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From Gojou to Saitama, Here are 20 Strongest Shounen Anime Characters of All Time

Here’s the list of the 20 strongest shounen anime characters of all time. This list is about the strongest shounen characters so you won’t find any Subaru or Rudy on this list.
Lists like these can never be objectively true, so instead of comparing powers and abilities,  these anime characters are based on the philosophy that they stand for and how strong is it in comparison to others.

20. Edward Elric

The greatest hero in the Full Alchemist Brotherhood, Edward is one of the only alchemists who uses his hands to perform alchemy. This gives him an edge over many of the enemies that haunt the world, trying to end humanity.

Homunculi and demons are always behind the lives of the Elric brothers, and Edward is the one who stands up to them every time.

The spirit of power behind Edward’s power is the guilt that he carries with him, the guilt of taking away a normal life from his younger brother. His main motivation for fighting comes from seeing his brother in an armor suit every time he talks or travels with him.

19. Erza Scarlet

The classiest woman on this list, Erza is a force to be reckoned with. Being one of the veteran members of Fairy Tail, she was the senpai of our protagonists as well as our introduction to the guild.

Being in the top 3 of the guild she had a lot of responsibilities and was always around, which might be another reason she makes this list and not the people who were stronger than her in the guild itself.

She showed a lot of passion and charisma in the way she fought every adversary she went up against, from the goons in the beginning to her mother at the end of the anime. Everyone around her, even her foes respected her for her diligence and practice.

One of the most memorable moments of her strength comes when she goes up against 1001 demons in a gauntlet, solidifying her as the fighter with the most endurance.

Her motivation comes from deep insecurity inside her, a worry of most people, and the fear of disappointing a person we build up in our minds. Her mother left her when she was born, and this made her feel unwanted she did everything in her power to escape that feeling, which made her more relatable than most strong characters in anime.

18. Issac Netero

The perfect martyr that we have seen in anime, Netero makes this list solely on one fight, his last one against Meruem. The fight is a short affair, ending very quickly but it asks a very important question to the viewer.

Netero in this fight stands for all the wrong reasons while being the force of good that we see from the beginning. While Meruem is ready to bury the conflict between them, Netero does his hardest to kill the Chimera Ant ruler.

This is a very clever commentary about the character of Netero as he is forced to follow orders which alienate the others and prioritize killing them instead of understanding them. This is where his strength comes from, his duty to not only the officials in the higher-up offices but the generation that he is essentially leaving behind.

17. Black Mage Zeref

Zeref is one of the characters in Fairy Tail who divides the viewer into two. Either you like him for his role and influence on the world of Fairy Tail or you hate him for his ignorance and misjudgment in the decisions he takes in his long life.

Zeref arrives in the story of Natsu and Lucy when the tale seems stagnant. He becomes a force that has always lurked in the background but never makes his presence known.

Zeref is an immovable object in the face of the ever-changing Natsu, which makes him a perfect candidate to be the last boss of the whole franchise. His motivation to fight was to find the one thing that would make his endless life meaningful. And fortunately for him, Zeref gains the most precious thing in the world in the end, peace.

16. Yusuke Urameshi

Earth’s greatest spirit detective, Yusuke is a classic character from a series that often is shrouded behind Togashi’s other classic anime, Hunter X Hunter. Yusuke is a character that is a bag of mixed emotions. In a time when the heroes were only good and nothing else, Yusuke was a bully who saved a small boy’s life by pure intuition.

Seeing this inconsistency in his character, the God of the underworld grants him another life on Earth in exchange for fighting demons and keeping them at bay. With nothing but training and motivation, he keeps defeating the demons, even eliminating the strongest demon in the world.

On the surface, Yusuke looks like a two-dimensional character with nothing driving him forward other than the fact that he is forced into this role and it’s the best thing to do, but it’s not that simple.

When Yusuke dies for the first time, the most apparent thing that he experiences is guilt. He feels extreme guilt seeing his mother and Keiko weep over his death, and even his strict teacher who believed in him cries thinking of the potential that he had.

This makes him realize that he isn’t living a meaningless life where no one remembers him after he is dead. So to redeem himself and make the most of his life for the sake of others, Yusuke relents Goema’s offer to become the hero of Earth.

15. Muzan Kibitsuji

Being one of the two characters from the new big three, Muzan is a rarity in shounen anime. Being the last boss for our heroes Muzan gets introduced in the story pretty early, even the first interaction between him and Tanjiro comes only in the second half of the first season.

While, in the anime, not much is known about his character or his powers. But we can compare his power to the hype that has been surrounding his personality and the rare occasions he has decided to show his powers to his subordinates to instill fear in them.

Firstly if you’ll recall, after the Mugen Train battle against Rengoku the Upper-Moon Rank 3 demon flees back to Muzan to inform him about the unfortunate events. Unfortunately for him, with just a flicker of his finger, Muzan was able to rip the skin off the demon in just a few seconds.

Even his enemies fear him, as the head of the Demon Slayer Corps reveals that in the past few centuries there hasn’t been a single time that anyone has been able to stand up to the might of Muzan. Regardless of all the Hashira and their combined power that were present in the corps at that time.

14. Escanor

The internet’s darling, Escanor is a tricky character to rank in any of these sorts of lists. The man whose power comes directly from the sun, Escanor is the Lion Sin of Pride in the Seven Deadly Sins, second only to the leader when it comes to power.

The full display of his power comes when the sun is at its peak, the burning afternoon. One of the most recognizable anime scenes from the show is when he executes his power onto a foe no one can touch, Estarossa.

Estarossa is a demon with a condition to battle, his enemies cannot fight him if they hate him for any reason. But in the previous episode, he kills the hero of the country, Meliodas, and everyone hates him. And then comes Escanor.

With his heavy ax in one hand, he approaches Escanor in the coolest way and when asked why doesn’t he hate Estarossa, Escanor simply answers, ‘Why should I bear any hatred towards someone weaker than myself. I only pity them.’

After this, under the full heat of the sun, Escanor launches the most powerful attack we see until that moment towards Estarossa, leaving him with no choice but to flee instantly. That is the power of Escanor.

13. Josuke Higashikata

The first of the Jojos in this list, Josuke is one of the most beloved protagonists in all of anime. With his ability to heal anything but himself, whether it be inanimate or living, he can restore someone’s life after they have died for a few seconds.

Going up against Yoshikage Kira, who can be argued to be stronger and more cunning than Yosuke. The power difference comes not from their abilities but the reason for using such explosive power. Kira is a character who is governed by his extreme passion for his pleasure, painted through a violent and destructive lens.

While Kira is fighting to save his skin at any cost, whether it be killing half the town or living a fake life, Josuke is a true hero whose motivation lies in the stereotypical version of an honest and just man.

The one thing at the center of the show is the power of connections and bonds. Every character is shown in the show who comes into contact with Josuke, whether it be a friend or foe adds to his strength. Not as an army unit but as more of a reason to save the town.

He is one of the purest depictions of a town hero, because not only do we see him protect the town but also reside in it, which makes him more motivated to save the town.

12. Light Yagami

While you may be wondering what a human is doing in between a list of the strongest demons and superhumans, Light Yagami is anything but weak, from his charisma to his intelligence, the man is perfect. But that is what makes it difficult to watch as he drops down into the ethical black hole that is execution.

In his descent into falsified Godhood, which was scary and destructive, the fights between Light and L are some of the best in popular anime. The preparations, the prior thinking, and the set-up for each of his moves make him the ant that could topple any elephant in sight.

But we haven’t even talked about the power that makes him such a threat in the first place, The Death Note. In a book where all one needs to kill other people are their name and time. With many more features that are revealed later in the series, it is Light’s Magnum Opus.

Light’s path to judge, jury and execution come from the state that he is in, at the beginning of the show. Being a prodigy he always thinks that he is above the others in his class, leaving him lonely all the time. But the death note changes his perspective on life making him think that the world is his oyster.

11. Meliodas

The next to the throne of Demon King, Meliodas is a powerful ally to the light side in Seven Deadly Sins. Being the leader of two of the most fearful teams, he has all the qualities of a leader on top of being strong.

The motivation for his fighting might be the most heartbreaking and moving story on this list. Being from the dark side, he falls in love with the daughter of the Great Deity of light. A total Romeo and Juliet case, but taken to a horrific length.

When the two fight in a long drawn-out war for supremacy, our heroes from both sides try their hardest to stop the conflict and end it in peace. But they fail miserably and when the light side wins, both of their parents curse the two lovers to live a life of agony and pain.

Meliodas is cursed to live forever while Elizabeth keeps reviving in different ways but always meets him. But just after realizing the past that she and Meliodas share she dies after three days. And after about 100 deaths in front of him, Meliodas decides to fight to kill his father and lift the curse off them.

10. Madara Uchiha

The greatest villain intro of all time, Madara Uchiha is a character that can never be replicated. Madara was teased to be the real villain of the franchise for about 500+ episodes. And conveniently, he landed on the battlefield and took care of about 1000 tropes single-handedly without even using a bit of his chakra.

Launching two great meteors on the battlefield as well as taking care of the five kages just by himself, he proved that he wasn’t to be taken lightly. He was a force to be reckoned with until Kishimoto decided to kill him through backstabbing.

His philosophy for fighting is something that reflects the mindset of the older generation about the young. He believes that there is nothing that youth can do that would be greater than what they left behind. So he takes it upon himself to make sure that he can shape the world in his image, which he succeeds in doing.

9. Gon Freecss

The prodigy child of the greatest hunter alive in the history of mankind makes this list because of one thing, the fight against Neferpitou.

He is a boy who is struggling to make peace with the greyness of the adult world. This is clearly shown as he harbors no sort of hate towards Killua while he is from an assassin family and also killed a man in mere seconds in front of him.

Gon separates that from the kind and caring Killua that he befriends in the beginning. The true philosophy of Gon’s fighting comes from this kind of innocence in his mind.

His philosophy utterly fails him when Kite dies in front of him saving Killua and Gon’s life in the process. Gon loses his mind when Neferpitou tricks him into believing there might be a way to bring back Kite. But all she does is lure him away, fearing that he could be a threat to the king.

While Neferpitou is one of the strongest Chimera Ants, Gon uses all his nen energy to pummel the living hell out of them, even enjoying the beatdown to calm himself down.

8. Jotaro Kujo

The most iconic character in all of anime, Jotaro Kujo is a tricky pick for the strongest character. While his skills are unmatched by anyone in his world, things could be flipped when pitted against other people.

But regardless, he has a power that is unmatched by only one other person on this list also from the same universe. The time stop is a fearful power that could put any person against him in great danger.

In addition to that, Star Platinum is a supernatural freak in strength and speed that can be matched only by his counterpart, The World. Jotaro’s philosophy is simply protecting his family at all costs.

In part 3 it was his mother, Holly, in part 4 his half-brother, Josuke and in part 6 it was his daughter, Jolyne. His character is attached to his family in a parasitic way from which he gains his energy.

7. Naruto Uzumaki

The man infamous for having the best anime power of all time, Talk no Jutsu. It is still a meme how Naruto can turn any villain to his side just by talking some sense to them. And while this may lead to some of the most emotional scenes in the anime, it is hilarious to think that it’s a real power for Naruto.

Keeping all the joining aside, Naruto is the original overpowered anime character, surpassing everyone, past and present. Naruto’s philosophy is tied to his character, so it comes off as way too much sometimes.

Being an ostracized kid from his earliest memories, he needs to prove himself to other people just how competent he could be in any situation. This behavior develops into a helpful hand that others can’t help but rely on. So, his power is equivalent to every person who puts their trust in him.

6. Meruem

The villain that couldn’t be defeated, Meruem is a wonderful character to analyze. Being way more than just your world-conquering bad guy, he was a debate on the responsibilities that others force on you against the passions that you develop in your life as you grow up.

Seeing Meruem transform from the mommy’s boy to a man with reason and questions, was delightful. What makes Meruem’s power stronger than most anime characters isn’t his need to conquer but his ability to question and change the norms that society builds on the fear of the ‘others.’

It takes Netero everything in his power, even his life to kill Meruem. While having just a few minutes to live Meruem spends his last minutes in the arms of the only person who truly understood him instead of killing the whole planet in a matter of minutes.

5. Gojou Sataro

The strongest character from the modern trio, Gojou is also the fan favorite in the anime scene right now. With his great looks, funny attitude, and beautiful eyes, he is the perfect husband. But that is not what this list is about, let’s talk about power.

Gojou is not just the strongest among the Jujutsu clan but is also feared and admired by his enemies. His power comes from the responsibility that he has on his back.

In his character, we see the real ‘with power comes responsibility’ debate. Being the strongest, he doesn’t look down on the others, instead, he finds the weirdest people who are feared by the higher-ups and trains them. He grooms them to become more powerful than him so that he could share his burden with another.

4. Son Goku

The character most regarded as the most powerful, Goku doesn’t make it to the top for a variety of reasons. First, Dragon Ball has people who are far greater than him in strength. Second, his philosophy of fighting is one of the most basic motivations that was only prominent in the 60s and 70s action movies.

His power comes from the need to surpass the people around him. While in early DBZ, he was a great source of inspiration when he defended Earth from multiple threats. But in DBS, his only function in the story is to invite dangers that he could fight against.

The biggest problem that people have with Dragon Ball comes from the character of Goku itself. The need to raise the stakes every time ruined the story in terms of the message as well as power scaling.

3. Zen-Oh

The entity in Dragon Ball that could destroy an entire existence, including all the multiverses in the blink of an eye, Zen-Oh is a result of Toriyama’s need to have great challenges for Goku to defeat.

It is idiotic how overpowered Zeh-Oh is which is why every being in the whole wide multiverse fears his presence. The true God of Dragon Ball, the only reason he doesn’t make it to No. 1 is that there are much more interesting characters who contest in being the strongest.

2. Giorno Giovanna

Now here’s a character that is worth talking about, while also being one of the strongest to ever grace our screens. Giorno’s story revolves around the philosophy of fate. All during the adventures that he and his team go through we see that they are fighting the fate that is destined for some runt on the street.

Being the son of the great evil, Dio, anyone would think he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps but he diverts fate itself to become a hero that people follow through his kindness. And twisting fate to his will is how he gains his power.

The power to shift space, time, and reality itself, his stand is uncontested in all of Jojo. But with the last episode, A Grand Beginning we understand that everything that happened was the result of fate itself.

1. Saitama

The man punches a building and a whole city gets blown away. The man punches a mountain and it becomes plain. There is nothing to be said about the excellence of the strength behind Saitama’s power which is sarcasm.

Saitama is a brilliant character who works as a nice irony in the artistic world of today. And giving Saitama the first spot on the strongest anime character list is recognizing the power of the pop culture gods, and I don’t want to anger them.

Well, that’s it, folks, the strongest characters in the anime world. Well if you think any of these are wrong just play Jump Force. It has most of these characters and you can pit them against each other to see who comes out on top.



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