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Gia's List: Anime's 8 Most Likely to Succeed at Business

by Gia Manry,

Anime is full of geniuses, and most of them use their powers for good...saving the world and all that. Then there are a few who use those powers for evil. But rarely do you see a true genius in anime who uses his intellect in business, perhaps because they don't make that many anime based on salaryman manga compared to super-powered heroes. Still, it seems like some of those heroes could make a real profit if they diverted their time and brains...here are a few.

8. Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)
Okay, at first glance it might seem like Luffy's penchant for sticking to his own morals would prevent him from being any kind of business man, but hear me out. Once the guy sets himself on a task, he pursues it with the kind of single-minded focus that demands success. He has, as we discussed last week, a ridiculous amount of sheer luck, which certainly never hurts in a business setting. But perhaps most importantly, Luffy has a rare knack for surrounding himself with nothing but the best and brightest. In a smattering of chapters, he put together most of the crew that would completely dominate the seas— without so much as a Craig's List ad. The Straw Hat Pirates are unmatched in talent and loyalty, which would totally pay off if they were incorporated into a business.

7. Kyon (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)
Kyon is no super-genius, and he doesn't seem to do particularly well or poorly in school...but he's pretty intelligent. (He makes some pretty obscure science and literature references, after all.) But most importantly: he's the one with the smarts to manipulate an omnipotent being into doing what he wants. Okay, maybe not "what he wants" per se, but at least into living a peaceful existence. Which, when your omnipotent being has a serious problem with manic fits of boredom, is no small feat. Pulling that off requires a familiarity with the most unpredictable of human natures that could make him a genius marketer and general idea-man. It wouldn't hurt for him to have a superpowered robot girl around to help, though.

6. Rossiu Adai (Gurren-Lagann)
Rossiu tends to get a bad rap for treating series protagonist Simon poorly...which he does, of course. But let's not forget that he is also the guy primarily responsible for recreating a pretty sophisticated above-ground society for humans who lived underground for as long as they could remember. And he did that for a pretty amazing number of humans...in only seven years That is an incredible level of organization and policy-making, albeit with one significant flaw. True, Rossiu has to depend on others for the charisma to make these policies go through, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be one hell of an asset in a tough economy. After all, he's a big numbers guy.

5. Kyouya Ootori (Ouran High School Host Club)
It might not be entirely fair to put Kyouya on this list, since he's a character who actually intends to run a real business someday, and in the meantime runs a "fake" business by keeping Ouran High School's Host Club solvent. But the man deserves some credit for managing to keep his excessively whimsical and price-blind "boss," the effervescent Tamaki, more or less in line. He is also a genius at monetizing the club, not just via hosting fees and selling various branded merchandise, but also in recognizing Haruhi's potential as a host...and she became one of the club's most popular, to boot. Sure, he's kind of evil sometimes (one wonders about the true status of Haruhi's debt), but hey, what businessman isn't?

4. Riza Hawkeye (Fullmetal Alchemist)
It's not that Colonel Roy Mustang isn't a pretty smart guy who is perfectly capable of running his entire division single-handedly. But why would he bother when he has his eagle-eyed, quick-witted, and incredibly patient lieutenant Riza Hawkeye to do it for him? Riza is cool, collected, and a methodical thinker who never does anything without a very good reason. She knows how to get solid information to make the best decision possible, she knows when to obey the rules and when it's everyone's best interests to buck them, and she can think on the fly when she has to. Seriously, put some of that on a resume sometime; it turns out that those are really great skills to have in business.

3. Arséne Lupin III (Lupin III)
Okay, you might assume that a world-famous thief's skills were less in the business world and more in speed and perhaps acrobatics, and it's true that Arséne Lupin has those physical skills. But he's also a master planner with an oddly thorough knowledge of random trivia, usually whatever's handy at the time. Which suggests that he knows how to do his research, and he does it thoroughly enough that his findings expand beyond what he originally thought he needed...or else he's an even better planner than originally thought! He's also a genius escape artist, and his silver tongue gets him out of as much trouble as his physical traits do. If Rossiu (above) lacks charisma, Lupin has it in spades.

2. Light Yagami (Death Note)
If you ask any businessperson what super power they would find most useful in the workplace, it seems likely that they would say the ability to see the future. If you know what will happen, you know what direction to take your business and investments. Light Yagami doesn't have that particular supernatural skill, but he is a genius at determining what others will do, allowing him to remain quite a few steps ahead of his opponents, as in chess. Additionally, he's a smart, good-looking man who can put on a great front as an all-around nice guy, and people tend to buy into that sort of thing. Plug Light into a low-level assistant job, and he'd probably be running the company in no time at all...and he wouldn't even have to write any names in his Death Note. Hopefully.

1. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)
Chessmaster, battle tactician, rebellion organizer, and all-around genius, Lelouch is a force to be reckoned with even if you don't consider his supernatural Geass ability (which allows him to issue one command to any person and have it followed— but only once per person). Lelouch managed to turn a small, disorganized rebel faction into a real powerhouse against a government with enormous power and resources with a winning combination of his own personal charisma and real results thanks to his brilliant battle tactics, all while maintaining his cheerful genius slacker persona at school. Imagine him at the head of a board of directors, manipulating each personality into doing his business bidding, and you'll shudder to think at what he'd make you buy.

The new poll: Most of these polls are about specific anime content- favorite shows and the like. But we do want to shake things up once in a while, so tell us about the format that you watch your anime in these days. vote here, share your thoughts in the comments, and tune back in next time for the results!

The previous poll: It was no contest, really: you guys clearly decided that Cowboy Bebop's Ed would win in any kind of hacking competition. That was a whopping 36% of the vote. Following Ed came Ghost in the Shell's Laughing Man, with about 17% of the vote, and Serial Experiments Lain's title character's took about 14%. Here are the full results:

  1. Ed (Cowboy Bebop) - 36.32%
  2. The Laughing Man (Ghost in the Shell) - 16.51%
  3. Lain (Serial Experiments Lain) - 13.74%
  4. Kenji Koiso (Summer Wars) - 8.41%
  5. Helba (.hack//INFECTION) - 5.43%
  6. Yutaka "Pantsu" Itazu (Eden of the East) - 5.22%
  7. Chisame (Mahou Sensei Negima!) - 4.26%
  8. Benny (Black Lagoon) - 2.66%
  9. Shirase (Battle Programmer SHIRASE) - 2.45%
  10. Chachamaru (Mahou Sensei Negima!) - 1.70%
  11. Yuuko Amasawa (Dennou Coil) - 1.70%
  12. Michael (Witch Hunter Robin) - 1.17%
  13. Janet Bhai/Greenback Jane (Black Lagoon) - 0.43%

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