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The Bad Guy Wins: Anime & Manga
  • The one true constant in Black Lagoon, since everybody is a villain, and in Rock's case, becomes one (he still wants to help people, but technically he becomes a villain since he joins and cooperates with villains) .
    • That said, the show's antagonists seldom win. Although the crew is villainous, they usually do the job they're hired to do without fail. The closest thing the show has gotten to this trope is the Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise arc, in which Rock fails at saving Yukiko, Ginji stops trying to be a better person and is subsequently killed by Revy, while Balalaika sweeps the board and dismantles the Washimine Clan and successfully backstabs her erstwhile allies, while disillusioning Rock on top of it. Unusual in that the 'Big Bad' was still technically The Hero's employer...
  • An episode in the Hoenn arc of the Pokémon had this with a Team Magma agent named Brodie, who is notorious for his many disguises. He disguises himself as a researcher at the Weather Institute named Millie (think Millibar) to steal data on Groudon, and succeeds. Should we mention that his Ditto is formidable?
    • As of the Best Wishes arc, the Team Rocket trio gets to experience this when they got promoted, succeeding in several of the missions given to them by Giovanni.
    • In the fourteenth movie's two versions, Pokemon the Movie: White - Victini and Zekrom and Pokemon the Movie: Black - Victini and Reshiram, Damon, despite his Heel-Face Turn, wins. At the end of the films, the Sword of the Vale has been moved, the People of the Vale have reunited to rebuild, and the credits hint that their once-ruined homeland can be restored.
  • Silent Mobius — episode 20 of the anime concludes with the total victory for the villain, Ganossa Maximillian. First, Ganossa beautifully forces Katsumi Liqueur to admit her love for Roy Device. Then, the morning after they get engaged and spend their first night together, he kills Roy in a bloody way while Katsumi is showering. When Katsumi discovers the dying Roy covered in blood, she goes insane with grief, unleashing a flood of power and vaporising her apartment building. It ends with Ganossa standing in the ruins, bowing to the viewer...
  • Berserk's anime adaptation does not end well at all for anyone except the bad guys. Griffith goes evil in a big way and becomes the fifth member of the Godhand, Femto. He throws his former friends, the Band of the Hawk, to the wolves as they get eaten by monsters straight out of nightmares, and then, as his very first act upon becoming Femto, rapes Casca to insanity right in front of Guts, with Guts losing a hand and eye to demons and being powerless to do anything about any of the above. The manga continues on from that point, and the point where the anime ends is just before the Skull Knight shows up to pull Guts and Casca out of the fire before Griffith and the others can finish them off.
  • Devilman. It ends with Hell coming to earth, humanity being annihilated, and the hero, his love interest, and her little brother all dying.
    • Later related series reveal the true winner of the manga (warning: BIG spoiler, although not that surprising in hindsight): It's God.
  • Doubt, and how. Even after the good guys have escaped, Rei finds a way to get rid of them without lifting a finger.
  • The first season of Asura Cryin': although the heroes successfully foiled Kagakagari's evil schemes, the Big Bad took a Villain Exit Stage Left, and got away scot-free while leaving our heroes bereft of their most valuable asset.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Sensui's known goal is to open the portal to the Demon World, allowing the demons to destroy humanity. However, his true goal is to go to the Demon World in order to find a demon stronger than himself to kill him, to atone for all the innocent demons he's killed in the past. He achieves his true goal because of Yusuke, revived as a demon and possessed by his ancestor, Raizen. In addition, in the end of the series, it turns out that the Demon World portal is kept open, and humans and demons are actually living in peace with each other, not violently. This is even lampshaded by Yusuke, who says that Sensui really did win in the end.
  • The ending of the first season of Code Geass, the finale ends with a Britannian victory, though a Pyrrhic one, and the deaths of several Black Knights, including main members, and the incarceration of the survivors, and with the main hero, as revealed in the Oddly Named Sequel, captured, having his memories erased.
    • By definition, this is going to be true of Code Geass' spin-off, Akito the Exiled. As Akito is part of the EU forces, which are canonically defeated and conquered by Britannia both offscreen, and quite early, in Code Geass R2. Not to mention the appearance of Suzaku.
  • The Tower of Paradise arc of Fairy Tail. The true objective of Ultear was completely accomplished: the dissolution of the Magic Council, which also gave the Dark Guild Grimoire Heart the chance to acquire one of the keys to Zeref's seal. And only the readers know about any of this.
    • I'd consider this less of The Bad Guy Wins, and more of You Can't Thwart Stage One. Afterall, at this point in the manga, the two guilds are duking it out, and given the fact that this is a Shonen series, they're ultimately going to fail.
      • Turned out to be completely worthless.
      • Really, it turned out to be the Stage One appearance of the Black Dragon. You know, the one that mangled Gildartz prior to his first appearance? Him. And Zeref making his first appearance. Grimoire Heart just fell prey to an Eviler than Thou moment.
  • Part I of Naruto ends with Naruto failing to bring back Sasuke, with the latter joining Big Bad Orochimaru to be strong enough to kill Itachi in his mission for revenge.
    • Likewise, the Sasuke and Sai arc: the next attempt to bring him back and kill Orochimaru fails miserably, and the team sent after them only survives because Orochimaru agree with Kabuto that it was more advantageous for them. Not a complete Downer Ending though, as at least Sai's character arc had a happy resolution.
    • Despite Obito/Tobi not possessing Naruto and Bee, he and Madara still resurrect the Ten-Tails, thus technically, Obito had won the Fourth Shinobi World War despite the protagonist's best efforts.
    • And despite being powered up by the Sage himself, Madara, upon resurrection, becoming the Ten-Tails Jinchuriki, and finally retrieving his left Rinnegan casts Mugen Tsukuyomi. The entire world except for Team 7 is trapped in it.
  • The anime of Elfen Lied ends with Lucy's fate ambiguous, Kurama blown up, and Big Bad Kakuzawa laughing manically after declaring his victory. The manga features a more traditional Bittersweet Ending, as Lucy dies but is reincarnated as two human girls, Nana and Kurama live together happily, Kouta and Yuka have children, Nozomi starts to get her voice back, and it is implied that Lucy's childhood friend actually survived being shot.
    • That last implied possibility may in fact be a scanlation error. Most sources I've seen say the poster Wanta passes is for Aiko's mother.
  • The anime version of Chrono Crusade. The protagonists (Azmaria) all die and the villain survives and partially realizes his Evil Plan.
  • The Marineford arc of One Piece. The marines succeed in executing Ace, Blackbeard kills Whitebeard and steals his powers, Luffy has sustained a massive amount of damage and sacrificed part of his lifespan in vain, and several villains from previous arcs have now been freed from prison (by Luffy himself, no less). Whitebeard did manage to win, in a way, by using his death to start a new age of piracy, but Luffy lost his brother despite all the sacrifices he made.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, every possible world except one ends in a victory for the leader of the conspiracy Miyo Takano: Tomitake is killed, Rika is dissected, Hinamizawa is sterilized, the leader escapes, and no one ever discovers the truth about what happened. The only exceptions (besides the Happy Ending) are the Watanagashi and Meakashi chapters, but even those are an incredible Downer Ending. Hinamizawa is unsterilized, but only because Rika was killed by Shion; the infamy of Shion's murder-spree shrouds Hinamizawa and the few characters that did survive either move away or are missing in action.
  • Wolf's Rain - after everything the wolves and Cheza went through Paradise starts to form, but because Darcia's freaking eye is in the water, Paradise is tainted and it turns into the modern world filled with humans and hate and war all over again. May be mitigated by the last few moments when we see Kiba, reincarnated in the modern world, starting to run, implying that the search for Paradise has just begun anew.
  • Dai Mahou Touge. The main character, Punie Tanaka, is a Villain Protagonist who is sent to Earth from an alternate dimension as a test to check if she is adequate to be the heir to her parents' despotic and dystopian kingdom. During the course of the series, rebels and jealous sisters try to eliminate her. They all fail horribly, and Punie passes the test with flying colors.
  • Suitengu of Speed Grapher succeeds in his ultimate goal. He gathers all of the yen in Japan in a skyscraper, and burns it all, plunging Japan into an economic crisis, kills all the members of the Ropongi club, and his main rival goes blind from overuse of his powers. Suitengu dies, but he dies the winner.
  • Even though he gives up on his plan of creating a shaman-only world, Hao becomes the Shaman King at the end.
  • In Hellsing, the Major succeeds in defeating Alucard, even though Integra kills him in the end. The Major went into this whole thing wanting a great war, and he was happy that he got one before he died.
    • The Nazis as a whole, really. The number of survivors in London total 2, Integra, and Heinkel. All they wanted was to die in glorious battle, and that's exactly what they got.
    • Subverted: Alucard comes back.
  • Legato Bluesummers' death IS his victory. His goal was to make Technical Pacifist Vash suffer and forcing Vash to kill him causes Vash to break down afterwards and it takes months for him to recover. Legato's boss wasn't nearly as successful.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion ends with Seele successfully starting the Human Instrumentality Project/Third Impact. Although it's arguable if the end result is what they wanted.
  • Emperor Dornkirk/Isaac Newton gets everything he sets out to get in The Vision of Escaflowne. It takes him awhile but he does eventually activate the Atlantean machine that creates the Zone of Absolute Fortune where everyone's wishes are granted. It turns out badly and threatens to destroy Gaea just as it did Atlantis forcing Van to destroy it but who didn't see that coming?
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica ends with the eponymous character finally making a contract with Kyubey, which he made his goal from the start. Or so he thinks. Sure, he wins... but on Madoka's terms.
    • And her terms are pretty rough for him in the long run.
      • Still getting what he always wanted, now at slower rate, but with no risk of accidentally creating a universe-destroying monster, is hardly "rough". Getting your memories, and, effectively, personality retroactively rewritten might be considered such but he didn't seem to mind.
  • Death Note, following the Yotsuba arc. L is killed along with Watari, having been successfully tricked into thinking of the Kira as someone other than Yagami Light. Yagami Light, now with all the nuisance out of the way, begins to rule the entire world with his iron fist - until the introduction of Mello and Near, the latter of who later successfully brings about the downfall of the evil Kira after a Time Skip in the final arc.
  • Fate/Zero ends with Gilgamesh and Kotomine riding off into the sunset after causing immense destruction to the city of Fuyuki.
  • Demon King Piccolo from Dragon Ball succeeded in everything he wanted. He got the dragon balls to give him eternal youth and killed the dragon so no one could ever use the dragon balls against him. He also killed a number of the strongest fighters in the world, and seize control of the entire world. Too bad his reign was short-lived because of Goku.
    • The Cell Arc - no, really. Even though Doctor Gero can only watch his triumph from Hell, he is the only villain in the entire Dragon Ball franchise to have got exactly what he wanted; the death of Son Goku at the hands of his creations.
    • In a twist on the usual Z movie format, the 2013 Battle of Gods special introduces a shiny new power-up for Goku...that still isn't enough to beat the villain. He's too spent to blow up Earth like he planned, so call that a win.
  • Pick a dramatic Hentai anime or manga, and odds are it's going to end like this, sometimes mixed with a Gecko Ending or No Ending.
  • Near the end of Casshern Sins, Dio (probably the closest thing the series has to a proper villain) finally succeeds in defeating Invincible Hero Casshern. Fortunately, by the end of the series, this is all he cared about doing, so he just wanders off and waits for the Ruin to kill him afterwards.
  • Despite the heroes' best efforts, and the fact that he was killed afterwards, The Professor in Tokyo ESP ultimately succeeded in turning 20% of Kanto into Espers.
  • The Hunter Election arc of Hunter × Hunter. While Pariston isn't really a villain, he's still an aggravating Troll who infuriates the other Zodiacs, who try to stop him from using his massive connections to easily dominate the chairman election. They ultimately fail, only for it to be revealed that Pariston's actions were to pay tribute to Netero, the previous chairman, and he quickly resigns the position to Cheadle, who had come in 2nd.

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