Although a variety of themes and tropes appear across anime, few are more consistent than the medium's emphasis on power-scaling. Many of the most popular protagonists and side characters in anime benefit from superhuman abilities, allowing them to battle the antagonistic forces that they encounter in their respective series.
While strength, intelligence, and other attributes are vital tools for any hero or villain, speed is an asset that arguably trumps all. The fastest characters in anime history are capable of traveling at unfathomable speeds, and as a result, they can escape danger anytime it threatens them or their allies.
Updated on June 20, 2023, by Kennedy King: Despite the ever-changing nature of the anime medium, its emphasis on speed and strength never wavers. Each year introduces a new array of quick characters, many of whom push the limits of reality with their near-instantaneous movement.
15 Nice (Hamatora)
Recognized as the unique protagonist in Hamatora, Nice is easily the fastest character in the series. As a Minimum Holder, Nico possesses two supernatural abilities that aid him in his work as a detective: Sonic Minimum and Ego Minimum.
Using his Sonic Minimum, Nice can travel through space in the form of a sound wave. This allows him to literally move at the speed of sound and withstand any stress put on his body from traveling at Mach 1. This, combined with Nice's impressive ability to think on his feet, makes him not just the strongest character in Hamatora but also one of the fastest characters in anime.
14 Jojiro Takajo (Charlotte)
Despite being a side character in Charlotte, Jojiro Takajo is a boarding school student at Hoshinoumi Academy with many superior skills and abilities. As a member of the student council, Jojiro utilizes his impressive leadership and learning skills throughout the series. However, most notably, he can travel at high speeds in any given direction.
Jojiro Takajo's speed isn't always under his control, but at his peak, he can move so fast that the world around him appears to slow down. Although several of his classmates also wield special abilities, Jojiro's quick movements are unrivaled within Hoshinoumi Academy.
13 Koro-Sensei (Assassination Classroom)
Assassination Classroom follows the story of Class 3-E, a group of students tasked with assassinating their teacher, Koro-Sensei. Koro-Sensei is a strange, octopus-like creature who threatened to destroy Earth shortly after obliterating 70% of the Moon, so it's safe to say that he's incredibly powerful.
As a product of human experiments, Koro-Sensei has the appearance of an octopus and possesses a wide range of abilities including regeneration, poison immunity, and superhuman speed. Koro-Sensei's power allows him to travel the world at speeds at high as Mach 20, making him as strong as he is powerful.
12 All Might (My Hero Academia)
The world of My Hero Academia is littered with superpowers, many of which directly relate to an individual's speed/quickness. However, despite the existence of characters like Ingenium and Hawks, no hero or villain has displayed more speed than the legendary All Might in his prime.
All Might's Quirk, One For All, combines the powers of its predecessors, becoming stronger with each successive incarnation. All Might represents the pinnacle of its power, and with it, he was capable of avoiding attacks and traveling across large distances faster than the naked eye could see.
11 Killua Zoldyck (Hunter x Hunter)
One of the most impressive Nen abilities in Hunter X Hunter is Killua Zoldyck's Godspeed, which allows him to surpass his physical potential and travel at high speeds. Godspeed is a combination of two abilities: Whirlwind and Speed of Lightning.
Despite the name Speed of Lightning, Killua's Godspeed does not actually enable him to move at light speed. Still, he's capable of traveling hundreds, if not thousands, of miles per hour. At only 12 years old, Killua is primed to become one of the fastest characters in the massive world of Hunter x Hunter.
10 Minato Namikaze (Naruto)
Dubbed Konoha's Yellow Flash in the Naruto franchise, Minato Namikaze's speed is unrivaled. As a skilled user of space-time ninjutsu, Minato has reached speeds that surpass even those of the legendary Tailed Beasts.
Minato is regarded as the fastest shinobi of his time due to his use of the near-undefeatable Body Flicker Technique, which allows him to move at untraceable speeds. When in combat, Minato moves so fast that he appears to be teleporting or moving instantaneously, posing a threat to even god-like shinobi.
9 Admiral Kizaru (One Piece)
In the world of One Piece, few individuals are more powerful than the Marine Admirals. These characters embody the power of the World Government, so it's only fitting that one of the fastest characters in the series would sit among their ranks. Borsalino — better known as Admiral Kizaru — is the user of the Glint-Glint Fruit, a Logia-type Devil Fruit that allows him to transform into light itself.
When using his Glint-Glint Fruit, Kizaru becomes a near-undefeatable opponent, capable of manifesting and controlling high-charged beams of light that deal massive amounts of damage. He also can dodge even the quickest enemy attacks by moving at literal light speed.
8 Lumiere Clover (Black Clover)
Black Clover primarily takes place in the Clover Kingdom — a quaint land that has been blessed by the presence of magic. Its inhabitants are all born with some form of magic, leading many to embark on the quest to become the next Wizard King. Five centuries before the events of the series, a powerful wizard named Lumiere Clover held this title, and with his Light Magic, he ushered in a new age for the kingdom.
As a Light Magic user, Lumiere eventually harnessed his latent talents and gained the ability to travel at light speed. Thanks to his speed, Lumiere was able to protect the Clover Kingdom from not just one but two separate Devils, proving that he's among the fastest characters in anime history.
7 Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach)
Ichigo Kurosaki gains the powers of a Substitute Soul Reaper in Bleach's first episode, and from this point on, he only grows stronger, faster, and more durable. His massive spiritual pressure allows him to fight on the level of monstrous characters like Sosuke Aizen and Ywach, partially due to the boost in speed that it provides him.
Evaluating the overwhelming speed of Bleach's characters is a difficult task, but it's safe to say that Ichigo Kurosaki can travel well over the speed of light. Even without his Bankai, which increases his speed by five-fold, the Substitute Soul Reaper can avoid faster-than-light attacks.
6 Saitama (One-Punch Man)
In the hit parody series One-Punch Man, Saitama's unbelievable speed and strength are at the core of his character. He is so powerful that he's unable to find a worthy opponent, and even when he holds back, his speed overwhelms all but the strongest opponents.
During Saitama's fight with the galactic warrior Boros, Saitama was blasted to the Moon and returned to the Earth in an estimated 1.5 seconds. This isn't even Saitama's full power, so it's clear that his speed far surpasses that of normal anime characters.
5 Acnologia (Fairy Tail)
Fairy Tail's system of power primarily stems from magic, but its strongest characters draw their abilities from a more specific source: Dragons. This is certainly the case for Acnologia, a twisted Dragon Slayer who gained a draconic form after bathing in the blood of countless Dragons in battle.
Acnologia takes it upon himself to eliminate every Dragon in existence, and by all accounts, he's fairly successful in his pursuits. To do so, he must utilize incredible speed, allowing him to strike down powerful individuals like God Serena before they even knew what happened.
4 Saber (Fate)
The Fate franchise benefits from some of the best action sequences in anime, so devastatingly strong characters like its strongest heroine, Saber, enjoy plenty of opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Born with the magical power of a dragon, Saber was known as Artoria Pendragon during her first life as the fabled founder of the Knights of the Round Table.
Saber is reborn several times throughout the Fate franchise, and when she is at her full power, she uses her legendary blade, Excalibur, to tremendous effect. The blade naturally increases her speed, which allows Saber to perform feats like running up walls and dashing across large bodies of water.
3 Sonic The Hedgehog (Sonic X)
Sonic the Hedgehog has appeared in a variety of mediums, including its 78-episode anime series, Sonic X. Produced by the Japanese animation studio, TMS Entertainment, Sonic X tells the story of the iconic hedgehog after he and his companions are transported to Earth.
Even in his base form, Sonic the Hedgehog is faster than light — as demonstrated by his ability to dodge Dr. Eggman's lasers and other attacks. However, when he utilizes his Super Sonic form, Sonic's speed shoots through the roof, enabling him to fight across entire galaxies in the blink of an eye.
2 Whis (Dragon Ball Super)
First introduced during the pilot episode of Dragon Ball Super, Whis is an incredibly fast and powerful being from Universe 7. As the Angel Attendant of Beerus, Whis holds immense power and a long list of superhuman abilities, arguably the most impressive of which is his ability to travel across massive distances in the blink of an eye.
Whis' role as the overseer of Universe 7 mandates that he travels around the entirety of the cosmos. Although he's technically unable to teleport, his unfathomable speed allows him to effortlessly move from one side of the universe to the other. This, coupled with his ability to effectively stop time, easily qualifies him as one of the fastest characters in anime history.
1 Antispiral (Gurren Lagann)
At a certain point, even concepts like speed and agility begin to fall apart. Such is the case for Antispiral, the final antagonist of the beloved Gurren Lagann franchise. As the collective consciousness of the Anti-Spiral tribe, Antispiral wields almost complete control of the universe.
Because of the Antispiral's unique relationship to reality itself, it can travel from one side of the universe to another in an instant. In fact, the Antispiral possesses the ability to travel across time as well, making it possible for the being to perform feats that transcend the concept of speed itself.