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The 40+ Best Anime Character Backstories

Updated July 13, 2020 215.5k votes 18.5k voters 79.1k 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
    9,150
    1,465

    Itachi Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Pyrokinesis, Illusion, Power Mimicry

  • 2
    Naruto Uzumaki
    7,984
    1,737

    Naruto Uzumaki

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesHealing factor, Shadow clone, Rasengan

    More Naruto Uzumaki 

    #100 of 250 The Hottest Anime Guys of All Time#164 of 210 The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time

  • 3
    Sanji
    5,622
    2,596

    Sanji

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesAgility, Superhuman strength

  • 4
    Killua Zaoldyeck
    3,616
    1,699

    Killua Zaoldyeck

    Hunter x Hunter
  • 5
    Ban
    3,924
    1,855

    Ban

    Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
  • 6
    Monkey D. Luffy
    3,515
    1,665

    Monkey D. Luffy

    One Piece (JP), Dream Soccer King!

    Powers & AbilitiesSuperhuman speed, Elasticity

    More Monkey D. Luffy 

    #1125 of 1,268 The Greatest TV Characters of All Time#301 of 320 The Greatest Cartoon Characters in TV History

  • 7
    Edward Elric
    6,859
    3,346

    Edward Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

    More Edward Elric 

    #1 of 35 The Best Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Characters#634 of 737 The Most Annoying TV and Film Characters Ever

  • 8
    Levi Ackerman
    4,271
    2,067
  • 9
    Alphonse Elric
    4,801
    2,366

    Alphonse Elric

    FullMetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • 10
    Kurapika
    1,676
    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
    1,227
    570

    Madara Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesPhasing, Teleportation

  • 12
    Gaara
    5,094
    2,562

    Gaara

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden
  • 13
    Kakashi Hatake
    4,593
    2,332

    Kakashi Hatake

    Naruto, Naruto Shippūden

    Powers & AbilitiesElectrokinesis, Mind Control, Power Mimicry

  • 14
    Trafalgar Law
  • 15
    Koro-sensei
    1,735
    854

    Koro-sensei

    Assassination Classroom

    More Koro-sensei 

    #122 of 151 25+ Anime Boys You Definitely Crushed On#11 of 251 The Very Best Anime Characters

  • 16
    Jiraiya
    1,564
    769

    Jiraiya

    Naruto Shippūden, Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesPyrokinesis, Superhuman Breath, Rasengan

  • 17
    Haku
    487
    202

    Haku

    Naruto

    Powers & AbilitiesCryokinetic

    More 

    #179 of 231 The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time#36 of 132 The Best Naruto Characters

  • 18
    Obito Uchiha
    2,760
    1,423

    Obito Uchiha

    Naruto Shippūden
  • 19
    Scar
    3,071
    1,591

    Scar

    Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Fullmetal Alchemist

    More Scar 

    #73 of 127 50+ Anime Characters Who Deserve Their Own Show#40 of 140 The Best Anime Characters With White Hair

  • 20
    Guts
    1,304
    645

    Guts

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

    More Guts 

    #136 of 268 The Most Hardcore Video Game Heroes of All Time#1 of 114 The Best Anime Swordsman of All Time

  • 21
    Tony Tony Chopper
    1,850
    939

    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
    4,316
    2,289
  • 24
    L
    1,551
    788

    L

    Death Note, Death Note

    Powers & AbilitiesNatural deduction

    More L 

    #185 of 189 The Saddest Television Deaths Ever#106 of 161 The Greatest TV Character Losses of All Time

  • 25
    Ken Kaneki