Black hair might feel like the default standard among anime characters, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of reasons to celebrate it.
Some of the greatest characters in anime history have had simple designs. In a genre that often contains stylish hair and vibrant colors, these black-haired anime characters still manage to stand out.
From galactic heroes to humble school kids just trying to find their way, here are my picks for the best anime characters with black hair and what makes each one so special.
10. Jotaro Kujo (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)
The world of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is full of wild characters with strange designs, but that's what makes Jotaro Kujo's straight-man act that much more impactful.
He's too cool for his own good, leaning into the delinquent persona harder than anyone would expect. But he's also exactly the kind of hero the world needs when Dio makes his dramatic return.
No nonsense. No distractions. Jotaro is here to put bad guys in the ground, making him one of the coolest anime characters—even if he has normal, boring black hair.
9. Ash Ketchum (Pokémon)
Pokémon continues to be one of the biggest media franchises of all time, with generations of gamers and anime fans growing up alongside the series (which started in 1997 and continues to this day).
Ash Ketchum was the protagonist of the Pokémon anime for more than 20 years before he finally stepped down in 2023, allowing the series to continue with Liko and Roy as the new protagonists.
The fact that Ash was the human face of the series for so long is a testament to just how iconic Ash was and will always be.
8. Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach)
Don't let her cute appearance fool you. Everything in Bleach starts because Rukia Kuchiki accidentally passes her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo—an illegal move that subjects her to punishment by execution.
But even without her powers, Rukia manages to be one of the most effective fighters in the anime.
With her guidance, she helped Ichigo grow into a force to be reckoned with. She's the reason he was even able to follow her to Soul Society and rescue her from her fated judgment.
All of that culminates in the kicking off of the anime's main plot arcs. Without Rukia, Bleach simply doesn't happen.
7. Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward Elric may be the protagonist, but he's also a handful—a brilliant teenage alchemist who needs a firm hand to guide him if he's to be successful.
And through most of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, the hand that guides him also happens to produce flames by snapping.
Roy Mustang—with his short black hair and dour personality—isn't always the good guy in Edward's life, but he's the one trying his best to look out for him.
Plus, who wouldn't love the ability to create raging infernos with the snap of our fingers? Roy has a coolness factor that makes him stand out, not only in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood but in all of anime.
6. L (Death Note)
Despite being the detective who's dedicated himself to stopping a supernatural killer, L is technically the antagonist of Death Note.
He's the world's greatest detective—who lives off of sugary snacks, sits in the most bizarre position we've ever seen, and has social grace equivalent to the most unpleasant gremlin. Plus, his unkempt black hair combined with his dark eyes and pale skin are unforgettable.
But he's a brilliant detective all the same, and he's the only one who can keep up with the unstoppable Light Yagami. There's a reason why he's a fan favorite character.
5. Kaguya Shinomiya (Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War)
In a war of love, you must use any and all tactics available to you to make your crush confess their love to you before they get you to confess first—and Kaguya Shinomiya has many weapons at her disposal.
Her cutthroat intellect and icy persona hide the fact that she wants to experience love, just like any teenager.
Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War is the perfect mix of heartfelt emotion and gut-busting humor, often at the same time. Right in the first season, you'll fall for Kaguya just as hard as we did.
4. Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)
I bet you can't think of another anime character who switches from happy-go-lucky to wrecking your day faster than Monkey D. Luffy.
The One Piece protagonist can stretch his body for miles and is always ready to throw down to keep his friends safe and to keep the people free from the oppressive One World government.
Monkey D. Luffy is the best kind of person to have as a friend and the worst kind to have as an enemy—and he has plain black hair because he has more than enough character without that extra color.
3. Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan)
Attack on Titan takes place in a grim world full of death and chaos with humanity on the brink of collapse, all because there are thousands of monstrous titans threatening to eat and crush every last one of them.
Mikasa Ackerman is one of the most capable titan-killing scouts remaining, having outlived many other titan-killing specialists with even more experience. She makes excellent use of her skills throughout the series, giving us all kinds of fist-pumping moments.
Mikasa is tough, ruthless, and dedicated to keeping her best friend Eren alive at all costs. In a show full of dramatic character moments, Mikasa is almost always at the heart of them.
2. Shigeo Kageyama (Mob Psycho 100)
Shigeo Kageyama is a young boy who struggles to stand out. Everyone calls him "Mob" because he always seems like a background NPC character, even in his own life.
However, Shigeo has unimaginable psychic powers—the kind that could level entire cities if he ever loses control.
Despite being the most powerful character in the show, Mob's story isn't about overcoming enemies. Instead, it's about trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do with his life.
Mob is one of the most relatable characters in anime history, plus he has a black-haired bowl cut—a hairstyle that doesn't really appear in anime, let alone in someone as important as the protagonist!
1. Goku (Dragon Ball)
There are few anime characters who are more iconic than Goku, the Saiyan who grew up on Earth and became the most powerful and most legendary mortal in existence.
His messy black hair has become instantly recognizable, and it remains just as iconic when he powers up and the color changes to gold or blue. Many who draw in anime style got their start by drawing Goku, which alone speaks to how renowned his hair is.
Goku isn't just an anime icon. He's become a pop culture phenomenon, appearing in ads all over the world and even soaring through New York in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Without question, Goku is chief among all the best anime characters with black hair—and I suspect he'll always be.