything is justified if it means furthering her goals. Thus, anyone and everyone is under the threat of her mind’s mechanisms.
Between forcing Mikuru into revealing bunny costumes, dragging Kyon into countless antics, and blackmailing the computer club; there’s no end to the cruelty of Haruhi. Even as a child, she was a trolling terror, which we see as Kyon ends up being bossed around by a youthful Haruhi into creating a message in field. What’s so frustratingly perfect about her character is the sheer look of happiness she gets when pushing people’s buttons. Her grin is iconic. That look not only defines how much enjoyment she’s getting, but makes you realize that she can go even further in her efforts.
3. Prince Baka from Level E
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Level E as a whole is one large troll. If you haven’t watched it yet, then be prepared to be mentally manhandled by this show. It willingly spends episodes on something irrelevant while showing minute moments on what will later become super important.
Leading the show down the rabbit hole is none other than the character Prince Baka, just take that name in for a moment, who sets up every single conflict and plot point for the entirety of the show. So many things that you will initially take for factual premises are no more than mere fictional plots points that the prince has cooked up. These range from convincing a couple of high school students that they’re under threat of alien invasion to sending a group of kids into an RPG fantasy world where he is the ultimate villain. In fact, most moments he’s on screen he is simply playing a character that he’s invented in his own mind.
Cementing his status as a troll is that his super intellect allows him not only troll unaware humans, but his government’s top officials. His main subordinate, Kraft, would willing beat the prince to an inch of his life, if he could ever get his hands on him for that long. The prince simply runs circles around everyone else and treats the entire universe as one large sandbox.
2. New Yorozuya Crew from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: Apr. 2006 – Mar. 2010
Gintama is that type of show that continuously plays pranks no matter what the situation. It’s this type of light-hearted attitude towards itself that has allowed it to attract such a massive fanbase as well as run for so long with very few hitches.
Part of the reason, this anime runs so perfectly is that it does not depend on one character to troll others or the audience. The whole crew of Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi are adept at sending the viewers on a wild trip for each and every errand they run. Gintoki’s laziness is incomparable and is used at its max to consistently frustrate his companions. Kagura is essentially the girl-form of Gintoki as she is unafraid to break ‘decorum’ by picking her nose, swearing, and using any tricks necessary to win a battle. Then there’s Shimura who does have a few quirks such as being the leader of a pop idol’s fan club. However, in most cases it is his normalcy that creates a constant humorous banter between him and his more reckless companions.
Their trolling nature allows the show to break the fourth wall easily and believably as well. It was impossible to believe that episode 150 was the final episode, but the crew’s constant declaration that this was the end warranted a quick double check.
1. Izaya Orihara from Durarara!!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan. 2010 – Jun. 2010
Durarara revolves around the conflicting factions throughout Tokyo’s downtown district of Ikebukuro, and at the very center of it all is Izaya Orihara. His information network has him dialed into everything that’s going on in the city, and he can jumpstart or disrupt any type of conflict that he desires.
Compared to many other trolls, Izaya is both the most entertaining to watch as well as the most lethal. At the very beginning of the series, he has tricked some girl with family issues into believing that he’s a kindred soul and convinces her to meet him on a rooftop. However, he does all this merely to tempt her into a suicide. Considering the blood stains on the cement below this spot, it’s easy enough to assume that this isn’t his victim. There’s the constant torment he inflicts upon Shizuo, such as having Shizuo get ran over, in order to test just how much stronger the guy can get. Finally, he has his hands involved in several gangs at once and is able to manipulate them into fighting. Izaya simply has tabs on everyone and knows exactly what buttons to press.
What makes Izaya the ultimate troll though is a mix between the incredible skill of his puppetry and the sheer amount of joy he gets from watching the drama play out. He is a conductor for a massive orchestra and he wants all of the instruments to come together to reach a perfect crescendo, a perfect finale.
Trolls are one of the most enjoyable characters to watch because they’re the ones that are generally creating conflict in just about every show. It’s the antics of a troll that allow for such great reactions in slice of life comedies like Nichijou and such great strife and chaos in shows like Durarara!! They are theatric and entertaining to watch as it’s generally pretty hard to imagine what scheme they’re currently cooking up. If any great trolls were missed, be sure to show your love and list them below.