The 16 Best Anime Series With Human Vessels and Host Bodies

One of my favorite anime tropes is when a character is a vessel or host for another character. Here are some great examples!
The 16 Best Anime Series With Human Vessels and Host Bodies

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Relationships in anime aren't limited to friendships, rivalries, romances, and family. They can also be supernatural, with one form sharing their body with another, as if they were a vessel or host.

Human vessels and host bodies are basically the same trope, and it's a trope that can lend a lot to an anime's sense of worldbuilding, plot progression, and character development. When done right, it can make any series that much more interesting and engaging.

Here are my picks for the best anime series that involve characters who are human vessels and host bodies for other entities.

16. Naruto (2002)

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2002 to 2017

720 episodes (27 seasons)

7.99 on MAL

Naruto and Kurama are basically the poster children of this trope, with the orphan boy Naruto as the host in whom the demon fox Kurama is sealed. They are central to Naruto and Naruto Shippuden.

Because of all the damage and chaos wreaked by Kurama prior to being sealed away, everyone feared him. Now, because he's sealed within Naruto, everyone fears and despises Naruto as well.

The only good thing is that Kurama lends some of his massive chakra reserves to Naruto (because if Naruto dies, then Kurama also dies). Through this symbiotic relationship, Naruto grows into one of the strongest ninja in the world—and Kurama eventually grows fond of him.

15. Flame of Recca (1997)

Action, Adventure

Originally aired 1997 to 1998

42 episodes (1 season)

7.34 on MAL

In Flame of Recca, Recca Hanabishi uses the power of his "flame dragons," which seems like a simple element-manipulation ability. But there's a deeper story behind his powers—one where he's a human vessel.

Although it's not fully explored in the anime series, the backstory is that these flame dragons were once human beings and former clan leaders. Upon death, their spirits inhabit the next clan leader, bringing with them their abilities and expertise.

Recca, who was heir to the now perished Hokage clan, has the spirits of eight former clan leaders inside him, and he can tap into their powers—but he must first prove to them that he's worthy of it.

14. Bleach (2004)

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2004 to 2012

366 episodes (16 seasons)

7.92 on MAL

Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach is a human vessel-type character who was first introduced as just some guy. Through circumstance, he was turned into a Soul Reaper after Rukia Kuchiki gave him some of her power.

Ichigo's sword, called Zangetsu, has a spirit of its own. And while Ichigo isn't exactly a full-time vessel for Zangetsu (the sword is the spirit's host), Zangetsu does inhabit Ichigo's inner world.

Later, after the Hollowfication process, another entity comes to reside in his inner world: the Hollow Ichigo. Both entities in his inner world are his powers, giving him destructive abilities like Getsuga Tenshō and the badass Hollow Mask form.

13. Sword Gai: The Animation (2018)

Action, Supernatural

Originally aired 2018

24 episodes (2 seasons)

5.74 on MAL

Sword Gai: The Animation features cursed, sentient weapons that grant powers to whoever wields them... along with a never-ending thirst for battle and the desire to spill blood.

Any wielder who's overpowered by their cursed weapon ends up losing control of themself and turning into a Busoma. In short, they become the host of the spirit within the cursed weapon.

The protagonist, Gai Ogata, has his missing right arm replaced with a prosthetic arm forged from the cursed weapon, Shiryu. With this, he becomes the host of the cursed weapon and is now in a constant battle for his humanity and sanity against Shiryu and its bloodthirst.

12. Dota: Dragon's Blood (2021)

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2021 to 2022

24 episodes (3 seasons)

7.8 on IMDb

Dota: Dragon's Blood centers on the character of Dragon Knight Davion, who hunts dragons. But his fate changes one day when he encounters Eldwurm Slyrak, who merges his soul with the Dragon Knight's soul.

With his newfound dragon powers, Davion must go on an adventure to defeat the villainous Terrorblade, who's hunting dragons and collecting their souls to achieve a most sinister plan.

11. Shaman King (2021)

Action, Adventure, Supernatural

Originally aired 2021 to 2022

52 episodes (1 season)

6.89 on MAL

Shaman King revolves around Shamans, who are human beings that can fuse with ghosts (known as their Guardian Spirits). When under the Spirit Fusion technique, the Shaman becomes the vessel for the Guardian Spirit. Or, in other words, possessed.

As in other anime series where hosts gain powers from the entities sealed within them, Shamans also gain powers from their Guardian Spirits. However, the Guardian Spirits aren't always locked within their Shamans, which is a unique spin on the human vessel character trope.

In the case of Yoh Asakura, he not only befriends his Guardian Spirit called Amidamaru but treats him as a friend whom he can rely on. They learn to trust each other, which makes them even more powerful.

10. Jujutsu Kaisen (2020)

Action, Fantasy, School

Originally aired 2020 to 2023

47 episodes (2 seasons)

8.62 on MAL

Yuji Itadori of Jujutsu Kaisen is a high school student who ends up eating a cursed finger and becomes host to Ryomen Sukuna, the cursed spirit who was once King of Curses over a millennium ago.

Unlike other host bodies who simply tap into their guest's powers, Yuji actually switches places with Sukuna and gives him direct control over his body. (And whenever Sukuna takes over, markings appear across his physical appearance.)

However, there are also moments when Sukuna emerges on his own—by forming a mouth and eyes on Yuji's skin—to talk to people.

9. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (2018)

Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai

Originally aired 2018 to 2021

48 episodes (2 seasons)

8.14 on MAL

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is one of the better known isekai anime series, featuring a protagonist who's killed in his world and then magically transported to a different world.

To be reincarnated as a slime.

But thanks to the Predator skill he gains during his transition of worlds, Satoru now has the ability to absorb the properties, skills, and attributes of anything he consumes and make them his own.

One such meal was his sworn brother, the Storm Dragon Veldora, who willingly let himself be consumed in the hopes of getting free from being sealed. Since then, Veldora resides in Satoru's body and grants him the attributes and powers of the Storm Dragon.

8. Devilman Crybaby (2018)

Action, Horror, Supernatural

Originally aired 2018

10 episodes (1 season)

7.76 on MAL

Devilman Crybaby features a world where demons are on the brink of taking over, and they do so by possessing human beings and making them experience agony, trauma, and insanity.

Unfortunately for these demons, there are people who are able to overcome the possession and recover control of themselves.

One such person is Akira Fudo, who manages to overpower the devil who possesses his body. In doing so, he becomes a "devilman" that can retain his own consciousness and bodily control while also having access to the powers of the devil Amon within him.

7. Parasyte: The Maxim (2014)

Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

Originally aired 2014 to 2015

24 episodes (1 season)

8.34 on MAL

In Parasyte: The Maxim, parasitic aliens have invaded the world and spread by eating human brains and taking over their bodies.

Shinichi Izumi, one of the infected, manages to stop his alien parasite from traveling to his brain—by trapping it in his hand.

Now, his possessed right hand is sentient, able to communicate, and acts on its own. Not only is it smart, Migi (the name he gives to his parasite-controlled hand) can morph into deadly blades and cause harm.

Together, Shinichi and Migi must now work together to survive in a world where their enemies are disguised as humans.

6. Black Clover (2017)

Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Originally aired 2017 to 2021

170 episodes (4 seasons)

8.14 on MAL

In Black Clover, the human vessel trope is used in a truly extraordinary way. As it turns out, the source of Asta's Anti-Magic is the grimoire that contains a sealed Liebe—the very same grimoire Asta acquires.

Because he's magicless, Asta is suitable as a host for the Anti-Magic as there would be no side effects for him. The devil within the grimoire can channel Anti-Magic into him, for use in battle and otherwise.

The human vessel trope is also used in more traditional ways as well, like with the Devil Binding Ritual and Devil Assimilation.

5. My Hero Academia (2016)

Action, School, Superhero

Originally aired 2016 to 2023

138 episodes (6 seasons)

7.87 on MAL

Now that the true nature of the One For All Quirk has been fully revealed, My Hero Academia absolutely makes sense as part of this list!

The series follows the story of Izuku Midoriya, who goes from being a Quirkless young boy to becoming the 9th wielder of the special Quirk called One For All, inherited from All Might.

Early in the series, this Quirk only allows him to throw destructive punches that are hundreds or thousands of times more powerful than his normal punches. However, housed within the Quirk are the life forces and Quirk Factors of all former wielders.

This secret aspect allows Midoriya to communicate with the souls residing in an inner plane with—and use their Quirks. The former wielders, on the other hand, can guide and help Midoriya in his battle against the formidable All For One.

4. Hell Teacher Nūbē (1996)

Adventure, Comedy, Horror, Romance

Originally aired 1996 to 1997

49 episodes (1 season)

7.56 on MAL

Hell Teacher Nūbē is a classic anime series that's still worth watching. It follows the story of Meisuke Nueno, a teacher and exorcist who fights supernatural beings that terrorize the human realm.

Aside from the artifacts and talismans he uses for his exorcisms, he can also ward them off using his demonic left hand (hidden within his black gloves). However, this left hand isn't his own. It belongs to the devil named Bakki that's sealed in him.

Nueno can tap into this sealed power source, but there's a risk: he's lose control if he uses too much of the demon's power, turning his body into that of the demon, starting with his hands and arms.

3. Yu-Gi-Oh! (1998)

Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Originally aired 1998

27 episodes (1 season)

7.23 on MAL

Yu-Gi-Oh! is an anime adaptation of the manga series of the same name, which spawned the famous card game that follows the same rules and mechanics of the game in the story.

It revolves around Yugi Mutou, who, after solving a mysterious puzzle, becomes host to an ancient spirit. Using the Millennium Puzzle, Yugi and the spirit in him (known as Dark Yugi) can switch places and take control of the body while the other watches from inside.

They cleverly exploit this during one match against an opponent who can read minds (using the Millennium Eye). Yugi and Dark Yugi constantly switch places to confuse the opponent's reads.

2. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations (2017)

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Originally aired 2017 to 2023

293 episodes (1 season)

6.03 on MAL

Much like its predecessor, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations features the human vessel trope. However, this time, instead of it being a Tailed Beast, it's Momoshiki Otsutsuki who's sealed in Boruto using Karma.

Karma is deeper and darker than the original Tailed Beasts. Although both offer power boosts to the host, Karma is used to revive fallen Otsutsuki members. In Boruto's case, it was Momoshiki who placed a seal before he perished.

Over time, Karma unseals the building blocks of the original Otsutsuki member: their abilities, powers, attributes, and even genetic makeup. It keeps progressing until they're fully revived using the body as their vessel, meaning the vessel will eventually become the Otsutsuki.

1. Chainsaw Man (2022)

Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Originally aired 2022

12 episodes (1 season)

8.58 on MAL

Tatsuki Fujimoto's Chainsaw Man has seriously stirred up the anime community with its simple yet interesting story that's pretty much overflowing with blood and gore.

It follows the story of Denji, a man who encounters the Chainsaw Devil in a weakened state. Feeling compassionate about the situation, he ends up adopting him and treating him like a pet.

Denji and the devil (now named Pochita) grow fond of each other and eventually become friends. However, after Denji's untimely death, Pochita merges with his body and becomes his heart.

The catch? Pochita's contract with Denji comes with a condition: Denji must live his life and fulfill his dreams. Not only is this contract pretty tame, the power he acquires as the Chainsaw Devil hybrid is badass!