Let’s not try to kid ourselves. We all like bounty hunters. They tend to know how to fight, they have some sweet gadgets, and generally they have a pretty awesome vehicle. They are also the ones on the fringe of society who generally have no master. Well, they do bow down to money, because that’s the main incentive for chasing anyone down and most of them are broke. That aside, they generally do decide which jobs they will take on and exactly how they will go about doing their jobs. Thankfully, most of them like causing a little bit of a scene, which leads to some pretty stellar chases and showdowns. Without further wait, let’s get on to the best bounty hunters that anime has to offer.
10. Jigo from Princess Mononoke
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul. 1997
When Prince Ashitaka’s arm is cursed by a demon boar, he is exiled from his hidden village and destined to head westwards for the cure. It’s in the West that an ancient spirit should be able to cure him. It’s from the West that the cursed boar came from. Soon his journey shows him what’s going on in the West for it to hold such promise and such a powerful curse. It’s the struggle between nature and civilization and he finds himself right between the main two combatants: Lady Eboshi and Princess San.
Jigo is a wise opportunist, who first appears as a sort of trustworthy and sage-like persona to Ashitaka. He guides Ashitaka towards the Iron City where the struggle between nature and humanity is reaching its head. However, he actually is a bounty hunter who’s setting up as many pieces as possible in order to capture the famous spirit of the forest. Legend says that its head will grant eternal youth and the emperor wants it. So Jigo organizes things in order to weaken the forest and keep most of its denizens at bay, while he makes a last minute grab for the head. The man is clearly quick and capable when it comes to fighting, however, he does fail the mission and is forced to return the forest spirit’s head.
9. Nagi from Tenchi Muyou!
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 1995 – Sep. 1995
Tenchi Muyou follows the struggles of 17-year-old Tenchi Masaki after a space pirate by the name of Ryoko crashes into his life. Her mischievous nature alone is enough to flip Tenchi’s life on its head. However, due to Ryoko’s arrival, Tenchi also has two intergalactic officers, a mad scientist, and two royal princesses joining his household. Let the adventures ensue.
Nagi is a notorious bounty hunter known across the universe for her ability to bring in any fugitive. Her most recent target, and the only person to ever escape her grasp is the infamous Ryoko, and Ryoko was fleeing more than fighting in their last battle. In other words, Nagi is immensely powerful and knows how to handle people with rather exceptional cunning. Helping her track down and capture wanted men and women is her faithful cat/spaceship Ken-Ohki, who allows her incredible maneuverability and fire power while in space.
8. Natsuki Sasahara from Hyper Police
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 1997 – Sep. 1997
Hyper Police presents a world where monsters and humans live together. Being half-human and half-cat, Sasahara Natsuki has a stake in both communities and as a bounty hunter tends to handle a lot of the issues that rise between monsters and humans. Helping her meter out justice are her werewolf assistants Batanen and Tommy as well as the fox demon Sakura.
Natsuki is the type of bounty hunter you would want to hire. She is extremely kind and, unlike most characters on the list, she has an intense obsession with upholding the law. Her position as a bounty hunter isn’t one of necessity or convenience, but rather a means for her to enact justice. is very sweet and kind to everyone and always eager to help protect the weak and uphold the law. Her ability to create electrical shots is also very useful for apprehending criminals. However, she happens to be one of the worst bounty hunters on the list. She has shot allies at least twice by accident and when frightened might accidently shock her own team.
7. Roy Revant from Solty Rei
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2005 – Mar. 2006
There are two important things to remember about the future dystopian in Solty Rei. One is that giant conglomerates have amassed most of the world’s wealth and created a huge gap between the rich and the poor. The second is that it’s difficult to tell who’s simply muscle and bone and who has cybernetic body parts. This makes being a bounty hunter particularly difficult as you never know if you’re targeting someone way beyond your means. Well, Roy Revant has made a decent enough living on the job, but one mission he ends needing to be saved by a young girl with unbelievable strength. After this incident him, the girl, and a few others turn their eyes towards the massive issue with wealth distribution.
Roy’s had a tough life and reflects that in his work. He’s not beyond roughing up questionable characters in order to get the answers he wants. What do you expect from a guy who’s wife passed away and daughter went missing? However, there’s clearly a soft spot in him as he is still searching after all this time for his daughter and is willing to not only give his savior the name ‘Solty,’ but also adopt her. The guy just has a parental bone in him that won’t quit, and we see it more and more as he protects those around him.
6. Nadie from El Cazador de la Bruja
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2007 – Sep. 2007
Ellis is on the run for the suspected murder of the prominent physicist Heinrich Schneider. The first person to catch up to her is Nadie, a bounty hunter. Having a last minute change of heart, Nadie decides to help Ellis search for clues about her past instead of turning in the young girl. Thus begins El Cazador de la Bruje.
Nadie is the type of woman who makes her own rules no matter what. She takes on the jobs she wants, and if at any moment during the mission she changes her mind, then there’s nothing anyone can do to stop her. She’s a rogue all the way through. Helping her maintain such a lifestyle is the fact that she’s a top marksman. Few people can take her and her Colt .45, her preferred weapon, on in a fight.
5. Saya Minatsuki from Black Cat
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Oct. 2005 – Mar. 2006
Train Heartnet is an infamous assassin who has proven himself capable of taking down any target and has received the nickname ‘Black Cat’. However, one day he runs into the mysterious bounty hunter Saya Minatsuki. She exudes a sense of freedom and her outlook on life completely causes Train to pull a 180. He leaves his current organization, determined to be free, and sets off a chain of events that not only affect his prior employers but the world as well.
Saya is actually quite an infamous sweeper/bounty hunter in the area. Over the years she has developed a shot that is able to redirect itself. She does this by having an intense understanding of geometry, physics, and her environment. She will essentially aim at a very specific object and rebound the bullet at her opponent in an unexpected way. It’s with this skill that she’s able to take down the high-ranking criminal Preta Ghoul, after Train realizes that his bullets can’t penetrate the villain. Obviously, she has the skills to be a bounty hunter, but more importantly her spirit is very much in tune with the freedom of choice such a life offers. She only does what she wants to when she wants to, and it’s this aspect that changes Train’s life forever.
4. Favaro from Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Dec. 2014
Viewers are taken into a universe where there’s a human realm, a god realm, and a demon realm. For the most part they stay as separate worlds, however, when Bahamut came about threatening the existence of each world, everyone joined together to imprison him. After that, things have been mostly good in this universe. Some godly forces and demonic forces tend to mix into the world of humans, but everything is balanced. That is until someone steals one of the keys to Bahamut’s imprisonment from the god realm.
What Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis does best is captivate the viewers through a sense of wild adventure. Playing a major role in that success is Favaro, whose carefree attitude and swashbuckling style sets the initial tone for the entire story. A good chunk of the first episode is Favaro on a hilarious and destructive chase, as he taunts his fellow bounty hunter and eternal rival Kaisar. He’s the type of character who’s hard to turn away from. He’s ridiculously smooth and can make the best of almost any situation. Helping him out is a loud mouth that never runs out of things to say as well as a very particular sense of fashion.
3. Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats
- Episodes: 3
- Aired: Nov. 1995 – Sep. 1996
Let’s take a stroll into a gun free Chicago. Well, it’s not really gun free, because two women, Rally Vincent and Minne May Hopkins, happen to own and run an underground gun shop. This little business gets the two caught up in a much bigger and darker sector of the black market, however, and it’s going to take all their skills combined to get out of this new mess.
Rally Vincent became a bounty hunter in order to search for her father, who was searching down the robbers who gunned down his wife. However, her love and skill for guns had developed long before taking up that profession, as her father, an Olympic marksman, had taught her everything he knew. Thus, she knows most guns on an intimate level and uses them with incredible skill and precision. Though her favorite is a CZ-75 First Edition, she also carries a .25 DuO that she mounts on a spring-loaded frame tied to her arm, a SIG P210, and sometimes back-up weapon in an ankle holster. In other words, she’s equipped for any situation, and when you combine her arsenal with her driving skills she can catch or get away from just about anyone.
2. Kanta Mizuno from Sunabouzu (Desert Punk)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2004 – Mar. 2005
Desert Punk sets us down in Japan after a nuclear war has devastated the country and turned it entirely into a desert. It’s in this wasteland that the survivors of the nuclear war have to scrape together a living one way or another. One person who’s made a name for himself in this world is Kanta Mizuno also known as the Demon of the Desert.
That moniker was not achieved through luck. At only 17 years of age, Kanta has accomplished tasks that no one else would have been able to and has never failed a mission. His maneuverability and tactics are second to none as he zips around on closes in on victims to nail them with his shotgun. Helping him take on and complete any mission is his cynical view of the world, which detaches him enough to always be clear of mind and at times underhanded. His only weakness is beautiful women who are particularly well endowed. In the end, Katna Mizuno is practically what every guy who watches anime wants to be: extremely skilled and perverted at the same time.
1. Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 1998 – Apr. 1999
Anyone who considers themselves a fan of anime should have seen Cowboy Bebop, but just in case you haven’t, this classic follows around a crew of cowboys, aka bounty hunters, as they travel around the galaxy. Now there are four humans and one dog that make up the crew of the Bebop and each episode is specially crafted to reveal a little bit more about the histories of each character.
Though each and every member of the Bebop crew deserves to be on this list, including the one-episode character Cowboy Andy, Spike is in many ways the heart of the show. After all, it is his arc that both jumpstarts and ends the show. More importantly, when it comes down to hunting a fugitive he is the best. He is a skilled martial artist, pilot, pickpocket, and gunman. He knows how to track down his target and capture them even when everything goes wrong. He also has a great sense of humor and one of the sharpest minds in anime, as he consistently comes up with some of the best one-liners. All of this rounds up why you see this space cowboy at the top of the list.
A surprising aspect that continuously reappeared when making this list was the similar type of setting each show held. Most of these shows have vast environments with a certain sense of desolation, and that makes a lot of sense. It’s in such settings that require people to find their own way of living and it’s also in such places that official law enforcement doesn’t reach. Thus vigilantes and bounty hunters appear to keep the peace and earn a living. Now, were there any bounty hunters that I overlooked, who you would like to see on this list?