It’s hard for anime fans not to notice that some of their favorite anime characters are extremely stylish. Still, some anime characters are more stylish than others and have even inspired people to cosplay their iconic looks and signature outfits.
Many anime characters’ looks are simply unforgettable and are talked about years later. The mangaka mentioned in this Top 10 list are fashion designers in the shadows, and it’s time they get the attention they deserve!
The following animes: xxxHOLiC, Trigun, NANA, Paradise Kiss, My Dress-Up Darling, and Spy X Family – have brought us some of the most fashionable looks of all time that we’re dying to try out in real life. There are surprising facts you may not yet know about why these animes in particular have brought you looks you just can’t get out of your head.
10. Yuuko Ichihara – xxxHOLiC anime
One of the most stylish anime characters is Yuuko from the manga and anime xxxHOLiC. She is the owner of a mysterious shop in Tokyo that grants wishes. As long as a person’s wish is sincere Yuuko will grant it – for a price. Her customers must give up something they consider precious and which has an equal value to the wish they desire granted.
In the anime and manga, Yuuko is usually seen lounging around the shop or draped over a settee while dressed in a sensually disheveled, silk kimono and smoking a pipe. She’s also usually barefoot which makes the image of her even more unforgettable. Her hair is always done up in an elaborate updo with chopsticks and hair ornaments.
Yuuko has inspired a lot of female cosplayers to try their hand at recreating her iconic look. I decided to showcase one of the best Yuuko cosplayers here:
9. Sakura Kinomoto – Cardcaptor Sakura anime
Sakura is a character and heroine of CLAMP’s manga and anime series Cardcaptor Sakura. At the beginning of the series during the Clow Card Arc and Sakura Card Arc, she’s a ten-year-old girl living in Tomoeda, Japan, and attending Tomoeda Elementary School. She is a freshman attending Tomoeda Junior High School during the Clear Card Arc.
Sakura’s best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji, is a fashion designer in her spare time and when she discovered Sakura’s ‘super hero identity’ as a Cardcaptor she decides that Sakura needs special hero costumes to fight in. Tomoyo also accompanies Sakura during her captures and films the events. Sakura wears a different costume during each card capture battle, which means Sakura has more than 32 costumes!
I think this particular fact speaks for itself and shows just how into fashion the mangaka behind Sakura is. In this case, it’s not just one but three artists that work on Cardcaptor Sakura. CLAMP is an all-female Japanese manga artist group that formed in the mid-1980s.
Nanase Ohkawa is their leader and is in charge of the storylines and screenplays for their works. Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi are the artists and brains behind Sakura’s costumes.
100 million CLAMP tankobon copies have been sold worldwide as of October 2007. CLAMP works you may recognize include: xxxHOLiC, xxxHOLiC:Rei, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, Cardcaptor Sakura, and Chobits.
CLAMP was also behind the character design for Lelouche in the anime Code Geass. Because of this, there are several Easter eggs in the series X/1999 thrown into the show, such as Lelouche’s character design that was inspired by the character Kamui Shiro and the sword Lelouche wields when he begins his reign.
8. Vash the Stampede – Trigun anime
Vash the Stampede is the hero of the anime and manga series Trigun. Vash’s nickname is ‘The Humanoid Typhoon’ due to the destruction and chaos he tends to leave in his wake. Vash travels from town to town in a world that resembles the Old West while trying to protect what his adoptive mother Rem treasured most – love and peace.
Those who have watched the anime will never forget Vash’s badass look. Vash’s typical ensemble includes a long, red trench coat with a high collar, straps, and black buttons. The coat has slits up both sides from the waist down. Beneath the trench coat, Vash wears a black t-shirt, dark fitted pants, circular metal plates at his knees, and knee-high combat boots with retractable knives in the toes. One must not forget to mention his snazzy, round, yellow-colored glasses.
Who is the genius behind Vash’s unforgettable badass look? Yasuhiro Nightow. He has also designed characters for the video game and anime series Gungrave and has been working on the manga Blood Blockade Battlefront. Brandon Heat aka Beyond the Grave deserves a mention for his own badass look too.
7. Nana Osaki – NANA anime
NANA is a manga (and anime) written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. The series revolves around Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu – two young women who move to Tokyo at the age of twenty. Nana Osaki pursues fame as a singer while Nana Komatsu, later nicknamed Hachi, pursues romance.
NANA is often called ‘the most stylish anime of all time’. This is in great part due to Nana’s goth-punk rocker look. Nana Osaki is the lead vocalist of the popular punk band the Black Stones, BLAST for short. Nana may look tough on the outside but has a kind heart and is a devoted friend, especially to Hachi whom she becomes very protective of.
After Nana O was expelled from high school after being falsely accused of prostitution she decides to concentrate on her dream of becoming a famous singer and polishes her skills as the lead vocalist of BLAST. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Nana’s bandmates are three extremely handsome men dressed in Goth-punk outfits.
6. Nana Komatsu aka Hachi – NANA anime
Hachi is Nana O’s best friend but also her polar opposite in both her personality and looks. Hachi is sweet, feminine, and likes to dress in cute Lolita-style outfits. When Hachi goes to Tokyo in order to chase after her boyfriend she encounters Nana on a train and they instantly become friends due to the funny similarities in their names and situations.
The anime adaptation was produced by Madhouse, which made the great fashion in the anime look even better. There are 50 million copies of the manga in circulation as of 2019.
NANA has inspired many cosplayers to try their hand at bringing Nana and her friends to life. Most notable are the two cosplayers Ferasha and Wacky Cherry who decided to team up and cosplay Nana and Hachi in a photoshoot. Guru was their photographer.
5. Yukari ‘Caroline’ Hayasaka
Another anime known for its fabulous fashion is Paradise Kiss. This is yet another influential manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa (the same creator as NANA!). Paradise Kiss appeared as a serial in the Japanese fashion magazine Zipper. Madhouse and Aniplex produced the 12-episode series.
Yukari is a beautiful but arrogant high school senior studying for her university entrance exams. The story begins with Yukari feeling listless and wanting a change in her life. That change comes when she is scouted by Arashi and whisked away by Isabella to the Atelier where she encounters a group of fashion design students. Her snobbish attitude towards them changes and she grows to admire all of them, especially George with whom she ends up falling in love.
Fans of the anime will never forget the beautiful blue dress that George designed and that Yukari modeled for him. Several female cosplayers have tried to recreate that iconic blue dress. I chose the one I thought did the best job not only portraying Yukari but also having the most accurate recreation of the dress.
4. Miwako Sakurado – Paradise Kiss anime
All of the characters in Paradise Kiss have style and flair, but one character whose fashion is unforgettable is Miwako.
Miwako is a bubbly, pink-haired student of Yazagaku who works with George to run their fashion brand – Paradise Kiss. Miwako is usually seen wearing Lolita-style dresses and may have even started this trend!
3. Marin Kitagawa – My Dress Up Darling anime
One of the most recent animes that has otaku talking about fashion in anime again is My Dress-Up Darling – a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Shinichi Fukuda. An anime tv series adaptation by Cloverworks aired from January to March 2022.
My Dress-Up Darling is a school romance featuring Gojo – a boy who is passionate about making dolls and painting their faces, and Marin – an otaku who is into magical girl anime, otome games and cosplay. When Marin learned Gojo is good at sewing she begged him to make a cosplay dress of a maid character she admired. After a successful cosplay debut, Marin grows closer to Gojo and starts to fall in love with him.
In the same time frame My Dress-Up Darling was being aired, voice actor Shouya Ishige was working on a special project. He decided it would be interesting to make a cosplay dress for his costar: voice actress, Suguta Hina, who voices Marin Kitagawa.
Weekly sewing progress from the ‘seiyuu duo’ was updated on My Dress-Up Darling’s media page. Fans have started to ship the two together as a result of their project getting so much attention.
Many fellow cosplayers expressed their appreciation for the cosplay work since they know how much time and effort goes into completing their final looks.
2. Loid Forger – Spy X Family anime
Stealing the top spots once again is Spy X Family. Spy X Family is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tatsuya Endo. The anime series is being produced by Wit Studios and Cloverworks (Cloverworks appears to have great fashion designers on their team since they were also behind My Dress-Up Darling!)
Spy X Family’s incredible popularity has brought controversies, scandals, memes, and now a renewed interest in cosplay and fashion. Male and female cosplayers are rushing to cosplay Loid Forger and Yor Forger.
Loid Forger is spy chic. The action-comedy Spy X Family is filled with references to popular spy-based media, especially the blatant and frequent ones to James Bond. With Loid Forger being inspired by James Bond it’s no surprise he’s a fashionable, heartbreaker spy.
1. Yor Forger – Spy X Family Anime
Tatsuya Endo’s take on ‘the little black dress’ with the one he created for his assassin character Yor Forger has caught even Dior’s eye. Spy X Family has made its way to high fashion apparently and is collaborating with Dior for the company’s Spring/Summer 2021 Collection.
Yor is seen wearing some of this Dior season’s collection in a drawing by Endo, where the Forgers are all looking extra stylish.
Cocomi – the Japanese ambassador for Dior, model and flutist, was gifted a special illustration by Endo inspired by the collection and Yor’s personal flair.
More details about the collaboration can be found on the campaign website.
If you haven’t watched this anime yet I highly recommend it. The story begins with a spy receiving a difficult mission to maintain peace between the rival nations of Westalis and Ostania by spying on Donovon Desmond – the leader of an extremist political party within Ostania. Desmond, however, is a notorious recluse and the only way for the Westalis agent codenamed ‘Twilight’ to get close to him is to enroll a child in the same private school as Desmond’s son and pose as the child’s father.
Twilight creates the alias ‘Loid Forger’, adopts a young orphan girl named Anya (who happens to be an Esper and has the ability to read people’s minds), and marries a woman named Yor Briar (she happens to be an assassin) to create a ‘happy family’ that will be accepted in the eyes of society. Lucky for Loid, Anya loves anything that has to do with spies and excitement, so her help comes in handy. Neither Yor nor Loid are aware of the others’ true identities except for Anya who can read their minds.