Guest Post by Louis Toms (the owner of Carolina Comic Geek, a Pinterest board which catalogs birthdays of anime, cartoon, comic, and manga characters).
Welcome back, friends!
This article makes our fifth journey together to discover the top anime characters born in the month of… series.
Purposefully, we are highlighting the top ten characters with an April birthday as chosen by anime fans. To non-anime fans, dedicating an article to identifying top individuals based on the date of birth and created in the minds of artists and writers may seem a bit outlandish. Even in the modern era, the significance of birthdates or astrological signs can weigh into family and societal expectations for what type of person will be when they become an adult. With personality testing being out of the question, some anime and manga creators rely upon the cultural significance of birthdays to broadcast character traits.
April is the one month each year where the signs of Aries and Taurus converge. According to Western astrology, people born under these signs are passionate, motivated, and confident but can also be stubborn or fiercely protective. Manga and anime creators incorporate similar attributes in the characters compiled in our list. Don’t believe me… well, just take a look for yourself as we survey anime’s favorite characters born this month.
As with the previous installments, identifying ten exemplary characters celebrating a birthday in April is a huge undertaking. I examined various sources and continued to poll friends to build a pretty good list of top ten anime characters. As the list was being roughed out, I realized that a couple of the contenders were outside my familiarity. Taking the occasional break from research and polling to pull out my hair, I was able to carve out a pretty good list of anime characters born this month. As with my previous articles, I attempted to give equal time to both female and male characters who, according to their creators, have a birthday in April.
As you read this article, I would like to know if I overlooked one of your favorite anime or manga character born in April. Leave a comment below and let me know your picks.
10. Suguha “Leafa” Kirigaya (Sword Art Online)
- Birthday: 19 April 2009
Isekai and Sword Art Online (SAO) fans can rejoice at April’s tenth entry.
With a cameo in episode one, Suguha Kirigaya becomes a prominent character in the story beginning in episode fifteen. She is the cousin and adoptive sister of the protagonist, Kazuto Kirigaya.
A muscular teen girl sporting short black hair, Suguha is a world-class kendo practitioner but gave it up when her brother became lost in the world of Sword Art Online. She actively sought to understand why Kazuto became fascinated with a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) by joining ALfheim Online (ALO).
Her character, Leafa, is an elfin Sylph warrior who has excellent reconnaissance skills given the character’s speed and flight capabilities. Suguha’s character skills and passion for ALO serve as a catalyst for Kazuto returning to VRMMORPG gaming. She becomes instrumental in aiding her brother’s rescue of Asuna Yuuki.
Over multiple arcs, fans witness a cute gamer who demonstrates a deep caring for family and friends. Suguha Kirigaya is our first entry for best anime characters experiencing a birthday in April.
9. Ruri Gokō (Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai)
- Birthday: 20 April 1996
Our ninth entry comes to us from the popular anime series Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai.
Debuting in the light novel, Ruri Gokō is a high school girl who leads a secret life as “Kuroneko” in the online otaku group Otaku Girls Unite.
Her family is financially strapped which requires Ruri to care for her younger siblings while the parents are away. As a substitute parental figure, she prioritizes the needs of her sisters over educational obligations from time to time.
Publically, Ruri appears to be a bit snobbish to observers but this defense mechanism disguises a girl with insecurities. Through her online and otaku lifestyle, she is able to achieve a level of anonymity to escape daily responsibilities. Ruri is able to make connections with a small group of friends from her online group. Specifically, she befriends Kirino Kousaka and her older brother Kyousuke. The threesome bond and experience a love-hate relationship over all things anime and otaku culture.
In the spin-off manga, anime fans get to experience a world in which Ruri and Kyousuke are married and have children. Ruri Gokō’s actions almost become a caricature of a Taurus personality type and for this, we welcome her to this month’s list.
8. Yasutora “Chad” Sado (Bleach)
- Birthday: April 7
The eighth entry is one of the few anime deuteragonists who is external, ominous presence disguises a gentle giant with a fierce devotion to friends and family.
Yasutora Sado, also known as Chad, was born in Okinawa but left shortly thereafter when his parents moved to Mexico. Chad would later come to be adopted by his maternal grandfather Oscar Joaquín de la Rosa following the death of his parents. As a teenager and following the death of his Abuelo, Yasutora returned to Japan to live in Karakua Town where he participates in professional boxing while attending high school.
During Bleach’s Agent of the Shinigami arc, Chad learns about Ichigo Kurosaki’s substitute soul reaper status and the Soul Society under the tutelage of Kisuke Uhahra. Along with superhuman strength, Yasutora learns how to unleash his Fullbring powers through the Brazo Derecha de Gigante or “Right Arm of the Giant” and Brazo Izquierada del Diablo or “Left Arm of the Devil.” Tite Kubo, Bleach’s creator, breathed life into one of the few culturally diverse anime characters.
With power and heart, fans enjoy this character and for this reason, Yasutora “Chad” Sado makes it onto our anime birthday celebratory list.
7. Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck (Bleach)
- Birthday: April 24
Coming in our seventh position, I present another great character from Tite Kubo’s bestselling shōnen, Bleach.
Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck or Nel Tu is a former member of the Espada. The series introduces her during its Hueco Mundo arc.
Racing toward Las Noches to free Orihime Inoue, Team Ichigo come across a child being chased by Hollows and they engage the monsters in her defense. After Nel Tu’s intervention, they come to learn that the Hollows are her adoptive brothers while the third is their pet. The quartet was playing peacefully until Ichigo’s party dialed things up to ten to save a defenseless, young girl or so they thought.
Banished to the wastelands, she held the position as the third most powerful of Los Noches’ Espada until a fight with Nnoitra Gilga left her as a child-like Arrancar. She would eventually morph back into her adult Espada form after witnessing Nnoitra break Ichigo’s wrist.
Nel Tu’s combat skills in this engagement clearly demonstrate why she is was a member of the Espada as she dispatches Nnoitra.
Beginning with her debut in 2007, Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck has retained a loyal following and is one of our favorite anime characters born in April.
6. Katsuki “Kacchan” Bakugou (Boku no Hero Academia)
- Birthday: April 20
Continuing our celebration for all things shōnen, the sixth personality comes to us from the popular anime My Hero Academia. I am referring to U.A. High School’s very own hero-in-training and series deuteragonist, Katsuki “Kacchan” Bakugou also known as the Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight.
Our introduction to this character shows us, someone, who is a bit full of himself and who believes themselves to be superior to others, especially those without Quirk abilities. One might say that his early actions make him a bully. We witness this behavior in how Kacchan interacts with Izuku Midoriya, childhood acquaintance and fellow Class 1-A student. His less-than-stellar personality eventually gives way to a slightly less unhealthy competitive spirit following a couple of defeats at the hands of fellow classmates.
There is nothing like a bit of humble pie to make one reassess their outlook on life. His individual Quirk is the ability to use Explosion and One for All, albeit for a short duration. In subsequent arcs, Kacchan has become a motivator whose philosophy is to never give up. For these reasons and much more, we embrace Katsuki Bakugou as a great anime character and worthy of recognition.
Fun Fact: Katsuki Bakugou’s name contains the kanji for “to win” (katsu) and “self” (ki) while his surname includes “bomb” (baku) and “powerful” (gō).
5. Kakarot or Son Goku (Dragon Ball Z)
- Birthday: April 16 Age 737
With our fifth entry, the fans have spoken and agree that Dragon Ball Z’s protagonist is one of their favorite anime characters.
Kakarot or Son Goku is the son of Bardock and Gine from Planet Vegeta.
Born into an aggressive warrior race known as Saiyan, the infant Goku was sent to Earth with the goal of destroying the planet. However, a head injury suppressed the child’s destructive spirit while allowing him to switch gears and focus on sharpening his superhuman powers. This results in Goku becoming the Earth’s greatest defender.
As with all Universe 7 Saiyan, he was born with a prehensile tail. Kami, a former guardian of Earth, would permanently remove this appendage in order to prevent Goku from morphing into a world-destroying Great Ape. His love of martial training and experience this achieves ultimately leads to him reaching the apex of fighting capability during the Dragon Ball Super series.
He would go on to marry the Princess of Fire Mountain and conceived two boys to carry on his legacy of protecting the planet.
Since first appearing in The Secret of the Dragon Balls, Son Goku has delighted shōnen fans for over thirty-five years. This longevity is pretty impressive by today’s standards and is why fans continue to recognize Son Goku as one of their top-tier anime characters.
4. René Tamaki Richard de Grantaine Suoh (Ouran High School Host Club)
- Birthday: April 4
This month’s fourth birthday entry is one of my personal favorite anime characters from famed manga illustrator Basco Hatorie. I am talking about Ouran High School’s Host Club President, Tamaki Suoh.
Born outside wedlock, Tamaki’s mother could not support the young child and was forced to relinquished parental rights to the father’s family under the condition that she sever all ties. The Suoh family groomed the young Tamaki to become the family heir by educating him in Japanese high society customs and culture.
Anime fans, unfamiliar with this anime, might expect that this foundation would make Tamaki a bit of a tool but I found that Basco Hatorie infused a bit of depth into this principle character. Initially, we view Tamaki as someone who has a flair for the theatrical but a bit slow on the uptake. Our expectations quickly unravel as we witness Tamaki be a talented pianist and proficient student. We witness his loyalty towards friends and others while secretly yearning to reunite with his birth mother.
A decade has gone by since the Ouran High School Host Club concluded but fans still find enjoyment in this story and its characters. The proof is in the pudding as anime fans recognize Tamaki Suoh in this month’s top ten list of April birthdays.
3. Kagome Higurashi (InuYasha)
- Birthday: April 30, 1981
Amazing as it may sound, our third entry celebrates their fortieth birthday which is amazing when you consider InuYasha first aired roughly twenty-something years old.
Kagome Higurashi, student and series protagonist, lives with her mother and younger brother at the family’s shrine.
Upon her fifteenth birthday and while tending the shrine, a yōkai dragged Kagome through the sacred well and transported her through time to Japan’s Sengoku jidai (1467-1615). She defeats the Ōmukade while, in the process, freeing the hanyō Inuyasha. Kagome comes to learn that she is the reincarnated feudal era miko, Kikyō, and her body hides the Shikon no Tama or “Jewel of Four Souls.” The Jewel becomes shattered and dispersed across Japan. Kagome and her friends must crisscross the country to recover the broken shards before the pieces end up with the spider yōkai, Naraku.
Over the course of their journeys, she demonstrates her mastery of archery by using the shorter yumi (hankyū) with arrows to subdue evil.
Anime fans may not agree about Kagome’s status as either a waifu or best girl but I like to think we agree that she is a pretty good female protagonist. With this personal declaration and based on polling, fans recognize Kagome Higurashi as the third most popular character for April.
2. Mei Misaki (Another)
- Birthday: April 27, 1983
Every once in a while, an anime character comes along that usurps expectations by having the viewer explore some dark corners of the human psyche. April’s silver medal finalist fits well into this category.
Mei Misaki is the shortest student in Class 3-3 at Yomiyama North Middle School. Pessimistic and withdrawn, her classmates labeled her as “the one who does not exist.” Through her story, we come to understand that Mei’s background and public façade blend nicely to meld with how others view her.
As an infant, she was separated from her twin sister and given to her aunt to raise. When her lineage became known, the aunt forbids Mei from contacting her biological parents. With the aid of a cellphone, she was able to contact and cultivate a relationship with her twin sister.
Mei wears an eyepatch to hide a prosthetic eye her mother made from a doll’s eye when a childhood disease left her with only one good eye. Dogpiling on the tragedy, Mei is also a witness to an assault leading to a woman’s death.
Anime fans are given a faint ray of hope that she will successfully navigate these storms to emerge on the other side a happier person. I join in the story’s hopeful desire for Mei Misaki to find peace and contentment as we recognize her as our runner-up for the top anime character for April.
1. Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)
- Birthday: April 7, x765
Fairy Tail’s Erza Scarlet lands at number one on our list of top ten anime characters born in April.
Abducted by slavers as a child, Erza and her fellow captives labored to construct the Tower of Heaven in an effort by her abductors to resurrect the dark mage Zeref. Following the torture of a friend, the young girl snapped into action and led a revolt to free her fellow captives. Erza’s impassioned efforts would unlock latent magical abilities within her which become instrumental in defeating the slaver cult.
Remembering the tales of mage unions, she will become one of the physically and magically strongest members within the Fairy Tail Guild. Erza is fiercely loyal to the Guild and its members, especially when it comes to Natsu Dragneel and his team.
In public, we see a disciplined warrior who typically dresses conservatively but this façade masks her private passions. Specifically, she loves trashy novels and dressing provocatively.
Overall, Erza Scarlet is a fun and complex anime character whose narrative is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. This is why fans love her and why we place Erza as our most popular anime character for April’s top ten list.