Evil in anime is usually portrayed as something to be destroyed. But what if the villain is as intelligent as the heroes?
This is where the story shifts into a new perspective. The heroes must now navigate through these new waters. After all, the villains started as commoners first.
They had to cultivate their skills while dodging the authorities. This takes a level of skill that even the heroes cannot seem to grasp. However, there wouldn't be a tale to witness if there was no challenge.
10 of the most intelligent anime villains
Considered a mad scientist by many, Orochimaru never fails to exceed people’s expectations. A man of ambition, he evaded Konoha's forces for years while conducting illegal activities.
He learned how to possess the bodies of others by experimenting on them and has thus evaded death. He gained immortality through years of research, and at this point, no one has surpassed him. He's a great villain because his intelligence caused his ascension to immortality.
Itachi Uchiha is a missing shinobi who's wanted for the massacre of his clan. His intelligence is beyond the normal comprehension of most ninjas. He managed to subdue Kakashi, who was known at the time as the copycat ninja.
During the Fourth Shinobi World War, he broke Kabuto's Jutsu, which resulted in the dead returning to their grave. He's a great villain because he manages to terrify the world with his skills and intelligence.
3) Sosuke Aizen
Sosuke Aizen is a highly ambitious man set on spreading chaos throughout the earth. His intelligence can be compared to that of a snake, and his ruthlessness is akin to a lion.
He planted ideas in the Soul Society members’ heads that there was a traitor amongst them. He actively encouraged discord and brought them down. Aizen is a great villain because his intelligence brought down the main characters of Bleach into a place of ruin.
Lelouch, considered a villain by many, intends to save only those he deems worthy while disregarding the rest of humanity. His intelligence can be seen when he manipulates the republic into thinking he's a mysterious vigilante.
He intends to throw the world into chaos to fulfill his wishes. Lelouch managed to lead an entire rebellion while being a high school student. He's an intelligent villain because of his immorality.
5) Johan Liebert
Johan Liebert is an utter psychopath who was said to be the devil incarnate. He's extremely charismatic and he's great with children. In actuality, he's corrupting the children of many into committing atrocities.
He desires to be the last man standing after he destroys the world. His crimes have gone beyond a simple desire for revenge, and instead, he wishes for chaos. He is one of the greatest villains for this very reason.
6) Light Yagami
Light Yagami is an egotistical yet intelligent man who wishes to rule the world. He was already an honors student before he obtained the Death Note, a journal from beyond the realm of humanity.
He executes people, including criminals and obstacles, in order to bring about a change in the world. He is one of the greatest anime villains because his actions put the world into a crisis.
Ryuk is a Shinigami that hails from another realm. He is an agent of chaos and has grown bored of it as of late, so he decides to manipulate events in the human realm.
He is one of the most intelligent anime villains because he simply planted the seed and watched it grow. He gave hints to Light Yagami regarding the Death Note and watched as humanity fell apart.
8) Donquixote Doflamingo
One of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, Doflamingo is also an influential Underworld Broker in One Piece. As someone who once knew hardship, he grasps at the chances of power that being a pirate holds.
He ruled his country like a tyrant and he's one of the most intelligent villains in the series because he understands human nature. He twists the country in his favor.
Pain is a very philosophical villain that embodies calamity. He started a civil war in his village and influenced the population to think he was a god.
He's one of the greatest villains because of his cult-like mentality. Even before his fall from grace, the Akatsuki gained influence across the land. He can freely spread his propaganda to influence the world.
Naraku is the main antagonist of Inuyasha and he clearly earns the title as he's the most powerful yokai in the show. He manipulates situations so thoroughly that one can't help but be terrified of him.
He's highly intelligent and demonstrates this by putting a seal on Inuyasha. He sought to purge his human self so he could become even stronger. Naraku's one of the most intelligent villains as he caused problems most of the main characters found hard to overcome.
Note: This list is subjective and reflects the writer's own views.