Just like in real life, first impressions of a character in Japanese anime mean a lot. A first impression will last a long time in someone’s mind, and some first impressions can be rather misleading, often by accident. Other times, though, a character’s first impression will clearly give viewers a preview and summary of what that character is like.
Unlike a weak first impression, a strong first impression will serve as an intense, memorable sample of what the character’s personality and powers are like, and these impressions might even be exaggerated to help the character burst onto the scene in true style. This applies to anime heroes, villains, and side characters alike.
10/10 Naruto Uzumaki Was Introduced As A Loud Prankster
The shonen protagonist Naruto Uzumaki is a multilayered person, being defined by everything from his status as an outcast to his attention-seeking pranks and his lofty dream to become Hokage. The story of Naruto opted to introduce this character with a bang, showing his prankster side first.
Naruto first appeared in the middle of a prank, where he defaced the Hokage monument with colorful paint while Iruka chased him all over the village. Naruto was laughing and joking the whole time, and he pouted like a total rebel when he was finally captured. Naruto fans didn’t soon forget that.
9/10 Ichigo Kurosaki’s Introduction Was A Kick To The Face
Ichigo Kurosaki, the star of Bleach, was also introduced as a total troublemaker who wasn’t afraid to make a scene. When Ichigo appeared in Bleach‘s first episode, he was already kicking around some skater punks who had accidentally knocked over a small roadside shrine.
Ichigo taunted the punks and sent them running, then gently comforted the ghost girl who had been watching the entire time. Ichigo’s violent antics and the contrast with his gentle treatment of the ghost made a pretty strong first impression of the supernatural journey that lay ahead.
8/10 Valac Clara Burst Right Onto The Scene
Welcome To Demon School, Iruma-Kun!
The green-haired demon girl named Valac Clara is a generous and kind person, but she has a tough time making a good impression on others. Clara may be nice, but she is also far too energetic and tends to act like an attention-seeking child, meaning her classmates can’t stand her.
Clara made a loud first impression when she rolled onto the scene in a destructive ball, and she wouldn’t stop talking. Iruma and Alice didn’t like her, and perhaps viewers didn’t either. Clara was a total headache at first, but then everyone got to see her nicer side as well, making her character more balanced.
7/10 Inosuke Hashibira Looked & Acted Like A Monster
Tanjiro Kamado made a gentle first impression as a wholesome, big brotherly character, while his lightning friend Zenitsu Agatsuma made a stronger impression as a loud coward. Then there’s the wild Inosuke Hashibira, who made an even stronger first impression during the battle in Kyogai’s house.
Inosuke looked like a villain, a muscular, shirtless boy with a boar head and two jagged swords, which made him look more like a demon. He acted like one, too, and he also violently demanded that Zenitsu let him open Nezuko’s box and slay the demon inside. It took a Tanjiro headbutt to make Inosuke stop.
6/10 Josuke Higashikata Got Defensive About His Hair
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Joseph Joestar and Jolyne Cujoh also made fairly strong first impressions as Joestar family heroes, but the fourth one, Josuke Higashikata, made the strongest first impression of all. When he first appeared in Morioh Town, Josuke kept his cool at first, then erupted like a human volcano.
Someone made a comment on Josuke’s odd hair, provoking Josuke’s instant wrath. Josuke delivered a beating on the offending party, then engaged in a brief Stand battle with his visiting relative, Jotaro Kujo. Clearly, Josuke is not someone to take lightly.
5/10 Mary Saotome Was Clearly Arrogant
The blonde gambling student Mary Saotome was the first character to appear in Kakegurui right alongside Ryota Suzui, and right away, Mary made it clear what she was all about. Mary didn’t just defeat Ryota in a game, she used him as a human footstool, treating him like lowly trash.
That’s how Mary and most other Hyakkou students operate, preying on the weak and asserting their smug dominance whenever they can. Mary also tried to cheat during her first game against Yumeko, reinforcing her image as a tricky, arrogant, and scheming person who takes no prisoners.
4/10 Misaki Ayuzawa Upholds The Rules
The student council president Misaki Ayuzawa made a pretty strong first impression on shojo anime fans when she was introduced as a tough, disciplined student who always confronted troublemakers when she saw them. It was clear right away why many of Seika’s students viewed her as the “demon.”
Misaki was just trying to maintain law and order for the benefit of her school’s female students, but she can get carried away at times. For Misaki, it’s actually personal, since her father ran away and left behind a huge debt, leading Misaki to mistrust most boys by default.
3/10 Marin Kitagawa Came Flying Right In
My Dress-Up Darling
The lively genki girl Marin Kitagawa, unlike her new friend Wakana Gojo, is a total social butterfly who can befriend anyone, all while talking and laughing loudly but happily. In fact, Marin first appeared by flying right through the classroom door as though she had been shot out of a cannon.
Marin crashed right to the ground, then got up and laughed it off. That made a strong first impression, and Marin kept it up with her bright smile, colorful hair, and her enthusiastic request for Wakana to help her make some great cosplay. She and the quiet Wakana are perfect foils.
2/10 Captain Levi Ackerman Kicked Eren Around
Attack On Titan
Not long after protagonist Eren Yeager discovered his Attack Titan form, he was put on trial, where his fate would be decided. That was when Captain Levi Ackerman properly introduced himself by approaching Eren and kicking him repeatedly in the face.
Levi beat Eren half to death, then declared his intent to recruit Eren and watch over him. Eren was spared, but at the expense of a nasty beating. And the whole time, Levi had a stone-cold expression, and his words were equally stern. It was clear he wouldn’t apologize for his actions.
1/10 Katarina Claes Was A Total Brat At First
My Next Life As A Villainess
The otome villainess Katarina Claes gave a strong first impression of who she was up to a certain point, which made this first impression both accurate and misleading. Katarina was introduced as a bratty rich girl who often threw tantrums, and her staff didn’t know what to do about it.
This firmly established what the original Katarina Claes was like, and it also served as meaningful contrast to what Katrina would soon become. Once Katarina hit her head and realized that she was an isekai hero, she overrode that strong first impression with her new, wholesome personality.
NEXT: 10 Anime Characters Whose Egos Got in the Way of Their Development