16 Real People That Inspired Anime Characters

Over 5.8K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 16 Real People That Inspired Anime Characters
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Vote 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 real people who were the inspiration for anime characters. Which ones do you recognize?

  • 1
    1,756 VOTES

    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, specifically in his mask-wearing “Mankind” days.

    1,756 votes
  • 2
    2,339 VOTES

    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. Considering the name, it seems that the creators didn't try too hard to hide that the character was inspired by Lee either,

    2,339 votes
  • 3
    1,629 VOTES

    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. 

    1,629 votes
  • 4
    1,417 VOTES

    Pam Grier

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

    1,417 votes
  • 5
    1,366 VOTES

    George Clooney

    Whitney Matsumoto from Cowboy Bebop has been said to be drawn to look like none other than George Clooney. By looking at the two pictures, it's easy to see how the two look alike.

    1,366 votes
  • 6
    1,680 VOTES

    Brock Lesnar

    This famous MMA fighter Brock Lesnar inspired Attack on Titans' “armored titan.” In fact, MMA fighters in general were the inspiration for how a lot of titans looked in the popular anime series. Can you spot the similarities?  

    1,680 votes