Assassin characters have captivated readers in the world of manga for years. With their stealth, lethal skills, and intriguing personalities, these protagonists add an element of thrill and suspense to the stories they inhabit.
In this article, we will explore ten amazing manga where the main character is an assassin. We will delve into the unique aspects of each manga, discuss the appeal of assassin characters in the medium, and compare their portrayal in manga to that in Western media.
Top 10 Manga Where the MC is an Assassin:
1. KOZURE OOKAMI
Plot Summary: Kozure Ookami, also known as Lone Wolf and Cub, follows the story of Ogami Itto, a skilled samurai assassin, and his young son Daigoro. After being framed for treason, Ogami becomes an assassin for hire, embarking on a quest for vengeance while carrying his son in a wooden baby cart.
Characters and Their Powers: Ogami Itto possesses exceptional sword-fighting skills and is known for his mastery of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu style. Daigoro, his son, serves as a constant reminder of his responsibilities and the moral dilemmas he faces.
Unique Aspect: Kozure Ookami stands out for its fusion of historical fiction, action, and a heartwarming tale of a father and son. The manga beautifully balances intense sword fights with tender moments of paternal bonding.
2. SAKAMOTO DAYS
Plot Summary: Sakamoto Days tells the story of Taro Sakamoto, a former deadly assassin turned ordinary family man. After retiring from the assassination business, Taro runs a humble convenience store but is forced to return to his old ways when his past catches up with him.
Characters and Their Powers: Taro Sakamoto possesses incredible combat skills and an ability to improvise with everyday objects. His wife, Aoi, supports him while managing the convenience store, and Shin, a former rival, adds a comedic dynamic to the story.
Unique Aspect: This manga offers a refreshing twist by exploring the challenges of balancing a mundane family life with a hidden, action-packed past. The juxtaposition of domesticity and Taro’s assassin skills creates a captivating narrative.
Plot Summary: Azumi follows the journey of the titular character, a young assassin trained from childhood to serve a higher cause. Tasked with eliminating warlords during the Sengoku period, Azumi faces moral dilemmas and grapples with her own humanity.
Characters and Their Powers: Azumi excels in martial arts, wielding a sword with incredible precision. She is accompanied by her companions, who each bring their unique abilities and perspectives to the group.
Unique Aspect: Azumi stands out for its exploration of the psychological toll of being an assassin. The manga delves into themes of honor, sacrifice, and the price of carrying out a mission for the greater good.
4. GUNSLINGER GIRL
Plot Summary: Gunslinger Girl revolves around a covert Italian government agency that transforms young girls into highly skilled assassins. The story follows the cyborg assassins, their handlers, and the ethical implications of using children as weapons.
Characters and Their Powers: The young girls in Gunslinger Girl possess enhanced physical abilities, expert marksmanship, and are paired with handlers who guide and protect them. Each girl has a unique personality and background.
Unique Aspect: This manga delves into the emotional complexity of the assassins’ relationships with their handlers. It explores themes of identity, humanity, and the blurred lines between protecting and exploiting the girls.
5. ASSASSIN NO KYUUJITSU
Plot Summary: Assassin no Kyuujitsu follows the story of Azuma Hideo, a salaryman who is secretly an assassin. Juggling his mundane office life with assassination contracts, Azuma navigates through the challenges of maintaining his double life.
Characters and Their Powers: Azuma Hideo possesses exceptional combat skills, strategic thinking, and an ability to blend in seamlessly with his surroundings.
Unique Aspect: This manga provides a unique twist by showcasing the struggles of a seemingly ordinary office worker who leads a hidden life as an assassin. It explores the contrast between Azuma’s mundane existence and his thrilling adventures.
6. THE FABLE
Plot Summary: The Fable centers around Ryuji “Fable” Fudo, a legendary hitman who goes undercover to live a normal life as part of a witness protection program. However, his past catches up with him, and he must confront dangerous enemies.
Characters and Their Powers: Ryuji Fudo possesses exceptional combat skills, is a master of disguise, and utilizes a range of weapons. His interactions with ordinary people and his desire for a peaceful life add depth to his character.
Unique Aspect: The Fable explores the challenges of an assassin trying to adapt to a regular life, showcasing Ryuji’s struggle to suppress his violent nature while protecting those he cares about.
7. KOROSHIYA DATTE MIMAMORITAI
Plot Summary: Koroshiya Datte Mimamoritai, also known as I Want to Protect the Killer, follows the story of Naoto Karasaki, a man with a strong sense of justice who becomes a bodyguard for an assassin named Hikari. Naoto aims to prevent Hikari from taking any more lives.
Characters and Their Powers: Hikari is an expert assassin with unparalleled combat skills and stealth. Naoto Karasaki relies on his intellect and resourcefulness to protect Hikari and steer her towards a different path.
Unique Aspect: This manga subverts expectations by focusing on the relationship between an assassin and a bodyguard. It delves into themes of redemption, moral ambiguity, and the power of human connection.
8. GOLGO 13
Plot Summary: Golgo 13 follows the life of Duke Togo, a professional assassin known as Golgo 13. Duke is a cold and mysterious marksman who undertakes various assassination missions with precision and efficiency.
Characters and Their Powers: Duke Togo possesses unmatched sniper skills, a keen intellect, and a stoic demeanor. He is often hired by influential figures and organizations to eliminate targets.
Unique Aspect: Golgo 13 stands out for its gritty and realistic portrayal of an assassin’s life. The manga explores complex geopolitical themes, moral gray areas, and the consequences of living a life dedicated to killing.
9. SPY X FAMILY
Plot Summary: Spy x Family revolves around the lives of a spy named Twilight, an assassin named Yor, and a telepathic girl named Anya. Twilight must maintain his cover while navigating a web of espionage, while Yor tries to keep her assassin identity a secret.
Characters and Their Powers: Twilight excels in intelligence gathering, espionage, and combat. Yor possesses exceptional assassination skills, and Anya’s telepathic abilities add a unique twist to the story.
Unique Aspect: This manga offers a delightful blend of action, comedy, and heartwarming family dynamics. It explores the challenges of maintaining secrets and the power of genuine connections.
Plot Summary: Dendrobates follows the story of Hibari, a highly skilled assassin known as Dendrobates. After losing her family at a young age, Hibari seeks revenge against the criminals responsible for their deaths.
Characters and Their Powers: Hibari possesses extraordinary combat skills, enhanced reflexes, and the ability to mimic the movements of animals. She employs various weapons and tactics to eliminate her targets.
Unique Aspect: Dendrobates offers a thrilling blend of action and psychological depth. It delves into Hibari’s past trauma, her pursuit of justice, and the fine line between seeking vengeance and finding redemption.
Other Notable Assassin Characters in Manga
While the aforementioned manga showcase some exceptional assassin characters, there are many other notable assassins worth exploring. Some honorable mentions include Kenshin Himura from “Rurouni Kenshin,” Train Heartnet from “Black Cat,” and Gol D. Roger from “One Piece.” Each of these characters brings their unique qualities and stories to the world of manga.
These assassins have become iconic due to their captivating narratives, complex personalities, and the moral dilemmas they face. They represent the evolution of assassin characters in manga and their enduring appeal to readers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes assassin characters so appealing in manga?
Assassin characters in manga offer a unique blend of intrigue, action, and moral complexity. Their exceptional skills, secretive nature, and the duality of their lives make them fascinating protagonists. Readers are drawn to their inner conflicts, the thrill of dangerous missions, and the exploration of ethical dilemmas.
Are there any popular manga where the assassin character is a villain?
Yes, there are popular manga where the assassin character is portrayed as a villain. One notable example is “Akame ga Kill!” where the titular character, Akame, is an assassin working for a corrupt government. The manga explores the consequences of her actions and the moral gray areas of her profession.
How have assassin characters changed in manga over time?
Assassin characters in manga have evolved over time to reflect changing societal values and reader preferences. Initially, they were often portrayed as cold and stoic killers. However, modern portrayals delve deeper into their inner struggles, humanizing them and exploring their motivations, relationships, and personal growth. This shift has brought about more complex and relatable assassin characters in manga.
Can you provide recommendations for manga with assassin characters for beginners?
Certainly! If you’re new to manga featuring assassins, you can start with “Assassination Classroom” by Yūsei Matsui, which blends comedy and action while following a class of students being trained as assassins. Another beginner-friendly manga is “Psyren” by Toshiaki Iwashiro, which combines time travel and supernatural abilities with an assassin protagonist. Both series offer engaging stories and memorable characters.
What are some notable Western media portrayals of assassins compared to manga?
Western media often portrays assassins as enigmatic, highly skilled individuals operating in a gritty and realistic setting. They are often depicted as lone wolves with tragic backstories and complex moral codes. Manga, on the other hand, incorporates various genres and styles, offering a more diverse range of assassin characters. Manga explores the emotional depth and psychological complexities of assassins while infusing action, comedy, and fantastical elements into their narratives.
Assassin characters hold a special place in the world of manga. Their intriguing stories, exceptional skills, and moral complexities make them captivating protagonists. From the historical setting of Kozure Ookami to the comedic yet action-packed Sakamoto Days, these manga provide a diverse range of narratives that explore the many facets of assassins.
Assassin characters in manga offer readers a chance to delve into the thrilling and often perilous world of secret missions, intricate plots, and personal growth.
Whether they are seeking vengeance, redemption, or a new path in life, these assassins captivate readers with their humanity and the challenges they face.