10 most ruthless shonen anime villains, ranked

Dragon Ball has some of the most iconic and ruthless shonen anime villains (Image via Zantutzuken/DeviantArt)
Dragon Ball has some of the most iconic and ruthless shonen anime villains (Image via Zantutzuken/DeviantArt)

One of the most iconic traditions of shonen anime villains is being ruthless, typically stopping at nothing to achieve what they want. These antagonists are typically ruthless, emotionless individuals who’ll use whoever they need to accomplish their goals.

Some use family members, such as daughters or fathers, to advance their agendas. Others will eliminate entire races or nations to achieve their desires.

Here are the ten most ruthless shonen anime villains ranked.

Dragon Ball franchise dominates most ruthless shonen anime villains list


10) Zamasu (Dragon Ball Super)

Zamasu, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)
Zamasu, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Dragon Ball Super’s Zamasu is undoubtedly one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains of all time. His Zero Mortals Plan essentially eliminates all mortal life from the universe, leaving only the Gods he views as pure and infallible.

Such a plan could only be thought of or enacted by the most ruthless of individuals, indicated by the disgust other Gods have for such a plan.


9) Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)

Aizen, as seen in the anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Aizen, as seen in the anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Sosuke Aizen is widely known as one of the most menacing, ruthless, and conniving characters in all of shonen anime. The Bleach antagonist is someone who always has a plan, and that plan is always one step ahead of whoever he needs to outsmart, no matter who they are.

He’s attempted takeovers in Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and the human world while using his comrades left and right to achieve his goals in all three. Such demeanor is incredibly ruthless, showing compassion for no one but himself.


8) Frieza (Dragon Ball Z)

Frieza, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)
Frieza, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Despite being one of the oldest villains on this list, Dragon Ball Z’s Frieza undoubtedly ranks as one of the most ruthless. His cruel demeanor and actions have resulted in entire civilizations being wiped out and children being cruelly killed in front of their parent’s eyes.

As if this weren’t enough, he even toys with his opponents in battle, whether winning or losing, and further teases them once their fight is over. His manipulative personality serves as the cherry-on-top for why he’s one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains.


7) Kid Buu (Dragon Ball Z)

Kid Buu, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)
Kid Buu, as seen in the anime (Image via Toei Animation)

Kid Buu is ruthless in a much different way than his Dragon Ball colleague also present on this list. His cruelty comes from a berserker-like desire to destroy everything in sight, whether living, dead, or somewhere in between.

Not much can be said for his personality or thoughts since neither are addressed in the series. However, his actions and attitude seemingly solidify him as one of the ten most ruthless shonen anime villains ever.


6) Light Yagami (Death Note)

Light, as seen in the anime (Image via Madhouse Studios)
Light, as seen in the anime (Image via Madhouse Studios)

Believing he was right and would eventually be vindicated for his work, Light Yagami killed off the criminals of humanity one by one. He showed no remorse for his fellow man when committing these crimes, likely due to his egotistical belief that his actions were inherently right.

In his cleansing quest, he even used his father to prove his innocence and throw the trail off his scent. Without a doubt, Light ranks as one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains of all time.


5) Naraku (Inuyasha)

Naraku as seen in the anime (Image via Sunrise Studios)
Naraku as seen in the anime (Image via Sunrise Studios)

Naraku was the main antagonist of Inuyasha, proving himself a ruthless villain via his manipulation of all those he came into contact with. He was responsible for nearly every bit of misery and suffering present throughout the series, which he took obvious pride in.

His actions, both direct and indirect, led to such cruelty and hardship for so many within the Inuyasha series. As a result, he undoubtedly ranks as one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains.


4) Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Dio as seen in the anime (Image via David Productions)
Dio as seen in the anime (Image via David Productions)

Throughout JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dio Brando undertakes a longer-than 100 years quest to destroy the Joestar family. In fact, his first action upon being rescued from trapped leagues beneath the sea in a coffin was to begin his quest for vengeance on the current Joestar inheritor.

His eternal obsession and quest for vengeance against the family who took him in as a child are fascinating, to say the least. Nevertheless, it solidifies his rank as one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains yet written.


3) Donquixote Doflamingo (One Piece)

Doffy, as seen in the anime (Image Credits: Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Viz Media, One Piece)
Doffy, as seen in the anime (Image Credits: Eiichiro Oda/Shueisha, Viz Media, One Piece)

Donquixote Doflamingo is undoubtedly one of the ten most ruthless shonen anime villains yet seen. His hostile takeover of Dressrosa saw its king slaughtering his citizens against his will as the nefarious pirate laughed at the bloodshed and destruction.

Doffy also showed no qualms about killing blood relatives, as seen when he ended his brother’s life for betraying him and working with the Navy. His love for torture, in both the physical and mental sense, further solidified his high-ranking and overall inclusion on this list.


2) Shou Tucker (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Tucker as seen in the anime (Image via studio Bones)
Tucker as seen in the anime (Image via studio Bones)

Shou Tucker’s actions in Fullmetal Alchemist are some of the most unspeakable acts of horror in the medium, solidifying his rank as one of the most ruthless shonen anime villains. As an alchemic scientist, Tucker’s specialty was creating chimeras, hybrid beings of two or more animals mixed together.

The traits of both creatures are present in the final product, and one such creature displayed qualities like his daughter. While Tucker eventually got his comeuppance for such a heinous act, it’s still heavily discussed in the anime community today.


1) Itachi Uchiha (Naruto)

Itachi as seen in the Naruto: Shippuden anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Itachi as seen in the Naruto: Shippuden anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Finally, Itachi Uchiha is undoubtedly the most ruthless shonen anime villain of all time (even if he ended up not being a total villain). His murdering of the Uchiha clan is one of the most inhumane acts in anime, as he kills even his own parents and girlfriend in cold-blooded murder.

Even if it was for the good of his village, it’s still a somewhat unforgivable and irredeemable act, which earns him the top spot on this list.

Note: This article reflects the author’s views.

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