The Best Anime Guitarists Of All Time, Ranked

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Anime and music go hand in hand.

But the conversation is usually centered around openings and endings whenever we’re discussing anime music.

While these are essential aspects of any show, for this piece I’d like to get into the anime characters who are putting in the hours to make incredible music.

Specifically, we’ll be taking a look at guitarists in anime.

Some guitarists are cute, others are downright ridiculous – and a couple of them actually look like real-life musicians.

Let’s take a look at some of the best.


15. Mafuyu Sato

Mafuyu Sato from Given anime

Anime: Given

Everyone knows the way to a guitarist’s heart is through their guitar.

And Sato Mafuyu is almost a cautionary tale in that regard.

He falls in love with fellow guitarist Ritsuka Uenoyama after this accomplished musician takes a moment to help Mafuyu fix his instrument. He’s instantly under Ritsuka’s spell. He’s obsessed!

Their story serves as a reminder of the frightening power of guitars.

Mafuyu starts quiet, introverted, and reserved – but he learns to express himself through his music and gains the confidence he needs for his sharp and observant self to shine.


14. Super Sonico

Super Sonico in Super Sonico the Animation

Anime: Super Sonico the Animation

Super Sonico has risen to fame as Nitroplus’ mascot since her first appearance as the poster girl for the Nitro Super Sonico live music event, organized by the Japanese company.

There are two things you need to know about Super Sonico:

She’s hot, and she loves music.

If you’ve got that down, you get the character.

She’s the lead guitarist of the (fictional) band First Astronomical Velocity, and though she’s a bit of an airhead, she also gives it her all as a University student. Her model work is the anime equivalent of getting an OnlyFans to pay your student loans.


13. Cyan Hijirikawa

Cyan Hijirikawa with a guitar from Show By Rock!!

Anime: Show By Rock!!

Next up is the tiniest cutest guitarist on the list – which is impressive considering we’ve got some characters from K-On! coming up.

This petite girl always wanted to be a star musician, but she was too timid to join a group – that is, until she found herself pulled into the fantasy realm of Midi City, where music is the law of the land.

Cyan’s big, shiny eyes probably don’t make you think of Rock & Roll.

But still, the Gothic Lolita outfit works – and it looks fantastic with her signature custom guitar, the Strawberry Heart.


12. Ibuki Mioda

Ibuki Mioda in Danganronpa 3

Anime: Danganronpa 3 (Despair Arc)

We can’t have a list of guitarists without including the Ultimate High School Musician, Ibuki Mioda.

This young musician has a bold and energetic personality, and she pours all of this energy into her craft, creating songs that speak to people on a spiritual level.

Regrettably, Ibuki is brainwashed along with everyone from Class 77-B to seek out despair leading up to the events of the original Danganronpa.

The way Ibuki’s music was used to cause the worst public unrest ever seen all around the world speaks volumes about her skill as a musician.


11. Haruhi Suzumiya (and Yuki Nagato)

Haruhi Suzumiya from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

If you only know the gist of it, you wouldn’t identify young goddess Haruhi Suzumiya as a guitarist – but anyone who’s seen the anime series knows of her legendary performance during her school’s cultural festival.

Nobody had ever seen the eccentric girl play an instrument before.

But she seemed to be a natural.

Considering she’s literally god, it shouldn’t be surprising.

God Knows and Lost My Music went on to become anime-fan anthems for the next couple of years.

Another character that surprised us with her mad guitarist skills was Yuki Nagato, who joined Haruhi on the guitar. That witchy guitarist outfit is iconic.


10. Akira Otoishi

Akira Otoishi in JoJo anime

Anime: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

You can find almost any type of character you can think of in Jojo’s annals of history, and that includes guitarists.

Akira Otoishi was a minor villain during Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable who was all about rock and roll.

Where other Jojo characters are content with striking a pose while their stand does the heavy lifting, Akira will launch into an inspired performance on the electric guitar.

Even his name, Otoishi, is written with the Kanji for “sound of rock”.

He also has the words AC/DC embroidered onto his cuffs – a reference to the famous American rock band and his Electric-type stand.


9. Hoshi

Hoshi from Arakawa Under the Bridge anime

Anime: Arakawa Under the Bridge

A lot of people think musicians lose their magic when they’re corrupted by fame.

Following that logic, becoming a hermit and hiding your face from the world is the only way to stay true to your sound.

That’s exactly what Hoshi did.

This talented guitarist used to be a world-famous musician until he quit his big-pay rock star job to create authentic music rather than sell more records.

He decided to don the star-shaped mask and play the music he wants to for anyone who wants to hear it.


8. Masami Iwasawa

Masami Iwasawa Angel Beats! anime screenshot

Anime: Angel Beats!

Everybody kind of lost it back when Angel Beats! was airing.

The show was a hit, and its characters enjoyed incredible popularity for years to come.

And one of the coolest was Masami Iwasawa, the founder of Girls Dead Monster – the musical arm of the Afterlife Battlefront, tasked with keeping the general student population distracted while their companions waged war against god.

Masami’s sweet riffs and powerful vocals speak to people’s feelings both in-universe and in real life.


7. Nana Osaki

Nana Osaki from Nana anime

Anime: Nana

One of the most notorious musicians in anime history has to be Nana Osaki, a powerful female icon from the last decade who plays the guitar like a Sex Pistol and smokes like an Evangelion character.

Nana has had a hard life.

Not only did her mother abandon her at a young age, but she was expelled from school after being wrongfully accused of prostitution – and it seemed like it would only go downhill from there.

Luckily, her passion for music the driving force that kept her going forward through her darkest hour.

Her story is full of drama, and her hardships mimic those of real-life musicians.


6. Nobuo Terashima

Nobuo Terashima in Nana

Anime: Nana

Nobuo may not be the most skilled guitarist in the show. But he stands head and shoulders above the rest as a human being.

This up-and-coming musician loves punk music and living the life of a non-conformist.

Despite being pretty well-off, he prefers not to depend on his family – going so far as getting a job to live off his earnings at a pretty young age.

He also loves surrounding himself with odd characters who share his passion for music, which is how he befriended Nana.

He’s just living life to the fullest, and we love him for it.


5. Johannes Krauser II

Johannes Krauser II in Detroit Metal City

Anime: Detroit Metal City

Paying the rent and keeping yourself fed month after month can be pretty tough as a college student in Tokyo. Sometimes, you’ve got to be willing to step out of your comfort zone if you want to eat.

Nobody knows that better than Souichi Negishi, a calm and easygoing musician who dreams of writing pop anthems while performing as Detroit Metal City’s lead singer and guitarist.

He has no talent for pop, but he’s an incredible death metal guitarist with enough skill to play his instrument using only his teeth.

His frustration over failing as a pop artist becomes the perfect fuel for Krauser’s rage.


4. Ryuusuke Minami

Ryuusuke Minami from Beck anime

Anime: Beck

Blues-loving musicians may feel a special connection with Beck’s Ryuusuke Minami – known as Ray by his friends and bandmates.

He’s the incredibly talented lead guitarist of BECK and the special spice that gives the band its unique sound. But he’s also a troubled youth with a taste for alcohol and debauchery, which ends up causing a lot of trouble for everyone around him.

Still, when push comes to shove, Ryuusuke will put his all into Prudence – his Gibson Les Paul – and create amazing music every time.

With Ray, you have to take the good with the bad.


3. Yukio Tanaka

Yukio Tanaka Beck anime screenshot

Anime: Beck

One of Ryuusuke’s greatest contributions to the band has to be inspiring Yukio Tanaka – also known as Koyuki – to take up the guitar and eventually join BECK.

Before he met Ray, Koyuki was a complete nobody.

Not only in the sense that he wasn’t well-known, but moreso because there wasn’t anything remarkable about him.

Once he met Ray and started playing the guitar, Koyuki began developing his sound and becoming more confident.

He serves as an inspiration for his fellow band members, as well as aspiring guitarists who are trying to find themselves through their music.


2. Azusa Nakano

Azusa Nakano in K-On! anime

Anime: K-On!

The youngest member of the original After School Tea Time – also known as the Sakuragaoka High Light Music Club – is also one of the most popular among fans.

And a prodigious guitarist for sure.

Despite being so young, she’s one of the most responsible characters in the show.

After joining the band, she quickly becomes the engine that keeps them from slacking off and settling into an eternal tea party.

At first, it’s evident Azusa doesn’t think much of herself.

But her time with After School Tea Time helped her become more confident over time.

And after the older girls graduate from Sakuragaoka, she becomes the leader of their successors.


1. Yui Hirasawa

Yui Hirasawa from K-On! anime

Anime: K-On!

Any self-respecting guitar instructor will tell you that playing the guitar is about effort and patience.

But that only applies if you’re not the ultimate guitarist airhead, Yui.

Despite having never played the guitar before, Yui became a relatively proficient player in a matter of weeks – and she wasn’t even trying that hard!

Her savant-level skill and ability to motivate her peers made her the de-facto leader of After School Tea Time, where she’s both the lead guitarist and the vocalist.

She’s fearless and driven when she’s having fun, which is what you’re supposed to do when playing an instrument.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.