The 30 Anime With A Genius Main Character

Anime protagonists have always been fascinating in most cases, especially if they can boast amazing insight skills.

Genius main characters are quite common and we have compiled this list to show what we think are the best ones out there.

Here is our list of the best anime with a genius main character to watch now, if you love intelligence and even cunningness.

You will usually find Sci-Fi, detective, mystery, and gambling anime since those are the genres where it’s common practice to include a smart protagonist.

30. The Perfect Insider

The Perfect Insider

Sohei Saikawa is an associate professor of architectural engineering and he will travel to the research facility of programmer Shiki Magata together with his student Moe Nishinosono.

The two will be trapped in a murder mystery where they will have to unravel the mystery of the island where the facility is located.

It is a very well-made show with a good narrative that involves murders and mysteries so you should watch it if you’re into this kind of things

Sohei is the textbook example of a genius main character. Besides being intellectually gifted he is also socially inadequate and has many obsessions like cigarettes and coffee.

29. Spiral: Bond of Reasoning

This anime from the early 2000s focuses on Ayumu Narumi, the brother of Kiyotaka, a very famous detective who disappeared two years prior.

One day Ayumu is framed for the murder of his classmate so he decides to investigate who could have been the real assassin and why he is trying to get him to take the blame.

He follows the only lead left by his missing brother about the so-called Blade Children.

He will come out of his brother’s shadow by investigating the mystery of the blade children and their relationship with Kiyotaka.

You shouldn’t miss it if you like a good detective story with great characters and a little bit of violence here and there.

28. Umineko: When They Cry

Umineko: When They Cry

This is the third installment in the When They Cry series and it premiered in 2009. The plot is about a wealthy family that gets trapped on an island after a ceremony held by Ushiromiya Kinzou, the patriarch who wants to meet once again his true love, the witch Beatrice.

After this event, the Ushiromiya family is catapulted into a fantasy setting where many of the members begin getting murdered.

The genius in question is an heir of the family called Battler, a very smart and stubborn guy who is tasked to solve the meaning of all those murders and tries to convince the witch to help him.

We still recommend you play the visual novel, as this anime is more for those who have already played it.

This adaptation isn’t that bad as a series, the problem is that it’s really rushed as the original source is way longer and more detailed.

27. Un-go


This very short anime counts only eleven episodes and aired in the fall of 2011.

It’s set in a dystopian universe and follows the story of detective Shinjuurou Yuuki who goes around solving many mysteries around Tokyo with his incredible intelligence and his partner Inga.

Shinjuurou is known also as the Defeated Detective because he is always showing up at the wrong time or the wrong place. But the hidden truth is that he and his partner are called in to handle cases too delicate for the authorities.

He is mocked by the public but he’s a hero in his private life. The show is a crime drama that is worth watching mainly for the great chemistry between the main characters

26. King’s Avatar

King's Avatar

This anime aired in 2017 tells the story of Ye Xiu, an outstanding player of the online game called Glory.

He has beaten many challenges in the game world and has achieved a level of commitment and talent that he’s been rewarded with the nickname of Battle God.

Every player of Glory has heard of him and his genius strategies but all the good things must come to an end so he is forced to retire from his team and leave gaming behind.

He starts working at an internet café when he decides to make a comeback under the alias of Lord Grim.

The protagonist possesses extensive knowledge of the game but Glory has changed since the last time he was online. Ye Xiu decides to take on the challenge and start impressing everyone with his talent once again.

King’s Avatar stands out for the quality of the animations and its strong cast of characters that make it a good suggestion if you like gaming.

25. Gosick


It is set in 1924, in a fictitious European country called Sauville where protagonist Kazuya Kujo had just moved.

He enrolls at St. Marguerite Academy where he meets Victorique de Blois, a mysterious girl who spends her entire days among the books in the library.

Kazuya becomes fascinated by her, partly because of her detective skills, which she uses to help her brother solve cases.

They will develop a close bond and Victorique will be able to show her impressive abilities during the show.

The relationship between the characters is very interesting. Combine this with a fascinating setting and a high-quality animation and you get a great product that you should watch.

24. Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland

The setup for this anime is as simple as it is frightening. Humans and Demons ended a long war by coming to an agreement named The Promise.

According to this agreement humans and demons will not invade each other worlds but demons will have to be granted a steady supply of food in the form of human flesh.

The humans will be bred in these fake orphanages where a human Mother would make sure that the children would grow up and then be adopted, meaning they will be fed to high-ranking demons.

Norman is one of the kids who display great wit and intelligence. He’s an expert with puzzles and mathematics and he makes use of his skills to get himself and his friends out of trouble.

You should give a chance to this anime because of the very interesting premise that manages to become one of the strong points of the entire show.

The only unfortunate point is that Season 2 was actually bad, but you can still read the manga if you really want.

23. Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler


The plot revolves around the Hyakkaou Private Academy, a private school whose pupils include children of wealthy and world-famous personalities.

The academy initially appears to be just another school, where students are instructed in ordinary subjects such as history and languages.

However, overnight, students learn the art of gambling and money manipulation, betting their infinite fortunes and gambling them against each other to gain influence within the school.

The main character Yumeko is a naive girl who has just transferred in but soon discovers her enormous talent in gambling.

She turns out to be a genius gambler and this will create many problems for other students who exert their influence on the school and try to stop her.

This isn’t your average anime about a genius detective like many others on this list. The story puts a fun spin on the world of gambling and it becomes more frightening as you get invested with the characters and the stakes rise.

22. The Irregular at Magic High School

The Irregular at Magic High School

The Irregular at Magic School is an anime aired in 2014. The plot is set in the late 21st century, in a future where magic has become commonplace and had merged with technology.

The events follow the lives of a group of boys attending a school where magic is taught and where the students are divided into courses based on their talent.

One of the main characters called Tatsuya is relegated to the Second Course, the one for less talented magicians. But despite that, he will prove to possess extraordinary technical knowledge and physical combat capabilities.

He manages to prove everybody wrong by showing his real talents.

This show manages to mix many different elements and remain true to itself by depicting also many different characters that fit perfectly in this weird magical world.

You should watch this if you’re looking for something new in the genre.

21. One-Outs

One Outs

The main character Toua Tokuchi is a baseball prodigy and he keeps gambling and winning on these games of One-Outs where he is an absolute master.

He doesn’t have any affection for the sport itself and sees it as an easy way to get a quick buck. This is until he meets the professional player Hiromichi Kojima who beats him at his game and forces him to join his team, the Saikyou Saitama Lycaons.

After many negotiations, he will sign a weird contract. He will earn five million yen, but making any mistake on the pitch will cost him fifty million.

This extreme arrangement underlines the genius attitude of Toua. He made a name for himself by gambling on his skills and now he has gone professional but has no intention to change the line of thinking that brought him there in the first place.

Obviously, the main character carries the whole show and you will grow attached to him despite his clear smugness and confidence. This is also one of the few baseball anime out there, so you may want to give it a try.

20. ID Invaded


The anime follows the life of Akihito Narihisago, also known as Sakaido, a renowned detective that had his family killed by a serial killer. Narishago will seek vengeance toward the culprit and this will lead to his incarceration.

While in prison, the detective continues to support the police thanks to a device that allows a person’s consciousness to be transported within a virtual world. This dimension is created based on the traces of homicidal instincts left in the victims’ bodies.

This device is called an ID-well. It can lead the detective to the perpetrator of a crime but it can only be used by someone who has taken a life, like Sakaido.

Being the inventor of this device, Sakido proves himself to be some kind of a genius. No regular person, no matter how motivated, would have been able to come up with something like this.

It’s a good detective fiction with many Sci-Fi elements, and we recommend this anime for its high-quality story-telling.

19. Code Geass

Code Geass

The plot is set in a dystopian version of Japan where the country is a colony of the British Empire and is known as Area 11. The political turmoil puts Japan in a war-like situation and the protagonist Lelouch gets caught in the crossfire.

He manages to escape after receiving the Geass from C.C., a mysterious girl. This is a power that allows him to gain absolute control over others simply by direct eye contact.

The power of mind control effectively makes Lelouch a genius who can quickly get rid of his foes and he will utilize his newfound abilities in his pursuit of revenge against the British Empire.

Code Geass is almost universally considered a great anime and its main character is one of the smartest and most charismatic protagonists of all time.

So if you are looking for a complex plot with a great main character that will gater a large amount of loyal followers, you should absolutely watch this.

18. Classroom of the Elite

Classroom of the Elite

This anime is set in a seemingly regular school called Koudo Ikusei Senior High School. Turns out the school ranks its students in classes from A to D, encouraging them to compete for better positions.

Our main characters are placed in class D, meaning the lower tier. This sparks in them a sense of revenge and a motivation to rise to the ranks of the school.

This very competitive school has the merit to reunite many of the greatest young brains in the country and tries to motivate them by placing them in a highly competitive setting.

The characters in this show are amazing and the premise is very interesting but you should keep in mind that it was canceled after just one season, leaving many open questions still to be answered.

Regardless we think you should watch it because it is worth it even if it doesn’t last for so long.

17. Moriarty the Patriot

Moriarty the Patriot

Moriarty the Patriot tells the story of Sherlock Holmes from the point of view of James Moriarty, his legendary archrival. The story starts from his origins to the moment when he established himself as Sherlock’s nemesis.

It takes both skill and guts to even think to contend with Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty proves to possess both. Throughout the show, he will prove himself to be a worthy rival in the fascinating setting of early 19th century London.

Sherlock Holmes is an icon in pop culture but it isn’t often that we can witness his exploits from the point of view of his rival.

The very idea behind this plot is amazing and genius like the unusual protagonist so you should give it a chance.

16. Psycho – Pass

Psycho Pass

Psycho-Pass is set in a futuristic society where it is possible to monitor and control an individual’s mental state and personality. It’s then possible to assess the probability of a person committing a crime or not with the so-called Crime Coefficient.

This anime is filled with anxiety-inducing moments where the boundaries between right and wrong are blurred.

The protagonist Shinya Kogami is an Enforcer and is tasked to stop criminals who are about to commit illegal activities.

He’s a very smart detective with good instincts and the ability to get insights into the criminal mind. During his time at Division 01, these talents will prove to be very useful to him.

Psycho-Pass is a very popular show that has a very fascinating plot and an even better main cast. There is a reason why it is considered as highly as it is today so you should watch it if you haven’t already.

15. No Game No Life

No Game no Life

No Game No Life is a very popular anime released in 2014. Its great success is undoubtedly due to its focus on the compelling games that set the pace of the episodes but also thanks to its charismatic and engaging characters.

The main characters are siblings Sora and Shiro, two Hikikomori who spend their days in their room together playing video games. They built a reputation for themselves and are considered true legends because of how talented they are.

They are teleported to the world of Disboard, a realm revolving around various games and gambling where they can supposedly reach their full potential but this will turn out to be a twist.

The two main characters and the chemistry between the two make this anime a must-watch.

14. Log Horizon

Log Horizon

Log Horizon is an anime based on the light novel series of the same name written by Mamare Touno and illustrated by Kazuhiro Hara.

The plot of the series is set in the world of Elder’s Tale, the world’s most popular MMORPG played by thousands of players.

Unfortunately for the characters of the series, Shiro, Naotsugu, and Akatsuki, this fantasy world will become their prison, as they mysteriously cannot get out of it.

The protagonist named Shiro is an engineering major in real life and has been playing the game for eight years. And this extensive experience gives an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the game and its rules.

If you enjoy isekai anime set in an MMORPG like world this is the place for you. Log Horizon does a great job of introducing many little details that fans of the genre can appreciate and understand so we feel like you shouldn’t miss this one.

Plus, it’s one of our best recommendations if you like the isekai with a non-human MC subgenre.

13. Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor


A gambling anime about the story of Kaji, a poor young man facing an enormous debt.

Anything related to chance has to do with probability and to even trying to figure things out, the protagonist shows a great deal of intelligence and mental strength.

Kaiji: Ultime Survivor is all about numbers and probabilities but that’s not all. Game Theory plays a crucial role as well because gambling is heavily influenced by decision-making and possible outcomes.

Kaji is an ordinary man who is forced to collect all of his skills and mental strength from the situation he has put himself into.

The anime does a great job of making you sympathize and grow attached to a very flawed man that is just trying to save himself at this point.

12. OreGairu

My Teeen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

A 13-episode anime based on the light novel series of the same name written by Wataru Watari. Hachiman Hikigaya is an antisocial high school student with a distorted and pessimistic view of social life that leads him to be alone.

That is until his teacher forces him to join the institution’s volunteer club, which is attended and run by the prettiest girl in school, Yukino Yukinoshita.

The two will find that they have much in common and that they both possess remarkable wits and intelligence.

They will try to solve their school’s many problems by joining their forces and this will also prove to be a very formative experience for both Hachiman and Yukino.

This is a story set in high school so don’t expect a complex narrative, but rather a psychological story with the focus mainly on the characters growth, and one of the best romance with a depressed MC.

11. JoJo’s Bizzare Adventures – Battle Tendency

JoJo Battle Tendency

This is the second arc of the popular anime that concludes the story of the Stone Mask.

It’s set in 1938 and stars Joseph Joestar as its protagonist. Jonathan’s grandson will directly face the Pillar Men, creators of the Stone Mask and he will be tasked to defeat these superhuman beings with the help of his allies.

Joseph Joestar employs a high level of cunning to pursue his goals and even in the tensest situations he is shown to have a pretty relaxed and laid-back attitude. He comes off as a powerful and confident main character.

You don’t need anybody else to tell you that you should watch JoJo, as it’s one of the most influential series ever, that you shouldn’t miss if you like anime with a competent MC.

Battle Tendency is loved by fans thanks to Joseph, one of the best main characters you could ask for.

10. Gankutsou: The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

A short anime based on the French novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The story is set in 5053 as the French aristocrats Viscount Albert de Morcerf and Baron Franz d’Epinay attend the festival of Carnival on the moon city of Luna.

Albert meets the gaze of the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo during an opera performance. The two become friends and he introduces him to French society.

The true colors of the Count are yet to be revealed as his goal is to enact revenge on those who wronged him.

Count Edmont Dantes is shown as a shady personality with a mysterious physical appearance. He somehow possesses unbelievable fortune and many personal connections that allow him to do anything he wants and get away with it.

This anime is fairly unique. It stands out both because of its animation style and its Renaissance setting. It didn’t quite reach the mainstream but this doesn’t mean it is not worth your time.

9. Steins; Gate


Steins;Gate is a popular anime adaptation based on a visual novel and part of the larger universe of SciAdv.

It deals with subjects like science and time travel and it manages to be entertaining and not at all confusing, a pretty huge feat for a 24-episode show.

The main character Okabe Rintaro is the only one that can use Reading Steiner an ability that allows retaining one’s memory of events that have occurred before the switch of timelines.

Okabe is an engineering student at Tokyo Denki University and is brilliant thanks to the consistent effort he puts into his creations. In fact, he loves to work on new gadgets and useless inventions in his spare time.

The futuristic and dystopian setting is paired with a fairly compelling plot that even blends a romance where the MC saves the girl into the mix.

Steins;Gate is the best introduction to Sci-Fi anime and also one of the best anime where only the MC has powers that you’ll love if you like the trope.

8. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

Based on the manga by Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell is the apotheosis of the thriller genre, examining themes like existentialism and the breakdown of the self.

It’s 2029 and the world is almost completely automated. Much of the population consists of individuals who have cybernetic grafts that can enhance their senses and faculties. Coupled with this, it’s possible to find completely artificial people, cyborgs.

One of these is Motoko Kusanagi, and she is part of Section 9 of the police. It will be up to her to solve the case concerning a particular terrorist called the Puppeteer, who operates through cyborgs themselves.

Major Motoko is a very talented individual. Her cybernetic limbs give her the physical ability she needs and her intelligence is linked to a highly sophisticated brain that can’t be hacked in any way.

7. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Kaguya-sama – Love is War is a psychological romance anime that premiered in 2019.

The plot follows Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, two students attending the prestigious Shuchiin Institute who are blatantly in love with each other.

However, the two are too proud to admit it and instead compete in entertaining psychological battles in which one tries to make the other confess.

Both of them are very smart so it will not be easy for either of them to force the other to commit a mistake.

An anime with a light plot, being basically a great romcom.

It offers a charming mix of humor, and romantic tension between the mysterious yet awkward Shirogane, one of the best cool MC in romance, and the seemingly perfect but shy Kaguya.

6. Monster


A 74-episode anime based on Naoki Urasawa’s masterpiece of the same name, it represents a true staple of the investigation and thriller genre.

The work follows the story of Kenzo Tenma, a renowned surgeon.

One day, he decides to rebel against his boss, thus saving a child from a fatal wound instead of the mayor of Düsseldorf, Germany, the city where the hospital is located.

Time will prove Dr. Tenma wrong as he realizes that the child he saved, Johan Liebert, has become over time a serial killer who continues to claim lives.

The main character is a genius per se, as you will see during the hunt for Johan. And the same can be said for the villain, one of the best in all anime and famous for his manipulation abilities.

5. Hyouka


This anime premiered in 2012 and it tells the story of high school freshman Houtarou Oreki. He’s a pretty apathetic guy who prioritizes energy conservation despite everything happening around him.

One day he is forced by his sister Tomoe to join the Classics Club to save it from disbandment. He will find out that his childhood friend, Eru Chitanda has already joined the club.

The banter between the two will reveal that Houtarou is a very gifted individual and possess brilliant deduction skills that allow him to figure out stuff sooner than the average student.

The relationship between the characters is the main driver in this show. So if you enjoy this kind of stories based on light novels and especially anime without an actual protagonist, where all the characters are important in their own way, you’ll love this series.

4. Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

An OAV series about the devastating and interminable war that has raged now for 150 years between the Galactic Empire led by the Goldenbaum dynasty and the Alliance of Free Planets.

Set in the distant future when humanity has now colonized and made the entire cosmos its own, we see two protagonists pop up in the great turmoil of the war: Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li.

The two protagonists are in our opinion the best male lead duo ever, gifted with many talents and great intelligence.

Reinhard has more natural talent and is a more charismatic leader overall. Yang is very well educated in military history and knows how to apply precedent from historic battles to his benefit.

Both main characters are very interesting and different in the way they fight each other for their respective sides.

Don’t get intimidated by the length of this show, you should watch this space opera if you are not put off by its dated style of animation.

3. Detective Conan

Detective Conan

This is an anime from 1996 which follows the protagonist Shinichi Kudou, a high school student gifted with great intelligence and intuition.

He is making his way into a career as a brilliant detective when one day is spotted by two criminals that dose him with an experimental drug that is supposed to kill him.

Shinichi will survive but he is going to be trapped in the body of a seven-year-old child. He can retain his personality and his intelligence and is going to hide his identity under the alias Conan Edogawa.

Shinichi, as Conan, is going to follow his childhood friend Ran Mouri and her father Kogorou Mouri, a famous private detective.

Conan will be able to secretly solve every case assigned to detective Mouri using his talents and a clever way to disguise himself from everyone.

Meanwhile, the young detective is going to investigate the organization responsible for his childlike appearance, hoping to discover some way to reverse the drug’s effects.

The character of Shinichi/Conan is himself a reason to watch the show because it’s very well written.

2. Dr. Stone

Dr. Stone

This anime became a sensation in the last years and it tells a story set in a post-apocalyptic far future.

It is set in the year 5738 when all of humanity finds itself turned to stone due to a natural disaster.

Ooki Taiju manages to survive and is confronted with a completely different reality than he remembered. After reuniting with his friend Senku they will begin their adventure.

The genius here is Senkuu who, after being awakened he has developed a scientific strategy to harbor the complete revival of civilization.

The two of them will embark on an adventure trying to survive and find out why all humanity has been petrified for all those years.

The characters are great and they will deliver a pretty emotional performance. The setting is also unique and well animated so you should give Dr. Stone a chance.

1. Death Note

Death Note

Death Note is a cult anime that has become a pop culture phenomenon, starring what probably is the best evil MC ever made.

Light Yagami is a young model student, who nevertheless harbors strong disgust and disappointment with the world around him.

His life will change drastically when one day he sees a mysterious notebook, the Death Note, fall from the sky, capable of causing the death of anyone simply by writing his name.

Light’s plans are clear, to use the notebook to kill as many criminals as possible to purge this world of evil.

But soon he will have to deal with L, one of the greatest private investigators, hired to unravel the mystery of the deaths among criminals.

Both characters display a very high intelligence which makes for a compelling confrontation between them.

There’s no need to explain why you need to watch Death Note if you haven’t already.

Everything from the unique premise to the depth of the main characters comes together to make an anime that you must watch.

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