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Anime would not be as fun to watch if it didn’t have some amazingly evil characters for our heroes to face off against. If everyone was good, the story would probably get dull quite quickly Though not all evil characters are villains (at the very least not in direct opposition of the protagonist) this updated list focuses on those characters who can’t help but put themselves directly in the way of the protagonist. These evil characters thrive off causing conflict for others and make it a point in their mission to cause psychological, emotional, and physical stress for the protagonist. Without further ado, let’s talk about the top 10 evil characters in anime, and be sure to read the original below for an even greater dose of evilness.
10. Alois Trancy from Kuroshitsuji II (Black Butler II)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2010 – Sep. 2010
There aren’t many ‘good’ characters in the Kuroshitsuji series. Ciel, the main character, is practically an anti-hero as he simply lives for enacting revenge. However, none of the characters bring out the viewer’s rage and frustration as much as young master Alois Trancy.
Trancy is the main antagonist of the second season and he has made it his goal to cause harm to Sebastian, which basically means taking Ciel away from Sebastian. Though he has gone through a lot of abuse in his life that definitely makes you feel for the boy, he has a tendency to frustrate most viewers. He seeks attention constantly and has a rather uncontrollable temper that results in loud and obscene outbursts. Considering what he has gone through these outbursts are understandable, but they are extremely painful to view because of the fact that everyone else in the show tends to bottle their emotions and act with a sense of refinery (except for Grell). All of that said, he gives into his desire for revenge and so here he is.
9. Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation (Danganronpa: The Animation)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2013 – Sep. 2013
Junko Enoshima was brought into Hope’s Peak Academy as the Ultimate Fashionista. First seen as perhaps a little superficial and hot-tempered, it is a nice surprise to find out that it has all been an act.
Junko Enoshima, in fact, has the Ultimate Analytical Prowess and is the creator of the Ultimate Despair. This is to say that she is the main antagonist of the series and is responsible for basically every single terrible thing that happens. This is because she is able to use her analytical prowess to figure out anyone’s weakness and then exploit that weakness to bring about despair. What makes her such a great evil character is how much she enjoys bringing about despair and manipulating people. Even better is that she does it all to simply keep herself from boredom.
8. Shishio from Rurouni Kenshin
- Episodes: 94
- Aired: Jan. 1996 – Sep. 1998
Shishio is the main antagonist of the second arc of Rurouni Kenshin. He brings together a group of immensely powerful warriors, as he tries to dismantle the government that turned its back on his work and tried to execute him. Though the warriors join him for vastly different reasons, each have found his passion and philosophy influential.
Shishio is an evil character with mass appeal. He is charismatic and forceful and knows how to overthrow a government. Every step he takes is planned and he always has a back-up plan in place. For most of his arc, he is essentially toying with our heroes, who include two of the most feared manslayers from the Imperial War. The best part about him is that he has the skills and abilities to back up all his bark, and that his philosophy extends to all parts of his life. It doesn’t matter if it comes down to his own life or lover, those who are weak are merely energy for the strong.
7. Shou Tucker from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Apr. 2009 – Jul. 2010
Does anything really need to be said about Shou Tucker? Everyone knows his face, and the entire anime community will definitely agree that he is one of the most evil characters.
Behind his rather unassuming appearance is a mind corrupted by the pursuit of power and creation. At first, we think he’s not too far gone. We think he is simply misunderstood by the alchemist community at broad, because he dabbles in the forbidden aspect of alchemy. Considering that Edward delved into the most forbidden of practices, it is no surprise that we find ourselves sympathetic towards the man. Then he uses his daughter in his experiments and creates an existence that is clearly in immense pain. Yep, the guy is evil and the whole community hates him for good reason.
6. Naraku from InuYasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: Oct. 2000 – Sep. 2004
Naraku is the source of all the problems that plague Inuyasha. If it wasn’t for Naraku, then Inuyasha would have had a much easier life. However, Naraku made his way into Inuyasha’s life and decided to turn Inuyasha and Kikyo against one another in such a way that would act as a catalyst for most of the drama in the series.
So we already discussed how Naraku set a couple of lovebirds against one another. Such an act obviously establishes him as an evil character, but there are many more. There’s the fact that he holds Kanna and Kagura hostage by holding onto their hearts. He gladly punishes them by squeezing their hearts if they ever disobey hm. There’s the fact that he pits Sango against her own little brother Kohaku, who was brainwashed into killing off the rest of their family. The guy wants to be the top demon so is it really any surprise that he displays such an evil nature?
5. The Major from Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb. 2006 – Dec. 2012
Hellsing is an anime full of evil characters. The main character is debatably the most evil. However, Alucard has a leash of sorts tied about his neck and kept his past dealings in a pretty specific location. It’s safe enough to say that he wasn’t out for world conquest, which is why The Major takes this spot.
The Major created an army of Nazi vampires. What more needs to be said? You have to be pretty evil to combine the mindset of a Nazi with the prowess of a vampire. If that’s not enough, then maybe the fact that he’s not actually after world conquest is what makes him truly evil. That’s right, he doesn’t want to simply rule the world. What he wants is to create such systemic conflict that war becomes the constant state of the world. This is to say that he wants death and destruction to be occurring everywhere at all times. He really is a piece of evil pie.
4. Diva from Blood+
- Episodes: 50
- Aired: Oct. 2005 – Sep. 2006
Diva is the main antagonist from the Blood+ series, and she is essentially trying to turn everyone in the world into her mindless slave. Why? Well, she was raised in isolation and abused to the point that she could not care less about what’s right or wrong. She simply wants revenge and control and has a particular fondness for toying with Saya and those closest to her.
Diva is a monstrous villain. From the get go her actions take a stark contrast to the actions of Saya. When Diva is first released from her cell by Saya, in order to sing for Joel’s birthday, Diva slaughters everyone. She then continues to slaughter and kill people across the world. Throughout the whole series she does a lot of terrible things, but few compare to when she rapes Riku, kills him, and then dresses up like him to mock Saya.
3. Medusa from Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Mar. 2009
Medusa is arguably the most frustrating and cunning villain in Soul Eater. Even though Asura is the strongest opponent in the series, Medusa acts as the primary antagonist for about 90% of the series, and so we get to see a lot more of her cruelty and schemes.
You know a character is evil when you need to take a moment to narrow down the list of deeds to discuss. Let’s start with the fact that Medusa kills the eldest witch of the Mizune family and puts Eruka Frog under her control by slipping snakes into her body that can kill her at any moment. Now let’s discuss how she infused her own child with black blood and abused that child for years in order to use him as a pawn. The icing on top is the fact that she even corrupts Stein for a while and uses him against his own pupils. Medusa is simply pure evil.
2. Sachiko from Corpse Party: Tortured Souls - Bougyakusareta Tamashii no Jukyou
- Episodes: 4
- Aired: July 2013
Sachiko is the antagonist of Corpse Party and few characters can compare to her in terms of being evil. Admittedly, her presence as a ghost was caused by an incident years ago, where she was killed by the school staff. Of course such a death would leave a person with quite a bit of hostility towards the living.
However, her hostility goes above and beyond. The types of traps that Sachiko leaves for the people that enter her realm are on the level of Saw films. The situations and tortures she inflicts upon the characters of the story are truly horrendous and show an extremely sadistic nature. These methods involve stabbing people through the eye, cutting half of someone’s head off with scissors, and a bunch of other twisted schemes. Essentially, she forces people through hell and back even when they are just innocent children.
1. Griffith from Berserk (Berserk)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 1997 – Apr. 1998
Griffith was a messianic figure as he led the Band of the Hawk during the Hundred Year War. His efforts brought about a semblance of peace to the war-torn kingdom of Midland, and then about a year later he betrayed all of humanity and became the fifth member of the God Hand, Femto.
What makes Griffith such a poignantly evil character is that he was an earnestly good person at the beginning. It’s the fallen angel complex, and the creators did an incredible job portraying his turnabout. We watch his conscience make the decision to abandon all empathy and stab those closest to him in the back. This is most powerfully and painfully shown as he, now Femto, rapes Casca in front of Guts.
Evil characters are essential in anime. However, it is important that the characters are not simply pure incarnations of evil. It’s important for them to have a backstory and character complexities. It is these types of nuances that allow the characters to be memorable and they also make each devilish choice all that more impactful. Are there any truly evil characters that the list above and the list below miss?
Much of life is a duality; can you really enjoy the sunshine if you’ve never been stuck inside on a rainy day? Can you truly understand love without a little heartbreak? Can anime heroes exist without (literally) cartoonishly evil villains to bar their path, and cause grief, destruction, and mayhem? We at Honey’s Anime don’t think so, which is why we’re bringing you an article dedicated to those dastardly villains you love to hate. Get your happy thoughts ready, because you’re gonna need ‘em.
10. Gantz – Gantz
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2004 – November 2004
It’s a bit of a challenge to characterize a giant, floating black sphere full of weapons and a strange old man attached to equipment as “evil,” especially when it seemingly brings people back to life. However, the purpose and context in which it does so makes it obvious that its intentions definitely aren’t benevolent.
That’s because Gantz uses humans as tools in a viciously brutal game of murderous hide-and-seek, where those hiding are aliens and other monsters, and the penalty for losing the game is another, usually more violent death than the one that got the players there in the first place. It doesn’t help that the players chosen by Gantz as pawns are often-times insane themselves, abusing their new-found powers on innocent bystanders and their fellow players. After all, one of Gantz’s first acts is to summon an unconscious naked girl into the midst of players old and new, just to see what happens.
If acts like that aren’t enough, the sheer scope of the collateral damage caused by this strange, omnipresent being is enough to making anyone’s blood run cold.
9. Majin Boo – Dragon Ball Z
- Episodes: 250+
- Aired: July 1989 – April 2015
Majin Boo is somewhat of an anomaly in the Dragon Ball universe, as his intentions aren’t necessarily nefarious when he is first encountered. His appearance is chubby and almost cuddly, if you can get past the fact that he was created specifically for the destruction of all living beings in the known universe by a sorcerer with an inferiority complex, and brushes aside the series’ heroes like gnats.
Even though he murders and eats innocent civilians (and uses them to build his dwelling), there’s enough good in him that when the bad finally gets out, all lean muscles and malevolence, and subsequently transforms even further, it makes his previous form look like a puppy (the death of which is actually what put him over the edge).
As if the death of most of the world wasn’t enough, shortly after his emergence, “evil” Boo makes a point of murdering humanity with the destruction of Earth as a way to taunt Goku and friends, before taking the fight to another planet. In the end they’re able to put him down, which is fortunate since his chances at eliminating the universe were actually looking pretty good.
8. Kyubey – Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 – April 2011
Appearances can be deceiving, and this is especially true of adorable, cat-like aliens incapable of feeling empathy and that have with hidden agendas. All is not what it seems when one such alien, Kyubey, offers young middle schooler Madoka Kaname some wishes in exchange for her soul, and her promise that she’ll help in a magical war against witches.
Throughout the series it is revealed that Kyubey and the rest of his alien race, the Incubators, are fighting to counteract the laws of entropy and the eventual heat death of the universe in an incredibly manipulative and misguided way. In exchange for granting wishes and magical powers, they harvest the souls of young women and store them in gems, feeding off the emotional distress engaging in life and death combat with witches provides.
As if that weren’t bad enough, once those who have been unknowingly manipulated into offering their souls for a human perpetual motion machine sour to the experience and become jaded, they become the very enemies they were created to combat, continuing the cycle. If the death of countless adorable young girls for the sake of utilitarianism isn’t evil, then what is?
7. Light Yagami – Death Note
- Episodes: 37
- Aired: October 2006 – June 2007
Sometimes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this has never been truer than in the case of young do-gooder Light Yagami. In what seems like a rather responsible use of a notebook that bestows the bearer with the ability to kill indiscriminately with the powers of a death god, Light sets himself on a mission to rid the world of evil, one criminal at a time. His desire to become the ruler of the new, crime-free utopia was definitely a warning sign.
It isn’t long before Light becomes enamored of his role as judge, jury and executioner, and starts abusing his power. This, unsurprisingly, attracts the attention of Interpol and the socially anxious detective wunderkind, L, beginning a devious game of cat and mouse that leaves several (mostly) innocent bodies in its wake, and countless dead criminals.
Eventually, Light’s almost indiscriminate use of the Death Note catches up with him, accompanied by his sociopathic lack of emotion, results in enemies on all sides and his eventual downfall. Light’s case is a perfect example of sad folks becoming everything they hate.
6. Dio Brando – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 2012 – April 2013
Dio’s cruelty is partly understandable; he had a tough childhood. He came from a poor, abusive family with alcohol problems before being adopted by the affluent Joestar family. But even after his circumstances improved, from a young age he displayed a cruel streak and an unwillingness to tolerate the happiness of others. When he grew up, he attempted to murder his way to the head of his adoptive family. Failing in his task, he turned to the power of the mysterious Stone Mask, which turned him into a vampire.
His ambition for power didn’t stop there however. No matter how many times he was thwarted by his adoptive family members, Dio kept upping the ante (even going so far as to steal the body of one of his family members), resurrecting the ancient, incredibly powerful Pillar Men, all the while trimming the branches of his extended family tree. His ambition fostered an evil so powerful that not even death could stop him. You’ve gotta respect that.
5. Ragyo Kiryuin – Kill la Kill
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2013 – March 2014
In her role as the elegant, multi-talented CEO of the ubiquitous clothing conglomerate Revocs Corporation, as well as the director of Honnouji Academy, almost everything about Ragyo screams evil. While the world of Kill la Kill is a brutal, unforgiving place, Ragyo and her Corporation are directly and indirectly responsible for most of the bloodshed that takes place over the course of the series.
As the show progresses, it is revealed that the clothes her company creates are comprised of a special fabric known as Life Fibers, which are actually sinister aliens that consume their wearers. Ragyo’s goal is to destroy Earth in order to propagate the expansion of Life Fibers throughout the universe. She has sacrificed everything in pursuit of her evil goal, including her estranged daughter Ryuko, as well as her very body.
Truly worthy of her style, Ragyo goes out with all the flare you’d expect an evil villain of her caliber. Refusing to accept defeat at the hands of those she considers inferior, she crushes her own heart and cruelly reminds the protagonists of the futility of their actions.
4. Lucy – Elfen Lied
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 2004 – October 2004
Part heroine, part villain, Lucy views her world in shades of gray. That is, when it’s visible through the fountains of blood she spills. Her worldview is a little understandable; as a Diclonii, a horned humanoid race with extra limbs called “vectors,” (which double as terrifyingly brutal weapons capable of rendering human flesh with ease) Lucy has spent a lot of her time in as a test subject in a lab, looked down on by humans. Like other Diclonii, she is partial to extremely violent outbursts and occasionally dreams of eradicating humans entirely through the proliferation of the “vector virus.”
While capable of acts of kindness, especially in her more benevolent, childlike persona Nyu, when the flip switches with Lucy the only thing capable of calming her down is the hot blood of her enemies, as she lets her aggression loose. Not satisfied by merely killing her enemies, she often leaves them mangled or crippled, helpless and bleeding out in slow agony.
With Lucy, maybe all it comes down to is being misunderstood, rather than inherently evil. But for the few gruesome moments you’re on the business end of that misunderstanding, it’s hard to look at her as anything else.
3. Annie Leonhart – Attack on Titan
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2013 – September 2013
While one look into the sadistic, hunger-filled eyes of any of the show’s titular Titans is enough to convince even the most stalwart member of the military of the evil lurking behind their menacing smiles, they pale in comparison to the female Titan. In the end, she is revealed as none other than soft-spoken MP and former trainer to protagonist Eren Yeager, Annie Leonhart.
What makes Annie stand out in a world ravaged by giant, man-eating monsters? It’s not simply her intellectual prowess, revealed in and out of combat, as she bloodily and dispassionately dispatches legions of her comrades in arms, using a situational awareness far beyond that of an ordinary Titan, while hiding in plain sight. It’s not even the way she betrays her closest friends, all the while putting the last vestiges of humanity at risk.
What really makes Annie evil in the eyes of her peers and viewers is that when she’s finally backed into a corner, and asked to explain the motives behind her barbaric actions, she refuses to offer anyone the solace of understanding, or an answer. Instead encases herself in crystal, robbing anyone of a chance at closure.
2. Knives Millions – Trigun
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 1998 – September 1998
You know Knives had to make a brutal impression to be considered one of the most evil characters in a wild-west themed show where episodes aren’t measured in bodies piled up, but in towns destroyed. As a living plant and the brother of the show’s protagonist, Vash the Stampede, Knives spends most of the show orchestrating most of his brother’s trials and misery from the shadows.
And his orchestrations are vicious. He is the head of the aptly named superhuman gang of assassins, the Gung Ho Guns, which he created specifically to make his brother suffer to the very end. Heck, he even gave his right hand man his brother’s actual left hand, granting him the ability to control people telepathically.
Most of Vash’s terrifying, negative reputation is due to Knives’ attempts at his life, directly or indirectly. Where Vash tries to see the good in everyone, Knives’ ultimate goal is the destruction of all humans – a race he considers to be weak and unredeemable. With the body count under his belt, he’s well on his way.
1. Johan Liebert - Monster
- Episodes: 74
- Aired: April 2004 – September 2005
The character that acts as the series’ namesake, Johan Liebert is the closest anime has come to capturing the cruel, terrifying intelligence of iconic psychopaths like Hannibal Lecter. Referred to by other characters as a monster, as the devil, or even the next Hitler, like history’s most evil villains, he’s merely human.
He was saved from certain death as a child by renowned surgeon Dr. Tenma, which set forth a fateful and bloody series of events that took viewers into a dark underworld and explored what humans are capable when they give in to their darkest impulses. Unlike other entries on this list, part of what makes Johan so frightening is the evil he is able to accomplish with nothing other than his cold intelligence and charisma.
He’s capable of cruelty and violence to the people he claims to love, like his sister, and even children. The orchestrator of countless traumas, both physical and psychological, as well as massacres big and small, Johan proves in the bloodiest way possible that no good deed goes unpunished. Some people just want to watch the world burn.
There we have it, ten of anime’s most evil villains. Once you’ve calmed down after thinking about all the terrible things the entries on this list have collectively accomplished, feel free to keep the sinister fun going by mentioning your favorite baddies in the comments section below.