10 anime characters who had every right to turn evil
Anime fans love redemption stories where the villain or one of the many antagonists of the series eventually has a change of heart and decides to join the hero as one of the good guys. It’s a very common trope in a lot of anime, especially of the Shounen genre, and has been a staple go-to for mangakas for years now.
While villains turning into heroes has been a popular theme, the trope of heroes turning into villains has been gaining steam as well. While some of these characters were inherently evil and the exposition later revealed their betrayal and true intentions, there are some characters who were forced into foul deeds because of circumstances and sudden shifts in ideologies and outlook towards the world.
Most of these characters were morally and psychologically broken throughout the course of the narrative, which often left the audience feeling that they perhaps had every right to turn out the way they did, even if their actions were not justified.
Today’s list will take a closer look at such anime characters.
10 anime characters who were forced into villainy and had every right to turn evil
1) Stain/Chizome Akaguro (My Hero Academia)
It came as quite a surprise to My Hero Academia fans when it was revealed that the primary antagonist of the Vs. Hero Killer Arc, Stain, was once a hero-in-training much like Midoriya and his classmates.
My Hero Academia shows aptly how clashes in ideologies can result in a dystopian situation especially when there are individuals who have super abilities known as Quirks.
Hence, as the series progressed, it portrayed how the underbelly of the society in the anime works, and how more and more “so called” heroes were becoming villains with ulterior motives.
Stain aspired to be a hero like All Might, but when he stumbled upon the corruption and disingenuousness of the hero society, he automatically spiraled on a path of evil. The duplicitous nature of some of the heroes and how they were harming the innocent made him decide on dedicating his life to maiming pro-heroes and purging the society of them. In the Villain Hunt Arc, Stain helps All Might and ultimately allies himself to the heroes' side.
2) Lelouch vi Britannia/Lamperouge (Code Geass)
Lelouch is perhaps one of the most complicated characters in anime history, and like every other character on this list he did start off with the right intentions. His moral compass soon broke and gave way to a sort of maniacal personality, hell-bent on achieving his goals at all cost.
However, by the end of the anime, Lelouche does redeem himself in a way, since he was able to build himself up as the common enemy uniting everyone against him.
He played the role of the common enemy, and by being the villain and eventually staging his execution at the hands of Suzaku during a public procession, he was able to successfully unite the world and give them freedom at the same time.
Even with all his follies, Lelouch stayed true to his nature, and was always a caring brother to Nunally and faithful to Suzaku even when they were on opposite sides of the turmoil.
3) Yukiteru Amano (Future Diary/Mirai Nikki)
From the very start of Future Diary, the protagonist Yukitaru was shown as a crybaby who consistently became distressed and cowered when faced with a traumatic situation. He would initially rely on Yuno for protection, and his lack of confidence made him very submissive.
He had zero to no desire to become a God when the Survival games began, but over the course of the series and after the deaths of his parents, he decided to get serious with the game in order to revive his parents.
Yukiteru becomes more and more vicious and cunning, and actively uses his diary not just for self-defense. He does not stop Nishijima’s death. Infact his new and twisted personality starts to trust Yuno and her insanity more than Hinata, Mao, and Kosaka.
However, Yukiteru does retain a bit of his former self even after all the ideological transformations he goes through, as he adamantly wishes to become God so that he not only revives his parents but also everyone who died along the way.
4) Sasuke Uchiha (Naruto/Naruto: Shippuden)
From anti-hero to primary antagonist, to becoming an anti-hero again, Sasuke Uchiha has indeed had a complicated journey throughout the entirety of Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden. While he is portrayed as someone who is always calm, cool and collected, Sasuke had been one of the edgier characters in the anime.
He was traumatized by the murder of his entire clan, and there were moments when audiences got to witness just how angry, arrogant, and vengeful Sasuke can be. He soon became one of the primary villains in Naruto: Shippuden when he came to know about the truth behind Itachi murdering his clan, and the role that Hidden Leaf Village officials had to play in it.
He wanted to seek revenge after the death of Itachi, and thus puts every bit of energy into fueling his anger for Danzo. He soon joined the Akatsuki and even went as far as to become an enemy of all the villages, as he sought to challenge all of the Kage.
He gets his redemption in the final War arc, as he and Naruto work together to seal away Kaguya for good. He is one of the key positive influences in Boruto's life.
5) Griffith (Berserk)
The genius of Berserk lay in how Kentaro Miura was able to create such a dark and twisted world with some incredibly memorable characters. The story of Griffith, the leader of the Band of the Falcon, is one of the gravest tragedies, and he is a prime example of how repeated torture, abuse, and betrayal can make even the noblest of characters, evil.
After the desertion of his most trusted friend Guts, Griffith spiraled into the self-destructive action of bedding Princess Charlotte, which eventually lead him to be imprisoned and tortured for a year.
After being rescued by the band led by Guts, his extreme sense of invalidity and unyielding desire to make his own kingdom one day, led him to make many sacrifices. During the Gifts Eclipse, they sought kinsmanship with the God Hand as their fifth member Fento, because he gets stripped of all human inhibitions.
He gets reincarnated with the sole purpose of realizing his own dream and creating his utopian capital city of Falconia.
6) Keyaru (Redo of Healer)
Much like in Berserk, the case of the protagonist in Redo of Healer is quite similar. Keyaru goes from a very kind-hearted and gentle boy to being the very face of a twisted and vengeful individual after he was betrayed, imprisoned, drugged, tortured, beaten, and physically violated for a very long.
While what he goes on to do afterwards is not justified in any sense, the audience is a bit inclined to the idea that perhaps Keyaru had every right to become evil, after the days of torture that he had to endure.
Keyaru realized that while he was chosen to be one of the heroes to save the world, it was his naive nature that led him to be exploited for days. Hence, during the do-over, he replaced all parts of his older self with a sadistic, cold-blooded, and manipulative revenant. He completely discarded his older self, as revenge became his primary concern.
7) Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)
Shiro’s sweet and charming nature had fooled many during the initial episodes of Deadman Wonderland, but she was the reason why Ganta was in the prison and accused of murdering his own classmates.
She was the one responsible for the massacre, and it was not something that the audience was able to grasp at first, because Shiro has a second personality. While the one that was showcased shipped her off as an odd and sweet child, the personality of the Wretched Egg is morally twisted, vicious, and sadistic to say the least.
Shiro is aware of its presence inside her, as she was experimented on throughout her childhood, which caused her to foster that secondary personality. It developed as a coping mechanism to deal with all her suffering.
Both personalities wanted Ganta to become a Deadman in hopes that he would eventually kill them and put a stop to their suffering.
8) Eren Yeager (Attack On Titan)
Attack on Titan eventually became a drama on the clash of ideologies. The concept of the enemy image is also very well applied here, similar to that in Code Geass, and audiences were able to see Eren Yeager go from wanting to kill all the Titans and protecting humanity, to becoming the face of genocide and a threat to all outside of Paradis Island.
Along the course of the anime, Eren went from one ideological mind frame to another, and his struggle with everything happening around him was quite evident. His stubborn self made him the most stagnant and obstinate of characters. While his comrades seemingly moved on, Eren was always stuck in the past and wanted revenge.
The devouring of his mother right in front of his eyes was a turning point in his life, and it was that moment that made a mark on him.
However, Eren seems to be playing the Lelouch card here. With the Rumbling he might either be serious in destroying the entire world or he is playing the role of a supreme villain so as to unite humanity against him.
9) Archer (Fate/Staynight)
Archer is Shirou Emiya from an alternate timeline, who after winning the fifth Holy Grail war was inspired to be the hero of justice. He trained himself to his absolute peak, and soon began working as a freelance magus just like Kiritsugu.
However, his goal to continue to save as many people as possible after becoming a Heroic Spirit did not materialize. He was forced to take lives against his own ideals countless times.
Archer soon came to believe that his only hope of release would be to have himself summoned to an era where Emiya Sirou still exists, so that he can be able to kill his past self before he gets the chance to meet Alaya.
He believed that by successfully killing his past self, he would be able to create a time paradox that is big enough to potentially erase him as Counter Guardian.
10) Light Yagami (Death Note)
One might say that Light’s intentions were noble but he never really came across as a completely good guy in the anime. While he did begin to focus on using the Death Note to exterminate the world of all criminals, he soon began to take great pleasure in it. Absolute power over life and death corrupted him to a large extent.
Light was an anti-hero from the start, and it was only after meeting L that he began to tread the path of vilainy, becoming exceedingly ruthless, cunning, and manipulative as the narrative progressed.
He started killing innocents and went to great lengths in order to safeguard his identity as Kira. He proceeded to manipulate and betray everyone around him. Light is the prime example of how "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions."