This article will take a look at the most popular and iconic anime characters of all time, and rank them from best to worst.

The what is the most popular game is a question that has been asked many times. I have compiled a list of the top 10 anime characters of all time, ranked by their popularity on Crunchyroll.

Do you remember when anime was still a fringe medium discussed behind closed doors in order to avoid offending the “you watch cartoons” bullies?

It’s safe to say that period has passed, since anime today seems to be as popular as certain mainstream television programs.

But, out of all of anime’s history, which characters are the most well-known?

Well, there was a survey over at MAL on popular anime characters, and it yielded some fantastic results. But I don’t believe that’s a fair assessment in and of itself. It essentially eliminates all of the normies!

So, for this ranking, I’m using each character’s MAL score as a starting point, but then adding extra points using a more scientific approach (AKA asking my normie friends who they recognize).

Be prepared for chaos.

 

Tanjiro Kamado (#25)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Demon Slayer is a Japanese anime series.

Despite the fact that Tanjiro didn’t even reach the top 50 on MAL’s list, I believe he deserves to be on this list.

The 19th episode of Demon Slayer was so excellent that it went viral across the globe, bringing a lot of new viewers to the program.

Tanjiro, with his exquisite swordplay, stunning animation, and fortunate little sister genes, is at the heart of it all.

So, despite the fact that he may not have been well-known for a long time, I believe that one viral episode alone established his status as an iconic figure in the anime industry.

 

Izuku Midoriya (number 24)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

My Hero Academia is an anime series based on the manga My Hero Academia.

Izuku did make it into the MAL list, at number 49. (as of this writing).

But that’s a lot lower than I had anticipated.

My Hero Academia has been THE show when it comes to gateway anime and broad popularity for a few years now.

And it’s hard not to notice the primary character shouting at the top of his lungs and breaking his arms or whatever.

Todoroki was ranked higher than Deku on the list, but I chose to overlook him since my buddies felt he was a Zuko knock-off.

 

Subaru Natsuki (number 23)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Re: Zero is a Japanese anime series.

Subaru seems like he could be Tumblr’s mascot, with GIFs of him depicting every kind of agony and sorrow conceivable.

With that in mind, some of you may be wondering, “Why didn’t you put Rem on this list instead, you mongoloid?”

Because, in my view, Rem isn’t really identifiable.

In the anime community, she is well-liked. Aside than that, she seems to be a generic maid character.

Subaru, on the other hand, is a guy in a jumpsuit who lives in a dream world and is always weeping in exquisite detail, which tends to stick with you.

 

Kamina (number 22)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a Japanese anime series.

Kamina’s charm is essentially a superpower in the program, capable of buffing up anybody. And it was clear that this was also true in the actual world.

If you show someone a pair of pointed spectacles, there’s a good chance they’ll recognize who you’re talking about.

Pewdiepie, for example, acknowledges Kamina and uses a similar style for his own figure.

And if the Swedish YouTube king is aware of Kamina, it adds at least 100 million 19-year-old points to her fame.

 

Kazuto Kirigaya (#21)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Sword Art Online is an anime series.

Kazuta is a weird name, since I doubt Kazuto Kirigaya signifies absolutely nothing to 99.9% of the population.

But if you simply mention Kirito, there’s a good chance they’ll recognize who you’re talking about.

The term “overpowered boring protagonist” came to be associated with the name. And phrases like “it’s simply another Kirito” appear more often than one would expect.

Plus, Sword Art Online was a tremendous success (at least in terms of popularity), so you can bet he got a large piece of the normie pie.

 

Spike Spiegel, number 20

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Cowboy Bebop is a Japanese anime series.

Spike’s fame is a double-edged sword, since he is regarded as a “classic.”

On the one hand, almost everyone over the age of 20 has seen this man — Cowboy Bebop was the first anime series, after all.

My kid, on the other hand, is being buried in the mentions due to the continuous influx of new anime (half of which is isekai for some reason).

He is deserving of a spot, although he is no longer as tall as he once was.

 

Saitama (19.)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

One Punch Man is a Japanese anime series.

I believe Saitama’s popularity grew in tandem with a single word: “mood.”

That one phrase tends to dominate in my mind in every scene he’s in. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about contemporary media, it’s that people like connecting with one another.

Have you ever had the power of a deity but instead decided to lounge around? Mood.

Have you ever attempted to kill a fly and it flew around the room at a million miles per second? Mood.

Have you ever taken an exam and received a C while being exceptional in some areas, then shrugged your shoulders?

You understand my point; he cognitively spans at least two generations.

 

Gintoki Sakata, no. 18

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Gintama is a Japanese anime series.

Given the amount of payments Gintama has received throughout the years, I believe he is regarded as a deity by some.

However, I believe his dominion is mostly located in Eastern Asia.

Many of the jokes, although hilarious, are very specialized and difficult to comprehend unless you’re a hardcore anime fan or well immersed in Japanese culture.

My buddy even began learning Japanese simply to understand some of the jokes.

And if that doesn’t scream “fully objective list-making metric,” I’m not sure what does.

 

Dio Brando is seventeen years old.

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a Japanese anime series.

I believe it is fair to state that Dio is the king of memes.

I don’t speak a word of Japanese, but you can guarantee I know how to say “I am Dio” fluently.

There are a slew of additional JoJo allusions and memes out there. However, I believe Dio has always been the most recognizable in this respect.

He’s got a lot of excellent one-liners, is one of the most well-known voice performers in the industry, and enough arrogance to rule the globe three times.

 

Yuno Gasai, No. 16

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Mirai Nikki is a Japanese anime series.

Whether you like her or not, you can’t deny that she was a force to be reckoned with.

Mirai Nikki wasn’t the first program to depict yandere characters (insert sobbing sounds here), but she was the first to bring the concept into the public.

Every other yandere now has pink hair as well.

Yuno is responsible for the numerous “Yuki”s, the scary eyes that give my paralysis demon nightmares, and the general insanity – and I believe we should award her a hesitant iconic status for that.

 

15. Ichigo Kurosaki (Japanese: Kurosaki Ichigo

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Bleach is a Japanese anime series.

Of course, there would be characters from the “Big Three” on this list.

Despite the fact that I believe Bleach was the least popular of the group, it had a significant effect.

During the 2000s, no kid was afraid of a program with actual death gods.

It’s no wonder that Ichigo has become a memorable face as the show’s primary character and face. Plus, he has the most badass forms of anybody I’ve ever seen.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has amazing Ichigo photos as a phone backdrop.

 

Hisoka Morow (14), Hisoka Morow (14), Hisoka

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Hunter x Hunter is a Japanese anime series (2011)

Hisoka isn’t well-known among the broader public, since a kid-loving murder clown doesn’t exactly scream “positive mainstream.”

But he’s so well-known and liked in the neighborhood that I couldn’t help but mention him.

Hisoka is one of the most unexpected villains in the series, since he can go from beating your butt to saving your life in a single episode.

His design is particularly distinctive and identifiable, which contributes to his appeal.

 

Ken Kaneki (#13)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Tokyo Ghoul is a Japanese anime series.

I’m still convinced that Hot Topic was created just for this character.

The program as a whole featured more adolescent angst than Reddit, but Kaneki was the production’s greatest achievement.

Everyone knew the words to unravel the moment his hair became white.

And his ghastly visage could be seen on every black T-shirt within a 100-mile radius.

I’ll confess that I was part of the initial wave of Kaneki zealots, and my knuckles are still swollen.

 

Itachi Uchiha is the 12th character in the Itachi Uchiha series.

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Naruto: Shippuden is a Japanese anime series.

It’s interesting to consider how a figure with such little screen time became so beloved.

Nonetheless, it made logic.

His design is flawless, and his background is one of the finest in the series.

When he was the villain, everyone thought he was cool as hell – and when it came out he was a nice person, everyone wept and thought he was beyond awesome.

Sure, he has some of that adolescent angst about him. But it is nothing compared to his amazing and sad tale, which I believe a lot of people enjoyed.

 

Killua Zoldyck (#11)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Hunter x Hunter is a Japanese anime series (2011)

Killua has everything at one place.

He’s very cool, ripping people’s hearts out of their chests and placing them in a doggie bag at their side. He is, nevertheless, very nice.

His friendship with Gon was one of my favorite aspects of the show, and every battle in which he was zapping about became immediately more exciting.

And I really believe he is more well-known and recognized than Gon, because being a badass all of the time propels you up the rankings.

 

Edward Elric, number ten

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a Japanese anime series.

Ed was destined to shop up, given that Fullmetal Alchemist has been the most highly praised program on MAL for quite some time.

FMA, I believe, suffers from a lack of popularity among the general public since it deals with more serious issues that may not be suitable for everyone. But I don’t believe the situation is as bad as it seems.

However, among the community, it is revered as a sacred book. Within a fortnight, everyone who hasn’t heard of the Elric brothers or the program will be publicly killed (or told to watch it until they finally cave).

 

9. Yagami (light)

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Death Note is a Japanese anime series.

When asked about their first anime experience, many people immediately think of “Death Note.”

Even though it’s strange that a program with such a concept has become as well-known and adored as it has, I’m happy it has.

Light was one among the earliest well-written protagonists, providing us with a viewpoint other than the standard “good man does nice things because he is good.”

His insane laugh has become a legend. Aliens will most likely study his potato chip munching scene to figure out what the heck humans did for pleasure.

 

Roronoa, Zoro

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

One Piece is a popular anime series.

One Piece is the granddaddy of anime, as well as the undisputed king of manga sales.

Because the program is old enough to vote and has enough episodes to put you to sleep, it’s only natural that people be aware of it.

Zoro is a total badass.

Even those who are scared of getting into One Piece have thought to themselves, “Maybe I can binge it for a year if I look at some of Zoro’s great battle scenes or moments.”

He has all of the characteristics that we like seeing: a scar, a sword, a stern demeanor, and a badass full-power mode.

 

Rintarou Okabe is number seven on the list.

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Steins;Gate is a Japanese anime series.

When it comes to writing, Steins;Gate is a masterclass. And at the very point of the spear, Okabe is screaming about how he’s a madu scientistu.

It’s just fantastic.

He also has the Subaru trait of being able to convey any unpleasant feeling via a GIF, but he also has some really cute and pure moments.

His friendship with Kurisu is regarded as one of the most cherished in the community.

When it comes to the general audience, he is THE anime mad scientist.

He’s just too famous to ignore.

 

6. Lelouch Lamperouge

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Code Geass is a Japanese anime series.

I’m happy this came out while mechs were still hot, since the program earned all of the attention it received.

This has been my go-to example for great endings since I first began watching anime.

Lelouch had all of the good (or should I say bad) characteristics that made us all adore Light, but he also had a gentler side.

Furthermore, the decision to make everyone in the show tall and skinny as hell makes the characters immediately identifiable.

 

Luffy, Monkey D.

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

One Piece is a popular anime series.

One Piece, as I already said, is the big daddy.

As a result, only one character would not sufficient.

Despite the fact that Zoro is great, Luffy is the show’s actual face and, as a result, is much more popular.

He’s even sporting a straw hat. Ironically, I believe that much of his appeal stems from the fact that he does not seem to be “too anime.”

He simply seems to be a regular adventurer who happens to be in 2D.

I say this because, although some people may be turned off by shows like Code Geass, even non-anime fans can and do enjoy One Piece.

Even the most ardent One Piece fan I know has never watched another anime.

 

4. L

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Death Note is a Japanese anime series.

Let’s be honest: we all wished we could be like L.

We all wanted to be that person who could do anything we wanted and yet be recognized for our intelligence, even if it meant squatting on chairs.

His huge sweet appetite just contributed to his relatability.

And I believe this is why most people only remember the first half of Death Note, since it was L who truly made things interesting.

Also, have a look at that design. It’s just fantastic.

 

3. Levi

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Attack on Titan is a Japanese anime series.

When it comes to newer anime breaking into the public, Attack on Titan is probably the most successful.

It had that Game of Thrones feel to it, with jaw-dropping action and incredible bangers at the beginning of each episode.

Levi was, without a doubt, the show’s popular favorite.

Everything Levi does is amazing, whether it’s taking photos of him cleaning or kicking Eren in the mouth.

Plus, don’t you try to deny that he’s very attractive.

 

2. Goku

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Dragon Ball Z is a Japanese anime series.

The fact that Goku did not even reach the top 50 on the MAL list was the only reason I chose not to include it for my rating.

How?

I simply think that’s absurd, since I’ve never met anybody who hasn’t seen Goku’s face.

I was certain that trying the Kamehameha was an important part of each of our childhoods. And yet, you’re telling me he’s not one of the most well-known personalities in the world?

It makes you think of Goku whenever you hear someone yell.

Goku comes to mind whenever you see a figure with blue hair.

You think of Goku whenever your father offers the bullies some Red Bull to keep them from tiring out while beating you up.

 

Naruto Uzumaki, Naruto Uzumaki, Naruto Uzumaki,

The Most Popular & Iconic Anime Characters Of All Time (Ranked) –

Naruto is a Japanese anime series.

Despite being ranked 10th in the MAL survey, Naruto is without a doubt the most famous character that anime has created to yet.

Do you realize how well-known you have to be for a whole jogging route to be named after you?

I’ve never heard of a Bolt runner, but when the Area 51 assault was planned, there was a lot of discussion of Naruto runners.

Aside from simply fleeing, I think the whole concept of talking down an opponent has been called “talk no jutsu” in honor of Naruto.

I find it impossible to imagine that someone could be familiar with any of the characters on this list yet not with Naruto.

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