Overpowered anime characters, clockwise from top left: Satoru Gojo from 'Jujutsu Kaisen,' Saitama from 'One Punch Man,' Gilgamesh from 'Fate/Zero,' Zeno from 'Dragon Ball,' and Whitebeard from 'One Piece'

The Most Obscenely Overpowered Anime Characters

Anime is about being strong. The strongest. It’s about being the biggest and the baddest main character around and absolutely trouncing the competition. It’s about being able to defeat Frieza, not with an emotional punch to the heart, but with a physical punch to the face. After all, there is nothing better than watching an arrogant anime villain get their instant comeuppance for underestimating our hero (particularly if they deliver a shocked “nani!?” before their defeat).

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So here it is, y’all: these are the true heavyweight champions of the anime world. And while they might not be as powerful as some Mary Sues and Gary Stus, these characters are still in the running for the strongest anime character of all time.

Jin and Mugen, Samurai Champloo

Jin and Mugen in 'Samurai Champloo'

While they aren’t able to level cities and smash planets to smithereens, the series protagonists of Samurai Champloo are on another level when it comes to swordsmanship in their anachronistic Edo-period world. Jin and Mugen can kill anyone. Jin is at the absolute pinnacle of sheer, deadly traditional sword techniques, while Mugen is able to surprise and overwhelm any foe with his breakdance-influenced style of fighting. The pair are both around 19 or 20 years old, yet periodically face off against foes who are decades more experienced than they are.

In the first episode alone, they cut through an entire village worth of samurai. Jin himself takes on three of the governor’s most elite bodyguards at the same time. And that’s just a walk in the park. They have faced off against trained killers, deadly assassins, warrior priests, the Samurai Who Smells of Sunflowers (the deadliest ever known)—and lived. How? They don’t give a honk if they die. Jin and Mugen both harbor a deep-seated death wish that allows them to fight with a particular ferocity and abandon. And the great irony is the only people they can’t kill are each other, no matter how often they try.

Vash the Stampede, Trigun

Vash the Stampede in 'Trigun'

The spiky-haired protagonist from the seminal sci-fi western Trigun may look like a softie, but looks can be deceiving. They don’t call him the “Humanoid Typhoon” for nothing. Due to the destruction he’s caused throughout the planet, the man has a bounty of 60 billion double dollars. That’s a lot of money. Vash is able to fire his six shooter with blinding speed and surgical precision that would put Bob Munden to shame. And that’s not the only shootin’ iron he uses.

Vash also has a cybernetic left arm that is able to fire machine gun bullets and a cannon blast. But that’s far from the biggest weapon in his arsenal. Due to his alien genetics, Vash also possesses a biological energy weapon called the “angel arm” that is capable of leveling cities, just like Biblical angels did to Sodom and Gomorrah of old. Despite all of this, Vash is nothing but a softie at heart, and always tries to dispatch his enemies with non-lethal means. His catchphrase is “love and peace,” after all.

Gilgamesh, Fate/Zero

gilgamesh from fate/zero sitting on a golden throne

Okay, first off, let’s get one thing clear: I hate this guy. He’s a dick. He’s the most self-involved, vain, and arrogant dude in all of anime. He was the king of ancient Babylon in Fate/Zero, and all that power went to his head and made him literally the worst. But I regretfully have to include Gilgamesh because he is so insanely powerful.

What makes him so powerful? This man has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal. The sheer amount of weapons in this douchebag’s possession puts the entire U.S. military to shame. Here’s the worst thing about Gilgamesh: when he fights, he doesn’t actually fight, he just stands there while opening portals to his insanely vast treasure horde and then just throws stuff at people. And every single weapon that he throws explodes.

Picture this: you’re a warrior, and a damn good one. You’ve honed and trained your body and your skills for your entire life. Your mind is sharp, you’re a tactical genius. You’ve mastered every fighting style on Earth, and can counter any move your opponent throws at you. You meet Gilgamesh on the field of battle. You draw your sword. You think you’re gonna make mincemeat of this little frat boy, and then you are obliterated by a million swords falling down on top of you with the force of rocket grenades. And the worst part? Gilgamesh has this total asshole grin on his face while he’s decimating you.

But let’s say you’re not a puny mortal after all. Let’s say you’re a god and can’t be killed so easily. Well, old Gil has a solution for that, too. He’s got these chains called Enkidu that allow him to bind gods. It’s not fair. And that’s not even the worst thing Gilly’s got. If you were to somehow survive being bound and stabbed a billion times, Gilgamesh will just pull out his game-breaking sword Ea. What does Ea do? It destroys reality itself. Yes, you read that correctly. His dumb-ass sword Ea is able to cut the universe and reduce anything in its path to sheer nothingness. Gilgamesh doesn’t just kill you. He can make you un-be. Screw this dude.

Guts, Berserk

Guts from 'Berserk'
(Liden Films)

This man is a walking tank. He is an artillery strike on legs. He is six feet, eight inches, and 250 pounds of certified grass-fed rage. Berserk‘s Guts is a killer, through and through. He was born into a group of traveling mercenaries. The battlefield was his elementary school. He killed a man when he was nine, and by the time he was 19 he’d graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Murder and a minor in Mayhem. As a teenager, Guts could cut a man wearing armor in half and was able to defeat 100 men at once. And this is before he got his demonic powers.

In Berserk, the adult Guts wields a sword called the Dragon Slayer, which is basically just a sharpened boulder of raw iron with a handle. And the sword itself has absorbed so much demon blood that it can cut enemies on the physical and astral planes. Guts also possesses a cannon arm, improvised explosives, and a metric ton of throwing knives. Not only that, he also has a suit of demonic armor that heightens his power and numbs his physical pain receptors, making he capable of ungodly feats of strength. He’s a mortal man on a mission to kill the evil gods that took everything from him, and hell, I really think this guy can do it.

Zeno, Dragon Ball Z

Zeno grasps Goku's fingers in 'Dragon Ball Z'
(Toei Animation)

Okay, so everyone knows that Goku is Dragon Ball Z’s strongest character, right? He can do 50,000 push-ups on one thumb. He can fly through the Earth’s atmosphere without burning up. He can crack a planet in half. He’s the most powerful man in the universe, right?


The most powerful thing in the DBZ universe is … this thing. Zeno is the supreme ruler of the multiverse and an all around cute little guy. Except he isn’t cute. He can wipe out an entire universe in the blink of an eye through sheer willpower. That’s it. He’s in a bad mood one day? Poof. Universe gone. That’s it. That’s all she wrote. Because of this awesome power, his retainers are scared shitless of him, and rightfully so. After all, he could end them just by blinking. Nevertheless, Goku is able to conquer Zeno with the power of friendship, and he even affectionately calls the little blue dude “Zenny” from time to time. Just don’t get on his bad side, Goku, or he might make you un-exist.

Saitama, One Punch Man

Saitama looking nonplussed in 'One Punch Man'

This man is it. The pinnacle. The apex. The Alpha and the Omega. The Most High. The Most Exalted. The Most Powerful Supreme Being There Ever Was. This man is the One Punch Man. And like his name suggests, he can defeat any foe with one punch.

How did Saitama achieve this state of godlike power? The answer is simple: he did 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and ran 10km every day for three years. He also eats a banana in the morning, three meals a day, and says it’s important not to skip breakfast. That’s it. Of all the super powered people here, those fitness goals seem pretty … attainable? Like, difficult, sure, but I could do that if I really wanted to. Anyone could. And people do. The Saitama challenge is an internet sensation. No one has defeated a giant alien in one punch, but it’s probably because they aren’t training intensely enough. After all, Saitama trained so hard that he went bald. If you complete this training circuit with a full head of hair, you’re obviously doing something wrong.

Madara Uchiha, Naruto

Madara standing with arms folded in 'Naruto'
(Viz Media)

Naruto Uchiha might be the greatest hokage or whatever, but MADARA is the original GOAT. Remember that one scene in Naruto during the fourth ninja war where Madara manages to defeat the Allied Shinobi forces ENTIRELY BY HIMSELF? And he doesn’t even use JUTSU. He just runs up to an entire army and proceeds to rip them apart with his BARE HANDS. Sure, having the all-seeing Rinnegan helps, but I don’t remember other Rinnegan users being able to do THAT. Then Madara got bored and decided to retreat and use just one little jutsu. And that one little jutsu dropped a METEOR FROM THE SKY. Not fair.

Whitebeard, One Piece

Whitebeard from one piece smirking (Toei)
(Toei Animation)

Monkey D. Luffy might technically be the most overpowered character in One Piece, but he’s also the main character, so that’s unsurprising. Could you imagine what would happen if Whitebeard was the main character? This series would have lasted TWO EPISODES, TOPS. One for him to find the One Piece, and one for him to divy it up among his pirate crew family so they could live in peace and prosperity forever. This 20-foot-tall giant was known as the World’s Strongest Man, and he carried that title until his death at 72. And when he finally died after being hit with 152 bullets and 46 cannonballs, Whitebeard did it while STANDING ON HIS FEET. I don’t mean that he died on his feet and fell over, I mean he DIED and STAYED STANDING. Absolute legend.

Satoru Gojo, Jujutsu Kaisen

Satoru Gojo being a hottie in 'Jujutsu Kaisen'

This guy’s literal PLOT FUNCTION is to be overpowered. That’s his schtick. You just call him in whenever there’s a problem and BAM, Satoru Gojo solves it. The only thing that prevents him from breaking Jujutsu Kaisen entirely is that he is frequently “called away on business” while his students are getting their asses handed to them. He’s so OP that I actually—dare I say it—consider it to be a narrative fault of the series. Gojo is the living embodiment of a deus ex machina. A very handsome deus ex machina.

Shigeo Kageyama, Mob Psycho 100

Mob about to use his powers in 'Mob Psycho 100'

Shigeo Kageyama is the strongest character in Mob Psycho 100, hands down. And like Saitama, he starts the series this way. There is no foe that Shigeo cannot beat, and yet his meek nature and moral compass often hold him back from going completely all-out against foes. But when he does, he is the psychic juggernaut equivalent of One Punch Man himself. He simply FLATTENS people (without killing them, of course). Unlike Saitama, he believes in the redemption of his enemies, and refuses to take the easy way out by killing them. He’s psychic Batman, but way less charismatic.

(featured image: MAPPA / Madhouse / Ufotable / Toei Animation / The Mary Sue)

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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.