As much as we love our protagonists, we also can’t deny that we want a badass villain. Antagonists are usually the characters that we want out of the story, especially when they make the protagonist suffer, but we have to give them credit too. Without the villains, the story will not be interesting and the heroes won’t push themselves to be better.
There are also some anime fans who like the villain better than the hero (because of their back story that made them change). With that, we decided to list the 12 best anime villains, and we ranked them too!
Gendo Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
There are times when the antagonist is a stranger to the protagonist but there are times when the villain is someone the hero knows, even worse, a part of their family. One of the best examples is Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fans of the series hate the mere thought of seeing him on screen.
He had no doubts about putting his son in the seat of a giant mechanical death machine to fight a demon. His only concern is how he can use his estranged teenage son as a way to accomplish his goals. Some consider him as one of the greatest villains because of his wrecked personality and flawed character.
Vicious (Cowboy Bebop)
Another favorite villain of all time is Vicious from Cowboy Bebop. His innate thirst for destruction and power caught the eye of anime fans. His only goal is to control the Red Dragon Syndicate, and he will eliminate whoever tries to stop him. If Spike is passive and warm, Vicious is cold and sadistic. He also has sociopathic tendencies, and his evil schemes are unlike any other.
Frieza (Dragon Ball)
With Dragon Ball’s popularity, Frieza is an iconic anime villain. Avid anime fans will surely know him or even his appearance will be familiar to them. From his appearance alone, it was obvious that he is the show’s antagonist. Frieza killed the protagonist’s entire race and shaped the prince of the kingdom into a killing machine. If that is not evil enough, we don’t know what is. Even worse, he has six forms with fearsome techniques and massive power that made him the top villain in Dragon Ball.
As mentioned earlier, there are liked villains because of their tragic backstory. One example is Griffith from Berserk. He has a compelling backstory that made some viewers understand why he became an antagonist. Despite that, we cannot deny that he is one of the best anime villains of all time because of his inhumane betrayal in the series. His transition from good to bad made viewers surprised at his antics.
Yagami Light (Death Note)
Another iconic villain on our list is Yagami Light from Death Note. He is considered one of the most savage and effective villains not only in anime but also in the literary world. Fans might not expect it but Light started as the main character and eventually transitioned into a villain, adding an intense impact on the show. Unfortunately, his self-delusion got the best of him by the end of the series.
All for One (My Hero Academia)
In the world of heroes, it would weird not to have a counterpart or nemesis. In the case of My Hero Academia, All for One is the character for the role. Like a typical villain, he kills a great number of heroes, including the best ones, and did everything he can to get One for All from All Might. Even if he is already locked up in a cell, he still continued his evil deeds.
Meruem (Hunter x Hunter)
Meruem is the Chimera Ant King with massive power and reserves of life aura because of his mother. She ate thousands of Nen-aura when she was pregnant, with the goal of making an indestructible king. With this, it was no longer a surprise that he has the upper hand against proficient Hunters. His immense power gave him the authority to decide who will live and who will die. The only downfall is that he fell in love.
Madara Uchiha (Naruto)
There are a lot of powerful villains in Naruto but we cannot deny that Madara Uchiha is the greatest villain of the series. Other than dying a couple of times, his physical powers and chakra is out of this world. He can fight without even feeling tired for a long time, and they actually consider him as indestructible, if Hashirama is not there of course.
Zagred (Black Clover)
Another character with a well-written backstory is Zagred from Black Clover. Fans understand what he has been through and why he became a villain. As a demon, he enjoys watching elves and humans suffer. Every conflict for him is entertainment and everyone for him is a mere plaything. Like other villains, his goal is total chaos and he will do everything, even breaking others mentally, for his plan to succeed.
Muzan Kibutsuji (Demon Slayer)
Another demon that fans consider the best anime villain is Muzan Kibutsuji from Demon Slayer. He is the kind of villain who will never apologize for his cruelty and because he has immense power, he made himself the Demon King and made humans and demons fear even the thought of saying his name. Although his backstory is tragic, his evil deeds are just too much to sympathize with him.
Isabella (The Promised Neverland)
If there are evil dads, there are evil moms too. Although Isabella is not the birth mother of the children at Grace Field House, her kids consider her as their mom. Eventually, she planned to sacrifice her own son, Ray, for her benefit.
What made her reach this rank is that instead of announcing herself as a villain, she showered her children with love and care, manipulating them to think that they will be taken to a good place. Her sharp intellect gave her the advantage to literally have eyes everywhere, plotting her next move before the main protagonists. Even if she experienced the horrors of being a child at the Grace Field House, this did not change her mind to become one of the “moms” of the house.
Nakago (Fushigi Yuugi)
New anime fans might not be familiar with Nakago as Fushigi Yuugi was released in 1995. Despite that, in our opinion, he reigns as the best anime villain of all time because he is the villain who was close to reaching his dream. Like other well-known villains, Nakago has his own goal: to be a God.
To achieve this goal, he didn’t care how many lives he had to ruin. He manipulates people and sometimes uses sex to get people to his side. If he needs to kill someone, he would do it without a second thought. He can even eliminate his own teammates if they do not follow him. The interesting thing is that he somehow got what he wanted, Seiryuu was summoned and his powers grew, like a God.