Disabled anime characters come in many forms, including many with physical disabilities that span across a broad spectrum - right from impaired motor functions resulting from missing or damaged limbs to blindness and deafness.
Some of these characters with disabilities, like Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, are the protagonists of their stories. Others are side characters.
This list includes 10 anime characters who are physically disabled, from needing prosthesis and assistance to being clinically deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Disclaimer: Spoilers are included for all the anime discussed. This includes content and trigger warnings for discussions of wartime violence and dismemberment.
Violet Evergarden and 9 other physically disabled anime characters
1. Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)
According to both Fullmetal Alchemist and Brotherhood, Ed and Al's attempt to bring back their mother tore apart Ed's left arm and right leg, and Alphonse's entire body. Edward was able to recover thanks to emergency automail attachments and was disabled as a result.
Edwards' disability includes adapting to the automail prothesis. Automail requires constant repair, can't stand the cold, and is extremely brittle. Despite being disabled, Edward became a renowned State Alchemist and even stopped villains with twice his abilities.
2. Yang Xiao Long (RWBY)
From the creatures of Grimm to bandits, the world of Remnant in RWBY has many threats that can easily harm or maim. Yang Xiao Long of the titular RWBY team discovered this during the Fall of Beacon. She lost her right arm trying to save Blake Belladonna from her abusive ex-boyfriend Adam Taurus.
The following months saw Yang struggle to do chores after losing her arm, like raking leaves or doing dishes. The gift of a prosthetic arm from General Ironwood helped, but due to depression and PTSD, Yang faced a long adjustment period and needed her father's help to get back into shape. Similar to Edward's automail, Yang's mechanical arm needed repairs and upgrades from battle damage sustained from a rematch with Adam.
3. Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)
An orphan and child soldier, the titular Violet Evergarden aids people who cannot write or have trouble expressing emotions as an Auto Memory Doll for the CH Postal Company. She was rendered disabled after losing both her arms in a war, and later had them replaced with adamantine silver prostheses.
Violet herself describes the protheses as "clumsy, but sturdy." Holding a pen or pencil to write is difficult, so she had to adapt to typewriting. Despite being disabled and dealing with problems stemming from the metal arms, she can not only type 200 characters per minute and but also type without making grammatical or vocabulary errors.
4) Shanks (One Piece)
A decade before One Piece began, Shanks lost his left arm while saving Luffy from a Sea King. However, this did not deter the future Emperor and captain of the Red Haired Pirates in any way.
Despite the loss of his arm, Shanks has proven his worth time and again as a captain and pirate emperor. His swordsmanship skills haven't dulled, and he possesses a unique form of Future Sight with his Observation Haki. He is also the only Pirate Emperor who hasn't consumed a Devil Fruit.
5) Might Guy (Naruto)
There are a lot of injuries throughout Naruto that can qualify someone for this list. Characters lose arms, legs, and their eyesight. While some die from those injuries, others are healed after a while. One such character is Rock Lee, who was disabled after having his arm and leg crushed, but returned to fighting shape after Tsunade operated on him.
After the Eight Gates attack on Madara shattered the bones in Might Guy’s right leg and reduced it to ash, Guy had to use a wheelchair to move around. This didn’t stop him from aiding Kakashi during the hostage crisis aboard the Tobishachimaru. As of Boruto, Guy is a teacher at Ninja Academy, passing on his confidence to future generations.
6) Nunnally Lamperouge (Code Geass)
At a young age, Nunnally Lamperouge witnessed her mother being gunned down by assassins. This led her to developing two disabilities: blindness and using a wheelchair.
As revealed in Code Geass season 2, the blindness was a result of a Geass that Charles vi Britannia put on her. Nunnally broke that when facing down her brother Lelouch in the finale and recovered her sight. She permanently has to use a wheelchair due to bullet wounds in her legs as a child.
Her greatest strength is her unfailing kindness, as it keeps everyone around her from going into despair. She became the de-facto Empress of Britannia and has always worked to end the fighting between Japan and Britannia.
7. Ayase Shinomiya (Guilty Crown)
Much like Oracle from DC’s Batman: The Animated Series, Ayase Shinomiya of Guilty Crown lost the use of her legs prior to the series. Unlike Nunnally, Ayase is more verbose and snarky, and her support is practical. She's not only a mecha pilot, but possesses a robotic Void that allows her to sprint and fly, which aids the Funeral Parlor resistance group.
Ayase hates being pitied because she is disabled, and will beat people up if they do, as main male protagonist Shu Ouma found out. The problem is, she constantly overestimates herself. When she's not piloting her mech, she's still a competent fighter but tends to forget how limited her capabilities are.
8. Komugi (Hunter x Hunter)
Another kind soul who doesn't have supernatural or fantastical abilities to compensate for being disabled is Komugi from Hunter x Hunter. Introduced in the Chimera Ant arc, she's a master of the board game Gungi, which the Chimera Ant King Meruem challenges her to. Meruem constantly loses, which starts him on the road to learning compassion and eventually stopping his villainous ambitions.
Because of her blindness, Komugi is unable to see the monsterous Muerum for the Chimera Ant he is. Instead, she sees him as a worthy opponent. One of the big reasons for this is that the only way for professional gungi players to make a living wage is by winning constantly. Komugi plays like her life depends on it, which is challenging considering that she is disabled.
9. Shōko Nishimiya (A Silent Voice)
The female protagonist of the anime movie A Silent Voice, Shōko Nishimiya is clinically deaf. She had hearing aids in both ears, until main male protagonist Shoya Ishida bullied her in elementary school and permanently ruined one of her ears. This caused the already disabled girl to become depressed and suicidal.
Shōko believes herself to be a burden to others due to her disability. Her constant smile hides this, and her speech impediment often gets in the way of what she intends to say. As a result, she uses sign language and a notebook to communicate with others.
10. Bojji (Ranking of Kings)
Another deaf individual who is a protagonist is Bojji from Ranking of Kings/Ousama Ranking. Bojji was cursed after his father King Bosse struck a bargain with a demon, making Bojji small, weak, and deaf, while increasing Bosse's attributes a hundredfold. This led to the royal family rejecting the young prince as a viable candidate for kingship.
Despite being disabled, Bojji develops his own fighting style that prioritizes speed over power. While being deaf and non-verbal makes it difficult to communicate, Bojji compensates by being able to read lips and having hyper-situational awareness.