Elemental abilities are a concept that is pervasive throughout fiction and mythology. We have deities known for their embodiment of elemental features like water and air, but right now, we have our eyes fixed on the coolest kind of elementals – ice users! Varied and interesting, anime ice users tend to be incredibly powerful in their respective universes and it is great to see the different ways in which this single marker can vary itself within the anime medium. Enough talk, more frost! This is an updated list and you can find the older one below.
10. Yukihina – Code:Breaker
Aired: Aired: October 2012 – December 2012
High school student Sakurakouji Sakura was on the bus one day when she witnessed people being burned alive with blue flames and a boy her age standing over them. Returning to the scene, Sakura found no evidence of the burning bodies, but a small flame which remained. Back at school, she is shocked to see that the new transfer student, Ogami Rei, looks just like the boy she saw standing over the burning people the day before. Sporting a black glove on only his left hand, Ogami turns out to be a “Code Breaker”, an entity that “does not exist”, a killer who follows the simple principle of “an eye for an eye”. Sakurakouji’s heavy sense of justice cannot allow this to continue, so she sets out to stop Ogami from killing more people.
Yukihina is one of the main antagonists in the Code:Breaker series and he has several abilities based on water manipulation. He is capable of manipulating the Forms of Water, able to create any shape, form or density using water, which includes being able to freeze water to use in combat. He can create ice storms from his own body which freeze everything in sight, mould weapons out of ice and even turn his own body into ice, shatter it and reform elsewhere – a form of teleportation. Unsurprisingly, his name “Yukihina” bears the aspect of snow.
9. Judal – Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
Around the world are strange labyrinths said to house incredible treasures. These places, known as “Dungeons”, are said to be the work of the Magi, a rare and powerful class of magicians who assist individuals in building their own empires. The Magi do this by guiding them to the conquest of these Dungeons, which gives them audience with the Dungeon’s “Djinn”, a supernatural entity of immense power which rules over the Dungeon and grants a conqueror power and the potential to become the king of the world. Aladdin is a young mage who spent most of his life alone who is excited to explore the world around him, accompanied by his friend and mentor, Ugo, the resident Djinn in his flute. Aladdin soon meets Alibaba Saluja after destroying a merchant’s cart. Alibaba suggests that they head over to the local Dungeon to conquer it in order to pay for the damages. That decision changes their lives forever.
Being one of the Magi himself, Judal is an exceptionally powerful mage who, like Aladdin, has found an individual whom he’d like to help to become king. His powers are varied much like the other Magi; however, Judal often uses ice-type magic and is capable of controlling and freezing water to create ice shards which he uses as projectiles. He can also create ice tornadoes which follow their opponents around; however, the sheer power of Judal allows for him to manipulate many other forms of magic, such as gravity, lightning and even wind magic!
8. Haku – Naruto Shippuden
Aired: October 2002 – February 2007
Moments before Naruto was born, his home, the Hidden Leaf Village was attacked by a demon known as the Nine-Tailed Fox. In order to stop the destruction, the village leader, the Fourth Hokage, sacrificed his life to seal the beast inside the newborn Naruto. Right now, Naruto is a rambunctious little ninja living in the Hidden Leaf Village but ostracized by the other villagers who are aware of the entity he carries. Struggling to find his place in the village, Naruto dreams of one day becoming the Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, a journey which is perilous, but one which leads him to many friends along the way.
Other than his incredible speed, Haku’s ninjutsu allowed for him to use water and wind chakra. His ice powers granted him several special techniques and hailing from the Yuki (snow) Clan, Haku was capable of deflecting opponents’ attacks with an ice dome as well as launch ice projectiles by manipulating water in the environment. In addition to this, Haku is capable of creating ice mirrors through which he can traverse vast gaps and attack enemies even in mid-air.
7. Shiba Miyuki – Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (The Irregular at Magic High School)
Aired: April 2014 – September 2014
In this world, magic is not a mystical craft, but rather a work of technological ingenuity. People can learn how to wield magic as a technical skill. First High School is an institution which segregates its students into two groups based on their entrance exam results. Those who do well are admitted into the First Course and are called “Blooms”, while the rest are assigned to the Second Course and called “Weeds”. Shiba Tatsuya and his sister Miyuki are admitted to different courses and while he lacks magical ability, Tatsuya’s technical know-how and physical combat abilities make him an irregular case at a magic high school.
Admitted into the First Course at First High, Shiba Miyuki is an intelligent, well-mannered and scholarly high schooler who quite appropriately maintains a sense of composure in most situations. However, she has a burning affection for her older brother Tatsuya, whom she will often protect at her own detriment – this isn’t to say Miyuki cannot hold her own. Her ice magic abilities are on the level of pure genius and most characters who end up going against her in combat find themselves at a nearly hopeless disadvantage.
6. Kuzan Aokiji – One Piece
Aired: October 1999 – ???
Gol D. Roger was the most infamous individual to have sailed the Grand Line and earned himself the title of “Pirate King”. However, when the World Government captured and executed him, the world was changed forever as his last words revealed the existence of the One Piece, the greatest treasure in the world. This brought about the age of pirates as people around the world wanted to be crowned with the glory of finding the mysterious treasure and become Pirate King. 17-year-old Monkey D. Luffy decided at a young age that he would become a pirate out of a strong sense of adventure and aims to one day find the One Piece, travelling across the Grand Line with his own pirate crew. However, the journey will be long and there will be many, many dark mysteries and powerful enemies along the way.
After eating the Hie Hie no Mi Devil Fruit, Kuzan gained the ability to create, control and even become ice. He is capable of freezing vast areas in moments, immobilise his enemies just by touching them and he bears an incredible resistance to the cold. As a result of being able to freeze large bodies of water, Kuzan is one of the few Devil Fruit users who doesn’t need to worry about being unable to swim since he can freeze the surface of water and travel over it.
5. Ur – Fairy Tail
Aired: October 2009 – March 2013
In the Kingdom of Fiore, magic is a regular part of everyday life. As a result, like-minded wizards and mages banded together to form magic guilds, where they can take on job requests and find companionship. Fairy Tail is an infamous guild known for its sense of family and strength. 17-year-old Lucy Heartfilia is a young mage dreaming of joining Fairy Tail and sets out to find the guild. On her way, she bumps into Natsu Dragneel and his partner Happy, who are looking for Natsu’s foster father, the dragon Igneel. When Lucy is tricked by a strange man and abducted, Natsu shows up to save the day, revealing himself to be the Salamander… the fabled Salamander of Fairy Tail! Natsu offers to take Lucy back to the Fairy Tail guild, where she meets several interesting characters and becomes one of them. Together with Fairy Tail, Lucy battles the forces of evil and goes on several exciting adventures, adventures that never end.
Ur is the fallen teacher and adoptive parent of Gray Fullbuster and his childhood friend Lyon Vastia. She taught Gray just about everything he knows about his “Ice-Make” magic and together, they lived in some of the coldest, most treacherous areas known to man. Ur’s incredible abilities with ice magic unfortunately also led to her demise as she sacrificed her own body in order to seal away the giant demon Deliora and protect Gray. As a result of this, Gray finds himself unable to shake off the past, blaming himself for his master’s death.
4. Hitsugaya Toshiro – BLEACH
Aired: October 2004 – March 2012
15-year-old Kurosaki Ichigo has always been able to see ghosts. One night, a woman dressed in a black kimono named Kuchiki Rukia appears out of nowhere in his room, claiming to be a Shinigami – a grim reaper-like entity. She explains that her role is to guide lost souls to a realm known as Soul Society, while also purging evil spirits known as “Hollows”. Sceptical at first, Ichigo’s suspicions are quickly deadened as his family is attacked by one such Hollow and Rukia is gravely injured. With their fates all but sealed, Rukia suggests a daring plan: she will attempt to transfer her Shinigami powers to Ichigo so that he may then slay the beast. From that day forth, Kurosaki Ichigo took on the mantle of a Shinigami, changing his life forever.
Within Soul Society exists the Seireitei, the Shinigami Headquarters and location of the 13 Court Guard Squads of the Shinigami. Hitsugaya Toshiro is the young boy captain of the 10th Squad, known for his Zanpakuto Hyourinmaru, said to be the most powerful ice-type Zanpakuto in all of Soul Society. Toshiro’s Hyourinmaru is capable of large-scale freezing and its Bankai, Daiguren Hyourinmaru imbues Toshiro with incredible freezing abilities as well as the ability to launch a massive ice-based dragon which can annihilate his opponent. Cold.
3. Esdeath – Akame ga KILL!
Aired: July 2014 – December 2014
Night Raid is the assassination branch of the Revolutionary Army, which was assembled in order to take back the empire from the greedy Prime Minister Honest who has taken advantage of the young emperor’s naivety. As a result, poverty and strife are commonplace throughout the empire. Night Raid’s members are experienced assassins who have thrown away their lives for the cause, knowing very well what is at stake. Tatsumi is their newest recruit, brought to the empire’s capital from his village in order to make money to send home. However, his plans change when the depravity of the city leads him to changing his mind and making an acquaintance with Night Raid, learning what it means to be an assassin with a cause.
Esdeath is one of the scariest ice-type users due to the fact that she is a total sadist. Her thirst for battle and conquest makes her an ideal user of the ability that she gained from ingesting the blood of an ice demon. She can launch ice projectiles, freeze her enemies and her ultimate ability, the Mahapadma, allows Esdeath to freeze time! Esdeath’s understanding of her own abilities, her technical ability and overall intelligence make for an insanely proficient ice-type user – we’ve seen her freeze entire armies at a moment’s notice!
2. Isaac McDougal – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Aired: April 2009 – July 2010
The most important law of alchemy is that of Equivalent Exchange. The Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse, learn first-hand the horrors that can happen when one does not adhere to this law, with Alphonse losing his entire body and his brother Edward losing an arm and a leg in order to affix Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armour. Years later, Edward becomes a State Alchemist of the land of Amestris, the youngest ever to lay claim to that title, granted the moniker “Fullmetal”, based off the mechanical limbs he now possesses. Together, the brothers perform their duties while trying to locate the Philosopher’s Stone, a relic capable of overcoming the laws of alchemy so that they can return their bodies to the way they used to be. However, along the way they come to realise the dark history of their own country.
Isaac McDougal is also known as the “Freezing Alchemist”, which immediately gives away the nature of his abilities. His water alchemy allows for him to freeze any sources of water, including his own blood. His ability to freeze water allows Isaac to fashion makeshift weapons in virtually any situation; however, his abilities aren’t restricted to freezing: Isaac McDougal is capable of making water boil too, which doesn’t bode well for anyone he touches…
1.Todoroki Shoto – Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
Aired: April 2016 – June 2016
At some point in human history, supernatural abilities became a mainstay, allowing for a highly admired profession to leave the pages of storybooks and comics and become a reality. Superheroes are now a common phenomenon in this superhuman society, where 80% of the population has some sort of “Quirk”. However, Midoriya Izuku finds himself unlucky enough to be Quirkless, which makes his life incredibly difficult as he is subject to all sorts of mistreatment. However, when his favourite hero, the top hero All Might, reveals that his own Quirk is transferable and that he wants Izuku to be his successor, Izuku’s life changes forever. He must now put himself through gruelling training in order to master his new abilities and gain admission into the best hero school in the country, U.A. High.
Todoroki Shoto is the son of the second-ranked hero Endeavour, a powerful flame Quirk user. Shoto is the result of breeding, as Endeavour sought to create a powerful being capable of using both fire and ice abilities. As a result, Shoto is incredibly adept at both, with his ice powers being his ability of choice for most of his life until his tournament match-up against Midoriya Izuku. His ability allows for the instantaneous freezing of his environment, ice projectiles and he can even use the ice as a means of transport, which looks really cool, no pun intended.
Ice users in anime are varied and incredibly interesting in personality and in ability. The concept is one which we’ve seen in all forms of fiction; however, no representation of elemental abilities would feel complete without the appearance of an ice user! We hence have a vast variety of characters with these abilities – are there any you think should feature on this list? Drop a comment below and tell us all the chilling details!