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Top 10 Anime Characters That Returned Badass

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly-Mckean
When they left, they were but boys. Now they’ve returned…as MEN! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime Characters That Returned Badass. For this list, we’ll be looking at the heroes and villains in anime who started off as competent, if a tad underpowered, only to go away for a while, and return as utter beasts! Keep in mind, we won’t be including characters like Simon who gradually became more bad ass over time.
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Top 10 Anime Characters That Returned Badass

When they left, they were but boys. Now they’ve returned…as MEN! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime Characters That Returned Badass.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the heroes and villains in anime who started off as competent, if a tad underpowered, only to go away for a while, and return as utter beasts! Keep in mind, we won’t be including characters like Simon who gradually became more bad ass over time.

#10: Tokugawa Ieyasu

“Sengoku Basara: The Last Party” (2011)

Let’s be honest here, out of all the crazy warlords that tore up the landscape during the anime’s action-packed run, nobody gave a damn about Ieyasu. Why would they? He was hardly a relevant character, one who seemed to meet his end at the hands of Mitsuhide. At least until the movie sequel came out, wherein he somehow came back from the dead and managed to share the stage with both Masamune and Yumimura. Heck, he even managed to hold his own against Nobunaga in the final stand-off! Progress!

#9: Tala Valkov

“Beyblade G-Revolution” (2003)

When we last saw this guy, he was presented as so ice cold that he actually stepped right into the middle of edgelord territory. After all, his Beybade launcher was a goddam pistol, and he even turned himself into a cyborg at one point because…reasons. Thankfully, all that was pushed to the side during the series’ final entry. Tala now leading the Blitzkrieg boys without Boris’s intervention finally found his voice, so with his new design and cocky attitude he felt like a threat once again. Granted, pretty much everyone looks more badass in G-Revolution, but it’d been so long since we saw this Russian Riot that we were all pretty enamored…

#8: Shinpachi Shimura
“Gintama” (2006-)

Forever the voice of reason when Gintoki and the rest managed to pull one of their usual stunts, you could always rely on Shinpachi to serve as the classic straight man. Still, outside of that one time he turned into Kenshiro, he was still a ways off from becoming a badass swordsman. At least until the time skip after the defeat of Utsuro, in which he appeared with a badass new wardrobe very reminiscent of Gintoki. Don’t get us wrong, he still got his backside handed to him, but it was clear the wimp from before had left the building.

#7: Toshiro Hitsugaya
“Bleach” (2004-12)

Yeah, yeah, everyone loves Hitsugaya. The boy prodigy with the sexy lieutenant who flies into a battle with an ice dragon on his back. Don’t get us wrong, he had some legitimately awesome moments in the battle against the Espada, but it wasn’t until he returned to help Ichigo against the Fullbringers did we finally see how far he had come since we first saw him back in Soul Society. Granted, that was mostly due to his bitching new hairstyle, but there was also…yeah it was totally due to his bitching new hairstyle.

#6: Dio Brando
“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders” (2014-15)

Back when he was tussling with Jonathan Joestar in ye old merry England, the future lord of memes went from a despicable brat to a wannabe vampire, and to his credit managed to make the most of it by unleashing his hordes across the land. Of course, this was nothing when compared to his revival as a Stand User. Not only did he look the part, but he also had the authority to go with it. You felt his menace as each of his servants gave their lives for his cause, not to mention the fact he could now freeze time and give Jotaro freakin’ Kujo a run for his money in the awesomeness department.

#5: Asemu Asuno
“Mobile Suit Gundam AGE” (2011-12)

Speaking of next generations. When we were first introduced to the son of prior protagonist Flit, he was just a carefree lad. Cut to a few years later, and now he’s a goddamn space pirate. Inheriting the determination of his father while also standing as much more of a flawed character, Asemu---we mean “Captain Ash”, quickly became a highlight of the final arc, especially since his Gundam AGE-2 got a badass new coat of paint. Sorry Kio, but there is no way you can outshine your papi.

#4: Kurapika
“Hunter x Hunter” (2011-14)

Let’s be honest here, while the Scarlet Eyes trick was pretty cool, this Hunter still wasn’t exactly on the same level as the likes of Hisoka or Killua…at least until he came back with those chains. After getting some much-needed training off-screen, Kurapika returned and was finally able to get his vengeance on a member of the Phantom Troupe, all thanks to his new weapon of choice. Able to conjure up chains with a multitude of killing traits, the moment we found out Kurapika had become a Specialist purely to exterminate the Spider, he jumped up several spots in out books.

#3: Natsu Dragneel
“Fairy Tail” (2009-)

We won’t pretend that the Salamander wasn’t a powerhouse to begin with, after all, he had managed to burn right through rival wizards, demons and everything else under the sun. That being said, he still managed to top it all when he made his grand return after a couple of years of intense training, complete with a rather fitting mullet. Throw in the fact he set a princess’ castle on fire simply as a way to announce his plan to get the gang back together, Natsu showed that time had only made his stones bigger!

#2: Naruto Uzumaki
“Naruto: Shippuden” (2007-17)

Maturity and Naruto don’t tend to go hand in hand. While his chihuahua-like personality was always part of his charm, it was still refreshing to see how the Jinchuruki had found a way to evolve as a character after training at the land of the frogs. Arriving just in the nick of time during Pains assault on Konoha, Naruto dons a badass new coat very reminiscent of his fathers. With his new sage mode in tow, Naruto manages to quickly take down most of the paths of pain. He may still be knuckle-headed, but at least he stepped up his game in this dramatic moment.

#1: Usopp
“One Piece” (1999-)

We’re still struggle to come to grips that the long-nosed marksman actually managed to pull such an incredible one eighty. Sure, all the members of the Straw Hat crew got a boost during the two years they spent powering up, but this is Usopp we’re talking about. He’s hilarious, but he ain’t no Zoro. At least until we saw him casually make his reappearance, buffed up beyond belief, and armed to the teeth with a crazy amont of nature-based weaponry. This turnaround is such a miracle that it’s only fitting that Usopp ended up earning the moniker of God down the line.

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