As do most of the other villains, especially Mello and Ryuk.
The author himself was shocked that so many people seemed to love evil characters such as Light. He probably decided to have Light lose and die at the end simply because so many people wanted a character he purposely made more evil to win. That outcome was almost certainly 'planned from the start'. However, they probably made Light's epic crash and burn ending even harsher than originally conceived to drive home what they really thought of their "hero". Ironically, the last scene of the manga tries to soften the blow by showing a cult commemorating his deeds.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
Diavolo, the Don of the Passione gang in part 5, can see ten seconds into the future and cut out any amount of that future he wants. The details of this ability are... unspecified. His stand is also one of the physically strongest Stands in the entire reality.
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.
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/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 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.
Of course, the witches themselves are beloved by fans for being a genuinely terrifying and memorable take on the Monster of the Week concept in contrast to the usually forgettable examples found in your average Magical Girl show. Thier Tragic Monster angle also makes them Woobies among fans.
YuYu Hakusho, Younger Toguro. Compare with villains before, he's only power beingHulking 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.
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.
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.
"Hero Killer" Stain from My Hero Academia is what happens when this trope is applied in-universe. Everything about him 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.
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.