25 Iconic Old & Elderly Anime Characters: The Ultimate ListThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Despite the prominence of young (and often teenaged) main characters, anime is home to amazing old folks — and I’m not even referring to the 500-year-old loli vampires.
Just because someone has wrinkles and white hair doesn’t mean they’re no longer relevant.
Some are still incredibly powerful, while others still shine with their colorful personalities and priceless wisdom.
And to recognize their presence and contributions, here’s my picks for some of my favorite old-timers characters in anime.
25. Danjo Kouga
Starting the list strong is none other than Danjo Kouga.
Along with the other clan’s Ogen Iga, he had a brief yet intense appearance in one of the best ninja anime series of all time.
When he and Ogen were young, the two were madly in love with each other — then Ogen begins to harbor hatred for him, seeing Danjo as a deceiver who wanted to annihilate the Iga Clan.
Many years pass by and Danjo and Ogen have wasted a chunk of their lives, with nothing more to show than resentment and brooding hostility.
And as the first episode of Basilisk ends, Danjo encounters the love of his life for the last time.
24. Yoshinobu Gakuganji
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the best new shonen series today. And I can’t wait for the prequel film and the second season.
The show is packed with appealing characters — and even Yoshinobu Gakuganji is more than meets the eye. He’s no ordinary principal, especially since the Kyoto Metropolitan Curse Technical College isn’t your average school either.
Yoshinobu is not happy with the reawakening of Sukuna at all.
He wants nothing more than for Yuji, who is Sukuna’s vessel, to vanish from existence.
Beyond his traditionalist stance, however, is a man who’s still willing to help those who disagree with him — and did I forget to mention that his ability involves playing an electric guitar?
Rock on, gramps.
23. Hitoha Miyamizu
Anime: Your Name.
Makoto Shinkai’s record-breaking and breathtakingly animated film from 2016 continues to inspire hope and love no matter the odds.
Hitoha isn’t only the grandmother of Mitsuha and Yotsuha.
She’s also taken the role of a caring parent ever since the two kids’ mom passed away, and their father focused on politics.
I love how her character design immediately tells the audience how much of a gentle-natured woman she is. Someone who values family traditions and effortlessly acts normal, despite knowing all about the family’s special ability.
And lastly, I’m happy that she’s alive and well in the alternate timeline.
Anime: Death Parade
It’s easy to spot Oculus in a massive crowd of equally old characters. He sports pink hair that’s styled to showcase a lotus-shaped ponytail.
He has a relaxed look featuring shorts, slippers, and a light, striped collared shirt — as if he’s ready to spend an entire week at the beach.
But Oculus is no ordinary human.
In Death Parade, this old man has an authority that’s only second to God. Plus he’s responsible for the whole arbitration system in the first place.
There’s no word of a second season yet, but I hope there is one.
I want to know more about Oculus. A seemingly laid-back grandpa who has a unique perspective about mortality and the meaning of life.
21. Sakae Jinnouchi
Anime: Summer Wars
Just like Hitoha Miyamizu, Sakae Jinnouchi is an essential aspect of the charming & visually dazzling film by Mamoru Hosoda — and she also deeply cares about family and tradition.
In fact, Summer Wars wouldn’t have its most emotional and climactic moments without the matriarch of the unbelievably large Jinnouchi family.
Sakae appears stern to everyone, but she has her heart in the right place:
She’s as selfless as anyone can be.
And it’s remarkable how much social power she holds given her bonds with folks in the world of business and politics.
I’m sure she’s mighty proud of how her family came together in her honor.
20. Pinako Rockbell
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist
There’s no way Winry’s grandmother and Edward Elric’s grandmother-in-law wouldn’t be here.
Pinako is 100% percent awesome, regardless of her height now (she was quite tall back then).
When Winry’s parents died, she was there to assure her that she’ll grow up with someone guiding her. Pinako was also a significant part of Eric and Alphonse’s childhood, especially when Trisha died and Van vanished from their lives.
And apart from her family ties and caring attitude, she excels in both surgery and automail engineering.
Folks even have a name for her: The Leopardess of Resembool.
Anime: Dr. Stone
Kaseki was meant to be one of the best elderly people in anime history.
How can you forget him when his name translates to “fossil” in English?
There are many things to like about him:
First, Kaseki loves his work — and it shows.
He’s a passionate craftsman who believes in the power of science.
Second, his age doesn’t stop him from admiring and befriending much younger folks. Kaseki may have been quite lonely back then, but now he has dear friends such as Senku and Chrome.
The Kingdom of Science is all the better with Kaseki around. And I’m sure he’s happy to be a part of Senku’s state too.
Anime: Darker Than Black
Despite his rather unappealing attitude toward everyone including Hei, Huang remains to be one of the most prominent old characters in anime.
He’s a main character in the 25-episode first season, and it’s hard to imagine Hei, Yin, and Mao without him.
And while even his backstory featured him as an already grumpy old man, Huang was clearly capable of showing emotions and falling in love. Unfortunately, his heart fell for the wrong person, and this led to the demise of his partner detective.
If he chooses to drown his sorrows in alcohol as often as possible, let him be.
Anime: Laputa: Castle in the Sky
I’ve only seen this heartwarming and adventurous Ghibli film once.
But I fondly remember how funny Dola was.
As the leader of… well, Dola’s Gang, this elderly woman doesn’t care if her muscles and bones are no longer in their prime.
All she wants is to reach the floating city and claim all the priceless items.
This led to her having a rough first meeting with the two MCs, but then she became a dear friend to both Pazu and Sheeta — she even sees her younger self in the little girl.
As it turns out, she’s courageous, caring, and not really selfish.
When the kids finally returned home after their high-flying adventure, Dola’s Gang was already on their way to their next crazy escapade.
16. Sister Yolanda
Anime: Black Lagoon
I didn’t plan on putting Dola and Sister Yolanda right next to each other. But it feels like fate wanted the two feisty old women together.
Black Lagoon oozes coolness (and perhaps edginess).
Even if a scene doesn’t have the likes of Revy and Dutch, you can be sure that it will still pack a punch — and I’m particularly fond of Sister Yolanda.
Since her debut on EP 07, the Rip Off Church’s top-ranking member stole the spotlight. And how could she not?
Aside from her nun outfit, Sister Yolanda sports an eye patch and a golden Desert Eagle.
And she’s deadly with the gun, handling it as if it was weightless and had an auto-aim feature.
Anime: Tokyo Ghoul
The Tokyo Ghoul anime adaptation failed to retain much of the hype and quality it had back in Season 1.
It’s a shame, because characters like Yoshimura shone brighter as the story went on. The old man wasn’t just a manager of a small coffee shop — he was one of the most fearsome ghouls in history.
In his younger years, Yoshimura was known as Kuzen, a ghoul so powerful that it led to much isolation.
He abhorred his existence as a ghoul because he didn’t want to have to kill to survive.
Thankfully, Yoshimura met Ukina, with whom he fell in love and had a hybrid ghoul-and-human child. And since then, he has strived to help others (both ghouls and humans) live peacefully.
14. Fumio Daimido
Anime: Food Wars
Similar to Tokyo Ghoul, Food Wars lost steam as more seasons went by — but Fumio Daimido never felt boring or unnecessary.
As the Polar Storm dormitory’s administrator, she was always around to witness (and try to temper) the ruckus the student residents bring about now and then.
Whether there were wild animals or smoke filling the dormitory, Fumio never gave up on her residents. She believes in their untapped potential, seeing how she conducts entrance exams for aspiring tenants.
Lastly, it’s expected that Fumio was a bodacious young woman back in her youthful days, given that this is Food Wars.
Inuyasha calls her “old hag”, but Kaede has always been a respectable and compassionate priestess.
Granted, there are moments when she seems fairly hostile or too solemn. But she never forgets her essential role in the village.
Kaede will take care of anyone who needs her assistance.
Her sutra magic and spiritual barrier deters demons and defends the village.
The strength of her spells may no longer be as potent as before, but she’ll never go away without putting up a fight.
And if she does have to participate in combat, Kaede has her bow and arrow to prove that she can still knock down targets even in her old age and lack of a right eye.
12. Chiyo Shuzenji
Anime: My Hero Academia
Moving from one popular group of heroes to another, Boku no Hero Academia has multiple seasons and films, and there’s no end in sight to its popularity (although the manga is reportedly nearing its final arc).
One of the most adorable supporting characters in the series is Chiyo, who’s also known as Recovery Girl.
As her name implies, her Quirk is all about healing:
Recovery Girl simply gives a kiss (not necessarily to the lips) to the injured individual. This accelerates their recovery speed — at the cost of their life energy. If Chiyo doesn’t pay enough attention, she may take their life away.
But she’s an expert at it. Which is why broken bones take mere seconds to heal.
11. Dot Pixis
Anime: Attack on Titan
If you’ve caught up to the recently concluded manga or the first part of the final season, you know that Dot Pixis isn’t in a place where he can spend his sunset years getting drunk.
But viewers and readers alike don’t need to go that far to appreciate him:
Even in the first season, Dot Pixis was a memorable character.
He was a high-authority figure who always seemed chill even during the most chaotic times.
Yet Dot deserved his position for he was an exemplary leader. He empathized with the pain and grief of soldiers, and balanced caution and risk-taking, especially when it came to Eren Jaeger.
10. Zeno Zoldyck
Anime: Hunter x Hunter
The Zoldyck Family is overflowing with deadly characters. So it’s no surprise that Zeno Zoldyck’s name is enough to scare away his foes.
He has a distinct mustache and usually stands with his hands behind, but don’t think he’s defenseless in that state.
Despite his old age, Zeno is a master Nen user and combat strategist with unimaginable strength and agility.
Chrollo Lucilfer even admitted that he’d have to use all his strength to beat Killua’s grandfather.
Zeno doesn’t need weapons to beat his foes: His punches are insanely quick and lethal.
Thankfully, he follows contracts. Zeno won’t kill or even injure anyone else if he doesn’t have to.
Truly, there is honor even among assassins.
9. Terada Ayano
Also known as Otose, Terada Ayano is one of the funniest characters in one of the funniest shows in anime history.
Debuting in the first episode (and officially in the fourth episode), Terada manages the Otose Snack House, which is the pub that Gintoki and Hasegawa usually visit, although they often leave without paying the bill.
Moreover, Terada owns the entire building where both the pub and Yorozuya are located. And she once was one of the four devas of the Kabuki District.
Otose may be intimidating whenever she demands rent, but she’s fine with tenants doing things for her if they fail to pay — and she’s a wonderful employer.
Anime: Yu Yu Hakusho
Genkai is probably the first old anime character I saw. Yu Yu Hakusho aired on local television every night back then, and this psychic elderly woman always appeared dignified and full of wisdom.
Through rigorous training, she mastered how to create and manipulate the spirit wave orb.
Genkai often seemed uncaring and someone who believes that the end justifies the means, but she eventually began caring for Yusuke as if he was her grandson.
And while Yusuke Urameshi and Kazuma Kuwabara may not believe it, Genkai was the prettiest fighter during her younger years — one can only imagine how beautiful and bright her pink hair must’ve been.
Also, Genkai is an avid fan of video games. So much so that she has her own arcade.
7. Makarov Dreyar
Anime: Fairy Tail
At 88 years old, Makarov Dreyar has lived long enough to earn a break from all the troubles of the world.
I really applaud Fairy Tail for giving him more than a few looks.
Sure, he often uses his Wizard Saint outfit. But he also has other clothes.
He even debuted in the anime by wearing a hoodie, shorts, and a jester’s cap — all of which were either orange or had orange in them.
Likewise, Makarov deserved to be Fairy Tail’s guild master three times:
He’s not a fundamentalist who wants every member to follow the dictates of the Magic Council all the time. Makarov believes in the guild and its people.
He’s inspiring, patient, and succeeds not only as a leader but also a father (or grandfather?) figure to everyone in Fairy Tail.
Anime: One Punch Man
Otherwise known as Silver Fang, Bang is scary: At 81 years old (yes, you read that right), he’s still touted as one of the strongest heroes in One Punch Man — and he’s an S-Class character who ranks third in the overall rankings in the association.
Along with his sibling, Bomb, Bang is a mighty and proud ambassador of martial arts:
He sees the potential of both Genos and Saitama. So much so that he’d be elated if they joined his dojo.
Furthermore, he developed the Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist martial art, which is a blend of strong attack and defense maneuvers.
Bang may no longer have a straight back. But one look at his sharp eyes and unbelievably muscular body is all it takes to know you shouldn’t get in his way.
5. Hiruzen Sarutobi
The late Third Hokage was one of the most memorable characters when the Naruto franchise was in its relative infancy.
Hiruzen took his role in Konoha by heart, adhering to the Will of Fire and treating all of its people as his family.
Not everyone was happy with his pacifist ways, including the Konoha Council and foreign leaders.
But that didn’t matter to him.
For Hiruzen, what’s most important is for everyone in Konoha to live in harmony and to know that he was always around to help.
It’s unfortunate (and utterly heartbreaking) to know that his favorite student, Orochimaru, ended his life.
Hopefully Hiruzen is happily enjoying the company of women, wherever he may be.
4. Master Roshi
Anime: Dragon Ball
Master Roshi held the title of “God of Martial Arts”, but I liked his “Turtle Boy” alias best.
And to anyone who hasn’t seen Dragon Ball, it might come as a surprise that he trained everyone from Goku to Yamcha.
For one, Master Roshi won the World Martial Arts Tournament and was considered the best fighter of his generation.
Even though he’s old (he’s literally over 300 years old), he can give enemies a hard time because of his extensive experience, superior fighting instincts, and a wide arsenal of techniques.
With his beach clothes and hip sunglasses, Master Roshi has since accepted that the younger folks and other characters are way more powerful than him.
But just because he can’t be the best doesn’t mean he should give up on himself, which is why he still trains when he can.
Anime: One Piece
Edward Newgate was known around the world as Whitebeard.
He was feared for his might, and was one of the Four Emperors of the New World.
He commanded 1,600 pirates with his superb leadership — and only the most powerful characters in the series such as Blackbeard and Luffy were brave enough to face him in battle.
At a height of 666 centimeters (yes, exactly 666), Whitebeard was an outrageously big and muscular man.
He was once the world’s strongest man, and was lauded for being powerful enough to take on Gol D. Roger.
When he was alive, Whitebeard had the biggest active bounty (5,046,000,000), which came about after his archnemesis passed away.
Even today, this remains to be the second-highest bounty in the history of One Piece.
Anime: Spirited Away
Zeniba shares this spot with her younger twin sister, Yubaba, who owns the Bathhouse — the multi-level one-of-a-kind main setting in Ghibli’s most iconic film.
But while Yubaba was busy being the main villain, Zeniba was this old woman who wasn’t as diabolical as she seemed.
Yes, she got mad and shouted at Chihiro. And she even ridiculed Boh.
As the movie progressed, however, viewers realized that she was the ideal anime grandmother:
Gentle, warm-hearted, forgiving, offers tea, and features an eccentric and unforgettable character design.
Spirited Away is a magical film filled with so much heart and wit. And it wouldn’t be the landmark anime it is without Zeniba.
1. Isaac Netero
Anime: Hunter x Hunter
If you’ve seen the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter, you know Isaac Netero is one of the most legendary shonen characters ever.
The critically acclaimed Chimera Ant arc of the series wouldn’t be iconic without him.
When he was younger, Netero was known as the world’s strongest Nen user.
This was no longer the case by the time he became the elderly chairman of the Hunter Association. But to think he was a fragile old man would be a fatal mistake.
Netero was often goofy and seemingly inattentive, yet he was clearly passionate about fighting.
There’s nothing like a darn good opponent or an impossibly difficult objective to awaken his senses.
Luckily (or unluckily) for him, Meruem was an unbelievably formidable foe. Netero may have perished because of their epic battle, but I’m sure he loved the challenge and believed he lived a good long life.
And Netero, Dragon Ball’s Master Roshi, and Naruto’s Hiruzen were notably interested in voluptuous women even when they got old.
Perhaps they’re all great friends in the anime afterlife.