The Anime Villains We Love To Hate

By April Ryder | Published

Wherever there’s a well-loved protagonist, you need an equally terrible antagonist to balance things out. A great anime villain has to compel viewers to root for the hero and be inspired to fight the good fight. 

It’s not unusual for characters to possess insanely powerful abilities, and with great power comes great responsibility … even if it’s an evil job that needs to be done. Check out this list of some of anime’s most despicable villains, and be careful not to get too upset while being reminded of their blasphemy along the way. 

Pokemon – Jesse and James

Look, Pokemon isn’t the darkest anime flick you’ll come across, but Jessie and James are certainly some of the most annoying foes to face. They never quit, and they’re always there to throw a wrench in Ash’s plans. 

Though their intro song is pretty catchy, the pair is never truly beaten. Somehow, they always come back for more trouble, and their mangy Pokemon, Meowth always has something to add as well. If that’s not a tried and true trademark of a great anime villain, what is? 

Naruto – Pain

Pain is an appropriate name for this anime villain. As the supremely powerful leader of the Akatsuki, Pain is an unrelenting bad guy who had no issue when he took out Naruto’s mentor, Jiraiya. The worst thing about this guy is that he’s relatable. 

You can understand why he does what he does, but his response is a bit extreme. He wants a world of peace, but what he’s willing to do to achieve it is too much. Pain has a collection of corpses named “The Six Paths of Pain” that do his bidding, making him one of the most evil anime villains on the list. 

Dragon Ball Z – Frieza

dragon ball chris ayers

This dude is certainly an animated jerk and the perfect picture of power in the wrong hands. Frieza has had his hand in genocide, slavery, and several other abhorrent acts throughout the series, making him one of Goku’s main nemesis.  

Frieza was defeated when Trunks cut him in half during the series, but he did make his way back to the storyline in Dragon Ball Super. He learned zero lessons from his first villainous run, making his return to the series a lot more of the same old debauchery (which is respectable for a noteworthy villain). 

One Piece – Blackbeard

One Piece has more than 1,000 episodes under its belt, and Blackbeard is a threat throughout the series. Blackbeard starts as a fairly formidable foe after stealing a “Devil Fruit” from Thatch (granting him the power to create, control, and transform into darkness at will), but his power doubles when he is able to obtain a second “Devil Fruit,” giving him the power of vibrations (or quakes). 

The guy has killed enough notable characters in the show that he has quite a large bounty on his head. If murder is a prerequisite to being an anime villain, Blackbeard fits the bill. 

Death Note – Light Yagami

Though Light Yagami isn’t initially introduced as an anime villain, he makes a good run for the role. Maybe the power to take life anonymously is just a little too much for a teenager to wrangle. 

Light’s acquisition of a “Death Note” stirs his desire to rid the world of darkness, but eventually, the power of the book drives him batty. Over the course of the series, he morphs into an egotistical, narcissistic anime villain who rivals any serial killer worth mentioning. 

Berserk – Griffith

Another anime villain that may not be as straightforward as some is Griffith from Berserk. Griffith may be somewhat of a hero to some anime fans, but his true nature is revealed throughout the series. He’s no hero. He’s a betrayer of all that is good. 

Griffith is disloyal, and his main goal in life is to amass unlimited power. He uses the “God Hand” to become a demonic being named Femto. For some fans, Griffith’s shift from good to bad is a heartbreaking feature of this anime villain.