Head-to-head anime fights are cool whether superpowers are involved or not.
On the same note, the more deceptive and covert battles over sensitive information and political power can be just as thrilling.
After all, an army can’t always just claim victory through reckless charging. The smartest leaders know that the battle begins way before any soldier steps on the field — and that countless lives can be saved through careful planning and uncovering all possible solutions.
If you’re a fan of espionage and mental warfare, then you’ll likely enjoy many of these iconic spy characters.
Anime: Akame Ga Kill
The Revolutionary Army boasts a ton of proficient killers fighting for what they think is right for them and the entire nation. One of the members is Pais, the blue-eyed and brown-haired spy who first appeared in EP 18.
Along with her boyfriend Ritone, she’s been involved in crucial events like supporting The Path of Peace’s rebellious actions & returning the favor to Lubbock when he came to their rescue.
Overall, Pais performed her intelligence-gathering duties well. And she kept the Revolutionary Army informed and prepared for what was to come.
Also, I admire her kindness toward other people whether they were in the organization or just innocent citizens of the Empire.
Anime: Garo: Vanishing Line
First of all, Gina’s character design is gorgeous.
From her unique hairstyle to her intimidating yet alluring gaze, this woman has the wiles to make her targets lower their defenses.
Of course, she complements her standout beauty with wit, charisma, and a wide array of combat tools.
Gina has magical spells, guns, and a speedy custom Mado Car equipped with a Gatling gun.
So she can effortlessly defend herself and accompany Sword against the nastiest, hungriest Horrors wreaking havoc on Earth.
And lastly, Gina is surprisingly kawaii as she falls in love with Stronger and the two of them essentially turn into Sophie’s mom and dad.
Anime: Terror in Resonance
To this day, Five is the most ridiculed character in Terror in Resonance, partly due to that one delivery of her English dialogue.
Nonetheless, she has one of the coolest character designs out there — and she was the catalyst for some of the show’s most intense and beautiful sequences.
Apart from her light-gray short hair and threatening purple eyes, Five had the smile of someone who did not care about the consequences of her actions.
That’s frightening, given that she’s a covert operative of the FBI.
Yes, her arc had psychological games that didn’t feel truly cerebral or thrilling. And it can take some time to understand and empathize with her situation.
But her potential for greatness was undoubtedly there, and Five’s story can encourage conversations about trauma and lingering attachment.
12. Hideomi Iba
Anime: Sirius the Jaeger
Being a spy is cool. But it certainly has its risks and hard qualifications.
Somehow, this 29-year-old makes it seem so easy.
How does Hideomi Iba do it?
Well, his key strength is his intelligence.
Apart from knowing where and when to look before anyone else catches him, Hideomi has an extraordinary photographic memory.
At one point, he saw a map as briefly as possible yet remembered all the details. He’s someone that both government and private organizations deeply value.
Little is known about Hideomi’s life or his more prominent contributions to the ongoing conflict between the Jaegers and vampires. Then again, isn’t that a good thing for someone paid to remain hidden from suspicion?
Anime: House of Five Leaves
Matsukichi’s backstory feels conventional for a spy, but it’s fitting given the historical context of Saraiya Goyou.
See, he wasn’t really a bad guy.
Matsukichi only attempted to steal because he lacked the money to help his wounded child, whom he didn’t even know existed.
He was in grave peril when he got caught, but Yoichi rescued him and let him live another day. Thus, he fulfills spying duties for the gang out of gratitude.
Still, Matsukochi doesn’t merely rely on Yoichi and the House of Leaves to provide everything.
When he’s not looking up their targets, he crafts durable yet dainty hair accessories to sell to women.
Is he reliable? Yes.
Just don’t expect him to do anything else when he’s hellbent on finishing a task.
10. Fred Porlock
Anime: Moriarty the Patriot
The youngest member of William James Moriarty’s team, Fred Porlock isn’t an official spy by any means.
He’s more of a small-time criminal who would otherwise have been a successful spy for the government if his socio-economic conditions were better.
But don’t take this the wrong way — Fred acts and follows Moriarty’s plans because he loathes injustice.
Thanks to his agile and sly movements, he can move undetected.
Fred’s slender form allows him to take on a variety of disguises. Across the two seasons of Yuukoku no Moriarty, he’s fooled others into thinking he was a young lady, an old man, and an elderly woman.
And if all else fails, he can fight enemies with an assortment of ranged and melee weapons (or just kick and punch them down with his martial arts).
Anime: Joker Game
He’s not the youngest nor most active character in Joker Game.
Still, he earns his rightful spot on this list for establishing D-Agency, the secretive government organization where all the other main spies belong.
Not many spies end up becoming spymasters (especially since some die during their mission), but Yuuki did — and he refused to run things just like his predecessors.
Instead of telling his spies to live and lose their lives with honor, Yuuki asks them to neither murder nor sacrifice themselves. D-Agency must ideally commit to its infiltration duties without taking anyone’s life.
Plus, he might as well be the MC of Joker Game since he appears in literally every episode.
Maybe fans can expect some sort of prequel OVA that explores how Yuuki earned his “Demon Lord” alias when he was much younger.
8. Mylene Hoffman
I doubt that newer anime fans remember or even know about Ishimori Entertainment and their seinen mecha anime from 2006.
Known as 009-1, the series stars Mylene Hoffman: the short-haired spy with the titular codename.
Given her pretty face and voluptuous figure, Mylene is the last person you’d think was a cyborg.
Still, her ideal feminine charm works wonders for the Western Bloc, which is in longstanding political turmoil with the Eastern Bloc.
Since the Cold War is still in full swing in this series, Mylene and her fellow robot spies such as Vanessa Ibert and Berta Kastner needed looks, brains, and (biomechanical) brawn to win the game of deceit, one step at a time.
7. Rolo Lamperouge
Anime: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
Having trained and worked at the Britannian Office of Secret Intelligence, Rolo Lamperoug knows the ins and outs of espionage.
Likewise, he spent childhood not playing with toys but honing his assassination skills.
And if his spying and killing ways weren’t enough, Rolo was a masterful pilot of the Vincent war machine.
These outstanding skills made him an extremely valuable asset to Charles zi Britannia. He can be sadistic and coldhearted, but he was such a gentle younger brother to Lelouch — right until the latter discovered the truth, that is.
Right until the end, Rolo’s headspace was hard to ascertain.
The only thing viewers didn’t doubt was his increasing loyalty to Lelouch, which often veered into the territory of extreme possessiveness.
Anime: Joker Game
In contrast to the wise and aging Yuuki, Miyoshi is young and full of himself.
However, it’s hard to hate him – since his relatively short stature makes his egoistic attitude resemble that of a pesky young brother.
On the other hand, Miyoshi is a handsome lad, earning him the most admirers among fans of the series.
Despite his brash demeanor, he’s unafraid to take the helm and lead other spies — and he has the skills to become a spymaster in the future. Miyoshi just needs more experience in the field with fellow agency members.
Will Miyoshi continue to excel or will his attitude get the best of him?
For better or worse, that’s for you to find out in Joker Game.
5. Loran Cehack
Anime: Turn A Gundam
Early in the series, Loran Cehack and two other Moonrace citizens covertly travel to Earth, disguising themselves among Earth-based humans to check the planet’s living conditions.
Loran almost drowned to death right after, but Sochie and Kihel from the ultra-elite Heim family came to the rescue.
He becomes their family driver (he’s excellent with machines) and is eventually stripped of his foreigner status.
And thanks to his lean physique and feminine face, Guin Sard Lineford was fooled into thinking that he was a girl. Loran takes advantage of this for his safety and the success of Diana Soreil’s goal, embracing the identity of Laura Rolla.
Expectedly, the 17-year-old MC becomes the pilot of the titular mecha unit. But he does so under the guise of his female alias.
Overall, Loran is a special MC in an equally special Gundam series, brought to reality by Yoshiyuki Tomino.
Anime: Princess Principal
Unlike Yuuki from Joker Game, Dorothy isn’t extremely older than the spies under her care (and she joins them on the field).
In fact, the 20-year-old head of Team White Pigeon infiltrated London’s elite Queen’s Mayfaire Academy disguised as a 17-year-old teenager.
Yes, she loves drinking liquor. But her happy, lively, and generally optimistic demeanor keeps the whole team’s spirits up.
That likable personality alone is commendable considering her father’s abusive habit.
And like any great leader, Dorothy leads by example.
She has a shotgun for attacks, a wire-line launcher for ziplining, and a pocket watch for coordinating each move and keeping track of time. Also, the team primarily uses her car for missions (and Dorothy can just seduce enemy security forces to keep her members safe).
3. Chain Sumeragi
Anime: Blood Blockade Battlefront
Dark-haired and purple-eyed, Chain Sumeragi works for the Werewolf Bureau.
At only 21 years old, she’s proven to be an industrious professional in the field of espionage.
Apart from keen observing skills, Chain can perform cyberattacks and get crucial answers through interrogation.
Like other members of the secretive organization, she’s an invisible werewolf — but it’s not as simple or as feral as it sounds.
Essentially, Chain can modify her presence in reality so that she can play with gravity and pass through concrete barriers as if she were a ghost.
It’s a powerful ability, but overdoing it can permanently erase both herself and other people’s memories of her.
And while Chain can be ruthlessly violent, she also has a soft spot for people like Leonard Watch, whom she treats like a younger sibling.
2. Ange le Carre
Anime: Princess Principal
Ange le Carre embraces the geeky, cheesy nature of spy movies.
First, she and the rest of Team White Pigeon reside in Albion, which is part of Great Britain (home of the James Bond franchise).
Second, her gadgets are designed for stealth missions and not generic powerful weapons. The C-Ball is Ange’s trademark tool while the spyglass, revolver, and aqualung (for breathing underwater) are classic spy equipment.
Furthermore, Ange’s specialty in lying and acting out different identities is both fun and intrinsic to her role.
Instead of observing targets while hidden from afar, she adapts to the social environment by changing her personality, keeping others unsure of whether her words are real or merely fabrications.
Plus Ange has an exceptional memory and will readily kill if necessary.
All in all, Ange is a 17-year-old MC whose future burns brighter than her already stunning present state.
1. Loid Forger
Anime: Spy x Family
In late 2019, I heard about the rising popularity of Tatsuya Endo’s manga series about a spy, an assassin, and a child telepath forming an unlikely family.
And once I saw the teaser for the anime, I knew that Loid was going to set a new high standard for spies.
Okay, so why is he already at the top spot?
Tatsuya blessed him with a tried-and-tested design:
Blue eyes, tall stature, slick blonde hair, formal suit, and an adequately masculine physique.
Also, Loid became a spy because he knew how it felt to be a helpless and terrified child who had no parents. He wanted to ensure a safer and better world for kids, and that makes him a huge inspiration.
On top of all of that, the contrast between him as a spy and as a family man lends itself to hilarious and heartwarming moments.
His intelligence, agility, marksmanship, physical prowess, keen senses, and uncanny disguises (among other nifty skills) are cool and all – but Loid’s relationship with Yor and Anya is what seals the deal.
Is this a presumptive pick? Not really.
The Spy x Family anime adaptation has yet to enter its second cour — and a sequel is likely but not set in stone.
Regardless, the first half and the ongoing manga show that Loid has already blazed past the competition in style.