The Best Anime Villain (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 9)

Forgive me if this intro tends to ramble. I’m sick and headache-y and currently complaining (could you tell?), so I don’t know how coherent this came out.

I wrote one post, brainstorming my favorite anime villain while in the process of doing so.

I knew what I felt went into an ideal villain, but had trouble pinpointing one. Suddenly, came to me! I ended up picking said villain based on his relationships and personality.

I love his character, but his own in-universe showcasement isn’t exactly fascinating and he couldn’t have stood on his own as my favorite without the aid of his fabulous relationships and interactions.

But then I watched “Yona of the Dawn” and found the antagonist that I’d been waiting for!! I still greatly enjoy watching my first pick, but this new antagonist absolutely takes the cake!!

Knowing this, I hated to dismantle a post that I’d worked so hard on, and thus…

I’ve included both the original post and the revamp below! 

Please note that my absolute favorite anime villain is included in the secondary post.



So, I’m supposed to let you know my pick for the best anime villain, eh? *rubs hands together* This should be interesting. I’ve directly never considered it before, so I suppose we’ll figure this out together.

I spend much time analyzing relationships and motivations, and in other media I often find that the best villains are those with fathomable motivations. Even if you don’t sympathize with their choices, you can empathize with them.

The same can be said of anime, I suppose. Much of the anime I watch doesn’t have a “villain” in the typical sense of the word, but those that do are often multifaceted, and they grow as characters throughout the series. Hence I hesitate to use the word villains. These characters are more aptly labeled antagonists. I have no exact example of my meaning at present, but Sasame from “Pretear” and Vegeta from “Dragon Ball Z” (though this IS an anime with traditional villains) are interesting examples of antagonists in general, and—

—wait. It’s suddenly come to me like a bolt of lightning. I did indeed realize his potential long ago! My favorite anime “villain” must be…

Shiranui Kyo from “Hakuouki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~”shikyo

Shiranui and Harada have the best antagonist-protagonist relationship. Both men are charismatic, handsome, and a bit sarcastic. They both relish the thrill of battle, find themselves quite capable in the heat of conflict, and they grow to grudgingly respect each other over time until their rivalry becomes less singularly lethal and more understanding. Harada would not develop such a relationship with (and even willingly fight alongside) a man devoid of redeemable qualities. I can see the pair getting along quite well if they happened to be fighting on the same side, and the more instances in which Harada and Shiranui clash in both the anime and game (and especially the game), the more we uncover.harakyo

*character motivation (not plot) spoilers below*

Shiranui despises humans for their motivations, as do most oni (demons), but he fights with respect to the wishes of one deceased man who seemingly rose above Shiranui’s preconceptions. This friend, whose grave he still visits, had a teacher who was killed. This teacher had a saying which paraphrased insists that, though my body may die, my Japanese spirit will live on. Shiranui doesn’t believe in an afterlife, but he understands that there are other ways in which humans endure, and he fights for the future that his friend wanted. In many ways, Harada reminds him of this man, and he comes to respect what the Shinsengumi captain stands for.

*MASSIVE SPOILERS contained in the quotes and images below below the decuple line break, but included for purposes of characterization. To avoid, skip to HERE.*


Harada: We’re done. I’ve payed you back for everything at Kofu.


Shiranui: You’re acting awful high and mighty for a mere human.


…It’s over.

Harada: Yeah.


Shiranui: Looking at you reminds me of a dude called Takasugi.  Maybe I should pay a visit to his grave some time.


So, now then, what about you?


Harada: Well, Shinpachi is back there, waiting for me. I need to hurry… to Aizu.


Shiranui: …Got it.

Chizuru (voice only): We never saw either of them again.

Who do you think is the best anime villian?

What do you think of Shiranui Kyo?

Let me know!




It’s hard to hate a villain who hates himself, who has damned himself to the depths of despair and cast off everything he ever loved to achieve his ends, who does all the wrong things for the right reasons. Even though I love Shiranui mostly for his personality and comradeship with Harada, I’ve found the ultimate villain in another anime, and I don’t hesitate to here sing the praises of his characterization.

This man is young, but he’s determined and holds the uncanny ability to harden his heart past the point that most would consider possible. He grew up surrounded by and under the care of wonderful friends and relatives who he loved very deeply, but his life–though luxurious–was anything but simple and was early on fraught with tragedy. In the end, for the betterment of a kingdom for which he cared deeply and in vengeance for the death of a beloved and respected parent, this young man murdered in cold blood the uncle he had also loved–the king who was the father of his dear, smitten cousin, and the sovereign of his very best friend…

Yes, says Soo-won:


Soo-won is a man of many faces and a truly multifaceted personality. Simultaneously, he is both a traitor and a loyal standard barer of his kingdom’s people, a goof-ball and a calculating sovereign, a sensitive gentleman and cold brute, a competent swordsman and innocent fool, a man and a boy.

Here is the man who himself murdered his uncle and threatened to kill his cousin and childhood best friend (coincidentally his cousin’s bodyguard), but still felt unaccountable sorrow when news of said cousin’s death reached his ears. In spite of his own treachery, holding the proof of her demise in his hands was almost too much for the new king to bear.



Soo-won fights against himself just as deeply as his enemies (our protagonists) do, and this is part of what makes him an amazing character.

Without wishing to reveal spoilers, I cannot say more. I also cannot stress highly enough that you go watch “Yona of the Dawn.”



Have you seen “Yona of the Dawn?” How do you feel about Soo-won?

Who is your favorite anime villian?

Until next time,




5 thoughts on “The Best Anime Villain (30 Day Anime Challenge, Day 9)

    YONA IS SO SO GOOD, AND HE’S SO GOOD IN HIS ROLE, i can never 100% hate him, he’s too complex, but he’s still the fuckboi that ruined Yona’s life forever 😭😭😭😭
    Tho it’s thanks to him that badass, sharp-eyed Yona is born, and I always want that Yona to step on me, or pierce me, because I LIVE for her beign that fierce. I want a season 2 so bad ;_;


    1. I, like you, think that Soo-won is too complex of a character to simply throw him under the heading of “irredeemable baddy.” For me, Micah Solusod (@maioceaneyes on Twitter) kills it as his voice actor and really brings the character to life.


      1. When he saw Yona was alive and he got so happy, and his expression when she tried to pull the knife, and also that he defended her when he could have just killed her. AGH. Just makes me all torn up, i don’t want to like him yet i don’t want to hate him either smh ORZ
        Ooh, I’m glad it got the dub it deserved! 👌👌👌


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