In anime, hair can represent lots of things. When Saiyans power up in Dragon Ball Z, their hair grows longer and changes color. When Ken Kaneki embraced his ghoul side in Tokyo Ghoul, his hair turned white to symbolize that character development.
And then you have bald anime characters. These poor guys have to resort to other methods when expressing who they are.
But baldness itself can be indicative of awesome character traits. For example, it can show experience and mastery that comes with old age, with bald characters often being respectable masters.
Here are my picks for the best bald anime characters and what it is that makes each one so fascinating or lovable.
10. Hanamichi Sakuragi (Slam Dunk)
Hanamichi Sakuragi is one of the powerhouses of the Shohoku Basketball team. But before he became one of the starting five, he was a total noob who had no interest in playing basketball.
His views about the game changed after meeting Haruko Akagi. She became Sakuragi's motivation, after which he joined the team.
Early in Slam Dunk, Hanamichi had a thick pompadour hairstyle (commonly used in anime to depict delinquent students). After their match against Kainan, he shaved his head into a semi-bald cut.
9. Ikkaku Madarame (Bleach)
Ikkaku Madarame is a Gotei 13 Lieutenant of the 11th Division under the leadership of Captain Kenpachi Zaraki.
Much like his captain, Ikkaku is a battle-hungry individual who has trained himself to being quite strong. We witness that with our own eyes when he busts out his crazy Bankai. He also happens to be bald.
Ikkaku's clean-shaved head doesn't hold much meaning, but Yachiru has several nicknames for him, including "pinball head" and others.
8. Doppo Orochi (Baki the Grappler)
Doppo Orochi is one of the best fighters in the Baki the Grappler series, a true beast of his art.
He's the grandmaster of the Shinshinkai Karate School, though he left the school in the hands of his adopted son after he was defeated in the Underground Arena.
He's a skilled fighter, able to put up a fight even after his hand was cut off at the wrist. Unlike Shibukawa (a fellow master who looks like a weak old man), Doppo Orochi is huge, buff, and intimidating.
7. Master Roshi (Dragon Ball)
Master Roshi trained many of the characters in the Dragon Ball series, including Goku and Krillin. He's also the creator of the Kamehameha Wave, which later became Goku's signature move.
While Goku eventually grows to be far more powerful than him, Master Roshi is still revered as his master. And despite his age, Master Roshi had a spot as one of the Universe 7 fighters in the Tournament of Power.
What makes him so cool is that even though he's mortal, he can use an Ultra Instinct-like move, which he showed Goku when he fought Jiren (manga only). In the anime, he uses this move against Ganos.
6. Krillin (Dragon Ball)
Krillin is another baldy from the Dragon Ball series. His clean-shaven head with the six dots—making him look like a monk—is now iconic.
Though he also trained with Goku under Master Roshi, he wasn't able to keep up with Goku's incredible developments. As a result, Krillin has long been underrated and even ignored.
But Krillin is far from weak. Despite being human, he put up a good fight against many enemies, including some from the Tournament of Power. Even Goku acknowledges his strength when they exchange bouts!
5. Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang is a young monk from the peaceful race of Air Nomads. When he learned that he was the Avatar, he ran away from home and his responsibilities.
As the Avatar, he has an affinity to all four elements despite being an Air Nomad. Throughout the series, he learns the various bending arts with the help of other characters, including Katara and Toph.
The thing is, he looks young but he's actually 112 years old! He ran away at the age of 12, then was stuck in a state of suspended animation inside an iceberg for 100 years before Katara and Sokka found him.
Bald anime characters are usually old, but Aang breaks the mold as a bald kid—probably because Avatar: The Last Airbender is American.
4. Isaac Netero (Hunter X Hunter)
Isaac Netero is the 12th chairman of the Hunter Association and is probably the most powerful Hunter to ever live—not just because of his raw strength, but also for his connections beyond Hunter society.
At his prime, he trained himself to perfection and developed the ability to throw strikes so fast that no one can react in time. Combined with his golden Nen avatar, he can deliver a smackdown on anyone.
Though his final battle cost him his life, he was still able to hold his ground against Meruem, the strongest creature in the series.
3. Zeus (Record of Ragnarok)
Zeus is chief of the Olympian Gods in the Record of Ragnarok series. Initially appearing as a hugely buff old man, he later turned into a fragile-looking geezer after his fight with Adam.
Despite appearing so weak that he couldn't stand or hold his head high, Zeus remains feared by many gods and humans. His aura says it all and him being bald makes him that much more menacing.
2. Saitama (One Punch Man)
Saitama, also known by his hero name Caped Baldy, is the strongest hero in the series, able to eliminate threats with just a single punch and emerge victorious in battle unscathed.
Though he's the one who does most of the hard work, all the merits are given to other heroes, which Saitama never contests.
While only a handful of characters know about his destructive powers, not much is known about how he became so powerful. Some "fan theories" say that he traded his hair for power.
1. Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto (Bleach)
Captain Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto is among the highest Soul Reaper authorities, the head of the Gotei 13 in Soul Society.
He's a bald old man with long gray hair for his eyebrows and beard. Despite his fragile appearance, he hides a well-built body beneath all that loose clothing—a body that's adorned with all kinds of battle scars that prove how much experience and toughness he has.
His power is so immense that unleashing it wouldn't just pose a threat to his enemy but to huge sections of Soul Society. A single slash from his Bankai can obliterate targets—mere contact with the tip of his blade can tear you asunder and leave nothing behind.