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The 40+ Best Anime Character Backstories

Updated July 13, 2020 215.7k votes 18.5k voters 79.2k views120 items

If you watch a lot of anime, you know almost every anime character has some kind of backstory. That being said, what are the best anime backstories of all time? We want to know which characters you think have the most interesting pasts, so vote up the anime characters with the best backstory on this list. In long form Shonen Jump anime like One Piece and Naruto, exploring the past of a character takes place in almost every story arc. We've included plenty of those types of characters here, but also characters like Spike Spiegel and Edward Elric who aren't featured in such long shows.

Which anime character has the most interesting past? Vote up your choices below, and add any characters to the list if you feel their backstory is compelling enough.
  • 1
    Itachi Uchiha
    9,158
    1,468

    Itachi Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Pyrokinesis, Illusion, Power Mimicry

  • 2
    Naruto Uzumaki
    7,988
    1,743

    Naruto Uzumaki

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesHealing factor, Shadow clone, Rasengan

    More Naruto Uzumaki 

    #101 of 250 The Hottest Anime Guys of All Time#5 of 251 The Very Best Anime Characters

  • 3
    Sanji
    5,626
    2,599

    Sanji

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesAgility, Superhuman strength

  • 4
    Killua Zaoldyeck
    3,621
    1,699

    Killua Zaoldyeck

    Hunter x Hunter
  • 5
    Ban
    3,925
    1,856

    Ban

    Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
  • 6
    Monkey D. Luffy
    3,517
    1,669

    Monkey D. Luffy

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Elasticity

  • 7
    Edward Elric
    6,863
    3,348

    Edward Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • 8
    Levi Ackerman
    4,277
    2,067
  • 9
    Alphonse Elric
    4,801
    2,368

    Alphonse Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • 10
    Kurapika
    1,679
    797

    Kurapika

    Hunter x Hunter

    i am just wondering how the fuck does Yugi,Juvia, lucy,nami Franky even Zoro is above Kurapika?

  • 11
    Madara Uchiha
    1,228
    573

    Madara Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesPhasing, Teleportation

  • 12
    Gaara
    5,095
    2,564

    Gaara

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden
  • 13
    Trafalgar Law
  • 14
    Kakashi Hatake
    4,598
    2,334

    Kakashi Hatake

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesElectrokinesis, Mind Control, Power Mimicry

  • 15
    Koro-sensei
    1,738
    855

    Koro-sensei

    Assassination Classroom

    More Koro-sensei 

    #120 of 149 25+ Anime Boys You Definitely Crushed On#96 of 231 The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time

  • 16
    Jiraiya
    1,565
    775

    Jiraiya

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesPyrokinesis, Superhuman Breath, Rasengan

    More Jiraiya 

    10 Reasons Why Jiraiya Is Actually A Bad Person#1 of 131 The 25+ Saddest Anime Deaths of All Time

  • 17
    Haku
    487
    205

    Haku

    Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesCryokinetic

  • 18
    Guts
    1,307
    645

    Guts

    Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey, Berserk Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King

    More Guts 

    #140 of 268 The Most Hardcore Video Game Heroes of All Time#69 of 77 The Grossest Sounding English Words

  • 19
    Obito Uchiha
    2,764
    1,426

    Obito Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden
  • 20
    Scar
    3,071
    1,594

    Scar

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Fullmetal Alchemist

    More Scar 

    #5 of 35 The Best Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Characters#73 of 127 50+ Anime Characters Who Deserve Their Own Show

  • 21
    Tony Tony Chopper
    1,853
    940

    Tony Tony Chopper

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesShapeshifting

  • 22
    Van Hohenheim

    More Van Hohenheim 

    #23 of 46 30+ Male Anime Characters Who Aren't Afraid to Rock a Ponytail#6 of 41 The Best Anime Characters With Beards

  • 23
    Erza Scarlet
    4,320
    2,289

    More Erza Scarlet 

    #1 of 253 The Best Female Anime Characters#68 of 213 The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time

  • 24
    L
    1,553
    789

    L

    Death Note, Death Note

    Powers & AbilitiesNatural deduction

    More L 

    #283 of 321 The Greatest Cartoon Characters in TV History#185 of 189 The Saddest Television Deaths Ever

  • 25
    Ken Kaneki