Top 20 Introverted Anime Characters, Ranked

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More often than not, I prefer moments of tranquility and solitude over loud fun and big gatherings — and this applies to anime as well.

Introverts in anime aren’t rare at all.

Some are MCs, others are supporting characters. They’re distinct individuals that propel stories and have personalities just as compelling as their more outgoing peers.

And so it’s my great pleasure to present my all-time favorite introverted characters in anime. No chit-chat required.


20. Hinako Sakuragi

Hinako Sakuragi Hinako Note anime screenshot

Anime: Hinako Note

Studio Passione didn’t exist in my mind until I took note (pun intended) of Hinako Note, featuring a lovely girl who’s had it with being unable to socialize well.

Hinako moves from the countryside to Tokyo to join the theatre club in her new school. However, things don’t go as planned because the club is on a break. She can’t go back home since she’s already attending the new school.

Thankfully, her landlord Chiaki Hagino successfully persuades her to establish her own troupe, composed of other residents.

Hinako has had better interactions with animals all her life, but it’s high time she finds people who’ll help her blossom.


19. Sawako Kuronuma

Sawako Kuronuma from Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You

Anime: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You

I can’t believe it’s been more than a decade since Kimi no Todoke premiered.

This is still one of the best shoujo romance titles — and Sawako and Shouta are an amazing couple.

In particular, Sawako Kuronuma is a high school student yearning for genuine friendship, but there’s one tiny problem:

She looks a bit like the iconic horror character from The Ring.

As much as Sawako is truly a gentle, diligent, and amazing friend to have, she’s not given the chance to show this side of her because of her unfortunate initial appearance.

This is where Shouta comes in.

Little by little, Sawako gains a foothold in the social sphere, reminding everyone that sometimes introverts just need the right person to come into their world at the right time.


18. Ichimatsu Matsuno

Ichimatsu Matsuno from Osomatsu-san (Mr. Osomatsu)

Anime: Osomatsu-san (Mr. Osomatsu)

You can never have too many Osomatsu-san episodes.

With three seasons, the six identical siblings have enraptured fans around the world.

Not many will say this, but Ichimatsu Matsuno is my favorite.

The fourth brother has always been viewed as this antisocial (or sometimes, just asocial) individual. Yet that’s because he had it rough when he was a teenager, trying to maintain this popular, outgoing image.

Now, he’s more okay with cats than people. And I can definitely relate to that. Even if he tries to socialize a lot more again, he just ends up tired.

Like any true introvert, Ichimatsu’s energy for socialization, especially with big crowds and strangers, is far too limited compared to extroverts.


17. Hinata Hyuga

Hinata Hyuga from Naruto anime

Anime: Naruto

It felt like an eternity, but Naruto fans finally had their dream fulfilled when Naruto and Hinata officially got together — and that coming true is the reason why Boruto exists.

Hinata is easily one of the most popular anime introverts of the past two decades.

Her first appearance already gave off this timid, gentle vibe.

I’m completely okay with her being that way if it was purely her decision, but that wasn’t the case.

Like many people, Hinata had to deal with familial issues, which affected her self-esteem.

The good thing is that she found solace and encouragement not only from Naruto but from her team, allowing her to still be this gentle, caring woman. But one who can capably assert her authority.


16. Yuno

Yuno in Hidamari Sketch anime

Anime: Hidamari Sketch

Hidamari Sketch remains one of my favorite slice-of-life and seinen titles, especially because of its stellar cast.

And Yuno is an adorable, relatable individual.

See, introversion isn’t about having no friends at all — it’s about preferring to spend time quietly, and if they should socialize, it’s best if it’s with a few close friends.

And so Yuno does move on from her very shy personality, but even more than that, I love that Hidamari Sketch explored the problem of growing up.

Yuno has a knack for art, but she’s unsure which career path to take.

I’ve been there before, and while it’s not an issue exclusive to introverts, it can be highly stressful for them, given that they spend a lot of time with their own thoughts.


15. Shinichi Izumi

Shinichi Izumi from Parasyte -the maxim- anime

Anime: Parasyte -the maxim-

Parasyte remains a miracle.

The manga debuted back in 1989 and ended in 1995. For it to get completely adapted by Madhouse (of all studios) in 2014 is nothing short of stunning.

I thought the series would be another blood-filled title devoid of value — I was wrong.

Shinichi Izumi has one of the most remarkable character developments ever in anime.

This high school kid changed from a glasses-wearing, awkward yet nice guy to someone cool, capable, confident, and ready to take on the world for his loved ones.

Some may argue he cheated because a parasitic alien enhanced his physical capabilities, but it’s hard to say that when you see the horrors (and philosophical conundrums) he has to go through with Migi.


14. Armin Arlert

Armin Arlert Attack on Titan anime screenshot

Anime: Attack on Titan

Shingeki no Kyojin is already ending — and what a ride it has been.

It’s easily my favorite shounen so far, and I’m not ashamed to have given each season a perfect score.

Armin Arlert is downright phenomenal.

His character development has been superb. He’s always been apprehensive, partially because he isn’t physically strong or great in actual combat (at least compared to Mikasa and Eren).

But Armin is one of the best strategists in the entire series. I love it when people acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of others.

Armin has always had the potential, but his resolve to be of greater help to his friends (and humanity) required others to see his worth and push himself further.


13. Mio Akiyama

Mio Akiyama from K-On! anime

Anime: K-On!

I have a soft spot for K-On. It’s one of the shows that introduced me to Kyoto Animation — and this is Naoko Yamada’s directorial debut.

Like any top-tier slice-of-life title, K-On has well-written characters.

Mio Akiyama is just as shy as Azusa Nakano.

But this doesn’t mean she barely speaks. K-On understands that introverts aren’t always quiet.

Sure, Mio doesn’t like getting attention. It’s why she picked up the bass instead of the guitar.

But if she’s in the club room with her few but beloved friends, she’ll speak more and express herself better.

Mio is the band’s songwriter, and I’m sure introverts can relate. Often, you need a creative outlet to let your feelings and thoughts out.


12. Anri Sonohara

Anri Sonohara Durarara anime screenshot

Anime: Durarara

I love Durarara — and I most definitely love Anri Sonohara. Brain’s Base adapted this light novel with flying colors.

Anri’s character design is simply perfect:

Short black hair, well-endowed, glasses, and a school uniform that highlights her feminine assets.

Her facial expressions are similarly excellent and help express her introverted nature.

Like many entries on my list, Anri does find awesome pals that accept her for who she is. But she’s still very shy.

She’s had a terrible childhood, and she deserves all the personal space and social comfort she wants. Plus, I love the reveal of her secret identity.


11. Legoshi

Legoshi from Beastars anime

Anime: Beastars

Legoshi and Kimi ni Todoke’s Sawako Kuronuma share the same dilemma of having appearances that ruin their chances of making friends — or at least looking sociable.

He’s a gray wolf, a carnivore.

In a setting where different anthropomorphic animals live and work together, it’s understandable why some steer from Legoshi.

Just like in the real world, his world has its fair share of prejudice and discrimination.

But Legoshi isn’t that kind of person.

In sheer contrast to what he’s experienced, this socially awkward wolf treats others with respect. He’s empathetic and always tries to view things from others’ perspectives.

Legoshi is a fantastic character. One who doesn’t add fuel to the fire of societal ills, but is also someone who must come to terms with his identity (or identities).


10. Kaoru Nishimi

Kaoru Nishimi from Kids on the Slope anime

Anime: Kids on the Slope

Another individual I can personally relate to is Kaoru Nishimi.

And no, I’m not good with the piano at all.

But I know how it feels to move from one place to another. How you lose contact with friends in your neighborhood and school, and how it won’t be the same even if you keep in touch online or by phone.

So Kaoru’s introversion feels more realistic than merely manufactured for the plot.

His story, from how his extended family behaves to how the lively Sentarou becomes his friend, shows that the lives of introverts are significantly shaped by others. No matter how much they want to be by themselves most of the time.


9. Mitsuya Majime

Mitsuya Majime in The Great Passage

Anime: The Great Passage

I honestly prefer the live movie adaptation of Fune wo Amu, but the anime adaptation is also worth your time.

It’s appropriate that the MC Mitsuya Majime is on my list because the world of The Great Passage, which involves the quiet yet arduous (taking years and years) process of making a new dictionary, fits right into the world of introverts.

To say that Mitsuya loves books and language would be an understatement.

He lives and breathes them, so much so that he’s initially very awkward in social gatherings, affecting his chances of becoming a reputable, dignified figure at work.

But he does come out of his shell.

Mitsuya is still largely reserved, yet he becomes a man well aware of his responsibility at work, at home, and in life.


8. Chizuru Hishiro

Chizuru Hishiro in ReLIFE anime

Anime: ReLIFE

ReLIFE could’ve taken on a more childish, fanservice-y route for this tale of a young man tired of life who gets the rare opportunity to go back to high school and set things right.

Thankfully it presented the hardships of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood with genuine heart — and it wouldn’t have been possible without Chizuru Hishiro.

While I’m more of an An Onoya fan simply because An has glasses, Chizuru is this intelligent girl who has problems socializing with others.

Chizuru even has problems smiling or conversing in a casual tone.

But then you get to know more about her and why she’s like that: that her current demeanor wasn’t her own decision, and that there are various factors to be considered.

Ultimately, like any human, Chizuru also needs help.

No matter how independent she seems to be.


7. Shinji Ikari

Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion anime

Anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Some will think that Shinji doesn’t belong on this list. They’ll argue that he’s more of a depressed and downright broken teenager than an introvert.

But here’s the thing:

There’s no mutual exclusivity between depression (or any other extreme psychological, emotional, or mental state) and introversion.

Shinji often being in a state of utter confusion, despair, anger, loneliness, and self-loathing doesn’t mean he’s not an introvert as well.

Isn’t his habit of listening to music to drown out the world and his own thoughts a familiar activity for many introverts?

Also, people become the way they are for different reasons.

Sometimes, the causes are terrible: abuse, bullying, social exclusion, betrayal, living in a loud and chaotic neighborhood or household for years.

Neon Genesis Evangelion has been the subject of much praise and scholarly discussions (and memes) for decades, and Shinji’s complex, detailed life offers viewers a ton of meaningful material to ponder on.


6. Shigeo Kageyama

Shigeo Kageyama in Mob Psycho 100 anime

Anime: Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100 has two outstanding seasons — and I wish I could say the same for One Punch Man.

The meek MC Shigeo Kageyama has to keep his emotions in check because of his psychic abilities. He doesn’t always succeed, but that’s understandable given his situation. Everyone naturally experiences negative feelings anyway.

And even if life doesn’t treat him well sometimes, Shigeo remains compassionate.

I was happy when he became more comfortable with expressing his opinions.

Also, I truly understand how he felt when he went on stage to give his speech for the student president elections.

I’ve only had to speak in front of entire classes a couple of times, but I’ve always left the stage regretting what I said (or didn’t say). Cheer up, Shigeo.


5. Tanaka

Tanaka in Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

Anime: Tanaka-kun is Always Listless

I love Tanaka.

This 12-episode masterpiece is the reason why I took a liking to Studio Silver Link and got onto the Non Non Biyori comfy train shortly after.

Each episode makes me so envious of Tanaka.

He can sleep almost all the time, even in school, because his classmates understand how lazy, listless, and sleepy he gets.

Plus he has a reliable best friend (and lover of sweets), Oota, to carry him around.

Tanaka’s school and neighborhood adventures are comfortingly mundane.

He’s exactly the kind of guy you’d see for the first time — and you’d immediately know he’s an introvert.

Sure, he’s sometimes frustratingly sleepy and uninterested. But he does realize his bad habits now and then and tries to make an effort to be more affable.

I know it’s impossible to live like him in reality. But that’s just more reason for Silver Link to announce a second season.


4. Hachiman Hikigaya

Hachiman Hikigaya from My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Anime: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Interestingly, the reception toward Hachiman (and the series itself) can be extreme.

I’ve seen high praise for the MC and the two main girls, but I’ve also seen much hatred for them.

Well, I’m one of those who appreciates Hachiman.

He’s apathetic (like other entries on my list) and has a cynical view of youth and society in general. His teacher understandably didn’t take his pronouncements lightly, so Hachiman is ordered to become a member of the Volunteer Service Club.

Thanks to the anime having three excellent seasons, you get to see how Hachiman begins to confront his long-held beliefs.

I’ve been there before: putting up an image of total independence and always refusing help from others, being okay with the thought of having no friends, and feeling superior for no good reason.

But Hachiman eventually realizes that people do matter, and caring (and being cared for) is actually cool.


3. Tatsuhiro Satou

Tatsuhiro Satou in Welcome to the NHK

Anime: Welcome to the NHK

Like Shinji Ikari, Tatsuhiro Satou is an individual that highlights just how different introverts can be to each other. Despite their shared preference for peace and minimal social engagement, their lives are shaped by a multitude of factors.

Tatsuhiro isn’t just an introvert — he’s a NEET.

He had a panic attack back in college. Since then, he’s lived a life of social exclusion.

Living alone in his apartment, relying on his parents’ allowance, and escaping into the world of video games.

Tatsuhiro is cynical, self-loathing, selfish, traumatized, and painstakingly lonely.

There’s something he can do about it. But he’s reached a point where awareness of this isn’t enough to push himself out of his own prison.

But help does come along eventually.

His journey to self-improvement is far from smooth. It’s aggravating, tiring, and seemingly hopeless at times.

Yet you eventually see the progress, no matter how meager it is, compared to what others in his age bracket have already achieved.

Welcome to the NHK broke my heart many times.

But it’s also been key to my introspection and attempts at changing for the better as well. Bless Tatsuhiro.


2. Rei Kiriyama

Rei Kiriyama from March Comes In like a Lion anime

Anime: March Comes In like a Lion

Who knew that Sangatsu no Lion would be so heart-wrenching, yet heartwarming at the same time?

It’s only gotten better with the second season — and I’m sure a third is well-deserved.

Rei Kiriyama is a young, socially inept, yet highly skilled professional shogi player.

However, this isn’t about sports.

Yes, you’ll see Rei play shogi. But March Comes In like a Lion is an examination and exploration of hurt, depression, trauma, and the long process of healing.

The series is filled with realistic characters all dealing with their own personal troubles (that highlight social issues). And it would be an understatement to say that Rei’s story won’t go down as one of the best in anime history.


1. Houtarou Oreki

Houtarou Oreki from Hyouka anime

Anime: Hyouka

When I think of anime introverts, the first person that comes into mind is Houtarou Oreki.

In particular, I think of the GIF where he’s at school, lazily clapping while looking outside the window.

Kyoto Animation has mastered the art of character design and animation — and Oreki is one of its most prominent MCs.

Similar to Tanaka from Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Oreki wants nothing more but to preserve energy.

They’re seemingly apathetic, always sleepy, but these two introverts can showcase their cognitive and empathetic brilliance if they choose to do so.

But while Tanaka lives the ordinary school life, Oreki is thrown into the world of (non-life-threatening yet fascinating) mysteries by the curious Chitanda and the rest of Classic Literature Club.

Hyouka is one of the better slice-of-life shows out there. And Oreki can conserve his energy now, with the knowledge that he’s still my favorite introvert in anime.

Browse: Anime

R. Romero

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