15 Best Anime Mages & Magic Users

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Anime has always had a bounty of wizards, sorcerers, enchanters, and whatever you’d call anyone who uses magic.

Back in my day, Slayers and Magic Knight Rayearth showcased the beauty and splendor (and destructive power) of spells.

But if someone were to ask me about my all-time favorite mages in anime today, I’d have a ton of contemporary picks — and you may (or may not) be surprised with several entries here.


15. Tatsuya Shiba

Tatsuya Shiba from The Irregular at Magic High School

Anime: The Irregular at Magic High School

Sure, you can say that Tatsuya has that generic face: “powerful, serious, and good-looking male MC”.

But he has more to him than most of his competitors.

Tatsuya’s foibles in social situations are less annoying and more amusing. Moreover, he’s not completely lacking in emotion, and this seemingly apathetic demeanor is actually tied to magic.

He wasn’t born with exceptional (and varied) magic skills, and that didn’t sit well with some in his family.

And so for better or worse, Tatsuya became this “unnatural” mage.

He’s deadly at long-range magic, has the wit to overcome his limitations, and his primary concern is the well-being of his dear sister (i.e. Tatsuya is low-key a lolicon).


14. Julius Novachrono

Julius Novachrono from Black Clover anime

Anime: Black Clover

The anime community made a lot of memes about Asta’s constant screaming in the very early stages of the adaptation.

But seriously, Black Clover has significantly improved since its debut — and Julius Novachrono is a major element to its appeal.

As you may have already guessed from his name, the 42-year-old man with the face and body of a mere 13-year-old has time manipulation abilities.

Is he good at it?

Well, let me just say that I wouldn’t want to be his enemy. Julius can put his foes into a time loop, and he can turn the tide in battle using Chrono Anastasis, allowing him to pause and replay time in a huge area.

It’s not even fair that someone who has temporal spells is also highly agile and adept at transformation magic.


13. Tanya Degurechaff

Tanya Degurechaff in The Saga of Tanya the Evil anime

Anime: The Saga of Tanya the Evil

Back in 2017, Studio Nut announced its arrival with the anime adaptation of Youjo Senki. I didn’t know a single thing about the series, but the light novel covers looked amazing.

Yet even with all the brutality of the first episode, I wasn’t hooked. Then the second episode arrived — and I became a convert of Tanya Degurechaff.

I love her character.

You’re not supposed to like her as a person, but you nonetheless appreciate her design and complexity.

Here’s someone who was initially an insensitive, power-hungry salaryman who then got isekai-ed and turned into, well, an insensitive, power-hungry loli with tactically advantageous magical, supernatural abilities granted by Being X.

Tanya is insane, calculating, and a one-of-a-kind mage in anime.


12. Meliodas

Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins anime

Anime: The Seven Deadly Sins

Nanatsu no Taizai has been inconsistent in its animation quality and pacing, but that doesn’t mean its MC is no longer amazing.

Meliodas is still one of the most recognizable & likable shounen MCs of the 2010s — and for good reason.

For one, this short individual is at least 3,000 years and is called the Sin of Wrath. Likewise, Meliodas is well-versed in demonic enchantments and physical combat.

He has a good arsenal of offensive and defensive magic skills. And if you were primarily a magic user, you probably wouldn’t want to face Meliodas and his magic-reflecting Full Counter ability.


11. Shiroe

Shiroe in Log Horizon anime

Anime: Log Horizon

Magic doesn’t always mean big explosions and purely offensive, destructive spells. Sometimes it makes more sense to be a support mage — and that’s Shiroe’s role in Elder Tale.

If you’ve played an MMORPG (or even just a party-based RPG or MOBA), you’ll know that people should choose different roles to help the team overcome challenges.

Thanks to his Enchanter class, Shiroe can improve his team’s attacks and mess with the enemies without being at the forefront.

Shiroe may prefer to spend most of his days in solitude in real life. But there is value in not choosing to be alone (or fully live independently) in the fantasy game world he’s stuck in.


10. Sadao Maou

Sadao Maou from The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Anime: The Devil is a Part-Timer!

I love how anime has these fascinating and hilarious “what-if” situations.

If Youjo Senki imagined a crazy loli soldier, Hataraku Maou-sama has the Demon Lord Satan working in a fast-food restaurant.

However, Sadao Maou is no longer the feared evil king he was once — and that’s the best part.

Yes, he still wants to return to Ente Isla. But Sadao also wants to be a top-tier employee, one who can get promoted and rise in the corporate world.

It’s fun seeing him learn about human society and use his demon magic such as hypnosis, time barriers, and telekinesis to deal with relatively mundane situations his old powerful and ferocious self would’ve just scoffed at.


9. Megumin

Megumin KonoSuba anime screenshot

Anime: KonoSuba

I know I just mentioned the importance of support-type magic.

Still, who can blame me for recognizing the sheer popularity and appeal of Megumin?

First, she’s the resident chuunibyou of KonoSuba, despite actually having magical powers. Second, she loves explosion magic so much that she used all her skill points for it.

Megumin can obliterate anything with a single massive explosion spell, but it’s a double-edged sword.

She’ll immediately collapse after using explosion magic, which means she’s limited to a single spell and incapable of fighting by herself — and that’s why the “bakuretsu la la la” song is so fun to watch.

She’s ridiculous with her love for explosions.

But isn’t that why we all love Megumin anyway?


8. Rimuru Tempest

Rimuru Tempest That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime screenshot

Anime: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

Like Tanya Degurechaff, Rimuru was originally a Japanese salaryman who got murdered. Instead of being a loli war freak, however, he became a slime.

If I was him, I’d probably just spend my days doing nothing in the forest, waiting for a level 1 warrior to hit me with the basic sword he got for free.

But Rimuru works hard when he has to — and he has a good heart to boot.

Thus, he eventually becomes a Demon Lord who not only has transformation abilities, but also magical skills in the field of regeneration, barrier creation, and summoning, among others.


7. Shirou Emiya

Shirou Emiya from Fate/stay night anime

Anime: Fate/stay night

Shirou is already a household name in the anime community. Granted, this is in part due to his infamous line “people die if they are killed”, which does make sense in context.

But he’s also a remarkable MC, especially in Unlimited Blade Works.

Instead of having fireballs or cold bolts and lightning spells, Shirou’s magic is more about manipulating and understanding objects, particularly weapons.

With his reinforcement and tracing magic, Shirou can decipher the true nature and structure of objects, allowing him to modify their properties and create copies.

And he can reproduce even the most legendary weapons multiple times at breakneck speed. So much so that even Gilgamesh gets caught by surprise.


6. Aladdin

Aladdin from Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic anime

Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Meliodas from Nanatsu no Taizai and Aladdin are both short, young-looking, powerful magic users who have a thing for the frontal assets of their female companions — and I have no idea why they share all these characteristics.

Anyway, Aladdin is one of the most formidable magicians in anime, given how many types he’s learned during his time in Magnostadt.

He’s quite impressive in martial arts as well.

But Aladdin is a more exhilarating watch when he utilizes magic that harnesses the elements of wind, heat, light, lightning, and water.

Also, he has the Eye of the Rukh for clairvoyance and the Magic Turban for flying several people with ease.


5. Ainz Ooal Gown

Ainz Ooal Gown from Overlord anime

Anime: Overlord

Otherwise known as Momonga, Ainz Ooal Gown is also a Japanese salaryman in the real world.

But in the virtual world, he’s one of the most powerful and revered entities.

Ainz knows hundreds of spells (especially in death magic) and will learn as much as he can to maintain power and authority.

He can cause fear and panic, create resistance magic, control and summon the undead, fire magic bolts and arrows, and improve his speed and vision, among other skills.

But don’t think he’s nothing but a power-hungry sorcerer with a skeleton body.

Ainz is quite understanding and loyal to his friends and allies. And he tries his best to let even NPCs know that he cares for them.


4. Lina Inverse

Lina Inverse Slayers anime screenshot

Anime: Slayers

I doubt that Slayers will ring a bell to Gen Z anime fans. And it’s likely that some millennials first heard of Lina Inverse because she was the inspiration for one of the first heroes in DotA.

But no matter where you first heard of her, Lina will always be that funny, orange-haired, fang-toothed female sorceress who loves food and money.

Despite her recklessness, Lina is an admirable mage:

She’s proficient in both shamanistic and black magic, and Lina is no dunce when it comes to white magic either.

Plus she can create her own spells, including the devastating Giga Slave. Even if Lina doesn’t perfectly cast it, her most powerful magic ability still poses a significant danger.


3. Atsuko Kagari

Atsuko Kagari from Little Witch Academia

Anime: Little Witch Academia

How could anyone not like Little Witch Academia?

While anime has always dabbled in magic and fantasy, it hasn’t really had something akin to Harry Potter-esque wizarding schools and magic academies.

Otherwise known as Akko, the MC Atsuko is much better than most MCs in anime.

Sure, she’s also filled with wonder. Which then fuels her recklessness and makes her an eyesore to those in authority.

But you can’t hate her:

Akko sees witchcraft and magic as tools for positive social change, not as sources of world domination and annihilation.

She’s a slow learner, but you’d rather want more students like her than someone with selfish intentions for becoming a witch.

Lastly, she gets this spot because like Lina Inverse: she’s reminiscent of the classic magic user in fiction, what with her magic flying broom, wand, and typical spells like levitation, transformation, object repair, and energy beams.


2. Homura Akemi

Homura Akemi in Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I suppose many anime fans would put Homura in this spot as well.

Then again, it won’t surprise me if others didn’t put her on the list at all.

You see, PMMM is a special kind of magical girl show.

It doesn’t immediately come to mind when I think of anime with magic users. Instead, what I think of are KonoSuba, Magi, Fate/stay night, and the like — shows with that sense of fantasy, magic, adventure, and childlike curiosity.

But that’s what makes PMMM and Homura all the more valuable.

Through its characters and plot, the show examines the magical girl genre offering complex philosophical and moral points of discussion.

Homura is also a master of time magic like Julius Novachrono, but it’s in what she does with her power that catapults her to this spot.

The episode revealing her background and true intentions is one of the best of the 2010s, and it’s safe to say that my top pick wouldn’t be where she is if it weren’t for Homura.


1. Madoka Kaname

Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

That’s right. My top two picks are magical girls from the show created by the “Urobutcher” himself, Gen Urobochi.

It was a tough choice between Homura and Madoka for the No. 1 spot. But I think that Homura herself would agree that her friend is the best magic user in anime history.

Madoka introduced herself to viewers as this friendly and curious (but cautious) teenager, someone who will offer assistance as much as she can to anyone — even to someone like Kyubey who isn’t a human in the first place.

To be fair, Madoka has been consistent in her helpfulness. But being firm in what you want to be doesn’t always mesh with reality, which has gray areas.

And so she decides to become a magical girl, eventually learning that it’s not enough to choose to help.

Sometimes, compromises and sacrifices are necessary.

I’m not going to spoil what Madoka did. But I can assure you that Homura made the right choice.

I hope that anyone who gets the power of magic, with all its potential for death and decay, will look up to Madoka as someone who was born an ordinary person, but chose to be so much more because of her sheer sense of altruism.

And she chose to bring peace and hope with what she she’s been granted.

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R. Romero

Millennial introvert on the lookout for slice-of-life anime, world cinema, and European music. Follow on Twitter @notspencer08