15 Manliest Anime Characters Of All Time, RankedThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
What does it mean to be manly?
It’s a question every man asks himself at some point, and while everyone has their own answer, it’s easy to identify some common traits that most manly men share.
It’s not only about being tough or rugged, nor is it about having massive biceps and an impressive beard – though it certainly helps.
Manliness is about hard work, reliability, and strength – be it psychological, emotional, or physical.
We’ve put together a varied list with characters from all genres and backgrounds with only one thing in common. They’re all vigorous, inspiring, and reliable manly men.
15. Sousuke Sagara
Anime: Full Metal Panic!
Growing up as a child soldier in a war-torn country, Sousuke developed a paranoid personality that keeps him on-edge 24/7 – and yet, he remains kind and compassionate like any man should aim to be.
Sousuke cares a lot about his friends. And he’s very protective of his girlfriend Chidori.
Pulling out an M16 assault rifle in the middle of a high school may be a bit too much… but it’s the thought that counts.
14. Sweet JP
While many men strive obsessively to become as rich as they can, money isn’t the measure of a man – and REDLINE’s JP knows this very well.
Despite being involved with some seriously shady characters and partaking in betting fraud more than once, JP eventually learns from his mistakes.
What he wants is not money or fame, but to reach the limits of his potential as a racer.
With a bad-ass pompadour and the bravado to match it, Sweet JP is the model of classic greaser manliness.
13. Goblin Slayer
Anime: Goblin Slayer
Some may say that a man doesn’t hide his face behind a mask – but Goblin Slayer is different.
Rather than hiding his identity, Goblin Slayer projects what he feels to be his essence – a fearless goblin killing machine.
Considering how wretched and ruthless goblins are in his universe, he’s doing the world a great service.
He purposefully wears shabby armor, so it’ll be useless to the goblins if he were to fall. His family was murdered by goblins, and he doesn’t want anyone else suffering the same fate.
If that selflessness isn’t manly, I don’t know what is.
Anime: Dragon Ball Z
While self-centered, ruthless, and even a little childish when he first appears at the beginning of DBZ, Vegeta learns from his mistakes and strives to be a genuinely good person.
A man doesn’t let his own stubbornness get in the way of doing what’s right.
His adaptability also proves remarkable. Despite being born the Prince of the fallen Saiyan race, he ultimately discards this identity and finds meaning in life as a man on Earth with his wife, Bulma.
The well-built body and immense power he was obsessed with attaining, eventually finds a purpose in protecting his family. And his fighting spirit is doubled thanks to his drive to be a responsible father and good husband.
Few historical figures in human history can compare to the greatness – and manliness – of Alexander the Great, also known as Iskandar.
Despite being summoned as a Servant for the Fourth Holy Grail War, his inherent manliness automatically makes him the leader of his group.
He’s the King of Conquerors, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Unlike most other Heroic Spirits summoned by the Grail, Iskandar is more interested in living new experiences in the modern world rather than righting past mistakes or ruling the world.
After all, he already did that during his life.
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Born in the underground village of Jeeha, Kamina always felt like there was more to life than the cramped tunnels he called his home.
Motivated by this hunger for greatness and unfazed by the great unknown, Kamina drilled to the surface of the Earth along with his young friend Simon – and began a journey that would free humanity from their underground prison.
While there are many reasons to consider Kamina manly, the main one has to be how inspiring he is to others.
A man should teach by example, pushing society forward toward a better future.
Anime: Black Lagoon
Black Lagoon’s Dutch is the picture of a manly man.
He’s a bad-ass bald and beefy ex-soldier who wears a flak jacket and military fatigues even at home. He has cool sunglasses, wields big guns, and isn’t afraid of anything.
Despite his background as a soldier and current employment as a mercenary group leader, Dutch is actually very calm and easygoing.
His level-headed nature has earned him the respect of his peers. And it’s key to the success of the Lagoon Trading Company.
8. Alex Louis Armstrong
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Manliness comes in many shapes and forms – and having massive muscles can undoubtedly boost a person’s manly appeal.
Armstrong is the bodybuilding symbol of Amestris’ army and an inspiration for the Elric brothers.
He continually tries to motivate his companions by letting them bask in the glory of his chiseled body.
Of course, his muscles are also vital to his particular alchemy style, which pairs transmutation with his inhuman strength to significant effect – especially in close-quarters combat.
He also has a noble soul that’s sensitive to a fault. Armstrong is proof that men can cry manly tears.
7. Baki Hanma
If there’s someone that can stand up to Armstrong in terms of physical condition, it’s Baki the Grappler.
This muscular high school student has an incredible training ethic – never skipping a day and always pushing his limits.
Even though he’s probably the second strongest human being on Earth – he won’t be satisfied until he can surpass his father, who has the power to defeat entire armies with only his fists.
This challenge would be too much for a lesser man, but for Baki, it’s just motivation to keep bettering himself day after day.
6. Jet Black
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Jet Black used to be an officer for the Inter-Solar System Police – and while a man in uniform has a special kind of manliness, it’s the fact that he left the corrupt force that proves his worth as a man.
After all, corruption and deceptive behavior aren’t exactly manly.
There’s also the fact that, upon losing his arm, he preferred to get a bad-ass robot arm rather than have it regenerated with futuristic sci-fi tech.
A man is made by his experiences, regardless of whether they were victories or failures – and Jet knows that well.
His mature, wise, and austere personality are admirable – and manly.
5. All Might
Anime: My Hero Academia
As we’ve said before, putting everything on the line to protect your family and friends is a very manly thing to do.
But what about protecting the entire world?
All Might is the most powerful super-hero ever, with massive muscles, incredible strength, and the manliest smile I’ve ever seen. Still, he’s not invincible – and he’s always taking himself to the limit to serve as the world’s Symbol of Peace.
Like Atlas holding the world on his back, All Might does everything in his power to keep society at peace. He’s also a fantastic teacher for the next generation and a good father figure for protagonist Deku.
Known as the Black Swordsman, Guts is feared by many worldwide – and it’s easy to see why.
This rough and tough warrior was raised by mercenaries, and he’s been killing since he was a 9-year-old boy.
As an adult, he has reached peak human condition and has an indomitable will that allows him to survive impossible injuries and defeat armies of hundreds all by himself.
Still, that’s not what makes Guts manly.
It’s the fact that he remains compassionate and >caring toward his friends and innocents, despite having had such a traumatic childhood and harboring incredible darkness within.
3. Jotaro Kujo
Anime: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
The protagonist of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure’s third part – Stardust Crusaders – is easily the manliest Jojo so far.
Not only that, but he seems to be the author’s favorite, as he keeps returning as a main character for three consecutive seasons.
Despite being a teenager when he first manifests his stand, Jotaro cleverly decides to lock himself up in jail to protect others from what he thinks may be demonic possession.
Self-sacrifice for the sake of others is key to manliness.
He’s also killer with the ladies, rarely ever loses his composure, and never backs down from a fight. In a world full of manly men like Jojo’s, being the manliest around is a feat.
2. Daikichi Kawachi
Anime: Usagi Drop
What’s manlier than adopting an orphaned child to keep them from a life without love?
Nothing, that’s what.
Daikichi doesn’t hesitate to turn his entire life around so he can give his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter a happy, normal life. This includes quitting smoking, learning to take care of things around the house, and even reducing his working hours to be with his new adoptive daughter.
Note: For the purposes of this ranking, I don’t consider the manga canon – especially its disturbing ending. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and stay with the anime.
Anime: Fist of the North Star
If Jotaro is manly, then Kenshiro is the definition of manliness.
Stoic but not without feelings, Kenshiro travels the post-apocalyptic world righting wrongs whenever he sees them.
The suffering of innocents grabs him in despair, so he uses his immense muscles and incredible physical abilities to protect the weak.
He can fast for three months without losing muscle mass, and can hear whispers from two kilometers away, and even detect poison in his food just by taste – talk about strength!
Unlike other heroes from his time, this Mad Max look-alike is quite sensitive and in-touch with his feelings.
Like Armstrong, he proves even the manliest men can cry in the face of tragedy.