Even if the concept of a gunslinger feels more at home in western productions, anime has produced more than a few iconic gunmen who could shoot the hat off the head of any cowboy. Whether armed with a sniper or a pistol, these gunslingers are deadly.
This article will rank the best gunslingers in anime. Naturally, proficiency with a gun is a crucial factor, but it will not be the only element taken into consideration. Charisma, cultural impact, and the character’s sheer entertainment value will also be weighed.
10 Gene Starwind (Outlaw Star) & Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)
Gene Starwind and Spike Spiegel share a few things in common, besides similar professions and starring in space westerns. Although they have different coping mechanisms, both protagonists are guarded individuals running from past traumas; more importantly for this article, Spike and Gene are also expert gunmen who can handle themselves in close-quarters combat.
Their respective stories lead Spike and Gene in wildly different directions; nevertheless, the one thing that remains constant is that they both are the embodiment of “cool” in a fight. Neither character is treated as a prodigy with a pistol, they are just better than most.
9 Golgo 13 (Golgo 13)
Combine the cold poise of classic James Bond with John Wick’s mysticism and the end result would still be no match for Golgo 13. The titular marksman has been accepting and completing contracts since the manga’s 1968 debut, and Golgo 13 never fails.
The thing about Golgo is that he is a pretty bland character, albeit one that is untouchable with a sniper. With the exception of a handful of rules for his contracts, the assassin has no allegiance, morals, barely anything resembling a personality, and never changes despite the manga lasting forever. Golgo kills, therefore he is.
8 Ryo Saeba (City Hunter)
A classic anime from the ’80s that tends to get somewhat overlooked, City Hunter follows a private detective called Ryo Saeba operating in Tokyo. After the murder of his partner, Ryo begrudgingly takes custody of his partner’s sister, Kaori, who is not particularly fond of the protagonist’s appreciation for the ladies.
Silly as he can sometimes be, Ryo is almost unbeatable with a gun. Known for making impossible shots from all sorts of angles, the private detective is an expert with a wide range of guns and always makes the most out of every bullet.
7 Train Heartnet (Black Cat)
After amassing a massive body count as an assassin, Train Heartnet made the decision to leave that life behind and become a “Sweeper,” aka a bounty hunter. Unsurprisingly, Heartnet’s previous life was not ready to let him go.
As an assassin, Heartnet coldly and efficiently dispatched his targets without a moment’s hesitation, a feat typically accomplished with his personal revolver. Although he grew somewhat looser after transiting into a Sweeper, Heartnet’s proficiency with a gun did not diminish at all.
6 Yoko Littner (Gurren Lagann)
Perhaps the most famous female gunslinger in anime, Yoko Littner is undoubtedly an icon. Be it her provocative design or endearing personality, Yoko is the type of character that will never be forgotten.
Yoko is likable, brilliantly written, and excellent with a rifle. Despite appearing in an anime that mainly revolved around mecha fights, Yoko more than held her own with just a rifle, and she arguably deserved to spend more time piloting a Gunmen.
5 Death The Kid (Soul Eater)
A Gun-Type Meister, Death the Kid lives up to his name when armed with his demon twin guns. Even though the anime ended before reaching the point in the manga when Kid becomes a true god, the son of Death is still the strongest student at the Death Weapon Meister Academy, which is saying something.
In terms of pure power, Death the Kid is basically unmatched, as he combines deadly precision, martial arts, and explosive moves to routinely overwhelm enemies.
4 Revy (Black Lagoon)
Black Lagoon is slightly more grounded compared to something like Soul Eater or Gurren Lagann, with the characters all being normal humans. Putting aside a small handful of characters like Roberta, Revy nearly always seems like she is playing on a whole different level compared to the rest of the anime’s colorful roster.
As Lagoon Company’s resident powerhouse, Revy is so incredible with a gun that she can take on dozens of experienced bounty hunters without breaking a sweat, something that literally happens during Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage. If she were not so hot-headed and impulsive, Revy would be pretty much unbeatable.
3 Beyond The Grave (GunGrave)
The deceased Brandon Heat, an almost unrivaled gunslinger in GunGrave, was reanimated as Beyond the Grave, a force of nature that just happened to be armed with two handguns and two even bigger backup guns.
Whether taking out Orgmen or hunting down syndicate members that Brandon once worked alongside, Beyond the Grave maintains his stoic demeanor while executing kills that could make Golgo 13 blush.
2 Alucard (Hellsing Ultimate)
Gleefully sadistic but capable of fleeting human emotions, Alucard is essentially a living weapon. Generally regarded to be the most powerful vampire in Hellsing Ultimate – which is not exactly an uncompetitive scene – Alucard’s vast array of supernatural abilities almost render the need for guns moot.
Alucard might not need guns, but he sure loves to use them. Armed with two signature semi-automatic handguns, Alucard’s vampiric abilities grant him the sensory precision to always pinpoint the target and the physical capabilities to never miss.
1 Vash The Stampede (Trigun)
A talented gunman never loses a duel; an extraordinary one does the same without killing his opponents. Vash is that exceptional. Earning a reputation as a walking disaster, Vash the Stampede has spent a significant part of his long life in isolation and running away from bounty hunters seeking to claim his head.
As his name is synonymous with catastrophe, Vash presents a goofy persona when around other people to try and not scare them off. Despite his many funny moments, Vash is a tragic character who would be more than happy to never pick up his revolver again.
Gunslingers might be more of a western thing, but they sure are popular in anime. Here are anime's 10 best gunfighters.