Anime is pretty great by itself and talking with other anime fans in digital or physical spaces can greatly enhance the experience. Some of the longest running conversations in the anime fandom center on which characters are stronger than other characters, or who would win in a fight. Even with the upcoming Jump Force game and countless crossover specials, these debates are likely to go on for as long as new anime air every season.
While anime can tell a broad range of stories and the affordances of animation allow anime to tackle just about every genre of fiction, combat-focused anime usually in the shounen category tend to be some of the most popular and commercially successful anime around. With so much combat focused content in anime, it’s no surprise that debates about which character is stronger than another are a staple of the fandom. Of course, this conversation is always in flux since there’s currently more anime airing than ever before and everyone’s favorite protagonists are getting stronger all the time.
It may be impossible to say for sure who would win in a one on one fight, this list will attempt to definitively rank the strongest characters in anime when they are at their strongest and most capable. These 25 characters are by far some of the strongest in all of anime and while we may never actually see any of them duke it out, this list attempts to argue who is definitively the strongest of the bunch.
Here are 25 Of The Strongest Anime Characters, Officially Ranked.
25 Light Yagami - Death Note
Light Yagami, the protagonist of the dramatic and suspenseful Death Note anime, would get smoked in a heartbeat if he fought any of these other anime characters in a direct fight. However, he doesn’t really have to fight anyone directly.
His genius intellect and utilization of the lethal Death Note allow him to end anyone in any way he desires so long as he knows their full name. Light ends countless people effortlessly in Death Note and defeats nearly everyone who tries to uncover his diabolical plot. With these abilities, Light can defeat nearly any other anime character in existence.
24 Kenshiro - Fist of the North Star
Master of the Hokuto Shinken, Kenshiro wonders a post-apocalyptic world and fights against those who abuse the weak and defenseless. He possesses incredible strength, a ridiculously honed battle sense, and the ability to end any opponent if he strikes the correct pressure points.
While he has quite a bit less of a character arc than the other entries and doesn’t get much stronger over the course of his series, Kenshiro is still a devastating opponent who can defeat any foe if they let their guard down for even a moment.
23 Guts - Berserk
The Black Swordsman, Guts is a powerful warrior who manages to end impossibly powerful demons with his massive Dragon Slayer sword, prosthetic arm containing a hidden cannon, and pain suppressing armor.
While his exploits are best viewed in the Berserk manga than in the anime, Guts slays demons like a man possessed and even manages to butcher gods during his quest to take down his former comrade Griffith. Although he has no mystical powers to speak of, he stands at the absolute peak of humanity and could emerge victorious from nearly any battle against even the most powerful foes.
22 Baki Hanma - Baki the Grappler
Baki Hanma is a ridiculously muscular teenage boy with the sole goal of defeating his father, and the world’s strongest living creature, Yujiro Hanma. Baki constantly trains his body by placing himself in dangerous situations.
He defeats countless masters of various fighting styles; including the prehistoric Pickle, a caveman who could take down any dinosaur and survived to the modern age while frozen in a glacier. Baki’s immense strength comes entirely from honing and disciplining both his body and fighting technique, making him one of the most formidable martial artists in all of anime.
21 Edward Elric - Fullmetal Alchemist
A young man who gained a natural command over alchemy after tragically losing his right arm and left leg while trying to bring his mother back to life, Edward Elric is extremely powerful. He can alter the terrain of any battlefield with his alchemy skills, and transform nearly any substance into a weapon to complement his versatile fighting style.
His abilities all him to go toe to toe against homunculi and even beat a god-like figure into oblivion. Although he relinquishes his powers at the end of Fullmetal Alchemist, at his peak Edward could best just about any other anime character.
20 Inuyasha - InuYasha
The half-demon Inuyasha is a warrior from feudal Japan who can slay any opponent who gets in his way, whether they are human or demon. The son of the most powerful demon in the world, Inuyasha is the most powerful half demon and his strength only grows over the course of the anime as he gains new mystical transformations and techniques for his shape-shifting sword.
His skill in battle is almost unrivaled and with the ability to absorb the energy of his opponent and turn it against them, he and his mystical blade are an almost unstoppable force.
19 Akira Fudo - Devilman
Akira Fudo, the protagonist of numerous Devilman anime and other works by Go Nagai, gains the power to transform into the powerful Devilman after conquering a demon spirit that tries to possess his body.
Gaining the strength and speed to take on the fallen angel Satan and his apocalyptic forces, Akira is humanity’s last hope as long-hidden demons begin to rise up. Although his efforts proved futile in the end, Akira’s power is undeniable and he obliterates even the strongest of demons with ease as he tries to save the world.
18 Natsu Dragneel - Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail mage and fire dragon slayer, Natsu Dragneel is a monstrously powerful wizard. He learned his versatile magic from his adoptive dragon father, Igneel, and is able to push his body past his natural limits by consuming material embedded with magic.
When he enters this ‘Dragon Slayer Mode’ he can defeat immortal and apocalyptic beings like the Black Mage Zeref. Fighting primarily with flame-enhanced melee attacks and the occasional blast of fire breath, Natsu is famous for destroying anyone who challenges him or his guild and destroying anything in the vicinity of his brawl.
17 Yusuke Urameshi - Yu Yu Hakusho
Spirit Detective Yusuke Urameshi starts off as a delinquent who passes in a car accident and by the end of Yu Yu Hakusho becomes a nigh-unstoppable half-demon who is feared by demons all across the spirit world.
His spirit gun can destroy landscapes miles long and mortally wound even the highest class of demons. Furthermore, his mastery of the Spirit Shotgun and the Spirit Wave technique makes him a versatile fighter capable of dealing with any opponent, regardless of their fighting style. Growing both as a person and a fighter over the course of Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke is both a terrific character and combatant.
16 Korosensei - Assassination Classroom
An experiment gone awry, Korosensei is a usually yellow squid man with nearly unmatched speed and destructive power. He can easily avoid gunfire, outfly a fighter jet, and is able to punch a hole through the moon.
He takes the entire world hostage and threatens to destroy it unless a group of troubled children are able to end him before the end of an academic year. With a keen intellect, inhuman abilities, and a body with more tricks than tentacles; Korosensei is able to obliterate nearly any opponent if he so chooses.
15 Meliodas - The Seven Deadly Sins
The Dragon’s Sin of Wrath, Meliodas is the son of the Demon King and is as strong as he is durable. Possessing monstrous strength, command over the flames of hell, the ability to reflect any magic, and a cursed immortality; Meliodas is perhaps the strongest character in The Seven Deadly Sins and anime in general.
While his small stature and cute appearance might imply a lack of physical prowess, he actually holds an incredible demonic strength that’s yet to fully appear in either the anime or the manga version of the series.
14 Ken Kaneki - Tokyo Ghoul
Over the course of Tokyo Ghoul, Ken Kaneki goes from a timid bookworm to a figure of worship known as the One-Eyed King. After transforming into a half Ghoul and training his body, he’s able to destroy entire cities easily and command legions of monstrous beasts that can transform others into Ghouls.
In exchange for only being able to consume coffee and human flesh, Kaneki gained superhuman strength and the ability to regenerate limbs and even his entire body. This makes him a borderline undefeatable fighter who only grows stronger with each injury he sustains.
13 Ichigo Kurosaki - Bleach
This oranged haired Shinigami has a broad, and sometimes confusing, set of powers that allow him to defeat even the most overpowered of foes. His strength and swordsmanship allow him to take down all-powerful deities and reality-bending gods while he gains new powers from each set of foes he defeats.
His ability to adapt to new opponents is almost unrivaled and he best nearly any foe with a combination of his keen intellect and lethal energy slashes. Even if fans were never able to see the full extent of his abilities in Bleach, Ichigo is undoubtedly one of the strongest characters in anime.
12 Naruto Uzumaki - Naruto
Everyone's favorite loudmouth ninja, Naruto can go toe to toe with nearly any other character in anime. His ability to enter Sage Mode and his control over the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox grant him impossible strength and the ability to form massive monsters out of chakra.
Furthermore, his relationship to the other tailed beasts lets him wield every element of chakra and even combine them for greater devastation. Even without these abilities, he can still create an army of clones that allow him to overpower any foe that tries to fight him or do harm to his friends.
11 Alucard - Hellsing Ultimate
The mythic Dracula goes by the name Alucard in Hellsing Ultimate and he does the legendary figure justice. Functionally immortal at the beginning of the series due to the number of souls inside of him, and then literally immortal by the end of it, Alucard cannot be ended.
His dual pistols are also essentially cannons and he is able to summon the souls of those he’s eaten to form an army of servants. As if those aren’t enough, Alucard has an army of demon dogs at the ready that can tear nearly any enemy it shreds in an extremely painful instant.
10 Isaac Netero - Hunter x Hunter
The former chairman of the Hunter Association, Isaac Netero is one of the strongest martial artists in anime. After subjecting himself to training that was supposed to end him, Netero gained incomprehensible speed and strength.
If those ever fail him, though, he is also able to summon a massive karate god that can destroy nearly anything and stop the most durable foes in their tracks. He will see victory even in his passing, though, as he has a small but lethal bomb implanted in his chest that will obliterate whoever manages to end him and poison anyone who manages to survive the blast.
9 Eren Yeager - Attack on Titan
The titan shifter Eren Yeager is a very powerful anime character who has the ability to transform into a 15 meter tall Titan with incredible regenerative abilities. However, the reason he’s so high up on this list is because of his ability command legions of Titans with the power of the Founding Titan inside of him.
Using this ability, he can bring entire nations to ruin with a simple command that brings thousands of 50 meter tall Titans to action. Entire armies could not stand against this ability, and that makes Eren one of the strongest characters in anime.
8 Mob - Mob Psycho 100
Kageyama Shigo, or more commonly known as Mob, is an ultra-powerful esper who can destroy anyone or thing with a simple thought. His powers are so intense that he has to shackle his emotions to keep them from running wild.
However, if he feels something too strongly or falls unconscious, his abilities come rushing to the surface and wields powers on par with large-scale natural disasters. Not only does the nature of his abilities make them impossible to guard against, but the strength behind them is also so great that even the strongest psychic buckle beneath them.
7 Jotaro Kujo - JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Jotaro Kujo is the main protagonist of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and one of the strongest characters in anime. He’s as smart as he is tough and able to discern and counter the abilities of anyone who tries to fight him.
His standability, Star Platinum, allows him to stop time and strike his enemies with impossibly powerful blows both within and outside of frozen time. There’s no way to defend against this technique and it’s powerful enough to mortally wound anyone who stands against him.
6 Simon - Gurren Lagann
Simon is a simple earthling who incorporates spiral power into the attacks of his giant mech for devastating results. Commanding a mech so large it spans galaxies, Simon can create a drill with the ability to rip reality apart and destroy literally anyone or thing that stands in his way.
With a nearly god-like command over life and the afterlife, as well as reality itself, this metaphysics bending warrior is nearly unstoppable and can obliterate the universe itself if he chose to. Only beings with the ability to destroy entire universes can hope to stand a chance against him.
5 Son Goku - Dragon Ball Super
The strongest martial artist in all of anime, Goku is the strongest fighter his own universe and all of the other universes in Dragon Ball.
With his newly acquired Ultra Instinct form, he can beat any fighter so long as he is able to tap into that power. Even outside of this form, though, if he clashes with strong enough foes for long enough he runs the risk of destroying an entire universe as collateral damage. With these impressive abilities, it’s hard to believe that his story started with him as a young, monkey-tailed boy living alone in the woods.
4 Tetsuo Shima - Akira
Tetsuo Shima, the de facto antagonist of Akira, awakens his immeasurable psychic powers after a collision with another psychic. His powers quickly grow in strength and before long he runs the risk of obliterating the entire universe.
Thankfully, before that can happen, he warps himself to a place outside of reality and the force of his psychic explosion gives birth to a whole new universe. Few other anime characters possess the ability to both create and destroy reality, and that’s what makes Tetsuo one of the strongest characters in the medium.
3 Kyubey - Madoka Magica
Kyubey from Madoka Magica is the personification of entropy, or the heat ending of the universe. He is omnipotent, immortal, and lives only to bring all of existence to ruin. Although he is not particularly strong himself, he manipulates people and reality into continuing the cycle of destruction that inevitably leads to the erasure of all matter in existence.
If something exists, Kyubey will destroy it eventually and there is virtually no way to escape his destructive force. Quite simply, his power is oblivion and there are only a few anime characters that hope to stand a chance against this overwhelming power.
2 Zeno - Dragon Ball Super
Zeno is the ruler of every reality in Dragon Ball Super and he can both create and destroy all of existence in a single instance. The child-like god possesses absolute power and can erase anyone and thing on a whim. He doesn’t have any techniques or special moves, he is simply an all-powerful god that commands space and time with youthful abandon.
He’s destroyed numerous realities for his own entertainment and plays with galaxies as though they were marbles. There is no way to stand against this god and only a single other anime character has a chance of beating this god in a fight.
1 Saitama - One Punch Man
Saitama from One Punch Man is the strongest character in anime. One Punch Man is different from most other combat anime, in that the protagonist is already the strongest person around, rather than striving to reach that goal. After three years of rigorous training, he can withstand any blow and defeat any enemy with a single serious strike.
However, this unbeatable strength leaves Sitama depressed, and the series explores the emptiness that follows achieving a lifelong goal. Saitama is the most powerful character in anime because the entire point the character is that the pursuit of strength or one’s goal is more fulfilling than holding such a position.
Are there any other anime characters you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!