Everybody has their best boys and best girls in anime. Usually you separate them series by series, but today I want to talk about my top 5 favourite boys in all of anime, across numerous different series that I’ve seen. This isn’t limited to just protagonists or main characters either, so any dude is a contender.
There isn’t really going to be an order to this list either, as I would probably be sitting here for days on end trying to figure out which of these is better than the other. With each best boy I’ll make sure to mention the anime series they come from and what it is I like so much about them, though. Let’s get started!
Gojo Satoru (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Now it could be that I’m being a bit too quick with my opinions on Gojo, as we are only around 15 episodes into the Jujutsu Kaisen anime at the time of writing. Even so, this character grabbed me immediately with his confidence, positive and hilarious personality, topped off with his insane strength.
It’s a classic staple within most shounen anime that any protagonist will have some form of sensei character, and in the case of Jujutsu Kaisen that would be Gojo Satoru. He is a top-ranking sorcerer who, as soon as he appears, makes it very clear that he can back up his cocky talk with action.
The entire series definitely takes inspiration from the shows I grew up on, such as Naruto and Bleach — you can even draw direct parallels between the main cast of Jujutsu Kaisen with Team 7 in Naruto. The same goes for Gojo and his similarities to Kakashi; however, I do think that Gojo comes across as a stronger character than Kakashi. This is in large part because of his personality, which I much prefer to the more aloof ninja.
Ishida Shouya (A Silent Voice)
Character. Development. These are the best words I can come up with when talking about Ishida Shoya. The opening 20 minutes of A Silent Voice are downright brutal and, at point, hard to even watch. You see a young girl being bullied for a disability that is already making life hard for her, and the bully in question is none other than our main man Ishida Shoya. I cried so much over the struggles that Nishimiya was going through in the opening that I had a headache.
So how on earth could a character this awful manage to completely swing my opinion of how so much, that before I even realised it I was cheering him on? He repents and spends the rest of his life isolating himself from others and trying to view the world from the perspective of Nishimiya.
He takes lessons in sign language in order to better understand Nishimiya and one day apologize and when he does, he begins to develop feelings he wasn’t sure he had. While he spends his high school days trying to close off some of his senses, he manages to gain a larger view of those around him as well as the world. When it comes to a character who started off as someone so despicably narrow minded, Ishida Shoya became one the kindest and most caring characters ever.
Read more on why A Silent Voice is amazing here.
Hikigaya Hachiman (My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected)
I didn’t think I would love the 8man as much as I do, but here we are. Hachiman is quite possibly the polar opposite of a usual romance anime protagonist, especially when it comes to a male romance protagonist. The typical type would be extremely bright and positive or at the very least cool and aloof. Hachiman though, is a cynical loner who doesn’t care for anyone else’s opinion of him.
I think a lot of people can relate to Hachiman much more than the typical protagonist of the same genre. Hachiman isn’t the most popular guy in the class; he’s a loner, and yet deep down he’s still a good person. His view on high school being equivalent to a theatre production where you are assigned a role and play along with that role not because you want to, but because you have to is something I’m sure many have thought at some point.
Hachiman can be savagely honest and plays a role completely against the norm of his genre, and I love that. Among a sea of positive protagonists, Hachiman is a breath of fresh air and a joy to see on screen.
Simon (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)
“Why Simon and not Kamina?” is the question I am certain many of you are asking at this point, but I have good reason for thinking Simon is the star of Gurren Lagann. First off, I will say that Kamina is an amazing character that fully embodies all of the best parts of a shounen anime protagonist. He is endlessly optimistic, a natural born leader and truly amazing friend to Simon.
Back to Simon now, though. Simon was the one who mastered the spiral power and took to fighting the anti-spiral in order to save the universe. Simon is smart, though, and he considered the words of the anti-spiral’s words with regards to stopping the “Spiral Nemesis”. The anti-spiral believed that beings with spiral power will one day grow too strong, ruining the balance of the universe. Simon accepts his dying request, and vows not to abuse his power.
To me Simon was just more understandable than Kamina. He was filled with self-doubt and was constantly uncertain of his own worth, despite being the one who awakened Lagann. He has the courage of Kamina which gave him the strength to push forward, but he was smart enough to know when to exercise restraint.
Koyomi Araragi (Monogatari series)
Last but certainly not least, Araragi Koyomi. I knew I was going to pick a character from the Monogatari series, as it is one of my personal favourites, and I was debating whether to talk about Araragi or Kaiki. Kaiki Deishuu is an amazingly well written character who starts off appearing antagonistic, albeit with unclear motivations. But the more you discover about Kaiki, the more incredible a character he becomes, and the more I came to love him.
Araragi though — Araragi speaks to me on a personal level. Now I’m not a vampire (Sounds like something a vampire would say – Ed.) but I am a fan of women. When we really boil it down, Araragi is just a big ol’ simp. When watching the Kizumonogatari anime, the earliest stages of the Monogatari timeline, we see how different Araragi’s personality is compared to how he is in the later parts. In Kizu he is distant and on edge about making friends with Hanekawa. He believes that making friends is a weakness that he doesn’t need, even though you can see his happiness and desire to be closer to people.
His subtle growth in character over the course of the anime is absolutely amazing, and it’s the stuff mentioned above that is just a singular example of that growth. Jump forward to some of the later parts and we can see how his relationships have evolved. Hanekawa was originally someone Araragi was physically infatuated with; then she became a person so important to him that he would rush to her aid despite being in tatters himself.
Shinobu has become his quite literal other half with the two of them always being with one another. Their relationship started with deception though, and now it’s 100% my favourite character dynamic in the series. I love this boy.
Watch out for a selection of top anime girls soon — here’s a head start on who my Monogatari pick will be.
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