In the real world, as you age typically your strength fades, and your wisdom increases. However, it is not quite so in anime. Some of the strongest and most badass characters in anime are, in fact, old men. They may not be as handsome as they were when they were young bucks, but their advanced age has done wonders for their power. So who stands among the strongest and coolest old men in anime?
20 – Hiruzen Sarutobi from Naruto
Born the son of Sasuke Sarutobi, Sarutobi’s family was one of the first to settle Kotonoha and he was one of the first ninjas trained there, taught by the First Hokage. He would later because the Third Hokage only to retire, then later come out of retirement after the Fourth Hokage’s death. Of course, it was his own student that would later come back and show that he had surpassed his master.
19 – Zeno Zoldyck from Hunter x Hunter
Despite his advanced age, Zeno is still an efficient and pragmatic assassin as well as a skilled user of Nen. Killing is only a job to him and he rarely lets emotion enter into it. Although wise and cold in battle, he is a very witty old man that uses his quick thinking and speed to succeed in both battle and conversation. He places all of his hopes now in his grandson, Killua.
18 – Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryuusai from Bleach
Commander of the Shinigami in Soul Society, Yamamoto is considered the strongest captain of them all. Even though he has an appearance of an old man, he is in peak physical condition and has many scars all over his body to hint at his many battles. He has a fiery temper like other captains and believes that laws must be executed for the sake of the community, making him deeply upset by rule breakers. He also wields the Ryuujin Jakka, the strongest of all flame-type Zanpakutou.
17 – Master Roshi from Dragonball Z
Of course Master Roshi would make the list. The “Immortal Turtle” was, at one point, the strongest martial artist on earth and the first to wield the Kamehameha technique. Of course, after the Saiyans start powering up, his skills kind of become moot and he gets set into the comic relief role with his porno addiction and all around perverted nature.
16 – Furinji Hayato from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
Back in his youth, no one was safe from the reckless and violent Hayato. Men, women, animals, tiny, tiny, babies – he would fight them all. Most famously, Hayato frequently recalls the time he took on 500 martial artists at one time. However, time has not slowed him down, even in his 90’s he is still ready to take on anyone.
15 – Zodd the Immortal from Berserk
Typically demons wouldn’t really qualify as “old men” except that in the Berserk universe most demons were once people. Meaning that Zodd the Immortal, although now transformed, is actually a pretty old man. He is also a pretty unbeatable man, fighting eternally with Skull Knight and serving Griffith even if he does not always agree with the paths that he takes.
14 – Makarov Dreyar from Fairy Tail
Not only is Makarov the Guild Master of the Fairy Tail Guild and one of the Ten Wizard Saints, he also posses the ability to turn into a giant to which he uses to wrestle a dragon. If only you could be so cool in your geriatric years.
13 – Yoshihiro Shimazu from Samurai Kings
In the world of Samurai Kings, age as a warrior is often a testament to experience. If that is so, no one is more experienced than Yoshihiro. Known as the Shimazu Demon, Yoshihiro constantly yearns for battle and stronger opponents to fight. He cares little for the conflict of others, but will advance if there are powerful foes to fight like Tadakatsu Honda.
12 – Lord Genome from Toppa Tengen Gurren Lagann
Not all badass old men in anime are heroes. Sometimes they are like Lord Genome, the immortal Spiral King that has lived over 1,000 years. Ruling the planet from Teppelin, Lord Genome surrounds himself by girls that he treats as dolls, throwing them away when he grows bored and occupying his time with a distain for humanity.
11 – Isaac Netero from Hunter x Hunter
As Chairman of the Hunter Committee, Netero has the final say on who gets their Hunter’s license. Although he is shown to still have great combat prowess, and was the strongest Nen user fifty years ago, he states that he is not as strong as he once was. Although he can still beat virtually everyone. As his attacks are so fast, they often seem to come from a different side or dimension because of their great speed.
10 – Walter C. Dornez from Hellsing
Although he seems like your average butler, serving the Hellsing family’s retainer Integra, Walter is absolutely deadly in combat. Once known as the “Angel of Death,” he fights using a series of high-velocity microfilament wires that take off limbs and heads with ease.
9 – King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Although his thick head of hair and tight body suggest he is a much younger man, King Bradley is indeed in his 60’s. As the Fuhrer of the Amestris state military, he has all alchemists under his command. With the “Ultimate Eye” hidden under his eye patch, he is able to see the outcome of any situation, allowing him to always keep calm and composed behavior. However, more impressive is his ability for inhuman swordsmanship, with him having the ability to cleave through things like tanks, tons of soldiers, and basically any enemy in his way.
8 – Kiroumaru from From the New World
Although not so much a man anymore as he is a talking monster rat, Kidoumaru is a man of honor more so than most humans. Although he once sought to attack humanity in order to prevent them from wiping out his colony, he ends up working with Saki to finally put an end to Yadomaru and his powerful weapon through the sacrifice of his own life in the most badass way imaginable.
7 – Charles zi Britannia from Code Geass
Charles zi Britannia is the imposing and ominous emperor of the Holy Britannian Empire. However, he is an avid fan of “survival of the fittest” and imparts those views to all in his empire. By making those under his rule live in constant conflict and strife, he hopes to weed out the weak and build a strong society. This is something that he even forces upon his wife and children.
But let’s be real for a second here. You have to be pretty awesome to pull off those curls.
6 – Raoh from Fist of the North Star
Raoh is the eldest of the four adopted children of Ryuken who were all trained in the Hokuto Shinken style. Although the oldest and most ambitious of the bunch, aiming to be the strongest martial artist in the world, he lost the rights to succession as the Hokuto Shinken master to Kenshiro. Refusing to accept this, he kills Ryuken and forms his army, taking on the name of Ken-Oh, King of Fist and thus becoming the most powerful villain in Fist of the North Star.
5 – Hiko Seijuro from Rurouni Kenshin
As the thirteenth successor of the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryuu sword style, Seijuro saved Kenshin from bandits, raising him and training him in the way of the sword. Although Kenshin would later anger him by running off and joining the Tokugawa regime, they later made up. Seijuro lives in seclusion as a potter in the woods, but is still the strongest swordsman in the series. He possesses comparable speed to Kenshin, but he has the superior judgment in combat and superhuman strength that he suppresses with the heavy cloak of the Hiten Mitsurugi masters.
4 – Bang/Sliver Fang from One Punch Man
Utilizing the power of the Rock-Smashing Water Stream Fist, despite his age (or perhaps because of it), Bang is an S-Class, rank 3, superhero in the Heroes Association. Currently he owns a dojo that teaches his style of fighting. He remains one of the few characters to acknowledge Saitama’s power.
3 – Yoshimura from Tokyo Ghoul
As Ghouls are typically a species that lives hard and fast, Yoshimura earns such a high spot on this list for reaching his advanced age. It must take a tremendous amount of cunning and control for him to live so long in a world that constantly seeks to destroy his species. While offically retired from using his immense power, he was able to unite some of the strongest Ghouls and earn their absolute loyalty. If that isn’t badass, I don’t know what is.
2 – Joseph Joestar from Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
In Stardust Crusaders and beyond, Joseph Joestar has entered into his golden years, but still maintains his distinctly GAR body. Donning a very Indiana Jones-esque outfit, throughout the series he helps his daughter Holy and grandson Jotaro in their struggles. Not only does he teach Jotaro about the Stand, but he is always there with some fatherly advice.
1 – Edward NewGate from One Piece
No one else but the legendary Whitebeard could take the number one spot on this list. Currently, he is the strongest pirate in the One Piece world and the only one who could ever consider himself equal to Gol D. Roger. Although he has some health problems, likely from his advanced age, he still finds the time to drink rum right from the barrel. Outside of battle he is constantly hooked up to IVs and surrounded by nurses, shown to be covered in scars. However, because Whitebeard has never ran from a battle, he has no scars on his back.
Did we skip your favorite powerful old man from your favorite anime? Tell us about it in the comments section below.