The assassin is a figure shrouded in mystery, who's hired to murder on behalf of others while operating outside the usual laws of society. All of that makes assassins so compelling right from the start.
They're able to sneak around corners and dispose of well-guarded men with ease, calculation, and precision. Regardless of their weapon of choice may be, silence and success are of key importance.
Anime is full of assassins, but there's often more to these characters than first meets the eye. When we're able to peek through their shrouds, we see depth that makes them even more intriguing.
Here are our picks for the best anime with assassins that stand out, from long-time classics to popular modern hits.
10. Akame ga Kill!
Originally aired 2014
24 episodes (1 season)
When Tatsumi travels to his country's capital city to raise money for his poor village, he finds more problems there than he had at home.
Things become especially complicated when Night Raid, a group of assassins that are determined to bring down the corrupt government, enlist him to help them in their endeavors.
While there, he meets none other than Akame, one of the best sword-wielding assassins in all the land. That alone makes Akame ga Kill! worthy of inclusion in any list about assassin animes.
9. Assassins Pride
Originally aired 2019
12 episodes (1 season)
Kufa Vampir is not your average assassin. He has a conscience that causes him to abandon a mission of vital importance, which puts his life in danger in the process.
When given the task of killing Melida Angel—the heiress of a noble house—he decides that he doesn't want to. Instead, he reasons that he will train her to become an assassin instead.
However, his decision to abandon his mission puts them both in harm's way as they must constantly fight off other assassins who are sent to kill them both. Assassins Pride is a riveting story full of action!
8. Rurouni Kenshin
Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romance
Originally aired 1996 to 1998
94 episodes (3 seasons)
Rurouni Kenshin was once a talented assassin who even had tales that told of his bravery, efficiency, and skill.
After becoming disillusioned by the amount of blood he's spilled over the years, he changes things up and strives to live a life of peace.
Now traveling as a wandering samurai, it won't be long until his sword is needed once again—this time, however, he wields it for good.
Rurouni Kenshin is a classic anime series that's super engaging as it wrestles with themes of regret and redemption. If you haven't seen it yet, it holds up well and is definitely worth watching.
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Originally aired 2002 to 2017
720 episodes (27 seasons)
While Naruto is technically about ninjas, many of the ninjas that feature throughout the series are essentially assassins.
Naruto follows the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a twelve-year-old ninja in search of purpose. He desires to become the Hokage in order to earn the respect and admiration of his fellow villagers—who hate and fear him because the destructive Nine-Tailed Beast is sealed within him.
The path to Hokage is long and fraught with peril, including all kinds of assassins who want to kill him or those close to him. There are even dedicated assassin organizations like Anbu!
6. Black Cat
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Originally aired 2005 to 2006
23 episodes (1 season)
"I've come to deliver some bad luck..."
These are the last words often heard by victims of Train Heartnet before they meet death. In Black Cat, protagonist Train is the bringer of death.
At the start of this series, Train is far from what you'd consider to be a "good person." He's a talented (and enthusiastic) murderer who's part of the elite assassin organization called Chronos Numbers.
However, when he's recruited by a beautiful girl to work a heist with her, he begins to question some of the things he's always taken for granted—and he eventually withdraws from the assassin group.
Will Train be able to redeem himself for all the horrible acts he's committed? What will his life look like now that he's no longer an assassin but instead a bounty hunter?
5. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
Action, Adventure, Supernatural
Originally aired 2012 to Present
190 episodes (5 seasons)
With almost 200 episodes aired so far, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is one of the most binge-worthy shows on this list.
Though there are all kinds of killers and criminals throughout the entire show, I'm focusing specifically on "Part 7: Steel Ball Run" where we get to see several assassins come out of the woodwork.
These assassins are powerful, mystical, and possess unique special abilities. For example, Risotto Nero—the leader of a group of assassins—can control iron if it's close enough to him, making him a formidable opponent for anyone wielding metal weapons.
4. Death Note
Mystery, Supernatural, Suspense
Originally aired 2006 to 2007
37 episodes (1 season)
Death Note is easily one of the best anime series ever made. It's intelligent, cerebral, and layered with phenomenal writing. Plus, the main character is a cold-blooded, psychopathic killer.
While he isn't trained as an assassin per se, Light Yagami is a high school student who has the ability to kill anyone at will—as long as he knows their name and face. He uses this ability quite frequently, so for us that's enough to count him as an assassin!
A superb series that examines morality and questions of ethics, Death Note is an anime everyone should watch at least once.
3. Darker Than Black
Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Originally aired 2007
25 episodes (1 season)
Darker Than Black only ran for a single season, but that makes it the absolute definition of quality over quantity.
An aberration in the universe causes space-time breaks, first in South America and again in Tokyo. The result? People with special abilities—known only as Contractors—begin to appear.
These Contractors, who have no emotions alongside their unique powers, are especially adept at murder-for-hire.
In Darker Than Black, protagonist Hei has the power to conduct electricity, making him a particularly dangerous assassin. In fact, you might even say he has an advantage over his competitors.
2. Assassination Classroom
Action, Comedy, School
Originally aired 2015 to 2016
47 episodes (2 seasons)
The title of Assassination Classroom alone is an instant attention-grabber, but beneath that is a plot that'll have you hooked.
Assassination Classroom centers on a class of outcast students who are being trained to kill the very person teaching them. If they can't manage to do that within a year, it could mean the end of the world.
Korosensei is the mysterious and charming teacher of Class 3-E, but don't let his pleasant demeanor fool you. He was the deadliest assassin in the entire world—until an experiment gone awry turned him into an invincible octopod who can move at supersonic speeds.
For the students in his class, it may be difficult to overlook the fact that the man they're tasked with assassinating actually possesses a heart of gold. As a result, Assassination Classroom is a fun show with lots of twists and many great characters.
1. Hunter X Hunter
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Originally aired 2011 to 2014
148 episodes (6 seasons)
Hunter X Hunter is a classic shonen anime that delivers thrills, excitement, and several assassin characters to boot.
When Gon Freecss discovers that his father is actually alive, he's ecstatic! And when he discovers that his father is also a Hunter—an elite member of society who performs dangerous missions—he's amazed.
But he doesn't know where his father is. In order to track him down, he must first become a Hunter himself.
Along the way, he'll come across several deadly assassins, including Killua Zoldyck (the most talented killer in a family of assassins) and Illumi Zoldyck (his older-but-just-as-murderous brother).
The Zoldycks are just one of the many elements that make Hunter X Hunter not just one of the best anime with assassins but one of the greatest anime series worth watching.