Best Anime Villains have a knack for making us feel uneasy and giving us an adrenaline rush. Whether it’s their creepy mannerisms, twisted personalities, or intimidating power levels, anime villains make us fear the worst. These villains often have tragic backstories or deep motivations to justify their actions and can be incredibly complex.
One of the primary keys to a great story is having a well-rounded and exciting villain to make it enjoyable, and this is especially true for anime shows, which are known for having the most cold-blooded and evil villains of all time.
These characters usually revolve around a particular philosophy that aims to destroy the hero’s World or prevent him from achieving his goal.
Many people prefer to avoid going through the hassle of watching a new anime without understanding whether it is good. One of the main things people use as a reference to know this is its characters, especially the villains.
That’s why we set up this list of the best 17 anime villains. Please keep reading and learn more about their incredible backstories.
Disclaimer: be aware there will be spoilers in this review, so read ahead at your own risk.
17Frieza – Dragonball Z
Frieza from Dragon Ball Z is one of the most iconic villains in anime history. His sadistic personality and immense power make him a fearsome opponent, and his ability to regenerate makes him even more formidable.
Most of our generation was raised watching Dragon Ball Z, and we all remember Goku’s main nemesis and antagonist of the whole series. Frieza is one of the best-known anime villains on this list. He is known for appearing throughout all the show versions and having a fierce army dedicated to destroying the universe.
Nonetheless, this villain isn’t only memorable due to his force but also because of his mind. He knows what to say and what to do to manipulate others into falling for his traps while maintaining a dark sense of humor that pairs particularly well with his sadistic behavior.
The Major will churn your guts if you’re more into historical stories. He is a Nazi soldier who served Hitler during World War II. However, he isn’t like any other typical soldier. He was assigned an extraordinary mission to ensure the Nazis had everything they needed to win the war. The Major was supposed to create artificial vampires, which turned him into a nasty and visceral man who only wanted to see the World merged into chaos and bloodshed.
Therefore, he eventually dropped the mission of creating these vampires to seek a much more ambitious goal: to make the biggest war the World had ever seen.
15Muzan – Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer is a highly popular anime due to its fantastic premise of a world filled with demons that eat human flesh and a massive army of demon slayers ready to eliminate them. However, everything started because of one particular monster called Muzan. He is the strongest of all demons and is the only one who can create more of them. Therefore, he has created an army filled with blood-thirsty monsters who would do anything for him.
Muzan can beat nearly any demon slayer, including the strongest of Hashiras. He is completely heartless and lacks sympathy for humans and their lives. In most cases, he doesn’t even care about his own demons, which he treats as disposable puppets he can murder whenever he pleases.
If you love sociopathic villains, Shogo Makishima will probably meet your standards. He is a mastermind of manipulation and uses his powers to get people to do whatever he wants, usually getting them killed. Moreover, he doesn’t seem to have any remorse about it, as he disposes of whoever he desires as soon as they confront him or when he gets bored of having them around.
13Envy – Fullmetal Alchemist
You would probably know all about this character by looking at his name. He embodies this capital sign in his entire personality. Envy is jealous of everyone around him, so he lives to make everyone else as miserable as him. One of his most outstanding achievements was starting the Ishvalan Civil War and killing hundreds of people while showing no remorse.
However, you’re probably wondering why Envy despises humankind so much. He is intensely jealous of how humans work together, as he is lonely and only cares about himself. In addition, he can shapeshift to whichever form he wants to, making him much more dangerous than your regular villain.
Another classic anime that most people have seen is Naruto, and we couldn’t help but add Nagato Uzumaki to this list. Naruto tells a heartwarming story of a boy who wishes to become the best ninja his town has ever seen. Although he fights against various villains throughout his path toward becoming a Hokage, the most remarkable one is Nagato Uzumaki, the leader of Akatsuki.
This villain is unique, as he is too weak to fight on his own, so he possesses the body of dead people to face his opponents. He also learned everything he knew from Jiraiya, who was his master and somewhat molded his character and all the ideas he had included in his philosophy.
If you haven’t watched Death Note, you’ve probably been living under a rock for a long time and should watch it as soon as possible. When you do, you will learn about the psychology of Yagami Light’s World, a teenage genius who happened to stumble upon the Death Note, an element with a vast power that rapidly got to the boy’s head.
He decided to play god and take justice into his own hands by using the Death Note to eliminate as many criminals as possible. Nonetheless, it wasn’t long until he started killing innocent people under the name of Kira. Then, a worldwide investigation started until Near and Mello finally ended it.
Now it is time to get to know Griffith, the leader of the Reborn Band of Hawk. He was adored by all of the band members but ruined everything when he died and killed the rest of his original group. However, he was reborn as Femto, and it didn’t take him too long to create a new army with much stronger soldiers with the ability to destroy entire cities. The scariest part of this villain is his personality. Griffith was incredibly ambitious, compromising his friends and morals as long as he could achieve his dream.
Many people believe Yohan Lieber to be the best villain in anime. He is the main antagonist of Monster, and his charming personality is one of the things anime fans love, which has caused him to get loads of fans all over the World. The best part is that Yohan didn’t have any superpowers or magic tricks to use; all he counted on was his charisma and powerful mind to destroy everything he desired.
Yohan didn’t need fancy powers to wrap his city around his finger and wreck it without a single drop of remorse. Unlike other anime villains who tend to have magic powers to terrorize their towns.
Yohan is often seen as a criminal mastermind, using his sharp wit and keen intellect to outsmart even those closest to him. His manipulative nature allows him to gain control over situations despite having seemingly limited resources at his disposal. Yohan also possesses superhuman strength, which helps him defeat opponents much more significantly than himself.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is famous for having some of the most fabulous characters in the history of anime, one of them being the fantastic villain DIO. He was a headache for the Joestar Family until he got a hold of the World and acquired massive power with it. Like many other villains on this list, DIO didn’t care much about others, as he wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone who dared to cross him, including several members of the show’s main cast.
One Piece is known as one of the largest anime shows to date, and it has incredible characters, including Doflamingo, a Shichibukai who worked for the World Government. He succeeded King Riku in ruling Dressrosa and continued being its king for a long time before being defeated.
Doflamingo is a skilled fighter capable of employing all three kinds of Haki. He also managed to free his demon fruit. Doflamingo has a harsh attitude and feels no remorse for killing anyone, including members of his own family, such as his father and younger brother.
The Vinland Saga had many interesting characters; one of the most important ones was Askeladd. He was one of the most dangerous villains in it, as he murdered many people without thinking twice, including the most relevant soldiers in the show. Askeladd was a knowledgeable person who would go over every step of his plan over and over before going ahead with it, which made it hard to figure out which would be his next step.
Thorfinn, one of his pupils, became interested in his personality and eventually began to adore him due to his highly alluring aura. One of the best moments of Askeladd was when he pretended to have lost his mind and killed the King by cutting his head. This was when his character reached its peak of insanity, and this scene is remembered as one of the most significant turning points of the show.
5Meruem – HUNTER X HUNTER
Hunter x Hunter, a well-respected anime among the community, also has one of the best villains we’ve ever seen. He is called Meruem, the Chimera Ants’ King, who was seen as a danger to the survival of humanity due to his strength. He was the most robust Chimera Ant and could easily defeat most hunters, including Netero.
Meruem’s personality developed once he met Komugi. He changed into a person who was less aggressive and saw things from several angles. Nonetheless, this wasn’t going to stop him, as he continued to cause numerous fatalities.
If you consider yourself an anime fan, you should know more about Sosuke Aizen if you don’t already. He is Bleach’s main antagonist and the person to blame for all the horror and destruction in the show. Sosuke Aizen was the Fifth Division’s initial captain before betraying the Soul Society.
It is rare for antagonists to possess the same intellect as the master strategist Aizen. He defeated most people who dared to fight against him without even trying. Aizen also learned to gain control of all five senses because of his master Kyoka Suigetsu.
If you’re more into classic anime, the 1990s Cowboy Bebop is the one for you. This classic show features Vicious as its main villain. He is famous for defeating the Red Dragon syndicate and becoming its leader. Vicious has previously fought in the Titan War, which caused him to become one of the best fighters in the World.
This character was a ruthless assassin with little respect for human life. He perpetuated the anarchy in his World, allowing him to thrive and feel powerful. However, Spike Spiegel ultimately put an end to Vicious.
Many believe that power shows the fundamental nature of people, so when they get a hold of it, many tend to show their nasty true colors. This is the case for Touichirou Suzuki from Mob Psycho II. He is a strong Esper who has been successful in everything he’s attempted since middle school, all because of his innate magical abilities.
Suzuki became highly dependent on his psychic abilities as time passed, which gave him enough confidence to become as evil as possible. Once he grew older, he became much more heartless and acted exactly opposite to his previous beliefs, as he was now convinced that his power rendered him untouchable. This prompted him to start his plan to obtain world dominance, for which he founded Claw.
1Rachel – Tower of God
We left Rachel from Tower of God to the last place on this list because there’s nothing worse than being unable to predict who is the story’s villain. In this case, Rachel was a sweet character Bam considered his best friend, potential love interest, and person who saved him from death. However, all of this turns out to be a lie, and it is uncovered at the end of the first season when Rachel shows her true colors and reveals herself as the story’s real villain.
Rachel is a character from the South Korean Webtoon Tower of God. Rachel is an Irregular and one of the few people who entered the Tower without being chosen by Headon, the guardian of the Tower’s 1st floor.