Archers in anime are tragically rarer than they should be. If you want gunslingers and swordsman, there are seemingly hundreds to choose from. But when it comes to archers that are more than just unnamed background characters? There are really not that many. But thankfully, when archers do make it into the main part of a story, they always add something special. Whether they are sniping enemies from afar, or using magical abilities against fantastic enemies, archers in anime always help to turn the tide of battle and liven up the action sequences!
So who are the top ten men that wield a bow? We set out to find them, and the task was not an easy one. As stated, archers are not nearly as common as other character classes. But when they do show up, they’re usually quite skilled and awesome. Picking a final Top 10 Male Anime Archers was not an easy task, but this is what we decided on!
10. Miyuki Sagara from RDG: Red Data Girl (Red Data Girl)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2013 – Jun. 2013
In RDG: Red Data Girl, Izumiko Suzuhara is a girl that was raised at an isolated shrine, making her incredibly shy and sheltered of course. However, she wants to change all of that and become a different person! Her protector is Miyuki Sagara, a boy that used to bully her when they were children - and who she still does not get along with at all. While Miyuki's father calls Izumiko a goddess, Miyuki himself finds her annoying and can't stand being around her, at least at the start. Can he learn to do his duty of protecting her while they grow to understand each other more? And will he learn if she really is worthy of being called a goddess?
Our archer in question is Miyuki himself this time. He may not have a war to fight like most of the other archers on our list, but that doesn't make him less talented. He spends a lot of his free time at the secluded mountain shrine training to improve his skill with the bow and arrow, all the better to protect Izumiko whether he likes it or not. He grows to be a very skilled archer through his training and is shown regularly using the weapon. Just because he isn't on a battlefield, it doesn't make Miyuki any less worthy of being remembered as one of the top male archers in anime!
9. Uryuu Ishida from Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: Oct. 2004 – Mar. 2012
Ichigo Kurosaki is the main character of Bleach, the story of soul devouring creatures called Hollows, and the Soul Reapers that hunt them. Ichigo himself unexpectedly becomes a Soul Reaper when his family is attacked by a Hollow, and he takes the powers of a girl named Rukia to save his family. When Rukia isn't able to take her powers back, Ichigo finds himself having to hunt and destroy Hollows - but he isn't alone! He is joined by a few of his classmates who all bring their own abilities to the table to help in this struggle. And maybe there is even worse out there than Hallows...
One of Ichigo's classmates and companions is Uryuu Ishida. He has a complicated personality; he's usually quiet and reserved but tries to act cool around other people, which just results in him sounding overly dramatic as he tries too hard to cover his introvert character. But we are here to talk about his skill with a bow and arrow, and indeed Uryuu is an excellent archer! Uryuu is a Quincy, which gives him the ability to absorb and control energy particles, which he uses to create his weapons. Uniquely, Uryuu has a strong moral code, and would rather incapacitate than kill in a battle if he can - and we think that gives him an even greater skill and control over his archery ability.
8. Yoichi Suketaka Nasu from Drifters
- Episodes: Unknown
- Aired: Oct. 2016 – Present
Drifters is about many different warriors that have been brought together from different worlds and times to fight together in one army. At the centre of the plot is Shimazu Toyohisa, who is mysteriously transported away after being mortally wounded in a battle to a corridor of doors. When ushered through one of them, he finds himself in a new world alongside other "Drifters," the warriors that have been brought from everywhere else and put together in one group.
Amongst them is our featured archer, Nasu no Yoichi. He is the youngest warrior in the group, though historically he died earlier than most of the others (somewhere around 1189 or 1190). In his first life, Yoichi was a renowned warrior on the field of battle. In the world of Drifters, though, he behaves a bit differently. He may be effeminate, but don't let that make you underestimate him. Yoichi is the group's archer, and his skills are nothing short of amazing. He makes sure that no one is able to escape from battles by killing anyone who attempts to run away.
7. Borgoff Marcus from Vampire Hunter D (2002) (Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Aug. 2000
Vampire Hunter D revolves around the story of D, a half vampire, half human man who has taken to hunting vampires to gain acceptance to a human society he would otherwise be outcast from for his heritage. He especially takes up the bounty hunt for Charlotte Elbourne, the daughter of a rich man, who has been kidnapped by a man called Meier Link. D isn't the only one searching for the bounty though as the infamous Markus Brothers and their band of renowned bounty hunters competes with D for the prize. But on top of all the danger of looking for Charlotte, there is an even darker plot afoot unbeknownst to all the hunters!
One of the Markus Brothers is Borgoff Marcus, our next best anime archer. He is the oldest of the Markus Brothers, and acts as their leader. His weapon of choice is of course a bow, but Borgoff is the only archer on our list to use a crossbow! It's mounted to his wrist, and he is so proficient at reloading and firing it quickly that he literally rains bolts down on his enemies - quite a task to accomplish with a crossbow, which usually is slow to reload and fire again. All in all, Borgoff Marcus is not a hero, he's not even a nice guy, but he is definitely a badass archer. And crossbows will never not be cool.
6. Pokkle from Hunter x Hunter (2011)
- Episodes: 148
- Aired: Oct. 2011 – Sep. 2014
Hunter x Hunter is an anime about, you guessed it, hunters. Hunters exist in this world to find dangerous creatures and lost treasures. The job is perilous and the Hunter Exam has a low success rate - but high chance of death. Gon Freecss has joined with his friends, determined not only to become a hunter himself but also to find his father, a hunter that disappeared a long time ago. However, the challenges of the Hunter Exam and the job itself are high; can Gon and his companions even survive, let alone succeed?
Pokkle is in the same Hunter Exam as Gon, and he passes the exam using a bow and arrows tipped with paralysing poison - definitely cool. And when Pokkle becomes a proper Hunter, he creates a bow which he calls "Rainbow." Rainbow is able to shoot seven different colours of arrows, and each colour represents a special ability or power that the arrow has. Sadly in the anime, a red arrow with the power of fire and a yellow arrow with high speed are the only ones that have been revealed. Pokkle's skill at using such a unique bow and surviving the difficult task of being a Hunter makes him definitely a top anime archer.
5. Gieve from Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Arslan Senki is a story of royal succession in the fictitious land of Pars, a nation built on the backs of slaves. When a neighbouring country fighting in the name of their god invades and overthrows the King of Pars, his only heir Arslan is left to run for his life. If Arslan wants to take back the throne and free Pars, he will need a lot of help - and help he finds, in the form of a tight-knit group of supporters at his side. Arslan proves to have a different mind-set to Pars' historical leadership, but that only serves to gain him more support and friends as he works towards not only freeing his country, but making it a better place.
One of Arslan's closest bodyguards is Gieve, and an unlikely member of his party. Gieve is a bard, more in love with gold, women, and wine than anything else and with a questionable moral compass and quick tongue. He also happens to be quick with bow and arrow - very quick, in fact, and his first sharpshooting target helps get the plot rolling when he snipes an important prisoner. Besides being a qualified sniper when necessary, Gieve is also good in full-on battles, supporting his comrades and fighting bravely with his archery skills. Though distrusted at first by most of Arslan's other supporters, Gieve proves himself time and time again to be a valuable - and deadly - member of their party.
4. Yoichi from Owari no Seraph (Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Jun. 2015
In the world of Owari no Seraph, everywhere has been destroyed and taken over by vampires by unleashing a virus that kills everyone over the age of 13. The vampires then create a society where they rule, offering "protection" to the surviving children in exchange for drinking their blood. Yuuichirou, a young orphan boy, is able to escape from the vampire city despite impossible odds, and in the lands beyond it he joins a resistance called the Japanese Imperial Demon Company. Yuuichirou is thirty with revenge for his friends and family, and fights hard to eliminate the vampires alongside the newfound friends he makes in the army.
One of the friends Yuuichirou has is Yoichi, a soft, friendly boy around the same age as him. But don't let Yoichi's warm personality and boyishly cute features make you underestimate him! All the characters in the Japanese Imperial Demon Company fight with special demon weapons, and Yoichi's is a bow called the Cursed Gear. He may be small, but he is deadly on the battlefield as he fights against the vampires to protect his friends. Yoichi is very protective of the people that he cares about, and is very brave in the face of danger when he is fighting to keep them safe. Not to mention his Cursed Gear is one of the coolest bows we have ever seen!
3. Ashitaka from Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Jul. 1997
Mononoke Hime is a story about the struggle between humans and technology, and trying to find a compromise between human advancement and preserving the Earth. It sounds like heavy subject matter - and who are we kidding, it is - but as usual with Studio Ghibli it's dealt with very tastefully. Mononoke Hime follows the young prince Ashitaka, whose arm has been cursed by a demon boar, which grants him special powers but slowly takes away his life. Searching for a cure, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between a group of humans bent on the deforestation of the land, and the spirits of the forest that are opposing them.
Prince Ashitaka himself is our next awesome male archer. Considering he is the main character, there is plenty of screen time devoted to him and highlighting his abilities in archery. Caught up in the middle of a war, Ashitaka finds himself in plenty of battles, and he also has to regularly defend himself from danger in the forest while traveling. He does both of these with great skill with a bow and arrow. And often he does so while riding on his trusted elk Yakul! Shooting a bow while riding an elk in a war against demons is definitely cool.
2. Archer from Fate/stay night
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jan. 2006 – Jun. 2006
In Fate/stay night, a war is being fought over none other than the Holy Grail, and with the grail as the grand prize to the victor. The participants in the war are Mages, and the powerful warriors that they summon to fight. These warriors are known as Servants. The story focuses on one Mage named Shirou, who is pulled into the war when he is almost killed by a Servant and summons one of his own to save him. Whether he likes it or not, Shirou is involved now - but will he be a hero, or just another warmonger?
The Servants in Fate/stay night are named after their class, and so you can probably guess the name of the one we are featuring - Archer. As his name suggests, Archer is adept at using a bow and arrow. He is the Servant of another main Mage in the story named Rin. He has a cynical view of Shirou's views on the world and the war, which Archer sees as naive and childish. While being very talented as an archer and a strong fighter in all the battles, Archer has the added talent of being competent and deadly with melee weapons as well! He's not someone you want to oppose you in the battlefield.
1. Tigrevurmud “Tigre” Vorn from Madan no Ou to Vanadis (Lord Marksman and Vanadis)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Dec. 2014
Madan no Ou to Vanadis is set in an alternate, fantasy version of Europe torn apart by war. In the country of Zhcted, there are seven regions there each ruled by a war maiden known as a Vanadis. One of these Vanadis, Elen, decided to attack the neighbouring country of Brune. Tigrevurmud Vorn, or Tigre for short, was an earl there defeated at her hand - until she offers him an alliance. Or rather, she commands him to belong to her! Get ready for a story full of corruption, conspiracy, and unlikely alliances in Madan no Ou to Vanadis.
Tigre is a warrior, and - you guessed it - an archer! Actually, archery is central to the story and given a lot of screen time in Madan no Ou to Vanadis. If you're looking for an anime with a lot of archery, this is the one for you, and Tigre himself is a great archer as well. He is one of the main characters to the plot, so you can expect to see him tearing the field up with his bow and arrow on a regular basis.
Of course, he does lose the battle to Elen despite his skills and end up under her but hey - that defeat certainly wasn't because of his archery skills alone, because they really are quite impressive. For a heavy feature on archery and lots of bow and arrow fighting on the screen, watch out for Tigrevurmud Vorn.
Well there you have it – from heroes to villains, schoolboys to men fighting in large scale wars, these are our Top 10 Male Anime Archers! All of them are more than efficient at using one of mankind’s oldest weapons. Some of them use it traditionally, and some with a modern – or even magical! – twist to keep things even more interesting. Each one of them uses his ability with a bow to help his friends, save the world, defeat his enemies, and of course, to push along the plot of his anime. Instead of just swords and guns, it’s great to have some archery to liven things up!
So what do you think? Did we miss your favourite male anime archer? Do you think these ones should be put into a new order? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!