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The 40+ Best Anime Character Backstories

Updated July 13, 2020 216.4k votes 18.6k voters 79.6k 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.
  • Itachi Uchiha1
    9,210
    1,474

    Itachi Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Pyrokinesis, Illusion, Power Mimicry

  • Naruto Uzumaki2
    8,023
    1,756

    Naruto Uzumaki

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesHealing factor, Shadow clone, Rasengan

    More Naruto Uzumaki 

    #93 of 253 The Hottest Anime Guys of All Time#62 of 149 25+ Anime Boys You Definitely Crushed On

  • Sanji3
    5,656
    2,605

    Sanji

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesAgility, Superhuman strength

  • Killua Zaoldyeck4
    3,649
    1,703

    Killua Zaoldyeck

    Hunter x Hunter
  • Ban5
    3,941
    1,859

    Ban

    Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
  • Monkey D. Luffy6
    3,537
    1,676

    Monkey D. Luffy

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Elasticity

  • Levi Ackerman7
    4,295
    2,070
  • Edward Elric8
    6,883
    3,353

    Edward Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Kurapika9
    1,702
    798

    Kurapika

    Hunter x Hunter

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

  • Alphonse Elric10
    4,816
    2,372

    Alphonse Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • Madara Uchiha11
    1,240
    577

    Madara Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesPhasing, Teleportation

  • Trafalgar Law12
  • Gaara13
    5,107
    2,566

    Gaara

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden
  • Kakashi Hatake14
    4,616
    2,337

    Kakashi Hatake

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesElectrokinesis, Mind Control, Power Mimicry

  • Koro-sensei15
    1,758
    856

    Koro-sensei

    Assassination Classroom

    More Koro-sensei 

    #11 of 228 The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time#51 of 257 The Most Powerful Anime Characters of All Time

  • Haku16
    494
    207

    Haku

    Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesCryokinetic

    More 

    #38 of 129 The Best Naruto Characters#183 of 228 The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time

  • Jiraiya17
    1,571
    778

    Jiraiya

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesPyrokinesis, Superhuman Breath, Rasengan

  • Guts18
    1,316
    645

    Guts

    Berserk Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey, Berserk Golden Age Arc I: The Egg of the King
  • Obito Uchiha19
    2,774
    1,429

    Obito Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden
  • Tony Tony Chopper20
    1,863
    942

    Tony Tony Chopper

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesShapeshifting

    More 

    #12 of 98 The Funniest Anime Characters of All Time#14 of 20 20 Anime Characters Who Are Way Stronger Than They Look

  • Scar21
    3,078
    1,595

    Scar

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Fullmetal Alchemist

    More Scar 

    #5 of 35 The Best Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Characters#40 of 142 The Best Anime Characters With White Hair

  • Van Hohenheim22
  • Ken Kaneki23
  • Erza Scarlet24
    4,333
    2,289
  • L25
    1,561
    790

    L

    Death Note, Death Note

    Powers & AbilitiesNatural deduction