In anime, a character is only as good as their powers and personality and of course – their hair. If you think about it for a moment, some of the most popular anime characters are usually those with the most exciting hair. Whether it’s spiky, wavy, dreaded, black, brown, or blue, an anime character’s hair can be a defining trait that helps them stand out amongst their peers. But none are rarer than the infamous white hair.
Throughout anime history, many white-haired protagonists have made a substantial mark on anime culture. Most are immediately recognizable by fans, but some may not have the same prestige, even if they’re more powerful or likable on paper. But which ones are the best? In case you’re not familiar with such characters, we’ve got a list of the best white-haired anime characters you to think about.
Ah yes, the Jiraiya the Pervy Sage. In Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, Jiraiya Sensei was Naruto’s mentor for the formative years of Naruto’s life. He’s the one responsible for teaching Naruto’s most well-known jutsu, the Rasengan. He also introduced Naruto to Sage Mode–a jutsu that uses natural energy to empower its user. One of the Legendary Sannin (a trio of students of the third Hokage), Jiraiya was a master ninja who spent a lot of adult life roaming the land and visiting brothels, all while he secretly wrote a novel about the hero Naruto was to become eventually. Finally, he gave his life to defend the Leaf Village from Akatsuki leader Pain, and to this day, his sacrifice is one of the saddest in Naruto history. Warm, funny, and caring, Jiraiya was one of the most memorable white-haired characters in anime so far.
9) Ken Kaneki
Even though he’s on this list for the best white-haired characters, Tokyo Ghoul‘s Ken Kaneki didn’t always have white hair. Before becoming the famous One-Eyed Ghoul, Ken Kaneki was a weak, black-haired bookish college student who had never been in a fight. It wasn’t until after he was infused with a Ghoul’s kakuhou (magical organ) and later on tortured by Yamori that his hair turned white, and he fully embraced that powerful Ghoul side that fans have come to love. Since then, Ken has grown from a shy, bookish boy into a quiet young man whose intelligence has helped him become a lead Ghoul investigator in the CCG and one of the strongest Ghouls in the series. As the protagonist of one of the most popular anime in the modern era, Ken Kaneki is hands-down one of the best white-haired anime characters to date.
8) Soul Evans
It’s been a long time since anyone has spoken about Atsushi Okubo’s Soul Eater, but it would be plain wrong if Soul Evans this list didn’t include Soul Evans. Soul, or “Soul Eater” as he was sometimes called, could turn into a weapon known as a demon scythe that his Meister – Maka Albarn – would use to incapacitate their opponents expertly. Drawn like a character out of the animated band Gorillaz, Soul’s punk-rockish style and drive to absorb 99 souls to become a full-fledged death scythe made him a popular protagonist character among fans. His white, spiky hair and jagged teeth gave him the look of the anti-hero despite his fierce determination to fully support Maka and his friends. Cool, intense, and a bit of a badass, it’s a no-brainer that Soul deserves his spot on this list.
7) Shoto Todoroki
Just like Ken Kaneki, My Hero Academia’s Shoto Todoroki is a special case. As a mixed breed of Quirks, Shoto’s hair has both red and white hair to signify his dual powers of fire and ice. The quiet and cool-tempered son of the new Number One Hero Endeavor, Shoto is considered one of the most promising students at U.A. High. Over the last few years, Shoto’s popularity has grown to astronomical heights in the anime community as the character has been featured heavily in numerous cosplays and memes on Instagram. So yeah, I think it’s safe to say fans would be heartbroken if he weren’t somewhere on this list.
We can’t forget about the OG. The white-haired half-demon’s influence on modern-day anime culture is as significant as Dragon Ball Z’s. For example, his katana, Tessaiga, was one of the first transforming swords in anime, way before the appearance of Zanpuktos in Tite Kubo’s Bleach. I would even go so far as to say that it heavily influenced the appearance of Ichigo Kurosaki’s Zangetsu.
Usually hostile and defensive, Inuyasha’s character development into a hero was probably one of the best in anime. Moreover, the Inuyasha series was so good that author Katsuyuki Sumisawa continued the story with his daughter, Moroha, in 2020’s Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon which premieres its second season sometime in October of this year. For his contribution alone to the new age of anime, old man Inuyasha deserves top billing as one the best white-haired anime characters of all time.
5) Killua Zoldyck
Personally, Killua is one of my favorite characters from Yoshiro Togashi’s Hunter X Hunter series. As the third child to a family of assassins, Killua Zoldyck left home to become a Rookie Hunter in rebellion against his lineage and became best friends with the series’ main protagonist, Gon Freeces. A force to be reckoned with, Killua’s mastery of the martial arts and his genius-level maturity for one so young quickly made him a star with anime fans worldwide. With an array of abilities, numerous combat techniques, and a quick analytical wit, Killua is one of the strongest on this list of white-haired characters.
4) Toshiro Hitsugaya
A heavy favorite from Tite Kubo’s Bleach series, Toshio Hitsugaya is the 10th Division captain of the Gotei 13 organization, also known as Soul Reapers. The child prodigy was the youngest to become a captain in the Gotei 13, and his Zanpukto, Hyorinmaru, is “literally” one of the coolest weapons in the series. Like Hunter X Hunter’s Killua, Toshiro is quite mature for his age and is often depicted as taking his Soul Reaper duties very seriously. Thanks to his boyish face, snow-white hair, and turquoise eyes, Toshiro instantly became popular with the anime community’s fans. However, don’t let the fact that he looks like a 14-year old kid fool you, this young man is over a hundred years old and has existed longer than your grandmother. Another inspiration for many gender-bent cosplays on the Internet, it would just be plain weird if Toshiro Hitsugaya’s name wasn’t also on this list.
3) Toaru Majutsu
In terms of power, A Certified Accelerator’s Toaru Majutsu is probably one of the strongest white-haired characters on this list. A major recurring character in the Certain Magical Index series, Toaru Majutsu is Academy City’s strongest esper and, at one time, one of the city’s dangerous villains. But just like the Sasukes and Vegetas before him, Toaru has grown out of his villainy to become one of the more intriguing anti-heroes in modern-day anime. Still very much cold, calculated, and ruthless to the core, Toaru is just one of anime’s newest bad boys to hit the scene.
2) Satoru Gojo
Thanks to the immense popularity of Jujutsu Kaisen, Satoru Goju has undoubtedly solidified his spot as one of the most popular white-haired characters in the past few years. Satoru has impressed many viewers with his unholy amounts of cursed energy and powerful fighting techniques as one of the strongest jujutsu sorcerers in the series. And after he revealed those light blue eyes from under that blindfold, the mysterious teacher from the Tokyo Metropolitan Curse Technical School has also become a major heartthrob for the fans. Cool, cocky, and damn near invincible, Satoru is the latest newcomer to rank high on this list.
1) Sho Kusakabe
Weirdly, no one seems to talk about this guy. Ever since Fire Force came out, a lot of the attention was focused on the main protagonist Shinra Kusakabe – y’know, that guy with that evil, crooked smile and fire-wielding feet – and the ragtag band of pyrokinetics of Special Fire Force Company 8. His brother, Sho Kusakabe, is the one who should have his own show. As the young commander of the White Clad’s elite faction, The Knights of Ashen Flame, Sho is a cold and ruthless white-haired boy whose ability to slow time makes him a dangerous opponent. Combined with his expert katana skills, he’s the next in line of anime super swordsmen that are going to be exciting to watch, no matter what path he chooses to take. Whether he remains a villain or chooses to be a hero, Sho Kusakabe is definitely going to down in history as one of the best white-haired anime characters of the modern age.