Time to get your mechanical parts whirring and get your robotic super-weaponry revved up – we’re here to celebrate cyborgs!
But let’s ask one thing real quick – what constitutes a “cyborg” in this ranking?
Well, a cyborg is a human being with mechanical or robot parts, to put it simply.
So that means no robots who look like humans, or humans who act like robots. We’re only looking for the finest enhanced humans that the anime world has to offer.
Part man or woman, part machine and all cool, here comes our ranking of some truly notable cyborgs across all of anime.
15. Android 18
Anime: Dragon Ball Series
Yes, I know she’s called Android 18, not Cyborg 18.
But guess what – it’s actually Dragon Ball who got that one wrong. Android 18 is absolutely a human with robot parts, so she goes on the list!
Lazuli, as she was once known, found herself kidnapped and experimented on by Gero.
Among all the tinkering she wound up with a range of new powers to along with her new mechanical parts, including super strength, durability, and even being able to fly.
Android 18 is a long term fan favorite – and it’s not hard to see why. Her character has had her fair share of trials and tribulations, and she’s smashed them all spectacularly. Even having to be married to Krillin!
14. Rudol von Stroheim
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
It’s time for everyone’s favorite Nazi!
…well barring that remarkably controversial statement, I’m sure there’s no doubt that Rudol von Stroheim really is a remarkably brilliant character.
The range of his cyborg abilities might not stretch beyond a huge machine gun slap bang in the middle of his chest – but let’s be honest, does it really need to?
In his own words, this thing can “shoot 600 armored bullets per minute”, which tends to solve most immediate problems.
Like most of anything to do with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Stroheim is so wonderfully bonkers and outrageous that even being associated with one of history’s most evil regimes doesn’t take the shine off of him.
A well-deserved place on this list, no doubt.
Anime: Dead Leaves
Regardless of your opinion of the quite frankly bizarre Dead Leaves, there’s very little room to deny that joint protagonist Retro is one cool character.
When he’s not busy organizing prison riots on the Moon or creating a mutant baby with his cellmate and partner (I wasn’t lying about this movie being weird), he’s using his super strength and resourcefulness to make a mess of whoever is in his way.
His cyborg side might only extend to the fact he has a television for a head. But he’s a cyborg all the same.
And when they come this awesome, there’s no way they aren’t getting some recognition from me.
This lesser known anime series goes into some serious philosophical questions over its run.
What defines a human being?
Where does power end and greed begin?
Can technology make someone not a person anymore?
It also poses the question “what happens when the man with the big robot fist smushes the ever-living daylights out of the people he fights?”
And I’ll admit, that’s a question that would have gotten me into the first Philosophy course I could find.
Ichise is a fantastic, flawed character, in an honestly brilliant anime that I would urge you to watch.
No spoilers here, other than the smushing people part, because that happens a bunch.
11. Joe Shimamura
Anime: Cyborg 009
As one of the OG anime cyborgs and one of nine on his team of wrong-righters, Cyborg 009 AKA Joe Shimamura has the usual suite of anime cyborg powers – but far more panache than the ones who would come after him.
Seriously, whoever designed the uniforms for this team needs a significant raise.
It doesn’t quite even-out Joe’s tragic beyond measure backstory, and the torture he went through being turned into a cyborg. But it comes pretty close!
I don’t want to underestimate the importance of a good neckerchief/cape combo, either.
That’s some good accessorizing going on there, Joe. Mad props.
Let’s just forget about the whole “kidnap and torture and being framed for your father’s murder” stuff.
Anime: Samurai 7
This modern retelling of the legend of the Seven Samurai features a cyborg, of course.
Why wouldn’t it?
Though to be fair, he’s far and away the best character in the show.
Kikuchiyo offers a little bit of comic relief, a little bit of seriousness, and a whole lot of dedication and self-sacrifice.
He’s so well rounded it’s a wonder he doesn’t roll everywhere.
Plus, boy howdy does he look absolutely amazing.
Save some of literally everything for the rest of us, Kikuchiyo.
9. Frank Archer
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist
I will admit that this guy might have one of the worst names of any cyborg on this list (I’m pretty sure one of my dad’s friends was called Frank Archer).
But he more than makes up for it in how much of a punch he packs.
We do get to see a lot of him evil-ing up the place before he’s enhanced with “auto-mail” and actually becomes a cyborg – which gives us a good long look at how exactly the opposite of boring he really is.
And while being a nasty piece of work isn’t the kind of “interesting” you want to meet in a dark alley, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to tell him that to his robot face either.
Anime: Gunslinger Girl
Yep, another anime that’s absolutely chock-full of cyborgs.
Gunslinger Girl is also one of those less talked about shows that’s really fantastic when you give it a watch.
Chief among the cyborg girls is Triela, one of the oldest cyborgs in the Social Welfare Agency.
Her cool and collected personality can be a little at odds with the younger, more excitable girls. But it’s her absolute snark that makes me love her as a character.
She’s sarcastic, dry-witted, and at times absolutely brutal with her tongue – and that’s not to mention just how brutal she is with her fists, her weapons, and pretty much anything else she can lay a hand on.
Anime: Afro Samurai
Jinno is a visually striking character with a very troubled past.
He makes being a cyborg look like the coolest thing in the world, while reminding us that it’s far more trouble than it first appears.
His immediately recognizable bear headgear not only marks him out as a sinister looking villain, but also covers up the after effects and required life support/machine parts required to keep him alive.
He’s like a Darth Vader meets Teddy Ruxpin sort of guy.
His unique style of wielding two swords would be enough to make him an iconic looking character on its own.
But the whole shebang really adds up to making Jinno, or Kuma as he’s known after his transformation, into something special.
Anime: One Piece
Look, we all love Franky.
I know some of you will think it’s a crime that he’s this far down the list, but trust me – there are so many more cool cyborgs to come.
Franky is the shipwright of the Straw Pirates crew. And he’s one of the most beloved characters in the show (thoroughly deservedly).
His appearances before and after the time skip are nothing short of great. And his body’s improvement in that time really improves him as a character too.
Going from prosthetic limbs to straight-up robot arms and legs would be enough on its own to gain him recognition.
But his demeanor and all-around charm is what cements him onto this list.
5. Jet Black
Anime: Cowboy Bebop
Jet Black is proof (if proof were needed) that a cyborg character is more than the wiring and metal plates.
You see, Jet Black is pretty much pure personality.
And we all love him for it.
He’s wicked smart, too. So we’d already be looking at a pretty fantastic character – even if he couldn’t also crush his enemies into tiny little pieces with his robot hands. Which he can.
Cowboy Bebop as a series is well known for the “cool factor” that exists in and around it.
To rise above that as one of the coolest characters in this show makes Jet Black one of the more upper tier anime characters, cyborg or not.
Anime: Inuyashiki: Last Hero
As a fairly new entry into the anime game, Inuyashiki sets himself aside from the other cyborgs immediately with his obviously advanced age.
However, the phrase “respect your elders” springs to mind, given that this old man could deliver you a beating that would knock you into next week.
Or he’d just cut your eyes out and beat you so badly that you’re a message for the next punks who come along to start trouble.
Because yes, he does that to people as well.
It might not be for the faint of heart. But if you’re looking for a cyborg story with new twists and beats on the formula then Inuyashiki is definitely your guy.
Just try not to call him gramps.
Anime: Battle Angel Alita
No, I haven’t tried to cram three characters into one entry here.
Those of you who are fans of the Battle Angel Alita franchise will know that all three of those names refer to one and the same cyborg – who I’ll just be calling Alita for simplicity!
An iconic figure in her own right, Alita puts the “Battle Angel” in the phrase “this Battle Angel is kicking the crap out of me”.
She’s quick-witted, sassy, and charming – and can win most fights before they’ve even started.
Sadly, the recent adaptation did little to honor the legacy of a character who has stood tall in the pantheon of strong female characters over the years.
But even with the movie existing, there’s little question that Alita is an all-time great when it comes to cyborg characters.
Anime: One Punch Man
Yep, the Demon Cyborg himself.
Genos has probably found himself under the tutelage of one of the best sparring partners you could ask for, given Saitama’s insane strength.
If only he could be bothered to fight most of the time.
But that’s not to say he doesn’t get his own spotlight, oh no.
In a world full of absolutely insanely powerful heroes, Genos is above and beyond most of them in terms of sheer power.
Genos really only has one flaw – his habit of being smashed into a thousand pieces every other episode.
You’d think his creator would have invested in some slightly more durable materials at this point, given he’s an S-Rank hero and all.
1. Motoko Kusanagi
Anime: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
I could go on and on about how much I adore The Major as a character.
In fact, I have done so at length on this very site.
And you know what?
I’m going to do it some more!
Her story, as far as most other cyborgs and most other human characters go, is second to none. And her fighting skills are basically legendary at this point.
She’s the complete mix of style, intelligence, skill, and beauty.
And there’s absolutely no way she doesn’t make it to the top of this list.