Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (2023)

When people talk about superhero comics rarelydo the images of manga and anime come to mind. Sure, many manga feature intense action sequences and superpowers, but for them to be a full-blown superhero? Now that's far less common. Superheroes typically wear masks and fight crime with wild alter egos. Sure, there's the ol' "Who would win, Goku or Superman?" discussions, but Goku, mighty and awesome as he is, doesn't fit the mold of a superhero.

However, numerous manga and anime over the years have attempted to tell compelling superhero stories in the style of their American counterparts. Some are cerebral, others inspiring, and some are downright disturbing. Regardless, there are plenty of superhero anime and manga you cannot afford to miss out on.

Updated on January 12, 2021, by Rich Keller:Sure, the world of anime is filled with people and animals withamazing powers. They have above-average strength, speed, and shoot lasers from their eyes. However, to be superheroes they need some arch-enemies to fight. Plus the occasional rescue of a kitten from a tree or old woman that needs help crossing the street. The additional anime superheroes on this list have those traits and more.

15 Astro Boy

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (1)

Long before any of the other super-beings existed there was Astro Boy. First appearing in a serialized manga in 1952, the hero, known as Mighty Atom in Japan, entered the world of animation a decade later. As a result, he became one of their first anime superheroes.

Though many know Astro Boy's origins it bears repeating. He was a robotic version ofDr Tenma's only son, Tobio. Sent to the circus, he's discovered byProfessor Ochanomizu, who eventually becomes his father figure. Turns out, to protect his pseudo-son, Tenma packed him with superpowers like flight and endurance. In the last episode of the first series, Astro Boy sacrifices his life to save Earth.

14 Microsuperman

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (2)

This isn't a smaller version of the Man of Steel. Microsuperman, also known as Microid Z, began his life in 1973 in theWeekly Shonen Championmanga magazine. The anime giant Toei Animation released it as a show in the same year with the titleMicroid S.

The story revolves around the main character, Yamma, a microid who escapes the wrath of an insect empire. His goal is to save Earth from their invasion. In a way, Yamma's costume resembles that of the DC superhero Adam Strange.

13 Charlotte

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (3)
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What ifsuperheroes like Spider-Man and the Flash had time limits or weird restrictions placed upon their powers? What Spidey only had spider-like strength for five minutes at a time, or the Flash could only run fast in one certain direction?

This is the plot behindCharlotte. Here, a comet thatflies past Earth every 75 years gives children superpowers across the globe. However, they're extremely limited. For instance, teenager Yu Otosaka has the ability to possess someone else's body for just five seconds. His friend,Nao Tomori, appears invisible only to Yu. Overall,Charlotteis a superhero story wrapped in a blanket of limitations and ingenuity.

12 A Certain Scientific Railgun

Mikoto Misaka doesn't have a flashy costume, a sidekick, or even a romantic partner. What she does have is intense electromagnetic powers and extensive problem-solving skills.Combined, she's one of the most powerful Espers in a futuristic Tokyo.

InA Certain Scientific Railgun, Misaka takes down other Espers who want to do harm with their abilities. Along the way of cleaning the city, she discovers a larger conspiracy that could lead to disastrous consequences. She takes on the job of peeling the onion's layers to get to the bottom of things.

11 R.O.D. the TV

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (5)

R.O.D. the TVis probably the favorite show ofDunder-Mifflin employees. The reason is the trio of female superheroes have the ability to control paper. They can shape them into weapons, shields, or sharp throwing objects.

Together, the girls ofR.O.D. the TV(short for Read or Die TV), own a detective agency where they track down criminals of the super and normal varieties. Their goal is to clean up their city while also making money to buy more books. Thus, the show is surely also a favorite for many librarians.

10 Cyborg 009

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (6)
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An older title, Cyborg 009 tells the tale of a group of cyborgs forced to fight together to survive. The group of nineis forced to confront mad scientists hellbent on starting a new world war, ancient civilizations, and other anime superheroes.

Cyborg 009 has had numerous adaptations over the years, but the most well-known may be Cyborg 009: The Cyborg Soldier, due in part to it airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami. The series has survived the test of time due to its focus on sci-fi action and team dynamics in the face of insurmountable odds.

9 Heroman

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (7)

The late Stan Lee left an impact in superhero comics worldwide. He even worked on a few manga and anime. While Heroman isn't his first or last project from Japan, it is his most well-known.

Taking place in an alternate United States, the story centers on a boy named Joey who discovers a broken-down robot. After repairing the machine to its full glory, fate intervenes when lightning strikes it, which somehow enlarges the robot and makes it more powerful. Together, Joey and his robot— Heroman— have to confront a force of invading aliens.

8 Samurai Flamenco

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (8)

Male model Masayoshi Hazama doesn't have any superpowers, but he has always aspired to be one. So, one day, he decides to kick logic to the curb and do the impossible. He becomes a hero known only as Samurai Flamenco. Along the way, he encounters a police officer who encourages him on his absurd task. Despitehaving no powers, Masayoshi needs to confront an insane enemy from beyond the stars.

Samurai Flamenco is often overshadowed by another superhero anime starring a boy with no superpowers aspiring to be a hero, so it falls under the radar quite often. However, the show offers comedy, heart, and some surprisingly intense moments.

7 One-Punch Man

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (9)
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One-Punch Man is a superhero anime. One-Punch Man is a gag anime. One-Punch Man is a way of life through which we may all find pure happiness.

Saitama is a hero living in a world full of absurd characters. Disasters seem to happen on a regular basis, and the world needs a hero. Saitama may not be the flashiest hero but he has a gift. He can win every fight in one punch. Only downside? Saitama is bored. Very, very bored.

6 Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (10)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica follows the titular Madoka, who, along with her friend Sayaka, come in contact with an enigmatic entity known as Kyubey.It promises to grant any wish so long as they become magical girls who can fight nightmarish entities known as Witches. However, as the series unfolds, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems.Plus, why does that dark-haired girl tell Madoka to, under no circumstances, make a wish?

Madoka pretends it's all fluff, which hides its truly nightmarish nature. Some call it a deconstruction of the magical girl genre, while others refer to it as the anime equivalent of Goethe's Faust.

5 Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (11)

Guyver is one of the greatest superhero manga ever written. It has been adapted several times, including as a 12-episode OVA back in the '80s that was a staple in many old-school anime fans' collection.

However, the 2000s adaptation, Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor,is a far more complete telling of the story, which focuses on abiological suit known as a Guyver. Developed by an evil organization obsessed with genetic testing, the suit lands in the hands of Sho Fukamachi, who is forced to defend himself and his loved ones from the suit's inventors. The owners are also the same ones who are hell-bent on bringing it back under their control.

4 Devilman Crybaby

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (12)
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Akira is a wimpy kid who cries at the drop of a hat. However, after a chance encounter with his old friend, Ryo, Akira's spirit is intertwined with that of a brutal demon named Amon. From there, they become Devilman, fighting demons by moonlight and all that. But are the demons really the worst thing that can be thrown at Akira and his friends, or is the human heart the foulest thing on this rotten earth?

This short series is a brutal shot of nightmare fuel. Beautifully animated and dreadfully disturbing, this superhero animeremains a classic to be watched and re-watched for years to come.Also worth watchingis the Devilman OVAs, which, while cheesy, offer a good dose ofold school animeultra-violence.

3 Tiger And Bunny

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (13)

Old-school hero Kotetsu Kaburagi (Wild Tiger) is an outdated relic in an era where individuals known as NEXTs—humans with superhuman abilities— fight crime for the sake of drawing publicity deals. Along the way, Kotetsu meets Barnaby Brooks (Bunny), a new kid on the superhero block. Together, they work together to fight crime in a world that glorifies crime-fighting.

What makes this anime so unique is its focus on sponsorship. It treats the superhero business like the modern sports industry. In turn, it offers a colorful commentary on the cult of celebrity as well as what it really means to be a hero.On top of that, Tiger and Bunny share a beautiful dynamic that, while often seen in stories, remains potent and effective.

2 My Hero Academia

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (14)

This popular series stars Midoriya, a boy who lives in a world of people with wild powers and abilities called quirks. Midoriya dreams of one day being a hero like his idol All-Might. Only problem? He's one of the few people on earth without a power. However, after a chance meeting with his idol, Midoriya learns of a way that he can be a hero.Not just any hero, but the best hero around.

This superhero anime can be best described as Marvel meets Hogwarts. We follow Midoriya through superhero high school, where he meets a cast of colorful, lovable characters and nightmarish villains. What sets My Hero Academia apart from the rest, however, is the story's heart.

1 Sailor Moon

Ranked: 15 Best Superhero Anime (15)

Sailor Moon focuses on the adventures of one Usagi Tsukino, an immature crybaby who isin actuality the reincarnation of the Moon Princess Serenity. She, along with the reincarnations of Serenity's guardians, known as the Sailor Senshi, are tasked with defending the planet from ancient civilizations, time-traveling empires, outer-dimensional destroyers, evil circuses, and a cosmic overlord hellbent on blotting out the entire galaxy.

The series has remained constantly popular since its inception in the early '90s, becoming one of the biggest influences on the anime genre in the years that followed. To this day, its characters remain iconic in a way rivaled by only Dragonball Z and Pokémon. Despite its sometimes choppy animation and occasionally underwhelming filler episodes, Sailor Moon has earned a place among the greatest anime of all time due in no small part to its iconic cast of characters and unforgettable moments.



Who is the greatest superhero in anime? ›

Saitama, the main character of One-Punch Man, is the most powerful superhero ever.

Who was the first anime superhero? ›

Ōgon Bat is considered by some to be the world's first superhero, and is a precursor to later superhero characters such as the Japanese kamishibai character Prince of Gamma (debut early 1930s), and the American comic book characters Superman (debut 1938) and Batman (debut 1939).
黄金バット (Ōgon Batto)
11 more rows

Is Goku considered a superhero? ›

Yes: The original Funimation had him as a superhero. Fighting villains because they are evil and threatening his family/friends/Earth.

Who made OPM Season 1? ›

One-Punch Man is a Japanese anime series based on the webcomic created by One and its subsequent manga adaptation illustrated by Yusuke Murata. The series was directed by Shingo Natsume at Madhouse and was written by Tomohiro Suzuki.


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