When most people remember the great anime of the past, they tend to focus on the protagonists and the villains. But no great anime is complete without a robust cast of side characters to fill out the world. Some are even more memorable than the protagonists themselves.
Who was the best anime side character the year you were born? If you were born in 1992, that would be Kazuma Kuwabara, Yusuke's best friend in Yu Yu Hakusho. Born in 2007? You get Kamina, the greatest bro in anime history.
This list is based not on when the anime in question debuted, but when these popular characters were on peoples' minds - and when there are no other great contenders to squeeze them out. So, while DBZ has been around since 1989, it gets two spots in the ensuing years, since it's almost universally beloved.
- Photo: Toei Animation
Bulma is one of the smartest characters in the Dragon Ball universe - though in Dragon Ball she's more focused on trying to land a boyfriend than she is on science.
1987 - Athena (Saint Seiya)Photo: Toei Animation
Athena is the goddess which the saints have sworn to serve and protect. Every 200 years, she's reborn in the body of a human being - this time, she's inhabiting a girl named Saori Kido.
1988 - Cat Bus (My Neighbor Totoro)Photo: Studio Ghibli
1988 was a great year for anime movies, but My Neighbor Totoro is the only one with a memorable side character like Cat Bus. Cat Bus helps Mei and Satsuki travel through the forest, whether it's to see their mother in the hospital or to help look for Mei when she's missing.
1989 - Jiji (Kiki's Delivery Service)Photo: Studio Ghibli
1989 folks have been blessed with yet another Ghibli cat - Jiji! Jiji is Kiki's lovingly sarcastic familiar, and he's one of the most adorable creatures in anime history.