Anime are mostly known for their protagonists. It is not strange to associate the likes of Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece with Son Goku, Naruto, Ichigo, and Monkey D. Luffy, respectively. But, alongside these major characters, great anime series have a large number of brilliantly-written side (supporting) characters that have left a permanent mark on the genre. In this article, we are going to rank the 20 best anime side characters of all time.
Before we proceed, let us just define the criteria of the characters on this list. The list is, of course, not going to include protagonists, but there will also be no deuteragonists, tritagonists, and so forth; these characters are too important for us to include them here. And while the list certainly is going to have villains, they won’t be the show’s primary antagonists. Also, characters that are part of a group led by the main protagonist (for example, members of Luffy’s Straw Hat gang or members of Ichigo’s group, and even Byakuya from Bleach) won’t be on the list either. The main criteria is that the character is noteworthy, but does not fit into any “major character” category.
Gennai is a mysterious and old man made up of digital data guiding diggers in their quest. He appears in episodes 13-54 of the first season. In general, it gives clues as to what children might find in their adventures and thus help them fight their enemies. In the second season, Gennai appears younger and helps DigiDestined in the real world.
19. Hideyoshi Nagachika
Franchise: Tokyo Ghoul
Also nicknamed Hide, Hideyoshi is Ken’s best friend. After Ken’s disappearance, he was hired at CCG as an assistant thanks to his great knowledge of ghouls that he was passionate about. He dies at the end of season 2, killed by Noro in the anime. In the manga, Kaneki being starved and weakened after his hard fight against Amon, he runs into Hideyoshi in the sewers.
Hide disappears, leaving Ken alone to heal from his wound against Amon. He finds himself tasting like blood in his mouth and wonders what happened. Hide was presumed dead. In volume 15 of Tokyo Ghoul:re we find Hide alive but with the bottom of his face disfigured.
Kon is the manga’s mascot. This is an artificial soul, or mod soul, made at Soul Society. They were programmed in combat to help the shinigami by developing one of their physical abilities, but failures, as well as ethical problems, led them to stop manufacturing them and destroy existing specimens. Kon managed to survive, hidden among simple souls (“soul candies”) only intended to occupy the inert bodies of the shinigami.
Kon is actually an under pod, an artificial soul whose leg capacities have been increased. Thus, he is able to jump several meters high, or kick very powerfully. He is also called Bostaf by Yuzu (one of Ichigo’s sisters).
17. Riza Hawkeye
Franchise: Fullmetal Alchemist
Riza is none other than the daughter of Mustang’s master alchemy who, at the time of her death, entrusted the care and safety of young Riza to the future Flame Alchemist. However, the situation in which she finds herself is paradoxical. Indeed, she protects the colonel to help him achieve his objectives but he asked her to kill him if he crossed certain limits. A large tattoo covers most of her back.
There are written the notes on the ultimate incandescent alchemy that his father did not have time to entrust to his disciple. Riza will hand them over to Mustang, which will allow him to become the Flame Alchemist. Following the Ishbal War where she participated as a sniper, she asked Mustang to burn the tattoo, which he did in part, not only to prevent the appearance of a new Flame Alchemist.
16. Erza Scarlet
Series: Fairy Tail
As a young girl, she was abducted from her village Rosemary along with other children her age to work as a slave in the construction of the Tower of Heaven. This is where she meets Jellal, Miliana, Shaw, Simon, and Wolly as well as Rob with whom she befriends. Expelled from the tower by Jellal who is controlled by an evil entity, she decides to join Fairy Tail, Rob’s guild.
From the moment she arrived at the guild, she was withdrawn and wary of people. It is Gray who will help her to open up to others, constantly wanting to provoke her. After Natsu’s arrival at the guild, she helps him learn more to read because Ignir, Natsu’s father, had not been able to complete his apprenticeship.
15. Alex Louis Armstrong
Franchise: Fullmetal Alchemist
This endearing state alchemist, “the alchemist with the mighty arm,” is as naive and generous as his muscles are imposing. He brags about his family’s heritage all the time (the art of fighting, drawing, running, etc.) and is sometimes rather overwhelming. He often strikes a pose long enough to show off his muscles, constantly looks ecstatic, and is almost always off the mark, (almost) always has little stars next to his face.
14. Shōto Todoroki
Franchise: My Hero Academia
A classmate of the protagonists and one of the four recommended students. His Quirk, called Half-Cold Half-Hot, allows him to generate fire from the left side of his body and ice from the right side.
To make the most of his powers he must alternate the two sides: if he uses only the cold side he risks incurring frostbite, vice versa the exclusive use of the hot side could cause him burns. He can create real mountains of ice out of thin air and produce extremely hot flames, and if he chooses to use both sides he becomes very dangerous; with training, he learns to use both sides of him at the same time.
Despite his abilities, he cannot give complex shapes to the ice he produces. He is considered the strongest student in the class, strength shown during the Sports Festival (despite the fact that he finished second, losing to Bakugo). He is the son of Endeavor, considered the best hero after All Might.
13. Misa Amane
Franchise: DEATH NOTE
Misa is a girl living in Kanto whose parents were killed by a burglar, himself killed by Kira. The day Misa was to die, she was stopped in an alley by a stranger telling her he loves her and that he wants to kill her before committing suicide, rather than to live without her.
Misa was saved by Jeras, a shinigami god who watched her constantly since he fell in love with her, thereby exceeding his rights to prevent Misa from dying by killing her attacker with his Death Note; a god of death does not have the right to kill to lengthen the life of a person who is dear to him.
Franchise: One Piece
“Red-Haired” Shanks, commonly known only as “Red Hair”, is the leader of the Red Hair Pirates and one of the Four Emperors who rule over the New World.
Shanks is a former member of the legendary Roger Pirates, the only pirate band to successfully conquer the Grand Line. He began his pirate career in this crew as an apprentice alongside Buggy, before forming his own crew after Gol D. Roger’s death.
Shanks is the pirate who inspired Monkey D. Luffy to embark on his own pirate journey. His crewmate Lucky Roux found the Gomu Gomu no Mi, which was accidentally eaten by Luffy. He also owned the Straw Hat that has become Luffy’s trademark. He had given it to the boy as part of a promise that they would meet again one day.
11. Tōshirō Hitsugaya
Tōshirō Hitsugaya has the appearance of an 11-year-old child but is already a captain of the 10th Division. He became shinigami only five years ago, and he is a young prodigy, as we rarely see in Soul Society. He is very close to Hinamori, lieutenant of the 5th division.
In the anime, he meets Karin, Ichigo’s little sister. His zanpakutō masters the element of water and ice, like Rukia’s. His “shikai” is “Hyōrinmaru”. He is the most powerful zanpakutō of its kind, although his Bankai is still incomplete as he can only overpower it for a limited period of time.
According to Arrancar No. 11 Shawlong Qufang, he is still too young to master his Bankai. During his fight with Luppi, Hitsugaya states that he can fix it as long as he has water nearby.
Tsunade, as well as her former teammates Jiraiya and Orochimaru, is a former student of Hiruzen Sarutobi. Despite appearing to be a young woman in her twenties, Tsunade is actually an older woman in her fifties who uses a transformation technique to maintain her youthful appearance. Tsunade is also the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki, and many refer to her by the Japanese honorific “hime” (princess).
As a result, Tsunade accepts the position of Fifth Hokage to protect Konohakagure on behalf of all her loved ones, also later taking Sakura as her apprentice, much like Orochimaru with Sasuke and Jiraiya with Naruto. At the end of the series, Tsunade retires at the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War and bestows the title of Hokage on Kakashi.
9. Roy Mustang
Franchise: Fullmetal Alchemist
The Flame Alchemist and Edward’s superior. His goal is to rise to the highest office of the state, the presidency, to ensure peace in his country. Although her relationship with Edward is strained, he truly poses as her protector and friend. He was one of the state alchemists, executors of order 3066: the Ishbal genocide, of which he is deeply marked. He will do everything in his power to avenge his friend Maes Hughes.
8. Seto Kaiba
Seto Kaiba is the main rival of Yûgi Muto in the manga and the cartoon Yu-Gi-Oh!, by Kazuki Takahashi. In the first version of the manga, he played the role of major antagonist during the first part of the series, but the second version presents him as a more complex character, admittedly self-centered and arrogant, but not fundamentally bad, who only serves as an antagonist in the first episode and plays a more ambiguous role the rest of the series.
In all versions, Kaiba is the CEO of the Kaiba Corporation.
7. Kenpachi Zaraki
Kenpachi Zaraki is a tall shinigami with disproportionate and demonic power. Kenpachi Zaraki is the only shinigami to become captain of his division without knowing the name of his Zanpakutō or passing the shinigami entrance exams. He arrived at this post by killing the former captain of the Kenpachi Kiganjō division in front of 200 witnesses.
Maki Ichinose (see Bounts arc) was then a shinigami of the Eleventh Division. Unable to recognize Kenpachi as a captain, he went into exile. Kenpachi is affectionately nicknamed “Keni” by his Vice-Captain Yachiru, the only one who can speak “normally” to him.
He was already strong in his childhood, having killed thousands of people and even managed to defeat Yachiru Unohana, an extremely powerful criminal who would later become the benevolent Retsu Unohana, captain of the 4th Division.
6. Itachi Uchiha
He is a former ninja from Leaf Village and the partner of Kisame Hoshigaki. Despite having spent his early youth as the wunderkind of the Uchiha Clan, Itachi is treated as a villain for much of the series. He is initially described as solely responsible for the murder of his entire clan and his family, avoiding only his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, with the explanation that he was testing his abilities.
Around the time of his death, his villain role is minimized; Not only is it revealed that he offers help to Obito Uchiha to kill the clan, but it was all a plan created by the leaders of Konoha to control the coup that the Uchiha Clan was planning, being him the one who was entrusted with that mission. and to be affected by being classified as a criminal and a traitor.
5. Ulquiorra Cifer
Ulquiorra Cifer is the Cuatro Espada, his number is tattooed on his left pectoral muscle, where the heart is. It does not have a known fraction to date. He is the Espada symbolizing nothingness. Ichigo was shocked to learn that he was the Cuatro Espada, mistaking him for the Primera, seeing that Ulquiorra was his goal.
The level difference with the Sexta Espada, Grimmjow Jaggerjack, whom Ichigo has defeated with difficulty, is abysmal. Ulquiorra seems to have complete trust in Aizen, and conversely, Aizen has never contradicted Ulquiorra’s decisions. He can release his zanpakutō and has the ability to regenerate limbs that he has lost except for his brain and internal organs.
4. Kakashi Hatake
Kakashi Hatake is a Jōnin, ex-ANBU and the leader of Team 7, and the teacher of Sasuke Uchiha, Naruto Uzumaki, and Sakura Haruno, and became the Sixth Hokage. Kishimoto originally wanted Kakashi to appear in the second chapter of the Naruto manga, just before the other members of “Team 7”, and created him as a carefree person who would be able to keep team members in check.
Kakashi handles his leadership position aloofly and is constantly late for meetings. In a gaiden about his past, it is revealed that this is the result of an incident where he witnessed the death of one of his companions, Obito Uchiha, who gave him his eye with the Sharingan and passed on to him several of his habits, including his delay.
3. Satoru Gojō
Franchise: Jujutsu Kaisen
A sorcerer who works as a teacher at the Tokyo Institute of Occult Arts. He is the teacher of Itadori, Megumi and Nobara. He convinces his superiors to keep Yuji alive until he has consumed all of Sukuna’s fingers. He is a complex individual, as he is usually easygoing and playful towards people like his students and colleagues but rude to his superiors.
Although he has given himself the nickname “The Strongest,” most allies and enemies agree that he is one of the most dangerous people alive. As a result, he is widely respected and revered by sorcerers, even those of the sister school in Kyoto, and has a strong influence in the world of witchcraft.
She is part of the main group with Brock and Ash intermittently for the first five seasons. From season 6, she returns to the Cerulean Gym to lead it instead of her sisters, who cruise around the world. The young girl has decided to follow Ash until he reimburses her for his bicycle destroyed by Pikachu. But finally, she forgets this reason and decides to accompany Ash to Kanto, Johto, and the Orange Archipelago to perfect her learning to become a Master of Water-type Pokémon.
1. Kisuke Urahara
Kisuke Urahara is a mysterious figure. He was exiled from Soul Society and owns a store of objects that come from it, a store that he runs thanks to two children, Jinta Hanakari and Ururu Tsumigaya, as well as a man named Tsukibashi Tessai (Former chief of Necromancers – Captain of Kido). Urahara is a longtime friend of Yoruichi.
Urahara is eternally banished from Soul Society, because he endangered it with his experiments, but also because Soul Society’s decisions about dealing with the results of his experiments are not right for him. Note that he also helped the current Vizards not to become Hollows, which is the main reason for his exile.
Later in the story, we will learn more about this character, about his past, about his powers: he is the former captain of the 12th division of Gotei 13, founder and first president of the scientific research section. Today, he is still a brilliant inventor (notably Gikais for the shinigami who come to earth). One hundred years ago, when he came to the head of his division, Hiyori was his lieutenant. He himself created and tested the technique to obtain the bankai in three days, which Ichigo is the second to master, in less than three days.
After Ichigo loses Rukia’s powers as a result of his encounter with Byakuya, he will help her bring forth her own shinigami powers, breaking her chain and speeding up the process of the soul’s hollow transformation. He then spent ten days with Ichigo training him in sword fighting.