The Top 12 Best Anime Sidekicks, RankedThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
We all love to root for the main character, don’t we?
Whether they’re saving the world from monsters, fighting off hordes of demons, or just navigating the pitfalls of day to day life, a good hero is a must in any anime.
But today we’re looking at the characters who, while still part of the supporting cast, are part of the reason the hero is where they are at all.
Be they a best friend or a faithful companion, these characters keep our protagonist on the right path – and come up good time and time again.
12. Joey Wheeler
With his distinctive accent and even more distinctive demeanor, Joey Wheeler was certainly my benchmark for a sidekick character when I was growing up.
While he started out as a bully making life miserable for Yugi Moto at school, Yugi changed his outlook by declaring him his friend – and the moniker stuck for good.
Joey has been by Yugi’s side through thick and thin ever since – whether it be supporting him in duels, or diving into icy water to retrieve Yugi’s things (twice!)
And while he can be mostly a funny side character, he goes through quite the journey himself, too – he starts out as possibly one of the worst duelists we see in the show, before turning himself into one of the most formidable opponents of all.
11. Killua Zoldyck
Anime: Hunter x Hunter
There are two very separate sides to this little man:
One that craves chocolate and is generally pretty cheeky, and one that will kill you before you even know he is there.
I’d stick with the first, personally.
Whichever side he has on display, he’s an invaluable ally to Gon, the main character of the show.
Because Killua is loyal, strong, and unerring – even at his young age.
Powerful by both ability and by birth right, Killua Zoldyck is a friend you definitely want to have on your side – especially if you don’t have any chocolate lying around.
You aren’t going to make many closer friends than ones that are literally attached to you, are you?
Such is the case with Shinichi Izumi’s bond with Migi (literally “Righty” translated, which I love) in Parasyte.
And while the parasites usually consume the brain, and therefore the personality and autonomy of their host, Migi only had control of the right arm – which means the pair has to work together.
Migi values one thing above all else – keeping itself and Shinichi alive.
You couldn’t ask for much more from a sidekick, really.
9. Nicholas D. Wolfwood
Normally, being a back-stabber isn’t a trait you’d look for in a reliable sidekick.
However, for Nicholas D. Wolfwood, we can make an exception.
The on-again, off-again good guy has saved protagonist Vash’s hide more times than we can count.
Raised as a killer in an order of other not very nice men, the Punisher (not that punisher, but just as cool) turned his back on the bad and becomes a faithful and fearless traveling companion for Vash.
While his character may be more flawed than a rhinestone and just as appreciated by some, Wolfwood proves time and again that he’s willing to give it all to protect those he loves.
Anime: Demon Slayer
When it comes to sidekicks, sometimes you just have to get yourself a girl who can do both.
Nezuko is a character who underwent a major transformation (I’d call being attacked and transformed by a demon as a major transformation, wouldn’t you?), and still could have been a reliable sidekick on either side of it.
When she was fully human, Nezuko was a caring sister who would go to any lengths to help those around her.
And as a demon, despite losing her human memories, she’s still willing to fight to the very end for those she cares about.
That’s what I’d call the best of both worlds – and a brilliant character to have by your side, to boot.
Anime: Fairy Tail
Crank up that adorable-dial, because Happy has just entered the building.
But don’t worry, Happy isn’t all cute looks. He’s a fiercely loyal companion too, striding into battle as easily as making the occasional off-handed cheeky remark.
And he’s not just all that other stuff either!
His knowledge of Magic is extensive and has helped the other members of the Guild immeasurably on more than one occasion.
Underestimate him at your own peril – Happy is one Exceed who has it all.
6. Robert E. O. Speedwagon
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
As well as having the coolest name on this list by far (pistols at dawn for anyone who disagrees), Speedwagon is not only a valuable ally, but also a verifiable father figure to Jonathan Joestar during his time on the show.
A street thug-turned-businessman who has a literal nose for good or bad people, Speedwagon sniffs out the OG JoJo and accompanies him on his quest to knock some sense into Dio.
They get into plenty of scrapes and Speedwagon is there every time – even if he can be a little emotional and hot-headed at times.
And he just keeps on giving – even after his death as an old man, the foundation in his name helps the Joestar family for generations to come.
Now that’s a sidekick you want on board.
Anime: One Punch Man
It’s unusual for an S-Rank hero to be a disciple to someone two full classes below them.
But then, Genos and Saitama hardly have the most usual relationship.
You see, the cyborg Genos recognizes Saitama’s immense power as something to aspire to, wanting to become stronger himself.
And who better to learn from than the man who originally fought for fun because every battle was too simple?
Genos is no pushover, though. And that’s reflected in his extremely high rank in the Hero Association.
He reveres his master and will go to any length to protect him – even having to be reassembled a few times in the process.
This leaves the Caped Baldy with probably the strongest sidekick anyone could possibly ask for!
We all knew he would be here, didn’t we?
Yes, they don’t get much more iconic when it comes to sidekicks than Ash’s faithful partner, Pikachu.
Even though initially he was a stubborn ‘mon who wouldn’t do a single thing Ash asked him, their trials and tribulations together throughout Kanto and beyond have formed an unbreakable bond.
And the funny thing is – had Ash woken up on time to choose his first Pokémon on his tenth birthday, he’d have missed out on the best friend he could have asked for.
Sometimes sleeping in really does have its benefits!
Anime: Dragon Ball
Here’s another brief rival-turned-friend to add to the list.
Krillin might be overshadowed by the stronger warriors sometimes, but that takes nothing away from who he is as a character.
A powerful fighter in his own right, Krillin is by far the most faithful and loyal sidekick you could ask for in the Dragon Ball universe, even if he is a little goofy at times.
And while he doesn’t lose all of his slightly self-centered traits, there’s no denying there isn’t a better ally that Goku could ask for – even if they had to fight it out a little at first to get to where they are now!
2. Alphonse Elric
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist
Being a soul trapped in a giant set of armor isn’t exactly the ideal way to live your life.
But despite that, Alphonse belies any idea that this situation is one that would cause most people to break down.
Steadfast, patient, and calm, Alphonse is often who you would expect to be the older brother of him and Edward – despite the fact he’s younger by quite some years.
His maturity shines through his sometimes child-like nature, so when he isn’t adopting stray cats, he’s an ally to Edward that no other could replace, in any situation.
With everything that has happened to him, you could forgive Alphonse for giving in to the darker side of his impulses.
But he remains a level-headed and essential friend and comrade – one that any character would benefit from.
1. Armin Arlert
Anime: Attack On Titan
If the phrase “the best friend you could ever have” was in the dictionary, you’d expect a big ol’ picture of Armin to be plastered right next to it.
Yes, he’s not much to look at – scrawny would be a generous word.
But what he lacks in build he more than doubly makes up for in heart, intelligence, and all-round good-naturedness.
He’s a strategic genius too, which leads to his inevitable rise up the ranks of the Survey Corps.
Eren might find himself in trouble more times than he’s asked for, even in a world full of giant monsters that want to eat everybody.
But I’m sure he takes full solace in the fact he has had Armin by his side.