As I’m writing this, I just started watching Appare-Ranman! last evening. I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it if I haven’t already. My scheduling is sometimes hard to predict. In any case, I was quite taken by the character of Appare. At least for the three episodes, I have watched so far. And I came to realize, I’m a sucker for engineers, thinkers and tinkerers. Like Ed from Cowboy Bebop.

And what do you get when you combine my love for the technical types with my possibly unhealthy admiration of trolls? Well, you get a good ‘ol mad scientist of course! I’m not sure if most people would describe Appare as a mad scientist but I would. He’s definitely the technical wizard type and so far, I wouldn’t call him overly sane. At least not by the standards of his universe. That got me thinking of all the other anime mad scientists I have loved throughout the years. And now, I’m going to share 6 of them. I couldn’t bring it down to five.

6. Null – Null & Peta

I had to put Null on my list somewhere. After all, this is the show that made me realize that we need more cute girl mad scientists. And I stand by that.

So Null is a Mad Scientist. It’s what she has always wanted to be and it’s her biggest aspiration. It’s also what takes up most of her days at an age when most kids are out making friends and being rambunctious. And she’s getting results! I mean I couldn’t put a Peta together.

The show turned out to be quite the bait ‘n switch. Without giving away too much let’s just say it’s a fantastic and emotionally impactful example of an unreliable narrator. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to and I remember it fondly.

5. Shinra – Durarara

I think I should eventually just stick all the times I mention Durarara together in a single post and call that my review.

I have written about Shinra only really once before and it was in relation to Celty in my Christmas is for Lovers – My OTP post. As such you probably don’t realize that Shinra is potentially my favourite character in the series. He’s not so much morally ambiguous or compromised as completely amoral. Not evil just uninterested in the concept of morality. It’s something that does not occur to him. And I think that covers the “mad” part of mad scientist.

He’s also a licensed physician who seems to have an extra specialty in non-human biology. In my book, Shinra gets extra points for coming from a family of mad scientists. Not only do we get to meet Shinra’s father but they get along and are extremely similar! Shinra isn’t trying to prove anything or to live up to his family, he’s a mad scientist because that’s just what he wants to be.

4. Zoe Hange – Attack on Titan

There’s something a bit off about Zoe, we can agree on that right. I mean Zoe is awesome but you know…peculiar. I think what I enjoy the most about Zoe is the contrast they bring to the series. Atack on Titan is an action-focused series with grim and dour storytelling. Everyone is just doing everything they can to survive. And that usually means fighting with everything they got.

But Zoe is having a ball. They are actually interested and excited about what they can discover through Titans and they not only see hope for the future they are actively looking forward to it. That kind of strength is impressive. In a world like the one in Attack on Titan a little optimism and scientific curiosity can make a huge difference!

3. Stein – Soul Eater

I’m a big fan of Soul Eater and more specifically of Stein. He was one of the first examples I had of a protagonist that was just a bad person without any attempt to redeem them or make them seem not as bad in context. Most of the characters in Soul Eater are in fact pretty cool people with varyingly righteous motivations. Even the actual villains do have some arguable redeeming qualities. After all the witches are part of an oppressed group that gets hunted and killed simply in the name of order, it’s normal that they aren’t going to be too happy about it.

But in the middle of all that you got Stein who is just not good. He’s selfish, has no respect for life and pretty much lacks any form of empathy. And he’s often in charge of children… Yeah, that’s a good idea! What can I say, I loved this character. He was so much fun and his zeal for science was infectious!

Honorable Mention

Atsuko Chiba/Paprika

I should really rewatch Paprika. It’s got one awesome premise. Apparently, it’s one of the inspirations for Inception. And at the centre of it all is Dr. Atsuko Chiba. Brilliant doctor and head of the DC Mini development team by day, literal manic pixie dream girl by night. As in she is a dream and manic may be an exaggeration but certainly carefree. If you were to only meet Chiba, it’s arguable how Mad she actually is and all things considered, maybe she isn’t at all.

2. Senku – Dr. Stone

I know I put him at number 2 but he’s really number 1. Senku is more eccentric than downright looney toons, well most of the time at least. And he is potentially the most scientific anime scientist I know. I have learned and relearned so much from Dr. Stone, it’s a little embarrassing! I hope the show can inspire young and old otakus everywhere to see how cool science is. Boy that line was corny. Hello fellow kids.

Fact is Senku rocks. He fits the description of the character tropes to a T, he’s the main character of his series and he makes science a central part of the series. Also, Dr. Stone happens to be one of my favourite shows of the past years. So extra points on my list!

1. Okabe Rintaro – Steins;Gate

I know I said that Senku was really number one but Okabe is also really number one. I mean who else is it going to be. I mean he enthusiastically declares himself a mad scientist just about every episode. And there is a fair bit of actual science in Steins:Gate at that.

What do you mean he’s not actually a scientist and just a chuuni that stumbled across a scientific discovery by pure chance? Are you saying that declaring yourself something on a regular basis doesn’t make you that thing? Preposterous! I am a magical girl!

Fact is, whether Okabe has earned his scientific title or not, his character along with the show in general has inspired a generation of fans to think about particle physics and that’s no small feat. For the rest of us, it at least got us to declare ourselves mad scientists form time to time!

While I was writing this post, I ended up rereading possibly the best post I have ever written and maybe I should also nominate myself for an anime mad scientist. I’m still working on the anime part but by golly, I’ll make it someday!

20 thoughts

  1. I was also a big Stein fan back when I watched Soul Eater. And one of the very first anime mad scientists I came across was Washu from Tenchi Muyo (the early 90s OVA), so she still has a very special place in my heart.

  2. If you need another cute girl mad scientist, I nominate Nichijou’s 9-year-old Professor. She’s a selfish little imp with more smarts than sense!

  3. Great list! Love your choices, I was already thinking who would be on the list and happy to see Zoe Hange, Stein, and Okabe on the list!

    1. Sweet! There are a few more out there but I was surprised that theren’t tons of this type of character after all

      1. It is quite a limited pool compared to some character types. I wonder if that’s part of what makes them enjoyable to see though. Anime mad scientists aren’t oversaturated.

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