After the success of Marvel’s recent movie franchises, Thanos can be considered the most popular and iconic fictional villain in the past decade.
And you have to admit, the Mad Titan deserved all the clout he rightfully got.
We rarely get to see an antagonist as well-written as him on the silver screen – especially when it comes to baddies in superhero movies.
Much of this praise stems mostly from his effectiveness as a villain. Namely how much of a threat he is to the heroes, and how overwhelming his strength is.
And on that note, let’s see which anime characters would do well fighting Thanos one-on-one.
10. Saiki Kusuo
Anime: Saiki Kusuo no Sai Nan
The first character in our list is none other than the most powerful esper in anime himself — Saiki Kusuo.
It’s a testament to the Mad Titan’s power that you see Saiki this early in the list.
Though as seen in Endgame where Wanda Maximoff almost solo’d Thanos by herself, it’s plain to see why Saiki – who has just about the same abilities as her – would have a chance against a fully-powered Thanos.
Though if all else fails, this guy can also go back in time to redo the battle all over again.
And we have to remember that in the MCU, time travel was what started the Mad Titan’s demise in the first place.
Anime: One Punch Man
Saitama is the only character on this list who’s not near godlike, though he’s still included for good reason.
While this is somewhat arguable, Saitama can be considered to be part of that very exclusive group of “gag characters” in anime.
Gag characters (for the most part) are virtually undefeatable, in the sense that they can’t be affected by the conflicts in their respective series.
All for the sake of the laughs, of course.
In some way, we can even consider Saitama a near-abstract entity that embodies the concept of victory and power, as he hasn’t lost a battle so far even against god-like enemies.
8. Usagi Tsukino
Anime: Sailor Moon
Believe it or not, Usagi isn’t the only magical girl on this list.
This only shows how overpowered these cutesy unassuming characters can be.
After all, who’d expect someone who fights with the power of “love and justice” on their side can absolutely trash more than half of all the overpowered characters in anime?
I mean, this girl could even destroy galaxies effortlessly for heaven’s sake!
Forget base Thanos, there’s no doubt in my mind that Usagi will give even a version of him with the Infinity Gauntlet on a very, very tough time.
Anime: Death Note
For the 7th spot, we have our first actual abstract/god-like entity in Ryuk — the apple-loving deuteragonist of Death Note.
Ryuk is a Shinigami that exists beyond the material plane and is an entity that presides over death and the afterlife.
Every single death caused by Kira can be attributed to Ryuk’s ability to kill anyone in the material plane.
And while it’s unclear whether this same ability works against inhuman opponents, the fact that Ryuk is an intangible godlike being raises the probability that he might just be a match for the Almighty Thanos.
As one of the few gods in anime, it’s only fair to include Arceus in this list.
And not only is Arceus a god, but he’s also the god of the entire Pokémon multiverse – and the creator of all that exists within it.
The only thing holding this god-type Pokémon back from taking a higher spot is its apparent lack of significant feats.
Nevertheless, Arceus is a multiversal-level being, and would probably take Thanos for a hell of a bout if they ever fought.
And that’s a fight I’d like to see.
Anime: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Now that we’ve breached the topic of abstract beings, how about a character that has defeated one?
Simon the Digger, at the start of his series, was no different than an ordinary human.
Though as his story went on, he evolved to the point where he eventually beat the embodiment of despair itself — The Anti Spiral — in an epic battle that probably broke several laws of physics.
Armed with a 52.8 billion light-years-tall mecha that can obliterate galaxies in the blink of an eye, I am sure that Simon is more than just a worthy opponent against the Mad Titan.
After all, the series did end with him becoming an omnipotent god all thanks to his mastery of the Spiral Energy.
4. Madoka Kaname
Anime: Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Here’s our other cutesy-yet-overpowered magical girl for this list.
And if you’ve followed this character’s series closely sometime in the past, it should come as no surprise that Madoka is the magical girl to bet on in a fight against Thanos.
Fighting her enemies as the embodiment of hope and salvation, Madoka eventually becomes “Ultimate Madoka” as her story unfolds.
In this form, she takes the honor of being the most powerful character in her series.
Madoka is also a multiversal-level entity that’s capable of beating almost every anime character in existence.
Naturally this should include Thanos, who was depicted in a few comic series to be a multiversal being himself.
3. The Truth
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist
For a metaphysical entity that exists outside of existence, The Truth sure acts like a bit of a tool.
His behavior is a tad unusual for someone who’s the literal god of the series. But The Truth is a being who presides over the entirety of the multiverse.
This means that in addition to being omnipotent, it’s also omnipresent and omniscient.
Putting things into perspective, we can compare The Truth to The Living Tribunal in the Marvel universe who has about the same level of status and responsibilities as it.
And out of his many comic book iterations, there is only one version of Thanos that has defeated The Living Tribunal.
2. Haruhi Suzumiya
Anime: Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Haruhi Suzumiya is admittedly a somewhat unusual entry for this list.
Well, not if you know who she really is under that charming smile of hers.
(Note – spoilers below!)
As the main female lead of her series, she’s eventually revealed to be the creator of everything
In fact, we have to remember that everything that happens in the anime all started because she was bored and wanted to entertain herself.
All in all, this seemingly unremarkable (for this list anyway) high-school girl can bend and shift all of creation to her liking whenever she pleases.
And this makes her yet another god-like being that could probably beat Thanos, even at his best.
Anime: Dragon Ball Super
Avenging Goku for not being on this list, we have Zeno occupying the top spot as the most troublesome opponent for the Mad Titan.
Despite being presented in the anime as an adorable character, this child-like hyperversal being isn’t someone you would want to upset.
And for extremely good reasons.
From being feared by god-level entities to completely eradicating several universes without even batting an eye, the Omni-king is no doubt a force to be reckoned with.
Dare I say he’d even take the W against Thanos, who has the Heart of the Universe at his disposal.