Looking up the definition of a wizard can be a frustrating experience. The definition on its own isn't difficult to figure. At its essence, it is a man who possesses magical abilities. Once you try to differentiate a wizard from a mage, warlock, sorcerer, or magi (or any of the other similar titles) things get murky. The differences are usually left up to whatever author or director is working on the project that involves those characters.
For simplicity sake we're going to use wizard and magician interchangeably and we're going to stick to the guidelines that it is a male character, he possesses magical abilities, and bonus points if they wear traditional wizard garb (such as a robe, pointy hat, or use a staff). Keep in mind that anime character designs are generally much different than western ones. So we’ll try to choose characters that somewhat resemble what a “wizard” would look like for western audiences. With that in mind, let’s jump right into the list!
5. Solomon Jehoahaz Abraham from Magi: Labyrinth of Magic
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
Our fifth choice for this list is a wizard who many people may not have heard of. His name is Solomon Jehoahaz Abraham aka King Solomon and he's from Magi. Solomon is the son of the great David Jehoahaz Abraham, who was the leader of the magicians in Alma Torran. Solomon succeeded his father and became the king who united all of Alma Torran. Not only does he wield one of the 72 Divine Staves (created by a god) but he also created all of the Djinn AND a completely new world. He created the world that Magi is set in. The ability that is most closely tied to him is the Wisdom of Solomon. It is a power that only Solomon and his son, Aladdin, possess. They can hear the "rukh's will". Basically, this means they have the gift of prophecy. They can see into the past and peer into the future. Solomon's powers were so great that he could manipulate gravity and alter the very fabric of space and time. He is undoubtedly the strongest magician in the world and is only exceeded by other beings such as Ill Illah, which is also known as the "Black God".
He's such an extremely powerful character with a deep backstory, but it isn't delved into much in the anime. He only has a voice over in one episode and he appears in episode 25 in the first season of the show (for a flashback). We know so much about him because of his appearance in the manga. If he had more time on-screen he would have undoubtedly received a higher position in this list.
4. Elias Ainsworth from Mahoutsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus Bride)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2017 – March 2018
Elias Ainsworth is number 4 on the list. Elias is a mysterious character and protagonist from The Ancient Magus Bride. This fae/human hybrid is difficult to pin down. He usually takes the appearance of a bipedal creature with the skull of a wolf and horns of a goat. Generally, fans of the show think of him as a wendigo. He is very tall in stature and typically wears a three-piece suit with a black robe. He is polite and considerate but is an extreme recluse. He doesn't understand human emotions so he limits his interactions with them. Though his inability to gauge human feelings and thoughts display some hilarious moments with other characters, throughout the course of the show he receives some development that humanizes him a bit (in terms of personality, not appearance).
Elias specializes in shadow magic. He can hide the shadows of other beings, summon thorns, and is even capable of removing a person's memories. Besides shadow magic, he is capable of transforming into a replica of any person he's ever met. Even though he performs powerful magic and is a magical being himself, it's his emotional journey throughout the show that puts him on this list. He is a unique character and develops a touching relationship with Chise (his apprentice and wife) whom he purchased at an auction. From looking at the two of them, you never would believe that they develop a strong bond of affection. The old adage is true, never judge a book by its cover.
3. Shiroe from Log Horizon
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2013 – March 2014
Our next wizard comes from Log Horizon, a story set in the MMORPG Elder Tale. That's right. We're talking about none other than the 23-year old engineering graduate, Kei Shirogane. Or as he's more commonly known by his avatar, Shiroe. This Half-Alv Enchanter-Scribe is the Guild Master of Log Horizon. Log Horizon itself is a powerful guild within the world of Elder Tale. This young man had a difficult time in the real world. He preferred to stay in-doors and found it extremely difficult to make friends. It wasn't until the fateful events of the Catastrophe that he was able to meet people who accepted him and he found his rightful place in the world. In the guild, he not only held a position of leadership but he cultivated relationships that fundamentally changed him as a person.
Shiroe's character appearance and abilities fall in line with basic RPG elements. For instance, throughout the narrative, he upgrades his equipment. In the beginning, he has the Staff of the Wise Horned Owl, the Sacred Robe of the Stars, The Kah of the Millennial Bird (a talisman). These items are later replaced by more powerful ones. Also, as mentioned earlier, he is of the Enchanter class. That means he's a support-type character that does not unleash powerful attacks on his own. He needs to work with other members in unison to successfully win a battle. In fact, his most powerful ability is Contract Art Ceremony. It's a buff enchantment that allows him to create spells that previously didn't exist in Elder Tale. It has varied applications, but it is, again, not an attack but a buff for other members. It's because of his adherence to typical wizard-like items and use of intellect over brawn that he ranks number three on our list.
2. Fluder Paradyne from Overlord
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2015 – September 2015
If there's any character on this list that epitomizes the appearance of a wizard-like character in anime it's going to be Fluder Paradyne from Overlord. Anime generally don't keep in line stylistically with western character designs. For instance, it's rare to see any character closely resemble someone like Yen Sid (from Disney) or Gandalf (Lord of the Rings). Those are the wizards we think of when we read or see that word. Fluder is the closest anime character to resemble those iconic images, at least in the past five years. He is an elderly man who has a long, flowing white beard and an equally regal white robe. He is the headmaster for the Imperial Magic Academy and is in charge of the Ministry of Magic in Arwintar. Fluder has spent his entire life studying the arcane arts and has reached a level that is almost impossible for normal men. Yet, he is unsatisfied. He constantly searches for people with stronger magical abilities than him so that he can learn from them and continue to study. After meeting and seeing the true power of Momon (Ainz) and his tenth tier magic, Fluder prostrates before him and swears his allegiance to him. He vows to do whatever it takes to learn from Momon, whom he dubs the true god of magic.
Though Fluder possesses sixth tier arcane abilities which is the highest rank a human has ever attained. On top of that, he is famous for using all three levels of magic (Arcane, Divine, and Spiritual) to prolong his lifespan to over two hundred years. He has displayed spells such as fireball, teleportation, and flying. He also created his own spell which allows him to control lower ranked undead. Fluder Paradyne is such a legendary and respected character in the New World that it's a shame we don't see him fight or use powerful abilities more often. However, just because he doesn't display all of his power doesn't mean that he isn't capable of fantastic feats.
1. Merlin from Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2014 – March 2015
Finally, the one you've all been waiting for. Our number one pick for the Top 5 Wizards From the last 5 Years is the one and only... Merlin! Oh, wait, not the classical Merlin you're thinking of. This is the original/creative take on Merlin in Nanatsu no Taizai (Seven Deadly Sins). We know, we know... She's female. So she doesn't technically fit the criteria that all of the other wizards fell in. However, historically, Merlin has always been depicted as a male. And in this anime she is powerful enough to extend her lifespan for thousands of years and transform her body. So who's to say whether she is technically a female or not, it could change at the drop of a hat. Plus, this character is just so badass and powerful that there's no way we would leave her out.
Typically, she's depicted as a scantily clad mature woman with long black hair who wears a thin, fur-collared purple coat, short shorts, and thigh high boots. Though she is extremely powerful and mysterious, she tends to be courteous, calm, and gentle to those around her. Without spoiling too much for the anime fans, she is extremely old with a tragic backstory filled with a lot of lore and plot twists. Just like in typical Merlin lore, she is associated with Arthur in this anime as well. She has decided to mentor him in his rule over Camelot.
In terms of power, she was born with near limitless potential and easily the most powerful wizard to ever exist in Britannia. She has displayed a myriad of spells such as conjuring creatures, unleashing elemental spells, augmenting the abilities of her allies, teleportation magic, and much more. She also possesses a multitude of magical items such as Incantation Orbs, Goddess Amber, Peace Amulet, and others. Generally, she has no problem fighting mortal enemies and is only rivaled or outclassed when compared to someone such as a demon or goddess.
Merlin is almost always calm, cool, and collected. She is playful with the other members of the Seven Deadly Sins and has a motherly personality towards some of the more naive characters in the show. We haven't seen her appear overwhelmed or shocked by much. One of the few times she took on a grim demeanor was when she found out that the Commandments had been revived. This character has had a lot of development and time to shine in the manga. We can only hope that we'll see more of her in future seasons of the anime.
Well, what'd you think of our list? Again, narrowing down who exactly is considered a wizard vs witch vs necromancer etc. can be a difficult task. We TRIED to stick to males that fit the standard criteria. We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Who do you think are some great wizards that we may have left out? Do you disagree with any of the names listed up above? If you have a favorite wizard in anime then we'd love to hear your thoughts on them and why they stand out to you.
Halloween is coming up soon! Stay tuned for more articles on zombies, ghouls, vampires, and all your favorite character archetypes for this season! As always, thanks for reading. Have a great day! And we'll see you in the next article!