Smart anime characters MAKE anime shows great rather than worse. But only if they’re written in a way that makes sense.
That’s true whether they’re in:
- Slice of Life
Or any other genre of anime they’re in.
Context matters and it can make or break a smart character based on how their smarts are used.
Let’s talk about it.
Smart Anime Characters Worth Sharing:
1. Ikkyuu Tensei (Ryuugajou Nanana)
This anime is about mystery, the supernatural and has a surprising level of action when it counts.
Ikkyuu Tensei is one of the main characters and a detective who’s role can’t be denied.
Without Ikkyuu, all the puzzles and mysteries of this anime’s plot wouldn’t even be possible.
A lot of that is down to how smart, witty, strategic and forward thinking she is. Not to mention her skill to think fast in heated situations.
I won’t say more because it’ll spoil it.
2. Shiraishi Yoshitake (Golden Kamuy)
Shiraishi Yoshitake is a crafty F’ker.
The type of guy who can slip out of any dangerous situation undetected. And escape any kind of life threatening danger with ease.
That’s not because he’s a snivelling coward, but because he understands his weakness and is self aware.
It takes a smart person to understand that.
But beyond this he’s able to psychologically manipulate situations to his favor. Where most others would fail and crumble.
3. Surime Muroto (Black Bullet)
For a woman as obsessed as Sumire, it’s no surprise why she excels in the brains department.
Her obsession with science, research and improvement is why she looks like she needs a good nights sleep.
Her brain doesn’t stop ticking away and thinking about ideas. And without her help, Black Bullet wouldn’t have progressed the way it does.
It’s clear she loves what she does.
4. Orochimaru (Naruto)
Orochimaru is a lot of things.
But above all he’s a smart man who leaves no stone unturned. And no idea unexplored until he’s sure every problem or solution has been discovered.
After Orochimaru’s parents die, he’s driven down the path of darkness. Leading him to human experimentation and all kinds of dark arts.
But as one of the 3 legendary Sannin he already had the talent. But as far as “smarts” he’s well above most Naruto characters.
He’s the smartest Sannin in Naruto and even one of the smartest in the anime industry without a doubt.
5. The Millennium Earl (D. Gray Man)
The Millennium Earl is the main antagonist in D. Gray Man, and is responsible for almost everything in the anime’s plot.
He’s the guy who’s always hidden behind the scenes, out of harms way but pulling the strings.
The puppeteer who controls the puppets.
Every move is calculated and no action is without good reason.
Strategy is built into his DNA and it’s only worsened by his seemingly wicked mind and dark intentions.
6. L Lawliet (Death Note)
L Lawliet is one of the smartest anime characters in Death Note. In fact – some say he’s smarter than Light Yagami.
He was able to almost crush Light’s plans for good. And he did it all with smarts and no special Death Note or Shinigami helping him behind the scenes.
L Lawliet thinks so far ahead, stays so logical under pressure, and is so relentless that when his smarts are on display, it’s no wonder he’s so likely to succeed.
7. Koro Sensei (Assassination Classroom)
Koro Sensei, the main character is sharp and witty as F. Similar to Kakashi (seeing as both have “sensei” roles).
The thing about Koro Sensei is he knows how to play dumb and downplay sh*t. To the point where people can underestimate him to their detriment.
This happens in a lot of different fights and everyone’s left flabbergasted.
He’s not the only smart character in Assassination Classroom, but he’s one of the obvious highlights.
8. Johan Liebert (Monster)
In Monster it’s the antagonist who’s smart as F. To a degree where other characters can’t even compare.
Johan Liebert starts out as an innocent child in Monster. But after he’s thrown into certain situations no oridnary child would experience, a “monster” is born.
He becomes a serial killer.
This plays into why Johan’s so smart because of how his smarts are used for the darkest of reasons. And how he’s able to get away with it all.
He makes it look so easy and is able to get away with so much murder because of his smarts, and ruthlessness in manipulating other people to his advantage.
9. Miyuki Kobayakawa (You’re Under Arrest)
Miyuki, one half of the Tokyo Police force in his anime is the brains who’s responsible for catching criminals where it counts.
The Tokyo Police force in this anime would be nothing without Miyuki’s talents and ability to think beyond the norm.
What makes Miyuki a great character is she’s humble regardless. And doesn’t brag or stroke her own ego.
For what she does and how she approaches it, she’s a really smart character and one most wouldn’t even think of today.
10. Kagetane Hiruko (Black Bullet)
Kagetane Hiruko is the antagonist in Black Bullet.
The masked man is dangerous, cunning and speaks in a sarcastic, snarky tone and knows how to crack a joke. Even when the mood is serious.
Even though he’s powerful, what makes him stronger is his intelligence.
Most would consider him more on the side of insanity because of his mindset though (in the anime).
11. Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)
Sosuke Aizen is cliche. Meaning everyone knows him for his smarts. But it has to be pointed out and is only right to mention him.
Aizen is so far ahead in his way of thinking and planning, that he maps everything out all the way until the almost final arc of Bleach.
He talks in a calm manner and has a laid back demeanor. And that’s why he’s able to get people to trust him, only to manipulate and control them later.
He doesn’t seem to care either. All this and more is why he’s an iconic antagonist in anime.
12. Teletha Testarossa (Full Metal Panic)
Teletha Testarossa is a captain in the Full Metal Panic series. And she’s younger than all the other captains.
The reason is because of how advanced Teletha’s mind is and her abnormal level of intelligence.
As a military captain she’s brilliant and is the definition of “beauty and brains” in a literal sense.
Most doubt her abilities based on beauty, but are quick to change their stance when they see her in action.
13. Light Yagami (Death Note)
Light Yagami is another cliche because we all know how smart and cunning he is.
To say he’s world famous is an understatement.
Light sets off the anime once he grabs his hands on a mysterious death note, but unluckily for the “bad” people of the world, Light is smarter than most.
These smarts are displayed over and over again throughout Death Note. And it’s only when he’s rivalled that his plans are held back.
But even then – he outsmarts and shows us all why he’s not to be underestimated.
14. Akihiko Kayaba (Sword Art Online)
Akihiko Kayaba is the creator of Sword Art Online (VR). He mastered, controlled and founded it all.
The reason why the anime swings into a depressing theme is because of Akihiko Kayaba.
The concept of dying in real life when you die in the game is his doing.
He did all of this all for the sake of experimentation, and for his own amusement. But in the end he forgets why he did it.
Unlike other antagonists who are smart, Kayaba’s role is mostly relevant for a shorter period of time.
15. Kabuto Yakushi (Naruto)
Kabuto is Orochimaru’s right hand man. So it’s no surprise he’s smart.
Hanging around smart people will rub off on you in some way, eventually.
That being said, Kabuto was smart from the beginning. And his experiences gave him unique perspectives on different things in life.
He uses those experiences and sharpens his talents, and his calculated mind is what makes him powerful.
His aloof personality is also what makes him suspicious and hard to figure out.
16. Houtarou Oreki (Hyouka)
Houtarou Oreki is the mastermind behind Hyouka’s plot. There IS no Hyouka without his involvement.
He’s a bored teenager who doesn’t like wasting his energy or time unnecessarily.
He’ll only do something if there’s purpose behind it.
The anime revolves around solving mysteries, and his detective-style approach and ability to recognize patters really shows off his intelligence.
17. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)
Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass is an anti-hero. A main character who acts like an antagonist.
He’s a victim of circumstance. After Japan is renamed area 11 by the Britannian empire he discovers Geass. A power that allows you to control people in different ways.
Before the plot Lelouch is known for his skills at playing chess.
He takes those mental skills and applies them to war and the military. And this is why Code Geass turns out to be one of the best written anime of all time.
18. Naraku (Inuyasha)
Naraku is the main villain in Inuyasha from the beginning. And he lasts all the way until the end of the series.
The best way to describe Naraku is comparing him to a ghost.
You don’t know he’s there, but you can feel his presence. And even when he’s not lurking around he’s planning something nobody can foresee happening.
He’s too far ahead and thinks of the bigger picture, always.
An underrated villain (and smart character).
19. Naomi Misora (Death Note)
Yeah we all know L Lawliet and Light Yagami are smart characters. It’s cliche.
But there are other smart characters in this anime. Naomi being one of them.
She wasn’t quite ahead of Light, but the fact she was an inch away from cracking the case, finding out Kira’s identity and doing it without being murdered, she deserves credit.
She did it so early as well.
I routed for Naomi badstyle during this part of Death Note.
- Gauran (Full Metal Panic).
- Kakashi Hatake (Naruto).
- Heine Wittgenstein (The Royal Tutor).
- Gates (Full Metal Panic).
- Shogo Makishima (Psycho Pass).
- Viktor Licht (Fire Force).