17 Anime With A Cold & Emotionless Main CharacterThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
There’s just nothing like an awesome lone wolf-type character to lead a series.
It certainly is a refreshing take on an MC compared to the usual loud-mouthed, hot-blooded, and overly energetic ones we usually get.
And I for one think these often silent calculating characters are a little bit cooler than their more extroverted counterparts.
All the brooding and blank faces often add to the mystery surrounding the character, doesn’t it?
So which anime feature an MC that has these traits? And which ones are the most worth watching?
Here’s our top picks.
17. The Rising of the Shield Hero
First up we have (in my opinion at least) one of the best Isekai anime that has been released in the last 5 years.
The show features Naofumi Iwatani as the lead character — a somewhat young and naive boy at first who was betrayed as soon as he got summoned to the other world.
This unfortunate event made him bitter with trust issues, although he didn’t turn fully emotionless nor cold.
If anything, he just became more aware of other people’s true intentions – which is a good thing.
But he does overdo it sometimes.
This “darker” side of him often puts him at odds with the other heroes, although luckily Filo and Raphtalia were always there to keep him in check.
16. Goblin Slayer
Unlike your stereotypical adventurers, the Goblin Slayer is just built different.
He desires neither fame nor riches.
All he wants is to rip and tear some pesky goblins that would be unlucky enough to cross his path.
Because of his rather eccentric priorities, this has made him develop some degree of coldness and detachment from other people.
However, it must also be said that the Goblin Slayer is actually a pretty chill dude to anyone he considers his friends.
Heck, he’s even helped several strangers throughout the series — including the show’s main waifu, The Priestess.
Don’t expect him to speak too much though.
You’d have better luck finding a good goblin in this show, to be honest.
15. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
Arifureta is yet another series among the long list of Isekai titles that have been pumped out like crazy for the past few years.
And while it doesn’t really add that much to the genre in my opinion, it does have its charms.
The show is about Hajime Nagumo — your typical “bullied underdog” character who was betrayed by his own classmate.
And if there’s one thing learned from The Rising of the Shield Hero, it’s that betrayed MCs magically become ice-cold badasses.
Oh, and they also become OP somewhere along the way too.
In Hajime’s case, it happened as soon as he was betrayed.
14. Code Breaker
It’s a pretty well-known fact in every work of fiction that fire + any other color than orange is cool.
Don’t believe me?
What about Wildfire? The Goblet of Fire? Amaterasu?
Dabi’s Quirk? Rimuru’s Dark Flame?
I could go on and on, and much like these examples, Rei Oogami uses a unique blue flame that vaporizes his enemies to nothingness.
In fact, his flames are so hot not even a speck of his victims remains.
Yeah, this guy doesn’t even know how to hold back at all!
Not that he ever seemed bothered by any of it though.
If anything, I’d say his cold and often emotionless demeanor fits his character quite nicely.
Houtarou Oreki doesn’t have some fancy-schmancy powers or a “very particular set of skills” like most of the entries on this list.
What he has, however, is an attitude that’s as cold as the ice-caps in Siberia.
Well, he was an overly reserved guy in the beginning, at least.
This was due to him being a huge fan of energy conservation.
He was so into it that he couldn’t even be bothered with putting himself out there socially – despite being in the springtime of his youth.
It all changed ever since he met his friends in his school’s Classics Club — especially Eru Chitanda who played a huge part in his rehabilitation to become a slightly more outgoing person.
12. Classroom of the Elite
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji (the main character of this underrated school life series) plays the part of an “average high school student” down to a T.
Little did his classmates (even the school staff) know that he’s actually a cold and calculating mastermind that chose to appear unremarkable to the public eye.
He did this because he didn’t want to draw any kind of attention to himself, which in turn allowed him to do whatever he wanted under the radar.
This is a smart move on his part, considering the kind of school he enrolled in.
He chooses his allies very carefully, and he considers those he doesn’t trust as merely pawns to his game.
Too bad for the others though, as he’s not a very trusting person…
11. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
When it comes to keeping a straight face, no one — and I repeat no one can ever beat our friendly neighborhood esper Saiki Kusuo.
He has a variety of powers like telepathy, telekinesis, flying, invisibility, invincibility, time manipulation, clairvoyance, x-ray vision, teleportation…
As you can see, it’s fairly easy to deduce just why nothing seems to ever surprise Saiki.
Emotionally he’s damn near unshakable, and often just leaves other people to do their own thing. Unless his friends and bugs are involved, of course.
Only then can you see a crack in his calm and reserved character!
10. Mob Psycho 100
Speaking of espers, we have yet another one in Shigeo Kageyama — the main character of the series that’s a personal favorite of mine.
Much like his pink-haired esper counterpart, Shigeo Kageyama doesn’t really talk much.
Neither does he care about other people’s affairs, and he only ever interferes when things go so far south that the other characters can’t fix it anymore.
Although he’s also the same as Saiki when it comes to his friends.
Shigeo will do whatever it takes to protect them and their interests — even though he looks uninterested and cold 100% of the time.
Next up, we have an anime that features an MC who can’t feel anything.
Ever since being experimented on, Katsuhira Agata has had it rough.
He became extremely traumatized by the experience that it basically left him in an emotionally vegetative state.
Katsuhira lost a part of himself along with his ability to feel pain in the Kizuna Experiment — so much so that he couldn’t even feel anger towards his classmates who bullied him.
Then again, he’s fortunate enough to have his friends by his side – all of whom broke through his detached mental state and helped to return him to his original, cheerful self.
8. Vinland Saga
It doesn’t matter how tough or mature a child is.
There will surely be a mental consequence in seeing a parental figure get killed right before their very eyes.
Don’t believe me?
Well, just ask Batman and Thorfinn!
One became a caped crusader of the night and the other one became a Viking assassin in order to exact revenge upon his father’s killer.
As you can already guess, seeing such a traumatic sight unfold left Thorfinn bitter and detached.
Something that more or less would’ve happened to the Dark Knight if he didn’t have Alfred by his side.
Human emotions are cool and all… but what use are they for someone who’s already dead?
Enter Momonga — the titular undead protagonist of one of the best (if not the best) Isekai anime to ever be released in the past decade.
Simply put, he’s one skeleton-man you wouldn’t want to mess with.
After all, Momonga himself admitted that he has begun to lose any semblance of what human emotions were later on in the series.
Surprise surprise, this makes him extremely dangerous.
Especially to those who’d dare oppose him and his guild.
6. Attack on Titan
Eren Jaeger was your typical hot-blooded and optimistic Shounen MC who’d never give up or turn on his friends.
Someone who was not afraid to smile because he always hoped for a brighter tomorrow, no matter how hard things got for him.
Sadly, let’s put an emphasis on the word “was”…
I have to admit, his gradual change to a more cerebral, cold, and calculating character was something I did not expect.
Although in a way, it makes sense.
He did what he thought was right in the end — no matter how drastic the changes in his psyche were.
5. Irregular of Magic High School
Here we have a show that features yet another underdog-type MC who’s not much for words and mingling with others.
Except when it’s with his beloved little sister Miyuki, that is.
Shiba Tatsuya is born with very little aptitude as a magician unlike Miyuki and is basically the black sheep of the family.
Not that Tatsuya lets this handicap stop him from doing whatever he puts his mind to though.
After all, he compensates his weakness with his uncanny ability to control magic significantly better than others along with his remarkable intelligence.
Not a bad tradeoff, if I do say so myself.
4. Death Note
This show hails one of the most ruthless and ambitious villain-protagonists of all time.
And with how iconic this guy is, I’m pretty sure that most of you already know or at least heard of his name.
I’m talking about Light Yagami — the infamous Kira himself, of course!
Friends and colleagues? That’s rich!
This emotionless psychopath doesn’t even care much about his own family.
It’s arguable whether or not the Death Note had a hand in making him as heartless as he was, but there’s no doubt that Light is indeed one of the coldest mofos in anime.
3. Tokyo Ghoul
From one series that features a main character with a serious mental condition onto the next, we have Tokyo Ghoul — one of the greatest psychological/action titles in anime.
In hindsight, Ken Kaneki’s story is all about cause and effect.
By extension, it all boils down to the what-ifs.
What if he didn’t go to the coffee shop that day?
What if he didn’t follow Rize?
What if he hadn’t gotten caught by Jason?
Better yet, what if he didn’t simp on the wrong waifu?
Nevertheless, it’s no use thinking about this since all the terrible things that happened to Kaneki already happened… the same terrible things that made him a detached killer with a fragmented sense of self.
Well, at least until he recovered.
We have Touka and Hide to thank for that, by the way.
Like Kaneki, Guts wasn’t naturally a cold and oft-emotionless main character who would rather die than show vulnerability.
It’s true that Guts was already stoic and reserved ever since he was a child, but it’s pretty obvious that he was happier during his mercenary days with Griffith and Casca.
He talked more, he engaged with others more, heck, he even smiled more back then!
But after that infamous incident in the literal depths of hell, Guts eventually became the Guts we usually see in the media.
You know, the badass lone wolf who always carries that iconic bastard sword with him? The one who likes slaughtering demons more than talking to people?
Yeah, that Guts.
1. Darker than Black
For our top spot we have a show that featured a main character trained to get rid of any emotion, all in order to become an efficient assassin.
To give you an idea of just how emotionless the MC is — Hei’s face even without his iconic mask is equally as unreadable almost 100% of the time.
This guy is the very definition of the words reserved and detached.
He’s a man of few words who cares very little for matters outside the scope of his own goals.
It’s much more noticeable in the first season of the series, as he rarely bothered with anything that doesn’t even remotely relate to his plans.
Frankly he was a bit of an uncaring jerk to everyone around him, despite being a cool character that everyone seems to love.
Although Hei did change for the better as the series got closer to the end.
And man, what an amazing ending it was!