Throughout the history of Anime, there have been many iconic characters that have stood the test of time. These characters tend to be heroes or at least the main protagonist of the story and as such, they leave an indelible mark on our consciousness.

Of course, there’s two sides to every story and to have a hero you invariably need a villain. These too can leave a memory if they are a strong and important part of the narrative.

As Anime is an art in itself, they have already been immortalized in visual form but there’s much more that can be done to record and wonder at the impact these characters have had. Obviously, as you may have guessed, I’m talking about 3D printed anime figures.

In this article I’m going to go through some of the most popular and iconic characters in the history of Anime. This will hopefully give you a reminder of some of your favorite characters or may even introduce you to some that you don’t know. I’ll look briefly at each one’s backstory and then show you some impressive 3D printed anime models that you may be able to create yourself.

This list is only a short one compared to the vast number of characters that appear throughout the Anime world. No doubt you’ll have your own favorites that haven’t been included and may well disagree with my choices. What I’ve tried to do though is give a fairly diverse representation of characters across the different sub-cultures of Anime.

So, and in no particular order, let’s take a look at our first hero. Just a warning though that there may be some spoilers included within the character backstories.

Naruto Uzumaki (Naruto)

(Image: Netflix)


The eponymous hero of the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden sagas. Naruto himself had a tough start in life. He was made an orphan the day he was born as both his parents died during the Nine-Tails Rampage.

Before he died though, Naruto’s Father sealed within him the fox-like entity, Kurama, making him the Nine-Tails’ Jinchūriki. As a result, this made him feared and ridiculed among his fellow Leaf Villagers meaning he became an outcast and therefore grew up alone.

Naruto sets out on a path to become a Ninja and use his Jinchūriki nature to his advantage. Its through these challenges and Naruto’s development as a Ninja that his adventures are explored.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: Aldirud via Cults 3D)

As you can imagine with such a popular character, there are many 3D printable files that you can obtain of Naruto himself. It therefore wouldn’t be practical to list them all so I’d urge you to have a look online and find the ones that appeal to you most.

However, I’ve found a couple of interesting models and this one in particular caught my eye on the Cults site as it shows Naruto eating Ramen. A fairly mundane task but shows a different and fun view of the character.

Another model from Thingiverse shows Naruto in a more familiar pose and there are of course various models like this available to download.

Saitama (One Punch Man)

(Image: The Dark Lord via Quora)

Saitama is a lone hero who lives in Z-City. He gained the title One Punch Man after training for three years to master the skill of defeating any enemy he faces with just one punch.

His extreme skill and unmatched strength leaves him bored with life so he performs heroic deeds merely as a hobby. He then breaks his boredom by reluctantly becoming mentor to a cyborg called Genos who is seeking revenge against another cyborg which killed his family and destroyed his hometown. During his mentorship and battles alongside Genos, Saitama learns of an organization of heroes whose mission is to fight these monsters.

This is where Saitama’s adventures really begin!

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: CG Trader)

We start with a more regular type of model for Saitama with this creation that you can find again on the Cults site.

A lot of the models you might find when you search are caricatures so give a more stylized representation such as the Chibi type of model.

You’ll also find that a lot of the better models such as this one, are downloadable only for a fee which in this case is a fairly noticeable $40.

Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)

(Image: Anime Corner)


Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student living a fairly ordinary life in a fictional version of Tokyo. The thing is with this version of the Japanese capital is that Ghouls, a kind of zombie/vampire hybrid, were all over the media and investigators were on the hunt to try and eradicate them.

Ken is shy but goes on a date with the charming and pretty Rize. The date goes well but on the walk home, Rize became nervous that Ghouls may attack them so asks Ken to stay near her. Its then that she takes her chance and sinks her teeth into Ken’s shoulder. Rize deals Ken further blows but just as she’s about to go in for the kill, steel beams fall on her from the nearby construction site.

Although Ken is saved from death, the whole event had been orchestrated by Dr. Akihiro Kano who has his own plans for Ken!

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: Cults 3D)

With a lot of these characters, to get the full feel of them, there needs to be detail and this can lead to some difficult looking prints. This model of Ken Kaneki is no exception as it shows him in full transformation pose with tentacles extended. A great looking model but it will definitely need supports.

This one is a bit less of a challenge as it’s a bust of our hero which in my experience tend to be easier to print. The detail is excellent and shows the full menace of the reluctant Ghoul hybrid.

Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)



Edward is one half of twins with his brother, Alphonse Elric.

As children they were abandoned by their father so were raised solely by their mother in the small town of Resembool. Tragedy strikes the boys though when their mother dies of a terminal illness. Wracked with grief at the loss, they try to resurrect her using the mystical science of alchemy.

Alchemy is said to allow you to form physical matter from one form to another so, armed with this knowledge, they sought to bring life back to the one person that had been there for them.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: Cults 3D)

There are a number of great designs for Edward but I particularly like the detail and scope of this one. Again though, you’ll need supports.

As a note while we progress through the print options, take a look at Yeggi which is a great search engine for 3D prints and brings together files from all of the main providers.

Astro Boy (Astro Boy)



Astro Boy can be credited with being one of the earliest Anime characters to appear in print and was serialized in the publication Shōnen from 1952 to 1968.

The main plot and some details of the characters has differed between the original Japanese version and the English translations but the general premise of the story has remained the same.

Set in a future world where robots co-exist alongside humans, Astro Boy follows the story of Dr Umataro Tenma who loses his young son Tobio. Unable to cope without his beloved boy, Dr, Tenma creates Astro Boy as his replacement but soon realizes that his robotic mannerisms and inability to grow old or have human emotions, don’t meet his needs. He rejects Astro Boy who, with the seven superpowers he has been fitted with, takes to fighting crime and injustice.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: CG Trader)

Again with Astro Boy there are quite a few stylized “fanart” type models out here so if you want a true representation of the character then you may need to sort the wheat from the chaff as the saying goes.

This model that I found on CG Trader, is true to the original character and maintains his cheeky look and style. If you want a different more action packed look to the model then have a look at this one on Cults 3D.

Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell)

(Image: PeakPX)


There are different versions of the main story but it is generally considered that Motoko Kusanagi lived within cyborg “shells” for most of her early life since birth. However, different story adaptations show that she was born human and was then involved in a plane crash, leaving her in a coma. While unconscious, her “Ghost” is moved to a fully cybermetic body against her consent.

The story is based around her military skills as a “Ghost in the Shell” but has garnered some controversy in recent years for the original incarnation being somewhat pornographic in nature. This has been tempered in more recent versions to make Mototo more palatable for a wider audience.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: H3ll via CG Trader)

As you can imagine also with Motoko Kusanagi, there are a number of 3D designs and printable models available online. This one I found on CG Trader and also on Cults 3D by the same designer and they’ve really captured the enigmatic nature of the character.

Another interesting model I found again on CG Trader was a bit more for the more mature 3D printing enthusiast shall we say.

A further thing to bear in mind when you’re searching for 3D model files to download is to check for “makes”. That means that the model has actually been printed and made by another user. You may sometimes find that the file you’re looking to download or buy only has pictures of renders or the design file and not actual prints. At least if you’ve seen that someone else has produced a print then you know that it’s a viably printable file.

Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece)



Sometimes known as “Straw Hat” Luffy, Monkey accidentally acquires the properties of rubber after eating a Devil Fruit. He’s one of the most popular and ever-present characters in the One Piece series which centers around the Straw Hat Pirates of which Luffy is the captain.

During their voyages, Luffy fights many adversaries and uses his signature move, the Gum-Gum Pistol attack to defeat most of them.

As a result of his general popularity and worldwide recognition among Anime fans, Luffy has appeared in other stories as well as One Piece.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: CG Trader)

Although Monkey D. Luffy had to be included in this brief journey through the history of Anime characters, there are unfortunately not as many 3D printable models online as you may think.

The best of the ones I did find is this one which is again on CG Trader and shows Luffy in his natural appearance and trademark cheesy grin. This is in a similar style to the Chibi type models I’ve alluded to previously.

Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

(Image: Netflix)


The Studio Ghibli character Totoro is possibly one of the most instantly recognizable in the whole Anime genre and has become much loved by children and adults alike.

Its unclear where Totoro came from or indeed whether he/she exists in the real world. We first encounter the large, cuddly creature when sisters Satsuke and Mei stay at a country house while their mother recuperates in hospital following an illness. The girls make friends with several different spirits both within the house and the surrounding forest. Its Totoro though that has the biggest impact on their stay and helps them get through the difficult time while they are separated from their mother.

Interesting 3D prints

Image: (Patrick via Thingiverse)

With Totoro, you won’t have any trouble finding a 3D model file to download. The first one, as shown in the image, is actually on Thingiverse which means its free! It depicts Totoro and other members of the “family” but each can be printed separately.

Another model of Totoro in travelling pose is by the same designer but this time I found it on Cults 3D. However, its also free which is unusual for the majority of Cults models.

Howl Pendragon (Howl's Moving Castle)

(Image: Wiki Fandom)


Howl Jenkins Pendragon, to give him his full name,  is often noted as being the most attractive and charismatic Anime character of all. He certainly has the looks and sartorial elegance to hold that title and has the reputation of stealing women’s hearts.

Howl is also a highly accomplished and talented wizard who was actually born in Wales. This is a departure from the more usual Japanese setting for Anime stories but is linked to the source material novel.

The story centers around the castle in which Howl travel’s the wastelands and involves many central characters. Calcifer, the fire sprite that Howl saves and gives a heart to. Sophie who will later become Howl’s wife. Markle who he finds sleeping on the castle doorstep and takes in. The evil Witch of the Wasteland and many other varied characters.

It’s Howl who is linked to all the characters though and also central to the story.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: MAG-NET via CG Trader)

Unfortunately, although Howl is a massively popular character, there a very few 3D prints of him available. I’ve left him in the list but have only really been able to find this fairly decent design on CG Trader. However, to refer back to my previous point about checking for “makes” this only seems to be a render from the images. That’s not to say it won’t print and at $5 it may be worth the risk.

I’ve included a great design and model of Howl’s Moving Castle itself from CG Trader again as a contrast and this would make a striking display piece.

No-Face (Spirited Away)

(Image: fortressofsolitude)


In Spirited Away, 10 year old Chihiro has to move away to a new town and a new life due to her father’s new job. She has trouble coming to terms with the changes but soon escapes into a fantasy world where her parents are transformed into pigs and she has to work in a bathhouse to survive.

Throughout the story, there are many fantastical characters but one ever present being is the No-Face or Kaonashi as he’s known in Japan. No-Face is a representation of many human emotions and traits but essentially the immature behavior of the young who want attention and Acceptance. This therefore mirrors Chihiro’s feelings which, alongside No-Face, develop throughout the story and become calmer and more accepting of their place in the world.

Much like Totoro, No-Face doesn’t utter a word but is there to help the main character negotiate the difficult path to adulthood.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: Otrodan via CG Trader)

As with Totoro, there are a lot of printable files available for No-Face and you will find a lot of items for sale as merchandise.

This model is a bit different as it shows No-Face as part of a diorama. This makes it a bit more of a challenging print than just the figure itself but it would look great as a display piece.

If you’re looking for something more functional to show of your fandom for No-Face then you could try printing this business card holder for a bit of a change. Or how about this set of models which includes a pen holder and a key fob?

Ash Ketchum and Pikachu (Pokémon)

(Image: Push)


Ash Ketchum is the main character in the massively successful global phenomenon which is Pokémon.

At the age of 10, people get their official license to become Pokémon trainers and start their career by receiving their first Pokémon from Dr. Oak. Unfortunately, Ash turns up late to collect his first trainee so ends up with Pikachu which pleases neither trainer or trainee.

After some early hiccups and a steep learning curve for Ash, the two eventually bond when Pikachu realizes that Ash will defend him at all costs. They become a formidable team and the rest, as they say, is history.

Interesting 3D prints

(Image: Squidart 3D via Cults 3D)

Again, as you can probably guess, there are a massive number of 3D printable files featuring either Ash or Pikachu. This one I found on Cults 3D shows both of the characters in classic pose and looks great.

This one also shows both characters together but in a more active pose. Again this is available on Cults 3D.

And Finally…

I’ve looked at just a few of the many iconic characters across the genre of Anime and as I said previously, I’m sure you’ll find more. This goes to show that the world of Anime is a vast and rich culture and fans are passionate about the art and storytelling that has been present for many decades.

However, you choose to celebrate this history, 3D printing is a great way to represent your favorite characters and showcase your printing and painting skills.