11 Best Assassin/Hitman Anime to Watch
Assassins and hitmen are specialized killers, fluent only in the language of blood and blades. Their sole purpose in life is to take lives while safeguarding their own. Yet, behind every assassin or hitman lies a haunting backstory, riddled with psychologically disturbing events that mold them into who they are. Their existence is shrouded in darkness, marked by torment and secrecy, with some days teetering on the brink of being their last. Anime has a profound affinity for these enigmatic figures, and the realm of anime would be incomplete without these surreal characters of violence and vigilance.
In our compilation of anime featuring assassins and hitmen, we shine a spotlight on their razor-sharp combat abilities and the predatory auras they exude. So, take a seat and immerse yourself in this listicle showcasing some of the all-time favorites and top anime centered around assassins and hitmen.
11. AKame ga kill
Akame ga Kill is an unflinching exploration of corruption and destitution that hits viewers hard, gripping them from the very beginning. It unfolds as a straightforward narrative centered around Tatsumi, a village boy who embarks on a journey to the capital city to secure funds for his poverty-stricken hometown. However, his fate takes a dark turn when he becomes entangled with the assassin group known as “Night Raid,” recruited to wage a relentless battle against a deeply corrupt government.
This anime, focused on the world of assassins, serves as a brutal and unapologetic exposé of governmental corruption. Akame ga Kill launches into action with a relentless pace, immersing the audience in a world where characters are simultaneously fierce and enigmatic, each driven by their unique motivations and enriched by intricate backstories that lend depth to the narrative.
10. Principal Princess: Unveiling a Victorian Espionage Adventure
Principal Princess takes inspiration from the Victorian Era as it introduces a group of teenage girls, including a princess, embarking on a mission within the fictional city of Albion. Separated by a formidable wall, they employ a combination of firearms, blades, and cunning strategies to safeguard this British Commonwealth town from espionage, intrigue, and violence. Their covert operations unfold at the prestigious Queen’s Mayfair Academy.
Each of these spy girls possesses exceptional skills and intricate motivations for their mission. As a cohesive team, they form a compelling and unique approach to the assassin genre. One of the standout features of this anime is its animation, which showcases breathtaking backgrounds of Victorian London and delivers smooth and refined swordfights and action sequences. The creators skillfully blend historical elements, technology, and action, infusing the anime with a touch of futurism through speedy car chases, steampunk spy gadgets, and moments of seduction.
09. Gunslinger Girl: The Price of Second Chances
In the picturesque setting of Italy, a narrative delves into the complexities of second chances in life, though they may not be what one hopes for. This story revolves around girls in an ostensibly social welfare society sponsored by the Italian government. Rescued and offered a second chance at life, they are transformed into assassins and hitwomen.
These young girls undergo a transformation, becoming part human and part robot through cybernetic enhancements that grant them physical prowess and resistance to pain. They are paired with individual handlers known as “Fratello.” Despite their mechanical modifications, they retain the hearts of children, yearning for love and care.
However, with each bullet they fire, they lose a fragment of their humanity. The narrative explores their struggles, haunted by past tragedies, terrorism, and the ever-present specter of future dangers. Gunslinger Girl takes a straightforward and somber approach to the world of assassins, emphasizing realism that forces viewers to grapple with moral dilemmas and the worthiness of the sacrifices made.
08. Canaan – A Fast-Paced Anti-Terrorist Thrill Ride
Canaan brings together three formidable women, an anti-terrorist summit, and a deadly virus, resulting in an adrenaline-pumping, action-packed anime. While the plot remains straightforward, it proves to be a worthwhile watch. This assassin-themed anime draws its inspiration from the visual novel titled “428: Shibuya Scramble.” The story revolves around three central characters: Canaan, the Middle Eastern assassin who takes the lead; Alphard, the leader of a terrorist group and Canaan’s arch-nemesis; and Maria, a victim of a biological terrorist attack and an old friend of Canaan.
The anime kicks off with Canaan rescuing Maria from terrorist assassins in Shanghai as Maria arrives to cover the anti-terrorist summit in the city. These assassins, known as “Snakes,” are led by Canaan’s sworn enemy, Alphard, and are linked to the “Ua Virus,” the biological weapon responsible for Maria’s infection during a Shibuya terrorist attack.
07. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens – Unveiling the Underbelly of Fukuoka
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens unravels the hidden layers of Fukuoka, a city that initially appears serene but conceals a thriving underworld of crime. In this clandestine realm, professional assassins converge, and rumors circulate about one who specializes in eliminating these very killers. This anime offers a more realistic and gritty take on assassins, eschewing the conventional “good versus bad” narrative.
It treads a unique and fascinating path, avoiding clichés while remaining grounded and relatable. In many ways, it portrays every character as a potential antagonist, each driven by their personal motives. It delves into the complexities of human nature without sugarcoating the harsh realities of existence. The characters are so vividly portrayed that they foster a genuine sense of attachment. However, the art may fall short of expectations, and the animation aligns with what one might expect from an anime centered on assassins and hitmen.
06. The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat: A Unique Take on Reincarnation
This anime, “The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat,” offers a refreshing and captivating twist on the concept of reincarnation. The world’s most exceptional assassin is reborn as the son of a noble family in a fantastical realm, summoned by a goddess to protect her magical kingdom from a prophesied hero destined to destroy it. With a blend of modern-world knowledge and assassination skills melded with the mystical powers of this new world, he embarks on his mission in his reincarnated form.
This anime weaves together action, magic, adventure, and assassinations seamlessly within a compelling narrative. The story exudes power and coolness, complete with magical weaponry and artful killings. The art and animation are solid, enhancing gripping fight scenes, while character development is well-balanced, offering each character their own time in the spotlight. As the story unfolds, viewers witness the protagonist’s, Lugh’s, journey of growth and self-discovery, while emotional bonds form among the characters, intensifying the overall experience. The sound design complements every scene, enhancing the viewing pleasure.
05. Blade of the Immortal: Immortality’s Dark Curse
“Blade of the Immortal” explores the chilling burden of immortality through the story of Manji, a swordsman infamous for his role in the deaths of 100 innocent men, including his sister’s husband. However, his dark reputation pales in comparison to his grim reality—he is immortal, a result of an ancient nun’s curse that bestowed him with bloodworms capable of healing any wound. Haunted by guilt, Manji pledges to kill 1,000 evildoers to atone for his misdeeds. The nun, Yaobikuni, agrees to lift his curse upon completion.
Soon, Manji encounters Rin Asano, a 16-year-old girl seeking vengeance for her parents’ murderers. Initially hesitant due to Rin’s lack of strength, Manji ultimately agrees to protect her for four years. Together, they embark on a harrowing journey filled with bloodshed, revenge, and redemption, each pursuing their own life’s purpose. This hitman-themed anime offers an intriguing plot that follows Manji’s transformation from a dark and brooding figure to a protector and mentor for Rin. The historical Japanese setting complements the narrative beautifully.
04. Darker than Black: Unveiling a Universe of Gates and Assassins
In a universe where “Heaven’s Gate” mysteriously emerged in South America, followed by “Hell’s Gate” in Tokyo, the very fabric of reality shifted. These gates became anomalies where the laws of physics ceased to apply. Soon after, contractors, individuals with extraordinary powers, emerged. But their abilities came at a steep price—the loss of their humanity, including emotions such as guilt and aversion to murder.
The series centers on Agent Hei and his Syndicate companions as they delve into the mysteries surrounding Hell’s Gate in a modern Tokyo drastically altered by these supernatural phenomena. With two seasons, Darker than Black has found favor with viewers, many of whom revisit it. The series’ standout feature is its characters—deep, well-crafted, and driven by their own stories and motives, often surprising audiences along the way.
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03. Assassination Classroom: When School Life Meets Assassination
Assassination Classroom ventures into the realm of the unthinkable, where students are tasked with a mission that defies conventional school life—to assassinate their own teacher. Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Middle School is comprised of students who struggle academically. However, their predicament pales in comparison to the threat posed by Koro-sensei, an octopus-like professor who, having destroyed the moon, now threatens to annihilate Earth by the following March.
The students are assigned a mission: to eliminate Koro-sensei. Yet, this seemingly simple task proves incredibly challenging. Koro-sensei boasts superhuman speed, making him impervious to most earthly weapons. Ironically, he also turns out to be one of the best teachers Class 3-E has ever had, nurturing the students not only in their academic pursuits but also in the art of assassination. Narrated by Nagisa Shiota, one of the main characters, the anime explores the students’ efforts to uncover Koro-sensei’s weaknesses and fulfill their mission.
02. Golgo 13: A One-Man Assassin Show
Golgo 13 stands as a testament to the world of assassins, led by its sole protagonist, the enigmatic hitman known as Golgo, or Togo Rodrigues. A man of mystery, Golgo is a figure whose origins and identity remain a mystery, even to the world’s most formidable intelligence agencies. This 50-episode anime is built around Golgo’s individual assignments, with each episode featuring its own standalone plot.
The anime’s primary draw is its animated portrayal of this legendary hitman. Golgo possesses every attribute required of a professional assassin. He accepts assignments from various agencies, executing them with unmatched precision and his signature weapon, the custom M16 rifle. What sets this Hitman-themed anime apart is the anticipation it generates as viewers await Golgo’s next assignment, wondering how he will demonstrate his unparalleled skill. When his adversaries underestimate him as just another assassin, you’ll proudly think, “That’s my Golgo!”
01. Phantom: Requiem For Phantom: A Life Altered by a Fateful Mistake
Phantom: Requiem For Phantom introduces a young Japanese visitor who stumbles upon a chilling murder perpetrated by a Phantom, a shadowy figure. Desperate to escape, the visitor seeks refuge in a secluded building. To his horror, the Phantom is revealed to be a young woman named Ein, and the commander of Inferno, known as “Scythe Master,” captures and brainwashes the visitor. Now stripped of his memories and once-peaceful life, the visitor is given the name “Zwei” and becomes a pawn of Inferno, a powerful mafia organization.
Ensnared in a world of deception, lies, and brutality, Zwei must fight for his survival while striving to uncover his past and escape a life perpetually on the brink of death. This 26-episode anime, rich in crime and psychological themes, immerses viewers in a gripping narrative of assassins and hitmen. Zwei and Ein, the main protagonists, find themselves on paths they never chose, but rather, were forced onto. Love blooms amid their dangerous world, despite the obstacles their work presents.
While the animation is somewhat mediocre, the storytelling is anything but. The fighting and shooting scenes are exceptional, enhancing the anime’s impact. Phantom: Requiem For Phantom takes you deep into a sinister soap opera, heightening the intrigue of this captivating series. Every character plays a vital and unique role, contributing to its brilliant direction and immersive narrative, and they are portrayed with depth and complexity.