Follow TV Tropes


Evil Is Cool / Anime & Manga

Go To

  • Inverted in Pokémon: Jessie, James, and Meowth can't do anything evil right, but are highly useful when they're working with Ash. Still doesn't stop half the fan base rooting for them however.
    • Played straight in "Training Daze", in the Japanese version, at least, where it is shown that Jessie and James were actually pretty cool.
    • And as of the Unova saga, they now have new black costumes, gliders, jet packs, a bunch of spy gadgets, and effectively kick ass.
    • Some of the villains in the movies also qualify - especially the ones from Takeshi Shudo's earlier movies, which tend to be both badass and justifiably sympathetic and relatable. Examples include Mewtwo (especially in the Japanese version due to much of its character being Lost in Translation) and Entei.
  • Examples in Code Geass.
    • Lelouch/Zero. Although not truly evil like, say, his father (see below), his methods are definitely questionable.
    • Charles zi Britannia, who's voiced by none other than Norio Wakamoto.
    • Britannia as a whole. A ton of fans tend not to see all the nazism and casual mass murder because of all the pretty uniforms and badass mecha!
  • Advertisement:
  • In the Bad Future of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Negi's students capture Takane D. Goodman and her posse, and (painlessly) Mind Probe them to know where Negi is imprisoned. This leads to the following exchange:
    Asuna: Don't we look like the bad-guys here?
    Haruna: Bad-guys are cool!
  • Black Lagoon runs largely on this.
  • Sir Crocodile of One Piece pulls this off almost too well. A list of atrocities can fill a book. However, he commits his evil acts while dressed like a blinged-out mafia don, complete with a ring on almost every finger and a pimpin' green fur coat. Not only that, but he controls an organization made up of Crazy Awesome badasses, owns a casino, trots around with a scantily-clad hot chick as his #2, keeps incredibly dangerous predators as pets, and is also made of and can control sand, and he has a hook for a hand. That's just darn cool. But he's such a bastard...
    • You can't one up a bastard-8 foot plus tall-knight-marine-Godfather-insanely choking-likely rapist-pirate who kills people by touching them named Crocodile...unless you are a silent-8 foot plus tall-gangster-pirate-superstrong-hetero-ninja who is also a sword named DAZ BONES. He's like Raven from Tekken, only bigger, stronger, a pirate, has no need for weapons, and has the greatest name ever hands down. His loss, or, actually, both of their losses, lost the strawhats fans.
    • All of the villains are incredibly awesome in their own singular ways. Though the best way to put it is...
      Y: Ruler of Time: on One Piece's villains How is it possible that these guys are so awesome I want to root against the Straw Hats?!
      • Well, not quite all of the villians. Oda does manage to occasionally introduce a villain that's so thoroughly unlikable that they're obviously meant just to be hated until they receive an immensely satisfying asskicking from the heroes. One notable example is Bellamy - before he returns post-Timeskip - , who's an imbecilic bully with a fairly dumb-looking power that he obviously isn't using to even close to its fullest extent who goes down like a bitch the instant Luffy decides it's worth the effort to bother fighting him. Another are the Celestial Dragons, a bunch of inbred spoiled brats whose impossibly self-centered behavior is only tolerated by anyone because they were born into nobility and thus have the Admirals at their beck and call. American audiences would throw Spandam into this category, but since he apparently enjoys some popularity among Japanese audiences, he seems to manage to employ Evil Is Cool for them.
  • Negishi from Detroit Metal City is hated for his music, and generally considered to be a spineless douche by virtually anyone...until he becomes Krauser II in Detroit Metal City, a Death Metal band. And once there, he embodies this trope.
  • It says something about Bleach that the bad guys tend to be more popular than the good guys. Just look at how Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez and Ulquiorra Cifer scored higher on the popularity polls than Ichigo Kurosaki's Five-Man Band and their allies. Sosuke Aizen is also well liked due to his genius intellect, charisma, and his abilitily to steamroll over anyone not name Yamamoto. However, the inverse is also true: for the longest time, Kaname Tosen was the least-liked of the thirteen captains, due to a vast majority of the fandom perceiving him as an insufferable, justice-spouting hypocrite, a view that was actually disproven by this time (he's more along the lines of a Well-Intentioned Extremist).
    • Also inverted with the Xcution Full-Bringers, who are insufferable sneaks who are objectively weaker than the previous enemies and have overall less interesting powers.
      • Played straight with the Vandenreich Quincies who have pretty much dominated all of Soul Society with their powers, while looking awesome in their Quincy outfits. Especially their leader Yhwach, who has managed to kill the previously mentioned Yamamoto in a way that makes the latter look like a complete amateur.
  • Naruto:
    • The Akatsuki. Every member of it falls under this trope.
    • A surprising number of people have become fans of Sasuke after he stabbed through Karin to kill Danzo. This trope is probably the reason.
    • Two words: Madara. least, as long as you're willing to overlook his sheer sheer assholery and how much brokenness he can get away with.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando, the handsome and charismatic time-stopping vampire, with enough memorable quotes to fit a book. The World Is Just Awesome.
  • Played with in 20th Century Boys.
    "I always found those justice-defending heroes in manga and on tv to be so stupid... the villains were always so much cooler."
  • Space Battleship Yamato 2199 has many notable characters from Garmillas, including Elk Domel, who is introduced in the series during his Curb-Stomp Battle against the Comet Empire; and Wolf Frakken, captain of a subspace submarine.
  • Izaya of Durarara!!.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has two crowning examples of this:
  • All of the major Dragon Ball villains fall into this with Freeza, Cell, Majin Buu, Goku Black and Zamasu being the kings of it. Vegeta also qualifies as per being one of the most popular characters. Also an in-universe example when he makes a Face–Heel Turn to get his badassery back.
    • Among the movie villains, Broly. Turles and Cooler have their share of fans as well.
  • Medusa from Soul Eater, anyone?
  • Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index, before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Cobra, Midnight, Jellal, and Erza Knightwalker from Fairy Tail
  • Lyrical Nanoha both uses and averts this. Fate, the Wolkenritter, and most of the Numbers were cool, but Precia and Quattro were unlikably evil, and Jail is something of a Base-Breaking Character.
    • The Hückebein is Force are an aversion. The power they have looks like it would push them into this trope, but fans thought they were TOO powerful and didn't have any traits to make them interesting. Funnily enough, they're actually one of the few that are traditionally, well, evil.
  • Lordgenome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. On the one hand, he is a ruthless tyrant and Anti-Villain who doesn't care if his daughters live or die...on the other hand, he has rugged good looks and a cool-looking and powerful Humongous Mecha, and he can fight Mini-Mecha with zero weaponry whatsoever; by which we mean his bare hands, and almost tank a Big Bang-level attack with a scaled-up version of his mech.
  • Lordgenome owes much to his spiritual antecedent - Gendo Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion, one of the most famous and memorable villains in anime. His voice is cool, he's a Sharp-Dressed Man, his Scary Shiny Glasses and Finger-Tenting are iconic, he's so much of a Magnificent Bastard that he manipulates the Big Bad committee and comes dangerously close to achieving his own personal victory, and his backstory and the explanation for his personality even make him a little sympathetic.
  • The Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. He has tons of copycat supporters, and in one episode, Motoko visits a chat room devoted to discussing how cool and rebellious the participants think he is.
  • Femto a.k.a. Griffith in demon mode from Berserk. He is, considered by most of the fanbase, the most despised villain for what he has done over the course of the story (and particularly for doing one very heinous deed to a lovable character). Surely, his actions are unforgivable!... But DAMMIT! Why does he have to look so friggin' awesome in that quasi- evil costume (since he's technically naked)?! And dude - he has the power to bend reality at his will! How awesome can you get??
  • Kotomine Kirei from Fate/stay night and its prequel Fate/Zero. Badass Normal priest, with bullet-proof vestments, extreme skill in Baji quan and insanely accurate and deadly knife skills. Also Gilgamesh, King of Heroes, with a largest sense of entitlement/ego. And in Fate/Zero, they team up.
  • Berg Katse from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman has his fans. The messed-up childhood and cool new toy nearly every episode probably have something to do with it, even with the silly ears.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica gives us Kyoko Sakura, a badass Ax-Crazy Blood Knight Fiery Redhead whose callous and selfish personality contrasts sharply with the four other main girls introduced up to that point. In short, while the series' main villains are some mindless Eldritch Abominations and a somewhat passive manipulative cat-rabbit thing, Kyoko is the first weapon-wielding Magical Girl to show an evil streak. To elaborate: when she first introduces herself to the two protagonists (at the time), she uses her very cool chain-spear-whip weapon to utterly trounce one of them around in, as the English dub calls it, "a bona fide fight to the death, for reals", all while giving a big “The Reason You Suck” Speech to them and munching on a taiyaki. Then we find out about her Dark and Troubled Past that shows her depth as a character, and she gets better. Much, much better.
  • Just about everyone in Hellsing, but Alucard and Alexander Anderson particularly stand out the most out of the lot.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho, Younger Toguro. Compare with villains before, he's only power being Hulking Out might seem lame at a glance, but he gets so much power from sheer brute strength that he can render flashy techniques utterly useless (and the fights with him are still damn cool to watch), and has force extremely powerful youkai into working for him without even fighting at full strength.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alexander the Great is an Evil Brit, has a cool design, and gives the heroes quite a fight. It helps that, like fan favorite Yami Bakura, he's someone's Superpowered Evil Side. He also gets to perform Grand Theft Me on his descendent, Alex Brisbane.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has plenty of villains that are popular.
    • Yuri is very popular due to being Yuya's fusion counterpart and the only one of the eight counterparts to be evil. Add that to his power and personality, he steals the show each time he appears.
    • Awakened Yuya is mind numbingly popular due to being Yuya's Super-Powered Evil Side who is a perfect mix of cool and scary. The reveal that it's Zarc only boosted his popularity. After a dip of popularity for a time, Zarc's popularity jumped again with the reveal of his face and the more tragic parts of his past.
    • Jean Michel Roget is the best Love to Hate villain. He's a Soft-Spoken Sadist, Manipulative Bastard who's manipulates the cast as puppets for most of the Synchro Arc. His Villainous Breakdown only added to his popularity due to how hilarious it was to see him screaming like a madman.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • The Armored and Female Titan. For those into that kind of thing, the Female Titan might also fall into Evil Is Sexy.
    • Kenny Ackerman for his antipersonnel 3D maneuvering gear skills and overall Clint Eastwood-like appearance, though he's not entirely without some hammy qualities.
  • In-Universe, Panda from Shirokuma Cafe once showed up dressed wearing a Darth Vader mask and cape because he thinks bad guys are cool. Unfortunately, Panda doesn't really understand how to be evil or cool.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Everything about "Hero Killer" Stain is basically the embodiment of a '90s Anti-Hero, except he's a villain. He's a vicious Knight Templar who's convinced that none of the current group of Heroes barring All Might (and later, the main character Deku) are "real heroes" and need to be purged. He's also a complete psychopath with a warped view on what being a hero is and has no compunctions against murdering children. However, because of his design, weapons and powers as well as the ludicrous degree, he'll keep on fighting (after being defeated, he still continues trying to fight against the other heroes with a punctured lung and scared them enough to make them flinch before he passed out, while standing up) earned him admires in-universe and out. The League of Villains take advantage of this and recruit a plethora of new members who wished to follow in Stain's footsteps.
    • Stain in this case did a lot to help the League of Villains more than he realized, as the League of Villains truly got some really badass fighters like Spinner, Dabi, and Toga, who all agreed with his ideals to purge Japan from the 'fake heroes' festering the hero society, gaining them a lot of fans. Even post- Character Development Shigaraki managed to climb out of the scrappy heap after his tragic backstory and his steps to rise behind the scenes.
    • All For One, as the opposite of All Might, also has his own fan following, as he was the only one who could devastate All Might so much that All Might actually became the Handicapped Badass in the start of the series, and he lost his Quirk during his second fight, even though it ended on All For One's defeat. His Establishing Character Moment where he appeared as a synonym of Death itself also didn't hurt.
  • When Mariquitaman fights Kinnikuman Zebra in the 2011 Kinnikuman series, Mariquitaman prefers Kinnikuman Zebra's Brutal Chojin personality over his Justice Chojin personality. Mariquita even forces the transformation onto Kinnikuman Zebra with the Rorschach Influence technique. As it turns out, Kinnikuman Zebra's Brutal Chojin personality's fighting style is easier to predict than the fighting style of Kinnikuman Zebra's Justice Chojin personality.
  • Vamdemon/Myotismon from Digimon Adventure certainly fits the mold. Despite being a sadistic, abusive, and manipulative vampire, these end up working in his favor as he made his appearance when the anime was just Growing the Beard. His design also helps, as does Richard Epcar's performance in the dub. He then goes on to have not one, but two One-Winged Angel forms, the latter of which ends up hijacking the plot of the sequel series and continuing right on with his sadistic streak. Nowhere since has there been such a Magnificent Bastard within the series.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: