Animé Top Tens – Villains

Here, There Be Spoilers! (so feel free to skip anything you don’t want spoilt)

The wonderful world of animé is, of course, filled with countless Villains both brilliant and downright awful. Here are our personal Top Ten favourites.


“I want you to form a contract with me and become magical girls!”

– Kyubey, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

10. Hisoka – Hunter × Hunter

Hisoka

More than just a court jester

Hunter x Hunter is home to a very unique kind of villain in the form of Hisoka, a complex and twisted individual who could easily be described part Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and part Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy 6) fused into a force of nature that can turn as deadly as a crack of lightning at the drop of the mad hatter’s hat.

Hisoka is first introduced into the world of HxH in episode 3 of the 2011 reboot series. As for his background, Hisoka has a very secretive and patchy past, with the only things that we know for certain being that he has previously entered the “Hunter Exam” the year prior to Gon and Killua but was disqualified for nearly killing a judge that he deemed to be annoying.

What makes Hisoka such a unique villain is that he really is a special kind of evil; he is a former member of the Phantom Troupe, a group famed for their strong members and deadly presence in the underground world, he is completely self-serving, self-absorbed, does whatever he desires and constantly craves a perfect opponent to play with to amuse and occupy his own attention. He uses them as his playthings and, like all toys, they cannot hold his attention for long which usually results in their untimely deaths.

In his search for strong and worthy fighters, Hisoka has let a few select characters survive an encounter, where he could actually dispatch them with ease, in the hopes that they will one day grow into worthy opponents. Hisoka is the poster boy for sociopaths and, even though he is somewhat attracted to both Gon and Killua, has stated that “what is valuable one day can easily become trash the next”.

One thing that serves to make Hisoka a good villain is that he does not kill indiscriminately, he only kills people who are in his way or those he claims worthy to occupy his time; because of this he could be referred to as more amoral than flat-out evil and has even assisted the main character when there was amusement to be had.

Hisoka could be described as pansexual to an extreme level; he is attracted to powerful fighters and people who show great potential be they men,women or even children. He is not just a calm and complex character but is also notorious for his graceful, cruel and deadly fighting style; he will even go so far as to challenge opponents that appear to be above his class in the hopes that they will prove to be of entertainment. Out of the thirteen members of the Phantom Troupe, a group made up of some if the strongest characters in the whole of HxH, Hisoka is considered to be the strongest, which makes him one of the most powerful players in the HxH universe.

– Aaron

9. Dio Brando – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure 

dio

Evil as they come

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has given the world many crazy characters but none quite as special as Dio. Dio started his life as a poor child with an abusive father. Upon his father’s death Dio travelled to the Joestar Mansion and was taken in by George Joestar. At this point in his life Dio decided to ruin Jonathan Joestar’s life and to take him over as the favourite son. When he becomes cornered by the police and Jonathan for trying to kill their father, Dio uses an ancient stone mask to turn himself into a vampire. After mastering the Ripple technique Jonathan and Dio have a final showdown in which Jonathan is able to defeat Dio. Unbeknownst to Jonathan, Dio severed his own head from his body so the ripple wouldn’t take his life and is able to kill Jonathan and, get this, put his own head on his former adversary’s body before hiding in a casket a sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

Think it’s over? Here’s where it gets truly bizarre. After his casket is salvaged in 1983 Dio gains the stand ‘The World’ (ZA WARUDO) which has super speed, strength and can even stop time! He plots to wipe out the Joestars once and for all with his recruited minions and their stands. All of this culminates into an epic battle in the streets of Cairo between Dio and Jotaro where Jotaro is finally able to deliver the final blow after managing to unlock his own stand’s ability to stop time. Although Dio’s remains were left in the sun to disintegrate for good, Dio still has a lasting impact on many of the villains in later parts of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

So what makes Dio a good villain? The guy is straight up evil right from the start. Even before he has any kind of power he strolls into the Joestar household and begins to bully Jonathan. One of the first things he does is put Jonathan’s beloved pet dog Danny into a god damn furnace! After becoming a vampire Dio gets the power to become a real threat to the entire world and that is only made a bigger threat once he has access to his stand but perhaps his most powerful ability is his charismatic and persuasive nature. Dio has recruited many allies who are completely devoted to him and his legacy lasted long after his death through the priest Pucci in part 6 whose devotion to Dio and his ideals is what drives him to create what was said by Dio to be the ultimate stand, Made in Heaven.

– Ben

8. The Spiral King – Gurren Lagann (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

The Spiral King may not have a scary name, but boy is he evil

The Spiral King may not have a scary name, but boy is he evil

The Spiral King ‘aka’ Lordgenome  is the main antagonist for the first arc of the amazing Gurren Lagann.

The Spiral King is the most powerful being in existence and utilising spiral power (er yeah just watch the show, explaining that is gonna be hard) he drives humanity underground. He is a cruel sadistic man who spliced animal and human DNA together to create the Beastmen, who are a race of hybrid creatures who the Spiral King used to eradicate any humans that made it to the planet’s surface. He calls them the Human Eradication Army.

The Spiral King is known to have several “wives” with whom he mates and then disposes of along with any offspring. He deems all humanity including his children to be weak and inferior.

Although we eventually find his motives for driving humanity underground to be almost kind in a way. He wants to protect humanity from themselves and stop the cycle of extinction events he has witnessed humans cause time and again. It doesn’t change the fact that he sees humans as a mistake and protects them not out of love but out of vanity for his own creation.

– Dan P

7. Light Yagami – Death Note

Light

Glowing, red eyes are never a good sign are they?

While Death Note may not be the masterpiece some claim it to be, it still introduced us to Light Yagami. Light is a bored genius in his late teens who suddenly he gets the power of the “Death Note” dropped into his lap. He is granted the power to take somebody’s life simply by writing their name in the books pages. With this power he vows to rid the world of evil. Every good villain should be the hero of their own story.

It isn’t the most interesting premise nor is it all that original, but what makes Light such an interesting character is that we get to watch as he goes from idealistic teen to someone who is easily more reprehensible than those he has set out to punish. Absolute power corrupts. As the series progresses, Light, known as “Kira” to his pursuers, goes down a very dark path; forgetting his morals and having no qualms about manipulating those who consider him a friend. More than a few times Light will make a move leaving the audience both fascinated by his genius and shocked at the lengths he goes to benefit himself.

We watch in awe as he out-manoeuvres the forces out to get him, and he does this time and again with increasingly complicated tactics; all whilst hiding in plain sight. This is what makes him such a good villain. Light is always two steps ahead of the game and absolutely everything that happens is according to his ingenious plans.

– Dan P

6. The Major – Hellsing Ultimate

Mwahahahaha!

Mwahahahaha!

Hellsing Ultimate introduced the world to The Major. What can I say about The Major?
Well, he was a Nazi, that’s pretty evil. It gets better (or is it worse?) not only is he a Nazi, he is the commander of the Nazis. Not just any Nazis, of course, oh no…The Major commands Vampire Nazis.

During the Second World War, The Major and a group of soldiers were sent on a mission to Berlin, this is where the mission went south; everyone was massacred and The Major was left for dead. Clinging on to life, he was found by The Doctor, who saved his life by augmenting him and turning him into a cyborg. The Doctor would later become integral to The Major’s plans.

Shortly after this, he was chosen by Adolf Hitler for the specific purpose of leading a research team, whose ultimate goal was the artificial creation of Vampiric super-soldiers for the SS. This was code-named Special Order #666. The war ended before the research could be completed so The Major and his research team went into hiding, until 1995, when he decided to resurface.

No cost was too great for The Major and he was willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to bring the world to the edge of annihilation. He is responsible for over 3 million deaths. Being a cyborg, The Major didn’t count himself human so has no regard for life and only cares about one thing, War! He saw the 1,000 year Reich as child’s play, his dream was to plunge the world into a state of perpetual war.

– Dan P

5. Sir Crocodile – One Piece

Sir Crocodile in all his glory

Sir Crocodile in all his manly glory

It takes a great villain to defeat the hero and this is paramount in the chemistry between one piece’s main protagonist Luffy and the deadly and intelligent Sir Crocodile, the main villain of the Alabasta arc. It was stated by Crocodile himself that he was once as care free and optimistic as Luffy, and after seeing the execution of Gol D. Roger (the Pirate King) at Rogue Town as a child, he even dreamed of becoming the next pirate king, but as time went by he grew in power and influence, he let his dreams slowly die to eventually become one of the 7 Warlords of the sea.

The 7 Warlords are a group of pirates that have been sanctioned by the world government and in doing so Crocodile was given a level of immunity opening avenues to power and wealth that had previously been closed to him. After achieving the title of warlord Crocodile he set about his evil plan, a plan that involved the destruction of an entire country, the usurping of a king and above all, the acquisition of one of three legendary weapons, weapons capable of mass destruction on a continental scale.

One of the main reasons Crocodile is on this list over the vast number of other animé villains is that he has bested the hero of his series on not just one but two occasions, leaving Luffy out of action for pretty much half of the Alabasta arc causing the rest of the crew to hold their own.

Sir Crocodile used the name Mr. 0 to contact members of his private hit squad, “Baroque Works” (an organisation made up of 10 leaders and thousands of underlings). Crocodile use Baroque Works to frame the government of forcing the country into a never-ending drought that lasted for years. This man has committed countless atrocities from using his private army as sleeper agents to dry up village wells (forcing citizens to move to the capital or risk dehydration) to using those refugees at the capital to power the chaos and fuel the revolutionary army’s numbers.

Sir Crocodile possesses the power of a Devil Fruit named the “Sand-Sand Fruit”, which has many applications including making huge sandstorms, creating multiple-bladed weapons out of Alabasta’s sand dunes, turning sand into quicksand and even using his hands to suck all of the moisture out of any living, dead or even inanimate object. This evil, power-hungry tyrant achieved all of this without alerting the world government of his plan’s.

– Aaron

4. Lelouch vi Britannia – Code Geass

Lelouch Vi Britannia commands you!

Lelouch Vi Britannia commands you!

Lelouch Vi Britannia, one of the many children of the King of Britain stumbled upon the mysterious woman, C.C., and was given the power of Geass and gained the ability to give people orders they are unable to defy. Upon gaining this power Lelouch decides that this is what he needs in order to bring down the entire Holy Britannian Empire.

Lelouch doesn’t just have the Geass to aid him, his cunning intellect also helps him create an alter ego ‘Zero’ who becomes the leader of the Japanese Resistance against Britannia. The thing that makes Lelouch such a great villain is his development from a small child who seeks vengeance against those who killed his mother, justice for his japanese friend Suzaku and his desire to create a better world for his little sister Nunnally to live in, into a man who becomes a full-blown tyrant in order to achieve his goals. This creates  a villain which the viewer can sympathise with and although you may not always agree with Lelouch’s plans, the viewer is always able to empathise with him.

Some may even see him as a tragic hero rather than a villain as the writers really do a fantastic job in blurring the line making the viewer really question whether Zero’s actions are just and the ends justify the means or if by trying to stop the evil of Britain he merely became the very thing he tried to defeat. Because of this the ending becomes a real tear jerker, as Lelouch places himself as the King of Britannia and sacrifices himself so that his dream of a better world for his sister can be realised.

– Ben

3. Medusa Gorgon – Soul Eater

Medusa Soul Eater Anime Wallpaper G4meover

Outright winner of the “Mother of the Year award”!

A Witch of undetermined age and the first antagonist to be featured in the Manga/Animé of Soul Eater, Medusa has an affinity for snakes and most of her powers/appearances actually take the form of a snake. As well as being an extremely powerful Witch, Medusa could be described as a ‘Magical Scientist’ who takes joy in conducting cruel and twisted experiments, most notably those that include her own son, Crona.

Not only did she force Crona to commit horrific acts as a child, she also melted down another human being named Ragnarok, melted the man into a near indestructible liquid referred to as “Black Blood” and then replaced Crona’s blood with Black Blood in order to make him strong enough to be the new Kishin (a being who essentially becomes a Demon God after killing and devouring hundreds of innocent human souls). Now that’s a strong candidate for Evil Mother of the Year.

For me, it is an undeniable fact that Medusa belongs on this list. She is one of the only beings to face Lord Death and survive, is insanely strong, fights purely for her own interests, and refuses to die over and over again at the hands of both heroes and villains alike. She also, through a certain event that occur within the manga series, is proven to be 100% evil, which shows the true lack of remorse she has for her actions.

– Isaac

2. Kyubey – Puella Magi Madoka Magica

He looks that cute, offers wishes AND can turn you into a Magical Girl? Nothing suspicious about that, right?

He looks that cute, grants wishes AND can turn you into a Magical Girl? Seems legit.

Looking somewhat like a cute kitten/rabbit hybrid, Kyubey is a “Messenger of Magic” who battles against devastatingly evil beings knows as witches; he does this by recruiting young girls to fight for him, bestowing them with powers beyond belief in exchange for a single wish. Using the wish causes a girl’s soul to leave their body, forming into a Gem which becomes the main source of the Magical Girl powers.

What Kyubey doesn’t explain to the girls, and what helps to justify his position on this list, is that all who form a contract with him will eventually lose their souls and become the gruesome witches they spend their time fighting, despite the fact that he could save them using one of his many incredible abilities including telepathy, invisibility, teleportation and self-replication.

Kyubey instead tricks these poor girls into eventually becoming witches so that his race can feed off the energy created during the transformation. Another sign that Kyubey is a great villain is that he virtually indestructible and unbeatable, but when his plans are challenged by the heroes, he doesn’t actually lose; his plans just change to something less evil because the universe decided it must be so.  /人‿‿人\

– Isaac

1. Vicious – Cowboy Bebop

Vicious Cowboy Bebop Wallpaper G4meover

How do I make myself look more evil? I know! Evil bird!

It stands to reason that the greatest anime villain of all time would be found in one of the all time greatest anime series. Vicious is an enigma that just oozes greed and ambition, when we first meet him he assassinates Mao Yenvai the head of a rival Yakuza during a ceasefire in turn going against the wishes of the leaders of the red dragon syndicate resulting in an all out war. The fallout resulting in Vicious becoming the syndicates new leader by way of a coup.

Bebop’s main protagonist Spike looked up to Mao as a father figure. This incident sparked the feud between the two adversaries. Very little is known about vicious and he only really shows himself towards the end of the series, but every time he is on-screen he carries himself with a sense of ambition and he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty to get whatever he wants.

Part of what makes Vicious so powerful and relevent throughout the story of bebop is the synergy he shares with Spike, from their time spent together during the Titan Wars and in turn coming home and joining the Red Dragon Syndicate, to their taste in women. They are opposite sides of the same coin and therefore work so well together destined to be enemies and in turn lead to each other’s destruction.

– Aaron


Honourable Mentions:

Aaron – Sōsuke Aizen, Bleach

Ben – Guillotine Gorilla, Samurai Flamenco

Dan – Shou Tucker, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Isaac – Azula, Avatar: The Last Airbender (“but Isaac, Avatar isn’t an animé!” Well that’s why she’s an honourable mention and not on the actual list)

So what do you think? We’d love to know your thoughts/Top Tens so have a think and let us know in the comments section below.

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