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The 20 Most Badass Anime Protagonists of All Time

Updated August 3, 2020 29.3k votes 5.6k voters 125.1k views20 items

If an anime character has rippling muscles, impressive powers, and refuses to give up no matter how long the odds, chances are high that he's an awesome anime character. These titans of masculinity stand out as some of the coolest characters in the world of anime. As protagonists, they set the tone for their respective series.

This list focuses on the coolest male characters, which is why incredible ladies like Black Lagoon's Revy aren't here. Also, this list is about main characters, otherwise Roanoa Zoro, Roy Mustang, Itachi Uchiha and Levi Ackerman don't make an appearance.  

Let the testosterone flow and let's celebrate these tough as nails characters. 

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  • Vash the Stampede - 'Trigun'
    Photo: Madhouse

    Nicknamed The Humanoid Typhoon and the Stampede, Vash is an insurance liability to some - but a powerful ally to others. In order to make people comfortable, he acts silly and exaggerates his more affable traits, but when the people he cares about are theatened, he becomes calm, focused, and is able to easily dispatch of whoever is making the threat. He's a complicated person whose troubled past casts a long shadow on his life, but he manages to stay strong in spite of - and because of it. That kind of emotional complexity combined with battle prowess makes for one impressive dude. 

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  • Mugen - 'Samurai Champloo'
    Photo: Manglobe

    Born and raised on the crime-ridden Ryukyu Islands, Mugen learned to fight with everything he's got. He refuses to submit to authority under any cirucmstances, preferring to perish in battle than to submit to anybody. He's erratic and impulsive, which makes him a frustrating person for more straight laced people like Jin to deal with. Frustrating or not, he's undoubtedly tough-as-nails. 

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  • Saitama - 'One-Punch Man'
    Photo: Madhouse

    When he's not saving the world from deadly monsters, Saitama is just an ordinary guy. Most people even make fun of his appearance since he's bald and wears a yellow jumpsuit. But once he puts his hero cape on, he's the most powerful being in existence. He's so strong that it only takes him one punch to defeat his opponents. It's gotten to the point where he finds no thrill in battles since they all end too quickly. 

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  • 8

    Jotaro Kujo - 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure'

    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is filled with brawny tough guys who embody the strangest iteration of the spirit of manliess in the anime world. Jotaro Kujo, the protagonist of Stardust Crusaders, is probably the best example of this. He begins as a juvenile delinquent, getting into frequent fights but otherwise leading an ordinary life. But when his mother Holy becomes seriously ill because of Dio, he leaves the country to go kick his butt. His stand, Star Platinum, has super strength, super speed, and a wide range of special techniques like Ora Ora Rush and Star Finger. It's one of the strongest Stand's in the JoJo universe, and Jotaro handles it without breaking a sweat. 

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