Best Male Anime Ninja Characters: The Ultimate RankingThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Ninjas are the one thing absolutely everyone in the world recognizes as being very “Japan”. These feudal covert agents are the stuff of legends worldwide – much like American cowboys, European knights, and so on.
While real, historically-accurate ninja were masters of assassination and sneaking around. Most anime depictions of shinobi focus on ninja mythology’s more fantastical elements.
And most anime ninjas can basically wield magic known as ninja arts – and a lot of them will forego sneaking around in favor of spitting massive balls of fire, summoning tornadoes, and killing people from the inside just by looking at them.
Well either way, let’s take a look at some of the best realistic (and not-so-realistic) anime ninjas – and just guys for this list.
15. Miharu Rokujou
Anime: Nabari no Ou
The 14-year-old middle-schooler Miharu didn’t want anything to do with the world of ninja at first.
In fact, he outright rejects joining the “Ninja Club” at first – but fate just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
As the possessor of the secret Shinra Banshou ninja art, Miharu is destined to become the unlikely king of the ninja world.
Despite Miharu being such an apathetic and “dead inside” character, his story and trajectory are reminiscent of Naruto.
And they’re also both male ninja characters voiced by women.
14. Shirou Amakusa Tokisada
Anime: Ninja Resurrection
Not to be confused with the main antagonist in Fate/Apocrypha, Shirou Amakusa is a tragic villain from the classic Ninja Resurrection OVA.
Both of these characters are based on the leader of the Shimabara Rebellion, where Japanese Christians defended their right to practice Christianity from the Tokugawa Shogunate, and were subsequently eradicated.
In Ninja Resurrection, his tormented spirit comes back to avenge his comrades.
Though prophesied to become the second coming of Christ in Japan, he becomes the devil and unleashes a demonic onslaught.
13. Speed-o’-Sound Sonic
Anime: One Punch Man
Sonic is the obligatory stereotypical ninja of One Punch Man.
He’s a master of ninja arts and has developed a one-sided rivalry with Saitama.
Saitama may be able to whip Sonic single-handedly – after all, that’s his whole character – but that doesn’t mean this ninja lacks power.
Sonic has developed superhuman reflexes and incredible physical conditioning that lets him move at the speed of sound, which places him miles above any run-of-the-mill hero.
Anime: That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
Souei started his journey as a relatively powerful Ogre, before meeting god-slime Rimuru Tempest.
Then, the legend of Souei the Ninja begins.
After being named by Rimuru and receiving a fraction of his power, he evolves into a Kijin – a human-looking creature with a horn.
Souei decides to dedicate his new life to serving Rimuru from the shadows, and he becomes incredibly good at it in a matter of weeks.
He even starts training new recruits, forming a sort of secret police at the service of Rimuru. Talk about leadership skills!
11. Kakashi Hatake
Kakashi is one of those characters you just fall in love with right away.
As a ninja, Kakashi is mighty – enough to stand toe-to-toe with the best of his time both in Konoha and the ninja world at large.
Despite not even being an Uchiha, he has access to the Mangekyo Sharingan.
He also knows countless destructive techniques, and even commands a pack of ninja dogs.
His aloof personality and mysterious aura are a major appeal, and his love for the steamy Icha Icha novels helps humanize the character.
10. Zenzou Hattori
The “Hattori” name holds special significance in the world of ninja fiction.
It was the name of one of the most legendary ninjas in Japanese history, so we have high expectations from any “Hattori”.
Zenzou Hattori isn’t the most honorable or renowned ninja. But he’s definitely among the most powerful.
He’s the Iga clan leader and part of the Oniwabanshuu when we first meet him in the show.
Gintama being what it is, we’re also told Zenzou suffers from hemorrhoids, a fact often alluded to by other characters in the show.
This definitely puts a dent in Zenzou’s bad-ass image, but we love him for it.
Anime: Ganbare Goemon
One of the most well-known ninjas before the advent of Naruto was Goemon – the protagonist of the classic Mystical Ninja video game series.
The anime version of Goemon is sweet and caring, in contrast with the game’s somewhat unhinged ninja.
In both cases, he embodies the idea of a noble thief – someone like Robin Hood, except Japanese.
What I’ve always loved the most about Goemon is his employment of giant smoking pipes as weapons throughout the series. Bad for your lungs, but also your enemy’s HP.
8. Sasuke Uchiha
I’ve always disliked Sasuke for the unnecessarily destructive route he chose to follow on his way to avenging his clan, and taking revenge on his brother Itachi.
I mean, Itachi was a wanted criminal being actively pursued by authorities all over the world.
They’d get to him eventually.
Couldn’t Sasuke just join the Anbu or something?
At least, all of that sacrifice did get him the power he was looking for. He obtained the Mangekyo Sharingan, and became one of the most powerful ninjas of his age.
7. Jubei Kibagami
Anime: Ninja Scroll
Ninja Scroll was a very influential film back in 1993. And the main character Jubei Kibagami is a bit of a ninja icon for pre-2000s anime fans.
This wandering ninja is a master swordsman and a clever fighter.
He always makes the most of the surrounding terrain, and he even works a wire attached to the hilt of his katana, never to be disarmed in a fight.
He can even swing his sword so fast that it creates a vacuum that can kill whoever it touches.
This character is based on the famous Japanese folk hero Yagyu Jubei, though his actions in the film belong in the realm of fantasy rather than pursue any sort of historical realism.
6. Itachi Uchiha
Itachi is one of the most well-loved characters in the Naruto series, thanks to his incredibly tragic backstory and emo opioid addict look.
This mighty ninja has a heavy-handed way of handling things.
Sure, he had his reasons – but he did murder his entire family, purposefully traumatize his brother to become a power-thirsty maniac, and committed countless crimes as part of Akatsuki.
He may not have the best personality.
But as a ninja, Itachi wipes the floor with most of the competition thanks to his Mangekyo Sharingan-related abilities.
5. Gennosuke Kouga
Basilisk is one of the darkest ninja-themed shows I’ve ever watched – but main character Genosuke Kouga is one of the brightest parts.
Despite being a ninja trained to kill in hundreds of different ways, Gennosuke is at his core a peace-loving man.
He’s a bit of a scholar, and he’s always thinking of the future – in contrast to almost every character in Basilisk, who are obsessed with their past.
His struggle balancing his duty as a Koga ninja, his love for the rival Iga princess Oboro, and his altruistic nature, show us Gennosuke’s caliber as a man.
Jiraiya is a symbol for men all around the world.
He was an incredibly influential father figure to the young Naruto, and his light-hearted personality was a hit with fans.
Despite being a powerful ninja and a wise old man type, Jiraiya’s perverted antics and such shortcomings make the character very relatable and – most importantly – human.
His eccentric troublemaker personality is also reminiscent of Naruto.
Jiraiya is known as one of the best of his time, with mastery over countless powerful techniques like spitting oil from his mouth, the giant Rasengan, and so on.
3. Aoshi Shinomori
Anime: Rurouni Kenshin
Another old-school contender for best anime ninja is Aoshi Shinomori from Rurouni Kenshin.
While the show focuses on samurai for the most part, Aoshi’s skills in combat, stealth, and recon made him a memorable character.
He’s extremely strong – enough to make OP samurai Kenshin sweat bullets in a fight.
And he’s a genius leader, too – becoming the top dog of the Oniwabanshuu at 15. He’s calm and calculating by nature, but has a passionate heart that cares for his comrades.
This is a man known to increase his concentration and power through meditation, so he’s a bit of a role model for anime-loving mindfulness and meditation practitioners.
2. Black Star
Anime: Soul Eater
Black Star may not be the main character in Soul Eater. But he does seem to be the creator’s favorite, and he’s definitely one of the most powerful characters in the show – if not the strongest.
This loudmouth assassin works together with his hot ninja friend Tsubaki, who shapeshifts into a wide array of ninja weapons for Black Star to wield.
Part of this warrior god of a ninja’s power comes from his lineage.
He’s the last survivor of the Star Clan, a feared family of ruthless assassins who seem born for the sole purpose of killing.
It took Black Star a long time to learn to wield his power. But he never stopped punching up and trying everything in his power to keep progressing as a shadow weapon meister.
1. Naruto Uzumaki
Everyone loves an underdog success story.
And Naruto is one of the best of our time.
Ostracized as a child for housing the terrible Nine-Tails demon, Naruto grew up fighting to earn his peers’ recognition through his achievements.
Through a lifetime of struggle and hard work, he managed to become a world-class ninja to protect Konoha (and the world at large) from massive threats like Pain and Madara.
In the end, his achievements and prowess as a ninja got him appointed the Seventh Hokage – fulfilling his childhood dream.
Not to mention I think pretty much everyone knows this guy’s name by now.