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Big Bad / Anime & Manga

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"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.

Pretty Cure

  • Sound of the Sky: Though he doesn’t appear until the last two episodes, Colonel Hopkins, the Demon of Vindt, is the main antagonist who wants to instigate war with the Roman Empire, plots to capture and kill the Roman soldier Aisha for this purpose, and tries to take over the 1121st Platoon, pitting the heroines of the platoon against him. He is also responsible for the psychological issues of Noel, a recurring problem for her through the series, as he manipulated her into unknowingly unleashing a bio-weapon amen killing millions.
  • 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 Greater-Scope Villain. 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 Greater-Scope Villain, 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.
  • Speed Grapher has Shinzen Tennouzu, the head of the Tennouzou Group and Roppongi Club, as well as the abusive mother of Kagura, who sends Chouji Suitengu and his minions to capture her after she escapes with Saiga. Until Suitengu kills her and eventually reveals he has a much grander plan in motion that he used her for- mainly, to bankrupt Japan and eliminate the corrupt upper class, especially Prime Minister Kamiya who drove him to it in the first place. And he wins, freeing Japan from the evils of greed.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry: Captain Vivian Medlock, who runs the Deague ship that the heroines' Union ship comes into combat with, is technically this; however, she is mostly in the background, as the show focuses more on her enforcer Ralph Werec, once a star pilot and beloved brother of Sara until he defected. Ralph ultimately turns out to be the real threat when he betrays and kills Vivian to accomplish his goal- eliminate humanity as revenge for their treatment of the little girl aliens called the Emilies.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • For the Aincrad arc (light novel volumes 1, 2, and 8, though only volume 1 focuses on the main plot), the Big Bad is Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of the VRMMORPG Sword Art Online who traps 10,000 players in a virtual reality where death inside means death in real life, all to turn a world he conceived of in his imagination into reality. Kayaba also serves as the Greater-Scope Villain behind most of the subsequent conflicts and antagonists. Strangely, an AI copy of him serves a more benevolent role, despite maintaining his predecessor's Blue-and-Orange Morality.
    • For the Alfheim arc (volumes 3 and 4), the Big Bad is Nobuyuki "Oberon" Sugou, director of the RECTO corporation's research institute, who acquires the SAO engine and servers and creates his own game, ALFHeim Online, and, after Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya frees those trapped in SAO, imprisons the minds of 300 SAO players before they can awaken. Among them in Asuna Yuuki, Kirito's girlfriend, whom Sugou is engaged to and obsessed with. The other 299 poor souls are subjected to torturous experiments to research the extent one can manipulate memories and emotions through VR technology.
    • For the Phantom Bullet arc, Death Gun is the Big Bad, a Serial Killer player in the game Gun Gale Online with the ability to kill simultaneously in real life and the game. Death Gun, however, is a Collective Identity shared between Shouichi "Red-Eyed XaXa" Shinkawa, Atsushi "Johnny Black" Kanamoto, and Shouichi's brother, Kyouji. While one of them operates as Death Gun in GGO, another sneaks into the target player's house and murders them with a lethal injection. Both Shouichi and Atsushi are SAO survivors and PKers obsessed with continuing the game of death, while Kyouji is a deeply mentally-ill young man who was fascinated by the other two's exploits in SAO and enraged at high-level GGO players who recommended a character build that ended up being unbalanced and useless. Shouichi and Atsushi also have a grudge against Kirito, one of the players responsible for the capture and dismantling of the their PK guild Laughing Coffin in SAO. Shouichi in particular is incensed by Kirito's pretending he can just move on and forget about the trauma he both experienced and caused in SAO.
    • The Alicization arc has two Big Bads, one for the first half of the story, the other for the second half.
      • Administrator was once Quinella, one of the numerous artificial Fluctlights populating Underworld, a virtual reality, until she made two important discoveries: the sacred arts were actually system commands (and thus through experimentation was able to discover more) and killing living beings increased her stats and gave her authorization to use more advanced commands. Turning Underworld's Human Empire into a theocratic feudal system predicated around preserving her rule, Quinella usurped the Administrator authority from the Cardinal Sytem and, as a result, became obsessed with regulating all aspect of life in the Human Empire, establishing authoritarian religious law and brainwashing anyone who defies her.
      • Gabriel Miller is the CEO of an American PMC company who, obsessed since a young age with controlling the human soul, enters the Underworld after he and his team invade the Ocean Turtle, seizes control of the Dark Territory and turns it into one where the strong rule and survive, and launches an invasion of the Human Empire to take take possession of the one fully-realized artificial Fluctlight in that world, become god over Underworld, and turn it into his tailor-made domain (which includes kidnapping real world people, killing their physical bodies, and placing their souls in his virtual world, so he can manipulate their souls as he sees fit).
    • The Big Bad of Sword Art Online Progressive, a spin-off light novel series taking place during the Aincrad arc and focusing on Kirito and Asuna's exploits floor-by-floor, appears to be Vassago "PoH" Casals, the leader of Laughing Coffin. While he has yet to appear in person and is operating mainly through proxies, he's trying to manipulate the SAO players to turn to Player Killing. The main series' light novels reveal that his reason for doing this is his pathological hatred for East Asians, the result of his Korean father abandoning his mother after knocking her up and his and his mother's being bought and shipped to Japan by a Japanese CEO.
    • The Big Bad of Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale is Shigemura Yuuna, the designer of the Augmented Reality device Augma and game Ordinal Scale. Having lost his daughter in SAO, Yuuna is using Augma and Ordinal Scale to steal the memories of SAO from SAO survivors to create an AI copy of his daughter. Not only does the theft erase the original memories, but his final step, performing a massive brain scan on thousands of survivors invited to an AR concert, threatens to kill the majority.
  • Tales from Earthsea: Lord Cob
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Lordgenome, ruler of the underground who seeks to keep the humans trapped inside for the first half of the series. In the second half it's revealed he was provoked into his villainy by the Anti-Spirals, who want to Save the World by keeping Spiral Energy from going out of control- and to do this, they limit Spiral Energy by keeping humanity in despair.
  • Tenjho Tenge: Sohaku Kago.
  • Lord Vilius from Tenkai Knights.
  • Tiger & Bunny: Albert Maverick is the leader of the crime syndicate Ouroboros, and the one behind all the other villains.
  • To Be Hero: Emperor Darnell is the leader of the Alien Invasion that Father/Uncle is chosen to thwart. It turns out he is a shadow of Father himself, representing his self-hatred and doubt over being a good father to his daughter; and the one keeping him trapped in his coma.
    • To Be Heroine: Kokoro Obutsuki, Tooru's father, is the man responsible for the darkness engulfing the Other World, and the man that Futaba Hanaya must defeat, as he took control of the Keito Company, killed his boss, his “friend” Tenshin, and Tenshin's son Hikaru, then used a memory-altering formula to erase all memory of them, gaining control of the town and leaving the memories in darkness.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Deep Blue is the computer leading the invading aliens in his mission to retake the planet from humans, and exterminate them for that purpose.
    • The sequel Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode has Duke, leader of the Saint Rose Crusaders who want to reshape the world In Their Own Image.
  • Tokyo Ghoul series:
    • The original manga and anime have the mysterious One-Eyed Owl/King, leader of the ghoul supremacist organization Aogiri Tree. The finale reveals that he is actually Eto Yoshimura/Sen Takatsuki, Kaneki’s favorite author and the Half-Human Hybrid daughter of Big Good Kuzen Yoshimura. Her true goal is to end the Forever War between humans and ghouls. Also introduced as major antagonists are Rize Kamishiro, a Femme Fatale who serves as Ken Kaneki’s Enemy Within (after trying to attack him and dying as a result) and Dr. Akihiro Kanou, the Mad Scientist who turned Kaneki into a ghoul.
    • In :re, the One-Eyed Owl continues to be the central antagonist for the first half of the story, whilst Dr Kanou works to further his own agendas, until Eto is detained post-Tsukiyama Extermination. The role is then usurped by the traitor to the Wasshu clan known as Kichimura Wasshu, also known as Souta and Nimura Furuta. It is revealed that he was the one who sprung the steel beam incident which got Kaneki turned into a one-eyed ghoul all the way in the beginning, has been influencing events from behind the scenes, and gets himself involved in much more. A Greater-Scope Villain exists in his father, CCG chairman Tsuneyoshi Wasshu, who is the chairman of the CCG and indirectly behind the series events, but after Furuta kills him and takes down Eto, he becomes the Final Boss of the series. Ironically, he has the same goal as Eto, to end the Forever War.
    • The prequel JACK has the titular ghoul, mainly known as Lantern, who kills Taishi’s friends, setting off his journey of revenge. It turns out that he is Uruka Minami, a high school girl and friend who Taishi had a crush on.
    • The side story JOKER has the unnamed leader of the skull mask gang, as Juuzou is trying to track him down- and finds out that he is a girl (again) whom Juuzou saved on a train from a molester.
    • The game JAIL has Jail, the mysterious ghoul sought by Rio and Kaneki. It turns out Jail is Rio, who doesn’t remember. As such, the real Big Bad is Shiki Kijima, the investigator who killed Rio’s brother and provoked Rio into becoming Jail.
  • Tomie: The title character, a Humanoid Abomination who enjoys toying with and tormenting innocent men.
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun: Tsukasa Yugi, a sociopathic ghost and Hanako's twin brother and murder victim. He's responsible for the rumors transforming the School Mysteries and other supernaturals into dangerous beings, horrifically twisting wishes, and utterly disrupting the relationship between the Near Shore (living world) and the Far Shore (supernatural world). His overall plan and goals are still unknown, but his philosophy hints at a rejection of any constraints or inhibitions on one's desires or actions.
  • 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.
  • The Japanese continuations of The Transformers:
  • Tweeny Witches: Grande is the leader and general of the warlocks, who are (mostly) the mortal enemies of the witches and wizards. He is behind one of the most prominent conflicts in the original series as he plans to destroy the Human Realm through dark magic in hopes of making a new home for his species to escape the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm.
  • Umareru Kachi no Nakatta Jibun ga Anna no Tame ni Dekiru Ikutsuka no Koto: The protagonist Kazuya Mukai, after having reincarnated in his pre-teen body, spends the manga trying to rape his childhood crush Anna and callously manipulating his 'friends' to achieve this goal. The mysterious girl Izuru, the main antagonist, is trying to save Anna from him because Izuru is their future Child by Rape.
  • Umi Monogatari: Sedna, the being of Darkness that Urin accidentally frees. She then starts corrupting the sea creatures and everyone around her. However, she is a non-evil Big Bad, as she is revealed to be the sorrow that the islanders cast away, rather than a truly evil being. The characters accept it rather than defeat it.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Fugil Arcadia presents himself as a servant to the Lords clan in their attempt to restore their empire and Take Over the World, but Lux Arcadia believes Fugil is just using them for his own agenda, based on his own experience of being used by Fugil to enact a coup. This turns out to be true when Fugil backstabs the leader of the Lords and reveals that he's been using perception manipulation on the world for millennia in order to overthrow tyrannical regimes, prop up a more benevolent government, eliminate any opposition to that government, and repeat the cycle when the propped up government eventually falls to corruption. Fugil wants to eventually end the cycle and create a balanced world without persecution, but he believes that he has to continue the cycle until he can find someone who can maintain their sanity and morals while fused to Sacred Eclipse in order to turn them into an immortal benevolent dictator.
  • Ushio and Tora has Hakumen no Mono, an Eldritch Abomination that not only was behind a majority of events, was revealed to behind even things that originally didn't seem connected, like a few arc villains. And it almost wins.
  • Val X Love: Loki, leader of the wicked gods, who's trying to bring about Ragnarok and take over Asgard.
  • Vampire Hunter D: Count Magnus Lee, a vampire lord who takes a new bride every 10 years.
    • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust: Carmilla the Blood Countess, Dracula's former wife killed for her depravity, who seeks to come back from the dead.
  • Violinist of Hameln: Great Demon King Chestra.
  • 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.
  • Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: Haguro Dou.
  • Wolfsmund: Lord Magistrate Wolfram, the bailiff of the titular Wolfsmund ("Wolf's Maw"). But only for the first 3/4s of the story; after Wolfram's defeat and execution, his boss Duke Leopold I takes over the role.
  • 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.
  • The Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Akinari Kato.
  • Onimaru Takeshi in Yaiba, your typical overlord. Also Kaguya and, during the Pyramid and Underworld arcs, Boss.
  • In Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches:
    • Because he wishes to keep up the witch masquerade, Yamazaki is behind a lot of the problems encountered by the main character in the manga's first witch war as well the entire live-action drama and anime.
    • Ushio fills the role for most of the manga's second witch war. His wish of winning Odagiri back makes him oppose the student council, gather students in the Japanese chess club, and drive the plot. Yuri later takes over the role.
    • Amamiya fills the role in both Yamada's and Leona's flashbacks, given that she was the one who noticed that Yamada, Himekawa, Nancy, Leona, and Yamazaki all were trying to start a ceremony, and sent Rika to wipe their memories.
  • 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:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's:
  • Yu Gi Oh Zexal
    • Season 1: Dr. Faker, with Vector behind him.
    • Season 2: When we are led to believe that Durbe is leading the other Barian Emperors, Vector returns and takes the role of the leadership again and their plan is to revive their deity Don Thousand. But then, the true leader of the Seven Barian Emperors comes back to them, Nasch. However, Vector is still working behind the back of the other emperors; back-stabbing them and becoming the vessel of Don Thousand, so he can use his power. After Vector is defeated and consumed by Don Thousand, the deity himself takes this role, who was responsible of the events behind Seven Barian Emperors in the first place.
    • Manga version: Mr. Heartland, usurped by Kyoji Yagumo, usurped at the last second by Despair Goddess E-Rah.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Professor Leo Akaba is the leader of Academia from the Fusion Dimension and is responsible of the invasion of Heartland in the Xyz Dimension, and he ordered Yuri to can capture one of the bracelet girls, Ruri Kurosaki. He has also sent his agents and soldiers to Maiami City in Standard and to the City in the Synchro Dimension to capture the other bracelet girls: Yuzu Hiiragi from Standard, Rin from the Synchro Dimension, and the refugee Serena from the Fusion Dimension. It is later revealed that Leo is attempting to restore his daughter, Ray Akaba, by fusing her 4 soul fragments in the form of the bracelet girls back together, as well working to destroy Zarc, an even greater threat who serves as the original incarnation of the Dragon Boys, including our hero Yuya.
  • Yumekui Merry has "Pharos" Hercules, a powerful Dream Demon who seeks to supplant the human population and alter it so Dream Demons can exist human hosts. However, it turns out he was the pawn of Kyou Shiragi, who loaned his power to him and seeks to make people's dreams come true by sacrificing Dream Demons after planting them inside the hosts. Anyone with short-term goals no longer have anything to strive for, making them just as lost those whose Dream Demons have killed. Others have come out of it intact, but at the cost of losing the Dream Demons accompanying them, friendly or not.
  • Yu Yu 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.
  • Zashiki Onna: The unnamed woman stalking Hiroshi.


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