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The 20 Most Badass Anime Protagonists of All Time

Updated August 3, 2020 29.3k votes 5.6k voters 125.2k 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. 

  • Guts - 'Berserk'
    Photo: GEMBA

    Guts is the definition of tough. Born from his hanged mother, he quickly learned how to fend for himself - the only person even trying to help him out when he was young was his abusive adoptive father Gambino. From there, he fought in countless battles, took on terrifying demons, joined a team of mercenaries, rescued his kidnapped friend and utterly obliterated his attackers, got wildly betrayed by said friend and had to carry on after losing everything and becoming a target for even more demons. No matter how much suffering he goes through, Guts doesn't let it get him down - he just keeps walking through his blood-soaked life. 

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  • Alucard - 'Hellsing'
    Photo: Gonzo

    Alucard is a vampire who hunts other vampires. It's not because he's some kind of moral paragon who wants to stop his more violent brethren from causing chaos - it's because he wants to be able to wreak as much havoc as possible without dealing with legal consequences. He's a total sadist, preferring to utterly humiliate and disable opponents before finally taking their lives.

    This combined with his wide assortment of vampiric powers means that you probably wouldn't want anything to do with him in real life, but he's fun as hell to watch.

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  • Spike Spiegel - 'Cowboy Bebop'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Spike Spiegel may not be anywhere near as ripped as some of the characters on this list, but badassery isn't just about how hard you can punch - and just because he isn't massive doesn't mean he isn't a skilled martial artist. This space cowboy is the epitome of cool: he can manage just about any bounty hunting job that comes his way, cracking jokes the whole time. His past with Vicious and the Red Dragon crime syndicate adds to his mystique while giving him something to fight for. 

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  • Yusuke Urameshi - 'Yu Yu Hakusho'
    Photo: Sunrise

    It doesn't matter to Yusuke how strong an opponent might be. When he's first introduced as a juvenile delinquent, he's happy to throw down with literally anybody who challenges him, not caring if they're bigger or stronger or more experienced than he is. That same attitude follows him into his life as a Spirit Detective and even into the Dark Tournament and beyond. It's not that Yusuke's own powers are negligable - he manages to do some serious damage with his Spirit Gun, and his powers only increase as the series goes on. But the main thing that makes Yusuke cool isn't his powers - it's his willingness to take on literally any challenge, no matter how long the odds.

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