Top 10 beloved anime villains of all time

Hisoka Morow from Hunter x Hunter (Image via wallpaperaccess.com)
Hisoka Morow from Hunter x Hunter (Image via wallpaperaccess.com)

Shonen anime heroes garner a lot of attention, but often, what makes a great hero is a great villain. That said, sometimes the villains are so unbelievably awesome that they steal both the limelight of the scenes they're in and the hearts of the viewers.

That said, there are usually two kinds of villains: the ones fans love, and the ones fans love to hate. In this list, we are looking at some anime villains from the former category.


Top 10 anime villains beloved by fans

10) Vegeta

The Dragon Ball series has been around for years now, with a steady and loyal fanbase. And despite being a villain, Vegeta remains one of the most popular characters in the franchise. The character was so beloved by fans that creator Toriyama Akira was forced to revive Vegeta and make him a more significant part of the series even though he was initially supposed to be killed off.


9) King Bradley

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King Bradley was a fantastic character and despite being one of the central antagonists in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, one cannot help but be in awe of him. A character who grabbed the viewers’ attention from the very episode, King Bradley established himself as a powerful ruler throughout the series. The character keeps growing cooler and cooler, and at times downright terrifying.

What’s more, he even has a couple of comic moments near the beginning of the anime, and it still never takes away the gravitas that King Bradley possesses.


8) Makishima Shogo

In the world of Psycho Pass where the human conscience is judge, jury, and executioner, Makishima Shogo’s lack of a conscience makes him invincible. Intelligent, charismatic, manipulative and an out-and-out psychopath, Makishima is the antagonist of the first season of Psycho Pass and a favorite among fans of the series.

What makes Makishima Shogo so appealing is his morally ambiguous but liberating ideology. Makishima’s erudition and liking for literature and theology only add to his charms while his back story makes his journey poignant.


7) Donquixote Doflamingo

Charisma makes for great characters and even better villains and One Piece’s Doflamingo is proof of it. One of the most formidable villains in the One Piece manga and anime, Doflamingo’s easy smiles, carefree attitude in the face of danger, and larger-than-life personality fits perfectly with his extreme physical strength and durability.

So much so that despite all his violent actions in One Piece and his antagonistic relationship with Luffy and his allies, fans can’t help but love him.


6) Dio Brando

Jojo's Bizarre Adventures, unsurprisingly, has one of the most flamboyant villains on this list, matched in appearance possibly only by Hisoka Morow, and in arrogance by Ryomen Sukuna. The prime antagonist of seasons one and three of the series, and father to Giorno Giovanna, protagonist of Jojo's Bizarre Adventures season 5, Dio Brando is violent, power-hungry and ruthless.

But as awful a person as he is, he is as visually vibrant as any other major character in the series, and is a treat to watch on-screen.


5) Dabi

First introduced in the My Hero Academia series as one of Shigaraki Tomura's minions and a member of the League of Villains, Dabi quickly became a fan-favorite due to his mysterious personality and his overpowered quirk. His popularity skyrocketed after the theory that Dabi is actually Endeavor's oldest son, and thus, Todoroki Shoto's older brother.

Endeavor is a pretty terrible father canonically, and that just makes both manga readers and anime watches sympathize with the character more. Dabi, unlike most other villains, doesn't seem to enjoy mindless destruction, and is shown to be cunning and resourceful. His slight psychotic streak just adds to his villain persona.


4) Hisoka

Hisoka Morow from Hunter x Hunter definitely a man of questionable character. Sadistic, opportunistic and very possibly a pedophile, Hisoka still has a magnetic personality. Hisoka is a showman, willing to have his arm cut off without even the slightest trace of pain or discomfort on his face just to push his opponent into a state of desperate frenzy before killing him and claiming a flamboyant win.

Hisoka cares about no one but himself, is loyal to no one but himself; he acts as per his whims and sides with whichever brings him closest to his goal - finding the strongest rivals he can and defeating them.


3) Uchida Madara

Uchiha Madara is a fantastic villain. Powerful enough to singlehandedly decimate an entire army minutes after returning from the dead, Uchiha Madara was overpowered enough to bring Naruto and Sasuke to the brink of defeat. So much that Naruto creator Kishimoto Masashi had to use a literal god in the form of Otsutsuki Kaguya to finally kill off Madara.

One of the greatest shinobi of his generation, Uchiha Madara is no less than a god himself, revered and feared by the shinobi world. His role in creating the Konoha village and his tragic end made his return as a villain even more human, and characters and viewers alike consider Madara to be one of the greatest anime villains.


2) Ryomen Sukuna

While Uchiha Madara was a good guy-turned-bad, the prime antagonist of Jujutsu Kaisen, Ryomen Sukuna is evil through and through. While not much is known of his past, his arrogance and almost casual display of handling immense cursed energy justify his status as King of Curses. Sukuna lives only to fulfill his own whims and pleasures, destroying entire cities, tearing other powerful curses from limb to limb, and even ripping out his own vessel's heart, just because he can.

Sukuna taking over Itadori's body and tearing apart a special grade curse (Image via Reddit)
Sukuna taking over Itadori's body and tearing apart a special grade curse (Image via Reddit)

Despite it all, Sukuna is shrewd and strategic, he does not act without a goal in mind, even though that goal is yet to be revealed in the anime or manga. Another villain with an extremely charismatic personality, Sukuna is both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Fans have high hopes that Sukuna will become the ultimate anime villain by the end of the series.


1) Light Yagami

Light Yagami goes from a naive, idealistic potential hero to anti-hero, egotistical psychotic villain over a course of just 37 episodes, encompassing a period of seven years. It is the Death Note protagonist's terrifying ability to switch between facades and manipulate people just as he wants, using them as chess pieces, and using any means necessary to get what he wants, that make him such an intricate character and a fascinating villain.

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Fans were awed by the psychological warfare that Light wages singlehandedly with the police force of an entire country as well as numerous members from foreign investigative agencies like Interpol. Light schemes his way out of tight situations while baffling and leading the police on a wild goose chase for years. Light develops a God complex which brings out the best and worst of Light's intelligence and personality, and yet, the character has a huge fanbase to this day.


While not included in this list, there are several other fascinating anime villains greatly loved by the anime community, such as the Chimera Ant King Meruem from Hunter x Hunter, Mahito and Suguru Getou from the Jujutsu Kaisen anime, All For One and Shigaraki Tomura from My Hero Academia, Garou from One Punch Man season 2, Ryo Asuka from Devilman Crybaby, Kibutsuji Muzan from Demon Slayer, and so on.

Note: The list is subjective and reflects the views of the writer.