19 of the Best Anime Tattoos to Feed Your Dweeb Heart
Tattoo trends aren't as fickle as beauty trends. Many designs are timeless. (Barbed wire and floral tattoos will always be cool.) And even the most fleeting tattoo trends are in the spotlight for a few years. (Remember when everyone had a mustache on their finger?) But we still see new body art themes start to emerge from time to time, and, for 2023 and beyond, tattoo artists predict anime tattoos will be hugely popular.
Like nail art, tattoos are a way for you to wear your fandom on your literal and proverbial sleeve. And the sky's the limit on what you can get. You could get a portrait of your favorite character or a full sleeve that marries elements of the shows you have on repeat. You can have a true-to-the-manga illustration or a tattoo artist's take on a particular scene.
On Instagram, the hashtag #animetattoos has over 305,000 thousand posts, with Naruto and One Piece being two of the most popular anime for tattooists to draw inspiration from. London-based tattoo artist Mika Codner says that when her clients aren't requesting her anime flash designs, they are asking for tattoos that are based on Studio Ghibli films or Sanrio characters.
New York City-based tattoo artist EJ Griffith, on the other hand, tells Allure that he will receive lots of requests for tattoos based on shows Chainsaw Man, Bleach, and My Hero Academia. Ultimately, it's about finding the design you want permanently etched on your body.
With thousands of anime in existence, a list with designs inspired by every single one would be near impossible to create. Instead, we've curated 19 of the best anime tattoos we've seen to help inspire your next appointment.
1. Attack on Titan's Levi
Virginia-based tattooist Damon created this Attack on Titan panel featuring the Survey Corps captain, Levi Ackerman. He expertly drew each detail of Ackerman's character, including the short hair that tends to fall over his eyes. Damon even included a direct quote from the squad captain, "Give up on your dream and die."
2. Naruto Symbols
Instead of tattooing a character, you can try doing a symbol that reminds you of your favorite show. Damon tattooed the Cursed Seal of Heaven from Naruto on his client's arm.
3. Eyes of Sailor Moon's Usagi Tsukino
Even people who aren't deep into anime have heard of Sailor Moon. There are so many iterations and variations of Sailor Moon-inspired tattoos, but we love how Codner chose to focus on the protagonist's eyes. These teary eyes represent Usagi Tsukino, aka Sailor Moon, perfectly — she is a Cancer after all.
4. Dragon Ball Z Kid Buu
Dragon Ball Z is another wildly popular anime, recognizable to anime enthusiasts and non-fans alike. Griffith tattooed the antagonist Kid Buu, who looks as if he is laughing at us, onto his client's arm.
5. My Hero Academia Deku
This leg tattoo is a perfect illustration of the protagonist of My Hero Academia. Damon drew Deku in a fire action shot that looks like he is about to give you the ultimate Detroit smash.
This tattoo may be a little hard to look at for some but not fans of the horror anime Parasyte. For folks who are unfamiliar with the story, it involves monsters eating humans — sounds lovely, right? Griffith added such incredible detail to this tattoo that it's hard not to touch your own head to make sure it's still in one piece.
7. Hunter x Hunter Killua and Gon
This dynamic duo — Gon and Killua from the Hunter x Hunter series — adorns the calves of Damon's client. He tattooed Gon looking snazzy in a suit on one leg and Killua in a similar suit was etched on the other. You can get a tattoo that incorporates both characters or make it a matching tattoo with a friend where one of you has Gon and the other Killua.
8. Soul Eater Lord Death
Soul Eater fans will instantly recognize this body art by Griffith. He tattooed a cracked version of Lord Death's signature mask. It's incredible how he was able to tattoo each fine crack in this body art.
9. Cardcaptor Sakura
This bright canary yellow sleeping animal is the protagonist Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura. Codner drew this colorful tattoo into the hollow of her client's arm, which probably hurt, but the result is definitely worth any pain.
10. Assassination Classroom
Lovers of Assassination Classroom will instantly recognize Koro-sensei, etched onto a forearm by Damon. We love how this panel included the teacher shooting one of his tentacles, which is a pretty common occurrence in the anime.
11. One Piece Zoro
One Piece fans are obviously a dedicated lot to be able to watch over 1000 episodes, so getting a tattoo inspired by the anime is light work for them. This tattoo honors fighter Roronoa Zoro, with his signature scar on his left eye and the hilts of his three swords showing.
12. Tokyo Ghoul
Tokyo Ghoul fans will instantly recognize this Ken Kaneki tattoo that portrays his appearance after undergoing intense torture. Damon captured every detail of Kaneki's new appearance, including his powder-white hair and his black fingernails. You can basically hear him cracking his knuckles just looking at this shoulder blade tattoo.
13. Persona 3 Makoto Yuki
Codner recreated Persona 3 protagonist Makoto. It was drawn so well that it looks as if his hair is truly being blown by the wind.
14. Yu Yu Hakusho
Yu Yu Hakusho fans don't have to choose between honoring the several amazing characters from the show, as evidenced by this tattoo. Griffith tattooed two panels that exclusively focus on the eyes of Yusuke Urameshi and Kazuma Kuwabara. These intricate eyes were drawn so well that you can see the expressions of both characters.
15. Samurai Champloo Mugen
Griffith etched this panel of Samurai Champloo protagonist Mugen. Though Mugen was completely shaded in, the silhouettes of his hair and sword make him instantly recognizable.
16. Michiko & Hatchin
This tattoo of Michiko and Astuko Jackson looks identical to their forms in the anime. Jackson's signature big blonde afro and black earrings are on full display next to Michiko with her bangs and shades.
17. Attack on Titan's Mikasa Ackerman
Tattooing a character on your skin does not mean it has to look exactly like it does in the story. You might not immediately recognize this tattoo because it's a goth version of Attack on Titan's Mikasa Ackerman, etched into the skin by Damon.
18. Bleach Espada Nel
Bleach fans have been over-the-moon to have the anime return to their screens — and we're sure they would feel the same way about this tattoo of Nel. Fans of the series know that Nel isn't quite who she appears to be when they first meet her, so Damon tattooed her Espada form with her massive 3 tattoo on her back.
19. Chainsaw Man Aki Hayakawa
Griffith tattooed this Chainsaw Man piece that doesn't fully show a character's face. Fans of the anime may recognize that it's the character Aki Hayakawa summoning the Fox Devil on his right with the simple command, "Kon."
Read more about tattoos:
51 Stunning Watercolor Tattoo Ideas for Your Next Work of Body Art
Now watch someone get their first tattoo:
Originally Appeared on Allure