Top 15 Best Anime Thieves & Criminals (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Thieves are probably some of my favorite archetypes in anime.
They live life on the edge of the law, but it doesn’t inherently make them villains, often throwing them into more grey roles.
I think there’s something super engaging about watching shows where there’s crime as a central focus.
And all the characters here are some of my favorite parts of all the anime they’re in – so it’s time to steal the show.
15. Yami Bakura
Now to be clear here, we’re talking about Yami Bakura, the Millennium Ring thief. Not regular Bakura, who is for the most part a normal boy.
Bakura has done some dark stuff in his past.
He’s stolen souls, hurt people, and is the biggest threat to Yugi and his friends throughout the whole series.
You don’t earn the name the “King of Bandits” for nothing, especially in a day and age where priests and pharaohs play card games with real monsters.
Anime: Outlaw Star
Aboard a top of the line ship, named the Outlaw Star, Gene is in pursuit of one of the biggest treasures in the galaxy.
Obviously no small feat for any kind of treasure hunter.
He had a rough upbringing, having lost his father in a brutal attack by bandits, but eventually when he was in his young adulthood, a woman made him the undeniable offer.
Become an outlaw, see the stars, and eventually take the gold.
He’s mostly reserved – but he’s very talented at what he does on the ship.
Anime: King of Bandits
What greater bandit duo is there?
A boy and his bird that can attach to his arm and become a gun – no more classic a story is there.
In all actuality, Jing is a very fun show. And we get to see him take on a variety of different jobs, each time looking for a new treasure.
He’s a regular kid for the most part, not having any real powers outside of his bird.
But despite that he still has talent to spare.
12. Kaito Kid
Anime: Detective Conan
Third in the line of the legendary thieves, Kaito Kid is one of Detective Conan’s greatest adversaries.
The classic face-off of Phantom Thief and Detective is one of my favorites.
Of course with Detective Conan being the long-running series that it is, there are plenty of great moments that result from these two.
He loves thrills, he’s cocky, and wants to always end his appearances with flair.
And I can respect a man who’s all about style even in his line of work.
Though he’s not actually a bad guy, Vash has a massive bounty on his head due to a variety of poorly timed misunderstandings throughout his life.
But he does use this reputation to his advantage throughout the show, adopting the life of an outlaw, even if it is mostly a farce.
He still plays the role well.
He may be out just looking for his brother, but he’s clearly talented at evading the law and keeping himself out of harms’ way.
Anime: Persona 5: The Animation
Though for the most part he’s only responsible for stealing the hearts of the crooked and corrupt in Japan, Joker is most definitely a tried and true thief.
Along with the rest of the Phantom Thieves, he’s in pursuit of making Japan a better place so that ~Life Will Change~ ahem sorry about that.
Similar to Kaito, Joker and his gang are all about the style that comes along with being youths trying to leave an impression on the adults in their lives – and damn they’re good at it.
9. Rinslet Walker
Anime: Black Cat
A master at disguise, seduction, and of course, thievery.
Rinslet is one of the best in the business. And she’s very confident in that fact.
She’s not just all about greed though, as she does take care to handle many of the items that she’s sent out to steal if she realizes that their power is dangerous.
It’s always nice to see the thieves with hearts of gold, as she’s just as interested in lending a helping hand where she can, as she is in stealing a thrilling prize.
Anime: Seven Deadly Sins
Being the embodiment of greed, it’s no surprise that Ban is also a very talented thief in addition to being a very powerful fighter in his own right.
He’s curious and driven by his greed to a fault – and he often steals things just out of curiosity, which sometimes drives him to make some foolish decisions.
Despite his greedy nature, he’s not a bad person, and often won’t think twice before trying to save someone he cares about should they be in trouble.
Kris is just a thief in class, and is actually the person who (regrettably on her part) taught Kazuma his signature Steal skill.
This skill was immediately turned against her to steal her panties away from her, causing her to get pretty embarrassed – and probably more than a little afraid of what monster she unleashed.
She also just has one of my favorite designs in the entire show.
And while she’s not my outright best girl (Aqua for life), she’s still fun whenever she shows up, despite how rarely that is.
Anime: Michiko & Hatchin
Michiko is a thief in a world plagued by corruption and laws that are strictly meant to keep people down. But Michiko constantly challenges this, turning her by default into a criminal.
She’s frequently chased down by the law due to her refusal to comply with the laws set out before her.
And considering how messed up the world is, I really can’t blame her.
Though she does have a small conscience in the form of Hatchin, Michiko generally tends to do what she wants, when she wants.
Raised in poverty despite her noble roots, Felt is a fiery girl who was driven to a life of thievery since she was raised by thieves that had kidnapped her as a child.
She’s completely unaware of her noble lineage until she’s chosen to become one of the candidates to become the next ruler.
But she doesn’t really change her ways even after being chosen.
No, she’s still hot-headed, and she wants to overthrow the systems in the kingdom, tearing the nobility down to the ground if she can.
Anime: One Piece
Being the Cat Burglar and Navigator in the Straw Hat’s crew, Nami is the second member to officially join Luffy’s crew in the entire series – and she also has one of the most emotional arcs.
She was a troublesome child who couldn’t help but steal even in her youth, and even had to endear herself to the fishmen who eventually conquered her home.
After that she had to collect 100 million berries in order to free her village.
Then after fighting against her conquerors, she officially joined the Straw Hats for good – and has remained a clever and talented thief the whole way.
She fights far more with her tact and brains than with overwhelming force. And alongside Usopp, she develops a lot of inventions to help her in every fight.
3. Makoto Edamura
Anime: Great Pretender
Though he accidentally became a pickpocket, Makoto found out that he was actually very talented at the act.
Though he was forced to leave Japan eventually, joining fellow thief Laurent in the city of Los Angeles, he was put in the position to prove his talent to steal from a mafia boss.
From there, the pair start performing greater acts of thievery in attempts to prove their talents to each other – forming quite the rivalry along the way.
Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Here’s yet another embodiment of Greed on this list (is there really this much in anime?)
Greed initially inhabits an unnamed other person’s body, but later takes the body of Ling Yao.
Throughout his entire appearance in the show he stands as a person in direct opposition to the main antagonist of the series, Father.
And while he does sometimes fight with the main heroes of the story, Greed sings his own song throughout the show, performing actions that keep him happy above all else.
He’s also one of the best written characters in FMA, specifically when he takes Ling’s body and we get to see the relationship develop between those two.
1. Arsène Lupin III
Anime: Lupin III
If we’re talking just about anime, this is probably the most iconic thief in all of anime.
Lupin is a legend who shouldn’t need much of an introduction.
He’s starred across various movies and TV series in his entire lifetime, and tackles a bunch of crazy heists.
He’s a Casanova, a quick thinker, and a gentleman thief who takes after his grandfather – who you may have guessed would also be named Arsène Lupin.
Lupon sports a variety of gadgets and weapons to get the job done.
And he’s known to get the job done – which has earned him the title as the world’s indisputable number one thief.