10 Best Anime Dragons, Ranked

10 Best Anime Dragons, Ranked

Anime shows are chock-full of colorful and often supernatural characters. They sometimes live extraordinary lives, whether because of their unique abilities or magical gifts that separate them from all others. And these incredible worlds can also feature fantastical creatures of all kinds that can be valuable friends or dangerous foes.

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Society has always had a fascination with dragons. These mythical beasts represent raw and overwhelming power and dominate over all other fantastic creatures. Anime dragons can act as many things in a story; they may be powerful destroyers, wise mentors on a hero’s journey, or distant godlike beings to fulfill wishes. Their role in the plot is always memorable, and some even rank among the best characters in anime.

10 Dragonite – Pokémon

Dragonite from the Pokemon series

Dragonite is a relatively new addition to Ash Ketchum’s team. Yet, the orange goofball has quickly become one of Ash’s strongest Pokémon and a memorable character who steals every scene. Indeed, thanks to its warm personality and considerable power, Dragonite cemented its place as a fan favorite.

The dragon currently remains undefeated. Most recently, it bested Iris’s Haxorus during one of the most thrilling battles in the Pokémon anime’s history. Dragonite might not be the wisest anime dragon; it doesn’t talk or offer advice to the young Trainer. However, it is one of the smartest dragon-type Pokémon, with many Pokédex entries describing its “human-like intelligence.”

9 Ryūkotsusei – Inuyasha

Ryūkotsusei fights agaisnt Inuyasha

Years before the evens of the series, Ryūkotsusei was a feared Daiyōkai that terrified the land. Inuyasha’s father, Tōga, fought and defeated the dragon, sealing him in a state of dormancy. Two hundred years later, Inuyasha’s arch-enemy, Naraku, helps Ryūkotsusei come back to life, and the dragon engages in a fierce battle against Inuyasha.

Ryūkotsusei is overconfident, vain, cruel, and ruthless. He only cares about destruction and constantly looks for worthier opponents to fight and entertain himself. He believes himself invincible and considers everyone to be beneath him. As far as anime dragons go, Ryūkotsusei is one of the most memorable, a villain whose imposing and terrifying appearance lives up to its fearsome reputation.

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8 Kaido – One Piece

Dragon Kaido in One Piece

When Kaido, renowned as the world’s Strongest Creature, ate the Devil Fruit, he transformed into a serpentine Azure Dragon. As a human-dragon hybrid, he becomes massive, with thick and durable blue scales covering his entire body. In this new form, Kaido becomes even more dangerous. He breathes fire, creates clouds that allow him to move through the air, releases sharp blades by blowing, and creates lightning with his roar.

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Anime dragons can be worthy and imposing enemies, and Kaido is the perfect example. Kaido was already ruthless enough as a human, but he became even more dangerous as a dragon. Over time, he achieves control over his draconic abilities, to the point where he can access them without needing to transform. Now, that’s a threatening villain!

7 Hyōrinmaru – Bleach

Hyōrinmaru appears to Toshiro

Hyōrinmaru is the manifested spirit of Tōshirō Hitsugaya Zanpakutō, one of the most likable characters in the Bleach anime. When Hitsugaya was a child, Hyōrinmaru frequently appeared as a serpentine ice dragon in his dreams. During the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, Hitsugaya loses his Bankai and ability to communicate with Hyōrinmaru. Once he recovers it, Hyōrinmaru returns to him.

Anime dragons are usually depicted as larger-than-life and imposing, but Hyōrinmaru definitely looks mightier and more menacing than others of its kind. Thanks to its wings, thick legs, and overall muscular frame, Hyōrinmaru blows other anime dragons out of the water.

6 Igneel – Fairy Tail

Igneel flying against a white background

Known as the Fire Dragon King, Igneel is the foster father of Natsu Dragneel. He is a loving, protective, and caring father figure, even after leaving his foster child. After Acnologia’s Dragon Slaying Magic leaves him badly wounded, he seals his soul inside Natsu to recuperate.

Igneel goes through a complex and compelling journey. He starts as an arrogant dragon, indifferent to human beings and their existence. Through Natsu, he grows to understand and care for humans, to the point where the dragon Metalicana describes Igneel as the dragon who loved humans more than any other. Igneel is thus the perfect example of the ally trope that befalls most anime dragons, acting as a loving mentor and guide to the story’s protagonist.

5 Blue Dragon – Blue Dragon

Shu flying on top of Blue Dragon

Based on the 2066 video game of the same name, Blue Dragon tells the story of Shu, a young boy who received the power to turn his shadow into a monster. As a Shadow Wielder, Shu’s monster is the indomitable Blue Dragon. At first, their relationship is hostile, with the beast unwilling to obey Shu’s commands. He is also quite insulting of the boy, and though they eventually learn to work together, Blue Dragon remains critical of Shu’s actions.

Blue Dragon is arrogant and selfish, cold, and sometimes cruel, although he does care about Shu’s well-being. Some anime dragons assume an overly antagonistic attitude towards the human protagonists, mainly because they consider them lesser beings. Indeed, dragons often have fantastical abilities, which make most humans pale in comparison.

4 Fredrika – Chaika: The Coffin Princess

Fredrika coming out of a coffin

Fredrika makes sporadic appearances throughout Chaika: The Coffin Princess. She does not have a consistent form and instead takes several different ones. During the war, she adopted the form of a white-horned dragon and kept bringing it back whenever it was time to fight. Fredrika is intelligent but still very much a predator who enjoys stalking her prey, especially during battle.

Anime dragons are mostly fearsome, even when they’re allies. The dragon figure commands respect, so it makes sense that they often act as either brave warriors in battle or fearsome enemies capable of destroying entire armies.

3 Acnologia – Fairy Tail

Acnologia roaring in dragon form

Described as a cataclysmically powerful Dragon Slayer, Acnologia is the ruthless antagonist of the Fairy Tail anime. He bathed in the blood of the dragons he killed, allowing him to transform into a dragon at will. Although he begins his story by having a close relationship with dragons, he grows to resent them after one murders his family.

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Bloodthirsty and violent, both in human and in dragon form, Acnologia is a terrifying being. He holds nothing but hatred and contempt for humans and dragons alike and won’t stop at anything until he kills every last dragon. As far as anime dragons go, Acnologia might be the evilest and vilest, infamous for his cruelty and bloodlust.

2 Haku – Spirited Away

Widely considered one of the best movies of all time, Spirited Away centers on Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl who enters the world of Kami. When a witch named Yubaba magicks her parents into pigs, Chihiro must find a way to free her parents and return to the human world.

One of the most memorable characters in the movie is Haku. First appearing as a young boy, he is actually a lost river spirit in the form of a white dragon. Haku is under Yubaba’s spell and forgot his name, meaning he can’t leave the spirit world. Haku is, without a doubt, one of the most famous anime dragons in history, and with good reason. He is an instantly recognizable figure crucial to the story and perfectly represents almost every archetype of the anime dragon.

1 Shenron – Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Shenron Summon

Arguably the most recognizable anime dragon, Shenron is the mythical and almighty being summoned by the Dragon Balls. Shenron is a magnificent, serpentine floating green dragon capable of granting three wishes to those who gather all seven Dragon Balls.

Shenron might be one of the most intelligent characters in Dragon Ball, but he’s also a truly neutral being, granting any wish within his power without caring if it’s “good” or “bad.” Although he remains his stoic personality during most of his appearances, he does show some degree of desperation, particularly at frivolous wishes. For example, he memorably berates Yamcha for wanting to wish for a necklace.

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About The Author

David Caballero
(802 Articles Published)

David is a twenty-eight-year-old Mexican writer and reader. Having studied Marketing in school, he spent three years working a nine-to-five desk job before deciding to pursue a writing career. He now works as a Senior Writer in ScreenRant and does some more freelancing job, talking about the entertainment business he so loves. Currently, he’s also writing his second novel while actively working to get his first one published.

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