Dragon Ball Super continues with its next chapter in October, beginning a brand new arc after Granolah the Survivor. This series continues to prove to be one of the longest running series ever. Dragon Ball only began in 1984 and while it experienced a long dry spell without new material, Dragon Ball Super returned the series and revived the fanbase.
There is no doubt that the 80s had some of the most influential anime and anime characters of all time. Many fans like to consider characters like Goku as a blueprint for many of the newer main characters in shonen anime.
Ryo Saeba (City Hunter)
Ryo Saeba is the main character in City hunter, an anime series that ran from 1987-1988. Ryo is the founder of his organization called City Hunter, where he performs any task required of him.
Known for his expertise with a gun, he is able to land a hit exactly the way he wants it every time. He is also a skilled martial artist, and is one of the early action figures for Weekly Shonen Jump.
Pegasus Seiya (Saint Seiya)
Pegasus Seiya is the main character in Saint Seiyaa series with a fairly large franchise that goes somewhat unnoticed in the United States Saint Seiyaits first animated series originally ran from 1986-1989. Pegasus is the best character in the series and his character fits perfectly with what a knight should be.
He is chivalrous, kind, merciful, trustworthy and powerful. Pegasus has proven time and time again that he is one of the strongest of the Saints and the most skilled. While Saint Seiya and Pegasus have gone under the radar of many fans, chances are they’ve helped shape their favorite recent manga series or main character in some way.
D (Vampire Hunter D)
D is from a 1985 anime film called Vampire Hunter D, one of the best animated horror films. The franchise has a few games, and an anime, and is originally a popular novel series that is still being published. The 1985 film has mixed reviews, but it does a good job of showcasing D, the half-vampire, half-human called a dhampir.
He has many similarities to characters such as Geralt of Rivia Witcher. Both are beings with extraordinary skills that hunt monsters, and neither is accepted by human society either. D possesses a vast array of magical skills and also expert swordsmanship.
Joe Yabuki (Tomorrow’s Joe)
While Will to fight has become the most popular boxing anime, there’s no doubt about that Joe tomorrow Starring Joe Yabuki, it inspired it and many other boxing anime. This anime had two series with the first from 1970-1971 and the second from 1980-1981.
Joe’s character undergoes impressive character development from a criminal with no clear purpose to a man who loves boxing and grows to care for new friends around him. His boxing matches don’t always go the way fans might expect, and one in particular ends in a terrible outcome that makes Joe hesitate to enter a boxing match.
Yang Wen-li (Legend Of The Galactic Heroes)
Yang Wen-li is one of the two main characters The Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a massive anime series based on a novel series written by Yoshiki Tanaka. While the anime ran in the 80s and 90s, there is also a new series currently underway to remake the original series.
Yang Wen-li has a more laid-back personality than other admirals in the Free Planet Alliance, but he quickly proves to be the most valuable ally they had due to his quick thinking strategies and his ability to counter his rival, Kaiser Reinhard.
King Piccolo And Piccolo (Dragon Ball)
Piccolo and his father King Piccolo served as major antagonists in the original Dragon Ball series that ran from 1986 to 1989. The King Piccolo arc was the first arc where the heroes from Dragon Ball really started to die, creating a compelling and terrifying antagonist that completely changed the tone of the series.
Piccolo offered far more to the series than previous antagonists ever did, and his fights with Goku are some of Piccolo’s best fights in Dragon Ball. While Piccolo in the 90s is a hero, in the 80s he was a villain.
Kenshiro (Fist Of The North Star)
Kenshiro is the stoic protagonist of Fist of the North Star, the original animated series that aired from 1984-1988. He is a character that has influenced many popular protagonists such as Jonathan Joestar from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Guts from Berserk.
While Kenshiro is infamous for his pressure point techniques that cause bodies to explode, as well as his famous “You’re already dead” quote, he’s actually an incredibly heroic man with a good heart. His story to retrieve his girlfriend, Yuria is less a story of revenge and more of him persevering to save her.
Son Goku (Dragon Ball)
Son Goku is the main character in Dragon Ball and can arguably be considered the most inspiring anime character of all time. He is known for his worship of battle and cares far more about winning the battle rather than the actual stakes.
He will no doubt protect his friends and avenge them if necessary, but first and foremost he is a fighter. His trials in the original series are incredibly entertaining as fans watch his story shift from a comedic gag to a more serious hand-to-hand combat series that gave fans one of the best martial arts anime of all time.
Reinhard Von Lohengramm (Legend Of The Galactic Heroes)
Like Yang, Reinhard is one of the main characters in The Legend of the Galactic Heroes. He is a highly intelligent man who has used his mind to get him through the ranks of society, rather than his birthright. This took him as far as becoming the Emperor of the Galactic Universe.
He possesses the most intriguing history of the characters in the anime and is remarkably similar to Lelouch from Britannia Code Geass. Fans of Code Geass should definitely check out The Legend of the Galactic Heroes as well as those fans who like other anime with strategy and intrigue.
Raoh (Fist Of The North Star)
Raoh is one of the main antagonists of Fist of the North Star and is the eldest brother of the Hokuto Brothers, meaning he is Kenshiro’s brother. Raoh and Kenshiro’s rivalry alone is legendary, and many anime films still struggle to surpass it. Raoh seeks to conquer the world and find true strength.
The final battle between Raoh and Kenshiro saw the two warriors at their limits in strength to test who was truly worthy of being the successor to Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star). Raoh appears successfully in the series as a threatening and terrifying antagonist, while at the same time being a likable character with a genuinely exciting story. His dynamic with Kenshiro also helps make him the best character in the series.
NEXT: 10 Most Unlikely Allies in Shonen Anime