The 9 Most Heroic Anime Series With Brave and Selfless Characters

Few things are as uplifting as selfless bravery. These heroic animes represent the best of who we can be as people.
The 9 Most Heroic Anime Series With Brave and Selfless Characters

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Power, friendship, rivalry, and romance are common themes across all anime. But when an anime centers on heroic selflessness, there's more power in its narrative and character developments.

Sure, plenty of animes have heroic characters, but we're talking about animes that have a central thematic thesis about heroism. These often have many characters who are willing to sacrifice even their own lives and freedom for the sake of someone else.

But even among these heroic characters, there are many different archetypes and personalities, from overpowered ones who use their powers to save others to those who are weak yet still risk their own lives for the greater good.

Here are the best heroic animes with brave and selfless characters who exemplify themes of sacrifice and selflessness.

9. Yu Yu Hakusho (1992–1994)

The main character of Yu Yu Hakusho is a delinquent teenage boy named Yusuke Urameshi. From his description alone, you can pretty much tell that he's far from the heroic type.

However, the story really kicks off when he jumps in to save a boy from a speeding car—and dies. This heroic act earns him no place in either heaven or hell, so he's granted a second life by Koenma.

Upon returning back to life, he still possesses a love for brawls but now he's using his fist as a Spirit Detective, solving cases that involve demons and monsters that terrorize the human realm.

8. My Hero Academia (2016–Present)

My Hero Academia is a superhero anime full of heroic characters who use their Quirks (special powers) to fight crime and help people. However, protagonist Izuku Midoriya was born without a Quirk.

Despite being Quirkless, he jumps in to save his friend, Katsuki Bakugo, who's being held by a monster. His selfless action puts his life in grave danger, but also earns him the admiration of the Number 1 Hero, All Might, who decides to make him his successor.

As the story evolves, Izuku eventually becomes a vigilante who distances himself from those he loves, all to protect them from All for One.

7. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

Puella Magi Madoka Magica, like most magical girl animes, features themes of love, positivity, feminism, and friendship—so it's only natural to find selflessly brave characters in this story.

One of them is Madoka Kaname. Because of her kindness, she carries the burden of all the magical girls through her last wish, resulting in her sacrificing herself and everyone's memories of her.

6. Attack on Titan (2013–2023)

As you watch Attack on Titan, there comes a point when you aren't sure if Eren Yeager is a hero or a villain. Well, he's both!

Early in the series, we find him hating the titans and seeking revenge for how they killed and ate his mother when he was a kid. Later in the series, he develops darker motivations and a grimmer outlook on life, becoming a kind of villain to serve a more noble cause.

In the end, he wants to give his people the peace and freedom they've always longed for, even if it means sacrificing himself and everyone else in the world who gets in the way.

5. Hunter X Hunter (2011–2014)

The main characters of Hunter X Hunter each have their own goals and motivations for being licensed Hunters. Of them, Leorio's goal seems a bit shallow and selfish: he wants to make money and be rich.

However, he has a deeply sentimental reason for his seemingly selfish goals: all of that money is to help him become a doctor and fund the creation of a hospital for those who can't afford healthcare.

Leorio is just one of the many characters in Hunter X Hunter who are truly heroic and self-sacrificial, making this one of the more heroic animes worth watching.

4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009–2010)

The Elric brothers of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood have shown how selfless they are with each other. Early in the series, Edward sacrificed his arm to save his brother's life—by sealing his soul into a suit of armor.

In their fight against "Father," that same brother Alphonse sacrificed his own soul to transmute a real arm for Edward after he lost his mechanical arm in the chaos of the fight.

It's a deeply heroic moment as Alphonse could've had his real body back, yet disregarded the possibility so he could help his brother instead.

This kind of heroism is common throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which is widely regarded as one of the best animes ever.

3. Inuyashiki (2017)

Inuyashiki is based on a manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku. The main character is Inuyashiki Ichiro, who was deeply unwanted and looked down upon by his own family yet remained a selfless person (even though he reached the point of giving up).

However, when he's given a new lease on life as a sentient machine, he becomes an even greater person. While he could use his newly acquired powers for personal gain, he decides to be a hero for those in need.

Of course, things don't go smoothly for him because there's another one just like him—someone who uses his powers for evil. That foil goes a long way toward highlighting how heroic Inuyashiki really is.

2. Re:Zero (2016–Present)

Re:Zero is an isekai series that follows the story of Subaru Natsuki, a guy who's magically brought to another world.

In this world, he has the ability to return to life after dying (sort of immortality, but with a twist): he returns to a certain "restore point" wherein he is the only one who remembers everything before his death.

Though his main ability, Return by Death, has some drawbacks, he is always willing to jump and save anyone, especially Emilia. He'll do it again and again, even if he feels the pain of dying over and over.

1. Cardcaptor Sakura (1998–2000)

Here we have another magical girl anime, this time featuring the most iconic magical girl of all time: Sakura Kinemoto.

Cardcaptor Sakura follows Sakura after she accidentally unleashes a bunch of magical cards on the world. Now she's on a quest to retrieve the scattered Clow Cards with the help of Kero-chan and her fellow cardcaptor and rival-turned-lover Syaoran.

Sakura brims with positivity and love. She's a pure-hearted girl who showcases her selflessness toward others and even toward her enemies. Her heroic kindness makes her earn top spot on our list.