Naruto

The Top 10 Most Popular Anime Protagonists, According To MyAnimeList

The Top 10 Most Popular Anime Protagonists, According To MyAnimeList
Written by publishing team

MyAnimeList is the most popular site that fans use to keep track of all the anime they’ve watched. It also lets fans vote for their favorite characters. Since the site has millions of monthly users, it’s an excellent way to gauge the popularity of certain characters.

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There’s a rather hot debate about which protagonists are the most well-written of all time. However, the users of MyAnimeList have cast their votes about who their favorite anime protagonists are. While new-generation stars such as Jujutsu Kaisen’s Yuji Itadori and My Hero Academia’s Izuku Midoriya didn’t quite make the top ten, many excellent characters still made the cut.

10 Ken Kaneki Earned 45,936 Favorites (Tokyo Ghoul)

Kaneki Reemerges From Within Sasaki

Ken Kaneki is the protagonist of Tokyo Ghoul. He’s quite a fascinating character to analyze and dissect. When the series began, he was an ordinary human. This all changed when he became a one-eyed ghoul after a date took a horrible turn. Throughout Tokyo GhoulKaneki frequently switched people.

At the beginning of Tokyo Ghoul, he was a gentle soul who wouldn’t hurt a fly. However, as a result of his trauma from him, he became ruthless and cold-hearted. The series shows the constant tug-of-war between Kaneki’s ghoul side versus his human side.

9 Eren Yeager Earned 57,661 Favorites (Attack On Titan)

Eren cut his hand to become Titan in turn of an emergency

Eren Yeager is the protagonist of Attack On Titan. While he started as the average short-tempered, impulsive protagonist that’s become synonymous with shonen anime, Eren significantly changed throughout the story. As they are uncovered more of the truth about the world, I have shifted into a much darker headspace. Eren is, perhaps, one of the darkest shonen heroes to exist.

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Throughout Attack On Titan, Eren endured several traumatic events. Now, it’s a hot debate among fans if Eren can even be considered a hero anymore because of his choices of him in the name of defending Paradis.


8 Guts Earned 61,517 Favorites (Berserk)

guts blue sky

Guts is the protagonist of Berserk. Guts is one of the best examples of the ultimate tragic hero. As the poster boy for dark fantasy anime, Guts is one of the most compelling protagonists. While he initially seemed more like an antihero, Guts grew into an isolationist mercenary.

Guts is defined by several traumatic events, such as betrayal and events in his childhood that nobody should ever be forced to deal with. Guts has undergone immense character growth throughout Berserk to learn how to cope with these things. It’s undeniable that Guts is one of the best-written anime protagonists of all time.


7 Gintoki Sakata Earned 66,903 Favorites (Gintama)

Gintoki Sakata is the protagonist of gintama. Gintoki is an obvious fan favorite. Fans appreciate his ridiculous personality. Plenty of fans can see themselves in Gintoki’s lazy behavior of him. Instead of working, he prefers to read Shonen Jump with a peculiar expression on his face.

Perhaps the funniest part of Gintoki’s personality is that he imparts wise advice to his employees and acts like his word is the gospel — yet he barely knows what he’s spouting off about most of the time. His sarcastic demeanor of him and the fact that he does not take himself too seriously are just a few reasons why fans love Gintoki.


6 Naruto Uzumaki Earned 75,337 Favorites (Naruto)

naruto and ichiraku ramen

Naruto Uzumaki being a fan favorite is an inevitability. As the titular protagonist of Naruto, he’s idealistic, excitable, and boisterous. All of these are common traits of shonen protagonists — but Naruto is quite unique. It’s why he’s one of the most-recognizable protagonists across anime as a whole.

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Fans admire Naruto’s resilience and mental fortitude. He started out as isolated from the rest of his village because he had Kurama inside him. Despite all the pain he endured, he channeled his loneliness into something positive and remained an optimistic, kind person in spite of those who ostracized him.


5 Edward Elric Earned 81,416 Favorites (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Edward rests his face against his fist

Edward Elric is the protagonist of the full metal alchemist series. Fans admire Ed for several reasons. Ed was forced to mature early in his life because he lost his mother to her and he and his brother to her failed to revive her. I have essentially lost everything.

As a result, Ed is very self-sacrificing. Though this quality is standard for most anime protagonists, it’s one of the most recognizable aspects of Ed’s character from him. Additionally, he always tries to do the objectively right thing instead of choosing the easy solution. Ed also refuses to feel sorry for himself.


4 Rintaro Okabe Earned 86,485 Favorites (Steins;Gate)

rintaro okabe from steins;gate on his cell phone and smiling

Rintaro Okabe is the protagonist of Steins;Gate. He’s a pretty eccentric guy: he declared himself a mad scientist and tends to act like he’s more important than he is. Though he’s good-natured at his core, others find his social habits odd. Kurisu observes that he’s pretty socially inept.

Rintaro also likes to act like a special agent on a mission against a top-secret “Organization” that he claims is persistent in its efforts against him. Rintaro tends to talk to himself on the phone and engage in drawn-out fits of hysterical laughter.




3 Light Yagami Earned 86,511 Favorites (Death Note)

Death Note Light Yagami

Light Yagami is the protagonist of death note. As one of the most notorious antiheroes of all time, Light’s story captivated fans because it forced them to observe morality under a microscope. After obtaining a Death Note, he appointed himself as God of the New World.

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Light sought to cleanse the world of those he deemed “vermin.” Taking on the alias “Kira,” Light sought to create a world that perfectly aligned with his own ideals of him. Light is certainly not a likeable guy, but he’s a fascinating protagonist and undeniably well-written.


two Monkey D. Luffy Earned 111,296 Favorites (One Piece)

Luffy from One Piece stars down Big Mom.

Monkey D. Luffy is the protagonist of one piece. As the leader of the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy has several zany qualities that fans love. Aside from his comedic attributes such as his never-ending appetite and simplemindedness, Luffy has proven that he’s a capable leader. Luffy’s eternal optimism and dedication to the Straw Hats boosts the team’s morale.

Luffy is fiercely protective over his comrades. Luffy’s courage knows no bounds and it takes a lot to throw him off guard. Luffy’s sense of justice is also admirable, as he believes that his enemies should be held accountable for their actions. He refuses to kill them since that would give them an easy way out.


1 Lelouch Lamperouge Earned 151,992 Favorites (C0de Geass)

Lelouch Becomes Zero In Code Geass

Lelouch Lamperouge is the protagonist of Code Geass. Lelouch is undoubtedly a fascinating protagonist to analyze. In the beginning, he set out with noble goals of destroying Britannia to avenge the loved ones he lost because of their reign over Japan. However, Lelouch quickly became the same kind of tyrant he swore to destroy.

Like Light Yagami, Lelouch sought to create a world that perfectly aligned with his own ideals. Unfortunately, Lelouch became a ruthless authoritarian. He showed no regard to his subordinates or his potential constituents of him. Though, some argue that, deep down, Lelouch cared greatly for these people.

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