10 Anime villains who are loved more than protagonists

Tomura Shigaraki in My Hero Academia (Image via Funimation)
Tomura Shigaraki in My Hero Academia (Image via Funimation)

The popularity of an anime's characters is important to the success of a series. Successful anime must feature interesting heroes as well as villains in order to capture the attention of the audience.

Sometimes, anime villains are created so well that they become even more popular than the protagonist of the series. This article will list 10 anime villains who have outshined the hero of their story.

Note: This list is not in any particular order.

Anime villains who are more popular than the hero

1) Tomura Shigaraki - My Hero Academia

The evolution of Tomura Shigaraki #shigaraki

The main antagonist of the anime My Hero Academia, Tomura is a psychopathic villain who has vowed to kill All Might. Tomura's unique appearance and devastating Decay quirk garner him respect and awe from fans of the series.

Although most of us want to see Midoriya win out against all of his enemies, some of us can't help but get excited when we see Tomura disintigrate anything and anyone who gets in his way.

2) Uchiha Itachi - Naruto

Itachi Sharingan (Image via Viz Media)
Itachi Sharingan (Image via Viz Media)

The ultimate traitor of the Uchiha clan and a genius shinobi, Uchiha Itachi captured the interest of many Naruto anime fans long before much was known about him. Itachi wields impressive jutsu, specifically his terrifying genjutsu and formidable Sharingan powers. Itachi has as complicated a backstory as one can get.

Although he is portrayed as a villain for much of the anime, it is eventually revealed that Itachi was always doing what was best for Konohagakure. This development makes him special to the story, but he had plenty of fans even when he was thought to be a bad guy.

3) Sukuna - Jujutsu Kaisen

Sukuna on his throne (Image via MAPPA)
Sukuna on his throne (Image via MAPPA)

A legendary sorcerer reborn as a vengeful spirit, Sukuna is one of the main attractions for fans of the anime Jujutsu Kaisen. Protagonist Itadori Yuji eats one of Sukuna's fingers in order to gain cursed energy. From that point on, Jujutsu Kaisen fans have constantly anticipated every one of the villain's appearances.

As Itadori and Sukuna jockey for control of the body they share, fans of the anime are treated to incredible action scenes and evil dialogue whenever the "King of Curses" takes the stage.

4) Frieza - Dragon Ball Z

Frieza (Image via Toei Animation)
Frieza (Image via Toei Animation)

Arguably the most evil villain in all of the Dragon Ball Z anime, Frieza was once the strongest being in the universe. His massive strength allowed him to destroy planets and command a huge fleet of warriors, even including Saiyans among his ranks.

Despite his awful moral compass, Frieza is popular due to his cool character design and awesome fighting style. This very short tyrant inspired many anime fans with his mighty finger beams and iron rule.

@justjessisfine I always wished I could pull off a kamehameha like Goku but to no avail, I would've settled for Frieza's finger point beam

5) Uchiha Sasuke - Naruto

Sasuke Mangeyko Sharingan (Image via Viz Media)
Sasuke Mangeyko Sharingan (Image via Viz Media)

The younger brother of Itachi and sporadic villain in Naruto, Sasuke's descent into darkness perfectly contrasted Naruto's climb to heroism. In addition to his flashy jutsu and strategic mind, Sasuke's has become a poster child for "edgelords" on social media.

His moody, brooding attitude is relatable and inspiring to many people. Fortunately for fans, Sasuke's story as an adult is still developing in Boruto.

6) Hiei - Yu Yu Hakusho

Hiei drawing his sword (Image via Pierrot)
Hiei drawing his sword (Image via Pierrot)

Viewers of Yu Yu Hakusho were initially introduced to Hiei as a villain. Anime protagonist Yusuke fought a gritty battle with this demon before they became allies.

Following his first appearance, Hiei frequently dominated the Yu Yu Hakusho character popularity polls. His ice-cold attitude and fiery fighting style clearly have great appeal amongst fans.

@hypland Hiei because of Dragon of the Darkness Flame!

7) Light Yagami - Death Note

Light and Ryuk (Image via Viz Media)
Light and Ryuk (Image via Viz Media)

Although Light Yagami is the protagonist of Death Note, he is clearly the villain of the anime. Light's warped sense of justice drives him to condemn many people to death using the Death Note.

Although they were a good match, Light is much more popular than his intellectual opponent, the detective known as L.

8) Hisoka - Hunter x Hunter

Hisoka (Image via Viz Media)
Hisoka (Image via Viz Media)

Hisoka is a perennial wildcard and powerhouse trickster in Hunter x Hunter. Although it's difficult to classify his status as a villain, hero, or something in between, this man has his fair share of villainous moments.

Hisoka cut down countless applicants in the Hunter Examination for seemingly no reason other than his own ego and amusement. His work with the malicious Phantom Troupe put many innocent lives in danger. However controversial this character's moral compass, his awesome power and eccentric demeanor earn him a lot of admiration from fans.

9) Dio - Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Dio is a monstrous villain who lives and breathes evil. He was strong as a human being, but his endeavors led him to become a vampire as well as a stand user.

With these two huge leaps in his strength, Dio is a formidable enemy in Part 1 and Part 3 of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. The impressive battles between the Joestar family members and Dio are well worth looking into.

10) Meruem - Hunter x Hunter

Meruem (Image via Viz Media)
Meruem (Image via Viz Media)

Last but certainly not least is Meruem from Hunter x Hunter. The King of the Chimera Ants, this highly intelligent being, is nearly a perfect lifeform. His physical capabilities, as well as his intellect, are off the charts, allowing him to fend for himself against even two of the strongest men in the world.

Meruem skyrocketed to fan-favorite status throughout his character development. There have been plenty of discussions on social media regarding what characters he could take on from other popular series.

Note: The list is subjective and reflects the writer's own views.

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Edited by R. Elahi
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