In anime, a villain’s depravity was usually intended to make the hero look better in comparison. Though sometimes given sympathetic qualities, they’re meant to represent forces fundamentally opposed to the beliefs of the hero and audience. In this regard, a villain was almost as responsible for making a protagonist likable as the hero themselves.
However, only a few anime villains could claim their place among the most sinister and unapologetically violent characters in anime. Many anime villains demonstrated the depths of their evil and what they would have accomplished without the hero’s epic intervention, making them the most evil anime characters in both the medium and all fiction.
Updated on September 19, 2023 by Angelo Delos Trinos: If there’s one thing anime is known for, it’s truly evil and despicable villains. Some anime villains were so twisted and beyond redemption that they changed their respective genre and medium practically overnight. This list was updated to include more characters who deserved the title of being the most evil anime characters of all time.
Parasyte: The Maxim
In Parasyte: The Maxim, the Parasites were monsters who took control of people’s bodies to hide in plain sight and indulge in cruelty. It says a lot that Uragami, an evil but otherwise ordinary human serial killer, was even more monstrous than the literal monsters. Uragami was so twisted that he overshadowed the most evil Parasites.
Even without a Parasite controlling him, Uragami enjoyed killing, torturing, and cannibalizing his victims. Uragami was so monstrous that he could even spot his fellow monsters, the Parasites, when they were in disguise. Uragami wasn’t Parasyte: The Maxim’s overall villain, but he was still one of the most evil anime characters.
19 Sosuke Aizen
Aizen was not Bleach’s final villain, but he was still one of Bleach’s strongest characters. When he debuted, Aizen looked like the nicest and most loyal Captain in Soul Society, but it was all an act. He wanted to become the new Soul King, and he was willing to do terrible things to accomplish this goal.
Thanks to his Zanpakuto, Aizen had the power of complete hypnosis. This allowed him to manipulate everyone—especially Momo Hinamori, who loved him, and who he left for dead twice. He killed the entirety of Central 46 to orchestrate Rukia’s execution, and he killed countless more innocent souls for the sake of his research.
18 Junko Enoshima
Danganronpa: The Animation
Junko Enoshima was the overarching villain of Danganronpa: The Animation, a murder mystery anime in which over a dozen students were trapped in a survival game. Junko orchestrated the entire ordeal, and she did so because she is a malicious and selfish individual who fed on other people’s misery and despair.
Junko habitually organized survival games because she wanted to see innocent people turn into monsters. She was so sadistic that she even told her sister and love interest that she never really cared for either of them. She did this just before their deaths in order to get the maximum amount of grief and pain from them.
Unlike the nobles in Berserk, Griffith was well-mannered, and he fought in many battles as the commander of the Midland Regular Army. Thanks to his leadership, he was viewed as the savior of the entire continent. The Band of the Hawk were a band of mercenaries, and they held Griffith in high regard as a comrade.
Unfortunately, Griffith craved power, and when given the opportunity, he sacrificed his comrades to become Femto, a powerful demon. His comrades trusted him, but he killed them so he could obtain a kingdom of his own. Worst of all, he assaulted the honorable Casca right in front of Guts. Griffith’s repuation as one of the most evil anime characters precedes him.
16 Tamaki Tsunenaga
In Deadman Wonderland, a massive earthquake struck Japan, and Tamaki Tsunenaga was more interested in saving his video games than helping his injured mother. He helped to create the eponymous Deadman Wonderland Prison, where he forced the inmates to participate in death games for his own amusement.
Tamaki made inmates fight each other in horrific matches, and he got very upset whenever someone ruined his fun or threatened his ownership of the games. For example, he made a prisoner fight his pregnant wife. When the prisoner threw the match, Tamaki ripped the baby out and turned it into a research subject.
15 Kazundo Gouda
Ghost In The Shell: Stand-Alone Complex 2nd GIG
Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex was set in a post-war Japan filled with criminals and terrorists. However, the true villains were cold-hearted bureaucrats like Kazundo Gouda. As the Cabinet Intelligence Service’s head, Gouda orchestrated a refugee crisis and a virus outbreak to drive Japan to the brink of war for nationalism’s sake.
Although he wrapped his cruelty in patriotic fervor, Gouda was really driven by his desperate need for more power at all costs. The most terrifying thing about Gouda was how his plans and motives were disturbingly true to life. Gouda wasn’t just one of the most evil anime characters of all time, but arguably one of the most realistic as well.
14 Bondrewd The Novel
Made In Abyss
Bondrewd the Novel wasn’t Made in Abyss’ overall threat, but he was a vile yet interesting villain nonetheless. Unlike most evil anime characters, Bondrewd was a genuinely altruistic scientist who lacked his fellow villains’ malice. This, instead, meant that he was a hyper-logical and inhuman scientist who pursued progress no matter the human cost.
Bondrewd coldly experimented on whoever crossed paths with him, including children. He irreversibly transformed them into hideous monstrosities, and couldn’t logically deduce why they prayed for death. In both his appearance and work “ethic,” it was made clear that Bondrewd lost whatever humanity he had during his long stay in The Abyss.
13 The Major
Between being a Nazi and a self-absorbed narcissist, there wasn’t much to like about The Major from Hellsing Ultimate. He spearheaded a contingent of Nazi vampires as they attacked London just to satisfy their grudge that was over half a century old and satiate their selfish death wishes.
The terrifyingly verbose Major was directly responsible for a bloodbath that claimed thousands, and he enjoyed war for its own sake. Though reprehensible, he cannot be ranked higher among the most evil anime characters since his villainy was contained to a single city, and he failed shortly after debuting.
12 The Demon King
The Seven Deadly Sins
As his name suggested, the Demon King from The Seven Deadly Sins ruled over the underworld, his minions, and the Ten Commandments. He sent hordes of monsters to Britannia and eventually even arrived himself by using Zeldris’ body as his vessel.
Willing to kill his own subjects in order to increase his power, the Demon King was completely apathetic to all lives but his own. The only stopping him was the fact that he was still confined to a single continent. Nonetheless, his betrayal of his family and his ability to expand rendered him a capable and malevolent threat.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Consumed by his own hubris, DIO (formerly Dio Brando) wrought misery wherever he went. In JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, he obliterated the Joestar manor, killed his loving adoptive father, and took over his brother’s body to use like a puppet when he came back from the dead. These were just the beginning.
DIO’s early atrocities paled in comparison to his return in Stone Ocean. Alongside Enrico Pucci, DIO plotted to rewrite reality itself and make his Stand, The World, utterly unstoppable. Considering that Jotaro Kujo and company defeated him before he could follow through, it’s fortunate that DIO never realized any of his grandiose ambitions.
10 All For One
My Hero Academia
All For One leaned into his mantle as My Hero Academia’s “Symbol of Evil,” illustrating his twisted tendencies and desire to inflict suffering just for the sake of it. All For One proudly relished in his evil in ways that even the most evil anime characters rarely did. Having defeated his brother and Nana Shimura in the past, Japan suffered dearly under his reign.
What made All For One especially formidable was his ability to understand symbolic victories. He knew that by defeating essential heroes like All Might, Endeavor, and Deku, the world would be demoralized and more easily subjugated. Though initially contained to Japan, he’s now recognized as a worldwide threat if not dealt with promptly.
Frieza was Goku’s greatest enemy in Dragon Ball Z, and a villain with aggressively imperialistic goals. He was responsible for multiple invasions of Earth, only being narrowly thwarted and causing great calamity in the process. Before arriving at Earth, Frieza was already guilty of committing countless genocides across the cosmos.
Frieza felt that his self-proclaimed supremacy absolved him from any accountability he should have for taking countless lives. Unfortunately for his underlings, Frieza killed them as quickly as he would his actual enemies. Considering how frequently he appeared in the series, Frieza had many opportunities to commit more atrocities than the most evil anime characters.
8 Kaguya Otsutsuki
Kaguya was responsible for everything that happened in all of Naruto. Through Black Zetsu, she engineered Madara Uchiha’s attacks by editing the Uchiha tablets. Her ultimate goal was to cast the infinite Tsukuyomi, enslave the entire world, and reclaim the chakra she had once passed down to her descendants to rule over what was left.
Kaguya was particularly evil when considering that she did not hesitate to attack and attempt to murder her own children for her own ends. Though hardly a black sheep when compared to other Otsutsuki clan members and the most evil anime characters, she was directly behind much of the infighting and bloody wars between Shinobi.
7 The Sibyl System
The greatest evil in Psycho-Pass weren’t the Criminally Asymptomatic people who failed to comply with society’s algorithm, but those who made the algorithm in the first place. The Sibyl System was said to be a paragon of logic and objectivity, when it was more of a hive mind of the disembodied brains of the worst Criminally Asymptomatic people imaginable.
The Sibyl System used its unquestioned authority to roll back nearly all of Japan’s civil liberties, and turn the country into a technocratic police state. They claimed this had to be done for the greater good, when it was clear to Akane Tsunemori and audiences that the Sibyl System was really relishing in its self-importance and legalized cruelty.
Imu was the true leader of the World Government in One Piece. Shadowy and clandestine, the only thing truly known about him was that he was responsible for the Void Century. Imu also lorded over the Gorosei (or The Five Elders) themselves, and makes them follow and impose his oppressive whims on the world.
Considering that the World Government enables a hierarchy of oppression where everyone suffers, Imu may be directly blamed for all the evils in One Piece. Instead of attempting to amend his mistakes, Imu hopes to extinguish the last flickers of hope that might rise to stand against his new global order.
5 Ragyo Kiryuin
Kill La Kill
Ragyo, the ruthless CEO of REVOCS, succeeded in ways that even the most evil anime characters did not. In Kill La Kill, she spread Life Fibers throughout the world, had her husband killed for attempting to stop her, and experimented on her own daughter Ryuko in order to make her the perfect weapon.
Additionally, the unbelievably wealthy Ragyo’s grand plan was to destroy the world and lap up its final bursts of energy. She was willing to end billions of lives all for her personal ambition to become stronger. Considering that she never even explained why she needed such power, Ragyo’s obsession with herself was a detriment to everyone she knew.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Father was the creator of the Homunculus. Having sacrificed an entire country in order to increase his strength, Father challenged God and nearly conquered the heavens themselves in one of the most horrific scenes of anime history.
Fortunately, Edward Elric and his allies managed to weaken Father enough to bring him back to Earth while he was still transforming. Should they have failed, he would have reigned over all humanity and possibly even beyond it. Father’s intimate understanding of the universe made him a threat beyond what even the most evil anime characters were capable of.
3 Ryo Asuka
Otherwise known as Satan himself, Ryo from Devilman Crybaby pulled the strings from the background until his demonic hordes were ready to attack. His annihilation of Earth was bloody and gruesome, with heavy casualties on both sides. Ryo’s war culminated with the total destruction of Earth, and the end of all life.
Ryo’s former friend Akira rose to challenge his gory genocide in a final bid to save the human race. However, Ryo ultimately killed him and ripped the world in half. As the dust settled, he wept since there was no one left for him to torment and abuse, and he’d just lost the one he considered his only friend and love.
2 Light Yagami
Death Note’s Light Yagami is simultaneously one of the most evil anime characters in existence, and one of the most famous fictional villains of all time. With the power of the Death Note, Light appointed himself as Kira, the God of the New World. Light believed himself to be justice incarnate, when he was really nothing more than a serial killer.
Light started by killing criminals, but moved on to killing whoever challenged him. Light rationalized his atrocities and cruel yet childish execution of justice with delusions of godhood. He embraced evil to realize a utopia of his own making, and to appoint himself as its god. Worse, many people in Death Note and in real life fell for Light’s lies.
1 Johan Liebert
Monster is one of the darkest anime ever. It centered around Dr. Kenzo Tenma, who saved a young patient who went on to become a serial killer, the titular “monster,” and one of the most evil anime characters in history. Johan Liebert was this killer, and although he had a troubled childhood, he was by no means sympathetic.
Johan was a skilled manipulator who killed his adoptive parents and Dr. Tenma’s co-workers. He even had other serial killers working for him, but he disposed of them when they were no longer useful. At one point, he was even asked to become the new leader of the Nazi Party. He instead killed the entire organization just so that they would stop bothering him.