Unlike people of various races, you actually see a lot more anime characters with disabilities then you would think. In fact, some of your favorite characters might be the disabled ones, since nothing says badass like losing an arm or a leg (or an arm AND a leg) then just carrying on and living a more exciting life than most people in that animated world. It can be inspiring in its own right, but also there are times when people with disabilities aren’t really given a realistic representation.
Edward from Fullmetal Alchemist
When you create a world with fake arms and legs like the ones Winry creates, it is pretty easy to forget that Edward, one of the most beloved main characters by anime fans, is actually disabled. Of course, his brother is more so disabled, but I don’t know anyone that has been alchemied to a suit of armor so I’m not counting it as a disability, but maybe I’m just being prejudiced here.
Nunnally from Code Geass
Nunnally drew the short straw of the genetics by being both confined to a wheelchair and blind. It is due to this weakness that it encouraged Lelouch to build a new, better world for her. Unfortunately, that doesn’t quite work out when she becomes his enemy later on in the series.
Nicholas from Gangsta
Nicholas is one of the more well-represented deaf characters in anime. Even his speaking voice is akin to the cadence of a truly deaf person. However, if you don’t know sign language, he doesn’t have much patience for your shit, he’s got asses to kick.
Yui from Angel Beats
When she was alive, Yui was a quadriplegic after a car accident. After discovering this, it makes perfect sense that she is so hyper and always on the move. In death, she regained full use of her body and made the most of it. Realizing that made the sadness really hit home on this one, considering most in the audience found her quite annoying.
Yukimura Seiichi from Prince of Tennis
Seiichi is unique among disabled anime characters because he isn’t dying of some mysterious illness, he has a very specific one. He has Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that slowly causes paralysis in the limbs. It certainly hasn’t stopped him from playing tennis though, and it is awesome to see a creator give a disabled character an actual specific illness.
Ayase from Guilty Crown
Ayase is probably one of the more realistic wheelchair women in anime. She isn’t just one big pile of cute pity, in fact, she hates being pitied for being in a wheelchair. For her, the only disability she has is dealing with other people’s ignorance. Her wheelchair makes her unique, and she is proud of it.
Mimori from Yuna Yuki is a Hero
You would think that having disabled magical girls would be more common, but really is it just Mimori. She was left in a wheelchair by a car accident long ago, however, once she becomes a magical girl, her body isn’t repaired, but let’s just said she regains her former mobility.
Irako and Fujiki from Shiguiri
Shigurui is actually entirely about explaining why it is a series about two disabled samurai fighting each other to the death. It explains why one is blind and why the other is missing some limbs. Of course, the story is indeed a rather horribly twisted and cruel one.
Gutts from Berserk
Gutts hacked off his own arm and lost his eye to plot, but you know what? When you lose a limb, you just slap a big cannon on there and continue wielding your unwieldy large sword with one hand like nothing ever happened. Sometimes it is hard to believe Gutts is human, but it is inspiring to believe he is.
Shanks from One Piece
Early on in the One Piece series, Shanks lost his arm saving Luffy from a sea monster, while Luffy is sad about it, Shanks is rather unaffected. Losing a limb is so common in the pirate world, it is difficult to think it would keep him down. Even though it was his sword arm, Shank still ranks among the top four strongest pirates.
N’Dool from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
There is a long-standing trope that when you are blind, it makes you super human at doing things. N’Dool sticks with that trope by using his other sense to make him deadly precise. However, as far as disabled characters in Jojo go, they need to animate Steel Ball Run so Johnny Joestar can make it on here, even if you do forget he is paralyzed from the waist down because he rides a horse most of the time.
Mitsuki from Full Moon o Sagashite
Although Mitsuki might be a little young for the whole two packs a day throat cancer thing, but this little lass has it. Unfortunately for her, she is given just over a year to live and wants to be a pop idol, so she makes the most of her life while she has it and chases after her dream.
Tousen from Bleach
Who says you have to be disabled and be a good guy? Tousen did a pretty decent job as a blind villain, though the jury is still out on whether he was really truly evil. Of course, Tousen isn’t blind the whole series, but he is a proper vehicle for the whole “sometimes when you can see is when you are truly blind” irony.
Gildarts from Fairy Tail
Not to be confused with Shanks from One Piece, Gildarts is actually more of a badass when it comes to his handicaps. While on his epic quest, he encountered the black dragon Acnologia. Despite being one of the strongest mages in the world, he quickly had his ass handed to him, losing an arm, leg, and a bit of his organs. Despite this, he still remains one of the world’s most powerful mages.
Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin
After an assassination attempt, Shishio was covered in burns, forcing him to wear bandages from head to toe to cover his deformity. However, before that, he was the Battosai’s successor, and horrible burns haven’t debilitated him one bit. Although he is surrounded by his own private military, he’s not one to shy away from a fight.
Between poked out eyes and mysterious illnesses, there are probably a lot more disabled characters out there in the anime world, so why not lay some of those guys on us in the comments section below.