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19 Real People That Inspired Anime Characters

Updated November 14, 2018 28.9k votes 5.6k voters 290.9k views19 items

List RulesVote up the most striking resemblances.

Have you ever found yourself watching an anime and then seeing a character you recognize from somewhere? You rack your brain trying to think of where you have seen them before, sometimes brushing it off as just yet another anime character that looks similar to a character in another anime. Then, it happens! You remember! That person looks like Al Capone! Or Tim Curry, or maybe a famous wrestler or martial artist. 

Anime is notorious for basing their characters off of real people, whether it is just their appearance or their character as a whole. Check out this list of 19 real people who were the inspiration for anime characters. Which ones do you recognize?

  • 1

    Mick Foley

    One Piece is filled to the brim with anime characters inspired by real people, and one of these characters is Spandam. This character was based off of WWE wrestling champ Mick Foley.

    It is easy to see who he was based off of and how by just looking at the pictures of the two of them.

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    Is the resemblance uncanny?
  • 2

    Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee is a household name that everyone recognizes, so it was easy for fans to see that the Naruto character Rock Lee was based on the famous martial artist. It seems that the creators didn't try too hard to hide that the character was inspired by Lee either (I mean, come on, Rock Lee?).   

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    Is the resemblance uncanny?
  • 3

    Tim Curry

    One Piece is notorious for basing their characters off of real-life people. One of these characters is Emporio Ivankov, who was based off of both Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and a drag queen named Norio Imamura. 

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    Is the resemblance uncanny?
  • 4

    Pam Grier

    Pam Grier, the famous actress from the 1970s, starred in a movie called Coffy. In Cowboy Bebop, a character named "Coffee" showed up looking just like Grier. Hmm...

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    Is the resemblance uncanny?