Being exposed to anime means you've also been exposed to some of the most dominant characters in all of media. If you've gotten sucked into the many action-focused anime series that populate the genre, then you already have a ton of names on the tip of your tongue for the list focused on the most powerful anime character. There are just so many options to choose from whenever you get the courage to answer this tough question - there are superpowers aliens, master psychokineses users, ninjitsu-powered individuals, overpowered pirates, etc. to choose from. The 26 anime icons we've placed onto this list are all viable picks when it's time to crown one of them as the most unstoppable anime character there ever was and ever will be.
The 27 Most Powerful Anime Characters of All Time, Ranked
‘Fist of the North Star’
"Omae wa mō shinde iru." That translates to "You are already dead." And whenever Kenshiro uttered that remarkable phrase, you already knew his latest victim was about to explode into bloody bits. The First of the North Star is defined by the furious fisticuffs and nasty footwork of this post-apocalyptic hero. As the master of the ancient art of assassination called "Hokuto Shinken," Kenshiro went full Bruce Lee on a multitude of weak and super-strong rivals (Shin, for instance). Kenshiro's the type of guy that'd hold his own against the other anime martial artists on this list. - Elton Jones
26. Tanjiro Kamado
Tanjiro Kamado went from a weak and timid forest dweller to one of the most fearsome members of the "Demon Slayer Corps." The tumultuous event that led to him and his sister embarking on a journey of revenge has turned Kamado into a highly-effective sword wielder. Since picking up his signature weapon, Kamado has showcased some staggering feats of skill - his enemies have been on the receiving end of his decapitating "Water Form" attacks and have paid the ultimate price for it. It's going to be fun to see where Kamado's power level goes by the time he reaches the end of his journey. - Elton Jones
25. Eren Jaeger
'Attack on Titan'
This is probably a controversial placement for the most powerful character in Attack on Titan. SPOILER: Eren has certainly asserted himself as the strongest of them all, now in possession of the "Attack Titan," "Founding Titan," and the "War Hammer Titan." Nonetheless, I just personally feel that any character from the AoT-verse would have a pretty tough time with any energy/spirit power-possessing character from some of the anime to come on this list. One Piece's Luffy, for example, doesn't even crack the top five most powerful characters in One Piece, but it's my professional opinion that he would whoop Eren. I could be wrong. - Charlie Kolbrener
24. Straw Hat Luffy
Straw Hat Luffy isn't even one of the top five strongest characters in One Piece. That said, he had to get a spot on this list because of his untapped potential. The show is still going on, so by the end, who knows? If this was a list of the anime characters with the most heart, he'd be right at the top. He's certainly gotten exceptionally stronger throughout the run of the anime and has taken down some foes much stronger than him on paper. For all that and being the future "King of the Pirates," he's gotta be on the list. - Charlie Kolbrener
23. All Might
'My Hero Academia’
All Might's glory days may be far behind him, but no one will forget the heroic exploits of the former #1 hero in the world. From his young days right up until his final clash with his greatest rival All for One. As the eighth recipient of the "One For All Quirk," All Might pulled off some inspiring feats of strength and superheroism that made him appear to be damn near unstoppable. His fists do immeasurable damage via special moves such as the cleverly named "New Hampshire Smash," "Oklahoma Smash," and the "United States of Smash." - Elton Jones
22. Muzan Kibutsuji
Tanjiro's whole reason for joining the "Demon Slayer Corps" is that he wants to end this man. It's certainly not going to be an easy mission to see through to a successful end - Muzan Kibutsuji's immense blood-focused energy, his status as the "King of the Demons," and his menacing stature paint him as Demon Slayer's terrifying final boss. When he managed to disappear into the crowd so quickly after turning an innocent bystander into a demon, it became clear that Kibutsuji is nothing to play with. - Elton Jones
Beastmaster Kaido has to find his place on this list simply because he's one of the only ultra-powerful One Piece characters that we've actually witnessed. He is an immensely powerful "Haki" user with an incredible "Devil Fruit" power and enormous stature and prowess as one of the "Four Emperors." Rocks D. Xebec has been becoming a growing part of the lore in recent chapters and episodes, but when it comes to characters we've actually seen in combat, Kaido has to be the strongest. Nonetheless, compared to some of the planet-demolishing characters on this list, even the strongest One Piece characters pale in comparison. - Charlie Kolbrener
20. Yusuke Urameshi
Yusuke Urameshi not only has some of the best drip we've seen in an anime, but he also has access to spiritual capabilities that kept him alive during some death-defying scraps. This famed "Spirit Detective" blows the opposition away with his "Spirit Gun," does even more ranged damage with his "Spirit Shotgun," and can rip them apart as efficiently as possible via his "Mazoku Form" transformation. By the time YuYu Hakusho finally came to an end, Yusuke emerged as a true force to be reckoned with. - Elton Jones
19. Izuku Midoriya
‘My Hero Academia’
The prospect of just how uber-powerful Izuku Midoriya could be by the end of My Hero Academia is so hype! In his current state, the current wielder of the "One for All Quirk" has grown into a fine young superhero. And thanks to an abundance of school training and life-or-death situations that have pushed him to his limit, young Midoriya has figured out new ways to fully tap into this super moveset. The immense power that he put on display at his 100% form against Kai Chisaki's full form shows just how badass Midoriya can be. - Elton Jones
Similar to Gold D. Roger, we have to rely on hearsay a lot when it comes to Shanks. The recent film One Piece: Red provides a little more information about the enigmatic character, but if we're sticking strictly to the anime, he's still shrouded in a lot of mystery. We mostly know that he possesses some of the most powerful Haki in One Piece, is one of the "Four Emperors," and boasts a $4 billion berry bounty. He—like Gold D. Roger—does not possess a "Devil Fruit" ability, making his strength all the more impressive. - Charlie Kolbrener
17. Gon Freecss
'Hunter x Hunter'
Spoiler warning: Gon is a pretty special case on this list. By the end of the show, he no longer possesses the ability to use "Nen," making him a pretty weak character. That said, at his peak, when he manages to imbue himself with all of the power he would ever possess in order to defeat Neferpitou, he becomes—for a brief moment—potentially the strongest character in all of Hunter x Hunter. There's a moment where Pitou seems fearful that he could even defeat Meruem in such a state. For that, he's got to nab a spot on this list. - Charlie Kolbrener
'Yu Yu Hakusho'
We honestly don't know a ton about Enki. That said, Yu Yu Hakusho's final arc gets rushed and cut pretty short, with Yusuke abruptly waking up to find out that Enki has won the "Demon World Tournament." And with our knowledge of the other participants in the tourney (most notably, Yomi), it is clear that he is an unimaginable force to be reckoned with. Yomi was able to defeat an Upper S class Yusuke in his Mazukou Form (if you recall, Toguro is deemed B-class at the end of the "Dark Tournament Arc"), meaning that Enki's power must be truly inconceivable. - Charlie Kolbrener
15. Light Yagami
Including Light Yagami on the list is sort of cheating. He, without the "Death Note," is by no means "powerful." That said, armed with the show's eponymous book, he is essentially able to kill or manipulate anyone at his whim. So although he doesn't possess the power to defeat any of the other members of this list in a true duel, his power is pretty boundless when it comes to the rules set up by the Death Note. - Charlie Kolbrener
14. Gol D. Roger
Because of the expansive nature of the One Piece universe, a lot of the characters that we know to be the most powerful are actually those we've seen the least. So we're left to trust the lore and the descriptions left by the contemporary characters who knew them. When it comes to raw power, Gol D. Roger was certainly an unmatched combatant, but his "power" grows even more in light of the fact that he spurred the "Great Pirate Era." Thus, he can be credited with catalyzing the power of a myriad of other earth-shattering characters across the "Grand Line." Although we may have seen some pretty incredibly powerful characters in the show's 1,000-episode run, Gol D. Roger is probably still the most powerful character, both physically and culturally. - Charlie Kolbrener
13. Chairman Netero
'Hunter x Hunter'
Until the "Chimera Ant" arc, Chairman Netero was firmly cemented as the strongest character in the Hunter x Hunter universe (excluding anyone on the Dark Continent). His incredible work ethic and training made him the strongest Nen-user on the planet, but even his power paled in comparison to Meruem. He boasts the coolest "Nen" ability of any character in the entire show—and potentially one of the coolest powers in all anime writ large. - Charlie Kolbrener
12. Naruto Uzumaki
As is the case with a lot of Shonen anime, often our beloved protagonist is one of the strongest characters in the lore." The Hero of the Hidden Leaf's" ability to create gigantic Chakra creatures often means he can punch a bit above his weight class. So while Kaguya may be the definitive most powerful character in the universe, Naruto's confidence and techniques (which develop throughout the show) make him a force to be reckoned with. - Charlie Kolbrener
11. Tetsuo Shima
The destructive power that Tetsuo Shima holds within his average frame was put on display in the most fascinating fashion in the genre-defining anime film, Akira. His psychic abilities led to untold levels of carnage that had an entire military, the Espers, and his own friend Shotaro Kaneda trying everything to stop him. When Shima loses full control over his powers at the end of Akira, it's hard to imagine him losing to some of the other characters on this list. - Elton Jones
10. Kaguya Otsutsuki
Kaguya Otsutsuki is one of those classic Shonen anime characters whose power is fully boundless. It's the kind of character that Saitama aka "One Punch Man" was created in response to. A member of the all-powerful Ōtsutsuki clan and the first wielder of chakra on earth, it's sort of just accepted knowledge now that Kaguya is the most powerful character in the "Narutoverse." - Charlie Kolbrener
Yhwach is another classic "you can't believe how strong this dude is" type of character. The son of the "Soul King," Yhwach boasts a pretty wide range of unique abilities, including the ability to impart pieces of his soul to other living beings. I won't lie, I have yet to finish Bleach. But when I asked my friends who have watched it who the most powerful character was, I received a scoff, and then: "Yhwach." - Charlie Kolbrener
Jujutsu Kaisen is still just getting started, but they've managed to do a pretty good job demonstrating just how powerful Gojo is in a short amount of time. We've yet to see him face any foe that can even make him sweat, so we barely know the true extent of his power. He's also one of the sauciest dudes in all of anime, so we might be putting him a little too high on this list for the cool factor alone. - Charlie Kolbrener
'Hunter x Hunter'
Meruem is the most powerful character in Hunter x Hunter. And while a lot of HxH characters rank lower on this list because of how seemingly low their power scaling seems compared to Dragon Ball and other worlds, Meruem earns this ranking because of how untapped his power is by the conclusion of the show. By the conclusion of the "Chimera Ant" arc, he isn't even a few months old yet and has yet to develop a "Nen" ability, but he's already unthinkably powerful, only able to be defeated by something as seemingly mundane as vicious radiation poisoning. If he had spent years training like Netero, he very well could have become a planet-destroying power fit for the pages of Dragon Ball. - Charlie Kolbrener
‘Dragon Ball Super’
Goku couldn't even defeat this dude by the time Battle of the Gods came to a close. Even with his new Super Saiyan God form pushing him past his limits, Goku still couldn't definitively finish off the famed "God of Destruction" known as Beerus. This fearsome feline gets a nod on this list of picks for the most powerful anime character since no one can seemingly defeat someone who's capable of destroying planets in a split second. - Elton Jones
5. Shigeo Kageyama
‘Mob Psycho 100’
Tapping into one's latent psychokinetic powers is the best method toward becoming one of the scariest beings on Earth. In the case of Shigeo Kageyama, he's just scratching the surface of his power and is already known for defeating his foes with relative ease. All the proof you need of Shigo's frightening esper abilities is via his epic battle with Hanazawa Teruki. As Mob Psycho 100 keeps rolling along, we're all gonna be treated to even more devastating displays of power from this superpowered Esper. - Elton Jones
‘Dragon Ball Super’
Anyone that's formidable enough to train both Goku and Vegeta without catching a landing blow from either Saiyan warrior has to be considered among the candidates for the most powerful anime character. Beerus even gets the fear of god put into him whenever Whis make some sort of idle threat toward him! His unassuming appearance led many to believe Whis was nothing more than a lowly handler for the "God of Destruction." But once avid Dragon Ball Super viewers saw how easily he knocked Beerus out and how he didn't even break a sweat during a sparring session with Goku, they were convinced of Whis' shockingly high power level. - Elton Jones
‘Dragon Ball Z’
It's hard being a Vegeta fan - for as many triumphs the so-called "Prince of All Saiyans" has experienced, he's also been dealt some devastating losses. Even still, he's always managed to keep up with his rival Go...well, Kakaraot. Vegeta's power is scary as hell in action - he's consistently upgraded himself to insane levels of Super Saiyandom. He can definitely get the nod as someone who could be labeled as the most powerful anime character due to his amazing abilities (that "Final Flash" of his has always been mean!) and penchant for fighting to his very last breath. - Elton Jones
Goku's Saiyan strength has ascended to the point where he's going toe to toe with his universe's "God of Destruction" and sparring with its "Guide Angel Attendant." Ever since he made his grand debut in the original Dragon Ball, Goku has mastered Master Roshi's Turtle School teachings, tapped into the "Kaio-ken" technique, gone crazy as a "Super Saiyan" with multiple forms, and even upgraded to the ultimate level with his "Ultra Instinct" transformation. It's easy to bring up Goku as the most powerful anime character since he's defeated so many friends and foes with the strongest abilities possible (that" Dragon Fist" of his is especially deadly!). - Elton Jones
‘One Punch Man’
Whenever people argue about power scaling and Saitama, they miss the point. The very logic of One Punch Man is simple: he can defeat any enemy in one punch. There is no amount of strength another character could possess to defeat him; there is no list of accolades or enemies befallen that comprise a prerequisite to his defeat. It's a running gag in the show. They will present an otherworldly being with a resumé that rivals Goku or any other galaxy-crushing level threat. The episode builds up the villain's immense power with a history of battles, their incredible abilities, and their unquenchable bloodlust. Then, with the strength it takes for an adult to defeat a gnat, Saitama—glistening from his daily 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 air squats, and a 10-km run—defeats the titan in a single punch.
He is the most powerful anime character of all time simply because that is the very premise of the show. - Charlie Kolbrener