Big Bad: Anime and Manga

"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Big Bad is the one who turns out to be behind several other seemingly independent threats.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear: Fine in Season 1, Dr. John Wayne Vercingetorix, known as Dr. Ver in Season 2.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Great Holy Knight Hendricksen
  • In the final arc of Shakugan no Shana main character Yuji becomes the Big Bad after ascending to Snake of the Festival. Howeverm the Snake of the Festival and Yuji succeed in creating a new world for Crimson Denizens to live without having to consume humans' Power of Existence. The Crimson Lords' and Flame Haze's fear that this would destroy the world is resolved by the Denizens deciding to compromise with the Flame Haze despite having won, and the eternal war between the Denizens and Flame Haze end. The Flame Haze are now free to be actual people instead of walking weapons whose only purpose is fighting, something Yuji desperately wanted for Shana, who he does end up in a relationship with. Everything went exactly according to the Snake and Yuji's plans.
  • Shangri-La: Ryoko Naruse.
  • Shin Angyo Onshi (Blade of the Phantom Master)): Aji Tae
  • Shinzo: Lanancuras
  • Slayers has at least one or two per season:
    • Slayers: Rezo-Shabranigdo and Copy Rezo.
    • Slayers NEXT: Chaos Dragon Gaav and Hellmaster Phibrizo.
    • Slayers TRY: Valgaav and Dark Star Dugradigdu
    • Slayers Revolution: Zanaffar (revived by Dulcis)
    • Slayers Evolution-R: The ghost of Rezo-Shabranigdo.
      • And in the final original light novel, another piece of Shabranigdo, held within the soul of a mercenary named Luke, was a Big Bad.
  • Sonic X has Dr. Eggman in the first two seasons and Dark Oak in the final season.
  • Soul Eater has one for every major story arc. In the first one, it's Medusa, the second, Arachnae, and the third, Noah (The Greed Incarnation) but actually it's the Book of Eibon's Table of Contents as the Noahs are artificial constructs created by it.. Although Medusa is notable, in that she wakes up Kishin Ashura and wasn't killed in her arc, continuing to be an active villain until she was killed by Crona at the beginning of the Moon Arc (which was even part of her plan). While Kishin Asura could be interpreted as the Big Bad of the entire series (given that Soul Eater is about preventing Kishins from being born just like Asura, and that everybody is after him), for most of the story he qualifies better as the Bigger Bad. While he did make a few recurring appearances in the story arcs, unlike Medusa and the other major villians most of his influence was indirect. It's only until the Moon Arc that he takes center role as the Big Bad.
    • In chapter 104, it seemed that Crona was going to take the role of the Big Bad by by hijacking Asura but that was inverted in chapter 106 when it was revealed that the Bigger Bad, Asura, was Sharing a Body with Crona.
    • In Soul Eater Not!, Medusa's and Arachne's younger sister Shaula Gorgon can be qualified as the Big Bad in this arc.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Anti-Spirals are the Big Bad, as they were the ones who provoked Lordgenome into his villainy in the first half of the series.
  • Tenjho Tenge: Sohaku Kago.
  • Lord Vilius from Tenkai Knights.
  • Tiger & Bunny:Albert Maverick.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Deep Blue.
  • Millions Knives in Trigun.
  • Towa No Quon: Genji Kamishiro.
  • Fei Wong Reed in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. For a long time he appears to be doing nothing at all, apart from watching the heroes on magic TV and remarking about how all is going according to his plan; he appears to be a remarkably useless villain. However, that's because we're actually coming in halfway through his plan. As it turns out, three of the four original main characters were his servants.
    • In the last arc, there's also the Platina Company.
  • Friend from 20th Century Boys.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Beatrice is this at first, until she is usurped by Bernkastel and Lambdadelta. Because of this, Bernkastel is now a Rogue Protagonist and Fallen Hero, since she was the amalgamation of all the dead Rika Furudes from Higurashi.
  • Violinist of Hameln: Great Demon King Chestra.
  • Voltes V: Emperor Zu Zambojil, Dirty Coward extraordinaire.
  • Rain Devila in Wedding Peach is behind all the demons who attack Momoko and her friends until her own Heel-Face Turn in the end.
  • Windaria The king of the Shadowland appears to be this but its actually Lagado.
  • Lord Darcia in Wolf's Rain is not only a Big Bad, his entire family line is responsible for anything evil involved in the story... even in its "happy ending," which is anything but because of him.
    • Oddly enough, the original ending (the version that stops at episode 26) seems to present Lady Jaguara as the real villain, especially after Darcia's apparent death. In the OVA, Darcia takes that position back hard.
  • Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: Haguro Dou.
  • The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Akinari Kato.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The manga and second series anime have an overall Big Bad, Dark Bakura (a.k.a "the Spirit of the Millennium Ring"), who works on his scheme the whole series. In terms of individual arcs:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • Season 1: Kagemaru
    • Season 2: Sartorius, possessed by the Light of Ruin
    • Season 3: Yubel, corrupted but not possessed by the Light of Ruin
    • Season 4: Darkness
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds:
    • Season 1: Rex Godwin starts off looking like one, but turns out to be more of a Stealth Mentor. In the second half of the season, Rudger (Rex's brother and leader of The Psycho Rangers) seems to take over, but is soon abruptly killed off halfway through his arc, leaving the rest of it to his followers who had been Dragon Their Feet. The final three episodes of the season, however, reveal the guy behind everything: it really was Rex the whole time, playing everyone up to and including two deities for suckers.
    • Season 2: Z-one, who was, through his followers, responsible for Rex and Rudger turning evil, and thus could be considered the Bigger Bad for Season 1, as well.
  • Onimaru Takeshi in Yaiba, your typical overlord. Also Kaguya and, during the Pyramid and Underworld arcs, Boss.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL
    • Season 1: Dr. Faker, with Vector behind him.
    • Season 2: Appears to have a committee of four villains: Gilag, Misael, Alit, and Durbe, though Durbe is pretty clearly dominant. Vector was also posthumously revealed to have been a member of this group, as well, so a pretty good case could be made for these guys being the Big Bad the whole time. Vector becomes the Big Bad after he is revealed to be still alive and trying to resurrect the Barian leader, Don Thousand.
  • YuYu Hakusho breaks these up by season as well (except the first, where the villain in turn depends on the case Yusuke is in):
    • Sakyo in Season 2. Although Younger Toguro looks like this as well, he's more the Dragon-in-Chief.
    • Sensui in Season 3.
    • The three main rulers of the Makai world. One of them is revealed to be Yusuke's ancestor.
    • In the manga, it's revealed that alot of the early villains had been pawns in an enormously elaborate publicity stunt overseen by King Enma, the true villain.
    • Yakumo in Poltergeist Report.