Since it’s spooky season and everyone is in a decidedly spooky mood, it seems like now would be the perfect time to take a look at some anime shadow manipulators.
Shadow users are generally the quiet sulky ones that tend to both figuratively and literally melt into the shadows. Even so, shadow users aren’t ones to be underestimated in the slightest.
Anime has a plethora of shadow users with abilities ranging from controlling and melting into shadows to summoning terrifying shadow beings.
That said, keeping up with the spooky theme, here are 13 of the strongest shadow users in anime ranked:
13Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura)
Sakura Kinomoto, the protagonist of Cardcaptor Sakura, gets her powers from the mystical Clow Cards she is tasked to collect.
The Clow Cards each have different attributes and grant Sakura different powers, including shadow manipulation.
The Shadow card can control the shadows of both objects and people as well as hunt opponents by tracing their shadows.
Sakura also later acquires a Clear Card called Shade– a living shadow which, like the Shadow, can touch others but cannot be touched by others.
Alessi is one of the mercenaries hired by Dio Brando to kill Jotaro and his companions in Stardust Crusaders and, as such, is one of the minor antagonists of part three.
Alessi’s stand Sethan takes the form of a round-headed shadow that is bound to Alessi’s own shadow.
Although Sethan is a relatively weak stand with no personality of its own, the stand can mimic Alessi’s every move, even those with weapons.
Sethan can also rapidly de-age any being who stands in Alessi’s shadow to the point of turning them into a fetus.
11Fumikage Tokoyami(My Hero Academia)
Fumikage Tokoyami is a young hero in training at U.A. High School and is a student of Class 1-A.
The bird-headed young hero possesses the quirk Dark Shadow which allows him to control and communicate with a sentient shadow by the same name.
Dark Shadow is bound to Tokoyami and can be used both offensively to slash opponents and defensively to incapacitate opponents by wrapping the shadow tightly around their bodies.
Tokoyami’s control over Dark Shadow and the latter’s strength corresponds to the amount of light or darkness present.
Tokoyami can also use Dark Shadow to fly or coat himself like an exoskeleton to boost his prowess in close-quarter combat dramatically.
10Gecko Moria (One Piece)
The captain of the Thriller Bark Pirates and a former Warlord of the Sea, Gecko Moria, was the primary antagonist of the Thriller Bark Saga who possesses the power of the Kage Kage no Mi, a Paramecia-type Devil Fruit.
Also known as the Shadow Shadow Fruit, Moria’s Devil Fruit allows him to manifest and control the shadows of any living being, including himself.
Moria can manipulate his own shadow to fight in his place, swap places with it, or split it into multiple bat-like shadows. He can also steal others’ shadows and insert them in living bodies or corpses to create zombies.
Moria can also alter the shape of a target’s body by altering the shape of their shadow and steal another’s techniques by inserting their shadows in his body.
9Shikamaru Nara (Naruto)
Despite his earlier lazy demeanor, Shikamaru was a shinobi skilled in the Nara clan’s shadow manipulation techniques, able to manipulate his own shadow and use the Shadow Imitation Technique before he even entered the Academy.
Using the Shadow Imitation Technique, Shikamaru can connect his shadow to an opponent’s and force them to mimic his movements.
By adulthood, Shikamaru gained enough skill with his clan’s techniques to use them without hand seals and was even able to capture and restrain all the Five Kage and their guards.
Even as a chūnin, Shikamaru possessed the skill to strangle his opponents using the Shadow Neck Binding Technique.
8Rui Hachiouji (Code Breaker)
Also known as ‘The Prince,’ Rui Hachiouji is Code:05 of the Code: Breakers and is famed as one of their strongest.
Rui possesses the ability to manipulate her shadow to slice at an opponent’s shadow, the damage taking form on its owner’s body.
She can also protect herself using a blank space made of shadow and shape her shadow into four large scythes, which she wields with lethal accuracy.
Her strongest technique Empress Paradox creates a shadow monster that envelopes her body, allowing her to withstand multiple attacks, attack using shadow tendrils and devour anything that comes in contact with her shadows.
7Asato Kido (YuYu Hakusho)
Asato Kido, Yusuke’s evil opponent-turned-ally, was a regular junior high school student who developed mysterious demonic psychic powers to control shadows when Sensui opened a portal to Makai the Demon World.
Although the power comes with restrictions, Kido can manipulate his or any person’s shadow to follow his will.
Kido can also paralyze his opponents by stepping on their shadows and can manipulate his shadow to touch or move physical objects on the ground.
6Nagi Arisuin (Chivalry Of A Failed Knight)
Famed as the Black Assassin, Nagi Arisuin was a former Rebellion assassin trained by Wallenstein, one of the top executives of the terrorist organization.
Nagi is among the one in a thousand people considered a special breed of human beings born with magic known as Blazers. As a Blazer, Nagi can manipulate all the shadows in her surroundings, travel through them, and hide in them.
Using her Device, Darkness Hermit, Nagi can perform various Noble Arts such as immobilizing opponents by stabbing their shadow and summoning shadow beasts like tigers and bears.
She can also create a room in the space between shadows that she and anyone she permits can enter.
5Rogue Cheney (Fairy Tail)
Rogue Cheney is a wizard of the Sabertooth guild who possesses Shadow Dragon Slayer Magic. His magic allows him to consume shadows, turn his body into shadows, and attack with shadow attacks that mimic an actual dragon.
Rogue is a Third Generation Dragon Slayer who obtained his magic via direct instructions from the Shadow Dragon Skiadrum and by having a Lacrima implanted in his body.
His magic is versatile and includes several attacks like a breath attack of shadows similar to dragon roar and shadow-coated punches and slashes.
He can generate torrents of shadows from his hands to barrage his opponents.
4Megumi Fushiguro (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Megumi Fushiguro is a first-year jujutsu sorcerer from Tokyo Jujutsu High. He possesses immense cursed energy and is already a Grade 2 sorcerer said to possess vast potential.
Megumi has inherited the Zenin clan’s Ten Shadows Technique which allows him to create and summon familiars made of shadows, including hounds, giant toads, rabbits, a massive elephant, a giant snake, an owl-like creature, and a wing-eyed being called Mahoraga.
Megumi can also melt into shadows and hide himself and objects within them.
Using his Domain Expansion, Megumi can also create a shadow double of himself, hide within his opponent’s shadow and summon multiple familiars simultaneously.
3Celty Sturluson (Durarara)
The Headless Rider, Celty Sturluson, aka Dullahan, is a headless Irish fairy who rides a headless horse-familiar disguised as a motorcycle.
Having no head, Celty uses the shadows she manifests from her neck and body to perceive the world.
The headless motorcyclist is a master shadow manipulator who can even shape shadows into tangible, durable objects from gloves to her signature scythe and chariots.
Unlike other shadow users, Celty’s magic is unaffected by the amount of light around her at any given time of the day.
2Pride (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Selim Bradley is the son of King Bradley, who was later revealed as Pride, the first Homunculus created by Father.
Pride possesses the ability to control a multi-eyed, multi-mouthed shadow which is his true form held within his child’s body.
His powers are versatile but limited by his body which needs to be surrounded by shadows to use his powers.
Pride can slice or devour anything that comes in contact with his shadow. He can also use the shadows to sense everything is around by spreading his essence through shadows.
1Nacht (Black Clover)
Nacht is the strongest shadow user in anime. Nacht can control shadows, travel through them, immobilize opponents, and bind them with shadows using his Shadow Magic.
He can also create durable shadow clones, clothing and armor, and shields made of shadow by uniting with the devils he is contracted to.
Nacht Faust is a former nobleman, the current Vice-Captain of the Black Bull squad of Magic Knights, and a devil host with extensive control over shadows via his Shadow Magic and grimoire.
As a devil host, Nacht can also unite with four different mid-ranking devils to dramatically increase his magic powers.
His strongest spell, Monument of Atonement, restrains an opponent with shadow hands before trapping them in a large tomb with an intangible shadow world without light life or death within.