Welcome back, friends!
If you follow this series, you already know that some anime and manga creators assign birthdays to their characters. If you are new to this site, the concept of fictional characters having birthdays may seem a bit odd. The reality is that creators use specific birthdays to help us decipher a character’s motivations by associating them with the qualities associated with their date of birth using that day’s cultural and astrological significance. You can think of creators using a birthday as a narrative shorthand to get fans to understand character motivations. We can use these creative devices to gain personal insight into why the character with a Gemini birthdate is charismatic and the Aquarian is the group’s loner.
This month rests at the zodiac intersection of Gemini and Taurus. Astrologers believe people born under these signs are adaptable, devout, gentle, and reliable. On the flip side, their negative attributes may consist of being inconsistent, nervous, possessive, and stubborn. By design, we can appreciate these qualities in how our favorite characters interact within their worlds. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself as we survey anime’s favorite characters born in May.
I think, as you read this article, that it is important to recognize that creating a short list from such a diverse field of characters is always fraught with pitfalls. I have attempted to overcome some of my personal biases by examining various online sources and seeking input from friends. Considering everyone’s opinion, I was able to carve out a list of anime characters born in May. In compiling the list of characters, I carefully give equal coverage to the pool of diverse characters who have a birthday in May.
Please let me know if I overlooked one of your favorite anime or manga characters. Leave a comment below and let me know who you think should be on our list.
12. Kanao Tsuyuri
- Birthday: May 19
- First Anime Appearance: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Ep. 4 – “Final Selection” (2019)
With Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train crushing it at the box office, it should come as no surprise our first entry is from this fan-favorite franchise. A girl who wears a butterfly hairpin, Kanao Tsuyuri’s cute demeanor betray a mysterious character backstory and fierce warrior spirit.
Orphaned and living on the streets, the young Kanao has no memory of her life before meeting Kanae Kocho and Shinobu Kocho. The sisters saw promise with the young girl’s survival instinct and capabilities. The sisters adopted Kanao to provide her with a nurturing environment to hone her abilities. She also took on the name Kanao Tsuyuri and selected her adoption date as her birthday. An initially shy and indecisive girl, Kanae gave her a coin to flip to make decisions on which path to follow. This small token of her sister’s support is a treasured item.
Possessing superhuman skills and abilities, Kanao serves in the Demon Slayer Corps with the designation of Tsuguko or successor to the Hashira. Within the Rehabilitation Training Arc, we experience Kanao’s mastery of combating demons as the series moves through her training of Tanjiro Kamado and his companions. We witness her ability to integrate several fighting techniques to challenge the fledgling demon slayers. Her arsenal includes Water Breathing, Hinokami Kagura, and Sun Breathing. I think these episodes are some of the best moments in the series.
Kanao Tsuyuri is our first support character featured in this month’s countdown. I have to believe this is no coincidence. Her backstory does not restrain this young warrior from blossoming into a potential leader within the Dragon Slayer Corps. Anime fans appreciate a character who has overcome barriers to better oneself. For this reason and so much more, Kanao Tsuyuri is our first entry this month.
11. Rika “Lisbeth” Shinozaki
- Birthday: May 18, 2007
- First Appearance: Sword Art Online, Ep. 7 – “The Temperature of the Heart” (2012)
Generally, anime fans choose to overlook supporting characters in order to focus on the series protagonist or best girl. However, there are times when a character’s arc or cuteness factor propels them from the abys to become favorites among fans. Rika “Lisbeth” Shinozaki is one such figure in anime.
A teenage gamer in real life, Rika and 10,000 other players become trapped in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Sword Art Online (SAO). Lisbeth, an online persona, is a mace wielder who opened a blacksmith shop in Aincrad on the 48th Floor. Her blacksmithing skills place Rika directly on an intersecting path with the story’s protagonist and chief waifu, Kirito, and Asuna.
After escaping SAO, Rika returned to the world of online role-playing gaming as a blacksmithing leprechaun in ALfheim Online (ALO). Regardless of the setting, she is friendly and hardworking but who is quick to anger should anyone question her capabilities. Rika Shinozaki’s caring and industrious personality combined with her waifu cred give our pink haired Taurus fan favorite status.
10. Eri Shiina
- Birthday: May 15
- First Appearance: Angel Beats, Ep. 1 – “Departure” (2010)
Rumor has it that folks born under the sign of Taurus are sensitive, steadfast, and loyal. Anime fans need to look no further than to Angel Beats’ Eri Shiina to appreciate these cosmic oxen traits.
A dark-haired teenager, Eri came to limbo over a hundred years ago. She had no awareness of her previous life including her name until meeting Yuri Nakamura, leader of Afterlife Battle Front. Yuri would give her the name Shi-nana after her call sign ‘C7’. The anime never explores the origin of Eri’s tragedy that lead to her arrival in this realm.
A self-proclaimed kunoichi, Eri is the Afterlife Battle Front’s disciplined warrior. Her choice of weapons against Angel includes the Japanese kodachi and shuriken. She has a strong intuition whenever danger is present. However, Eri can never succeed in neutralizing the threat Angel poses to the Afterlife Battle Front. She believes that her inability to concentrate is the reason for these failed attempts. For this reason, she continually attempts to balance baseball bats and brooms to hone her skills while at work and play. Eri’s only weakness is for kawaii things.
Eri Shiina’s waifu qualities and mastery of blacksmithing have captured the hearts of anime fans. This duality is evident in her persona. She desires to be a warrior to protect friends inside the game but IRL the schoolgirl desires cute stuff. A warrior waifu for our tenth spot, what more could anime fans ask for in their tier listing?
9. Piccolo Junior
- Birthday: May 9, Age 753
- Alternative Timeline Birthday: May 12, Age 767
- First Appearance: Dragon Ball, Ep. 123 “Lost and Found” (1988)
Our next entry clearly dispels Kermit the Frog’s adage that “it’s not easy being green.” On the contrary, Piccolo Junior is the Dragon Ball franchise’s most powerful frenemy.
A humanoid-slug-like race, Piccolo is a Namekian and the son of King Piccolo. Goku’s decimation of the warrior King becomes the catalyst for Junior’s revenge arc. Antagonist and stoic fighter, the Dragon Ball storyline displays a villain with abilities on par to that of the series’ protagonist. Their rivalry would come to a head in the series finale when Goku narrowly defeats Piccolo.
In the era of Dragon Ball Z, Piccolo’s character morphs from villain to mentor when he takes up training Goku’s son Gohan. His coaching philosophy also included several less-than-motivational moments, such as leaving Gohan alone for six months and calling him a failure. His questionable statements provide a contradiction to Piccolo’s feelings toward the young Saiyan. Specifically, Junior sacrifices himself twice to save his ward. Through his combat skills and mentor relationship, Piccolo becomes a member of the Dragon Team and one of the world’s greatest heroes.
Akira Toriyama, manga artist and Dragon Ball creator, once referred to Piccolo as his favorite character. According to polling, the fandom definitely shares a similar sentiment. With much fan fair as one can muster, Namekians and anime enthusiasts unite on May 9 to celebrate Piccolo Day!
8. Moka Akashiya
- Birthday: May 8
- First Anime Appearance: Rosario + Vampire, Ep. 1 – “New Life and a Vampire” (2008)
May 8 is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. It should come as no surprise that our eighth character celebrates their birthday on this same day. Moka Akashiya is a vampire who attends the supernatural Yōkai Academy.
This teenage, tsundere protagonist is an abstract personification of the duality astrologer’s associate with being born under the sign of Taurus. Specifically, Moka’s body contains an inner and outer personality. Moka’s external persona (Outer Moka) presents her caring and idealistic side. These characteristics morph into the stereotypical cold and arrogant vampiric traits we come to appreciate with our bloodsuckers (Inner Moka). The seal between these close but opposing personalities lies in a Rosario Cross worn around her neck. Moka’s mother, Akasha Bloodriver, explained that only someone she loves and trusts can remove the Cross. This honor goes to Tsukune Aono.
The creators of Rosario + Vampire feature a running gage throughout the series exploring the life of a tsundere girl in love with her male protagonist. Specifically, the two have feelings for one another but neither is willing to put their affections on display. Whenever Outer Moka and Tsukune are close, there is a glimpse of hope that we will witness their first kiss. These encounters fall apart as others interrupt their moment and Moka deflects by biting Tsukune’s neck.
Rosario + Vampire provides the fandom with a fun and compelling supernatural protagonist. Her status may hold greater weight for some fans as the series presents her as the prettiest girl at Yōkai Academy. Regardless of where you sit in this debate, the fandom acknowledges Moka Akashiya as their eighth favorite character born in May.
7. Ash Ketchum
- Birthday: May 22, 1987
- First Anime Appearance: Pokémon: Indigo League, Ep. 1 – “Pokémon, I Choose You!” (1997)
Although he has lost against every against normal-type gym leaders, Ash Ketchum (English) or Satoshi (Japanese) proves to be a resilient Pokémon trainer who aspires to become a Master Trainer. This overly ambitious and sometimes rash youngster eagerly sets out from Pallet Town with a tenacious Pikachu he received from Professor Oak. Initially, their relationship is a bit rocky but the pair come to trust one another when Satoshi risks his own health to protect Pikachu from a flock of Spearow. Trekking across the ten regions of the Poké-sphere, Ash’s Pokémon clutch consists of 57 unique species with ten of those either being evolved or gifted to him.
Ash Ketchum is a skilled series protagonist that pays off when he successfully achieves the ranking of Pokémon Master, albeit twenty-two years after leaving Pallet Town. The significance of this achievement has not been lost on Pokémon fans. National Ash Ketchum Day is celebrated annually on September 15, the day when he achieved victory in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon episode “Enter the Champion!” aired in Japan. With the release of Pokémon Journeys: The Series, Satoshi continues the journey to “gotta catch em all.”
6. Mikoto “Railgun” Misaka
- Birthday: May 2
- First Appearance: Toaru Majutsu no Index, Ep. 1 – “Academy City” (2008)
A Certain Magical Index or Toaru Majutsu no Index is a popular franchise among fans who enjoy science fiction and fantasy anime. The manga (Kazuma Kamachi) and anime (Masanao Akashoshi and Hiroyuki Yoshino) writers immerse us into a robust world filled with evolving characters. This is especially true of our next entry.
A ‘proper lady’ with tomboy tendencies, Mikoto Misaka is one of Academy City’s Level 5 espers. She begins her journey as a minor supporting character who transitions to the supposed protagonist. Generally, Mikoto has a friendly and approachable personality, unlike other high-ranking espers. Her wiliness to help others opens the doorway for governmental manipulation. This is on display when researchers requested a sample of her DNA to help people suffering from muscular dystrophy. Their true motives are to clone Mikoto for an army of super soldiers.
Espers employ scientific-based supernatural weapons to suppress enemy forces. Mikoto has the ability to fire metal objects at three times the speed of sound using electricity. This power earned her the Railgun nickname. She chooses to use arcade coins as projectiles for their portability and their focused range. Mikoto supplements her Railgun powers by combining it with her other electric skills such as electromagnetic pulse, lightning attack spear, and whip sword.
Kazuma Kamachi, manga artist and creator, stated in an interview that Mikoto is someone he would choose as a friend among all the Index characters. Mikoto represents someone who does not betray her core values at the expense of others. This quality and her many talents resonate with the anime community, which is why Mikoto Misaka lands on our list.
- Birthday: May 5
- First Appearance: Naruto Shippuden, Ep. 2 – “The Akatsuki Makes Its Move” (2007)
Those who follow horoscopes believe people born under the sign of Taurus love to work with their hands, which is why they are fixers and artisans. Anime fans see this inspirational, creative spirit in Naruto Shippuden’s Deidara.
Deidara is a powerful S-rank missing-nin whose formidable Jutsu release abilities include Explosion, Earth, and Lightning. His skills were instrumental in single-handedly defeating both Gaara and Isobu. Anime fans also witnessed Deidara hold his own against Sasuke Uchiha. His commanding fighting style grew out of a vision of artistic expression.
Deidara believes the creation of “art” occurs at the moment an object explodes into rubble. This philosophy is on display through his mantra, which is “art is an explosion.” This statement originates from the Japanese avant-garde artist Tarō Okamoto. Deidara’s art appreciation was utterly lost on his mentor, Ōnoki the Third Tsuchikage.
Deidara once stated, “Art will never die… even if I already have.” The fandom can witness his sentiment in the continuous images of creativity and destruction that occur throughout the Naruto universe. With Deidara, Masashi Kishimoto created an art-inspired, shōnen fighter who fans embraced as one of their favorite anime characters born in May.
4. Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka
- Birthday: May 5
- First Anime Appearance: Ouran High School Host Club, Ep. 1 – “Starting Today, You Are a Host!” (2006)
Attention young ladies of Ouran Academy! Are you looking for the strong silent type who will hang on your every word and who has a fetish for small things? Well, Mori-senpai might be the host for you!
Third-year student and Mitsukuni “Honey” Haninozuka’s caretaker, Takashi Morinozuka is the second-oldest member of the Host Club. Upon first sight, strangers often confuse Mori-senpai’s stoic façade as someone who is scarily unapproachable. In actuality, Takashi’s veneer conceals a thoughtful teen who is generous and loyal to his friends while also caring for stray animals. This quality is visually represented by Mori-senpai’s Host Club rose color of deep blue. In Japanese culture, blue signifies faithfulness.
One of the characteristics of people born under the sign of Taurus is persistence. Takashi Morinozuka demonstrates this capacity when mastering the Japanese martial art of kendo to become a national champion. However, he never harnesses this resolve to declare his affection for Haruhi Fujioki.
3. Gon Freecss
- Birthday: May 5
- First Appearance: Hunter x Hunter, Ep. 00 – “Pilot OVA” (1998)
Concluding seven years ago, Hunter x Hunter continues to live fondly with the fandom. This is evident as the series remains in the top ten for favorite anime series. I have to believe that its longevity is largely due to a great story and compelling character. We need only look to the franchise’s protagonist to appreciate why Hunter x Hunter holds a special place in their hearts.
An overly optimistic child, Gon Freecss is athletic and friendly. The son of a Double Star Ruins Hunter, Ging Freecss asked his sister to raise the youngster. Gon longs for adventure and one day leaving the stifling island life to become an excellent Hunter. His aunt eventually gives her permission for Gon to get a Hunter license following his capture of a monstrous fish, ‘The Master of the Swamp.’ With the world as his oyster, Gon leaves home and journey’s to Zaban City to earn a slot in the 287th Hunter Exam.
Gon has honed his fighting capabilities and natural instincts over the course of his Hunter journey. His capabilities include enhanced senses, recuperative abilities, and quick reflexes. His fighting capabilities are due to him being an Enhancer. During the series Greed Island arc, Gon acquires the ability to use Nen powers. Known as the Jajanken, this term is a play on the Japanese word for rock-paper-scissors and signifies the three stages of the Nen’s abilities. His Nen ability is strong enough to slice through a Chimera Ant.
The best phrase one can use to describe Gon’s personality throughout his Hunter journey is… living in the moment. His infectious positive outlook is something rarely seen in a shōnen protagonist. This unique character trait and Gon Freecss’s overpowered abilities resonate with anime fans to make him our third entry for May.
2. Konata “Kona-chan” Izumi
- Birthday: May 28
- First Appearance: Lucky☆Star, Ep. 1 – “The Girl Dashes Off” (2007)
Sugar, spice, and everything otaku perfectly describes the pint-size Lucky☆Star protagonist, Konata Izumi. High school student and leader of the Lucky Star crew, she is a good-natured teen with frequent bouts of geeky eccentricity. We need only look to the franchise’s protagonist to appreciate why Hunter x Hunter holds a special place in their hearts.
Konata Izumi is the only child of her widowed father Sōjirō Izumi. The pair live together at their home within the Saitama Prefecture of Japan. Her mother, Kanata Izumi, and for whom the two share similar features, passed away. Growing up in the Izumi household, Kona-chan embraced her father’s otaku fandom. She is able to maintain her anime, manga, and gaming habit through paid part-time cosplayer at a café in Akihabara. Immersed in the otaku lifestyle, Konata uses her knowledge to parody well-liked anime, manga, and games at the expense of her friends.
Lucky☆Star anime and manga fans view Kona-chan as the ultimate otaku. This is evident in her knowledge of the culture and preference to skip afterschool activities to watch anime. Konata Izumi and the Lucky☆Star crew are unique anime figures as we glimpse some of their attributes within our own geekiness. This is why Kona-chan continues to be a favorite character among the community.
1. Monkey D. Luffy
- Birthday: May 5
- First Appearance: One Piece, Ep. 1 – “I’m Luffy! The Man Who Will Become the Pirate King” (1999)
O-hoy Mateys! This month’s top vote-getter is the pirate captain of the Going Merry, Monkey D. Luffy. Our teenage protagonist is the founder of the Straw Hat Pirates and one of the strongest fighters in the shōnen world of One Piece.
Born in Foosha Village, Straw Hat Luffy is the descendant of the Monkey D. Dragon or the “World’s Worst Criminal” and Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp. Luffy chooses to become a pirate, as he believes being an adventurer affords one with greater freedom. Specifically, Luffy strongly believes in the idea of self-determination and opposes any form of governmental control. This philosophy serves as the catalyst for his desire to become the Pirate King, as Luffy believes achieving this status will afford greater independence.
Monkey D. Luffy rarely uses weapons to overcome opponents, instead of relying upon his various skills. He has the standard shōnen strength and endurance capabilities mixed with some unique ones like the ability to elongate after consuming devil fruit. Luffy is one of the few pirates to carry the Will of D. The Will of D is a mysterious aura, handed down generationally, that surrounds people who have a D initial in their names. ‘Straw Hat Luffy’ clearly does not understand this ability.
Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece comprise the Holy Shōnen Trinity. In my mind’s eye, this conjures images of Monkey D. Luffy resting alongside that of Naruto and Ichigo Kurosaki on a shōnen anime’s Mount Rushmore. As the One Piece story continues, the fandom will continue to grow and embrace this loveable scalawag. This is why Monkey D. Luffy is our favorite anime character pick for May.