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The 20 Greatest Anime Strategists of All Time, Ranked

Updated January 27, 2021 6.3k votes 1k voters 22.9k views20 items

The world of anime needs more than energetic characters who rush unthinkingly into conflict - it also needs characters who are going to look at things analytically. The best anime strategists come up with the plans that keep everything moving and keep those plans from going awry - even if they're dealing with more impulsive counterparts. 

So, who are anime's brightest tacticians? Most people will immediately think of Light Yagami and L, Shikamaru Nara, Lelouch Lamperouge, and Sousuke Aizen. These guys are incredible, but they aren't the only strategic geniuses out there. There's Toua Tokuchi from One Outs, whose brilliance keeps him making money in the world of simplified baseball. There's also Rock from Black Lagoon, whose unconventional strategies make him an invaluable part of his criminal team. There's plenty more where that came from, too.

Vote for the strategy expert you'd most like to consult with.

  • 5

    Senku Ishigami - Dr. Stone

    Without strategic thinking, Senku Ishigami wouldn't have survived the first month after waking up from petrification. But he not only secured food and shelter for himself, he also started an in-depth plan to bring back all the technology that was lost over time. He's also had to apply his mind to combat, like when he tricked Tsukasa's army into thinking he had a weapon. 

    Brilliant tactician?
  • 6

    Ray & Norman - The Promised Neverland

    Photo: CloverWorks

    These two are among the top-performing students at Grace Field House, and they're both integral in figuring out how to escape. It's hard to choose between the two, so we're going with both. While Norman managed to figure out what Ray was up to, Ray had been playing a strategic long game since he was practically a baby. Good thing Emma has these two backing her up!

    Brilliant tactician?
  • Without a genius brain that excels at strategic thinking, Sousuke Aizen wouldn't have accomplished much. Instead, he tricked everyone into thinking he was a loyal member of Soul Society, all while plotting behind the scenes to pull off one of the biggest betrayals the anime world has ever seen. 

    Brilliant tactician?
  • 8

    Armin Arlelt - Attack on Titan 

    Photo: Wit Studio

    At first, Armin Arlert saw himself as weak, and many of his fellow Survey Corps members don't think much of his skill. But when those who do believe in him force him into a leadership position during one of the most important missions they've ever faced, he's finally able to show off the awesome power of his mind - and how courageous he is, to boot. 

    Brilliant tactician?