Anime Characters and Red Hair
I have watched quite a bit of anime in my time, both when I was younger, and more the last few years with my nieces, as they’ve become quite the little anime fans themselves. It has been something enjoyable to bond over, and a great gateway for my own personal journey back into something I love. With many of these shows, there is a key reoccurring theme – characters with some amazing, colorful hair.
Characters with red hair in anime can be anyone from hero to sidekick, love interest or best friend, enemy or ally. So, I took a dive into a variety of anime, and constructed a list of 31 notable characters from different anime with red hair, including many of my own favorites. Some are major characters, some are minor and short lived – but all have glorious, red hair.
1. Iskandar, aka Rider – Fate/Zero
One of my favorite characters in Fate/Zero, Iskandar is the Rider servant for Waver Velvet, but more notably – he was once Alexander the Great. The King of Conquerors is simultaneously bursting with loud, heroic determination, but also a softer and honorable side that makes him a character you can easily love. He is a man of great pride and an incredibly formidable advisory for any of the other servants in the Holy Grail War.
2. Chise Hatori – The Ancient Magus Bride
Chise is a Sleigh Beggy, an incredibly rare type of magic user. This made her stand out at auction, where her master, Elias, purchased her to become his apprentice. Her tale is a tragic one, however, because she has struggled finding a home and purpose, and was prepared to end her own life when she was offered the opportunity to sell herself, instead. Desperate for a home, she accepted. But her life with Elias is much better than her previous life, as she soon wins the hearts of everyone she encounters in her time with Elias. She is a quiet, selfless character, and it is hard not to love her.
3. Kirishima – My Hero Academia
One of the best boys, Eijiro Kirishima is arguably one of the most admirable characters in the show, and definitely one I had to pick over numerous other red-haired characters in the anime. The Sturdy Hero, Red Riot has shown so much growth, not only on his journey to becoming a pro hero, but also as a classmate. It shows in his ability to be one of the only characters to befriend the feisty Bakugo. Seeing him alongside Fat Gum and Suneater out in the field, fighting villains during his work study really let the audience see him shine.
4. Ginti – Death Parade
Okay, take a step back from the super lovable characters and have a look at Ginti, one of the arbiters in Death Parade. Overall, due to his position, Ginti seems cruel and cold in many aspects. He’s an arbiter and supposed to be emotionless in order to make judgments about who deserves reincarnation and who deserves the void after death. But for someone that is supposed to be free of emotion, he certainly feels frustration, boredom, and affections for things as well as his cat.
5. Yoko – Gurren Lagann
Spunky and self-reliant, Yoko can hold her own in this chaotic world of giant sized robots fighting each other. She’s a supportive role main character, but there’s a reason she’s probably the most iconic character in the series. Sure, her outfit is certainly a bit spicy, but she’s got a ton of personality.
6. Benimaru – The Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
Powerful, loyal, and considered one of the “hot guys” in this anime show, Benimaru quickly became one of my favorites upon introduction. Ridiculously cool, loyal to his master and his friends, and wielding some of the best power in my opinion. He entered the show as the leader of the Orgre Tribe, ready to kill Rimuru and company. But after joining Rimuru and being named, he evolved and became a Kijin. This resulted in not only his own power increasing, but also his entire remaining tribe – all of which followed his lead and swore allegiance to Rimuru.
7. Asuna – Sword Art Online
The combination of sweet and fierce, Asuna is both the adorable love interest to main character, Kirito, but also one of the strongest warriors in SAO. She was one of the first seasons 10,000 players trapped in-game, and through this journey to survive, became a high rank in the Knights of Blood. We first meet her early on when she is barely noticeable. But when Kirito meets her again, she is far more skilled than when he had last seen her. The two bond heavily in the first season, and eventually, due to some pretty big spoilers that happen, rescuing her becomes Kirito’s main focus.
8. Noriaki Kakyoin – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
The first time you see Kakyoin in Stardust Crusaders, he immediately attacks Jotaro and you think they’ll be advisories. But Jotaro and the others help him when they realized he is just brainwashed by Dio, and in turn, he joins up with the JoJo crew on their adventure, offering his Stand, and his loyalty to aid them. He becomes a crucial ally in the story, and my favorite character in Stardust Crusaders. His Stand, Hierophant Green, is able to be used at a distance from it’s user and represents the tarot card Hierophant – the bridge between Heaven and Earth.
9. Ayame – Inuyasha
The granddaughter of the Great Northern Wolf, Ayame is a wolf demon, as well as the woman Koga is supposed to (and eventually does) marry, despite his obsession with the female protagonist, Kagome. Her grandfather was going to arrange a different marriage for her, but because Koga had saved her as a child and promised her marriage when she was older, she is persistent that he be the one she is with. Eventually, they do marry, and Koga becomes the leader of a unified Wolf tribe.
10. Gaara – Naruto
A polarizing character for many fans, Gaara can be a fan favorite bad boy, or a deeply loathed character, but often ranks in the top ten fan favorite characters. He is introduced as a cold, unnerving antagonist, he eventually does redeem himself. He was created to be a remarkably similar character to Naruto, to be an opponent that would lead to a spectacular battle with him, since they were both created through similar circumstance. Eventually, he becomes the Sunagakure’s Fifth Kazekage.
11. Leon – Danganronpa
At Hope’s Peak Academy, each student in the Ultimate course is the best of the best at something. Leon is the Ultimate Baseball player. If you are familiar with Danganronpa, you know this turns into a high school killing game with one hell of a twist. Leon is certainly a standout character, with his bright red hair and flashy clothes. While he is not around long enough for us to get to see him bond with anyone or make any enemies amongst his classmates, he definitely makes enough of a mark that you don’t forget him.
12. Soma – Food Wars!
Determined, talented, and a bit cocky, Soma is an up-and-coming chef. Deeply devoted to his family’s restaurant, he will do anything to save it, including becoming the best at his school, and even competing in Food Wars at the school to attempt to gain some more experience and recognition. The things he creates (usually) look like the dreamy, delicious anime food that we all drool over.
13. Karma Akabane – Assassination Classroom
Clever, manipulative, and ice cold, Karma is a kid with a history of violence. As soon as you are introduced to him, you are made aware that he could definitely be the kid in class able to go the distance and kill Korosensei. Even Korosensei has trouble with him, recognizing how clever and dangerous he is. His maniacal obsession makes him want to murder his teacher more than the other students, but things change between them some when Korosensei shows his loyalty to the class, impressing Karma.
14. Tanjiro – Demon Slayer
Okay, I know he isn’t technically a fully red-haired character, it fades into red. But hear me out – he deserves to be on the list. It is commented on a few times that the red in his hair and the reddish tint to his eyes is significant with his family working with fire, and they were surprised when he was first presented his sword that the blade didn’t turn red. After some more information comes to us later in the series, we realize Tanjiro does have a connection with fire.
A kind, loyal, and determined young man, Tanjiro is a member of the Demon Slayer Corps. He is dedicated to saving others, including his own sister, Nezuko, by making her a human again. Highly motivated to better himself, Tanjiro has come a long way. He is different from the other Demon Slayers, though, because he’s sympathetic toward many demons after he’s killed them, recognizing that they, too, were once human. His gentle nature is something really beautiful about his character, and something many people he encounters are moved by.
15. Renji Abarai – Bleach
You have to love a character that dedicates so much energy to their fixation on defeating another character. Meet Renji Abarai, who spends a considerable amount of time wanting to defeat the protagonist of Bleach, Ichigo Kurosaki. But eventually he is forced to work together with Ichigo to help save another. The weapon he wields is Zabimaru. He eventually trains with the royal guard to perfect his Bankai, before returning to the Soul Society.
16. Grell – Black Butler
Grell is a fan favorite in Black Butler. A flamboyant reaper, mildly obsessed with Sebastian, and extremely powerful, Grell brings a lot of excitement to the show. Once the butler for Madame Red, in which they partnered together to kill prostitutes, before Sebastian and Ciel intervened. Grell’s death scythe is a chainsaw, which is fairly out of place in the setting, yet works perfectly for the intensity of the character.
17. Kenshin – Rurouni Kenshin
An extremely skilled swordsman with a moral code that prevents him from killing those he fights; this is a significant character in the history of anime. But he was not always this way – he was once an assassin and took so many lives, people came to fear the name associated with him: “Battousai” – the man slayer. People have tried to bring back his inner Battoursai by putting his love, Kaoru Kamiya, in danger. This legendary protagonist is one you need to check out if you have not, yet.
18. Klein – Sword Art Online
Okay, I know I technically did one from Sword Art Online already. But Klein is that perfect side character that needs some appreciation. His growth within the show is admirable. When he first meets Kirito, he does not even understand how to play, and has to learn basics of playing a game like SAO. But he eventually, after being trapped inside, he learns to survive and becomes one of the stronger warriors in the game.
19. Asuka – Neon Genesis Evangelion
Pilot of a giant mecha called Evangelion Unit 02, Asuka is a favorite among many Neon Genisis Evangalion fans. There is some controversy if her hair is red or brown, but I always thought it was red so I am going with red, especially since her Plug suit, Interface Headset, and Evangelion all fit the red color scheme as well.
Asuka’s love interest is Shinji, though she fears rejection from him too much to say anything. Asuka is the Second Child, wants to put herself above all others, which is why she is frequently depicted standing on things high above others, looking down on them. Her personality is heavily connected to her being a pilot, to the point if she loses, it devastates her.
20. Spirit Albarn – Soul Eater
The weapon of Death himself, also known as the Death Scythe, Spirit Alborn is a bit of a mess. He is also the father of Maka Albarn, and very protective of her. Being a bit of a flirt resulted in his divorce from Maka’s mother, but he is still very loyal to both her and Maka, even though Maka hates him. He was once Dr. Franken’s partner, before becoming his wife’s, and then eventually Death’s.
21. Ezra Scarlet – Fairy Tale
Strict, critical, and impatient, she is known for always keeping the fairy tale guild members in line. She is a skilled fighter and a high-class wizard, willing to risk her life. She loves Jellal Fernandes and admired him since childhood. She even took the surname Scarlet at his suggestion.
22. Female Ranma – Ranma ½
In his male form, Ranma Saotome has black hair. However, as a female, Ranma is a red head. Ranma is not a character without flaws, with a generally friendly personality, but also lacking in many social aspects, and frequently comes across as gloating and rude. A martial artist with great pride in his own prowess, skills, and strength as a man, and pride in her beauty as a female as well as her martial arts.
23. Sora – No Game No Life
Part of the legendary gaming duo called Blank, along with his younger sister Shiro, Sora is one of the lead protagonists in this series about two siblings being pulled into an online game of chess – quite literally. He loves gaming and always wants to improve himself. He has a strong bond with his sister. A bit of a pervert, he is also outgoing, manipulative, and very self-confident.
24. Shura – Blue Exorcist
Assigned to Rin to help him learn how to use his sword, Shura is an excellent exorcist, as well as a disciple of Father Fujimoto. For a portion of the series, she is a student that keeps to herself and rarely gets involved. Eventually she reveals her real purpose to Rin, and then others, and eventually becomes the instructor of the class. She’s relatively laid back and enjoys beer.
25. Ed – Cowboy Bebop
Ed is an expert hacker and friend to one of the most popular dogs in anime – Ein. Ed is the comic relief character as well as one of the main protagonists. She is an androgynous teenage girl, and a bit of a wild child. But despite all that, she is a kind and caring person, though a bit eccentric – giving herself the name Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivruski IV – which she used solely because it sounded cool.
26. Shanks – One Piece
Commonly known as Red Hair, and leader of the Red Hair Pirates, Shanks belongs on this list. An inspiration to Luffy, and the one that gave him his trademark straw hat, Shanks is a gentle, laid back pirate that enjoys a good party. He has a distinct dislike of conflict and will avoid it at all costs. He’s a pascifist, and well respected deeply by his crew. But he has plenty of enemies, such as Higuma, The World Government, and Marshall D. Teach.
27. Kurama – Yu Yu Hakusho
A heart throb for many young girls getting into anime (at least, back in the day), Kurama is cunning, which fits him well, since his soul has been embedded by a demon fox. He becomes a gentle character and is very calculating and analytical. He can use his demonic form and powers, though that form is the opposite of his human personality. His human form is where we find his vibrant red hair, because his demonic fox form has silver hair.
28. Shirayuki – Snow White with the Red Hair
The protagonist, which is super appropriate given the name of the anime, Shirayuki’s hair was cause for some trouble for her. Thanks to the unique color of her hair, she had to flee the crown prince Raji, that wanted her for her beauty and her rare hair color. Her real romantic interest is in Prince Zen Wistaria. The two met during her escape from Raji, after he nearly killed Zen. Shirayuki became an herbalist for Zen’s palace and became the representative for the Royal Pharmacy at the Pharmacy Institute.
29. Chelsea – Akame ga Kill
A freelance assassin and member of the Night Raid, Chelsea is a fan of lollipops and killing terrible, oppressive bosses. She has the ability to change her appearance, as well as what she is to mimic the abilities of others, including animals. Laid back most of the time, she is a serious girl when on the job.
30. Makise Kurisu – Steins; Gate
The female protagonist, Kurisu is a strong girl that doesn’t like to show weakness. She often comes across as looking stern. She became popular for the accomplishments in her youth. Kurisu is now a research member in the Brain Research Program. She’s a genius, full of curiosity, sensible, and practical.
31. Kallen Stadtfield / Kozuki (Code Geass)
A main character of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, Kallen Stradtfield (at school, but Kallen Kozuki in her revolutionary activities), Kallen is a girl with a rebellious personality, strong will, and tough attitude. She is also quite sensitive but does not show that side of herself often. At school, she hides her identity by changing her appearance somewhat. She is both Japanese and Britannian but refuses to accept her Brittanian roots because of what it would mean she must give up.
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