In the world of anime, more often than not, it’s the brains that win over brawn. While some characters are downright geniuses and are always able to outsmart their nemesis, there are others who are masters in a certain field and are able to find their way around any obstacle in their area of expertise. As much as we love watching fight scenes between characters wherein they scream out their power moves and display all kinds of flashy fight styles, we can’t help but appreciate characters who can make the entire world crumble just by using their superior strategic abilities.
Over the years, we’ve come across all kinds of smart anime characters, some of who are good at manipulation because of their knowledge of the human psychology. And then there are also some who just know how to get by with life using their street smartness. So we’ve decided to make a list of all of these geniuses who have mastered the knowledge of their respective fields. The characters mentioned below have not been ranked chronologically since they’re intelligent in their own unique ways. While the brilliance of some of these characters is pretty obvious, there are others who might surprise you. With that said, here’s the list of the smartest anime characters of all time:
9. Johan Liebert – Monster
“There’s nothing special about being born. Not a thing. Most of the universe is just death, nothing more. In this universe of ours, the birth of a new life on some corner of our planet is nothing but a tiny, insignificant flash. Death is a normal thing. So why live?” – Johan Liebert
Though he is on the extreme end of evil, he is by far one of the smartest anime characters because of his superhuman manipulation skills. He is considered to be the next Adolf Hitler and has this evil charisma that he effectively uses to destroy the world around him. He is known for his deductive reasoning and he always talks based on what the other person wants to hear. The world is his playground, where he gets anything he wants and no matter what happens, he is always the last man standing.
At the age of 10, Johan somehow managed to manipulate all the kids of his orphanage into killing each other and while he was at a Military Training Camp once, he even pitted the instructors and students against one another, who eventually met the same fate as all of his other victims. Johan Leibert may not be too well known in the anime world because ‘Monster‘ is a little less popular compared to the mainstream shows but undeniably, he is one of the coldest and smartest characters out there.
8. Light Yagami – Death Note
“You can’t win if you are always on the defensive. To win, you have to attack.” – Light Yagami
Although Light has a very high IQ and is easily able to top his school every single time, what makes him a worthy contender on this list is his ability to take over the entire world by only using his intelligence. Even the Shinigami mentions that many other humans have possessed the ‘Death Note‘ before him but no one has ever been able to be smart enough to use it the way Light does. Light initially shows a little bit of fear towards using a tool that is strong enough to take the whole world by storm. But this fear is soon overruled by his strong motive of changing the entire world.
Time and time again, he also proves that his manipulation skills are unlike anyone else as he is easily able to get what he wants from all of his victims. You might love him or hate him for who he is but there’s no denying that no one else in the world would be able to use the death note the way he did.
7. L Lawliet – Death Note
“Sometimes, the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” – L Lawliet
L from ‘Death Note‘ is, what I would call, the epitome of intelligence. Some might argue that Light is smarter than him because he was able to kill him but we should not forget that even after being dead, L was able to win the bigger game. And if you think about it, Light always had this unfair advantage of possessing the Death Note and even having the Shinigamis by his side. Whereas, L was solely relying on his normal human skills of reasoning to win.
There’s no denying that Light has a high IQ and even works really hard at school to excel at everything. But L is more of a natural, born genius whose deducted reasoning and verbal analysis are far more superior than that of a normal human. He is not only a brilliant detective but is also able to excel at sports and even tops entrance tests without putting any effort at all.
6. Narsus – The Heroic Legend of Arslan
“You cannot hope to defeat me. But you wouldn’t be here if you understood that, would you?” – Narsus
If you were a prince, princess or held any other political power, you would obviously want your advisor to be smart, wouldn’t you? Narsus is Prince Arslan’s advisor who is just the perfect man for the job. Apart from having immense knowledge in the field of diplomacy and strategy, Narsus is also a great warrior and acts as Arslan’s bodyguard as well. When Arslan needs a Diplomatic solution for any of his problems, Narsus is always there to help him out with that. Even during battles, when he is by Arslan’s side, a victory is usually guaranteed.
Apart from just being knowledgeable, Narsus also has a strong set of morals. He stands against anything that he feels is not right and even gets exiled once for raising his voice against slavery. The only reason why he falls a little short of being an absolute genius is that he believes he’s some kind of genius artist which he’s not.
5. Lelouch Vi Britannia – Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
“You can’t change the world without getting your hands dirty.” –
Lelouch from ‘Code Geass‘ has had a very royal upbringing and he certainly got the best possible education that a prince deserves to get. Later, when he gains the power of the Kings, he uses his immense knowledge of guerilla tactics and war strategies to guide his army. If his soldiers follow every step of the plans that he formulates for them, literally no one can stop them from winning. His Geass powers allow him to be stronger than others, so he naturally becomes a dominating figure. But even without them, he is quite a charismatic and persuasive leader who knows how to earn the respect of his men.
But despite being great at formulating brilliant plans, his biggest flaw is that he is not able to predict the reactions of people like a genius character should. A good example of this is, in one of the first few battles, when Lancelot’s shooting comes into play, Lelouch is completely caught off-guard even after knowing that Lancelot will be involved in the war. As effective as most of his plans might seem, Lelouch fails to create them in a way that prepares him for every possible situation. But then again, he single-handedly took out the biggest empire in the ‘Code Geass‘ universe and brought peace to his people. You cannot pull off something like that without being extraordinarily intellectual.
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4. Norman – The Promised Neverland
“I can’t afford to make a mistake. Because I can’t let anyone die. If I run away, the plan will deviate. If it deviates even a little, it’ll be problematic.” – Norman
Most anime fans may not be aware of this young boy because he’s still fairly new to this world. But if you’ve seen ‘The Promised Neverland‘ you’ll know why 11-year-old Norman is a worthy contender on this list. Norman stays at the Grace Field House with other orphans like him and because of his extraordinary quantitative abilities, he is considered to be one of the House’s three “Premium Quality Goods”.
During tests, he is easily able to score a perfect 300 consecutively for years. He applies his genius strategies in even simple things like the game of tag and remains unbeatable. He’s so smart that even if you ask him a complex Maths problem while he’s unconscious, he will still be able to get the correct answer. For his age, Norman is no less than a prodigy and it is pretty obvious why many of his peers look up to him as a leader.
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3. Sosuke Aizen – Bleach
“If one abandons all other abilities and focuses his strength entirely on a single specialized skill, then he can overcome even the greatest of powers.” –
Sosuke Aizen is another bad guy from ‘Bleach‘ who has mastered the art of manipulation. For a long time, he fools the people around him by carrying a kindhearted and soft-spoken exterior image. But deep inside, he is just using this to formulate his long term plan where he’ll use every single person who would become a victim of his false charisma. He is one of those few anime antagonists who are actually able to achieve immortality. He patiently plots long term plans and then stands back to watch others execute it for him. He plays out every move like he’s playing the game of chess and even makes grand plans that take over 100 years to completely flesh out. Aizen is just unbelievably smart and somehow, he always has the last winning move in his game of life.
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2. Edogawa Conan – Detective Conan
“A detective who uses his deductive powers to corner a suspect, and then does nothing to stop them from committing suicide, is no better than the murderer himself.” – Shinichi Kudo
Edogawa Conan is a 17-year-old boy who gets trapped in the body of a 7-year-old after taking an unusual pill. But mentally, he remains to be freakishly smart and uses his intelligence to crack the toughest cases. He has an impressive photographic memory and he never misses out on the details of the cases he is dealing with. He uses his immense knowledge of all different fields to solve all kinds of cases that might be beyond the capabilities of most normal humans. Apart from all that, he is also skilled in first aid and knows exactly what to do to survive even when there’s an extreme medical situation. He is a well-rounded genius who manages to be at least above average at everything he does.
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1. Itachi Uchiha – Naruto
“You don’t become the Hokage to be acknowledged by everyone. The one who is acknowledged by everyone becomes the Hokage.” – Itachi Uchiha
Itachi Uchiha is like the most underrated smart character in the world of anime. Let’s take a look at all of his feats of intelligence that prove that he is no less than most characters in this list. Firstly, he is the second youngest academy graduate at a mere age of 7. Secondly, at the age of just 13, he accepted that he must exterminate his own clan in order to protect his entire village. For almost the entire series, Itachi not only deceived his brother but also fooled every single viewer into believing that he is actually the primary villain of the show. His masterful planning comes out as one of the biggest shockers in the history of anime and his love for his brother is truly heartwarming. Though his abrasive behavior towards him seems a little unnecessary, Itachi is one character who eventually left every Naruto fan in tears. Not to mention, his sharp intellect and exceptional physical skills during battles remain unmatched.
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