The worst kinds of anime villains aren’t those who are beyond redemption or those who follow the most obvious villainous clichés to the last letter. Instead, the worst kinds of anime villains are those who were full of evil potential but were ultimately squandered by their respective series. In brief, these villains deserved a better anime.
More often than not, these villains’ disappointing statuses were the results of their anime’s creators not knowing what to do with them as antagonists or not having any interest in developing them in the first place. It’s hard not to feel bad for these villains who could’ve and should’ve been so much more, but not for the reasons viewers normally expect.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
10 Cells At Work! Code Black — The Diseases & Viruses Were Toned Down Too Much
Code Black‘s entire selling point was that it was the darker and edger version of the kid-friendly Cells At Work!, but the anime pulled back its punches at the worst possible moments. This mistake was made clear with the way the anime depicted invasive bacteria like Gonorrhea (left) or Pneumonia Coccus (right), who were monstrous but only to a certain extent.
For perfectly understandable reasons, Code Black dialed back just how vicious and visually suggestive these germs were in the manga to get a lower age rating. However, doing so robbed Code Black of its schlocky potential and necessary stakes. As menacing as they looked, the germs were never as evil and deadly as they should’ve been.
9 Magia Record — The Rumors Were Pale Imitations Of The Witches
since Magia Record may or may not be set in a parallel universe to Puella Magi Madoka Magica, it made sense that it would have an alternate version of Witches. These were the Rumors, “Uwasa” in Japanese, the literal manifestations of Kamihama City’s many rumors that either tempted their victims into the void or attacked those trying to stop them.
Like the Witches, the Rumors had the potential for social commentary and thematic relevance, but Magia Record was more interested in literally everything else. With very few exceptions like the Rumor of the Anonymous AI, the Rumors only existed to provide nice backgrounds for the magical girls’ fights and be their target practice.
8 Darling In The FranXX — The Klaxosaurs Were Derivative & Unoriginal
Darling In The FranXX is practically an unlicensed Neon Genesis Evangelion remake, and the enemy Klaxosaurs were one of the best proofs of this criticism. like Evangelion‘s Angels, the Klaxosaurs were ancient beings with direct ties to mankind’s origins as a species, and their corpses were used to create the anime’s giant mecha.
The unfortunate thing about the Klaxosaurs is that they could’ve been appropriately mysterious and cool-looking monsters if they weren’t so blatantly similar to the Angels. Instead of creating its own iconic giant monsters, Darling In The FranXX was more than content to copy the Angels’ lore, rename a few terms, and tweak their designs.
7 Bleach — Xcution Was Just A Group Of Plot Devices
The Fullbringers, especially those in Xcution, were some of Bleach’s most important latecomers, since their mere presence didn’t just finally explain Chad and Orihime’s powers, but they also helped Ichigo regain his Shinigami abilities. While they laid the groundwork for Ichigo’s participation in the Quincy blood war, they didn’t serve any other purpose.
As is typical with Bleach characters, Xcution consisted of well-designed but flatly written villains. The Fullbringers had cool looks and powers, but their backstories and personalities were simplistic at best. A testament to how inconsequential they were as villains was their quick defeat at the Gotei 13’s hands and their abrupt cameos in the final manga arc.
6 Redo Of Healer — The Heroes Were Little More Than Punching Bags
one of Redo Of Healer‘s most interesting wasted opportunities was how Keyaruga actually gave the benefit of the doubt to his tormentors. After rewinding time and returning to the point where he just got his healing powers, Keyaruga decided to see if the Magic Hero, Princess Flare, would act differently before committing to revenge.
Unsurprisingly, Flare and, by extension, the Sword and Gun Heroes were still cruel, giving Keyaruga the justifications he needed. A more insightful anime about revenge would’ve seen Keyaruga enacting furious vengeance on morally complex foes, not lazy caricatures of fantasy heroes who only exist to be knocked down a peg.
5 The Rising Of The Shield Hero — The Other Cardinal Heroes Only Existed To Be Humiliated
As a deconstruction of isekai anime, The Rising Of The Shield Hero positioned three archetypical isekai heroes as nemeses for the edgy anti-hero, Naofumi, to best. But instead of providing commentary about the isekai power fantasy’s inherent shortcomings, the Spear, Sword, and Bow Heroes only existed to be Naofumi’s bumbling foes.
These heroes’ only purpose was to be the stereotypically smug popular kids who were constantly saved and scolded by the audience-insert, Naofumi. In a smarter anime, they could’ve been Naofumi’s worthy rivals and foils who showed the typical isekai hero in another light, not punching bags to be hit vicariously.
4 The Saga Of Tanya The Evil — Mary Sue Was Tanya’s Cheap Foil, Not Her Rival
one of The Saga Of Tanya The Evil‘s biggest problems was Tanya’s lack of worthy opposition. Since Tanya was a genius blessed with magic, her inevitable victories against incompetent enemies just came across as vicarious bullying. Mary of the Legadonia Entente Alliance was the closest threat Tanya had, but the anime wasted her.
Mary was everything Tanya was not, meaning she was genuinely altruistic and emotional. But instead of challenging Tanya’s worldview, Mary was only there to be proven wrong. Even ignoring the fact that she’s blatantly named after her archetype, Mary was a transparently cheap mockery of the positivity that a juvenile misanthrope like Tanya would despise.
3 Wonder Egg Priority — Frill & Her Artificial Humans Didn’t Do Anything
The Wonder Killers that tormented girls were Wonder Egg Priority‘s most prominent villains, but they were only pawns in a bigger game. The artificial human Frill and her creations, namely Dot, Hyphen, and Kirara, were the ones pulling the strings, and they were revealed to be the culprits behind the wave of suicides among girls.
Why they did anything, however, wasn’t given a satisfying explanation. At most, Frill’s envy-fueled origins were shown in a flashback episode before she and her familiars left the anime. Frill and her creations should’ve been symbolic threats and foils to Ai and friends, not cameos who filled some blanks in Wonder Egg Priority‘s lore before leaving.
2 SSSS.Dynazenon — The Kaiju Eugenicists Had The Vaguest Motives
The Kaiju Eugenicists were the Dynazenon pilots’ evil reflections, and this applied to both their appearances and motives. More importantly, if the Dynazenon team saw humanity as something to protect, the Kaiju Eugenicists saw it as something to eradicate since they believed that kaiju deserved to rule the world.
This, however, was as far as their characterization went. SSSS.Dynazenon only hinted at the four villains’ philosophies and left the rest up to interpretation. At best, their origins and ties to Gauma got a quick flashback. Conceptually speaking, the Kaiju Eugenicists had everything going for them, but the anime didn’t flesh them out as much as they deserved.
1 The Promised Neverland — The Demon Monarchy Never Got The Spotlight
It goes without saying that The Promised Neverlands second season is one of the worst anime adaptations of all time, and nowhere is this more clear than in how it wasted the Demons. After revealing them to be the ones behind the farms, the Demon lords, Queen, and even their god were reduced to still-frame background cameos.
Even ignoring how well-written the manga’s Demons were, the anime didn’t give its Demons anything to work with. At best, some Demons got a line of dialogue that reinforced their one-dimensional villainy. Instead of being monstrous commentaries on the callous elite, the Demons were reduced to being flat monsters to beat.
NEXT: Top 10 Anime Sequels Better Than The Promised Neverland Season 2