Top 10 Redheads: Anime Edition

Kiryuu Touga, Revolutionary Girl Utena. © 1997 BE-PAPAS/CHIHO SAITO/SHOGAKUKAN • SHOKAKU • TV TOKYO.

We at Women Write About Comics want to show our support for the red-haired people of this world! Back in 2014, Ashley Schmuecker put out her top ten list of kick-ass superheroes and villains with glorious red (and orange) locks. It’s about time we showcased more awesome redheads, isn’t it?

WWAC writers have nominated and voted on our favorite red-haired anime characters, and voilà!

First, the honorable mentions go to:

A-ko Magami (Project A-ko)

A-ko Magamai. Project A-Ko, Katsuhiko Nishijima
Sailor suit, indeed!

A-ko is a student at Gravitron High who is nigh-invulnerable, possibly the child of Superman and Wonder Woman (no copyright infringement though wink wink). She stars in what was meant to be a pornographic film but instead fights her nemesis B-ko’s increasingly ridiculous robot suits to protect her friend C-ko. Included on here as a throwback to my childhood of watching inappropriate Saturday morning anime on the SyFy channel. Plus she wears a sailor suit! (Nominated by Kat Overland)

Yuki Sanada (Tsuritama)

Yuki from Tsuritama. © tsuritama partners
Fishing is not for those without determination.

Yuki suffers from social anxiety, which is especially prevalent when he speaks in front of crowds. With the help of his two friends, he learns to fish in order to save Enoshima from aliens. Yuki is kind, caring, and determined, putting in all the effort necessary to accomplish his goals. (Nominated by Jennifer Gonzalez)

Mikoto Mikoshiba (Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun)

Mikoto Mikoshiba, Monthly Girls' Nozaki Kun, © Izumi Tsubaki/SQUARE ENIX, GEKKAN SHOJO NOZAKI KUN Project
Just look at that passion, that desperation!

He is introduced as the most attractive student who has no problem woo-ing the ladies and inciting jealousy within his male peers. On the inside, he is cripplingly shy and always runs and hides after making any attempt at flirting. He is the protag’s best friend and the loveable cute guy that you hate to love, especially when he fails miserably at dating sims. (Nominated by Jennifer Gonzalez)

And now, our top ten!

10. Renji Abarai (Bleach)

Renji from Bleach. © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot
He dares you to look him in the eyes.

When we first meet this aggressive, hot-blooded dude, he’s a total jerk but in the tradition of all fandom darlings everywhere, he reveals his fiercely loyal colors via 1) switching from enemy to ally; 2) his backstory as an orphan growing up on the streets; 3) his close friendship/romantic feelings for his childhood friend, who is also the younger sister of; 4) his captain, with whom he has a strong rivalry. Renji is also the manga’s poster child for female gaze fan service due to the shirtless scenes which show off his tattooed body (no, seriously, he’s tattooed everywhere) and long hair which dramatically falls out of its topknot when he’s fighting or injured. (Nominated by Vernieda Vergara)

Tying for spots 9, 8, and 7 are …

9. Kiryuu Touga (Revolutionary Girl Utena)

Kiryuu Touga, Revolutionary Girl Utena. © 1997 BE-PAPAS/CHIHO SAITO/SHOGAKUKAN • SHOKAKU • TV TOKYO.
Majestic. Cool. Untouchable.

He starts out as the Big Bad and ends as an ambiguous maybe? of an ally. He’s a manipulative Magnificent Bastard who has his own tragic backstory, and looks like THIS.  (Nominated by Laura Harcourt)

8. Ran Fujimiya aka Aya (Weiss Kreuz)

Ran Fujimiya Aya. Weiss Kreuz, ©Anime Film/Movie. Kids Station Inc
Rose… petals…

Ran is the bishounen-est bishounen with pale skin, red hair, and purple eyes. Also took on his comatose sister’s name as penance when he became a katana-wielding assassin by day, florist by night bent on revenge. So much man pain. VOTE FOR RAN AND THIS OFFICIAL ART. (Nominated by Kate Tanski)

7. Yona (Akatsuki no Yona: Yona of the Dawn)

Yona, Akatsuki no Yona. © Mizuho Kusanagi, Hakusensha/Akatsukino Yona Production Committee
Don’t mess with THIS princess.

Although she’s lived a sheltered life in a palace and has a perfectly fierce and handsome general to save her from any and all situations, Yona is determined to become strong and save herself. She has a stare that could knock you back ten paces. She’s also rallied four legendary dragon men around her. How cool is that?! (Nominated by Amanda Vail)

Tying for spots 6 and 5 are …

6. Tasuki (Fushigi Yuugi)

Tasuki, Fushigi Yuugi, Yuu Watase, Studio Pierrot
He has the best heart!

Tasuki is a sassy bandit leader who wears gaudy clothes and huge jewels and looks damn good in them too. He’s as bold and take-charge as romantic lead Tamahome is limp and whiny. Plus, he has a secret, soft heart and he’s not afraid to cry. (Nominated by Amanda Vail)

5. Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)

Kyo and Tohru, Fruits Basket. © 2001 N.T/H - TX - N - FP. Licensed by FUN.
This cat doesn’t want you to know he enjoys being loved.

Martial artist, leek-hater, and the cat in Fruits Basket. Kyo has a short-temper and competitive-nature, but he’s a fierce friend and romantic interest of Tohru Honda. I will shyly admit that I had a crush on Kyo when I was at university and totally shipped him and Tohru. (Nominated by Rine Karr)

We’re down to the final four!

4. Lina Inverse (Slayers)

Lina Inverse, Slayers. © 1995 K - A/K/T.
“Where monsters rampage, I’m there to take them down!”

Lina is loud, bossy, and a comedic hit, but she casts a mean fireball. Plus, Giga Slave and all the other spells you just wish your DnD sorcerer could cast. Vote Lina or risk losing your eyebrows and any other facial hair you may possess! (Nominated by Amanda Vail)

3. Kurama (Yu Yu Hakusho)

Kurama, Yu Yu Hakusho. Studio Pierrot Yomiko Advertising
He may look sweet, but …

Kurama is a demon fox, and one of the greatest thieves the demon world had ever known. However when wounded Kurama fled to the human world and thrust his spirit into the body of a newborn baby. Kurama’s undoubtedly the most ruthless, cunning, and cruel of the main group. A surprising irony considering he’s also portrayed visually as the most beautiful of the group. Even his signature weapon of choice is a rose, that using his spirit energy turns into a deadly thorned whip. Though cutthroat towards his enemies Kurama is extremely loyal to his friends, and shows a lot of care and genuine love towards his human mother. (Nominated by Desiree Rodriguez)

2. Kenshin Himura (Rurouni Kenshin)

Kenshin, Rurouni Kenshin - © N.Watsuki,Shueisha/Fuji-TV,Aniplex Inc.
Nice guys don’t always finish last!
Live Action Kenshin played by Takeru Satoh
Bonus points to Takeru Satoh for his dead-on live-action version!

Once a revolutionary assassin, now a wanderer who’s sworn a vow never to take another life, Kenshin roams Meiji Japan on a journey of atonement, lending his sword and strength to protect those in need. More seasoned than the average shonen protagonist at the grand old age of, uh, 28, Kenshin’s idealism may have been tempered by hard times and hard deeds, but he remains a sweet-natured soul with a fierce protective instinct, as beautiful on the inside as he is ridiculously pretty on the outside. He’s also an adorkable dork who loves doing laundry and cooking—a man has to have his hobbies. (Nominated by Mai Pucik)

And the #1 spot goes to …

1. Asuka Soryu Langley (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Asuka, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hideaki Anno, Gainax.
Who WOULDN’T vote for Asuka?!

Asuka is a teenager who pilots a huge metal rage machine and fights aliens while continually putting whiny-ass Ikari Shinji in his place. Vote Asuka 2k15! (Nominated by Laura Harcourt)

And one final shout-out to the write-in nominations. To Paprika, Kazuma Kuwabara, Ranma (in girl form), Washu, and Witchblade—maybe we’ll see you in a future post sometime!

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Amanda Vail

Amanda Vail

Amanda is a staff writer for WWAC. She is also a developmental editor and copywriter in less-than-sunny Seattle. She likes to poke her nose into things, mainly manga, graphic novels, sci-fi & fantasy books, and art galleries. Then she writes about them. She also drinks a lot of coffee. Tweet her @amandamvail.

8 thoughts on “Top 10 Redheads: Anime Edition

  1. Ahh ! Tasuke and Kyou Sohma where my crush since highschool until now I can’t seem to moveon because they so quite rare to encounter for the latest anime(though there lot’s similar anime characteristic ) but for me they the best ! And for Mikorin (laugh) everytime I look at him or watch those Gekkan Shoujo Specials I can’t stop laughing ! and Yona ? Well Well still waiting for the 2nd Season of Akatsuki Yona (still hoping if it gets a second season) and the manga looks going smoothly 🙂

  2. Asuka, Kenshin, Yona, Touga, and of course, Kyo were my votes! I can’t believe I confessed my “husbando” for all to read, but for some reason, I really did have a crush on Kyo in college! I wanted to save him from his curse, but also hug his cute cat body!

  3. Lina Inverse and Kenshin for me. <3 I like Tasuki as well, except for that one time he was mind-controlled into a sexual-assailant. ;o;

    1. I thought the two movies I’ve seen (not the third yet!) made a few weird storytelling choices, but the performances are all really strong, with Satoh and Yu Aoi’s Megumi as the standouts. Actually, I’m having trouble thinking of a live action version of a comic hero (that I’ve seen!) who’s as faithful to the complexity of the original as Satoh’s Kenshin.

      1. I have not seen the original anime in a long time, but right down to posing and the actors themselves with their mannerisms, I thought the live action film (only seen the first) were so incredibly spot on–without it ending up being campy. I was alllll about Saito…
        Saito Hajime

        1. To me (manga reader not anime watcher) Saito seemed like a freer interpretation*, but I didn’t mind at all because that interpretation was awesome.

          *Which I guess makes sense because Watsuki’s take was also an interpretation based on one or more interpretations based on a real person, so.

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