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The 21 Greatest Anime Mentors of All Time

Updated August 10, 2020 46.9k votes 9.5k voters 126.2k views21 items

List RulesVote up the mentors who you could learn a thing or two from.

How do anime characters learn the skills they need to achieve their goals? Often, up-and-coming protagonists require mentors to help them grow emotionally and unlock new powers. Anime mentors can impart all kinds of knowledge and abilities, ranging from cooking skills to fighting styles. They can be soft and kind, or they can have brutally high expectations; either way, they make their mentees work hard. 

There's no telling which anime characters will make good mentors, as even some teachers end up being totally lame advice-givers. Some of these mentors are elderly, while others are closer to their protege's age. Whether they have greater life experience or a wider skill set, the best anime mentors make sure that the people who look up to them are well-equipped to handle whatever the universe might throw at them. 

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  • While Jiraiya might not seem like the most appropriate choice for a mentor, he's trained some of the most powerful shinobi in the world: Nagato, Minato and Naruto. His relationship with Naruto was both heart-warming and hilarious. Although he's initially resistant to becoming Naruto's mentor, he truly believed in Naruto and acted like a second father to him. Plus, his ridiculous antics and "research" as the pervy sage never failed to make us laugh. In the end, Jiraiya had a significant impact on Naruto's life and left a lasting legacy behind him. 

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  • A giant, yellow assassin with tentacles doesn't seem like a teacher who could move us to tears. But Assassination Classroom proves us wrong. Anyone who messes with Koro-sensei's students should prepare to meet their demise. Koro-sensei cares deeply for his students, often helping them with their problems or beating up high-schoolers who assault them. Even though he claimed he would blow up the Earth, the students of Class 3-E still grew to respect and admire him. We all wish we could have a Koro-sensei in our lives. 

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    Izumi Curtis — 'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood'

    It's thanks to Izumi Curtis that Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood knows how to utilize alchemy properly. Before her, he was smart enough to learn how to make alchemy happen, but not wise enough to do it without causing serious harm. When he tried to bring back his mother from the dead, he believed he could cheat the laws of nature, and ended up creating a monstrosity that resembled his late parent. 

    Izumi's training regimen is brutal, but it prepares Edward to use his abilities responsibly. Her strict guidance comes from real knowledge; like Ed, Izumi has also done a lot of damage through alchemy. Though she claims to be a mere housewife, Ed wouldn't have gotten anywhere without her help.

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  • Before he actually becomes a mentor, Piccolo of Dragon Ball Z is a gruff, angry Namekian who most people consider to be evil. By training Gohan — the son of one of his sworn enemies — his personality begins to change, and by the middle of the series he's one of the most supportive cast members on DBZ.

    Gohan is the first person not to see Piccolo as an evil monster; the young boy just wants to learn from him and to be his friend. Eventually, their mentor/mentee relationship becomes so powerful that Piccolo actually risks his life to protect Gohan. Before he forged an emotional connection with the boy, this would have been totally out of character for the green warrior. 

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