Anime is known for its dynamic portrayal of evil. The most iconic villains are as beloved as their heroic counterparts thanks to the complex personalities, dynamic character arcs and cool character designs bestowed upon them by talented manga artists like Yoshihiro Togashi.
Only Togashi has introduced fans to iconic villains such as Itsuki Annote, Chrollo Lucilfer and Hisoka Morow. All three of these characters spend most of their time on screen masking their evil intentions behind kindness. Of course, these three aren’t the only anime villains to mask their ferocity with kindness, but they’re certainly among the best of the best.
10 Rachel is forced to be kind because she is weak (Tower of God)
The main antagonist of the Tower of God is very different from the average anime antagonist. Unlike Madara and Frieza, Rachel is exceptionally weak – so weak, in fact, that she is only able to continue climbing the tower by manipulating others with kind gestures and fake injuries.
The first season of Tower of God showed Rachel manipulating her peers with pity and kindness to move further up the tower. Even when it seemed like Rachel had broken new ground, she devastated fans by betraying Bam, one of the sweetest anime characters of all time.
9 Vicious becomes cruel because he is forced to be nice (Cowboy Bebop)
As would be expected from a man named Vicious, the primary antagonist of Cowboy Bebop spent most of his time on screen brutally. But to maintain his position in the criminal organization known as the Red Dragon Syndicate, Vicious was forced to be kind and respectful to those known as the Elders.
Vicious’ rank and emotional instability made each act of forced kindness more tense than the last. When this tension finally broke, Vicious proved just how cruel he could be by overthrowing the Elders and bringing his old friend to a halt.
8 Hisoka Morow builds up his victims before killing them (Hunter X Hunter)
The hedonistic clown who serves as the foil of Gon Freecss everywhere Hunter x Huntthere is one of the scariest anime villains of all time. Between his questionable demeanor and his obsession with combat, Hisoka is able to simultaneously sneak and excite any anime fan who makes it. Hunter x Hunter.
Without his planned bouts of kindness, Hisoka would be nothing more than an ordinary serial killer. However, with his moments of kindness, Hisoka is one of the most memorable, creepy and vicious anime villains ever brought to the screen.
7 Gentle Criminal is both a gentleman and a criminal (My Hero Academia)
Gentle Criminal may not have to be nice to be cruel, but he balances the two character traits better than any other anime villain. As stated in his name, Gentle chooses to be both a gentleman and a criminal.
Due to Gentle Criminal’s status as an internet celebrity and aspiring supervillain, Gentle is forced into kindness by his audience. From his point of view, a gruff and spiteful villain would have no hope of becoming famous and making the history books. If only he could grow that idea and use his Elasticity Quirk to help the people of Japan rather than cruelly manipulate it.
6 Light Yagami is kind to mask his cruel intentions (death Note)
The morally bankrupt protagonist of Obituary is often celebrated as one of the greatest anime protagonists of all time. Light’s ability to gain fans despite his bad actions is largely due to his friendly and charming personality.
During Obituary, Light goes from a normal high school student to the prime suspect in a series of untraceable murders. If Light couldn’t keep up with his friendly outward personality for more than a second, he would have been caught by L and stopped his brutal killing spree much faster.
5 Chrollo is as respectful as he is powerful (Hunter X Hunter)
It takes a lot to be at the top of a criminal organization like the Phantom Troupe. Many would believe that all it takes is strength and an iron thumb, but the Phantom Troupe is not one such group. To be at the top of this group, Chrollo Lucilfer had to earn the respect of each of its members.
Thanks to his kind heart and cruel soul, Chrollo was able to win over some of the most powerful people in the world. If his position had been held by force alone, the Troupe would surely have failed him the moment he lost his nen. Instead, they helped him track down a nen exorcist and return to his former glory.
4 Obito Kindness led him to the peaks of Villainy (Naruto)
The man who is often compared to Naruto for his kind and crazy personality is never forced to be kind, but it is through his kindness that viewers found out how cruel the world of Naruto been real. Obito’s humble personality is exactly what allowed him to thrive.
If Obito hadn’t been the nice goofball that he was, the Akatsuki would never have bowed to his rule. His kind words and light-hearted approach to rogueism enabled him to make his way to the top of the most powerful group of rogue ninjas to ever threaten the shinobi world.
3 All For One was forced to be kind in order to gain power (My Hero Academia)
All For One has tormented the people of Japan for generations, but he wasn’t always powerful enough to fight against the likes of All Might. The All For One Quirk started out as nothing more than a copy Quirk that gave the user the ability to steal other people’s skills.
Unlike Monoma’s Copy Quirk, All For One’s Quirk could only gain strength by removing another’s Quirk and adding it to his. Initially, the All For One Quirk was incredibly weak. It was only when All For One established himself as a kind and trustworthy person that he was able to rise to power and began tormenting the citizens of Japan.
2 Itsuki Annote’s respect for Sensui is both kind and cruel (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Itsuki’s usually stoic attitude in Yu Yu Hakusho masked what can be considered one of the most kind, loving and respectfully mean personalities in anime. The love Itsuki had for Sensui was so strong that he learned to love all of Sensui’s unique personalities.
Itsuki even stepped back and completely darkened Sensui’s soul after his last ghost detective case. He did this because he respected the man and did not want to disturb his natural character growth. If only Istuki had chosen to share his kindness with someone not as cruel as Sensui.
1 Suguru Geto deceived others with kindness (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 introduced Jujutsu Kaisen fans to the past and motivations of Suguru Geto. Satoru Gojo’s former best friend and foil to Yuta Okkotsu has left his mark on history by unleashing thousands of cursed ghosts in Japan in hopes of making the world anew.
While Suguru was certainly powerful at defeating and absorbing all the cursed ghosts that came his way, he could never have collected so many cursed ghosts if it weren’t for his friendly facade. Thanks to Suguru’s kindness at the head of a pseudo-religious group, he becomes a villain capable of going to battle with the combined strength of Japan’s strongest jujutsu wizards.
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