Puppet Users in Anime

Puppet Users in Anime

Author: Zorez Shahzad

The Japanese word for puppets is kugutsu (人形), which literally means human form. The Japanese are known to take small concepts to their extreme. Puppets are an integral part of Japanese history. They have a 500-year-old heritage with puppets being passed down from generations as a part of family heritage and being gifted to lords and kings for their distinctive design and the significance they held in the Japanese culture. They represent prosperity and are known to take bad luck away from their bearer. They consider puppets as being an actual extension to the owner and according to some folklores, are known to come to life after some time. So being able to manipulate such an artifact has been a long undying dream of the Japanese people.

Of Course, we see this culture being represented anime. The fascination does not just stop with just being able to Manipulate another body. They go further and explore this concept in many shapes or forms, adding their own twists and expectations. Rationalizing it in the form of some futuristic innovation or using plain old magic as the answer to everything. 

So, today we will take a look at some characters in anime who are able to manipulate another body as a puppet or a doll and bend them according to their will.

Without further wait, let’s get started.


The first one in our list passes all the characteristics of a trap. He has the feminine face and personality, but HE IS A GUY! Gowther is one of the main characters of Seven Deadly Sins. Despite being a doll himself, he can control and manipulate the memories of others. Hence, he is a doll who manipulates other humans. Isn’t this a reverse Uno situation? But despite having such a great ability, most of his power and memories are suppressed. He still is more powerful than a Holy Knight and possesses immense physical strength and magic. He can go toe to toe with some of the most powerful characters in his world and can easily go through a beating from the Giant Diane.  

Gowther is not very perceptive of other people’s emotions and tries very hard to understand them. So, he often subjects others to his experiments which can go to extremes very quickly.


Kankuro is one of the most important supporting characters in the anime, Naruto and its sequel Boruto: Naruto Next Generation. The character design has been inspired by the traditional Japanese puppeteers, Bunraku, and being true to this inspiration, Konkuro has an innate desire to perfect his puppeteering techniques. He also likes to collect puppets, modify them and add different mechanisms to them. He is a very strong character, able to utilize his chakra threads to control multiple puppets at the same time and seems to be well versed in nature transformation, being able to use wind, light, earth and wind release. 

Kankuro is a true master puppeteer. He deeply cares for his comrades and has built a strong bond with his little brother Gaara. He, with his sister Temari, are the two guardians of the young Kazekaage. A duty he took and will follow to his grave.


Sugar is a minor antagonist from the long-running anime, One Piece. She, despite looking like a 10-year-old is 22(Anime is weird). She has the power of Hobby-Hobby-fruit that lets her turn any living being into a toy and erase their existence from the memories of others. Her character has a lot of flavors, and despite her sweet name, she is shown to be very cruel. Albeit capable of sympathy, Sugar following her terrifying little girl trope is responsible for playing a very integral role in plunging a country into turmoil. Being a part of the Donquixote family, she is very loyal to Doflamingo and uses her power to aid him in his plans. 

Although Sugar did develop a fear of long noses and long noses like things at the end of her arc, she is the perfect example of why you should never mess with a little girl. 

Charlotte Belew:

Charlotte Belew is one of the main supporting characters in the anime, Unbreakable Machine-Doll. She has a tsundere personality and cares deeply for her comrades. She possesses strong mana compatibility and can sustain mana in her body. Charlotte, as a puppeteer, controls her automation Sigmund and with her high mana compatibility, is even able to heal life-threatening wounds. She can even transform her automation into a much larger dragon by giving him a large chunk of her mana and is often left exhausted after doing so. 

Although she is feared by her classmates, Charlotte is said to be very popular with the girls and the boys also prefer her. But despite this, she is a loner. Her character is shown to possess extreme intellect, able to analyze the situation in the middle of a battle and make the right decision.

Jin Kariya:

The last person on this list is Jin Kariya. He is one of the major antagonists from Bleach. Jin is from a unique race called Bounts, who was artificially created by the Seireitei. He has a very manipulative personality as he treats his comrades like pawns and has no attachment to anything be it living or dead. Despite his shortcomings, Jin has a unique doll. His doll is called Messer and is a case for playing cards. Having a weird ability does not stop him from being cool though. His doll allows him to manipulate air, and he can use this ability without his doll being called an extension of his body. Which is a unique trait in his kind. And he can use this ability to ionize the air and produce electricity. Which somehow lets him turn his box of playing cards into a saber. He has one of the most bizarre and coolest abilities out of everyone on this list.

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