You’d be hard-pressed to find another character as well versed in the art of killing as the inimitable Afro Samurai.
A lone swordsman on a quest for revenge, Afro Samurai is at the centre of a story so crazy, deranged and hyperbolic that it could only exist in anime form. A revenge saga for the ages, there’s no way you can watch this quiet and determined warrior slice his way to vengeance and not walk away thinking it is one of the coolest things you’ve ever seen.
In a feudal yet futuristic world, populated by cyborgs and ninjas and men with giant teddy bears on their heads, Afro Samurai still manages to be the coolest of the crop and will go down in history for being badass, savage and slick as hell.
A former Shinigami captain and also sometimes a literal cat, Yoruichi is a formidable warrior and knowledgable asset to the ragtag cast of would-be soul reapers in Bleach.
Yoruichi is one, if not the fastest, characters in Bleach and is highly skilled in the arts of Hoho, Hakuda and Shunpo. She holds the title of ‘Flash Goddess’ and has been known to decimate entire armies with her speed and agility.
She has a rich and complicated past, being born into nobility and then rising up and leaving the ranks of the Shinigami to pursue a different life. Her rivalry with fellow Soul Reaper Sui Fong is also extremely intriguing, and their frenetic and super-fast fight is one of the best of the entire series.
While the star of Michiko & Hachin, Michiko Malandro, is equally worthy of being on this list, it is her arch-nemesis Atsuko Jackson that really shines out as an exceptionally intriguing and iconic character.
Growing up alongside Michiko in a South American orphanage, the two women would go on to lead wildly different lives. Whereas Michiko chose a life of rebellion and crime, Atsuko sought to carve herself a more legitimate life working with the police and quickly rose through the ranks as a tough and relentless lawmaker.
She is incredibly vicious and hellbent on destroying Michiko forever, as she endured harsh bullying and torment at her hands throughout their youth. Let me tell you that there is nothing that can prepare you for these ladies’ epic beatdowns, and they are an absolute triumph in terms of animation and unbelievably fun to watch.
All of the characters in Cowboy Bebop are iconic in their own right and stand to show what can be achieved in terms of characterisation through the anime medium, but the gruff, tough and protective Jet stands out amongst his motley crew.
Sporting a bionic arm and a lengthy frame, Jet is one of the most dangerous and feared bounty hunters in the galaxy - and rightly so.
Whether wielding his favourite Walter P999, a katana or his trademark charm, Jet is always a stable and calming presence amongst his more emotionally volatile peers and acts as the perfect foil to their antics.
A serious, resolute and righteous fighter is bound to stand out amongst the more flamboyant and overt characters that populate the frenzied world of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Muhammed Avdol is exactly that.
A tall and imposing Egyptian man with a penchant for wielding magical fire and a deep knowledge of Tarot, Avdol is nothing if not an extremely specific and niche character, which is ultimately what makes him so enduring and continuously appealing.
Joining Jospeh Joestar’s group in their efforts to defeat the evil DIO, Avdol is a force to be reckoned with and an iconic character that will stand the test of time for sure.
- Dante Ludolf