The List
7 Muscle-Bound Heroes

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Plenty of shows feature skilled and nimble characters besting their opponents in hand to hand combat. This week's list is looking at the extreme version, where characters are not only adept fighters but are also pumping a lot of iron to keep their intimidating physique in peak condition. The top seven entries would be right at home on California's Muscle Beach.

7. Milly Thompson (Trigun) Milly Thompson is a gentle giant. She likes the simple things, cares for her family and Meryl, and has a generally sunny disposition. If it weren't for constantly ending up in gunfights, people would think she's just tall. Somehow Milly manages to hide a heavy concussion gun underneath her coat and wield it without any assistance except her own brute strength.

6. Sakura Ōgami (Danganronpa The Animation) Ōgami's fearsome appearance intimidates the students around her, but she's actually a well-mannered and honest person who cares deeply about her friends. As the heiress to a long-standing dojo, Ōgami is a seasoned martial artist and wrestler. Her 400-match winning streak remains unbroken before she's taken to Hope Peak Academy.

5. Joseph Joestar (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) At a mere 18-years-old, Joseph measures approximately 6'5" and 215lbs. The buff teen has the uncanny ability to read his opponents next moves. His fighting prowess gets more impressive after he undergoes Hamon training and can attack empowered punches and kicks or sharpened hairs from his own head.

4. Suguru Kinniku (Kinnikuman) If Usagi Tsukino had a male counterpart, it'd probably be Kinnikuman. Suguru Kinniku is an alien prince from a planet renowned for producing the best superheroes. However, in what Kinniku gained from his heritage, he drew short in the personality department. In order to secure his spot on the throne, Kinnikuman (which literally means Muscle Man) must win a series of wrestling tournaments with his superpowered moves.

3. Ira Gamagōri (Kill la Kill) The muscle of the Satsuki's Elite Four, Gamagōri impressive size is fluctuates depending on the episode or gag. He looms over the student body in early episodes to signify his status as chair of the disciplinary committee. Later in the series, Gamagōri comes around to help Ryuko and Co. as an agent of Nudist Beach where he puts his size to use against Ragyō Kiryūin's lackies.

2. Alex Louis Armstrong (Fullmetal Alchemist) Like his namesake, Alex's appearance is based heavily on classic strongmen seen in early 1900s circus ads. His aptitude in comical posing takes a a mark from them as well. But Alex isn't just looks. He's an exceptional hand-to-hand fighter and boasts ridiculous endurance levels that let him keep going even after he's been knocked around. He adds his family's honed physical alchemy skills to his already impressive combat abilities for a punch that can tear objects apart.

1. Guts (Berserk) An impressively-sized warrior and mercenary, Guts wields an even larger two-handed sword measuring 7 feet long. He was able to achieve his inhuman strength during his childhood travels with a band of mercenaries and training daily with sword much larger than himself. As time passes and Guts grows, so apparently, does his sword in size. While the television anime stops at (or technically introduces) Guts wielding the Dragonslayer sword, his size and abilities become greater as the manga goes on and he's fitted with more weaponry, including a cannon-arm.

The new poll: How many readers have visited Japan?

The old poll: Which is your favorite English manga publisher? Here's the top results (any choice under 1% is omitted):

  1. Viz Media 33.9%
  2. Yen Press 27.9%
  3. Dark Horse 8.6%
  4. Vertical 8.1%
  5. Kodansha USA 7.9%
  6. Seven Seas Entertainment 6.3%
  7. Crunchyroll Manga (Simulpub) 3.9%
  8. Digital Manga Publishing 1.2%
  9. Fantagraphics 1.1%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Associate Editor for Anime News Network, blogs about women and LBGT topics in anime and manga on her blog Engendered Dilemma, and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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