Brown hair might feel like the default for anime, but that doesn't mean brown-haired characters are boring. Far from it!
Instead of fading into the background, these anime characters often outshine their more visually spectacular peers in the best ways.
It takes a lot to stand out amongst the many special character designs in anime, but everyone on this list manages to hold their own.
Here are our picks for the best anime characters with brown hair, from heroes to villains to side characters who steal the show!
12. Seto Kaiba (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
No hero can exist without a worthy rival, which is exactly what Seto Kaiba becomes to young Yugi Muto when the iconic dueling anime Yu-Gi-Oh! first hit the screen.
While Yugi's opponent would change throughout the years, Seto—and his Blue-Eyes White Dragon cards—would remain one of the most popular characters on the show.
11. Osamu Dazai (Bungo Stray Dogs)
Everyone in Bungo Stray Dogs has an unusual and unique power, but Osamu Dazai is in a class all his own.
With nothing more than the touch of his hand, he can completely negate the abilities of other people. This makes him a key member of the Armed Detective Agency.
Though he works to solve crimes that are too strange or dangerous for normal police to solve, he still doesn't share details of his past or his true objectives with his teammates.
All in all, Osamu Dazai is one of the most mysterious and dangerous brown-haired anime characters out there.
10. Shinichi Kudo (Case Closed)
What do you get when you take the mind of a brilliant teenage detective and put it into the body of a child? Some awkward romance plots, yes, but also one of the most enduring anime series of all time.
Shinichi Kudo may look like an unassuming kid with brown hair, but he's become one of the most iconic anime characters of all time. He's incredibly smart and able to solve cases that no one else can.
Case Closed (also known as Detective Conan) has been going strong for over 30 years and shows no signs of slowing down. If you haven't seen this legendary anime yet, what are you waiting for?
9. Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)
Many anime series are known for their redemption arcs, but what about a corruption arc? Now that's fresh!
Eren Yeager starts out as the hopeful and ambitious protagonist of Attack on Titan, but by the end of the show, it becomes clear that there's something much darker to him that slowly unravels.
Because we've been there with him from the start—ever since he was just a kid—watching his descent into evil feels surprisingly organic, natural, and heartbreaking for everyone around him.
8. Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte: The Maxim)
Shinichi Izumi of Parasyte: The Maxim is actually two protagonists in two—because something else lives within him.
Shinichi was just a high school student when the world was invaded by strange alien parasites that burrow into human brains to take over their bodies, minds, and actions.
He's actually victim of one of these parasites, but he manages to confine it to only his right hand. As a result, his hand now has a mind of its own, and it can even shapeshift into weapons as needed.
Shinichi and his parasitic right hand—named Migi—learn to work together to fend off other attacking aliens, and eventually even come to develop a frienship with each other.
7. Tai Kamiya (Digimon Adventure)
As the bearer of the Crest of Courage, Tai Kamiya forms part of the heart of the original Digimon Adventure anime series.
With his messy brown hair and headstrong attitude, he's one of the leaders of the DigiDestined and one of the most iconic characters in the show along with his partner Agumon.
Digimon Adventure was great for many reasons, including how great it was to watch this young boy grow into a mature, confident person by the time his adventure comes to an end.
6. Ochaco Uraraka (My Hero Academia)
While My Hero Academia focuses pretty heavily on Izuku Midoriya and his male classmates, one of the biggest standout characters has always been Ochaco Uraraka, better known by her hero name, Uravity.
She's capable of disabling gravity's effects on anyone or anything she touches, which can be quite useful when creatively used.
As more than just the love interest of Izuku, she gives the show much-needed depth beyond the endless action and high school antics. My Hero Academia would fall much flatter without her.
5. Neji Hyuga (Naruto)
When Neji Hyuga is first introduced in Naruto, he has such a huge chip on his shoulder and such an inflated superiority complex that he makes it impossible to like him.
Brimming with resentment and condescension, he looks down on everyone due to his powerful ocular jutsu and combat abilities.
However, he slowly grows on us as we learn about the harsh upbringing that he endures, the tragic backstory that stains his clan, and the steps he takes to atone for his past actions.
Neji's character growth and development is what makes his selfless sacrifice during the climax of Naruto Shippuden one of the most emotional moments in the entire show.
4. Duo Maxwell (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing)
The Gundam franchise is one of the most influential anime series in history, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is generally considered to be a high point for the entire series.
In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Duo Maxwell is one of several teenagers assigned to pilot the giant mobile suits and battle against other powerful mechs.
While he's fairly happy-go-lucky on the surface, his upbeat attitude actually hides Duo's complex and tragic backstory.
3. Sōsuke Aizen (Bleach)
Not every great brown-haired anime character on this list is a good guy, and why should they be? There are plenty of great villains with brown hair throughout anime history.
Case in point: Sōsuke Aizen, who serves as the main antagonist throughout much of Bleach's impressive run. In fact, he's the show's central villain during the best Bleach arcs.
Aizen is ruthless and violent, with radical beliefs and a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. Bleach rapidly went downhill once Ichigo finally managed to take Aizen down, and that's because Aizen was such a great character overall.
2. Light Yagami (Death Note)
What would you do if you could wield the power of a death god? If you could kill anyone whenever you wished, however you wished, no matter where they were, all by scribbling in a book?
In Death Note, Light Yagami quickly answers that question by attempting to reshape the world—by indiscriminately killing off criminals, regardless of their crimes. Oh, and he also eradicates anyone foolish enough to get in his way.
Light Yagami is definitely not a good guy, which is one of the reasons why Death Note was so praised. He's a fascinating example of an anime where the protagonist is actually the villain.
1. Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Our pick for the greatest brown-haired anime character of all time might also be one of the most tragic.
In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji Ikari is the pilot of Evangelion Unit-01 and is tasked with fighting the celestial monsters known as Angels, who are threatening to destroy humanity.
Few characters are more tortured than Shinji, both by the burden of protecting mankind and by the existential crisis brought on by the very existence of these Angels.
Shinji Ikari is the perfect protagonist for one of the darkest and most complex anime series ever produced, and he doesn't need any flashy hair colors. Brown is more than enough.