I’m excited to share with you my Anime Character Tier List, which, focuses mainly on shounen characters. Because as a fan of anime since childhood, I’ve watched and enjoyed a vast array of different shows, and I think that qualifies me to be able to rank the characters within those series.
I’ll be providing my honest opinions on the various characters, taking into account their abilities, personality, and overall impact on their respective series. This list is subjective and open to critique, and I hope it provides some insight into the anime world for those new to the fandom.
- There are a total of 31 anime characters on our list.
- The rankings are made according to their Story Arcs, Character Development, and impact on the plot.
- In the highest ranks, you will find characters like Guts, Monkey D Luffy, Griffith, Eren Yeager, and Thorfinn.
- Amongst the lowest ranks, we have Orochimaru, Oden, All Might, and Rengoku.
The table below will give you the entire summary of our rankings.
|S Rank||A Rank||B Rank||C Rank|
|Monkey D Luffy||Itachi Uchiha||Kakashi Hatake||Oden|
|Griffith||Light Yagami||L||All Might|
|Eren Yeager||Sosuke Aizen||Donquixote Doflamingo||Rengoku|
|Thorfinn||Sasuke Uchiha||Tomura Shigaraki|
|Madara Uchiha||Mereum||Trafalgar Law|
|Ken Kaneki||Levi Ackerman|
|Erwin Smith||Naruto Uzumaki|
|Obito Uchiha||Ichigo Kurosaki|
Related: Anime Tier List
The S rank of the Strongest Anime Character Tier List consists of great characters with character arcs and imposing influence on anime and fans around the world and are also favorites among all fandom fans. Similarly, characters in this tier significantly impact the anime’s overall progression and make the anime more fascinating.
Starting with Guts, the Black Swordsman is one of the most well-written characters in history. Throughout the manga, we can see him developing as he meets new people, every single person has influenced him, and he is the product of the messed-up world of Berserk.
Guts were born with death all around him; if we look at his first panel, he is an infant crying in the bloody mud because he fell from his mother’s womb, whose body is hanging from a tree. Imagine someone told you that your father sold and tried to kill you, your best friend raped your lover in front of you, and your unborn son gets corrupted and haunts you every night, making it impossible to sleep. Everyone you associate yourself with dies horribly by demons hunting for you because you are “branded.”
That’s the life of Guts, yet still, he finds the will to survive, which inspired me the most. Guts are the only character everyone loves, and you will hardly find people giving his character criticism. Kentaro Miura took his time writing to him, and he did a fantastic job. That is why he deserves this place in the S Tier.
Monkey D Luffy
Moving on to Monkey D Luffy, one of the greatest ever written characters in all of anime history, there is no doubt about it. Because the One Piece world is so enormous, so many characters help Luffy develop his character. He also has a knack for gathering allies, and he has unwittingly been chosen as the head of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet, which consists of seven pirate fleets that have sworn to help him anytime he needs it.
Shanks has had a significant impact on Luffy’s character. Luffy ultimately grows up to be more like him, being more calm, tolerant, and avoiding letting things affect him. Luffy is an inspiring personality who has the ability to, one by one, turn the people around him into his allies more than anyone else sailing the seas.
Moving on to Griffith, the most charismatic character I have ever seen and the definition of evil. He is the reason Guts is suffering, yet the fact that many people still accept him as a leader tells waves about him. He was the leader of the Band of the Falcon, and under his leadership, the Band ended the Hundred-Year War.
His impossible feats gained the trust of everyone in Midland, earning him the title of noble, along with many enemies. According to him, he would do anything to achieve his dream of becoming ruler of a kingdom. He and Guts once fought the apostle Zodd the Immortal and lost, but they were spared because Griffith had the crimson behelith. Griffith was born as a lowly person, but his fate had something else in store for him; he was destined to become one of the God Hand “Femto” during the fifth eclipse.
Let’s move on to Eren Yeager, who is me. Eren Yeager is one of the most popular anime characters in the world right now because of how he wreaks havoc in his anime world. Eren Yeager was a former Survey Corps member. In Attack on Titan, he is the main protagonist.
Eren’s analytical and tactical talents have improved dramatically in the years after the recovery of Shiganshina, both in and out of war. Eren’s unnervingly stern and quiet personality, which he gained since infiltrating Marley, aids him in accomplishing this, with him never losing his cool and typically having a blank expression on his face, no matter how complex or frightening the situation may be.
|Series||Attack on Titan|
The next character on this tier is Thorfinn, commonly known as Karlsefni, who is the main character in the Vinland Saga manga and anime series. He is the son of Thors, the most famous Jomsviking warrior until his defection, and a former fighter of the Askeladd band. At the beginning of the Vinland Saga, Thorfinn is just an innocent child living with his retired Viking father somewhere in Norway.
Thorfinn seeing Askeladd killed with his eyes, drew hatred toward Canute because it was his life goal to avenge his father by killing Askeladd. I will avoid the manga story to avoid potential spoilers for anime watchers. Still, Thorfinn’s character developed him a lot making him a true warrior who does not need a sword, so I will put him in the S Tier of the Anime Main Character Tier List.
Moving on to Madara Uchiha, who is, in my book, one of the most assertive and badass villains in all of anime history. This character is also derived from hate towards all of humankind in his world because of how they treated his clan. Madara Uchiha is a villain in the Naruto anime series. He is regarded as the Uchiha Clan’s legendary leader and the most powerful.
His goal was justified, and his efforts are truly remarkable. All of the ninjas of the world allied to stop him, and he would have complicated his goal if he was not betrayed by his companion Black Zetsu which was a turning point in the series. Lowkey, I wanted Madara to succeed because of his dedication to his goal. Madara was upset by his plan’s failure.
In the few minutes before his death, he and Hashirama were able to repair their friendship. Madara got to know the life of truth before dying, which made him one of the greatest villains in entire anime history. So, I will put him in the S Tier.
They are moving on to Ken Kaneki, who is also known as Haise Sasaki. Ken Kankei’s character development is highly superior to other anime characters. You guys must have already seen the pattern of this tier.
I love those characters who have suffered enough in their lives so they can be the best version of themself and do not care about anything else in the world except achieving their goal. However, this swiftly altered once Rize Kamishiro’s kakuhou was implanted inside him and converted him into a one-eyed ghoul. His one-of-a-kind half-ghoul condition is what eventually inspired the Quinx. He learns how to survive as a ghoul after joining Anteiku as a part-time waiter and eventually becomes known as Eyepatch.
Moving on to Erwin Smith, who had only one goal in his life: to find the truth of his world and what is inside Grisha’s basement. The Scout Regiment’s 13th commander was Erwin Smith. Erwin was a capable leader, astute, clever, and well-liked. While he loved his soldiers dearly, he was prepared to sacrifice them for the greater welfare and prosperity of humankind, and his men have proved to be more than eager to put their lives on the line for him.
Erwin created the Long-Distance Enemy Scouting Formation. He then nominated Hange Zo as his successor due to his concern regarding his future. Erwin’s piercing blue eyes were one of his most outstanding characteristics, and he usually had a calm, controlled smile. His dedication to this goal is shown in the second appearance of the Armored Titan when a Titan bit off Erwin Erwin’s right arm just below his shoulder.
|Series||Attack on Titan|
Moving on to the central antagonist of Naruto. Obito Uchiha was a member of the Uchiha clan of Konohagakure. Feeling isolated from the rest of the world, Obito’s upbringing was defined by aspirations of becoming recognized because he grew up without knowing his parents. This inspired him to train as a ninja so that he may one day become Hokage and be recognized by the entire village.
Obito realized that Naruto’s way of thinking was correct all along due to his failure to override Naruto’s will. He also acknowledged the source of his contradictory desires: he had been deceiving himself about his commitment to the Eye of the Moon Plan by repressing the previous Obito deep within. The pretense was dissolved when Naruto and his comrades fought Obito, allowing his true personality to shine.
His new conviction even allowed him to return from the dead for a limited period to ensure Naruto’s triumph and make peace with Kakashi one more time before departing for the afterlife. Obito redeemed himself in the end and acknowledged his mistakes, which makes this character arc superior, so I will put him in the S Tier of the Strongest Anime Character Tier List.
Moving on to Askeladd, also known as Lucius Artorius Castus, was a crafty and enigmatic Viking who led a mercenary group of Vikings that included Thorfinn. Askeladd is an intelligent, devious, and charming guy.
He is a terrific fighter and an excellent swordsman. Still, his most significant strength is his intelligence and ability to strategize and adapt, a talent aided by his ability to discern what sort of person someone is just by glancing at their face. He serves as a mentor to Thorfinn and a catalyst for Canute’s transformation. He is primarily concerned with gaining greater renown and respect among his opponents while also attempting to defend Wales against a Danish invasion. When King Sweyn plans an attack on Wales as a precursor to fighting in Ireland, Askeladd is given a choice: preserve Wales or save Canute.
He dies at the hands of Canute, who stabs him after seeing the ruse the moment his father died. After Askeladd’s death, he continues to affect Thorfinn. As Einar notices, when Thorfinn screams out Askeladd’s name in the middle of a nightmare, he frequently appears in Thorfinn’s dreams and nightmares.
Moving on to one of the main antagonists of Naruto. Nagato was an Amegakure shinobi who was a descendant of the Uzumaki clan. Together with his buddies, he formed Akatsuki. Nagato wished to restore peace to the world of the combative shinobi.
Following Yahiko’s death, Nagato took on the identity of Pain and, along with Konan, formed a new Akatsuki that would use all means necessary to bring the world to peace. Nagato was a sensitive youngster prone to sobbing over his own and others’ tragedies. He tried to quit this behavior when he met Yahiko by adopting Yahiko’s idea that sobbing wouldn’t alter anything, but he failed.
He also reclaims his admiration for Jiraiya, referring to him as the “ideal first volume.” Pain is one of the greatest redeemed characters ever written in anime history that shows how farther you have gone to the dark side.
A-tier is an above-average tier where I placed my favorite anime characters with the same amount of love compared to the above character in the list. Some of the characters in this list could be an S-tier for many fans as it is subjective.
Moving on to the vice-captain of Straw Hat Pirates. Roronoa Zoro, popularly known as “Pirate Hunter” Zoro, is one of the Straw Hat Pirates’ two swordsmen and a fighter. Previously, he operated as a bounty hunter. He is Luffy’s crew’s second member and the first to join.
He is a natural leader with a keen grasp of reality. Zoro is a devout follower of Bushido’s samurai philosophy and ideology, such as the code of honor and integrity, in which he battles fair and square by refusing to strike an enemy who turns his back on him.
He is also highly loyal since he would support Luffy’s actions regardless of whether he agrees with them, only intervening to highlight the gravity of a situation. Most of the time, Zoro jumps into things and leaves the intricacies of fate. Zoro’s strong sense of justice and loyalty makes me want to place him in the A Tier of the Anime Character Tier List.
Moving on to Itachi Uchiha. He is a Naruto anti-villain and one of the franchise’s supporting characters. He was an Anbu Captain and a shinobi from Konohagakure’s Uchiha clan. After killing his whole clan and sparing only his younger brother, Sasuke, he became an international criminal.
He then joined the Akatsuki international criminal organization, whose activities pitted him against Konoha and its ninja, especially Sasuke, who vowed to avenge their clan by murdering Itachi. Itachi’s reasons were shown to be more nuanced than they appeared after his death, and his acts were always in the best interests of his brother and town, causing him to remain a devoted shinobi of Konohagakure until the end.
Moving on, the main protagonist of Death Note Light Yagami. He resolves to utilize the Death Note to purge the world of criminals after discovering it. His assassinations are finally attributed to “Kira” by Japanese citizens. He was a Japanese high school senior who found a Death Note, a strange notebook containing the names of those who had inscribed them.
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Light decided to use the notebook as a murder weapon to eradicate all crime and construct a utopia with only the law-abiding individuals he approved, proclaiming himself the God of this new planet. Obsessed with achieving his aim, he exploited and even killed many innocent individuals. Despite having control over most of the globe, Light’s rule ended when Japanese police surrounded him, and he died of a heart attack after Ryuk scribbled his name in his Death Note.
Aizen is one of the more complicated, pure evil characters. For me, he is among the most well-written anime villains in Shonen anime/manga; he is on this list because of how he influenced the future of anime villains. Bleach was one of the first anime to do many things that have become a staple of the Shonen genre. Aizen had his plans, executed them, and on his long journey of extremely cautious planning, he became the strongest “creature” in not just the soul society but the entire bleach universe, maybe even more than the Zero Squad.
He overtook Hueco Mundo, became the leader of the Espada, attacked the Gotei 12, and even won. In my opinion, if Ichigo had no plot armor and the colossal training buff in such a short period, Aizen would have achieved his goal, probably even replacing the Soul King. His countless feats and remarkable potential, which was only stopped due to Ichigo’s plot armor, is why I have placed him in the A Tier.
Naruto Uzumaki’s best friend and opponent, Sasuke, is the eponymous protagonist’s best friend and rival. He is one of the Uchiha clan’s last remaining members. After his elder brother, Itachi massacred their clan, Sasuke made it his life’s purpose to assassinate Itachi. Years of pursuing retribution and subsequent acts grow increasingly demanding, unreasonable, and isolating, resulting in his being labeled as an international criminal.
Sasuke resolves to return to Konoha and commit his life to help safeguard the village and its residents after discovering the truth about his brother’s sacrifice, subsequently proving vital in ending the Fourth Shinobi World War and joyfully forgiven by Naruto.
Moving on, the main antagonist of Hunter X Hunter and the most potent one. He is the Chimera Ant Queen’s most powerful progeny and the King of the Chimera Ants, a highly hazardous insect species that may develop by having their Queen swallow other species and passing on their qualities to the ants it gives birth to.
Meruem begins to unwillingly appreciate Komugi, a human lady, as the story develops. He begins to care for Komugi and eventually loves her as they spend more time together. Meruem starts to wonder about the distinctions between the Ants and humans.
He conceded to Palm Siberia that humanity had triumphed and that he was prepared to accept defeat. His desire to grant his final request was so intense that he was ready to kneel in front of Palm making his entire character arc so inspiring, so I will put him in the A Tier of the Anime Character Tier List.
|Series||Hunter × Hunter|
Levi has a great moral sense and sensitivity, although he rarely exhibits it. One of his most distinguishing traits is his high regard for human life, as evidenced by the fact that all Titans may have previously been human. He is deeply disturbed by the realization that he has been unwittingly killing people all this time. Levi, unlike Erwin, does not regard himself as a leader.
He doesn’t appear to value hierarchy in general and defers choices to his subordinates whenever possible. Levi knows his fighting ability is far superior to any other human soldier alive. Still, he is not cocky about it since he understands that no human soldier is invulnerable.
|Series||Attack on Titan|
On the day of his birth, he became the Jinchuriki of the Nine-Tails, a fate that caused him to be despised by most of Konoha throughout his youth. Naruto worked hard after joining Team Kakashi to obtain the village’s approval while pursuing his aim of becoming Hokage.
Naruto’s world shifted dramatically after his teacher Jiraiya died, and Pain attacked Konoha. Naruto resolved to end the cycle of hatred and restore true peace to the world after hearing Nagato’s narrative and seeing the repercussions of the cycle of hatred. When Naruto fell in love with Hinata, he became protective and shy in her company, to the point that he accidentally told her how he felt.
Naruto has become more severe and rigid with his duties after becoming Hokage, taking on vast obligations and getting overwhelmed, forcing him to make shadow clones to care for his family, so I will put him in the A Tier of the Strongest Anime Character Tier List.
Ichigo Kurosaki is one of my favorite anime protagonists; he can be gentle to many people but also heartless when he has something to protect. He used to be an ordinary human, but his life changed when he was attacked by a hollow and saved by Rukia, who then turned him into a substitute Shinigami by sharing her powers.
Ichigo shows his compatibility with these newfound powers and uses them more often to fight the hollows. However, he is soon confronted by higher authorities from the Soul Society, who are now executing Rukia for breaking the Law. Ichigo cares about her and travels to the Soul Society with some of his friends to save Rukia.
Killua has learned several murdering tactics at a young age, indicating that he will be one of the finest assassins the family has ever produced. Killua suddenly revolted against his family, bored and tired of murder.
His worst weakness was his fear of anyone who appeared to be stronger than him. Killua has been taught as an assassin by his brother to be exceedingly careful, only engaging in a fight when victory is guaranteed. He is particularly torn between these opposing philosophies in the second half of the series when he encounters more powerful foes. His brother’s instructions had left an indelible impression on him.
|Series||Hunter x Hunter|
The B-tier is an average tier where I placed those characters with decent character arcs and impact on the anime’s story. These are considered to be one of the best characters in anime history. This tier includes six characters from my favorite shonen anime, mainly those with well-written stories and attractive personality traits.
Vegeta was formerly a cruel, cold-blooded warrior and outright killer, but he subsequently abandons his duty in the Frieza Force and chooses to stay and dwell on Earth. Later, he would battle with Universe 7’s most powerful warriors to preserve Earth and his family while also attempting to surpass Goku in power. Vegeta’s character growth is widely lauded and regarded as one of the most significant in the series.
He began as the Saiyan Saga’s foremost enemy. Still, He later became an anti-heroic tritagonist throughout Dragon Ball Z. After the Majin Buu Saga, he would grow up to become a hero in the Dragon Ball Super sequel series as the primary deuteragonist/secondary protagonist.
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Moving on to the senpai of Sasuke and naruto, Kakashi Hatake. He is a Hatake clan shinobi from Konohagakure. Kakashi of the Sharingan is his name. Despite his distaste for responsibility, Kakashi is one of Konoha’s most competent ninjas and is frequently sought out for advice and leadership.
While Kakashi was heartbroken that Obito had finally redeemed himself and died, he took comfort in the idea that he died the same way he had the first time he was presumed dead: as a hero. Kakashi eventually found consolation and tranquillity as a result of this.
Kakashi continued to do his part to help the hamlet flourish. At the same time, he maintains that no one should become a ninja without first understanding its significance, especially in times of peace. Kakashi’s ideology of teamwork and his transformation from cold-blooded ninja to acting father of Team 7 placed him at the B Tier .
In Death Note. L grows skeptical of Light Yagami throughout his inquiry and sets out to establish that Light is Kira. L is a very private person who only connects with the outside world through his secretary.
He never publicly displays his face in person, instead of using the capital letter “L” to represent himself. As an added protection precaution, he demands that the Japanese Task Force refers to him as “Ryuzaki” after meeting with them. His actual name is never given to the Task Force and never revealed in the manga or anime. Though his untidy and lethargic demeanor conceals his remarkable deduction capabilities, many people doubt his abilities when they see him.
With his position as the world’s finest investigator, he, like Light, has a sensitive pride, fearful of being mistaken in his deductions and ideas, as seen by his extreme tactics. L is one of the greatest detectives shown in anime history, and his unique appearance makes him deserve a spot in the B Tier.
Moving on to the significant antagonist of One Piece, Donquixote Doflamingo. In the Dressrosa Saga, he was the primary adversary. Doflamingo’s defeat and capture sent shockwaves throughout the New World, enraging his affiliates, including one of the Four Emperors, Kaido. Formerly the most influential underworld broker under the codename “Joker.”
Following his defeat and the public exposure of his crimes, he was stripped of his titles as king of Dressrosa and one of the seven warlords, and he and most of his men were taken to Impel Down. He was the overarching adversary of the Punk Hazard Arc before ultimately reaching center stage as the main antagonist of the Dressrosa Arc, and he impacted events from the shadows long before confronting the Straw Hats.
Doflamingo dislikes anyone who gets in the way of his goals because of his impatience. When someone enrages Doflamingo, he takes advantage of the situation by using extreme action, such as shooting Corazon for only seeking to defend Law from him.
For a long time, Tomura lacked clarity and depended on All For One to give him all the resources he needed. His first goal was to destroy the superhero society, particularly All Might, whom he despised. Tomura, on the other hand, has steadily begun to grow and mature into a more autonomous villain after All For One’s imprisonment and has established a belief that he must destroy everything he despises, ultimately wishing to bring down civilization as a whole.
After defeating Re-Destro and his Meta Liberation Army, Rikiya surrendered to his orders and appointed Tomura as the Paranormal Liberation Front’s brand leader. Tomura claims that the severed hands he wears all over him are the only tangible traces of his deceased loved ones, making him feel ill and tranquil simultaneously. Tomura, except for his father and paternal grandmother, has no resentment towards his family, despite his background, which makes me want to place him in the B Tier of the Anime Main Character Tier List.
|Series||My Hero Academia|
Moving on to the significant character of One Piece and who holds a special place in my heart, Trafalgar D Water Law is most generally referred to as “Trafalgar Law” and his title is “Surgeon of Death.” He appears in the Paramount War Saga as a critical character, the Dressrosa Saga as the deuteragonist, and the Yonko Saga as a crucial ally. He is Luffy’s friendly adversary, although he antagonists Eustass Kid.
Despite his abrupt and nasty approach towards others, Law harbors considerable sympathy and empathy, which he gradually reclaims thanks to Rosinante’s influence. Law, like Chopper, is committed to upholding the Hippocratic Oath as a doctor, which requires him to preserve lives at all costs.
As a result, he resists using fatal force and despises the thought of unnecessary murder though he does not hesitate to kill Doflamingo when he has the chance. Law is my favorite side character in all the animes I have watched.
The C-tier is a below-average tier, but it has relatively the same importance as the other tiers. This tier consists of 4 characters that are very identical to each other. Notably, all of them are living legends and died as a legend passing on their torch to the future generation.
Moving on to one of the main antagonists of the Naruto franchise, Orochimaru is a renowned Sannin of Konohagakure. Intending to learn all of the world’s secrets, Orochimaru desires immortality to live all the lifetimes required to complete his mission. Orochimaru defected from Konoha rather than be persecuted for his ambitions after being caught red-handed and performing unethical experiments on his fellow citizens for immortality.
While he remains self-serving as usual, his study of Kabuto taught him that imitating someone is a mistake, and he expressed curiosity about Sasuke’s “alternative route.” Years later, while he remains as enthusiastic as ever in his pursuit of life’s greatest mysteries, he appears to be doing them more compassionately, revamping his shinobi village and his relationship with the rest of the world, at best unstable.
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Moving on to the posthumous character of the One Piece, Oden. He was the son of the previous Shogun and the daimyo of Kuri in Wano Country. In addition, he was the head of the Nine Red Scabbards, a group of famous and strong samurai who served as his retainers and most loyal allies. Oden spent the first five years of his life at sea as a pirate.
After discovering Joy Boy’s treasure on Laugh Tale, Oden returned home and resolved to extend Wano’s borders to the rest of the globe by succeeding his father as Shogun. However, his usurper Kurozumi Orochi and pirate Kaidou opposed him, and in an incident known as the Legendary Hour, they killed him 20 years before the present. Oden was even proud of his moniker, proclaiming that he was born to be boiled like Oden soup as he perished in a pot of boiling oil.
Moving on to the central protagonist of the My Hero Academia franchise, All Might. He is the ninth user of the One For All Quirk and the previous No. 1 Hero. He now teaches Foundational Hero Studies at U.A. All Might resigned from crime-fighting after defeating All For One, using up all of One For All’s embers to beat All For One. This marked the end of his era. He had previously held the title of World Peace Symbol.
He has subsequently transferred the mantle to Izuku Midoriya, whom he is grooming to succeed. All Might is Japan’s most powerful hero, serving as a beacon of hope and justice for heroes worldwide. No one can stand up to his immense strength. Therefore his sheer existence instills dread in the hearts of evil around the planet.
|Series||My Hero Academia|
Moving on to the Fire Pillar of Justice and the one whose death made me cry so hard, Kyojuro Rengoku. He was a prominent character in the Mugen Train Arc and a central supporting character in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.
Rengoku was the late Flame Hashira’s Demon Slayer and a member of the Demon Slayer Corps. He is personable and exudes immense positivity, with an exuberant smile plastered across his face almost all the time.
Like the majority of Demon Slayers, he despises demons, either due to their horrible crimes or opposing moral standards. He possessed exceptional skill and swordsmanship due to rigorous training and discipline, making him deserve a spot in the C Tier of the Anime Character Tier List.
I’ve created a definitive anime character list featuring 31 characters from different animes I enjoy. While I’m sorry if your favorite characters didn’t make the list, I took each tier seriously and considered every character’s impact on their respective series. This is purely my opinion and not based on power levels. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and remember, we all resonate with characters differently. Thanks for reading!