Stealing is bad! But in anime, the ability to steal someone else's ability is cool, useful, and badass.
Ability stealers make for some of the most troublesome opponents. No matter how strong you are, they can take that strength from you and use it against yourself. Even the most powerful characters must be wary.
The inclusion of these kinds of characters is always good for building up tension and challenging the protagonists, and they often lead to some extraordinary fight scenes that are unlike any others.
Ability stealing can be as simple as cloning someone's ability, but it can also be as harmful as depriving someone and making them unable to use their own abilities—often temporarily, but sometimes even permanently.
Here are my picks for the best ability-stealing anime characters who have made big impacts on their respective narratives.
12. Ryota Kise (Kuroko's Basketball)
Ryota Kise is a member of the Generation of Miracles, and his specialty is copying other players' gameplay.
He can easily perform all kinds of ball handling and shooting techniques once he sees it done once. He's also able to replicate the gameplay of his fellow Generation of Miracles members.
In the movie Kuroko's Basketball: Last Game, Kise tries a tag-team strategy with Daiki Aomine, giving their opponents "two Aomine" to handle.
11. Shogo Haizaki (Kuroko's Basketball)
While Kise's ability is copying moves, Shogo Haizaki literally steals them. And when he uses it, the original player can't use it anymore.
His style, though it appears the same, is different from Kise's. He not only copies the move but also disturbs the actual sequence of the move, making the owner unable to use it.
One time he even copied his teammates' moves, rendering them unable to perform well in the game. Unfortunately, he can't copy any of the Generation of Miracles techniques, making him inferior to Kise.
10. Kakashi Hatake (Naruto)
Kakashi Hatake is widely known as the Copy Ninja due to his ability to copy moves using his Sharingan eyes, which he acquired in an unfortunate event when he was young.
With his Sharingan's Eye of Insight, he can analyze anyone's muscle movements and instantly plan ahead based on what he sees—but more than that, he can memorize someone's hand seals as they perform a particular jutsu and perform the same jutsu himself.
One iconic example is when he copied Zabusa's Water Release: Water Dragon Technique and Grand Waterfall Technique.
9. Genjuro (Flame of Recca)
Genjuro of team Uruha Maboroshi is an old man. He's like a mad doctor because of his sinister experiments, which include creating chimeras and implanting mystic weapons inside a person.
One of his techniques is called Psychic Surgery, which he uses to reach deep inside Recca's body in order to steal his fire powers and become a flame master himself.
Unfortunately for him, he ended up pulling out Setsuna instead, the flame dragon who obeys no one.
8. Neito Monoma (My Hero Academia)
Neito Monoma's Quirk is called Copy, which allows him to use the Quirks of whomever he touches. Though it works the same way as All for One, it only copies the Quirks for a limited time.
We first saw it in action during the UA Sports Festival when he copied Kirishima's Hardening and Bakugo's Explosion. He also tried to copy Midoriya's Quirk but failed to do so, as there are certain requirements to use that Quirk which he didn't meet.
7. Sternritter (Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War)
The Bleach anime series explained that one's Zanpakuto comes from—or is made of—its owner's soul. That makes any given Zanpakuto, along with its Shikai and Bankai, exclusive to its owner.
However, the Sternritter who infiltrated Soul Society managed to seal some of the Captains' Bankai, leaving only their Zanpakuto base swords.
At first, it was believed to be some sort of sealing technique, until As Nodt actually used Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (Byakuya Kuchiki's Bankai).
At that point, we learn that it's more of a stealing than a sealing, and they can also use the Bankai they steal. Many Bankai were stolen, including Captain Shigekuni Yamamoto's Zanka no Tachi.
6. All For One (My Hero Academia)
All For One is the main antagonist of the My Hero Academia anime series. His Quirk, which is also called All For One, allows him to steal other Quirks and use them as his own.
He's collected tons of stolen Quirks that are always ready for use, from enhancement Quirks to reconnaissance Quirks.
He can also distribute his stolen Quirks, like when he gives his brother an unnamed power stockpiling Quirk, and when he gives members of the League of Villains some Quirks they can use against Pro Heroes.
5. Blackbeard (One Piece)
Blackbeard acquired the power of the Yami Yami no Mi after murdering a former crewmate. Yami Yami no Mi grants its user the power of darkness and can pull anything into the void.
What's unique about this Devil Fruit ability is that it's not only limited to sucking physical matter into nothingness, but it also nullifies the powers of other Devil Fruit users.
Not only that, but the user can also absorb the Devil Fruit abilities of other users, as seen when he stole the Gura Gura no Mi from Whitebeard and the Suke Suke no Mi from Absalom.
4. Yuu Otosaka (Charlotte)
The comet Charlotte and its dust become the power source of the characters in the Charlotte anime series, and Yuu Otosaka is one of the children who happens to awaken superhuman abilities.
Yuu gained the ability to possess people for five seconds, which is enough to control his victims in many different ways. But if that weren't enough, it's later revealed that he can also steal the abilities of those whom he possesses to use as his own.
3. Chrollo Lucifer (Hunter X Hunter)
Chrollo Lucifer is leader of the Phantom Troupe and a strong opponent whom even the Zoldycks have a hard time dealing with.
He has a very unique Nen ability, which is called Skill Hunter. As the name suggests, this Specialization-type Nen ability allows Chrollo to conjure a special book called "Bandit's Secret" and steal other Nen abilities when certain conditions are met.
He's got some interesting Nen abilities stored in his book, like Owl's Fun Fun Cloth and Neon Nostrade's fortune-telling powers.
2. Ban (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Ban grew as a thief before becoming Fox's Sin of Greed of the Seven Deadly Sins. He has the ability called Snatch, which allows him to literally snatch anything—even the hearts of demons.
Though Snatch doesn't exactly steal special abilities like the others mentioned on this list, it does allow Ban to steal physical attributes like strength, speed, and vitality, which he uses to enhance himself.
The only downside to using Snatch is that it has limitations on how much he can steal and use to upgrade himself.
1. Rhya (Black Clover)
In Black Clover, Rhya is an elf who has the ability to copy magic attributes and spells using his Imitation Magic.
He's copied tons of offensive spells, including Yami Sukehiro's Dark Magic: Dark Cloaked Black Blade and Avidya Slash, the Fire Spirit Magic: Salamander's Breath, and Light Magic: Light Sword of Judgment.
He also tried to copy Asta's Anti-Magic—and he succeeded in creating the Demon-Slayer sword, but failed to copy its anti-magic properties.