Muscles and physical strength might win you a battle, but when you want to win the war, you need to rely on your brain. While there are several characters who are popular because of their insane strength, today we are going to talk about the smartest anime characters who can turn the tide of the battle in their favor without even lifting a finger!
With a plethora of anime shows, there are bound to be all kinds of characters that we come across. While some are literal geniuses whose intellect is unrivaled in their universe, there are also smart characters who often go up against each other in a battle of wits.
I personally love watching anime shows that are packed with insane action scenes and feature strong characters, but some of my favorite anime characters happen to be blessed with brains over brawn.
And I would like to share my list of genius anime characters with you so that you too can watch them in action and see just how they tackle every situation they are in and how they manage to always stay a step ahead of their opponents!
The Smartest Anime Characters of 2021
27. Yumeko Jabami (Kakegurui)
Yumeko Jabami is the main protagonist in the anime Kakegurui. Yumeko enrolls at Hyakkou Private Academy, an elitist school where students from powerful families in the political and financial world study.
Yumeko is a hardcore gambling addict who would literally stake anything, her life included on a bet just for the fun of it. In Hyakkou Private Academy, your gambling skills determine your ranking in the school’s society and she is able to intelligently gamble with her opponents by reading their actions, predicting their moves, and playing at the best possible position.
26. Aguero Agnes Khun (Tower of God)
Khun is one of the main characters in the anime Tower of God, and probably one of the smartest in the show so far. Aguero Agnes Khun is your typical street-smart character who knows how to make the best possible moves, especially in unprecedented situations. He is also a highly-skilled fighter who can study his opponent’s moves in order to make an appropriate attack.
Khun teams up with Bam and Rak in their quest to climb the tower. When they encounter challenges at different times, Khun prioritizes strategy above anything else, making him an intelligent character.
25. Ray (The Promised Neverland)
Ray is one of the main characters in The Promised Neverland, and one of the smartest anime characters to be introduced recently. Raised with other kids and his friends Norman and Emma, they later discover that they are being reared to be used as food for monsters. Surprisingly, Ray already knew this information as he remembers everything ever since he was a child, and uses it to bargain with Mama, their caretaker.
Ray is extremely intelligent for his age, and he teamed up with Emma and Norman to escape from the farm. Being a tactician and a hard bargainer, he devises brilliant plans for their escape and survival in the harsh environment outside their orphanage.
24. Norman (The Promised Neverland)
Norman is another main character from the anime, The Promised Neverland. He is best friends with Ray and Emma, as he grew up with them. He can be described as a ‘natural genius,’ and he is arguably the smartest character in the entire series.
Norman, through tactical means, discovered the traitor among them, and he was able to convince the children to join their cause and escape from the death that awaited them. Although Ray played a key role in the execution of their escape plan, the true mastermind was Norman. His leadership qualities are quite commendable for someone his age.
23. Kenma Kozume (Haikyuu!!)
Kenma Kozume is one of the opposition characters that play for the Nekoma Volleyball Club in the Haikyuu!! anime. He is the setter for his Volleyball team and his teammates refer to him as the ‘brain’ and ‘heart’ of the team, which shows how much his teammates trust him.
One of the skills Nekoma team possesses is expert ball control. He is able to accurately calculate the right kind of pass a team members needs. During one of his games with Karasuno, he was able to accurately read and predict the movement of the opposition members and make an optimal decision to score winning points.
22. Child Emperor (One Punch Man)
Child Emperor is another child genius on this list and one of the smartest anime characters from One Punch Man series. He is ranked 5 on the list of top S-class heroes even though he is just 10 years old, which is proof of his ingenuity as a hero.
Child Emperor possesses a genius intellect that far surpasses an average adult’s. As a young child, he has made so many inventions that should be practically impossible for someone his age. Apart from his natural intelligence, he is also a formidable tactician who can predict a battle’s outcome when he makes adequate preparations and he can coordinate between other S-Class heroes to make sure they succeed in their missions.
21. Armin Arlert (Attack on Titan)
Armin Arlert is one of the main characters in the anime Attack on Titan who grew up with his friends, Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman. Armin has always been a smart character right from his childhood days. He has always read books about how the outside world was like, and he yearned to find it out for himself.
However, years later, Armin’s intelligence was seen when he joined the scouts and became a battle strategist. His plan to block Wall Rose to save humanity from the attack of Titans was nothing short of an ingenious one.
20. Koro Sensei (Assassination Classroom)
Koro Sensei is the teacher of Class 3-E, where delinquent students who are considered unfit for the main school campus in the series are sent to. Now, Koro Sensei is no ordinary teacher, he is an octopus-looking monster who’s responsible for blowing up more than half of the moon.
Not only is he dangerously overpowered, he also is really smart and through his brilliant but unconventional teaching methods, he trains his students on how to become exceptional at both studying and assassinations.
19. Aru Akise (Mirai Nikki)
Aru Akise is one of the main characters in the anime Mirai Nikki (Future Diary). He is an intelligent strategist who dreams of being a detective when he grows up. Aki becomes a friend of Yukki and assists him in finding out the identity of most of the diary owners.
Throughout the series, Aru relies on his intellect to solve different mysteries relating to the game played by diary owners. Due to his innate intelligence, he is able to tell that Yuno is not what she looks like on the surface level.
18. Tanya Degurechaff (Youjo Senki)
Tanya Degurechaff, the main protagonist of the anime Youjo Senki, was formerly a man who was reincarnated into another world by a self-proclaimed God known as Being X. So, obviously, his intellect stuck with him making him an exceptionally gifted and mature woman in a child’s body.
At just the age of nine, she was part of the Empire mages group and was subsequently promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. She was given the title of Von after graduating from war college due to her talented nature. Tanya is an exceptional battle tactician who is capable of handling multiple opponents on her own on a battlefield.
17. Nine & Twelve (Zankyou no Terror)
Nine and Twelve are the main characters of the anime Zankyou no Terror (Terror and Resonance), and these two are linked together because they unleash terror when they team up. They were both orphans who grew up in an institution known as the settlement.
Nine and Twelve both created a terrorist organization known as Sphinx. They set up bombs that are timed to explode and give riddles to the police to solve in other to find and deactivate these bombs. Throughout the show, we are shown just how intelligent these two are by the way the set everything up and execute their terrorism plans.
16. Shikamaru Nara (Naruto Shippuden)
Shikamaru Nara is a Shinobi of the Village of Konoha from the Nara clan in the anime series Naruto. He happens to be a lazy ninja who views every situation that forces him to come out from his comfort zone as a ‘drag.’
Despite this fact, his intellect and intelligence are nothing short of amazing. He is an exceptionally skilled thinker who can devise the best possible moves to turn the tide of any battle in his favor. This was seen when he brilliantly defeated the immortal Hidan, a member of Akatsuki, by setting traps for him much before their fight.
15. Ranpo Edogawa (Bungou Stray Dogs)
Ranpo Edogawa is a member of the Armed Detective Agency, an organization set up to protect Yokohama city from the activities of a villain organization, Port Mafia. Even though he is not an ability user, he is one of the smartest characters in the anime, Bungou Stray Dogs.
Ranpo claims to have the powers of a detective that activates when he wears his glasses, but that’s just him thinking that. By just looking at facts pertaining to a case, Rampo can solve the mystery behind it and determine the culprits. Note that he does it in a matter of seconds, proving that he is no ordinary detective.
14. Tatsuya Shiba (The Irregular At Magic High School)
Tatsuya Shiba is the main protagonist in the series, The Irregular At Magic High School, and undoubtedly one of the smartest anime characters of all time! He enrolled with his sister, Mayumi, into First High School, a school for students with magical affinity. However, Shiba is no ordinary high schooler; he is infact a veteran fighter who works for certain organizations due to his excellent combat skills.
Tatsuya is a brilliantly badass character who manages to figure out the main causes of an incident in his high school and link them to the perpetrators. He is also extremely good when it comes to battle tactics and fighting strong opponents, something that was shown frequently throughout the show.
13. Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)
Sosuke Aizen is one of the main antagonists in the anime Bleach. He was formerly the Captain of Squad 5 of the 13 Court Guards. However, he not only betrayed the Soul Society in pursuit of his personal desires but also managed to fool all the Captains of the 13 Squads with his illusionary sword without them having any clue.
Even without his sword, Aizen is a brilliant mastermind and is a master of deceit disguised as a loving and caring man. But he is not just smart or intelligent, he is also one of the most powerful characters in the show as he was able to take on several of the Captains with ease.
12. Shougo Makishima (Psycho-Pass)
Shougo Makisihima is one of the antagonists in the first season of Psycho-Pass. He is a villain who hates the whole concept behind the Sibyl System, a system that is programmed to identify delinquents by using measures that are not always accurate.
For instance, even when Shougo kills in front of the Sibyl system, it doesn’t identify him as a criminal, which is quite questionable. Makishima, despite his heinous crimes, is able to hide from the police without them even knowing of his existence, which is proof enough that he is a true criminal mastermind!
11. Sora & Shiro (No Game No Life)
Sora and Shiro are the main protagonists of the anime show, No Game No Life. Sora, a shut-in, is an extremely intelligent young man with a photographic memory. He is a brilliant tactician that calculates the most possible outcomes in games such as chess and even in real-life situations.
On the other hand, Shiro is more intelligent, having a memory capacity and assimilation similar to that of a supercomputer. Both Sora and Shiro, having sworn to work together, make an excellent combination when they team up and a danger to whoever opposes them.
10. Meruem (Hunter x Hunter)
Meruem, the strongest offspring of the Chimera Ant queen, is one of the main antagonists of the anime, Hunter x Hunter. It’s no wonder that he is one of the smartest anime characters because he was born to be the king and possesses all qualities fit for someone who was born to rule the world.
He starts out as a violent and ruthless king who kills any humans in sight, striking fear into the hearts of the characters in the show. He discovers the game of chess, learns the rules, and beats the current champion, showing how exceptionally intelligent he is. He also learns the game of Go in less than half the time he uses to learn Shogi. After about ten games, he beats the world champion with his brilliant tactical skills.
9. Kiyotaka Ayanokoji (Classroom of the Elite)
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji is the main protagonist of the anime show, Classroom of the Eelite. He joins class 1-D at the Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School, an academy established by the government to produce Japan’s best students. Kiyotaka is a brilliant sociopath who immediately identifies loopholes in the school system, which most of his classmates failed to do on their first try.
He also assists his classmates in solving issues that may affect the whole class. He manages to fool members of other classes too, and plays a huge role in making his class come out as the winner in a high-stakes test set by the school.
8. Conan Edogawa (Detective Conan)
Conan Edogawa is the main protagonist of the anime show, Detective Conan. Conan Edogawa is the alias used by Shinichi Kudo in his child-like form. His shrunken appearance is a result of swallowing a poison known as APTX 4869, which was forced on him by members of the Black Organization.
With his excellent deductive skills, Conan swears to find the members of the Black Organization and expose them for their crimes while searching for the antidote to his condition. Being a detective, he is already smarter than the average person, but he possesses excellent skills as a detective which can be seen on several occasions in the anime.
7. Izaya Orihara (Durarara!!)
Izaya Orihira is one of the main antagonists of the anime Durarara!! and a member of the Dollars and one of the founders of Heaven’s Slave.
He is a powerful information broker who uses the information he possesses for his own fun. He is a cunning and manipulative character and is capable of twisting facts in a different ways. When problematic situations arise, he twists both sides, so he gains an advantage no matter who wins.
6. Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone)
Senku Ishigami is the main protagonist in the anime, Dr. Stone, and one of the smartest anime characters in recent times. After all of humanity is petrified by an unknown phenomenon, Senku and his friends, wake up from their slumber after over 3000 years and with the aid of science, aim to make their current world a better place.
Senku is a character with genius-level intellect in anything science-related. He uses his knowledge to invent different things that would aid him and his friends in making their environment a better place. He is an extremely resourceful character with an analytical mind that can calculate the best possible action in a difficult situation.
5. Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate)
Kurisu Makise is one of the main characters in the anime show, Steins;Gate, and is a beautiful character with genius-level intellect who graduated from the university at the age of seventeen. She is also a member of the Brain Science Institute at Viktor Chondria University and the Future Gadget Lab.
She is a mature woman that handles herself well, even in moments of chaos. She assists Okabe Rintarou, the main protagonist, when he plans to find out the secret behind the D-mail and ultimately time travel. She makes brilliant suggestions making her invaluable to Okabe and his friends.
4. Johan Liebert (Monster)
Johan Liebert is the main antagonist in the anime show, Monster. He was saved by Dr. Tenma as a child whose life changed after that. Johan Liebert has always been a psychopathic killer right from his childhood. Initially, his goal was the be the last human standing after getting rid of all humans on planet Earth. Later on, he changes his goal to a new one, creating the perfect suicide, i.e., wiping his existence from the face of the Earth without any trace.
Johan is a ruthless killer and a scarily convincing human that can persuade even a child to commit suicide in his favor. After denying his existence due to the absence of proof, the police later catches on due to Dr. Tenma’s persistence. However, Johan was always several steps ahead in his escape from the police.
3. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)
Lelouch Lamperouge, also known as Lelouch vi Britannia, is the main protagonist of the anime Code Geass. Right from the start of the anime, we can see how smart he is while playing the game of chess. He effortlessly defeats his opponent with great skill.
After Lelouch gains the power of the Geass, he creates a group which he uses to fight the soldiers of Britannia. With his brilliant tactics, he can predict the enemy’s movement and even their thoughts which is quite scary. He treats his own allies as pawns in the big game of battle strategy making him not only a genius character but also a ruthless one!
2. L Lawliet (Death Note)
L alternatively known as ‘Ryuuzaki’ is one of the main characters in the anime, Death Note, and one of the smartest anime characters of all time. He is a world-renowned detective who takes on the case of Kira to find out who he is and what his motivations are. L is like the main character in the series, Yagami Light, but with moral constraint!
He strongly believes in justice and everyone being equal in front of the law. With his exceptional intelligence and reasoning skills, he is able to narrow down the possible outcome of who the character Kira is. He suspects Yagami, who is indeed the true perpetrator. Still, due to the lack of crucial evidence, he isn’t able to pin charges on him.
1. Light Yagami (Death Note)
Light Yagami, the main protagonist of the anime Death Note, is revered as being one of the smartest anime characters by otakus all over the world. After discovering the existence of the Death Note, he uses it to murder people who he perceives as being a menace to society. Due to his intelligence and the uniqueness of the Death Note, he is able to hide from the police until the detective known as ‘L’ shows up.
L gets close to discovering that Yagami truly is ‘Kira,’ an alias Light created for himself. However, before L could confirm, he intelligently plans how to evade and outmaneuver L no matter what plans he makes!
Who Do You Think Are The Smartest Anime Characters?
I am aware that this list isn’t perfect and I might have missed out on several characters who are literal geniuses. If you think so too and you have some recommendations for me, do share them in the comments section below.
But if you liked my picks, then make sure to share the article with your friends and tell them about all the smartest characters in anime!