The archer is a military unit much different from many others. There is just something about archers that sets them apart. Complete dedication to a craft that has the potential to cause such destruction. Archers naturally lends themselves to endless artistic portrayals in pop culture. There are countless books and movies, in fantasy, science fiction and historical drama, that tell the story of a skilled archer.
But, often, we tend to forget a very particular and often underapreciated art form that is incredibly popular nowadays across the world. I’m talking about anime of course!
Anime is typically full of colour, characters with strong dynamic personalities, and a whole lot of drama within the plot. Originally from Japan it continues to morph to this day.
Many anime involve some form of fighting with martial arts or with weapons. A crazy assortment of swords, double handed axes, throwing knives, modern guns and of course – a bow and arrows.
In any case, here is our list of the 7 Most Famous Archers in Anime. If you like our list or for that matter hate it, let us know in the comments below.
The 7 Most Famous Archers in Anime
#7 – Archer – Fate/Stay Night
How could I start an anime marksmen list any other way than with Archer from Fate/Stay Night? This character, whose real name is said to be Shirou Emiya, came from a parallel world to be a guardian or servant for the protagonist.
As his name points to, of course, he is quite good at firing some arrows. He wields a slick, silver bow and arrows that look like they came straight out of a fashion show. He also can hurl other, more damaging, projectiles— even ones charged with noble spirits.
#6 – Natsume Tsuchimikado – Tokyo Ravens
Being a character in occult-heavy anime series Tokyo Ravens, Natsume Tsuchimikado is nothing less than magical. You can even see it in the way she fires arrows that go off in little sparks!
She’s not just glitter and showy spells, though— as the best student of the Onmyou Academy for shamanistic magic, she’s quite intimidating and skilled. And that’s not just with her supernatural abilities, but also her marksmanship.
#5 – Uryuu Ishida – Bleach
Wait— did you happen to say “multitasking”? No? Well, if you had, there’d be no better description for this Bleach character. Uryuu Ishida is a quincy (aka, “monk of destruction”), doctor, guard, and a master seamster. Of course, he’s also an archer. Plus, emotional depth.
What about the archery skills? Well, how badass is it to not just fire some arrows accurately, but also form those same arrows (and the bow!) from spiritual energy? This marksman can also form other weapons, such as swords— pretty handy, huh?
#4 – Rei Hino – Sailor Moon
Despite Mars being usually associated with fairly masculine energies, here we have a Mars-aligned soldier that is a badass female. Sometimes called Raye Hino, Rei Hino from Sailor Moon is the second soldier to be discovered.
She’s part of the force that guards the Solar System, and has powers over fire, as well as psychic abilities. This hotheaded, independent, and disciplined soldier fights with a Mars Flame Sniper. The weird part? It’s not a physical bow: she fires a mystical (but no less powerful) arrow by tensing a string in her soul. Don’t worry, she sets things on fire all right.
#3 – Yoichi Saotome – Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign
What would you expect a skilled member of the Japanese Demon army to be like? Supernatural, yes; a master archer, probably; a down-to-earth, nice guy, maybe not so much…
However, Yoichi Saotome is all those things. A seraph and human hybrid, he becomes one of the hero’s friends and often helps those in need of protection. His archery gear is an eye-catching green and black, and he wears a pentagram sight over his left eye.
#2 – Yona – Yona of the Dawn
Not everyone is such a nice guy, though. As in life, in anime you can encounter all sorts of people. Some will be nice and helpful, while others, such as Yona, can come across as selfish and spoiled. This princess goes through an arch that leads her to becoming kinder and more courageous.
Her archery abilities and accuracy also develop with time, as she dedicates herself to practice (cough hint cough) and uses her skills in combat (most certainly not a hint!).
#1 – Ashitaka – Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke is one of the most beloved animes of all time. It’s an epic historical production, set sometime during the period between 1336 and 1573. The storyline follows Ashitaka, prince of Emishi, in his adventures as he tries to cure his arm from a curse and navigates the struggle between humans and the Spirit of the Forest.
Ashitaka’s top ability is a highly accurate, fast shooting technique, which allows him to bring down moving targets easily. And that curse he’s trying to lift? It actually makes him a better archer and a stronger soldier overall. He’s heroic, deep, and super talented— the perfect anime archer!
So no matter your preference, from classical heroes journey archetypes to more nuanced antihero characters, anime has the full spread of archers roles. Their personalities differ wildly while all sharing one thing in common: a skill, love and dedication to archery!
If you are feeling like the last thing you want to do is going shooting at the range, then it’s a great idea to put on a movie or anime with one of these characters and rediscover your passion for archery. This way, even if you don’t go anywhere that day, you’ll rekindle your love for your bow. Go enjoy it!