This might be subjective and to each his own favorite anime character, but when you ask a person who is his or her favorite, a majority would answer Pikachu. Pikachu is the yellow mouse from the manga and anime series Pokemon. It is famous for hating to be kept inside a Poke ball but rather wants to walk with his trainer, Ash Ketchum.
It is a lightning type Pokemon thus has an attacking power of thundershock and lightning bolt. It is known for its cuteness and being cuddly. The sound it makes is very popular to anime fans which is pika pika. Pikachu is becoming a symbol of Japan especially to welcoming tourists.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly one character who everyone agrees is the most beloved anime character of all time, but there are certainly a few names that commonly pop up. Shinji Ikari who is a character from Neon Genesis Evangelion which was released in 1995 tops many lists of this nature for one main reason: He is not some type of hero or a character who is always selfless and heroic.
Instead, he is human and flawed and helps the audience realize that you do not need to be flawless or have superpowers. Another common name is Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop which was released in 1998.