10 scary anime villains right out of horror films

Thee inhuman anime villains, one very much human (Image via Sportskeeda)
Thee inhuman anime villains, one very much human (Image via Sportskeeda)

There's a lot to say about anime, with colorful heroes and diabolical villains, but anime villains who are just a little too scary are a class apart. Whether they demonstrate real-world attitudes, or just tap into some primal fear humans have, there are plenty of anime villains that would fit right into any number of horror movies.

Sometimes fear comes from the idea of what the villain does, whereas at other times, it stems from what they represent. From Psycho Pass' Sybil System representing the fear of totalitarianism in society to the more mundane fears of demonic possession represented by Sukuna from Jujutsu Kaisen, this article will slash through 10 anime villains that would fit perfectly into horror films.

Disclaimer: This article is subjective and contains major spoilers ahead. It also has descriptions of crimes and monstrous acts. Content warnings are advised for depictions of extreme violence, s**ual assault, and body horror.


Muzan and 9 other anime villains that belong in the horror genre

1) Johan Liebert (Monster)

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Don't let the fact that Johan Liebert is a regular guy (compared to the rest of this list) fool you - he's the titular "monster" in the anime for a reason. This particular anime villain was saved by Dr. Kenzo Tenma after being shot in the head in 1986. Ironically, Tenma would be hunting down Liebert years later when his cruel killing spree began.

To put this serial killer into perspective, Johan has stated that his goal is to cause the collapse of human civilization and be the last man alive amidst a wasteland of death. He has no apparent motive outside of nihilism and general misanthropy. He would fit right into Silence of the Lambs and other serial killer movies quite well, considering that the body count he racks up is in the hundreds.

The heinous acts he commits include murdering his foster parents and other caretakers, burning orphan children and instructors alive after inciting chaos, as well as corrupting children and forcing them into suicide via jumping off roofs. The fact that the anime ended ambiguously has viewers on edge that this anime villain may still be at large.


2) Frieza (Dragon Ball Z)

Frieza in final form (Image via Toei Animation)
Frieza in final form (Image via Toei Animation)

Frieza might be the first thing that comes to mind when genocidal aliens are concerned. Even as a kid, Frieza was already a stone-cold killer and sadist. This galactic tyrant is known for coldly playing with his victims before killing them. He also blows up planets, like he did with Planet Vegeta.

Frieza is one of the most prolific anime villains in the Dragon Ball franchise. His power is already insane at the base level, and transforming only boosts it. He was not only responsible for the near death of a newly revived and fused Piccolo, but he also tortured Vegeta before killing him. His other crimes include killing Dende and Krillin.

This isn't to discount Frieza's various massacres, including the Namekians, the Saiyans, and other races like that of Granolah. He shows no mercy to anyone who happens to make him angry, including his own men. He's still a major threat as of Dragon Ball Super, and would absolutely fit right into an alien invasion movie.


3) Orochimaru (Naruto)

Orochimaru (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Orochimaru (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Orochimaru from Naruto fits many fearful profiles: mad scientist, shapeshifter, snake-like, and cunning killer. With the goal of achieving immortality, Orochimaru has committed many atrocious acts throughout the history of Naruto. Even if Orochimaru has mellowed out in Boruto, he's still considered an anime villain to most within the series.

Orochimaru's horrifying deeds began with experiments on 60 children to tap into Harashima Senju's DNA, harvesting Sharingan for Shin Uchica that got transplanted into Danzo's right arm, and plenty of other horrifying things. He also hoped to grab the Sharingan for himself, but was denied each time and violently so.

As far as the main series goes, he was responsible for the death of Garra's father Raza, Sarutobi the Third Hokage, and the cataclysmic large-scale Konoha Crush. He was also responsible for steering Sasuke down the path of villainy. The only bright side to this otherwise heinous scientist is that he mellowed out in Boruto by creating Mitsuki and being under heavy guard.


4) The Sibyl System (Psycho Pass)

The trye "face" of the Sibyl System (Image via Production I.G.)
The trye "face" of the Sibyl System (Image via Production I.G.)

The dangers of artificial intelligence, or AI, have long been shown in science fiction. Whether it's Star Trek's Borg and the ceaseless pursuit of assimilation, or the Terminator franchise with a focus on annihilation, or even GLADoS from the Portal video game series, there are a ton of examples. The Sibyl System in Psycho Pass adds yet another to the pile.

Unlike the above mentioned AI that are actively malicious in their pursuits, the Sybil System is initially presented as benign. It's just a system that can read people's minds and scan their psyche for hostile intent. However, it has potential for harm.

For instance, when a traumatized r*pe victim picks up her abusers gun and shakingly points it at the officers and needs to calm down, the system continues to register her as hostile. It also decides to shoot a bunch of people because it mistakenly reads them as hostile. Even those that the system can't read, like Shogo Makishima, are at risk.

The point being is that despite all the intent regarding the Sybil System, it's considered an overarching anime villain in its series. The fact that it's comprised of criminal brains from all reaches of society is likewise horrifying, as criminals reading people isn't ideal.


5) The Anti-Spiral (Gurren Lagann)

The phrase "Anti-Life justifies my hate" is often attributed to the omnicidal Darkseid from DC Comics. The Anti-Spiral race from Gurren Lagann might provide just the answer Darkseid is looking for. These anime villains are a hostile alien race, only they pass off their genocide as supposedly preventing the collapse of the universe in the form of Spiral Nemesis.

They are much like the Borg, in that the Anti-Spiral race is combined into one massive organism simply dubbed "The Anti-Spiral." It waged war against the other Spiral races, successfully setting up Extermination Systems to eradicate populations if they ever went over a certain threshold.

Too bad for this anime villain that Gurren Lagann and Team Dai-Gurren decided to beat them at their own game. While the universe was freed of these genocidal anime villains, the fact that they had so much power to begin with was a problem and major surprise source of horror for the protagonists and audience.


6) Sukuna (Jujutsu Kaisen)

Sukuna grinning (Image via Studio MAPPA)
Sukuna grinning (Image via Studio MAPPA)

When a cursed artifact in the form of indestructible fingers crosses the path of Yuji Idatori, he eats one in order to save his new friend Megumi from a cursed spirit. This resulted in the self-proclaimed King of Curses taking hold of his body and remaining there ever since. This anime villain is one of the foulest and most powerful cursed spirits in the entirety of Jujutsu Kaisen.

To start, he had already slaughtered many people before Yuji contracted his spirit. After death, Sukuna became a spirit too powerful to maintain form, so he had to split himself into 20 fingers. His arrogance is also nothing to sneeze at, as he never fails to remind people of it. He's not only seriously injured Mahito, but has also defeated several characters, including Jogo and even Mahoraga.

The other part is, of course, his many crimes when possessing Yuji. Sukuna has slaughtered entire neighborhoods, is implied to have committed child abuse of all sorts, and does all this just to spite Yuji and others. He is, however, still contained within Yuji as of right now, making this a stunning case of powerful demonic possession in an anime villain.


7) Muzan Kibutsuji (Demon Slayer)

Muzan's typical glare (Image via Studio Ufotable)
Muzan's typical glare (Image via Studio Ufotable)

Moving on to the King of Demons in Demon Slayer, Muzan was the first demon of his kind and is the progenitor of all other demons in existence. The bloody trail that he's cleaved through the series starts at trying to cure a terminal illness and planning to be immortal, either by finding the Blue Spider Lily or creating enough demons to conquer the weakness to sunlight.

As with Sukuna, Muzan is an anime villain with a hugely inflated ego and more than enough power to back that up. He's never emotional either, preferring a monotone for his normal speaking voice. His powers are horrifying, as he's able to kill nearly 100 Demon Slayers in a short amount of time, and also turn people into demons likewise. The only saving grace is that he's a coward, who will turn tail and avoid conflict where necessary.

This doesn't mean that he's a pushover, more that he's an extreme manipulator. He can hide and blend in plain sight and take any shape or role he chooses. Muzan is a nice representation of an outer demon, an overarching threat that hits Tanjiro and Nezuko at the beginning of the story.


8) Dio Brando (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)

Dio performing The World (Image via Studio David Production)
Dio performing The World (Image via Studio David Production)

Iconic anime villain and vampire lord Dio Brando was at first a normal kid with a sadistic streak. This meant his first act was something heinous, and it started with killing Jonathan's dog by burning it alive. That was the start of Dio's crimes as a human before he put on the Stone Mask.

When the mask did affix itself to him, Dio became a vampire and managed to kill George Joestar. After this, he went on a killing and turning spree across England, even managing to turn Jack the Ripper into a vampire. After being defeated by Jonathan and subsequently beheaded, one of his servants managed to ensure his head survived.

Dio then killed Jonathan Joestar, but was stuck at the bottom of the ocean for 100 years. When Dio reawakened, there were a ton of atrocities put to his name. This included mass vampirism, giving Stands to horrible people, causing Jotaro's mother to get sick, killing half the Stardust Crusaders with time-stopping abilities, and his influence causing parts 4, 5, and 6 to be as awful as they were due to Stand Arrows and Father Pucci.


9) Gotou (Parasyte The Maxium)

Gotou in human and monster form (Image via Studio Madhouse)
Gotou in human and monster form (Image via Studio Madhouse)

When a race of parasitic extraterrestrial worms arrives on Earth in the anime Parasite The Maxim, the majority of humanity are turned into host bodies. The worst of these is Gotou, since he's not just one parasite. He's got five parasites in his body. This gives him the ability to grow bladed appendages, and turn his body into armor so thick that grenade explosions fail to penetrate them.

His mass murder started with a Yakuza gang as a test of his potential abilities. He tore through soldiers sent to eliminate parasites in seconds, and took a special interest in series protagonist Shinichi Izumi.

The fear factor of this anime villain comes from body horror: the hands and shoulders tearing skin and turning into blades are reminiscent of Alex Mercer from Prototype. The fact that his legs burst into blades and his feet split into two is a problem as well. Body horror does usually come from things like that, and Parasyte has plenty.


10) All For One (My Hero Academia)

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All For One takes the supervillainy of someone like Lex Luthor and amps it up. This iconic anime villain founded the League of Villains and fought All Might in a battle that practically destroyed his face. Whereas All Might was heavily injured and couldn't use his muscle form all the time, All For One was bereft of his nose, ears, and eyes.

While this typically meant All For One was put on a life support system and scary black suit to survive, his quirks and manipulations are what truly make him scary. All For One's quirk allows him to steal other people's quirks and use them for his own ill gains. He proved his talent by grooming Tomura Shigaraki towards his own ends and creating a symbol of fear, not to mention his masterstroke during the Paranormal Liberation War, where Tomura awoke and destroyed a city and many heroes.

The reveal that Nana Shimura was killed by All For One, and that All for One possessed Tomura, highlights two huge things about this villain. The first is how powerful he is, as One For All is the only quirk that could truly destroy him. The second is how twisted he is, as he has no loyalties nor faith that Tomura could really succeed. Perfect for an anime villain befitting a superhero anime.


As a note, all of these anime villains could fit into a horror film. From possession to body horror to vampirism, each of these anime villains has something that makes them all horrifying to witness and to face.

If any more anime villains fit the criteria, let us know in the comments below!