• Character design is vital in anime, creating memorable appearances that communicate character roles and stories effectively.
  • Characters like Rukawa from
    Slam Dunk
    draw inspiration from real world figures like Michael Jordan, reflecting the original creator’s love and dedication to outside influences.
  • Momoshiki from
    boasts a distinct design that exudes confidence and abilities, making him a standout villain.

Character design is the cornerstone of any popular entertainment medium, especially anime. A properly designed character who not only has a distinct and memorable appearance, but whose features and clothing communicate the character’s role is vital, and can be a major game-changer for an anime’s reception.

Over the years, many characters have become iconic for their signature appearances and have significantly increased the popularity of their series, such as Gojo Satoru from Jujutsu Kaisen, whose striking design has become instantly recognizable, even for those not interested in anime. The anime industry is lucky as it can encompass anything from more lighthearted cartoony series to adult dramas, and, as such, the creator can go in either direction. From realistic, complex, simple, and even wacky, the diversity of character design in anime is one of its strong points and contributes immensely to its appeal.


Almost Unheard Of – Breakout Manga Proves It’s Shonen Jump’s Next Mega Hit With English Release

Kagurabachi is one of the biggest Shonen Jump manga of recent years, and its unprecedented physical release schedule goes right along with that.

10 Rukawa Kaede Retells the Story of a Living Legend

Slam Dunk

The Shuhoku Basketball team’s main scorer, Rukawa Kaede, does fall into the trope of a quiet deuteragonist with black hair, much like Sasuke and Megumi, but he is one of the sports genre’s most electrifying and interesting players. Takehiko Inoue is a basketball and NBA fanatic, and he designed Rukawa with the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, in mind. Armed with the same playing style, armband, and jersey, Rukawa Kaede is fashioned after one of the greats, and certainly lives up to his inspiration.

Slam Dunk‘s genius shooting guard, Rukawa, always shows up when the team needs him to, and his ability as a scoring machine has saved the team many times. His introverted personality and sleepy nature are reflected by his average design – at least compared to the fiery, red-haired Sakuragi – and laidback poses, but his demeanor only switches to seriousness when it concerns basketball, showing his passion for the sport and making him all the more endearing.

9 Momoshiki Is Boruto’s Most Memorable Villain

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations

As one of anime’s most egotistic and prideful characters, Momoshiki was Boruto: Naruto Next Generation‘s first main villain, and for some, it was the series’ best. Although defeated, he doesn’t back down and still wreaks havoc as Boruto’s inner demon, threatening to take over his body and cause chaos if Boruto lets his guard down. Although it was assumed that Kaguya was the most powerful character in the franchise, Momoshiki’s confidence and abilities made others wonder if there were others stronger than the Rabbit Goddess, and indeed they were.

Although his small stature and white color scheme make him seem more relaxed and calm, he is quite the opposite. With long silky hair, large white robes, and two horns on his forehead, Momshiki is one of the Naruto franchise’s coolest-looking characters. His design becomes even more awesome when he transforms, with black markings on his body, a Rinnegan on his forehead and his palms, and his hair rising.

Watch On Crunchyroll

Naruto Shippuden TV Series Poster

Naruto: Shippuden

Set two and a half years after the events of Masashi Kishimoto’s original anime, Naruto Shippuden continues the titular hero’s attempts to become the best ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village and bring his former friend Sasuke Uchiha back to the light. The 500-episode series features the return of allies such as Sakura Haruno and Naruto Uzumaki’s mentor Jiraiya, as well as the villainous organization Akatsuki.

Junko Takeuchi , Kazuhiko Inoue , Noriaki Sugiyama , Chie Nakamura , Shoutarou Morikubo , Hideo Ishikawa , Nana Mizuki , Houchuu Ootsuka

Release Date
February 15, 2007


Adult Swim

Junki Takegami , Satoru Nishizono , Yasuyuki Suzuki , Yasuaki Kurotsu , Masanao Akahoshi

Hayato Date , Masaaki Kumagai , Yasuaki Kurotsu , Osamu Kobayashi , Chiaki Kon

8 Gintoki Is Anime’s Biggest Samurai


One of the medium’s most hilarious series also crafted one of the most legendary samurai in anime, the silver-haired Gintoki. What makes Gintoki’s character design brilliant is how versatile he can be. One moment he is parodying series like Naruto or Dragon Ball Z, and the next he will be in an emotional battle that grips the hearts of viewers. His complexity is evident in the sharp contrast between his carefree demeanor and serious moments, which keeps the fans guessing.

His outfit symbolizes his connection to his samurai roots, even though he retired after the profession was banned. His silver hair, wooden sword, and iconic traditional samurai attire make Gintoki one of the best and most interesting depictions of samurai in anime.

Watch On Crunchyroll

7 Olivier Armstrong

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Olivier Armstrong is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s vicious and stern general and has quickly solidified herself as one of the most popular in the franchise. Although she is a beautiful woman, her looks aren’t what made people love her. Her bravery, wits, and leadership, especially in the final battle against the Homunculus, showed how brilliant her character was. She does not possess the power of alchemy but is one to fear.

She is easily recognizable by her signature winter coat, luscious long blonde hair, and the sword that she always carries around with her. Her striking personality contrasts with her appearance, making her a unique individual. The interesting contrast she presents works well, adding to her overall appeal.

Watch On Crunchyroll

Fullmetal Alchemist Franchise Poster

Fullmetal Alchemist

Created by
Hiromu Arakawa

TV Show(s)
Fullmetal Alchemist , Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

6 Endeavor Is Iconic Due To His Status In Society

My Hero Academia

The only man who was ever brave enough to compete with All Might, Endeavor is possibly My Hero Academia‘s most complex and well-written character. He was a gateway for the viewers into the dark life of being a professional hero and how misguided a protector can be. His personality at the beginning of the series was a cold and stoic man whose sole mission was to become the number one hero, but as time went on, he realized his mistakes and regretted what he put his family through.

Possessing a fire quirk, his design reflects this, with flame shooting out from his face, shoulders, and legs. The choice of giving a flame quirk was brilliant as it reflects his personality that burned down his relationships and his anger issues. The scar he received in his fight with Nomu was also a cool addition, signifying the start of his atonement and his commitment to the people as the number one hero.

My Hero Academia

In My Hero Academia, some humans have superpowers called quirks. Izuku Midoriya, nicknamed Deku, is not one of them. Deku has always idolized heroes like the number one hero, All Might, and since he was a child, he has always wanted to be a hero. However, his lack of a quirk has always held him back, but a chance encounter with All Might after discovering a classmate in danger sets Deku on the path to becoming a true hero. My Hero Academia centers around Deku and a class of heroes-in-training at UA. This school shapes young quirk users into future heroes through fake rescue missions, combat training, and other hero-tempering tasks. With young Deku inheriting the “One-For-All” quirk, he will learn what it means to be a true hero while facing off with dastardly supervillains.

Release Date
April 3, 2016

Production Company

Watch On Crunchyroll

5 Puck Provides Much-Needed Humor In a Grim World


Berserk‘s sweetheart elf, Puck, is Guts’ loyal companion who follows him around despite how scary the series’ iconic protagonist is. He has been very important in Gut’s journey for revenge, as he has saved him many times from life-threatening injuries using his healing abilities. He also freed him from the Holy Iron Chain Knights, the same way he was freed by Guts from hooligans.

Puck is inspired by a fairy of the same name from Shakespeare’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In a series that is often considered the darkest and most gruesome manga, Puck offers much-needed comedic relief after fans experience unprecedented violence and gore. His simple, cartoonish design is absolutely hilarious and is surprisingly expressive despite the few lines used when drawing the face. Undoubtedly, Berserk wouldn’t be as entertaining without Puck’s humorous presence.

Berserk (1997)

Based on the manga series created by Kentaro Miura, Berserk was an action-fantasy series initially released in North America in 1997. The series acts as an adaptation of the first portion of the manga, covering the origins of Guts the Black Swordsman, a powerful warrior who joins a mercenary group known as The Band of the Hawk.

Release Date
October 7, 1997


Yasuhiro Imagawa

Naohito Takahashi

Watch Berserk

4 Meruem Is Easily Recognizable As A Villain

Hunter X Hunter

The King Of The Ants is one of Hunter X Hunter‘s strongest characters, and he is often regarded as one of the best villains from the series. He was terrifyingly powerful from the day he was born, killing his mother and going off on a hunting spree. No man, woman or child was safe, and his sights on taking over the world were almost successful. However, his life changed when he met Komugi, a blind Gungi player who frustrated him to no end as he could never beat her in this game. Even when he was about to die, he still wanted to die spending time and playing Gungi with Komugi, and this led to the most heartbreaking moment in Hunter X Hunter.

With a green color scheme that represented his roots as an insect and a helmet-like head, Meruem’s design is as iconic as it is interesting. His piercing eyes and neutral face betray his true nature as a creature whose mood can switch on a dime. Meruem’s purpose in the story is easily identifiable just by his appearance, which manages to work in his favor later as he grows and changes from Komugi’s influence.

Hunter X Hunter franchise poster

Hunter X Hunter

Created by
Yoshihiro Togashi

TV Show(s)
Hunter x Hunter , Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Watch On Crunchyroll

3 Alucard’s Design Is As Scary As It Gets


Although the Hellsing franchise has three protagonists, Sir Integra and Seras Victoria aren’t nearly as iconic or popular as Alucard, whose stylish design captivated the hearts of many and cemented him as one of the most well-known anime characters. Wearing an oversized fedora, a red coat, reflective shades, and an oversized gun, Alucard is the definition of badass. From his merciless personality to his red theme, it is easy to tell that wherever he goes, a trail of blood follows.

A vampire who hunts down other vampires, Alucard is one of Hellsing‘s strongest characters, if not the strongest. His immortality has ballooned his ego, and the way he taunts and humiliates his enemies makes him very fun to watch in action.

Watch On Netflix

2 Chainsaw Man Is The Most Iconic Shonen Protagonist In Recent Years

Chainsaw Man

Tatsuki Fujimoto’s quirky and unique writing, in addition to his iconic character designs strike yet again, creating one of the medium’s most interesting characters ever. The design couldn’t be simpler, and works as an apt representation of the series’ title. A boy who can pull chainsaws out of his head and arms seems absurd in theory, but in practice, created one of the most beloved shonen protagonists of all time. Denji’s Chainsaw form is one of the most popular choices for modern cosplay, and fans dressing up as the character has become more and more common over time.

The ability to wield chainsaws and summon them from any part of his body, Denji received this ability after fusing with the Chainsaw Devil, his close friend, as he was about to die. Granted supreme physical strength and immortality, the Chainsaw Man is undoubtedly the series’ strongest character, and fans will know the extent of its strength as new seasons are released, starting with the upcoming Chainsaw Man: Reze movie.

Chainsaw Man Anime Poster

Chainsaw Man

Chainsaw Man is an adaptation of the popular manga written by Tatsuki Fujimoto, airing on Crunchyroll in the west. Denji, a young man working tirelessly for the Yakuza to pay off the debt, his late father saddled him with hunts devils with the assistance of his little friend Pochita, also known as the Chainsaw Devil. When the Yakuza kill him to gain a contract with another devil, Pochita saves Denji, and the two forge a contract, allowing Denji to gain revenge against the Yakuza. Now sought after by an agency known as the Public Safety Division, Denji joins a team led by the mysterious Makima. Denji now relentlessly hunts Devils in service of his newfound crush, Makima, slowly reaching their ultimate goal of facing the ultimate Devil.

Release Date
October 11, 2022


Tatsuki Fujimoto

Watch On Crunchyroll

1 Donquixote Doflamingo’s Design Is Still Unmatched

One Piece

Considered by many as One Piece‘s best villain, Doflamingo cemented himself as an icon not only for his peculiar design but his rotten personality. One Piece is no stranger to wacky designs, with Oda exaggerating features to no limit. However, Doflamingo might be his most interesting design yet.

His flamboyant outfit, hilarious walking style, and iconic sunglasses all work in tandem to show viewers that this man is going to be one of the most important characters in the show. Furthermore, his over-the-top outfit complements his high and mighty personality that towers above all.

Watch On Crunchyroll

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