10 Smartest Male Anime Characters Of All Time, Ranked

Anime loves it’s hot-blooded male protagonists—the guys who don’t think but act first, whether it works out well for them or not. But while there are plenty of characters out there like Goku or Naruto, that doesn’t mean audiences don’t have love for the big brains too.

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Whether it’s a psychological series or a show about large-scale mecha conflict, anime has plenty of genius guys and legendary tacticians who can figure out a way to deal with any challenge that comes their way. Over the decades, countless heroes and villains have been introduced who win their battles with their minds, even if they’re perfectly capable of winning a battle with their fists.

10 Shinichi Kudo Solves Impossible Crimes In His Free Time (Detective Conan)

Shinichi Kudo is a teenager who solves murders when he’s not in school. And this isn’t a Scooby-Doo thing where he’s a “meddling kid”—everyone respects him for being so good at his job. Even as a kid, he was able to stop his friend Ran from being kidnapped. As a teenager, he gains a reputation for helping the Tokyo police department and goes head-to-head with a secret organization that seems to have operatives worldwide. All this, and he still manages to have an active social life with friends.

9 Shiroe Can Predict Enemy Actions In Advance (Log Horizon)

Shiroe Checks His Inventory

Shiroe was once a member of a legendary guild that was not a guild, and in that guild his place was to be the team’s strategist. The role he took in the first place is one that doesn’t work well on it’s own, but rather as an advisor to other fighters. He’s able to successfully predict what most enemies will do several seconds in advance, giving him a distinct advantage over others. Shiroe also defeated one of the most dangerous raid bosses in the game, leading dozens of players to figure out a way to defeat an enemy no one had ever finished in a vastly more dangerous environment.

8 Light Yagami Had The Entire World Trying To Figure Out Who He Was (Death Note)

Light Yagami Calculates His Next Move In Death Note

Light Yagami is one of the smartest protagonists in anime history. With the possession of the Death Note, he spends the better part of the series achieving his goals. He outsmarts police agencies everywhere, to the point that people stop believing it’s possible to stop him.

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Even when he’s finally “caught,” he finds a way out of it, making himself believe he isn’t Kira and going back to living his life normally for a time. The only thing that stopped him was that his accomplice was aiming to betray him and his biggest enemy was as smart as he was.

7 Lelouch Lamperouge Managed To Take Over The Entire World (Code Geass)

Lelouch Posing in Code Geass

As Zero, leader of the Black Rebellion, Lelouch Lamperouge showed off immediate success as a tactician. Yes, he had the Geass power available to him, but that had nothing to do with how he was continuously able to outmaneuver everyone around him. Lelouch did show weakness once, which lead to him being dragged before his father, Emperor Charles, but he managed to make up for that mistake as well. In the end, Lelouch’s intelligence was enough to fool the world, and he accomplished the goal he set out to do.

6 Shikamaru Nara Was The First Of The Konoha 11 To Become A Chunin (Naruto)

4 shikamaru nara

Shikamaru was a genius ninja even in his youth. In the Chunin Exams, despite not being the most powerful ninja who won every fight, he was the only ninja who managed to get a promotion. Shikamaru wasn’t about winning every fight with power, but rather knowing how to correctly apply his talents at the right moment.

Shikamaru came out on top against opponents who were stronger than him twice during the tournament. This would come in handy later when he also managed to stop a member of the Akatsuki with almost no help from anyone else. There’s a reason why he works alongside Naruto to keep Konoha Village safe.

5 Yang Wen-Li Helped The Free Planets Alliance Hold Off The Galactic Empire (Legend Of The Galactic Heroes)

Yang Wen-Li is a strategist with a love of history who’d rather spend his days doing nothing. Because of his penchant for studying history, he’s also a superb tactician. While many people who know tactics operate on Earth, Yang Wen-Li is in charge of countless ships in space, facing an interstellar army that’s been more powerful than his side for a century. Yang’s ability to lead people into battle and come out with a win even when the odds are against him is the very reason why the Free Planets Alliance manages to take the Galactic Empire’s Iserlohn Fortress.

4 Senku Ishigami Has Knowledge Of Every Form Of Science (Dr. Stone)

Anime Doctor Stone Senku Ishigami Fire

Senku Ishigami is a character that literally makes no sense. His goal is to build a rocket to travel into outer space. That requires a very specific field of study that already exists, and is a rigorous program that requires hours and hours of time investment.

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But Senku doesn’t only know about rocket engineering. He’s capable of rebuilding the Stone Age society from scratch with nothing more than the knowledge in his head. That means he was aware of several different types of science, from agriculture to weapons, and has managed to completely get humanity to levels close to where they were thousands of years ago in a matter of a few years.

3 Child Emperor Became An S-Class Hero With His Intelligence Alone (One-Punch Man)

Child Emperor’s power is his intelligence. He’s smarter than nearly everyone else, and it’s enough to turn him into an S-Ranked hero even though he’s just a kid. He’s invented a number of items that allow him to operate on the field. Despite having fairly decent strength and stamina, it’s his intelligence that leads him to victory over many opponents. He’s even created his own mech suit that he can use to fight against the different monsters in the series.

2 Sosuke Aizen Had A Plan That Spanned Centuries And Succeeded With Almost All Of It (Bleach)

Bleach Ichigo Aizen

Sosuke Aizen had a plan, and even though accomplishing that plan required him to fool literally everyone around him for decades, he still almost achieved it. Aizen was able to kill every member of the Central 46 and abandon Soul Society entirely for the Hollow World, where he had already made plans to be leader of the Arrancar. He managed to steal Orihime and perfect the Hogyoku, and even gained immortality. In the end, he still managed to live after being defeated by Ichigo, meaning he’s still a threat going forward.

1 Kisuke Urahara’s Inventions Surpass Anyone Else In His Universe (Bleach)

If there’s one person in the Bleach world who’s as smart as or smarter than Sosuke Aizen, it’s Kisuke Urahara. Aware of the plan going on in the background, Urahara abandoned the Soul Society to operate on his own. He spent years coming up with more efficient ways to make Shinigami more powerful instead of taking decades or centuries to train, bringing a novice up to the level of Captain in only a few weeks. And while he was eventually defeated by Aizen, Ichigo Kurosaki was just one more of the plans he had which delivered and got him the win.

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