Do you think Skeletor, the Joker, Megatron and Lex Luthor have the market cornered on evil? Not so fast. The world of manga and anime is just as full of villains as Western comics and cartoons are, and they’re no slouches in the murder and depravity departments. Here are 11 anime and manga villain you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley… or a well-lit one, for that matter.
1) Light, Death Note
Young Light Yagami only wanted to help the world when he found the Death Note, a magical notebook that would kill anyone whose name he wrote in it, in the manner he described it. He used it to kill criminals who escaped justice or were in the middle of their schemes… and then he just started killing all the worst criminals, even if they were already in jail. And then he killed a detective who had stumbled onto his secret — in order, he told himself, to serve the greater good. That was a first step on a slippery slope to eventually killing everyone he decided was a criminal, regardless of what the law said, as well as anyone who tried to stop him. By the time he was eventually caught, he had murdered thousands.
2) Father, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
The antagonist of the original Fullmetal Alchemist manga and the second anime Brotherhood bears a striking resemblance to protagonists Ed and Alphonse Elric’s father Van Hohenheim, but he’s quite different. Mainly in that he is willing to kill the citizens of whole cities and even entire countries in order to advance his own power, and that he succeeds in both, killing millions. The reason why he does the former is to free himself from the flask he was trapped in, which is kind of understandable, but the country sacrifice was simply to absorb the power of God, which is a feat as arrogant as it is evil, and it's pretty evil. Oh, and he’s more than willing to kill his own children, the Homunculi, in order to achieve his ends. However, he’s only one of FMA’s many horrible fathers, as you’ll see....
3) Johan Liebert, Monster
If you’re the bad guy in a manga series titled Monster, chances are you're going to be something special. And Johan Liebert is — he’s a serial killer that would make Hannibal Lector step back and say “whoa.” He killed his adoptive family, he killed the co-workers of the surgeon who saved his life, he even managed to talk all the students and instructors of a secret Germany military training program into killing each other. And then, after the surgery, he really got busy murdering people. He was actually a leader of sorts for Europe’s serial killers, who did his bidding even as he occasionally killed them (which, to be fair, kind of goes with the job description). He’s actually so evil and murderous that a Neo-Nazi party tried to get him to become the new Adolf Hitler — which wassn’t Johan’s style so he massacred most of them so they’d leave him alone. When people are asking you to be Hitler 2,0, you know you’re a bad dude.
4) Majin Buu, Dragonball Z
Majin Buu isn’t one of those villains with a dark soul, or some twisted upbringing, or who has some nefarious plan for his own advancement or revenge. He’s just a pink asshole with a lot of power, such as when he kills everybody on the planet with a single martial arts move. Seriously, he raises his arm, performs the “Human Extinction Attack,” and all seven billion of Earth’s inhabitants are dead. For no real gain. Just to be a dick.
5) Griffith, Berserk
It can be difficult when a friend leaves, especially when that friend is also a co-worker. Suffice it to say, Griffith did not take it well when Guts left his mercenary group the Band of the Hawk. How bad? Well, later, after Guts had come back to rescue him several times, he sacrificed the rest of his Band in order to become a powerful demon named the God Hand, and the first thing he did was rape Guts’ pregnant lover Casca right in front of him, so horrifyingly that the baby ended up deformed. What Griffith’s evil lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in total wretchedness.
6) Diva, Blood+
Speaking of horrible violent sex acts, Diva — the fellow Chiropteran Queen sister of Blood+’s protagonist Saya — came so close to killing her adopted brother Riku that Saya was forced to make him her Chevalier, which is like a nice version of turning him into a Thrall (not the worst fate in the world, but something you wouldn’t wish on a family member). But Riku’s half-life was destined to be short, as he was soon captured by Diva, raped, and then completely killed. To be fair, while Saya was raised by a loving adoptive family Diva was kept locked in a tower and psychologically tortured, but still, not cool. Anyways, Diva also killed a bunch of more people, many of them Saya’s friends, before trying to turn the entire world into her Chiropteran monster pawns through an opera performance (don’t ask).
7) Naraku, Inuyasha
Naraku might not be the evilest villain on this list, but he’s possibly the most annoying. While other bad guys will just cut right to the killing and destroying, Naraku will bleed you to death with a million super-obnoxious paper cuts, and make sure to constantly be gone before you can catch him. His whole plan in Inuyasha was to collect the pieces of the demon shard, but he did it it the most dickish, least effective ways possible, as if all he really cared about was making Inuyasha and his friends feel shitty. He tricked Inyasha and his lover Kikyo into hating each other, he had Sango’s brother Kohaku kill their entire family, he set Inuyasha’s brother against him, and he even made multiple clones of himself in order that the Inuyasha gang could fight and defeat him every single episode and be sure to get absolutely nowhere on their obnoxiously long journey. Believe you me, there are plenty of Inuyasha fans who believe Naraku is the biggest asshole on this list.
8) Medusa, Soul Eater
The Mommy Dearest of the anime world, Medusa turned her child Crona into a research subject. And when I say research subject, I mean, she researched how to drive him completely insane and turn into a deranged killer, and then subjected him to the necessary torture in order to do this. In fact, Medusa is so horrible to her son that after the experiment is completed, Crona murders her… which she manipulated him into doing on purpose so he would have killed everything that he had ever cared for… which is when she gets proud. And here’s the worst part — she kind of likes her son. Everyone else, she’s not so nice to…
9) Makoto Shishio, Rurouni Kenshin
Makoto seems like your standard villain — a former government assassin who gets double-crossed and set on fire but lives, then spends all his time covered in bandages determined to destroy the government and conquer the nation. You know, that old chestnut. Along the way, he’s got plenty of time to try to destroy the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo, or even just send his goons to try to kill Kenshin’s friends at the Aoi-Ya dojo. I mean, he’s evil, but this is standard villain stuff, right? Well, there are two reasons Shishio makes it to this list, both in regards to his final duel to the death with Kenshin: 1) when his lover Yumi intercedes in the fight to keep Kenshin from landing a devastating blow, Shishio uses the distraction to stab Kenshin… through Yumi’s body. 2) When that didn’t work, Shishio hated Kenshin so much that he fought until his blood evaporated. This deserves some kind of evil commemoration.
10) The Major, Hellsing
The Major is a Nazi, which is really all needs to be said. Nazis are the worst. However, the Major is evil even among Nazis, mainly because he’s really, really prepared. After fleeing Germany at the end of World War II, the Major planned for 50 years to take his revenge on England, amassing an army of vampires, monsters, war-zeppelins, and more. Not only is he good at war, he really, really enjoys it — his plan wasn’t just to begin a new 1,00-year Reich, his plan was to so fuck up the world that he could stay at war the entire time, too. He killed three million people, pretty much for kicks, and destroyed Alucard in a trick that involved him sucking up all the blood in the annihilated London. That’s… that’s pretty impressive. And evil.
11) Shou Tucker, Fullmetal Alchemist
Shou Tucker was an alchemist who didn’t kill anybody. Why is he on this list? Because in order to keep his alchemic grant money coming, and because he was tasked with researching chimera, he turned his own adorable daughter Nina and her equally adorable dog into a chimera, merging them into one hideous, pitiable monster whose life was nothing but pain and confusion and betrayal in what is still one of the saddest, most traumatic anime moments of all time. He may not have killed anybody, but he hurt every single person who watched Fullmetal Alchemist.