Anime is notorious for its blood, guts and gore but in amongst all the carnage there are also a lot more visually pleasing things to feast your eyes on, too. As well as fast-paced action, raucous comedy and angsty teens piloting humungous robots, anime is also a medium populated by a lot of really good-looking and well-endowed people. From shirtless, muscle-bound warriors, to bubbly, busty women wearing an array of highly impractical costumes that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination and make you awkwardly shield your screen in case somebody walks in on you. And where there are ridiculously dressed and impossibly cool looking fictional characters, there are always seriously talented cosplayers eager to rise to the challenge of bringing them to life.
The ludicrous levels of skin from the costumes in Kill La Kill, the bulging Super Saiyan physiques in Dragon Ball and the impossibly figure-hugging suits of Ghost In The Shell‘s Motoko Kurasangi have all been not only attempted but perfected by cosplaying anime fans. Swoon-worthy costumes aren’t always about showing scandalous amounts of skin though. Some of the photos on this list breathtakingly capture the romance between fan-favorite couples while others steal hearts just by throwing a wry smile or smoldering expression at the viewer. Whether you’re here for Pokemon trainers or teenage Shinigami, these stunning anime cosplays are bound to make you feel a little hot under the collar.
15. SON GOKU (DRAGON BALL)
It shouldn’t be that surprising that a good looking anime guy can also make a good looking anime girl, and yet, it still is somehow. Jannet Incosplay is a professional cosplayer, wig-maker and cosplay judge from Russia who has a phenomenal talent for turning the butchest of the butch into the convincingly feminine. Looking at her gender-swapped Goku, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the original male version even exists.
What’s particularly impressive about this cosplay is that Jannet hasn’t toned down any of the character’s strength to achieve the swap — there’s a lot of skin on display (and Jannet isn’t exactly unpleasant to look at) but what’s radiating off of her more than anything else is a feeling of raw power, which is still very attractive and also completely true to the character.
14. ASUNA YUUKI (SWORD ART ONLINE)
Asuna was the original sword-slashing, dungeon-crawling heroine of Sword Art Online who won the heart of avid gamer and fellow sword-slasher, Kirito — and the hearts of just about everyone watching the show. Though she sort of gets relegated to more of a caged damsel role later on, her incredible grace and poise made hacking through fantasy creatures look like an art… a Sword Art… Online?
Cheesy wordplay aside, Asuna is also (unsurprisingly) appealing to a huge amount of cosplayers. This beautiful shot captured by Kucherek Elena of top cosplayer, Hibari Rin has to be the cream of the crop. Not only is it an insanely accurate reproduction but the staging creates just the right atmosphere — beautiful and enticing with just a hint of danger.
13. RYOKO MATOI (KILL LA KILL)
Kill La Kill is a show filled with crude humor, frenetic action sequences and very little clothing. With so many “barely there” or “not there at all” costumes, it takes a brave and body-confident cosplayer to pull off some of the more risqué outfits from the series. Even the less NSFW designs, such as the one on display in this cosplay, still leaves plenty of flesh on show.
In this great photo taken by dizzymonogatari, Italian cosplayer MiciaGlo is dressed as protagonist Ryoko in her sailor suit-inspired Goku Uniform. These sentient uniforms have magical properties that give the wearer super powers, becoming more and more revealing with each upgrade. Sticking with the fashion theme, Ryoko battles with a giant Scissor Blade, which is the only thing capable of slicing through Goku Uniforms.
12. NOCTIS LUCIS CAELUM (FINAL FANTASY XV)
Okay, Final Fantasy XV is a JRPG, not an anime. But, it has been adapted into an anime miniseries, so that should qualify it, right? Plus, this cosplay of main character Noctis is really too astonishing to not get a place on the list. It’s the work of Yuri Narss (aka NarcissePuppet), a Canadian cosplayer who specializes in Square Enix characters. From Cloud Strife to Vincent Valentine, you name it and he’s probably already done it.
Obviously the bishonen boys of the Final Fantasy series make many fans’ hearts flutter in their respective games and affiliated media but never has XV‘s Crown Prince looked so tantalizingly real as he does here. It would be all too easy to mistake this for a photo of a statue or figure at first glance. The shot was captured by Nicolas Quintal-Adam but the costuming and styling is all Yuri’s hard work.
11. NELLIEL TU ODELSCHWANCK (BLEACH)
Bleach‘s Nelliel has a few different forms, ranging from a little kid to a huge centaur. The latter comes from her “Resurreccion” release of power and gives her speed, strength and endurance a big boost as well giving her access to some special moves. But, it used to be the case that if she stayed in this form for too long, she’d revert to her weakened child form. The version that Italian cosplayer KiaraBerry is dressed here is definitely not either of these forms.
Instead, Kiara shows off the character’s “true” form — a curvaceous adult woman. In this form Kiara stands tall and powerful, as you’d expect a former 3rd Espada to look. Not only is the look perfectly polished and expertly posed by Kiara but the upshot angle chosen by photographer Edward Luzhetskiy makes for a commanding and alluring image.
10. ASUKA LANGELEY (NEON GENESIS EVANGELION)
It’s everyone’s favorite tsundere character from everyone’s favorite mind-screw anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Originally, character designer for the show (and writer and artist of the accompanying manga) Yoshiyuki Sadamoto created Asuka to be the main protagonist of the story but this idea was dropped in favor of a male lead — the anxiety-ridden Shinji Ikari — to fall in line with genre conventions.
Despite this downgrade in the plot, Asuka’s spiky personality and prodigious piloting skills shone through to secure her place among the most popular female characters in anime history. As such, she’s a popular cosplay choice. This example from cosplayer Frosen (shot by Kucherek Elena) brings Asuka to life with amazing accuracy while the “come hither” expression is sure to bring a blush to any otaku’s cheeks.
9. HOWL AND SOPHIE (HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE)
It’s hard to not get swept up in the romance of this one. Howl’s Moving Castle is a fan favorite from Studio Ghibli, telling the story of an ordinary hat shop girl, Sophie, who gets cursed into old age by a jealous witch. The object of the witch’s affections is a womanizing and rebellious young wizard named Howl. But, after Sophie and Howl’s paths cross, it becomes clear Howl needs saving just as much as Sophie does.
The sweet and sweeping scope of their romance is beautifully captured in this shot, taken by Kucherek Elena. Ukranian cosplayer Sai Westwood (aka Misaki-Sai) plays Sophie with Hibari Rin stepping into Howl’s tall, dark and handsome shoes. (Yes, that’s actually a very well disguised girl.) The scene looks easily like it could be an outtake from the film — albeit in live action.
8. LEVI ACKERMAN (ATTACK ON TITAN)
Attack on Titan is famous for its high-speed action sequences, gruesome carnage… and just about every frame that Levi Ackerman appears in. Sullen, stubborn and supremely confident in his Titan dispatching skills, Captain Levi is the most eligible bachelor within the Walls. He’s also a complete neat freak, which must be pretty difficult in the mucky and chaotic Industrial era that the show takes place in.
This brilliant shot features Russian cosplayer Dantelian, who specializes in dressing up as the character to elaborately reenact certain scenes from the Attack on Titan manga and anime adaptation with impressive accuracy. This particular scene references Chapter 58 of the manga, titled “Gunfire” — hence the rifle in place of the standard Omni-directional mobility gear. That classic ’90s “curtain” haircut never looked so good.
7. LUST (FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST)
A name like “Lust” comes with a certain set of expectations. Expectations that the character certainly delivers on — as does this superb cosplay of her. Lust is the living embodiment of her namesake, one of seven of “Father’s” sins made real. Though she tends to be more of an object of lust rather than project it herself, she certainly has a seductive side.
That side is on full display in this photo snapped by Soldatov Vladimir featuring Russian cosplayer Evgeniya. As well as her curvy figure, luscious dark locks and glinting red eyes, Lust is — like most femme fatales — dangerous. She’ll lure you in with just flutter of her eyelashes only to skewer you with her freakishly long nails. All of that is encapsulated in this glamorous cosplay.
6. KANEKI KEN (TOKYO GHOUL)
Kaneki was just your average teenage bookworm desperate for some similarly nerdy female company in Tokyo. Lo and behold, he finds the perfect woman — who just happens to also be a human-eating ghoul. One thing leads to another and Kaneki ends up victim to a mad science experiment with her organs inside of him, transforming him into a human/ghoul hybrid.
Over the course of the series, Kaneki goes from zero to hero by mastering his abilities as a ghoul and sporting a sweet new look, as illustrated in this excellent cosplay by Umibe. Tokyo Ghoul does to ghouls what things like Buffy and Twilight did for vampires — making them hot teens with ridiculous but awesome hair. Charming but deadly, this cosplay captures Kaneki’s ghoulish appeal perfectly.
5. MOTOKO KURASANGI (GHOST IN THE SHELL)
As a cyborg policewoman, Major Motoko Kurasangi’s body is basically disposable — something she demonstrates by hopping her mind into other robotic vessels through Ghost In The Shell. Her usual body, however, is a pretty ideal one to have: tall, athletic and perfectly proportioned. Her detachment to her material self also tends to make her far less self-conscious.
If she needs to strip down in the middle of the city to activate her invisibility, for instance, then she’ll do it without hesitation or shame. This incredible cosplay from Russian cosplay star Jannet Incosplay, brings one of the Major’s most famous — and most form-fitting — looks to life in a way that certainly gives Scarlett Johansson’s version in the live action movie a run for its money.
4. HARUKA NANASE AND MAKOTO TACHIBANA (FREE!)
Free! is a key part of the recent wave of sports anime that have set out to appeal to a largely female audience rather than the traditional male demographic the genre usually attracts. As well as intense competitions and training montages, Free! is filled with all the melodrama and comedy you’d expect from a slice of life show, not to mention, plenty of male eye candy on display.
Believe or not, this cosplay duo showing off the chiseled abs of BFFs, Haruka (left) and Makoto (right) are actually a pair of women from Singapore. Haruka is played by Ashteyz and Makoto is played by LennethXVII with ImMuze taking credit for the awesome shot. The photo is one of a series following the “boys” frolicking around in the water and probably making fans of the “MakoHaru” ship extremely happy.
3. DIANE (THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS)
Diane is something you don’t see all too often in fantasy: a female goliath. She’s also one of the titular “sins” of The Seven Deadly Sins, representing the “Serpent’s Sin of Envy.” The objects of Diane’s envy are normally other women who are normal-sized, especially the ones that the Sins’ leader Melodias takes a shine to.
As well as her size, she’s armed with her War Hammer, “Gideon,” that is pretty much the same height as her, and also the power to draw upon and create structures from the Earth. Replicating Diane’s gigantic stature takes some clever perspective trickery for cosplayers. American cosplayer Katinka Cosplay focusses more on getting the characterization right in this shot though, as well as nailing Diane’s impossibly curvaceous figure.
2. ICHIGO KURASAKI (BLEACH)
This cosplayer is known as the “Living Ichigo” and, judging by this cosplay, it’s a title he more than lives up to. Ichigo is the carrot-haired protagonist of supernatural shonen series Bleach. Once a teenage slacker with the ability to see the dead, Ichigo finds new resolve and purpose when he becomes a “substitute” Shinigami — a grim reaper of souls that have gone bad, or “Hollows.”
Armed with his Zanpankuto, he purifies these Hollows so that they can cross over to Soul Society. There’s something about Ichigo’s indomitable willpower and confident smirks even in the face of defeat that makes him endlessly appealing. Oh, and the washboard abs don’t hurt either. As well as Ichigo, this muscular cosplayer puts his best assets to good use cosplaying as Grimmjow and Goku.
1. MISTY (POKEMON)
Ash and Misty were the Ross and Rachel of the anime world in the ’90s. Unlike the Friends duo though, those two crazy kids never did manage to evolve their hate-turned-love relationship into anything greater than just platonic. Misty left the show while Ash is still trying “2.B.A Master” and collect ’em all.
This all grown-up version of Cerulean City’s water-type gym leader looks like she’s just come up to dry off after a dip in the pool — maybe after diving in to rescue her hapless Psyduck. Misty is a relatively simple costume to pull off, with just denim shorts, a yellow crop top, braces and an orange wig needed to make it recognizable. But, the simplest ones can be the hardest to elevate to the level that this one from CaptainIrachka is clearly at.
Which swoon-worthy anime cosplay is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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