Most protagonists are shown to be kind and benevolent in anime. As such, smart and intellectually-stimulating characters are a sight for sore eyes. They often help the main characters reach their goal or to realize their purpose. On the other hand, masterminds can also be maniacal villains hell-bent on bringing about chaos.
Here are the 20 smartest anime characters one can safely label as brainiacs.
- #20 Chrollo Lucilfer
- #19 Shinichi Kudo aka Edogawa Conan
- #18 Houtarou Oreki
- #17 Kongming
- #16 Light Yagami
- #15 Akagi Shigeru
- #14 Shogo Makishima
- #13 Senku Ishigami
- #12 Johan Liebert
- #11 Ai Magase
- #10 Erwin Smith
- #9 William James Moriarty
- #8 Sora And Shiro Duo
- #7 Kurotsuchi Mayuri
- #6 Shikamaru Nara
- #5 Kanzaki Urumi
- #4 Lelouch Lamperouge
- #3 Saiki Kusuke
- #2 Migi
- #1 Saiki Kusuo
- Honorable Mentions
#20 Chrollo Lucilfer
Anime: Hunter X Hunter
IQ Level: 160+
The guy who leads the infamous Phantom Troupe organization, Chrollo Lucilfer, is a crucial antagonist in this series. He is the arch-enemy of Kurapika for the troupe’s role in the Kurta clan massacre.
Chrollo’s keen understanding of his surroundings is visible in his fight against the Zoldycks and when he battles Hisoka later in the manga. He is a skilled hunter, which allows him to steal abilities that initially belonged to other nen-users. With a calm and collected demeanor, Chrollo can lead a hostile group of villains for the sake of money and power.
#19 Shinichi Kudo aka Edogawa Conan
Anime: Case Closed – Detective Conan
IQ Level: 160+
Shinichi Kudo is the main protagonist of this popular anime series. Kudo shrank and became a child because of a drug injected into his system. Kudo’s mind stayed intact, thus enabling him to establish a new life while simultaneously investigating the drug that caused him to shrink.
A genius-level detective, Edogawa Conan, keeps outsmarting criminals. While looking into the Black Organization in charge of manufacturing the drug mentioned above, Conan has to deal with numerous obstacles. Still, with allies like Shuichi Akai and Ai Haibara, he later overcomes them. Conan’s vast knowledge and ability to think clearly in all situations set him apart.
#18 Houtarou Oreki
IQ Level: 170+
A man with all the hallmarks of a private detective, Houtarou is the morose male protagonist of Hyouka, a hit anime mystery series. Chitanda Eru’s never-ending curiosity led to Oreki joining the Classic Literature Club.
Prone to irritation, Houtarou doesn’t particularly like being around other humans. He is a pessimist and always seeks to conserve energy which might be a symptom of laziness. In the anime, Oreki has an imaginative mind, as he frequently hallucinates when Eru comes to him with problems.
Capable of swift deduction, Oreki was the one who solved the mystery behind Hyouka, i.e., the anthology published by the Literature Club every year. He can also deal with matters that require heavy taxation of his mind and skills, shown in the case involving the “Juumonji” thief titled the Kudryavka Sequence.
Anime: Ya Boy Kongming
IQ Level: 170+
Zhuge Liang was an incredible strategist renowned for his role as regent and chancellor representing Shu Han. Nicknamed “Sleeping Dragon,” Zhuge died during the Northern Expeditions of his army against the Wei. Kongming was reborn in modern-day Tokyo.
After encountering Eiko Tsukimi at a Halloween Party, Kongming decides to help her gain popularity as a singer. Kongming’s intellectual prowess is demonstrated when he employs battle-tactic involving illusions to aid Eiko, as more people flock to see her perform solely because of Kongming’s use of smoke.
Kongming also successfully tempts Kabe-Taijin, a rapper suffering from stage fright. Kabe later joins Eiko’s group once he learns how to face his fear. One of the finest tacticians of the Three Kingdoms period, Kongming leaves no stone unturned to ensure Eiko Tsukimi rises to new heights.
#16 Light Yagami
Anime: Death Note
IQ Level: 170+
The protagonist of the hit anime and manga series, Light Yagami, uses the persona of Kira to usher in a new world where criminals are swiftly punished via death once he writes their names in the Death Note. Although Light’s end goal may be deemed heroic, his nefarious tendencies and killing of innocents are crucial traits that show he is incapable of being a true hero.
Light can be spontaneous or planned and organized. He has dispatched numerous law enforcement officers like Ray Penber and his fiance, L Lawliet, etc., to death’s door. Light was able to avoid discovery till the end of the anime. Light exploited Misa Amane and scores of police officers to fulfill his purpose.
With excellent analytical skills, Yagami is a character one should steer clear of.
#15 Akagi Shigeru
IQ Level: 170+
Akagi Shigeru is a meticulous and certified genius, the primary protagonist of the Akagi anime series. Feared by most in the Japanese underworld for his skills at mahjong, Shigeru is an inconspicuous gentleman who strikes without warning.
An unrivaled tactician, Akagi wanders from place to place like a lost vagabond. The blonde-haired genius wins obscene amounts of money when he is victorious in a gambling showdown. But he wastes most of it while keeping what’s necessary for survival.
To Akagi, the simple thrill of being in a precarious situation is more important than anything else. As an experienced gambler, Shigeru can maintain his composure as his poker face never disappears. Even against the formidable Iwao Washizu, Akagi remains stoic and undeterred.
#14 Shogo Makishima
Anime: Psycho-Pass Season 1
IQ Level: 175+
A voracious reader and a voluntary humanist, Makishima Shogo is the main antagonist in the first season of Psycho-Pass. His character is presented as a foil to Shinya Kogami, his rival, and an enforcer affiliated with the CID. Makishima’s Crime Coefficient is 0, which is why the System fails to detect him.
Makishima has an unimaginable amount of disdain for the Sybil system, which takes away the ability of humans to be truly free. When the chief Joshu Kasei offered a position, Shogo quickly turned the hive mind down, attacked Kasei, and demolished her android mind and body before escaping the chopper.
Shogo enjoys tempting Shinya and driving him to the point of desperation. The snow-haired devil is not a psychopath, as he enjoys his battles with Kogami. Shogo derives pleasure from seeing his enemies in pain and wants society to revert to its original state before the unveiling of the Sybil System.
#13 Senku Ishigami
Anime: Dr. Stone
IQ Level: 175-180
In a world frozen in stone for 3700 years, Senku awakens and establishes his own dominion. Basically, he starts from scratch. His friends would have been in big trouble if this boy wasn’t a rabid scientist.
This green-haired dude is instrumental in creating a furnace, which he later improves upon as the needs of his companions grow. He makes magnets and glass, acquires sulphuric acid, and even discovers electricity. For such a science nerd, it seems that nothing is impossible.
Combined with the strength of his comrades, he can utilize his intellect to progress in a new world. But Tsukusa Shishio ends up being a thorn in the path of Senku and his villagers, and he knows Stone’s fatal weakness: the people he fights for.
#12 Johan Liebert
IQ Level: Definitely 180+, Maybe 200
At first glance, he may seem like a benevolent man, but Johan Liebert is anything but that. Johan is the antagonist in this celebrated anime series. A charismatic spectacle, he can control others with relative ease.
When he was young, Johan was shot in the head by his traumatized sister. Dr. Tenma was the accomplished surgeon who saved his life. A brilliant man, Johan wishes to understand the darkness prevailing inside humans. An intelligent manipulator, Liebert can effortlessly direct his “friends” to perform destructive acts for pleasure.
Though Liebert exhibits sociopathic tendencies, he still cares for his older sister, Nina and Dr. Tenma. To him, Tenma is a father figure who gave Johan a chance to live his life to the fullest. A quintessential nihilist, Johan sees no meaning in the material world, disregarding most connections he develops with regular humans.
#11 Ai Magase
IQ Level: 180+
A literal and artistic representation of the Whore of Babylon in the Holy Bible, Ai Magase is the primary antagonist of the Babylon series. She has an incredible ability to manipulate anyone, regardless of how intelligent they may be. From a tender age, Ai’s sex appeal and figure of speech scarred the boys in her class. Even her uncle was taken in by her flawless beauty.
Magase uses her words to drive many to commit suicide. Her unpredictable nature makes her a real threat to society and Ken Seizaki, who relentlessly pursues her across borders. The strength of her ability is such that she can manipulate the President of the United States via a simple phone call.
A chameleon, Magase can swiftly alter her appearance to fulfill her goal. She enjoys debating with Seizaki about good and evil and hopes to understand what true justice is. Ai is sadistic, as she brutally tortured and then killed Hiasa Sekuro, an officer associated with Zen’s team in charge of apprehending Magase.
#10 Erwin Smith
Anime: Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack On Titan
IQ Level: 180+
The main leader of the Survey Corps, Erwin Smith, is the man who sparked a rousing fire in the hearts of all Corps members, including Eren Yeager. Erwin cares deeply about the lives of those who serve alongside him and is remorseful of all the bodies lined up in his wake.
Smith was the first to understand that the enemy had infiltrated the Survey Corps. He played a decisive role in rescuing Eren when the latter was captured. Erwin can sway those who doubt his position and rivals Zeke’s intellect. Fearless and dominant, Erwin didn’t move a muscle when Annie’s Titan arm missed him by a few inches during her fight with Eren.
After leading a suicidal charge against Beast Titan, Erwin chooses Armin to inherit the Colossal Titan’s ability even though Levi begs him to change his mind. A fabulous commander, Erwin can make one rush to their death with his words and the steely glint in his eyes.
#9 William James Moriarty
Anime: Moriarty the Patriot
IQ Level: 180+
A man of humble origins, William took the name of his cruel adoptive brother after the latter’s death. A self-proclaimed “crime consultant,” Moriarty helps the middle-class people and the poor carry out vengeful and violent acts against the hard-hearted aristocrats plaguing London.
Moriarty’s primary goal is to usher in a new era by spilling blood. He hoped that a revolution would come to pass that would change the very fabric of Great Britain and the prevalent class divide. Aside from his siblings Albert and Louis Moriarty, William has other dedicated allies like Sebastian Moran, Fred Porlock, and later James Bonde (Irene Adler’s new persona).
Charismatic and knowledgable, William operates as a Professor of Mathematics. He later becomes a rival and enemy of Sherlock Holmes, a man he greatly admires. The “Napoleon of Crime” is not to be trifled with.
#8 Sora And Shiro Duo
Anime: No Game No Life
IQ Level: 200+
These two half-siblings are inseparable, and their characteristics go hand-in-hand, which helps them achieve victory against formidable opponents. Sora is the negotiator, as he gets inside the mind of his enemies, then employs his razor-sharp wit. While Shiro handles calculations since she is a genius at mathematics and logical reasoning.
Sora resembles a detective when he is battling against an enemy, such as Jibril and later Chlammy. He is mindful of his surroundings and always keeps his eye on his opponent. This man is also a Class-A pervert, but he keeps his sister away from obscenity.
Shiro has a hard time deciphering human emotions. But she makes up for it by being a brilliant gamer. Adept in chess, maths, and anything scientific, Shiro is also a polyglot. She was able to master Immanity’s language within 15 minutes. When the two are apart, they both grow impatient and increasingly erratic. To sum up, “one cannot exist without the other.”
#7 Kurotsuchi Mayuri
IQ Level: 200+
Urahara Kisuke’s successor and a meticulous researcher, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, is the captain of the 12th Division amongst the Gotei 13. Mayuri isn’t empathetic, which is evident if one notices his mistreatment of Nemu.
In his battle against Szayelaaporro Granz, Mayuri enunciated the primary role of a scientist. He explained that men of science must chase after perfection, but it is out of reach. According to Kurotsuchi, there is nothing beyond perfection except hopelessness and despair because it leaves no room for imagination or improvement.
His deep understanding of all matters is visible when Mayuri scolded Yamamoto sensei for not killing the leader of the Quincy when he previously had an opportunity. Everyone, including the other captains and shinigami, is a potential test subject for Mayuri.
#6 Shikamaru Nara
Anime: Naruto, Naruto Shippuden
IQ Level: 200
Asuma Sarutobi noticed Shikamaru’s presence of mind from a young age and perceived it to be beyond 200. Shikamaru is an easy-going fellow who hates working hard and thus always plans to do as little as possible so that he spends the rest of his time gazing absent-mindedly at clouds.
Shikamaru was the only one who became a chunin after the exams. His awareness and quick thinking are displayed in his fight against Hidan of the Akatsuki. Shikamaru cares deeply about his parents, friends, and Asuma, prompting him to exact vengeance against his killer.
Shikamaru wanted to avoid marriage entirely, which was also his Infinite Tsukuyomi dream. Shikamaru deserves a spot on this list as a responsible leader and a keen ninja.
#5 Kanzaki Urumi
Anime: Great Teacher Onizuka
IQ Level: 200+
A talented and malevolent child at the Holy Forest Academy, Kanzaki Urumi may appear unassuming at first. But her tendency and need to carry out atrocious acts is her unmissable trait. Kanzaki befriends Onizuka Eikichi and successfully orchestrates many traps to ensure Onizuka becomes her obedient “genie.”
A girl with abandonment issues, Urumi doesn’t trust anybody. When Kanzaki was young, a terrifying secret of hers was revealed by a female teacher who she greatly admired. This caused the blonde-haired girl to go berserk, and she has remained tainted ever since. Urumi’s behavior has grown to the point where the staff at the Academy are shaken by her presence alone.
After Onizuka helps her mature, she becomes a key ally of his. When Aizawa Miyabi and her friends try to ensnare Eikichi, she gets them kidnapped by thugs. You wouldn’t want to get on Kanzaki Urumi’s bad side, for she will ensure all her enemies “go to hell.”
#4 Lelouch Lamperouge
Anime: Code Geass- Lelouch of the Rebellion
IQ Level: 210
The Eleventh Prince of the Holy Britannian Empire, Lelouch, was exiled to Japan following a confrontation with his father. Raised alongside his sister Nunnally and Suzaku Kururugi, Lelouch has dedicated his entire life to realizing Nunnally’s goal of gaining a peaceful world.
As Zero, Lelouch exudes an aura that captures the attention and loyalty of Kallen Kozuki, Kaname Ohgi, and all the others who join him and become Black Knights. Lelouch’s tactical skills are on full display when he is on the battlefield, as he never shies away from achieving his objective by any means necessary.
Although Lelouch is too preoccupied with his end goal, he is compassionate towards others. This is visible in his interactions with Shirley, Nunnally, Euphemia, Suzaku, Kallen, and Rolo. He doesn’t hesitate to manipulate and direct those he considers an enemy. Near the end of the series, Lelouch regrets his actions that led to the death of hundreds of innocents.
#3 Saiki Kusuke
Anime: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
IQ Level: 218
Kusuke is the older brother of the protagonist Saiki Kusuo and likes tinkering with machines. A super-genius who always felt inferior to Kusuo, Kusuke will stop at nothing to humiliate his brother. The blonde-haired devil even manipulates his grandparents and becomes an authoritarian figure in their rural neighborhood.
Kusuke is one of the few individuals unaffected by Teruhashi’s beauty. He was repulsed by Kokomi and deemed her puny and unworthy of Kusuo. This incident shows that Kusuke doesn’t lose his mind around gorgeous girls and stays sharp.
Meticulous and sadistic, Kusuke enjoys putting his brother in dangerous situations. A cunning super-genius, Kusuke has found a way to block Kusuo’s powers; thus, the MC cannot read his mind. He helped create the control devices, which helped Kusuo have better control over his powers.
Anime: Kiseijuu- Parasyte Maxim
IQ Level: 220+
An alien parasite creature whose key aim was to take over Shinichi’s mind and body, Migi chose to consume Shinchi’s hand after a short scuffle with the male protagonist. From that point onwards, Migi tries his best to safeguard Shinichi’s existence by collaborating with the human host and coming up with schemes to deal with opponents.
Migi is aptly named after the direction “right” since he dwells within Izumi’s right arm. He believes humans resemble demons, as they frequently exploit and exhaust natural resources. Because he is incapable of experiencing human emotions, Migi uses logic and analytical reasoning to annihilate enemies.
Naturally curious, Migi adapted to human life by reading dozens of books at Shinichi’s house. He isn’t completely devoid of attachment, as he established a great bond with Izumi, which was visible in the final episode of the series. A shrewd and calculating parasite, he is why Shinichi survived multiple fights against overwhelmingly powerful adversaries.
#1 Saiki Kusuo
Anime: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K
IQ Level: 250+
The smartest character on this entire list, Saiki Kusuo is a step ahead of his jealous brother. Even without the use of his psychic powers, Kusuo would ace any IQ test he took.
Saiki manages to get average scores to avoid attention from his classmates. He is blessed with many broken abilities like psychometry, clairvoyance, mentalism, etc., which allows him to outsmart all his enemies, and sometimes his relentless friends. The man with the antenna always has a solution ready when facing a problem.
Saiki is constantly trying to prevent mayhem and chaos from spreading. He cares deeply about the well-being of his pals but rarely shows his considerate side. The pink-haired tsundere is a certified genius.
- Kei Shirogane aka Shiroe – Log Horizon
- Dio Brando – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 and Part 3
- Koro-sensei – Assassination Classroom
- Aizen Sosuke – Bleach
Who Is the Most Hated Anime Character?
Sakura Haruno is undoubtedly the most hated anime character of all time. After her fight against Sasori of the Akatsuki, Sakura’s role was significantly reduced. Her obsession with Sasuke and the mistreatment of Naruto are the main reasons fans hate her. She is frequently dubbed as “useless.”
Who Is the Meanest Anime Character?
Frieza from the Dragon Ball series and Hachiman Hikigaya from Oregairu are probably the meanest characters in anime history. Hachiman is frank and always sticks to the point when conversing with others, which often earns the wrath of his batchmates. Frieza is a boisterous desport who wiped out the entire race of Saiyans along with other planets.
Why Is Boruto Disliked?
The lack of Kishimoto’s involvement and usage of fillers at the beginning of the anime are the two main reasons Boruto gets so much hate. The structure and tone of the sequel series changed drastically after Mashashi’s departure. Boruto isn’t a popular main character, unlike Naruto.
Which Anime Has the Most Haters?
Boku no Pico is the most hated anime series out there. A shotacon anime, this story focuses on sexual relationships that include minor boys. Often used to trap inexperienced anime watchers, this tale has received an astronomical amount of hate over the years.
That’s all for now!
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