Top 25 Smartest Genius Anime Characters (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
You often hear the phrase “brains over brawn”.
And considering we’ve seen a lot of walking biceps around, I think it’s time to put the ball in the other court.
Let’s check out some of the smartest characters that anime has to offer.
Remember this is mostly my opinion ranking them, as I can’t really make all of these people take an IQ test. But we know these characters, so it should be pretty easy, right?
25. Saiko Intelli
Anime: Boku no Hero Academia
Starting off with Saiko. Now we don’t get to see a lot of her, however, there is no doubt that she’s brilliant.
And that’s because she has a quirk called IQ that allows her to significantly boost her intelligence by drinking some tea.
I’m putting her ranking near the bottom as her intelligence ironically makes her quite cocky, so she is far from unbeatable.
Maybe with some more practice, and some better tea, she could be higher. But for now she’s at least got a mention.
24. Zora Ideale
Anime: Black Clover
Zora is all about that street smart life.
In a show where most people can just attack you with lightning, fire, or can just run you down, Zora stands out for having to plan every battle.
His magic is very trap-based so he has to constantly think a few steps ahead of his opponent in order to stand any chance.
And we’ve seen him taking down a vice-captain, so obviously the guy is not just for show. He really has a good head on his shoulders.
This guy also falls into the category of extremely dumb genius.
When it comes to hatching a plan for attack, or defending the castle, Demiurge always seems to know what the best possible action is.
Yet he’s always convinced that his master, Skeletor the third, is the one who came up with the plan first. And that he’s simply speaking for him.
When in actuality, if he wasn’t so clever, Ainz would have had to use a lot more force to win the victories he currently has under his belt.
22. Meme Oshino
Meme has that old sage wisdom vibe to him.
In a world that’s riddled with oddities and the supernatural, Meme simply seems to know everything. And can always help out the protagonists.
For a reasonable price, of course.
And even outside of just that, he seems to know so much about life itself, with supreme judgement of character. And honestly pretty sound advice as to how to fix interpersonal issues.
I would totally want him as my therapist.
21. Tanya Degurechaff
Anime: Youjo Senki
When it comes to the military, Tanya seems to be the ultimate soldier.
Not only is she an absolute beast on the battlefield. But she is also a great tactician.
We’ve seen her come up with feasible plans while getting shot at, and even some of the larger moves the country makes are based on her opinions, outlooks, and predictions.
She’s also really good at hitting people where it hurts. Be it by disgracing an entire country, or sending people to their deaths to show who’s boss.
20. Rein Kashiwagi
Anime: Darwin’s Game
As you’ll see once again later on, you never want to mess with information brokers.
I mean their entire career depends on them knowing everything, being extremely good at gaining clients’ trust, judging character, and so on.
I mean, Rein is a little girl.
And yet she was still a major threat just because of how smart she was.
Plus, her sigil allows her to know the place and momentum of every atom around her.
So yeah, she basically knows everything.
19. Rohan Kishibe
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable
Rohan is amazing at one thing: being understanding people.
He primarily uses this in his art of making manga, which he is extremely renowned in Jojo’s world.
But he can also use it in other sneaky ways.
His stand, Heaven’s Door, allows him to learn a lot about his opponent. And he can even alter their personality or memory.
He uses his stand to really understand whoever he’s facing, and by making small alterations, always ends up with the upper hand.
18. Yumeko Jabami
Okay, I feel like a case has to be made for this one.
Yumeko is definitely a bit out there, as her love for gambling surpasses any drug addiction I have ever seen.
But she’s also quite brilliant.
In earnest, sometimes it really does seem like she’s just throwing it all out there with no plan just for the rush.
But most of the time she can pinpoint exactly what her opponent’s strategy is, and how to beat it.
I mean, sometimes she completely loses me while explaining the thirty step process of how she came to her conclusion, to be honest.
17. Aguero Agnes Khun
Anime: Tower of God
Khun is another one of those “smart on their feet” type of characters that you have to watch out for.
Plus, he’s an extremely talented tactician. We have seen him formulate plans with dozens of twists and turns, and yet it somehow ends up exactly how he predicted they would.
He personally isn’t the most powerful character.
But with his clever strategies, and maybe some dirty tricks, he’s able to outclass most of the people around him.
Rak definitely showed him up in the clock-room puzzle, but that’s beyond the point.
Anime: Magi: Adventure of Sinbad
Sinbad is going to take over the entire world at some point. I think that’s pretty undisputed.
And sure, he has a lot of presence because of his power.
But in this world you’re not really born with that much power. You have to work for it.
And after acquiring it, we just see some top-notch political knowledge, as well as the ability to read people at a glance and determine whether they’re of any worth.
The guy is just deadly all around. He can have the kindest heart, but the second that starts interfering with business, it fades away.
15. Aru Akise
Anime: Mirai Nikki
Let’s be honest here, this dude would make an excellent full-time villain.
Even though he’s surrounded by people who literally have “future diaries” he manages to predict further into the future than they can.
No tiny detail seems to get past this man.
And his willingness to understand someone who has tried to kill him multiple times shows how much his logical side overthrows his emotions.
He also seems like a master manipulator… so again, could easily be like an evil villain.
14. Shikamaru Nara
Anime: Naruto Shippuden
There are plenty of clever Naruto characters. They can plan things out ten years in advance for some reason.
But I think that Shikamaru is the most deserving of this spot.
From his first fight with Temari we saw the potential.
He has natural abilities to adapt to his environment, to outwit his opponent, and most importantly, to know when to give up.
It’s no surprise that he was the only one to be bumped up in the ranks after this, as well as becoming the Hokage’s advisor a few years down the line.
13. Koro Sensei
Anime: Assassination Classroom
While in high-school, I was always told that you can’t know whether you truly understand a subject until you can explain it to someone else.
And oh boy, does Koro Sensei do a lot of explaining.
He does get some assistance from the rugged stud and professor bitch.
But most of the time he’s doing the heavy lifting when it comes to teaching his students everything they need to know.
Plus he’s simultaneously teaching them how to be assassins and surviving against said assassins.
This man’s multitasking capabilities are truly out of this world.
12. Yoshino Takigawa
Anime: Zetsuen no Tempest
This guy is quite the sly fox.
Initially he just seemed like your typical good-hearted buddy that’ll accompany his wild and passionate friend.
But it turns out he has quite the head on his shoulders, and quite a few devils as well.
During the barrel puzzle he was the key to figuring out the correct answer, and he has manipulated those around him quite a few times.
At one point he becomes a major threat to the people, as his influence on Hakaze was simply that big.
11. Ranpo Edogawa
Anime: Bungo Stray Dogs
Ranpo is the weirdest genius I have come across.
So, the investigator team is comprised of mostly supernatural people. Be it tiger boy, country boy hulk, or mister matrix.
I can kind of get why Ranpo is convinced that he also has a superpower.
But the thing is, he doesn’t.
He is literally just the smartest man alive, easily solving crime scenes in seconds. And yet he can’t seem to get the hint that it has nothing to do with the supernatural.
Or maybe he does know and I’m the fool here.
Anime: Dr. Stone
Now this man is a proper scientist. Because not only does he know how things work in theory, but he can use his knowledge to actually make stuff.
What stuff, you might ask?
Oh, well you see the entire world is basically in the stone age. And my boy Senkuu wants to bring back the modern era.
So far he has created explosives, a phone, glasses, and god knows what he will come up with next.
Oh yeah, he also discovered the cure to the whole “people turning into stone” issue.
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
To understand Meruem, you have to understand this: he is the ultimate being, he is the ubermensch of this show.
Mere hours after his literal birth, he was already beating world champions of every game on this Earth.
Okay, he couldn’t beat one person. But aside from her, it’s a clean sweep.
And in battle he’s capable of deducing exactly how his opponent moves, where their weak spots are, and when to strike.
And considering who he was up against, that tells you a lot about his knowledge in battle.
8. Sora and Shiro
Anime: No Game, No Life
This Brainiac duo will always show up on lists like this.
They’re like Yumeko, but there’s never any risk.
It’s always all calculated to the tee and victory is ensured the second they start playing.
And of course you would expect them to win at like, chess or something.
But their knowledge is far greater than just that.
On a battlefield? No problem.
Oh, you have to learn an entire language? Just give me a day or two.
What about leading an entire nation?
Shouldn’t be too much of an issue, because we have a charisma level of 100 somehow.
7. Nine and Twelve
Anime: Zankyou no Terror
These guys just had the entire police force at their fingertips.
Managing to outsmart detectives at every turn, creating a lot of buzz, and drawing in a lot of attention without ever killing a person.
Considering they used bombs, you can imagine how carefully they had to plan their attacks.
And even their end game was just brilliant. Once it’s all revealed you can truly see how far ahead they thought about everything.
No spoilers here, but if you’ve never seen Zankyou no Terror it’s a definite must-watch.
6. Kurisu Makise
Anime: Steins; Gate
Rintarou may be more fitting to be a mad scientist personality-wise.
But Kurisu is objectively superior when it comes to actual intellect.
Spoilers ahead for emphasis!
Kurisu was so brilliant, that her father literally wanted to get rid of her out of pure jealousy.
She single-handedly started an entire war by discovering how to make a time machine.
She definitely needed a nudge a few times throughout the show, and isn’t some mastermind. But as far as science goes, she is definitely an ace.
Anime: The Promised Neverland
Honestly, this show would have crushed this list. Had I not chosen to limit things to one character per anime.
I mean, a case could be made about any of the big three, plus Phil, on why they’re the smartest.
Personally, I’m going vanilla with my boy Norman.
This is because beyond his just raw intelligence, he also has great leadership skills. And is the most mature out of the three.
I mean, I don’t know if I could ever take being betrayed so casually.
And if we ever get a season two, I am sure he will be out there somewhere, doing good.
4. Shougo Makishima
Anime: Psycho Pass
I honesty think that Makishima is one of the best antagonists out there.
Sure, he’s good at hand-to-hand combat. But his mind and his soul are what’s terrifying about him.
On the one hand, he plays as the mastermind of the entire season, pulling everyone’s strings and making them dance exactly the way he wants them to.
On the other hand, he’s so twisted and unpredictable that Kougami was the only one that could ever understand what he was thinking about.
He doesn’t seem to be even scared of death. Like what?
He also reads way too much.
3. Izaya Orihara
And here is the other information broker you really don’t want to mess with.
In the world of Durarara, Izaya is the puppet master. So whenever anything big is happening you can bet he’s involved in it one way or the other.
And really, no one has been close to outsmarting this man within the show.
I mean, the fact that Shizuo Heiwajima is his rival, and Izaya is still alive, tells you something. He is literally going against the Hulk over here and he still makes due with just a switchblade, no cocaine, and his wits.
2. Lelouch Lamperouge
Anime: Code Geass
It’s the man, the myth, the legend.
Overturning an entire country is definitely not something anyone could do.
And granted he did have the power of the Geass. But he had to use it wisely, as he could only make one command to a single person.
So Lelouch was honestly playing 3D chess while his opponents were playing checkers, as this man planned a few dozen steps in advance just to have the upper hand.
So as a leader and tactician, Lelouch is definitely top tier.
And it’s all thanks to his Geass, and his superb intellect.
1. Light Yagami
Anime: Death Note
I mean, you all knew this man was going to be here.
In a similar vein as Lelouch, Light has an extremely powerful tool at his disposal.
However, to use it and keep his identity under wraps, he has to out-clever an entire nation.
And so he does.
L was right at his heels a few times, but in the end the bigger brain definitely won.
And I am not including Near because he won by someone else making a mistake, more so than Light making a mistake himself.
We all know who deserves the top spot.