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"Now watch closely, everyone. I'm going to show you how to kill a god. A god of life and death. The trick is not to fear him."
Lady Eboshi, Princess Mononoke

Throughout the years, anime and manga writers have created countless memorable characters. Of those here are the most dubious yet intellectually charming.

The following have their own pages:

Individual works:

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     # - G 
  • 91 Days: Angelo Lagusa, the Sole Survivor of his family's massacre, vows vengeance on the Vanetti family for murdering them. Taking the alias Avilio Bruno to get close to the Vanettis, he was sent to kill Fango, and wound up killing Vanno after the latter killed a member of the Orco family, orchestrating a gang war between the two crime families. Angelo allied with Fango and Nero to kill Don Orco by luring Orco to a trap before letting Fango kill more of his enemies and manipulated Nero into killing his younger brother, while threatening the lives of a Prohibition agent's wife and daughter when he tries to stop the war. With the forces of each crime family severely decimated, Angelo decides lure them all in a theater, creating a shootout and annihilating all the families and only sparing Nero to make him suffer the grief of loosing his family while implying that he let Nero kill him so that he could be reunited with his own family.
  • Accel World: "Black Vise" is the vice-chairman of the Acceleration Research Society. Actually Ivory Tower, one of the Seven Dwarves of Oscillatory Universe and the right-hand of White Cosmos, Vise uses his ability to change forms to maintain dual identities and run hidden experiments in the Accelerated World. Having participated on the brutal murder of Saphron Blossom in the past, Vise offered mercy to her boyfriend, who became the infamous Chrome Disaster out of grief. Fascinated at such power, Vise used and discarded other Burst Linkers such as Dusk Taker and the unwilling Wolfram Cerberus to create a second Chrome Disaster using the Negative Incarnation stored on the ISS Kits. When Nega Nebulus discovers links between the Society and the White Legion, Ivory Tower evacuates the Society members and participates on the defense of White Legion Territory, showing respect towards his enemies and being forced to expose his Black Vise form to save himself. When his secret identity is revealed to the other Kings, Vise sacrifices himself to trap them into a death loop after declaring his excitement at seeing that the impulsivity of Nega Nebulus could challenge his careful planning.
  • Alice in Borderland: Ginji Kyuma, revealed to be one of the citizens of Borderland, ran a dangerous treasure game called "King of Clubs". A charismatic and jovial musician who, despite his troubled life, retains a positive outlook towards life in general, Ginji accepts his fate as one of the citizens of Borderland after playing several dangerous games. When Arisu and his companions tries to challenge him in the treasure hunt, Ginji and his companions outwit Arisu's team several times despite their advantages over Ginji's team at first, which leaves Arisu and his companions in complete disarray. Despite being outwitted by Arisu at the end of the game, Ginji accepts his defeat and praises Arisu's performance during the game, proving himself to be one of the most compelling enemies Arisu had ever faced.
  • Angel Beats!: Yuri "Yurippe" Nakamura is the leader of the SSS Afterlife Battlefront, a group of dead students rebelling against God, whom Yurippe blames for the unfairness of her life. Fighting opposition from Kanade Tachibana, Yurippe fully acknowledges how inept her subordinates are and thinks up plans around this, being able to fight Kanade to a standstill while ensuring important followers and resources aren't claimed by Kanade, lead a stealth mission to hack Kanade's computer and uncover crucial information from it, and sabotage Kanade's performance on an exam so that she loses her status. Ever Crazy-Prepared, Yurippe also knows how to make good use of her lackeys through intimidating them with twisted penalties for failure, keeping them in the dark about things she knows until an ideal time, and using their own idiocy as convenient distractions in operations. When threats emerge and endanger Battlefront, Yurippe uses her quick wit, decisiveness and skill with weapons to counter them, even breaking a shadow's illusion over her with a heartfelt "World of Cardboard" Speech. As perceptive and caring as she is strong-willed and ruthless, Yurippe earns and keeps the loyalty of her troops through raw charisma and being a fair and inspirational leader in spite of her frequent cruelties towards them.
  • Anti-Magic Academy: The 35th Test Platoon: Sougetsu Ootori is the hammy, silly Chairman of the Inquisition, using his seemingly harmless personality and position on the side of good to hide the fact that he is a god seeking the destruction of the planet. Fooling enemies and allies alike with his fake persona, Sougetsu simultaneously serves as the Principal of the Anti-Magic Academy, building it from scratch and training hundreds of youngsters with potential in a variety of skills. Sougetsu manipulates his students to carry out a bevy of plans for him unbeknownst to them, and plays members of Valhalla and the Alchemists alike to his tune, ultimately planning to force Takeru to strike him dead and doom the planet to annihilation thanks to Sougetsu's connection to the life force of the world. Driven by an engineered desire to destroy all things—himself included—Sougetsu nonetheless respects his foes and has a roaring good time carrying out his plans, chuckling even when beaten that he regrets nothing and is pleased with how he lived his life.
  • Armed Girl's Machiavellism: Satori/Misogi Tamaba of the Five Swords is one of the most ruthless and cunning opponents Nomura has to face. A girl who doesn't believe she's human, Satori had no qualms using any means to achieve victory, framing Nomura as a sexual deviant by drugging him and setting up an edited nude photo to have his friends turn on him. Anticipating he'll be looking for the original to prove his innocence, Satori ambushed him and Warabi with her sister, engaging Nomura herself. In battle, she dominates most of the fight with her bold strategy of doing a Full-Frontal Assault in the slippery baths which complimented her Confusion Fu techniques, and even after being defeated, she still manage to put Nomura in a no-win situation which would've worked had she not decided to let him go after being touch by his resolve. One of Nomura's greatest opponents and later one of his most valuable allies, Satori manage to show herself as a tricky fighter that should not be underestimated.
  • Ashita no Nadja: Rosemary Applefield, believing Nadja was stealing the princess life Rosemary had always dreamed of away from her and casting her aside, becomes a willing participant in Hermann Preminger's schemes and proves herself a deceptive, manipulative, and ruthless schemer in her own right at only age 13. Pretending to be the long lost Nadja Preminger to the Duke and to Nadja's mother, Rosemary charms everyone with her elegance, courtesy, and seeming innocence, which proves useful when implicating the real Nadja, the Black Rose, and even the Applefield orphanage in alleged crimes against her. When Nadja confronts her, Rosemary feigns being an Unwitting Pawn before shredding Nadja's most cherished dress right before her eyes. In a later meeting Rosemary emotionally agitates Nadja into nearly assaulting her, which gets the police to go after Nadja. Nadja returns to prove her identity, but Rosemary counters her claims with quick thinking and skillful manipulation of others in the room. After getting what she'd wanted but finding Victory Is Boring, Rosemary is quick to denounce her alliance with Hermann, who himself has come to fear her, and when proven to be a fraud, she shows herself to be a Graceful Loser and imparts advice to Nadja before leaving the manor of her own accord, receiving no punishment for her actions and even earning Nadja's respect.
  • Assassination Classroom: Gakuhou Asano was once a caring teacher who sought vengeance on the bullies who drove one of his students to suicide by getting them addicted to gambling, ruining their lives in the process. Becoming the chairman of Kunugigaoka Junior High School, Gakuhou established a system that ensured the top 95 percent of the students would be successful, by demeaning the lowest 5 percent, Class-E. He would make sure that the top 95 percent would constantly triumph Class-E over in academics and sports, by subjugating them to his brutal teaching methods. Willing to prove that his system is flawless, Gakuhou challenges Koro-Sensei to opening one of five handouts, four stuffed with grenades lethal to Koro-Sensei and one a regular grenade. When Koro-Sensei avoids the barrage of the four lethal to him, Gakuhou uses the regular grenade in an attempt to take Koro-Sensei with him. Having a change of heart after Koro-Sensei saves him, Gakuhou accepts his loss with grace before resigning as chairman.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Erwin Smith, commander of the Survey Corps, is a brilliant strategist who formed the infamous formation to use against Titans, cutting down on casualties immensely. From a young age, Erwin was known as a genius who used and manipulated those around him, sacrificing countless lives for the benefit of humanity. Recruiting humanity's strongest warrior, Levi Ackerman and winning his loyalty, Erwin uses his own troops as bait to draw out hypothetical Titan shifters, utilizing other Titans as weapons against them. When arrested, Erwin even helps to come up with a plan to overthrow the corrupt monarchy and install his subordinate Historia on the throne, driven by a desire to prove humanity shall not fall easily in his war against the Titans.
    • Eren Kruger is the founder of the Eldian Restorationists, a group of patriots dedicated to opposing Marley. To help the Restorationists, Kruger infiltrates Marley's Public Security Authorities and passes information on to his comrades, while also recruiting oppressed Eldians to his cause. To make sure that his cover remains intact, he tortured many of his own Eldian brethren before turning them into Titans and sending them to Paradis Island: one example being Dina Fritz while having her husband, Grisha Yeager, watch. Afterwards, Kruger arranges Sergeant Major Gross to be eaten by a Titan, before using the powers of the Attack Titan to kill off Gross' men. He then reveals himself as "The Owl" to Grisha before sending him to Paradis Island, while giving him the Attack Titan's powers and instructing Grisha to find an heir to pass it on to.
  • Baccano!:
    • Luck Gandor is an unfailingly polite mob boss who runs the Gandor crime family alongside his brothers, Berga and Keith, using his affinity for charisma and manipulations to function as the practical brains and face of the organization. Having slowly brought the Gandor family into more power than it's ever held with his strategies and people skills, Luck instills total respect from those under his control with his cool head and refusal to bring the chaotic force of drugs into his corner of Manhattan. Giving even those who betray his trust the opportunity to redeem themselves yet never hesitating to coldly execute them if they prove undeserving of his friendship, Luck keeps even the likes of Claire Stanfield and Maria Barcelito under control and uses them to further the Gandor's control over Manhattan, taking out rival crime families and turning enemies into allies every step of the way. Upon becoming immortal, Luck pays back fellow immortal scumbag Dallas Genoard for murdering Luck's friends by sinking him in a river to drown unendingly, however later shows mercy to Dallas' younger sister Eve and allows her to save Dallas from his horrible fate, showcasing that Luck's morals and standards are just as notable as his ruthlessness.
    • Claire Stanfield is the feared hitman known as "Vino," functioning as the single most dangerous character in the story while simultaneously being one of the most entertaining. A brutal badass who has pulled off impossible feats for years, Claire's introductory story sees him slaughtering his way through dozens of murderous criminals to protect the passengers aboard the Flying Pussyfoot train, Claire having used the railroads as means of travel by disguising himself as a conductor. Upon setting up in Manhattan under his close friends, the Gandors, Claire immediately brings respect and fear to the small crime family with his mere presence, and goes about utterly decimating rival gangs to secure power for the Gandors, using his affinity for disguises to play the arrogant Gustavo Bagetta right into a trap. As fun as he is deadly, Claire always has a snappy one-liner and a healthy dose of his zany egotistical outlook on the world to make even the most psychotic enemies blanch at his sheer audacity, befriends many characters from all walks of life with his affable personality, and has a genuine love for the silent Chane Laforet, eager to do whatever it takes earn her affection and respect.
  • Banana Fish: Former KGB Lieutenant Blanca becomes The Mentor to the protagonist Ash Lynx, making him into a merciless fighter. Hired by Dino Golzine, Blanca attacks and easily subdues Ash for Dino. When Ash manages to escape from Golzine's clutches, it is Blanca who hunts him down for them, using his knowledge of the New York City sewer system. Realizing the depths of the depravity of Yut-Lung, his current employer, Blanca betrays him and allies with Ash out of a show of his own beliefs of honor and human compassion, proving his status as Ash's most Worthy Opponent in the series.
  • The Big O: Once a reporter searching for the truth of Paradigm City's mass amnesia, Michael Seebach survived an Assassination Attempt and became the vigilante "Schwarzwald". Burning a group of the city's classist elites to death, Schwarzwald exposes Paradigm's corruption to hero Roger Smith, before engaging Roger in their giant robot "Megadeuses". Even after death, Schwarzwald's spirit continues his work, passing along the truth of the amnesia to Roger and repossessing his own Megadeus to have it devour the vile Alan Gabriel.
  • Big Order:
    • Gennai Hoshimiya, father of Eiji and Sena, performs terrible experiments to connect with the Spirit World and create a happier world. Desperate to save his ill daughter, Gennai betrays his organization and allows his children to ask for a wish, with them accidentally causing the Great Destruction and killing billions throughout the world. Years later, Gennai uses the U.N. as a cover for his real plan, sacrificing Sena to try to fulfill his Utopian goal with the possibility of causing a Second Great Destruction, betting the fate of the world. Kidnapping Sena, Gennai fools the media by presenting himself as a loving father before revealing to her the truth, using her guilt to make her accept her sacrifice and pitting her against Eiji. Managing to open the door to the Spirit World and risking the entire world, Gennai is fatally wounded in a confrontation with the Group of Ten. Admitting his own hypocrisies, Gennai apologizes to Eiji, saying that his only real goal was to atone for his actions and see a world where all wishes are fulfilled.
    • Sena Hoshimiya, now aware of her role in the Great Destruction, starts a series of actions to ensure being killed to save her beloved brother from a life as a pariah and destroy all of the remains of her father's legacy. Reuniting multiple Order users and earning their loyalty for multiple reasons, Sena broadcasts her apparent plan to cause a new Great Destruction to the public, using their fear for her plans. Prevailing against the attempts of the Group of Ten to stop her, Senna eventually opens a gate to the Spirit World, taking control of an Eldritch Abomination known as "God" and unleashing it on the world, threatening to absorb all of it. A girl considerably smarter than she looks, Sena tries to manipulate her brother into hating her until she forces him to shoot her. Telling him the truth, Sena's last action is to join forces with her brother and use their Orders to control the damage she has caused.
  • Black Lagoon: In this dark criminal underworld, a few manage to thrive and even direct the chaos:
    • Rokuro "Rock" Okajima himself has grown steadily darker as the series goes on. Proving his tactical acumen in the first few episodes by coming up with a genius plan to wipe out a pursuing anti-tank aircraft, Rock later shows his skilled manipulative side by becoming a flawless negotiator to the point that all the most powerful players in Roanpur genuinely like and respect him. During Roberta's rampage, it is Rock who manipulates Roberta and her master Garcia into a deadly confrontation to end the bloodshed, nearly getting both killed, but ending in Roberta recovering her sanity and leaving in peace. Rock continues to demonstrate his ability to use and manipulate others, even if for ostensibly desirable ends, as possibly the single most dangerous and skilled player of the criminal game in the darkness that is Roanpur.
    • Balalaika, born Sofiya Pavlovna, was cast out of military service to the Soviets for saving a child in a refugee camp. Now the head of Hotel Moscow in Roanpur with her old unit, Balalaika loves war above all else and maintains control of her section of the city with an iron fist. When she heads to Japan on business, Balalaika casually manipulates a gang war simply to enjoy the excitement with no side ever coming close to even touching her. Earlier, when two of her beloved soldiers are killed by the assassin twins, Hansel and Gretel, Balalaika lures Hansel out to his death and delivers an utterly chilling Breaking Speech as Hansel bleeds to death. Frequently displaying a tactical brilliance, Balalaika shows again and again why she is one of the single most powerful and dangerous people in the world.
    • Eda, supposedly a flirty criminal nun from the so-called Church of Violence smuggling operation, is actually a skilled major player in her own right. A CIA agent who also completely dominates the Triad boss Mr. Chang, Eda is in effect the true secret ruler of Roanpur. On the field, Eda also freely manipulates the hapless Janet Bhai into a safehouse that will be invaded, with enough instructions to escape so Eda can extort her for protection, and later shows that she casually plays all sides in Roanpur while setting up an end to the insane battle maid Roberta's rampage.
  • Blade of the Immortal:
    • Anotsu Kagehisa desires a world where "the sword excuses all". Creating the Itto-Ryu, Anotsu begins to hunt down dojos to eliminate them in order to abolish the stifling sword styles from the world in favor of a world of pure determination. Cleverly eluding his pursuers via having prostitutes disguise themselves as him and lead his hunters into ambushes, Anotsu's utter tenacity sees him through other attempts on his life and rallying the itto-Ryu against the shogunate, culminating in a dynamic assault on Edo castle itself. Even to the end, Anotsu remains a complex figure, stopping at nothing to achieve his dreams despite all the wrongs he has committed on his path.
    • Habaki Kagimura, secret master of the Mugai-Ryu and the shinbangashira—a major figure in the Shogunate—forms the Mugai-Ryu to secretly destroy the Itto-Ryu before luring the organization's strongest members into a trap and destroying them. Capturing series protagonist, the immortal man Manji, Habaki subjects him to experiments to perfect immortality for the sake of the Shogun. When ordered to commit seppuku, Habaki uses his time to try to destroy the Itto-Ryu, dealing a series of decisive blows before engaging Anotsu himself with surprising good humor and mutual respect, with his only regrets at the end being the loss of the two loves of his life and his dead children.
  • Blaster Knuckle: Alex MacGregor is The Rival of Victor "Bloody Rain" Freeman. Raised in the beast-slaying organization Silven Kreuz, Alex befriends Victor during his time in the organization. Becoming a feared and cunning Bounty Hunter while remaining part of Silven Kreuz, Alex enjoys hunting both beasts and human criminals. Joining a police hunt of Victor while knowing that he isn't a murderer, Alex befriends a young Bounty Hunter and tries to convince him to return to his old life and has a duel against Victor that ends in a harsh tie with both injured. Later, Alex manages to survive unscratched by the traps of the beasts in the town of White Rock Valley and kill his attackers. Enraged at the death of his friend, Alex joins forces with Victor to kill as many beasts as they can. Killing the beast leader personally by using his own power against him, Alex reminds the good times and allows Victor to go away, warning him about other members of Silven Kreuz and showing why he's both Victor's enemy and friend.
  • Bleach:
    • Gin Ichimaru is the enigmatic right-hand of Sosuke Aizen. Having once been a normal street urchin who saw Aizen steal a piece of his friend Rangiku Matsumoto's soul, Gin became a Soul Reaper to kill Aizen, easing his way into Aizen's confidence by fascinating him with Gin's vicious nature. Manipulating those closest to him and Aizen himself when Aizen fakes his death, Gin turns them against one another and opens an opportunity for Aizen's conspiracy to massacre the Central 46 who govern Soul Society. At the moment before Aizen's greatest triumph, Gin attacks Aizen himself, only to reveal he never told Aizen the true power of his "Bankai," nearly killing Aizen if not for an unforeseen ability of his Hougyoku.
    • Ulquiorra Cifer is the fourth Espada and Sosuke Aizen's de facto right-hand man. Sent to the Human World to gauge Ichigo Kurosaki's strength, Ulquiorra observes Orihime Inoue's ability, and deduces it to be more than it seems. Leading an invasion to serve as a distraction, Ulquiorra forces Orihime to come to Hueco Mundo, holding the lives of her comrades as leverage, and allowing her to say goodbye to one of her friends. Ulquiorra is willing to psychologically manipulate Orihime, yet expresses distaste at Nnoitra's suggestion that he "sexually tame" her. Confronting Ichigo, Ulquiorra goads Ichigo into fighting him and effortlessly defeats him. During their final fight, Ulquiorra reveals his ultimate form to Ichigo to crush his spirit, and comes the closest out of any other antagonist in the series to killing him. Ruthless, yet graceful, Ulquiorra finally understands what the "Heart" means in his final moments, cementing his status as one of Ichigo's most impactful and formidable enemies.
    • Kugo Ginjo is a former Substitute Soul Reaper betrayed by Soul Society. Desiring revenge, Ginjo assembles the Fullbringer group Xcution and manipulates Ichigo Kurosaki into joining. Secretly in league with Xcution's greatest "enemy", Shukuro Tsukishima, Ginjo in fact has Tsukishima erase his own memory to convincingly pull a ruse off so he may lure Ichigo into a trap and steal his Soul Reaper powers before empowering the other members of Xcution to attack Soul Society. Reflected as an Evil Counterpart to Ichigo, Ginjo even returns in the final arc to assist Ichigo one last time to save the world from the monstrous Yhwach.
  • Blood+: Nathan Mahler is one of Diva's Chevaliers and far more than the silly, foppish man he appears to be. Implied to have been the Chevalier of Saya and Diva's mother, Nathan steadily plays both sides between Diva's forces and Red Shield against one another, protecting Diva during her pregnancy while making sure she faces Saya and that her children will survive. Arranging his own seeming death at Saya's hands, only to slip away completely unharmed, Nathan secures the deaths of any who might harm Diva's children while entrusting them to Saya, his strings so subtle that most are completely unaware they even exist.
  • Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma: Marou, upon becoming the demonic "Kikuga no Miko", tries to save his loved ones from his cursed rampage and takes control of the Yoma to lead them on a conquest of the world. Manipulating the backstabbing Takeda ninja to their deaths, when Marou confronts his best friend Hikage, he tries to corrupt him though respects his convictions when rebuked and even as he dies, Marou gracefully accepts his rebirth as a human free of the Yoma curse.
  • Brain Powerd:
    • Winston Gaybridge is initially presented as a Reasonable Authority Figure before revealing himself as the Governor of the Reclaimers. Intending to control Orphan and awaken it, potentially causing The End of the World as We Know It in an attempt to make humans value nature, Gaybridge dislikes his own actions yet is willing to accept the guilt for causing the destruction of mankind. After the United States of America invades Orphan, Gaybridge shows his distaste towards American imperialism yet uses the Americans for his own purposes. Painting the crew of the Novice Noah as terrorists, Gaybridge fires nuclear weapons against the ship—uncaring about the thousands of refugees caught in the crossfire and inside the Novice Noah itself, and when the Novice Noah teleports the nukes elsewhere, Gaybridge orders multiple nuclear strikes to frame the Novice Noah for it, turning them into enemies of the world. Polite to both allies and enemies, Gaybridge's defeat was a product of his lack of understanding of Orphan's unexpected human-like nature.
    • Baron Maximilian is a mysterious man who becomes Jonathan Glenn's Evil Mentor, giving him the Baronz, a special and powerful antibody that damages the mind of their pilot. Showing a clear fondness for Jonathan, the Baron ensures the best for him, joining the Reclaimers with the eventual intention of synchronizing Jonathan's mind with Orphan. Realizing a coup against Winston Gaybridge and taking control of the Reclaimers, the Baron supports Quincy Isamu after she synchronizes with Orphan,due to knowing that Jonathan supports her as well. Knowing about Jonathan's grudge against Yu Isamu, the Baron pilots the Baronz, intending to kill Yu for Jonathan's well being. Revealed as Anoha McCormick, formerly the captain of the Novice Noah and Jonathan's regretful negligent mother, Anoha is defeated, dying at the hands of her son. A mysterious, powerful and intimidating persona, Baron Maximillian is able to overcome the odds in order to bring happiness to her son,and while her apocalyptic plans failed due to the collective efforts of the Novice Noah, Anoha died fulfilling her true goal of reconciling with her son.
  • Brynhildr in the Darkness: Chisato Ichijiku is the director of the experiments performed by a mysterious organization known as Vingulf and the man responsible for the events in the first half of the manga. Initially appears as an apathetic person in his teenage years, Chisato is heartbroken after his sister's death and tries his best to revive her, even joining Vingulf to do so, and participates in their unethical experiments. He even implants a parasite capable of annihilating the human race in one of Vingulf's subjects, "1107", in order to revive his sister. Despite his seemingly failed attempts at bringing subject 1107 to Vingulf's higher ups, he manages to do so after persuading a Valkyria class witch, Mako Fujisaki, to capture the escaped test subject and raids the hero's hideout along with her. Encountering the soul of his sister in the final moments of 1107 after she got ejected, Chisato finally regains his humanity and spends his last moments protecting Mako from harm.
  • Carole & Tuesday: Tao is an elusive, multi-talented genius with a background in neuroscience who now seeks to create soul-touching music, and becomes Angela Carpenter's songwriter-producer. Putting her through tortuous training sessions, Tao nevertheless shows shrewd analytical assistance, winning her a singing contest by assessing a judge's mood and later catching her stalker by predicting his behavior. Arrested for prior illegal human experimentation, Tao bails himself out and exposes the corrupt CEO who incriminated him, later revealing to Angela they are both Artificial Humans, then encourages her to start singing again, before escaping.
  • Cells at Work!: Cancer Cell is a malfunctioning cell attempting to survive. After watching his friend get killed by Killer T Cells, Cancer Cell became wrathful, devoting his existence to destroying the body and pushing the white blood cells down to his level. Disguising himself as an ordinary cell, Cancer Cell uses one of his clones to stage an attack and gets saved by Neutrophil; Killer T Cell; and NK Cell. He then lures them to his lair to kill them with his clones. Returning to life when his genetic information is leaked, Cancer Cell manipulates Regulatory T Cell into believing him to be a functioning cell, using her to protect himself from attacks. He then invades the intestines and siphons off the toxic fumes of the harmful bacteria. Reasoning that a better world would ensure that cells of all kinds would be able to live together in harmony, Cancer Cell notes that even if it fails, he would be putting everyone out of their misery. Despite his omnicidal designs, Cancer Cell displays an unwavering respect for Neutrophil, taking both of his defeats with stride.
  • Claymore: Isley, the Silver King, was the first of the Creatures of the Abyss, the first Number 1 of the first and only male generation of Claymores. Upon meeting the powerful Priscilla and learning her power, Isley submits to her, intending on manipulating her to bring the world under his control. Bringing about a war in the North with his former comrades now as Awakened Beings, Isley splits his forces in half to sacrifice them against another Abyssal One and the Claymore Organization while he heads South to defeat the third Abyssal One and take her lands. Bonding with The Heroine Clare's former companion Raki, Isley truly grows to love him and Priscilla as family and even sends them away when the monstrous Abyssal Feeders come for him to save their lives. Even post-mortem, we learn Isley only ever Awakened to begin with voluntarily to stop his former comrades and instilled Raki with a plan to help stop Priscilla if she became a monster, a plan that Raki manages to pull off thanks to his teachings.
  • Code Geass:
    • Prince Schneizel el Britannia, de facto ruler of the Holy Britannian Empire, is the only strategic match for his brother Lelouch. Seeking to force peace upon all of mankind, Schneizel operates with supposed loyalty to his father, winning countless battles for his nation while manipulating and recruiting subordinates for his own ends. By withholding key pieces of information, Schneizel even manages to wrestle away control of the Black Knights from the charismatic Lelouch's leadership to turn the tides of battle in his own favor. Arming his ship the Damocles with the destructive F.L.E.I.J.A. warheads, Schneizel aims to take it to orbit to force an end to conflict and even when beaten, Lelouch ensures he remain de facto leader of Britannia, knowing Schneizel's acumen will keep his sister safe as the new ruler.
    • Emperor Charles zi Britannia, 98th Emperor of Britannia, presents as a fascist Social Darwinist who believes in a world where equality cannot exist. In truth, Charles' views were shaped growing up in the brutal, cutthroat court of Britannia until he and his twin brother V.V. outmanuevered their enemies to make Charles Emperor. Secretly researching the Geass and testing his many children, Charles utilizes his empire as little more than a distraction, placing his children in Japan to eventually gain access to the Sword of Akasha. Playing the entire world, Charles eventually sees his twin brother dead for his own betrayal and to seize immortality, intending to initiate the Ragnarok Connection and kill "God" itself to merge mankind into one single mind.
    • Empress-Consort Marianne vi Britannia, aka "Marianne the Flash", is Charles' true love and a match for him in ruthless deception. Known for her immense piloting skill and iron will, Marianne was betrayed by V.V. who loathed her influence over his brother. Transferring her mind into the young girl Anya Stroud, Marianne remains dormant there, taking control as strategically necessary to deceive her enemies and even her own children to help Charles pull off the Ragnarok Connection and bring about the world both seek.
    • In the canon established by the films Initiation, Transgression and Glorification leading into Lelouch of the Re;surrection, Lelouch vi Brittania/Lamperouge is a brilliant, infinitely charming rebellion leader who possesses far more grace and charisma than his original series' counterpart. Using his natural affinity for chess and strategy to turn a ragtag group of resistance fighters into an elite terrorist organization called the Black Knights, Lelouch, under the guise of "Zero", uses them and his power of Geass to wage a massive war campaign against his own father and the Holy Brittanian Empire. Lelouch pulls off a variety of successful ploys that cripple major parts of Brittanian infrastructure, turns tragedies into propaganda to garner more support for his cause, and even fakes amnesia for months to fool his opponents into overlooking his continued scheming. After utterly outdoing his father Charles and brother Schneizel, Lelouch deliberately paints himself as a villain to unite the world against him before sacrificing his own life to solidify the Black Knights as a heroic group to bring all nations into peace. Upon being resurrected, Lelouch immediately steps right back into action, outwitting Zilkhistan despite Queen Shanma's time manipulation powers and once again saving the world, then deciding to peacefully Walk the Earth with his longtime partner C.C. to ensure peace reigns forever.
  • Coppelion: In the radioactive wasteland of Tokyo and its surroundings, Ibara Naruse faced some truly brilliant adversaries:
    • Doctor Coppelius, initially named Matasaburo Itami, was called to create the Coppelion after the nuclear outbreak that destroyed Tokyo. Using the alias Doctor Coppelius, he created Haruto Kurosawa by cloning himself and tried to revive his deceased daughter by cloning her. Exiled by the Three Professors, Coppelius kept himself hidden and managed to contact with some flawed Coppelion in Tokyo, promising them to fix their flaws if they help him. Stealing Aether that allows him to survive in radioactive areas and improving it before escaping to Tokyo to reunite with his allies, Coppelius captures the Ultimate Coppelion and analyzes her DNA to bargain it. Eventually captured for his creations and put in a jail, he writes a formula to turn Coppelion into regular humans to save them from a genetic flaw before escaping. Finding a clone of his own daughter as a member of the Lost Retrieval Unit, Coppelius liberates them to kill the Professors. Rediscovering his faith in humanity, Coppelius tries to stop his own apocalyptic plan, and as he dies, Coppelius gives his last Aether to Haruto to save Ibara. An eccentric old man proud of his creations, Coppelius dies as he lived, with a silly smile.
    • Ougai Masamune is the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs. Initially helping the Coppelion program, Ougai is actually a nationalist intending to turn Japan into a world power. Side-stepping the Copellion and the Tokyo survivors, Ougai manipulates the First Minister and the jingoistic members of the E9 council into intervening in a foreign war with the intention of making them use nuclear power again after showing the radiation-resistant Coppelion. Intending to sell them to ensure the Japanese supremacy in a nuclear powered world, Ougai threatens the survivors of Tokyo and sends the Three Professors to capture the Ultimate Coppelion desired by the entire world. After the world is threatened by a new nuclear meltdown, Ougai eventually acknowledges his own mistakes and tries to atone for them, helping the Coppelion to save the world and helping to create a new law for a more responsible use of nuclear power. Abandoning his self-interested partners, Ougai creates a new magisterium, puts his former enemy Mishiba in charge of it and helps a depowered Ibara to reunite with her friends for a while, showing that despite everything, Ougai truly loved his country and wished for a better future.
    • JSDF Commander Kunikawa is the leader of the First Division, soldiers abandoned by their own government—including his politician best friend who would become the Japanese First Minister—in the toxic ruins of Tokyo. Developing a hatred towards mankind, Kunikawa manages to survive for years, planning his revenge. Working with the violent Ozu sisters, Kunikawa tries to cause a new nuclear meltdown in the Daiba nuclear plant, endangering Japan and even the world. He kidnaps a Coppelion for his plans and despite being captured, he manages to escape anyway, fooling even Teen Genius Haruto Kurosawa. Intending to succeed, Kunikawa is only stopped due to the combined efforts of the survivors of the Planet base and the heroic Coppelion. Having an honest talk with Haruto, who was almost as misanthropic as he is, about the actions of Ibara Naruse, Kunikawa recovers his faith in mankind, giving his own life to save both the survivors and his remaining soldiers, while giving his cape—accidentally causing the future redemption of the First Minister at seeing it—to Haruto to show his faith towards him before dying, smiling at having recovered his own humanity.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • Original series: Vicious is Spike Spiegel's former friend and partner in the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate, who grew to despise personal relationships after the latter betrayed him by having an affair with Vicious' girlfriend Julia. After Spike and Julia fled the syndicate, Vicious grew dissatisfied with the management of its leadership, the council known as the Van, later killing his own mentor to prevent what he saw as a disadvantageous peace offering with another syndicate. Securing leadership of the Red Dragon during what was intended to be his own execution, Vicious manages to outplay the Van, bringing many of their followers to his side and personally cutting down the Van members to assume command himself. Forcing Spike into open confrontation with himself in command of the Red Dragon, Vicious dies facing his rival, never straying from his twisted though genuine personal code.
    • Knockin' on Heaven's Door: Vincent Volaju is a stoically badass Supersoldier who—due to horrible trauma and experiments performed upon him—has come to believe he is trapped in a nightmare, and seeks to escape to the "real world". Vincent conscripts others to his side through bribery and manipulation alike, never hesitating to eliminate those same allies if they endanger his plans. A very well-spoken man who often muses about the nature of Purgatory and life itself while pulling off terrorist attacks that throw Mars into a panic, Vincent's brain is matched with his brawn, as he is one of the few characters in the franchise capable of taking down Spike Spiegel. His plan to unleash a virus and wipe out all life on Mars nearly succeeding, Vincent nonetheless offers survival to a chosen few he believes have true willpower, and, even when laying dying when his are foiled, he accepts his death and spares the life of his former lover Electra, earning the respect and sympathy of Spike himself in the process.
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund: Alphonse Medici de Borgiani is the Bund's master of intelligence who, for the sake of the Bund, will have a child kidnapped and bitten to blackmail the boy's politician grandfather. Constantly putting pressure on the hero Akira to better himself and become a strong companion for Princess Mina, Alphonse later orchestrates the betrayal and takeover of Mina's evil Doppleganger, before repenting and making plans to have Mina return to the throne via a series of clever contingencies. Finally, Alphonse allows himself to be destroyed and leaves a recording blaming himself for all of the Fake Mina's crimes so none of it will reflect upon the true Mina, protecting her, as Akira says, all the way to the bitter end.
  • Dances with the Dragons: Cardinal Moldeen Ogus Gyunei is the mastermind behind the series events, seeking to unite the Alshok Territory with the Seven-Cities Alliance and prevent the catastrophic Holy War from occurring. Arranging for the assassination of his own decoy, Moldeen uses this to expose and then kill the traitor in his organization. Hiring two assassins to use as bait to lure out a defector, Moldeen is also revealed to be responsible for the failure of the first treaty, which he did to create favorable conditions for Alshok. Admitting to be willing to deceive, betray, spill blood and even support oppressive regimes in the name of his end goal, Moldeen will stop at nothing to create a world where future generations can live in happiness.
  • Darker Than Black:
    • Amber is an elusive, mysterious woman who betrayed MI-6 to work for The Syndicate, eventually leading the deadliest squad of Contractors in Heaven's War. Realizing the Syndicate's true intentions and using her powers to see and rewind the future countless times, Amber manipulated the Syndicate and her own side to seal off Heaven's Gate, which caused a massive disaster that rendered most of South America uninhabitable. Returning in modern day Japan, Amber orchestrates a series of bombings while kidnapping the scientist behind the Saturn Ring project, manipulating her former lover Hei and the world's intelligence agencies to place Hei close to Hell's Gate so he can seal it as well and prevent the Saturn Ring project from killing all the world's Contractors. After settling things with Hei, Amber sacrifices herself to rewind time and give him a chance to choose a third option, later revealing she had foreseen that possibility and left guidance in the new world Hei had made.
    • November 11, alias Jack Simon, is a suave Contractor and one of MI-6's best agents. First seen recovering the inactive former war criminal Havoc, skillfully reversing a double cross and eliminating everyone after interrogation, November later kills Havoc before she can reawaken to her Contractor state, showing himself the equal of Hei himself with a plan to nullify his electric currents. Later learning of the Syndicate's true reach and schemes, November defects to Evening Primrose and leaves his close ally Misaki Kirihara with clues she needs to dismantle the scheme, sacrificing his life to kill his former superior Decade in a choice his partner April describes as a rational decision and end that any Contractor would be proud of.
  • Date A Live: "Nightmare" Kurumi Tokisaki was once a normal, human girl. After being turned into a Spirit and lied to by the First Spirit after killing her best friend, Kurumi resolved to undo the First Spirit's existence no matter what it took. Introduced as a mysteriously charming transfer student, Kurumi stays one step ahead of Shido Itsuka and Ratatoskr, ultimately engineering a Sadistic Choice where either a spacequake destroys the city or her "City of Devouring Time" consumes Shido's entire school. After being saved from a rampaging "Efreet" by Shido, her next appearance sees her help Shido against Miku and DEM while trying to uncover Nia's location. Helping Origami go back in time to stop her parents' murder, Kurumi learns the horrible truth and uses her time powers to help Shido correct the mistake, including convincing her past self to offer aid. Against the overwhelming might of Mio Takamiya and Isaac Westcott, Kurumi put a clone back in time as a contingency to impart critical knowledge to Shido in case she's killed and steals back Nia's Qlipha Crystal from Westcott to even the odds. Brimming with self-confidence to match her enigmatic nature, Kurumi was both a deadly enemy and a pivotal ally.
  • Death Note franchise:
    • Death Note: L Lawliet is the world's best detective and the Arch-Enemy and only intellectual equal of Light Yagami aka Kira. Introducing himself by tricking Light into revealing his location by sacrificing a death row inmate, L goes on to pursue Light with unfettered ruthlessness. With only mundane resources at his disposal, L manages to constantly evade Light's supernaturally-backed attempts to kill him and becomes ever-closer to exposing Light for his crimes. Even when Light deliberately loses his memories of his work as a Serial Killer, L continues to close in on his enemy and is only finally killed when Light convinces a Shinigami to take out L by giving its own life. Having left a fail-safe to inform his successors of his passing, L's posthumous machination leaves Near and Mello the field to finally take down Light, leaving his rival to scream and plead for his life before his own death.
    • Death Note Special Chapter: Minoru Tanaka is the second human chosen by Ryuk to own the Death Note. After being given the Death Note, Tanaka crafts a scheme to take advantage of the Death Note without actually using it. By having Ryuk send out messages on live broadcasts, Tanaka auctions the Death Note to the highest bidder, opening it up for abuse and spreading panic around the world. After getting the governments of America and China involved, Tanaka pits the two against each other in a bidding war before selling the Death Note to America for a quadrillion yen. To ensure that he can't be traced by law enforcement through the transaction, he has the U.S government split the money across the bank accounts of countless Japanese citizen's, causing an economic boom in the country. Hiding his identity all the way through, Tanaka proves himself to be a worthy successor as Kira.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • Kagaya Ubuyashiki is the brilliant leader of the Demon Slayers Corps. A kind man who loves his subordinates like his own children, Kagaya is still willing to go to extremes to see the monstrous Muzan Kibutsuji dead, subjecting the trainees to a potentially deadly selection process where they have to fight captive demons, while also memorizing the names and faces of every single Demon Slayer who dies. A genius planner, Kagaya keeps Muzan and his forces at bay through a complex hiding system to defend his strongholds and sets plans to move and crush the powerful Twelve Kizuki of the demon forces. Captivating the love of his subordinates with his natural charisma, Kagaya uses himself, his wife and his two eldest daughters as bait for Muzan himself to sacrifice all their lives in an explosion and give the Demon Slayer elites a chance to kill Muzan for good.
    • Kokushibo, Upper Rank 1, was born Michikatsu Tsugikuni and joined Muzan to stave off death in order to grow more powerful. Almost wiping out the Demon Slayers, the only warrior to ever exceed him in power was his younger twin Yoriichi, whom Kokushibo was never able to fully cease loving. In modern times, Kokushibo is undefeated, killing countless Demon Slayer elites and manipulating some, such as Kaigaku, into becoming demons before casually dominating the battle with his descendant Muichiro Tokito. Engaging the strongest of the Hashira and concealing his true power to catch them off guard, Kokushibo takes every chance to show why he is the strongest of the Twelve Kizuki.
    • Akaza, Upper Rank 3, was born Hakuji and adopted his Social Darwinist beliefs after the deaths of his loved ones and becoming a demon under Muzan. Baiting a Hashira into combat, Akaza mortally wounds him to tempt a strong opponent with demonhood, yet respects the man's decision to die human when he refuses. Returning later, Akaza shows his full tactical abilities while facing both hero Tanjiro Kamado and another Hashira simultaneously. Constantly switching maneuvers to keep them on the defensive, Akaza even dies by his own hand, foregoing a chance to kill his opponents to commit suicide and reunite with his family.
  • Detective Conan:
    • "The Moonlight Sonata Murders": Seiji Asoh is the son of Keiji Asoh, the true identity of Doctor Narumi Asai and the culprit behind the murders on Tsukikage Island. Seeking to avenge the deaths of the Asoh family, Seiji begins murdering those responsible, playing a recording of the "Moonlight Sonata" as a funeral piece for each of them. Seiji drowns Hideo Kawashima so the Japanese Police will have to examine the body on the mainland, leaving him as the only doctor on the island. Seiji then kills Tatsuji Kuroiwa, using the recording of the Sonata and his medical knowledge to create an alibi for himself. Seiji then murders Ken Nishimoto, making his death look like a suicide and writing a note saying that he's the real murderer. When his crimes are discovered, Seiji calmly burns himself to death along with his father's beloved piano, spending his last moments thanking Conan for his kindness.
    • "Murder at the Ski Lodge": Akiko Yonehara is a cheerful former teacher of Ran and Sonoko who's out to deliver justice to two of her colleagues who murdered her student. Inviting all of her coworkers to a ski lodge, Akiko murders Sugiyama before everyone arrives, then fakes an attack on herself and Sonoko in order to give herself an alibi. She then strengthens her alibi by rigging Sugiyama's body to be found at a set time where everyone is in the same place. Not knowing the identity of the other murderer, Akiko invites a reporter connected to the student's death to the lodge and leaves subtle clues to her true intentions in order to cause Sugiyama's cohort, Kohei Shimoda to panic and reveal himself. Akiko then strangles Kohei with her wig to obfuscate his death and when exposed admits fully to her crimes and expresses regret that she had to hurt Sonoko to get what she wanted.
  • Detective School Q:
    • King Hades, real name Hoshiko Kokuo, is the final villain DDS Q-Class faces in the story, and the true mastermind behind the team's common foes. A brilliant mind since birth, Hades' abusive, despairing childhood lead him to create the criminal organization Pluto. Pluto is designed by Hades to be a helpful group to aspiring murderers, offering to craft a perfect murder scheme for their clients to pull off and get away with it all, though at a high price and with the caveat that no member of Pluto can personally commit a murder for the client. Recruiting creative minds to Pluto to continue its expansion and pulling off countless murder schemes that go off without a hitch, Hades, seeking to make his grandson Ryu his heir, orchestrates a decade-long plan to turn Ryu into a perfect successor, even allowing the boy to ally with Pluto's enemy DDS as one of the steps. Hades personally manipulates four people into killing each other one after the other, frames Ryu for the crimes, and nearly kills all of Q-Class, calmly accepting his defeat when they outsmart him and even returning Ryu's lost father to him as a last kind act before vanishing forever.
    • Cerberus/Kerberos is the single most dangerous operative of Pluto, serving King Hades loyally while taking a playful enjoyment in his clashes with DDS Q-Class. An inventive and exceptional hypnotist and Master of Disguise, Cerberus fools Q-Class several times over with his art of imitation and disguises, and uses his hypnotism to silence any potential leaks to Pluto. Completely outsmarting Q-Class in his first appearance, Cerberus is captured later when Dan Morihiko personally leads the charge, however Cerberus politely spends his time in prison chatting with his guards and even recommending literature. Pulling off an intense, complex escape scheme through a combo of hypnotism and ingenuity, Cerberus later honors his master Hades in saving Ryu's life and helping the boy find his lost father, after which Cerberus departs to kickstart his own criminal aspirations. Ever gracious, affable and respectful to even his worst enemies, Cerberus stood in stark contrast to his fellow Pluto operatives' smug, cruel personalities.
  • Devil Devil, by Yu(u)ki Miyoshi: Shiva Garland is one of the strongest demons in Hell. Working for a demon what he believes is Satan, Shiva is sent to kill his best friend Sword. Sending demons of different moralities to secretly test him, Shiva's intent is to be defeated by Sword to give him a chance to defeat Satan. Killing one demon that was going to kill Sword, Shiva puts a lethal curse in his human host with the intention of forcing him to become stronger and kill him. Defeated by Sword, Shiva reveals that he's working with a rebellion against the Demon King and is put into a coma, awakening to stop the omnicidal Shadow of Satan, sacrificing his life to save all of existence. An honorable Blood Knight willing to risk the lives of humans to ensure a victory for his best friend, Shiva Garland was as powerful as he was intelligent.
  • Devilman: Ryo Asuka, in truth the fallen angel Satan, is the one who connives to have Akira Fudo become Devilman by tricking him into being possessed by the demon Amon. Upon regaining his memories as Satan, Ryo exposes the existence of demons and sets the world into a full-blown panic to make humanity turn on itself while he sweeps in with his demons to eliminate them, eventually facing and killing Akira himself to his great sorrow. Even after God resets the world, forcing Ryo to relive losing Akira over and over, Ryo shows hints of subtly altering things to eventually change the fate forced on him, showing why he is both Akira's greatest friend and deadliest enemy.
  • Digimon:
    • The Movie: On a quest for "the programmer," Diaboromon's mad search and hunger for data earns the attention of Gennai and the DigiDestined. Assaulted as a Keraman by Tai, Izzy, and their Digimon, he tricks the latter two by jumping from Rookie to his Ultimate Form, Infermon, and subsequently overpowers them. Earning his first victory by attacking them mid-transformation, Infermon escapes and covers his tracks by clogging up the dial-up phone lines. When Izzy uses a satellite uplink to continue the pursuit, Diaboromon hijacks the connection to send missiles to Colorado and Japan to put them on the clock. Multiplying himself to hide the real one to kill time, it takes the might of Omnimon to destroy them all. Although Diaboromon resorts to outspeeding them, he's eventually caught and defeated. Returning in the sequel, he orchestrates his revival by tricking the DigiDestined into opening gates for his Kuramon swarms. Diaboromon holds out against his old foe Omnimon in the Digital World, showing how much he learned, before successfully digivolving into Armageddemon in the real world. Boasting a mere two appearances, Diaboromon regardless managed to be one of the DigiDestined's most cunning, adaptable, and dangerous adversaries.
    • Frontier:
      • Ostensibly the leader of the evil Legendary Warriors, Mercurymon is the scheming Warrior of Steel prepared to undermine his own leader Cherubimon and allies for personal gain. Straying to the background to let his comrades do all the grunt work, Mercurymon seizes the chance to defeat Seraphimon in a single, bold Dark Reflection and steal his data for himself. Later, he uses his Beast form Sakkakumon to pit both heroes and villains against one another allowing him to copy their powers even when ShadowSeraphimon is defeated. Enough of a suave snarker to play Ranamon's jealousy to his advantage, Mercurymon was ultimately only undone when the DigiDestined unexpectedly overcame his own Thanatos Gambit. Ever prepared to construct grandiose spectacle and speak in that slick Shakespearean accent, Mercurymon was one of the most competent villains in the anime.
      • Murmukusmon is main antagonist of the movie. Arriving to the Island of Lost Digimon long ago, Murmukusmon obscured an ancient tablet about Ornismon to trick the populace into revering the monster as a benevolent legend. Posing as d'Arcmon and Hippogriffomon, leaders of the Human and Beast Digimon respectively, he strokes constant civil war through powerful rhetoric, convincingly feigned emotion, and appeal to their pain, causing many allies from all sides to revert into Digi-Eggs, and thus excess Digi Code, when defeated. By the time the DigiDestined discover his ruse, Murmukusmon acquires all the code he needed, reveals his deception and the true history, and initiates Ornsimon's revival. Cold and calculating, Murmukusmon played everyone for fools and schemed to conquer the Digital World with his new living superweapon.
    • Xros War manga:
      • Bagramon is the leader of the Bagra Army. Brother of the "dark" digimon SkullKnightmon, Bagramon used to be a angel digimon working for the digital deity Homeostasis. Rebelling against Homeostasis because of her plan to have digimon branded as heroic or villainous, in a system that would result in his brother's death, Bagramon is defeated and exiled. Finding the remains of the digital deity Ygdrassil, Bagramon uses them to empower himself and begin his conquest, creating the Xros Loader and the powerful artificial Digimon Tactimon. He then rebels again with the loyalty of dark digimons, defeating the Royal Knights and breaking the digital world. Manipulating his brother using two minions and some humans, Bragramon intends to judge humans and digimons based on who wins between them. When his brother "wins" while losing his sanity, Bagramon cries for him before using him to recreate Zeed Milleniunmon, intending to use it to euthanize both the digital and human worlds and save them from decay. When he is proven wrong by the heroes, Bagramon cheers for them and dies saving his brother, encouraging him to be better. Inspiring loyalty in his followers, Bagramon truly wishes for a better future.
      • More honorable than his anime counterpart, Tactimon is one of Bagramon's top generals and his best creation. Leading his armies in the fractured Digital World, Bagramon is the digimon that broke it during his fight against the powerful Royal Knight Omegamon. A ruthless yet effective general willing to fire against his own soldiers in harsh fights, Bagramon also prefers to not waste their lives in pointless battles. Manipulating Mach Leomon to his death to test the power of his rivals, Tactimon follows the heroes to test their power as well. During the final battle of the Bagra Army, Tactimon asks permission to use his full power and challenge the heroes in a harsh fight, showing his impressive unmatched skill and only being defeated by their determination and teamwork. Lethally wounded, congratulates them, happy at having find worthy opponents.
  • Dragon Ball franchise:
    • Original manga: Demon King Piccolo formed after the Nameless Namek who would become Kami expelled his evil became Earth's most dangerous threat yet. His previous reign thwarted when the martial artist Mutaito performed a Heroic Sacrifice to seal him away. Released centuries later, he showed he had learned from his prior defeat snding his children to hunt down and dispose of every martial artist in the world as a precaution. When Goku kills his children, rather than shrug off their deaths Piccolo confronts the problem directly, beating Goku so thoroughly that his heart stops. Coming into conflict with Roshi, Piccolo lets Roshi hide his Dragonballs and swallows his own, then summons Shenron to restore his youth, killing the eternal dragon after his wish has been fulfilled. Continuing his dark reign over the Earth, King Piccolo all but wins. Even after his death the demon king spits out an egg that carries his reincarnation to finish where he left off. As cool as he was evil, King Piccolo was fondly remembered for being one of the first truly threatening adversaries.
    • Super: Hit, introduced in the "Champa Arc", is an assassin from Universe 6 with the power to "Time-Skip", famed for always fulfilling his contracts without leaving a trace. Despite his cold professionalism, Hit always abides by a code of honor and goes out of his way to avoid unnecessary casualties when performing his contracts. Initially joining Champa's tournament for personal gain, Hit finds an adversary providing him a challenge in Goku for the first time, a sentiment that causes him to fake his defeat to show that he is not Champa's pawn. Later hired by a client to assassinate Goku, Hit swiftly dispatches the Saiyan before he could attack, promising to pay his respects to his seemingly slain rival, who was only saved by his own quick thinking. In the Tournament of Power, Hit rarely loses his cool in the heat of battle and simply shifts tactics whenever his opponents find ways to counter his signature Time-Skip. Even when he's physically outmatched by the mighty Jiren, Hit nearly rings out the Pride Trooper by using a variety of tactics and techniques, a feat that was previously deemed impossible.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Izaya Orihara is an information broker and one of the most dangerous men in Ikebukuro wanting to declare his "love" for humans by manipulating them for his own amusement. Introducing Masaomi Kida to his follower Saki Mikajima she would have Saki form a romantic relationship with Masaomi while Izaya instigates a gang war between Masaomi’s gang, The Yellow Scarves, and The Blue Square, leaving Masaomi vulnerable, endangering Saki, and dismantling both gangs in the process. Also a member of The Dollars, Izaya has recruited thousands into the Dollars before turning them against their leader by reveal to them his identity, Mikado Ryuugamine, allowing them to reek havoc throughout Ikebukuro. After being stabbed by "Jinnai Yodogiri", Izaya would allow himself to be capture, tricking his captors into revealing information on "Jinnai Yodogiri" before sending his newly formed group to defeat them afterwards. Also holding immense animosity for Shizuo Heiwajima for not being able to manipulate him, Izaya has provoke Shizuo constantly, cost him his job, frames him for murder, manipulates a girl to kill Shizuo, and tries to kill Shizuo himself. When Shizuo manages to beat Izaya, he attempt to goad Shizuo to kill him, content that the masses witnessing Shizuo will then view him as a monster.
    • Kasane Kujiragi is a Dhampyr who uses the name "Jinnai Yodogiri" to orchestrate the events of 2x. After Izaya Orihara ignores her warning to not interfere with her plans she has him stabbed and later interrogated for information, before allowing him to continue manipulating people to keep them distracted from her own scheming. Also a wielder of Saika, Kasane would hand over Saika to Shingen Kishitani having him spread Saika throughout Ikebukuro creating more Saika wielders and expand Saika influence to almost everyone in Ikebukuro giving Kasane complete control over masses minds and the city. She would also posses Shingen’s son Shinra to make Shinra’s Love Interest Celty Sturluson more vulnerable allowing Kasane to defeat her and give Celty her head to put her under Kasane’s control. Kasane would later save her half-niece, Ruri Hijiribe, from her stalker while taking full blame for the crimes Ruri committed as the Hollywood Serial Killer, so that Ruri can continue living a normal life.
  • F-Zero: Legend of Falcon: Black Shadow is the bombastically evil mastermind behind Dark Million, and a character ten times as devious and stylish as his video game counterpart. Black Shadow manipulates virtually all the conflict across 50 episodes in his scheme to obtain the Reactor Mights and use them to create a universe of evil, a dream Black Shadow has dedicated himself to fulfilling with every inch of his being. Black Shadow plays heroes and allies alike as pawns while rarely ever getting up from his seat, and nearly curbstomping the heroes every time he does finally step in directly. Black Shadow's manipulations even stretch 150 years in the past, having directly arranged for the creation of both his Co-Dragons and even numerous fail-safes to stop The Chosen One Ryu Suzaku from stopping him. Black Shadow has planned for every failure in advance, always ready with an Evil Laugh and a wicked grin for every apparent setback, and remains in total control of the series up until Captain Falcon is forced to perform a galaxy-shattering Heroic Sacrifice to stop him.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Zeref Dragneel, the Dark Mage, is known as the most evil wizard of all time. In truth, a tormented genius cursed with everlasting life after he tries to resurrect his beloved younger brother, Zeref plotted to send the future Dragon Slayers into the future to one day combat the evil dragon Acnologia. Upon surrendering to darkness, Zeref clandestinely founded the Alvarez empire as Emperor Spriggan and used them to wage war on Fairy Tail, seizing the ultimate magic Fairy Heart for himself, intending on using it to wipe out the current timeline and go back to correct all his mistakes in the hopes of forging a better world.
    • Ultear Milkovich is a manipulative, backstabbing sorceress who uses other wizards to further her Master, Hades', plans to bring back Zeref, most notably causing the events in the Tower of Heaven that result with the Etherion cannon being fired at the Tower, destroying it. Even after her Heel–Face Turn, Ultear continues to show her ruthless nature, even trying to kill the heroic Rogue to prevent him from becoming a villain in the future and her honor by giving her youth to cast a spell to turn back time and save the heroes from death. Later returning as a magical projection, Ultear helps save Fiore from the Alvarez Empire's sorceress Dimaria.
  • Feng Shen Ji: Tian himself, once known as Hei Long, wiped out the ancient gods when they betrayed him and nearly murdered his beloved wife. Recreating the world, humanity and gods, Tian has humanity enslaved so he may have blood crystals harvested in order to revive Bai Long. Upon Bai Long's imperfect revival, Tian tries to end hostilities via his sheer power, before being betrayed by the evil Shen Yen. Seemingly accepting his death, Tian fakes it and is revealed to have been manipulating everyone so he may judge their worthiness for himself, honoring his vow to spare humanity when hero Ah Gou proves himself to Tian in combat.
  • Fist of the North Star: Raoh himself, Kenshiro's eldest brother disciple in Hokuto Shinken styles himself as Ken-Oh The Conqueror. In a series of brilliant and ruthless campaigns, Raoh carves out his own empire in the wasteland while defeating any martial artists who challenge him and sending them to the prison Cassandra while stealing their scrolls for his own usage and advancement. While sometimes at the disadvantage thanks to Kenshiro or rival forces, Raoh is infamous for pushing back to be stronger than ever through sheer force of will and tenacity. Possessing a strong form of honor, Raoh does not hesitate to execute any in his army who terrorize or violate his citizens and when he faces the warrior Fudoh, Raoh orders his own men to kill him should he take a step back, a request he is furious they ignore. When he finally faces Kenshiro and loses, Raoh embraces his brother with true affection and uses the last of his energy to purge the radioactive toxins from the atmosphere, declaring proudly that he lived his life without regrets as he dies standing proud.
  • Flame of Recca: Kurei Mori, The Dragon to Kouran Mori is the string puller behind the events of the first 50+ chapters. Kidnapping Recca's "princess", Yanagi, Kurei baits Recca to his castle. Defeating Recca and the heroes' Team Hokage, Kurei forces them to participate in the lethal combat arena, Ura Butou Satsujin, where the wealthy gamble on the fights—including Kurei's adoptive father Kouran. After witnessing the abilities of Team Hokage, Kurei prepares powerful fighters to challenge them and even uses the heroes to take down the traitorous Genjuro, along with his minions. Having removed all other opposition, Kurei challenges Recca to one-on-one combat and after being defeated, honors his promise not to attack Recca or his friends. Helping the heroes kill Kouran after he betrays Kurei, Kurei proved himself to plan one step ahead of everyone else and always remained a Noble Demon at heart, despite his brutal tendencies.
  • FLCL:
    • Original series: Haruko Haruhara, real name Haruha Raharu, uses her employment in the Galactic Space Police Brotherhood to covet the N.O. powers of the mighty "Pirate King" Atomsk for herself. Seeking out the powerful N.O. user Naota Nandaba, Haruko uses him to summon and recruit the Medical Mechanica robot Canti, using his strength to get closer to freeing Atomsk from Medical Mechanica's captivity and subverts the efforts of both the company and government officials seeking to stop her. Leaving Earth after being defeated by Naota powered with Atomsk's strength and professing his love for her, Haruko returns years later, finding more N.O. users to begin her plans anew. Through a series of manipulations and deals with rivals—including her own split-off personality—Haruko again nearly unites with Atomsk and though initially torn by his repeated rejection, recovers with his comforting before preparing to chase him once more, calmed and enlightened.
    • Progressive & Alternative: Julia Jinyu, from the Progressive season, is Haruko's literal other half who seeks to stop her from taking Atomsk's powers. Previously a friend of Atomsk, she was abandoned by him for being weak to keep up, but nevertheless, she vowed to protect him from losing his free will. Arriving at Mabase to stop Haruko, Jinyu attempts to kill Hidomi Hidori for being an N.O. user, but relents, and instead becomes her helpful house keeper, fighting Haruko any chance she can get to protect her friends. After getting eaten by Haruko and spat back out thanks to Canti, Atomsk is released, and decides to combine himself with Jinyu instead. With Jinyu reunited with her one true love, she bids Haruko a friendly, comforting farewell before heading back into space.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: The brilliant, ruthless Nakago was once a boy named Ayuru Gi who was taken by the Kutou Emperor after his tribe was destroyed. Used as a Sex Slave, Nakago gained the Emperor's trust and eventually became a general of Kutou. Manipulating the priestess of Seiryuu, Yui Hongo, to his side and winning the loyalties of the legions of Kutou as well as his Seiryuu warriors, Nakago tricks his own subordinate into killing the family of hero Tamahome and often stays a step well ahead of the heroes. Eventually overcoming the Emperor and launching a coup that makes him ruler of Kutou, Nakago comes within a hairsbreadth of having Seiryuu summoned to make himself a god above all gods, even managing to absolve himself of his sins to pass to heaven in his final moments.
  • Future Diary: Mur-Mur is the humorous minion of Deus Ex Machina, but schemes behind her master's back to continue the survival games for eternity to amuse herself. Convincing Yuno Gasai to travel to the 2nd World and take that Yuno's place so she can still be with Yukiteru Amano, Mur-Mur would also take her own 2nd world counterpart's place so she can manipulate the people in that world; She tells Keigo Kurusu that he can cure his son's illness if he wins causing him to turn against Yuki, and lies to Yuki that he can resurrect his dead parents if he becomes god. Mur-Mur also takes direct manners to those that interfere with her plans such as erasing all of Akise's actions in Paradox, abandoning Yuki in the 2nd world before traveling to the 3rd world with Yuno, and brutalizing Minene Uryu when she fights her; she would have won if Yuno had not killed herself out love for Yuki, leading Mur-Mur to unite Yuno's 3rd world counterpart with Yuki.
  • Gankutsuou: Once an innocent man sentenced unjustly, Edmond Dantes returns as the ruthless, charming Count of Monte Cristo to destroy his enemies. Rescuing the son of his former best friend Fernand and his fiancee Mercedes, the young Albert Morcerf, it is later revealed the Count set up the kidnapping to begin with to gain Albert's trust. Manipulating his old enemies into trusting him with investments that ruin them, the Count also reveals he rescued a young alien girl named Haydee so she could expose Fernand as a traitor and the murderer of her father. Edmond also introduces one enemy, Villefort's, mentally unstable wife to poison so she will commit murders and further disgrace her husband while later having his ally, the bandit Andrea, reveal he is Villefort's illegitimate son to ruin him further. Finally, the Count plans to harden his own heart and kill Albert to destroy Fernand, not satisfied until he has given Fernand the same unending despair Fernand once gave him, before finally letting go of his hatred thanks to the love of Albert, ending his life with a final plea to remember that his name was Edmond Dantes. A charming, sophisticated manipulator, none around him ever saw the Count coming until he struck.
  • Ga-Rei: The God of the Land is a deity that follows the call of nature to support the Dark Priestess and the Decimation Plan to cleanse the world. The Land God is introduced while interrupting protests around Naraku and murdering JDSF soldiers to spread miasma across Tokyo and turn the city into a hellhole. He allows the heroes to escape, knowing that he has ensured the awakening of the Dark Priestess and that she will be hunted by the Agency. Dedicated to defend the Black Priestess Yomi, the Land God makes a temporary truce with the heroes to defend her in the house of his human friend Michael until Yomi embraces her role after suffering a great loss. When The Decimation Plan starts and many Narakus are summoned across the world, the Land God appears to the cowardly world leaders to criticize them for their corruption of the world. When the Light and Dark priestesses reconcile and leave the apocalyptic plan to create a world where humans and spirits co-exist instead, the Land God accepts the results and leaves, feeling no regrets for his role.
  • GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018 anime): The ruthless Nurarihyon seeks to elevate the Yōkai above humanity. Having released the Four Treacherous Generals from the underworld to wreak havoc and sow tensions, Nurarihyon plays the part of a businessman who helps humans antagonize Yokai, allowing him to gain their loyalties when they grow tired of Kitaro's peaceful ways. Putting his plan into action, Nurarihyon allies with Backbeard and the Western Yokai, only to betray and poison them when he judges their usefulness to him to have expended.
  • Godzilla: The Planet Eater: Metphies is an Exif who serves as the archbishop of their religion. Using his status as a colonel of the United Earth Military to convert numerous people on board the Aratum into his religion, he would mold one of them, Haruo Sakaki, into his own personal weapon against Godzilla by exploiting Haruo’s hatred for the beast. Leaking Haruo information about Godzilla, he sent him and a squadron down to Earth to kill the beast, before convincing Haruo to turn against Mulu-elu Galu-gu when the latter’s plans to assimilate the Earth with Mechagodzilla’s nanometal interferes with Metphies' own plans for the planet. After saving Earth from Mulu-elu and Mechagodzilla, Metphies persuades many of the survivors into helping his cause, having them summon Ghidorah — an Eldritch Abomination that destroyed the Exif homeworld — to the planet by telling them it could destroy Godzilla. When Haruo and Miana learn of Metphies' intentions to sacrifice Earth to Ghidorah, Metphies subjects them to mind breaking visions and hallucinations to prevent them from stopping him. Only losing to Mothra’s sudden intervention and Haruo gaining the determination to resist him, Metphies proves that with his intellect and charisma alone he can become a threat on par with the King of Monsters.
  • Golgo 13: Master assassin Duke Togo, better known as Golgo 13, spends most of his stories coming up with a complex gambit to fool his target and get him in a position to take his shot. A master sniper, Togo has been active decades with incredibly few failures and a sterling reputation as a professional. In one instance, he tricked a CIA traitor into leading him to her boss while wearing a red coat against the snowy background to snipe them both in one shot. In another, knowing a mobster was faster on the draw than him, Golgo fooled him into being occupied with his dominant arm holding on to a woman so Golgo could outdraw him. Throughout every story, what characterizes Golgo 13 is cold charisma and unreadable expression, always having a plan to take out his target, no matter who it is.
  • Grimms Notes (2019 anime): Curly is a member of the religious cult known as Church of Fortrem and also a member of the Rogue Storytellers known as Chaos Tellers. Believing that people in their own Story Zones have accursed fates that were given to them from the Book of Fate, Curly teams up with another Chaos Teller, Loki, to manipulate the people in their Story Zones who had a horrible fate in their books by turning them into a Chaos Teller, which resulted in the Story Zone getting distorted and several innocent citizens turning into creatures known as "Villains". Eventually, Curly's plans culminate as she attempts to destroy all of the Story Zones and recreate them in their own image along with Loki in order to liberate people from their accursed fates as a last resort. Despite her beliefs being refuted by the heroes, she remains affable towards them, making her one of the most compelling enemies the heroes have faced.
  • Guilty Crown: Gai Tsutsugami is the mysterious but charming young leader of Funeral Parlor, a resistance organization against the evil GHQ. With a series of schemes to subvert the GHQ's efforts, Gai has a laser-armed satellite of theirs destroyed and halts drug trade. Sacrificing himself to stop the spread of the Apocalypse Virus, Gai is resurrected by the GHQ alongside Mana Ouma for their Adam and Eve plot and works alongside the GHQ while brutally putting Mana's younger brother, the hero Shu, through a series of hardships to force him to eventually kill Gai and Mana, ultimately stopping the Apocalypse Virus from devastating mankind.

     H - N 
  • Happy Sugar Life: Satou Matsuzaka is a high schooler who — after becoming enamored with the young Shio Kobe — would go to any length to protect her "happy sugar life" with her. While presenting herself as friendly in public, Satou is in truth a skilled manipulator who blackmails others into doing her dirty work under the threat of ruining their livelihoods. When Shio's brother Asahi comes into the equation, Satou ropes a despondent Taiyo Mitsuboshi into her scheme to lure Asahi into another district by exploiting his psychological trauma. After reluctantly killing her best friend Shouko Hida, Satou adjusts her scheme yet again by deciding to pass off Shouko's corpse as her own and tasking her aunt with burning the upper level of the apartment to cover her tracks. Satou realized as she was falling to her death the real meaning of love and selflessly shields Shio with her body, dying in her place.
  • Heavy Object: Among the people in a world where war is the norm, the following make a devious record with what they have:
    • Volume 6: Sogia, formerly White Bears leader Yulenzak, body guarded Princess Staivia, Dimiksy's sister. Years ago, he learned of Dimiksy's plan to assassinate Staivia under and his assassination of Excelsyla to obtain her Object, however the conspiracy couldn't be thwarted or slowed. Deciding to go into hiding and stop this plan, Sogia and the White Bears were supposedly killed by fake Information Alliance troops from Dimiksy's faction. However Sogia's unit, having anticipated it, faked their deaths and became Unicorn to thwart Dimiksy from the shadows, even willing to shed their morals. They've also used manipulation to get Qwenthur and Havia reassigned so they learn of Dimiksy's plans. They've also interfered with the duo's operation in Athabasca. When Qwenthur and Havia fight Dimiksy and his Object, Broad Sky Saber, Sogia and Unicorn steal the Forest Roller Object in hopes of using it against the Sky Saber. Unfortunately, the Roller gets destroyed by Dimiksy's laser cannon, having anticipated the attack, which revealed the Object's anti-laser beacon. With Sogia's aid, Qwenthur and Havia corrupt it to make the laser kill Dimiksy and save Staivia in the process.
    • Volume 10: Nyarlathotep, was formerly from the Capitalist Enterprise spy cabal Outer Gods. As a spy, he had numerous times both gotten plastic surgery and faked his death. Once their leader, Azathoth/Acres Kiss-of-Rose, retired and began leading one of the 7th Cores ruling the Capitalist Enterprise, Nyarlathotep retired and became a family man in Soberania. But when his family gets killed in Soberania's destruction at Azathoth's hands, the vengeful Nyarlathotep resorted to psychological warfare in order to start the Gigant Hustler, an event showcasing Object fights. Nyarlathotep then infiltrated the Hustler and sabotaged a participant to draw Azathoth into the event. Once the event is canceled, with one of his Objects destroyed, Azathoth plans an attack to divert attention away from him... only for Nyarly to kidnap and kill him at the remains of Soberania. In order to avert a war between every faction, Nyarlathotep faced a farcical military trial by the Legitimacy Kingdom. He then killed the assassin sent to silence him and faked his death once again, before departing elsewhere.
    • Volume 11: Alisa and her sisters, Rica and Orisa, from the Information Alliance's Martini Series, help Flag Eggnog start wars between the Vanderbilts and the Winchels, and even assisting him with the drug war and the Plasma 177 construction meant to keep him in power. In actuality, they're manipulating Eggnog in order to obtain data on nobles for the Perfect Browsing project, a system that would display how to resolve a worldwide crisis by just typing a text string into a search engine. They start many sample incidents and disasters as possible, preferring to get info from a noble near the top of an enemy world power, using Eggnog who was so dimwitted to believe they're allies. Nearing conclusion of the Celestial Flowers attack, the sisters contact Flag and reveal their true goals and manipulation, noting that they'd now obtained data on the full-speed collapse of a royal's life, planning to upload it entirely for everyone to see, before hanging up on the confused, infuriated prince and leaving him to his ruin.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Leader of the Phantom Troupe, also known as the Spiders, Chrollo Lucilfer is a handsome, charismatic young man who masterminds elaborate heists and mass murders, only to get bored of the objects he obtains and sells them away again. Coming to the mafia-ruled Yorknew City, Chrollo masterminds the heist of the century where the Spiders infiltrate the mob and steal all the items from a high profile auction while Chrollo targets and steals the power of one mob leader's daughter. Completely outwitting the mob, Chrollo learns there is a contract on his head from the Twelve Godfathers and instantly hires different members of the same assassin family to target the Godfathers before having the Spiders fake their deaths and escape completely free. Chrollo also deeply values the other members of the Troupe, offering the lives of multiple mafia soldiers as a "requiem" for the fallen Uvogin, and when he faces off with the ruthless killer Hisoka, he also shows what a brilliant tactician and combatant he truly is by completely outplaying and seemingly killing the skilled fighter. A charming, philosophical man who freely admits he places no value on his own life, Chrollo is one of the most memorable villains in all of Hunter x Hunter.
  • ID: Invaded: Tamotsu Fukuda, after surviving a drill into his head and inadvertently curing his own arithmomania, becomes "The Perforator" and drills holes into people's head in hope of curing them of similar conditions. When the police led by Koharu Hondomachi tracks down Fukuda, he pretends to be one of The Perforator's victims before killing the doctors transporting him and kidnapping Koharu. After being convinced by Koharu that his actions are doing more harm than good to his victims, Fukuda willingly surrenders himself to the police and helps them bring other serial killers to justice. Tricking Akihito Narihisago into entering his own ID Well on John Walker's behalf in hopes of killing Akihito and himself, Fukuda is convinced by Koharu to turn against John Walker, helping her and Akihito uncover Walker's true identity set up a trap for him before Fukuda sacrifices his life to save Koharu.
  • Ingress: Christopher Brandt, an altruistic scientist who wants to use the MX for the benefit of humanity is the creator of the augmented reality glasses used by the Collaborators. Brandt uses the Dark MX in himself and to revive his bodyguard Jack. Searching for Sarah, a woman with notorious potential to control MX, Brandt blows himself up in front of her to activate her potential. Encouraging Sarah from the afterlife, Brandt ultimately reveals himself as the real mastermind of the story, taking control over the augmented reality glasses from the Collaborators and killing their leadership by using their own bodyguards. Intending to save humanity by fusing all their souls into a single one, Brandt revives himself using the same method that saved Jack. Almost convincing the protagonists, Brandt forces Sarah to sacrifice herself before trying to force her to participate in his plan in the afterlife. Trying to devour Sarah in a last attempt to fulfill his goal, Brandt is defeated only due to Makoto's, the Ingress users' and Jack's sacrifice. Realizing that his best friend has chosen his own path, Brandt calmly accepts his defeat before vanishing.
  • In/Spectre: The protagonist Kotoko Iwanaga is revered as a Goddess of Wisdom by the youkai and keeper of order. Taking drastic measures to maintain order Kotoko uses her intelligence and people reading skills to weave lies to satisfy her clients' wishes, using force and even framing a dead woman to stop a rampaging phantom. She also shows no mercy to those who try to interfere with order, punishing those who tamper with it through her truths and lies, unconcerned of the consequences for those around. Intelligent and ruthless, Kotoko's sharp wit and charisma shows why many worship her as a deity of knowledge.
  • Inuyasha: Amidst the Gambit Pileup of planners aiming to possess or destroy the Shikon Jewel, these schemers truly distinguish themselves in the brutal Warring States Period.
    • Kikyo was once a priestess guarding the Shikon Jewel until Naraku tricked her and her lover Inuyasha into mistrusting and attacking one another, resulting in her death. Resurrected 50 years later, Kikyo learns the truth and maintains her body on borrowed souls to observe Naraku and plans his destruction by purifying the Jewel once he possesses its completed form. Engineering her own rescue when wounded by Naraku, Kikyo also turns the Jewel-corrupted Kohaku against him and nearly succeeds in killing her foe, only failing thanks to his acquiring the ability to read thoughts, still managing to save Koga as Naraku extracts his Jewel shards. Nevertheless, Kikyo manages to die peacefully in Inuyasha's arms, leaving the heroes the means to finally destroy Naraku for good and spare Kokahu's life.
    • Kagura is the second incarnation of Naraku. An intelligent wind sorceress who lures the wolf demon tribe into a trap to slaughter them, Kagura soon reveals she is reluctantly forced into Naraku's service by him holding her heart. Seeking to free herself, Kagura regularly attempts to pit Naraku against his enemies, including trying to both protect the demon Sesshomaru and lure him into bringing about Naraku's destruction, forming a subtle romantic bond with him. Kagura also assists Naraku's detachment, the Infant with his schemes before being subordinated to the monstrous Hakudoshi, but is able to get the last laugh by tearing him apart when she knows Naraku will no longer defend him from Inuyasha's team. Finally poisoned by Naraku, Kagura spends her final moments with Sesshomaru, accepting her end with dignity and even happiness as she notes she is the "free wind" at last.
    • Bankotsu, leader of the Band of Seven, is an affluent young man and brutal mercenary who was executed 15 years prior to the events of the series. Revived by Naraku with his followers, Bankotsu promptly massacres the lord who betrayed him for revenge and to retrieve his weapon, the Banryu, christening it by making the lord his 1000th kill. Setting about to his missions, Bankotsu proves that despite his lack of formal education, he is an incredibly intelligent fighter and strategist who simply believes in following his own bloody path. Upon the betrayal of his ally Renkotsu, Bankotsu manipulates him into a false sense of security before killing him to remove his Shikon Jewel shards and face Inuyasha in a battle to either win or die on his own terms where he accepts his defeat and final end with his characteristic good humor.
    • Byakuya of the Dreams is a playful, friendly man despite being the right-hand and final incarnation of Naraku. A crafty operative, Byakuya provides reconnaissance for Naraku and manipulates a fight between Sesshomaru and Inuyasha for his master. In the final battle, Byakuya almost succeeds in tricking the heroes to their deaths with his illusions and later calmly leaves himself open to a fatal attack from Inuyasha while completing his role in Naraku's plan, serenely commenting that he dies without regrets as he fades away.
  • The Isolator: The Liquidizer is a Ruby Eye of ambiguous age who controls her murderous instincts by focusing on her goal of "the extermination of humanity" and an administrator in The Syndicate sheltering Ruby Eyes. Liqudizer keeps control over her superpowered murderers by allowing them to occasionally murder people and tries to get other Ruby Eyes to join. If they decline, she accepts it and warns them about the Jet Eyes of the Specialized Forces Division. Suspecting spies in her apartment, Liquidizer sets a trap that almost kills them and calls her student Ryuu Mikawa—the Trancer—to deal with the reinforcements in battle, only defeated by Minoru's unbreakable barrier. Escaping, Liquidizer deals with the Stinger, a powerful unaligned Ruby Eye, and is forced to ask for help from the SFD to save Trancer. She makes a deal with the Jet Eyes to free her valued student from the custody of the SFD, being successful while dealing with an assailant. An enigmatic woman, Liquidizer also speculates about the nature of Jet and Ruby Eyes, a doubt that she shares with Minoru and Mikawa, making them question their roles in life.
  • Jackals: Lee Meilang, the head of Tennouren, is the most intelligent and devious gangster in all of Cicero City who takes over Tennouren solely to destroy the gangs in the city and come out ahead. Meilang manipulates their rival mob Gabriella into a war where she proceeds to play the hero Nichol Heyward and his allies into doing everything she wants. When Don Salieri is overthrown by his depraved underling Vampire Franco, Meilang simply works it into her plans and comes out ahead, selling out the other gangs and establishing a legitimate organization with the government after their defeat, completely untouchable to the end.
  • Jormungand: Koko Hekmatyar is a brilliant young Arms Dealer who runs her organization with ruthless efficiency. Constantly making advantageous illegal deals and dictating the course of conflicts, Koko adopts the young former child soldier Jonah as a way to keep herself shackled to her humanity, frequently taking on those who attempt to undermine or kill her while leading them to their own demises in breathtakingly impressive fashion. Koko is revealed to despise the arms trade despite her skill with it, and puts Project Jormungand into play: a plan to use a satellite system to seal the skies from humanity, destroying all aircrafts in the sky at once to force world peace, believing herself to be the one to create a true peace for the world, even successfully pushing Jonah into agreeing with the plan at the end, declaring her personal soldiers will be the final soldiers left.
  • K: In Return of Kings the joint leaders of JUNGLE operate meticulously to create what they believe will be a better world for everyone:
    • Nagare Hisui, the Green King, believes the power of the Dresden Slate should be shared amongst all of mankind and challenged the powerful Gold King for control of it, coming to near victory until he was forced to retreat as his own power ran out. Plotting for the next 14 years with his mentor and adoptive father the Grey King, Nagare creates JUNGLE and manipulates the monstrous Colorless King to work as a distraction for their plans while waiting for the Gold King to die before moving into action directly. Through an online site, Nagare causes chaos as he empowers civilians, bringing JUNGLE to the public and eventually forcing the Silver King, Adolf K. Weismann/Yashiro Isana, to confront him. Stealing the Dresden Slate with a daring scheme, Nagare activates its power and begins strengthening all of humanity, only stopped when Yashiro destroys his own Sword of Damocles to neutralize the Slate. As he passes, Nagare fondly remembers his time with the core members of JUNGLE, before remarking he is "satisfied" with the outcome despite his loss, cementing himself as one of Yashiro's most noble and gracious adversaries.
    • Tenkei Iwafune is an easy-going, playful Team Dad to JUNGLE, serving as the surrogate father to Nagare Hisui while masking his true identity of the Grey King. Originally the beloved King Seitō Ōtori, his entire clan was lost in a Damocles Down, but he managed to find and successfully go into hiding with Nagare Hisui for 14 years while they developed JUNGLE together. In between scheming the theft of the Dresden Slate with Nagare and defeating the Blue King in single combat, Iwafune keeps JUNGLE's base tidy, throws dinner parties for his partners, and comes to care for all of JUNGLE as a surrogate family. Though defined by cynicism, Iwafune hopes to use the Dresden Slate to endow all of humanity with great power so people can better protect themselves, and has absolute loyalty to assisting Nagare in accomplishing this goal. Even when finally overwhelmed only through all of SCEPTER 4, Iwafune sets JUNGLE's base to self-destruct, orders friend and foe alike to evacuate, and finds Nagare's fallen body after his defeat at the hands of Adolf K. Weismann, cradling his adopted son in his arms as their base collapses around them and happily remarking that the time they had together was fun.
  • Kaiketsu Zorro: Commander Raymond is a suave, fast-thinking villain who constantly comes up with schemes to undermine Don Diego de la Vega aka Zorro, even resorting to framing the latter's father to gain an advantage. In "The Peoples' Enemy" Raymond exemplifies his quick-thinking and smooth tongue when Zorro and his allies bust into a public assembly before Raymond with evidence of his dirty dealings with a crooked merchant named Diaz. However, rather than get publicly exposed, Raymond completely turns the situation around in his favor by ordering Diaz to be arrested, shooting Diaz when he resists, agreeing to hand the grain back to the people, and then thanking Zorro in public for helping the army take down Diaz, allowing him to ride away in the process and avoiding a potential riot as a result. Even at the end, when he is exposed, Raymond opts to face Zorro one final time in a Duel to the Death.
  • Keyman: The Hand of Judgement:
    • Devonea Violet, more commonly known as "Dr. Necro," is an ancient witch currently seeking to right the wrongs of her past. Ages ago tampering with the black arts and making a pact with Butler that resulted in the changing of the natural order in the world, Necro fled from Butler's sight and began scheming to take down her former partner. Arriving in Lockville and immediately gaining allies on the police force with her helpful advice and charming attitude, Necro uses Inspector Alex Rex to carry out her plans against Butler, putting the entire police force in harm's way while noting that though it's not ideal, she'd sacrifice them all if necessary. Necro takes down a Beastmen trafficking ring, reunites with and redeems her son Franck by assisting him in reviving his lost daughter, and ultimately works with Franck to outplay Butler before sacrificing herself to ensure his schemes never threaten the world again.
    • Franck Violet is the son of Devonea, aka Dr. Necro, raised by his mother under brutal conditions to make him a better sorcerer, and serves as the first Arc Villain of the story, Desperate to retrieve his daughter Misery when Necro bodyjacks the girl's soulless body to protect herself from a vengeful Franck, Franck masterminds a brilliant conspiracy in Lockville, allying with various criminal elements to slide under police radar for years and manufacture "Keymen" superheroes to simultaneously use them in his plans to access the afterlife as well as lure Necro to him. Upon succeeding in capturing Necro, Franck ends up allying with her to finish his quest of reviving Misery, at which point Franck showcases his genuinely kind personality in raising Misery. When Butler kidnaps Misery and mortally sounds Franck, Franck teams with his mother one last time to use Alex Rex and his allies as pawns in thwarting Butler, before sacrificing himself alongside Necro to protect Lockville from similar threats, making Alex promise to look after Misery for him in the process.
  • Killer Killer: The titular "Killer Killer", Takumi Hijihara is a suave assassin who uses his skill to protect the world from other killers. After surviving a massacre committed by Mukuro Ikusaba, Takumi joined Future Foundation's 6th branch, partnering with Misaki Asano to investigate and stop prolific killers. With his ability to enter the killer's mindset, Takumi is able to figure them out before grading and killing them with a similar method to the killers' own MO. When his old friend Shuuji Fujigawa returns and takes Misaki and places a detonator on her neck which will activate a massive bomb killing millions unless Misaki is killed, out of jealousy of their budding romance, Takumi outs himself as Killer Killer, willing to become a fugitive to protect Misaki and defeats Fujigawa, deactivating the detonator with his cutting skills before running away taking Misaki with him to be with her in hiding.
  • Killing Bites: Reiichi Shidoh organizes the underground "Killing Bites" fights between the Half-Human Hybrid Therianthropes. Utterly unscrupulous, Shidoh uses shady tactics: tampering with the rules of the ring and manipulating the Zaibatu's conglomerates to allow for his experiments on Therianthropes. Betraying and arranging the murder of Mitsukado Zaibatsu's chairman, Yozan Mitsukado, Shidoh sets it up to look like an accident; then ordering his Therianthropes follower to murder her own investor to eliminate the witness to his crime. In spite of his unfettered nature, Shidoh truly believed his experiments on Therianthropes would fix the struggling Japanese economy and genuinely cares for Hitomi, even risking his own life to save her when he found her as a child.
  • Kindaichi Case Files: The Gentleman Thief is really a cunning woman and Master of Disguise with a penchant for stealing precious items and leaving notes to her next targets. Disguising herself as a young journalist, Diago Maki, the Thief targets Gamou Gouzou's residence to steal his painting, "My Beloved Daughter". Although almost outwitted by Kindaichi, the Thief disguises herself as and old woman and ties him to a basket of heavy rocks, leaving him stranded in the middle of a busy street. Later appearances show the Thief uses the same ploy to trick Kindaichi and get away with her stolen goods, saying she hopes to meet her challenging rival again.
  • Kongoh Bancho: Takeshi Kongoh is the true Big Bad of the manga and the wicked elder brother of the hero Akira Kongoh, aiming to be a Dark Messiah to destroy and rebuild Japan. Driven by rage at the death of his mother, Takeshi helps organize the 23 District project to lure in powerful Bancho, all while manipulating his father, whom he eventually usurps. Rising up, Takeshi reveals his true plan: the Damocles Project. Using it to dispose of previous Bancho participants, Takeshi becomes the undisputed ruler of Japan, aiming to destroy it and create an ideal world to make humanity pay. With his strength matched by a ruthless, calculating mind, Takeshi ends the series with his ideals awakened by his son Rai, using his last moments to save Akira's life and bidding him farewell as he gives Akira cover to save the world.
  • Konosuba: Arch-Devil Vanir, one of the seven Dukes of Hell and retired general of the Demon Lord, renovates a dungeon to battle against adventurers and prank them, letting him feed of their negative emotions and keep himself entertained. Unable to enter the inner-sanctum of a dungeon because of a purifying circle, Vanir attempts to kill the drawer by body-jacking Darkness. Though struggling to take control of her body, Vanir eventually does so and even forms a cordial relationship with her. Accepting his defeat and remaining brave even in the face of seeming death, Vanir is revealed to have survived and now runs a magic item shop to help Kazuma on his future adventures.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes: Paul von Oberstein is the most ruthless of Reinhard von Lohengramm's inner circle. A man infamous for his Dissonant Serenity and ruthlessly pragmatic advice, Oberstein devotes himself fully to Reinhard and his new dynasty, using his tactical and political brilliance to help entrench Reinhard as the rightful ruler of the crumbling Empire. Seeking to destroy the Goldenbaum dynasty, Oberstein hears that its mad duke Braunschweig is planning to nuke the rebellious colony Westmoreland, and intentionally delays Reinhard from hearing the news to let the attack happen. This has the effect of the entire empire unifying around Reinhard in revulsion, just as Oberstein planned. Oberstein makes himself a hated figure to keep any loathing directed from Reinhard, manipulating other admirals as he sees fit to keep Reinhard's empire safe and even uses himself as bait to lure out the last of the Terran cultists in the final episode to eliminate the final threat to Reinhard's rule, seemingly aware the empire he has forged has no place for him.
  • Legend of Lemnear: The manga version of Varohl was once a noble king who used an accursed power to save his kingdom, at the expense of being corrupted by the evil gods to serve their plan to eradicate humanity. Birthing his daughter, heroine Lemnear to stop him, Varohl orchestrates her training and sees she be armed with the one weapon that can stop him. Masterminding their eventual confrontation, as Varohl is felled by her blade, he thanks Lemnear for successfully saving mankind.
  • Leviathan, by Eiji Otsuka: Rokuro "Rock" Oogami, from the Lycaoni arc, is the charismatic teenager leader of the Lycaoni Revolution. After losing his beloved lycaoni family to an angry mob in the human world and being transformed into a Leviathan, Rock, despite not being a lycaoni himself, unites the lycaonis into a unified organization under himself. Turning humans and troublesome lycaoni into animals, Rock uses them to wipe out any opposition to his revolution and tricks Inuhiko Inugami's sister into using a toxin disguised as a Love Potion to trigger Inuhiko's lycaoni side and begin his uprising. A young but adept manipulator, Rock sought the destruction, then recreation of a world where lycaoni don't exist with the goal of ensuring his sister a happy life.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Both the protagonist and antagonist are viciously efficient operators:
    • Ogami Itto is a stoic, charismatic warrior unjustly framed by the Yagyu clan. On the run with his three year old son Daigoro, Itto constantly showcases his strategic genius in his assassinations. In one instance, he allows himself to be captured by the enemy to get close to a target, revealing that the warning they received was written by him. In another, he uses Daigoro drowning as bait to trick a target's bodyguard into trying to save him so Itto can kill him. Itto singlehandedly brings down the powerful Yagyu clan on his own, showing why he is a man who walks the road of demons, the Path of Meifumado.
    • Yagyu Retsudo is a charismatic old man with the soul of a samurai that contrasts with the hard ruthlessness of an assassin. After the Yagyu lose the post of Shogun executioner to Itto, Retsudo uses a seemingly innocuous sparring match to trick Itto into knocking his staff into a man who could pose a threat to him, leading to the man's death. Later framing Itto for treason, Retsudo is revealed to be manipulating the entire Shogunate from the shadows and even when exposed for this, manages to connive his way back to power, having his rival, the poisoner Abe no Kaii, eliminated by setting a fire on a date that will force Kaii to commit seppuku. Retsudo then uses a legion of ninja to face Itto, having them focus on breaking Itto's infamous sword, so he has the advantage for their final battle. A ruthless genius, Retsudo continuously shows why he is Itto's greatest enemy.
  • Lupin III:
    • Lupin III, the titular thief, is a debonair rogue always ready with a plan for a brand new caper. A thief who savors the rush and thrill of the theft far more than any monetary value, Lupin also delights in paying karmic justice to deserving victims. Throughout multiple anime incarnations, Lupin is characterized by choosing seemingly impossible ventures or is thrust into inescapable situations, only to execute a cunning plan and escape completely free, in one instance even outsmarting an ancient brain supposedly beyond any human being's. Rarely ever losing his playful grin, and always ready with witty repartee, Lupin remains one of anime's most successful examples of a Gentleman Thief who is constantly capable of twisting a situation to his advantage.
    • Lupin's occasional lover, rival and ally, Fujiko Mine, is his equal in brilliance and audaciousness. A skilled thief who lives for the rush of the theft, Fujiko is able to perform as many complex schemes as Lupin while constantly outwitting him and everyone around her to get her big score. In one instance in The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, she poses as a tutor at an all girls' school, allows one girl to seduce her, only to reveal she knew the girl was a cop in disguise, to fool him and steal the codes she needed. Equally capable of ruthlessness, Fujiko once escaped prison by seducing a guard and sending him to execution in her place, never hesitating to weaponize her sexuality. At the end, Fujiko allows nobody but her to define herself and stops at nothing to achieve her goals, no matter who she has to manipulate or fool, while always maintaining the same charismatic style as Lupin himself.
  • Made in Abyss: Bondrewd the Novel, Sovereign of Dawn and one of the legendary White Whistles, is also one of the most brilliant and ruthless among them. To research the Abyss and its Curse, Bondrewd experiments on orphan children while sacrificing his own humanity to create his White Whistle and creating complicated ways to navigate throughout the Abyss through his technology with no physically adverse effects to himself. Even in spite of his objectively monstrous actions, Bondrewd still sincerely loves and cares for the children under his care and takes pains to remember their identities even as he sacrifices them for his experiments, taking one of them as his own daughter and raising her to become genuinely well-adjusted and innocent. Though undoubtedly an amoral Humanoid Abomination dedicated above all else to scientific triumph regardless of the cost, Bondrewd still demonstrates he understands love and family in his own warped terms and operates with perpetual affability and style, comfortable to abandon even his own ambitions to see those with brighter aspiration succeed where he couldn't.
  • Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic: Sinbad, King of Sindria and leader of the Seven Seas Alliance is a heroic, charismatic ruler who wages war against the evil organization Al-Thamen. Unknown to most, Sinbad is halfway fallen into depravity and all his seeming benevolence is a front with alternative motives, cultivating allies and pawns alike to use against Al-Thamen, even using mind controlled sleeper agents in other nations to spy through and seize control of them at advantageous moments. Later taking over the world, Sinbad seeks to rewrite reality itself to make a perfect world, even plotting to return everything to raw energy and recreate it the right way. At the end, upon realizing his crimes, Sinbad opts to stand with Alibaba and Aladdin to save the world from the depraved King David, showing himself, whether the hero or villain, to be the best at what he sets his mind out to.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: The genius demon Neuro Nōgami arrives from the underworld, makes a hapless schoolgirl named Yako Katsuragi his proxy and uses her to help solve his mysteries so he can feed upon them. Neuro constantly outwits his quarry, deducing complex murders and making Yako a famous detective to raise his own profile, while brilliantly foiling other plots and gambles from villains. Neuro later encounters the atrociously evil Sicks who intends on exterminating humanity and decides to defend his food source, despising killing, as every human is capable of creating a mystery of their own for him. Neuro helps to organize the defeat of Sicks and his group with his trademark brilliance and audacious flourishes.
  • Manhole, by Tetsuya Tsutsui: Hiroshi Kurokawa is a doctor whose life was ruined by his granddaughter's traumatizing rape. To avenge himself upon the rapist, Kurokawa visits an African tribe to discover the secret behind the peaceful One-Eyed people. Discovering the filarias, worms that infect human brains and force them to control their emotions and lose an eye or die in agony. Testing them on the rapist that ruined his life and upon a violent unemployed man that beat his elderly parents, Hiroshi plans to use the filaria by inserting samples of them inside domestic animals and waiting until summer to let the mosquitoes share it with the rest of Japan, with the intention of creating a world without violence. Stopped thanks to lucky accidents and the recklessness of The Heroine Nao Inoue, Kurosawa manages to control even his own death. Driven only by his goal, Hiroshi is infected by the same worm that he wanted to spread and is a true believer in his own cause.
  • Medaka Box: Kumagawa Misogi, the primary antagonist of the "Kumagawa Incident Arc," is Dissonant Serenity incarnate and the dark-tongued leader of the Minuses. On a quest to bring the elites down to his level, Kumagawa introduces himself thrashing the members of the Flask Plan with an impenetrable smile on his face, revealing himself to be the one person Medaka Kurokami could not save and the one who manipulated Secretary Akune into indulging his former violent impulses. Unusually good at reading people, Kumagawa worms his way into the student body and creates Class -13 in an attempt to usurp the current Student Council. All throughout the subsequent battles, Kumagawa constructs scenarios that end up neutral at worst or outright benefiting him no matter the outcome. Charmingly enigmatic and ever-equipped at bouncing back, Kumagawa leaves little wonder why the fandom enjoyed his character.
  • Michiko & Hatchin: Once a loudmouthed wannabe gangster kid, Satoshi Batista raised himself up by killing the leaders of the Monstro Preto gang to take control over them himself. A ruthless leader, Satoshi devises a scheme to have rival criminal Michiko Malandro arrested while he executes a former Monstro boss along with his family to avenge a childhood humiliation from the man. Betrayed by his second-in-command, Satoshi outguns him and his henchmen, dispatching them all on his own. An honorable man despite being a brutal criminal, in the end, Satoshi even allows himself be to fatally wounded by taking a shot fired at a little girl.
  • My Hero Academia: 'Sensei', better known as All For One, is a incredibly powerful villain, the arch-nemesis of the heroic All Might. Secretly ruling the country from the shadows for generations, All For One was seemingly killed by his enemy, but survived and rebuilt a group of villains in secret. Wanting to hurt All Might, All For One tracked down All Might's mentor's long-lost grandson, and raised him as the villain Tomura Shigaraki, knowing this revelation would be the one thing to crush All Might's heroic spirit. Even in his final battle with All Might, All for One is pleased even if he loses, knowing his loss will inspire Tomura to become the greatest villain in history to oppose All Might's own successor.
  • Myriad Colors Phantom World: Appearing exclusively in the last episodes of the anime, Enigma is an artificial phantom created using human and phantom DNA. Escaping from her abusive creators, Enigma starts to hunt the students of the Hosea high school in order to steal their special abilities by draining their energy. Seemingly defeated by the protagonists, Enigma takes the body and identity of Haruhiko Ichijou's mother and goes to live with him, successfully faking a motherly personality that bonds with him. After Haruhiko's friends manage to realize her identity, Enigma is able to beat them and steal Haruhiko's summoning powers, intending to use them to control all phantoms to take revenge on humanity. When she is later defeated by Team E, Enigma is impressed by the human potential and admits that she enjoyed her time with Haruhiko, to which he agrees before she dies.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Juan Carlos Mendoza is the eventual guardian of young hero Esteban, having saved him as a baby from the seas. Realizing Esteban's connection to the Cities of Gold, Mendoza makes himself a mentor figure to the boy and his companions, manipulating them to lead him to the gold and make himself rich. Growing to care for the kids, Mendoza also constantly outwits the forces of the Conquistadors and even the Olmecs, at one point flooding a village to save it from the evil Malinche's poisoning. Seemingly betraying the heroes to join the Conquistadors at the end, Mendoza in fact goes behind their backs to deliver Spanish weapons to the Inca and give them a fighting chance.
  • Naruto franchise:
    • Naruto:
      • Obito Uchiha, aka Tobi, is the true mastermind behind the Akatsuki who poses as Madara Uchiha. Saved from death as a child by Madara himself and witnessing the death of his best friend and crush, Rin Nohara, Tobi plans to revive the Ten-Tails and use its power to cast the Infinite Tsukuyomi in order to create a dream world where death does not exist. Starting by attacking the Hidden Leaf Village to gain control of the Nine-Tailed Fox, he uses the Akatsuki to capture Jinchuriki and drain them for the Tailed Beasts sealed within them, and committed numerous atrocities in order to recruit Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki. Tobi observes the Akatsuki's missions while pretending to be a useless idiot before eventually "revealing" himself as "Madara", in the process manipulating Itachi's brother Sasuke into joining his side and in the end declaring war on the Five Great Nations to gain control of the Nine-Tails and Eight-Tails. After the real Madara is reanimated by Kabuto, Obito successfully revives the Ten-Tails and manipulates his former teammate, Kakashi Hatake, into destroying the seal that Madara implanted on his heart and becomes the Ten-Tails Jinchuriki. Ultimately only stopped by his own change of heart, Obito joins the fight against Madara and Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, even sacrificing himself to help stop them.
      • Kisame Hoshigaki appears only as a "thug lost in the mist" but is in truth one of the most level and devoted members of Akatsuki. After defeating Killer Bee, Kisame uses a plan to fake his own death with a White Zetsu clone and infiltrates bee's village of Kumogakure, gathering intelligence on the Allied Shinobi Forces. It is revealed later that Kisame was once tasked with eliminating traitors and potential captives in his home village of the Mist, even luring his treacherous teacher to his death to claim his sword Samehada. When exposed, Kisame uses clever tactics to preserve the intelligence and eventually, realizing he is not "such a terrible man" after all, chooses to commit suicide rather than face capture, while using his last moments to rig the scroll with a trap that results in the intelligence finding its way to his superiors anyways, his death so impressive and touching that even the incredibly forgetful Might Guy, Kisame's supposed nemesis vows to remember Kisame for the rest of his life.
      • Nagato, better known as the alias of "Pain", is the most visible leader of Akatsuki. Deciding that the world must known pain in order to know peace, Nagato has the Akatsuki corner the war market in time of peace with Akatsuki acting as mercenaries in order to strengthen his group and weaken the military power of the villages. Secretly leading a rebellion in his home village of the Rain, Nagato conceals his victory and projects an air of mystery and power so as to be seen as a god. Secretly plotting to merge all the Bijuu into a superweapon to terrify the world into peace, Nagato kills his former mentor Jiraiya and proceeds to attack Konohagakure with a series of ruthless, brilliant tactics that leave the village all but helpless against him. Finally facing Naruto Uzumaki, what truly saves the Leaf is Nagato acknowledging his former idealism and sacrificing himself to revive the villagers. With unmatched charisma and drive for his version of peace, Nagato remains one of the most memorable and driven villains in the series.
    • Boruto: Sumire Kakei's true name is Sumire Shigaraki. A seemingly shy, sweet young lady, Sumire is the successor of the ROOT ninja Tanuki Shigaraki and seeks revenge for her family's stigmatization by destroying the Leaf village. Playing the innocent, Sumire infects others with negative emotions to harvest their chakra for her creature, the Nue, manipulating all around her and even using an attack to injure herself to deflect suspicion. Sumire manages to outwit and elude even other veteran ninja while summoning the Nue to destroy the village, only being stopped by Boruto Uzumaki helping her to realize how much she loved the mask she created and the friends she gained along the way.
  • Nidome no Yuusha: The brilliant, charming Ueki Kaito ruthlessly takes any means necessary to avenge himself against those who betrayed him after he saved their world. Recruiting a young slave girl, Kaito viciously helps her poison both the slaver and the other slaves, transforming them into goblins and then killing them. Later allowing the Royal Capital to be ravaged by beasts, Kaito uses the destruction of an outer wall to escape. Pained by guilt after an innocent girl is caught in the debris, Kaito henceforth swears to avoid harming the innocent in his quest for vengeance.
  • Noir: Mistress Altena is a high priestess within Les Soldats who seeks to cleanse both the organization and the world of corruption. Driven by her childhood trauma of having her village destroyed by soldiers, one of whom raped her, Altena raises Chloe as her surrogate daughter with genuine love and sends her to watch over the titular Noir duo, Mirielle Bouquet and Kirika Yuumura, while sending waves of assassins after them to train Kirika and make her stronger. Using Chloe to manipulate the Noir duo, Altena deceives them into eliminating all her rivals, eventually unveiling her true plan to have Chloe kill Mirielle so that Chloe and Kirika can become the True Noir. When Chloe is defeated and killed instead, Altena makes one final stand against Mirielle and Kirika, and when defeated, dies on her own terms, throwing herself into a lava pit. Ruthless yet affable, Altena never loses her chillingly stoic demeanor, even in death.

     O - Z 
  • One Piece:
    • Crocodile, one of the "Seven Warlords of the Sea", is the brilliant master of the Baroque Works syndicate. Playing himself off as a public hero while running the aforementioned criminal organization, Crocodile manufactures a drought and a rebellion to weaken the Nefertari family in Alabasta, while plotting a takeover himself. Showing contingency after contingency, Crocodile manipulates countless people, including his right-hand woman, Nico Robin, with whom he intends to seize the superweapon Pluton in order to cow the World Government into recognizing his authority. Even after defeat, Crocodile later returns in Impel Down and helps organize the jailbreak with his enemy Monkey D. Luffy.
    • Rob Lucci is the leader of Cipher Pol's CP9 division. A brilliant fighter who infiltrated a hostage situation and killed every hostage to remove the pirates' leverage before killing the pirates themselves as a teenager, Lucci later goes undercover in Water 7 with his disguised team to recover the Blueprints of Pluton. Fooling all there by faking their deaths, Lucci later delivers a brutal beating to Luffy and escapes with Nico Robin in tow, later giving Luffy one of the most brutal and difficult fights he has had to that point.
    • Sengoku the Buddha is the most brilliant of the Marine Admirals. The top Fleet Admiral of Marineford, Sengoku leads the execution of Portgas D. Ace, revealing to the world that Ace is the son of Gol D. Roger, the former Pirate King. With the arrival of Ace's captain, "Whitebeard" Edward Newgate, Sengoku reveals a major trap for Whitebeard, sapping the morale of his forces with a carefully planned lie, trapping the pirates and closing in Marine forces, turning a near loss into a total rout for the strongest man alive with his own cunning.
  • Outlaw Star: In the anime, the Anten Seven assassin Shimi, real name Leilong, challenges hero Gene Starwind to a duel, dressing his pupil as himself to draw Gene's fire before he personally attacks. Nearly killing Gene, Leilong then knocks out Gene's entire crew when they come to face him before seemingly dying with his pistol malfunctioning, though in reality using the opportunity to retire and roam the galaxy.
  • PandoraHearts: In a dark world with a complex plot involving many master manipulators, the Big Bad Ensemble manage to stand out:
    • Glen Baskerville, real name Oswald, is the mysterious leader of the Baskerville family. Having ordered the slaughter of the population of Sablier to spare them the horrifying fate within the Abyss centuries in the past, Glen returns in the present time by taking over the body of his reincarnation and assumes direct leadership over the Baskerville clan once again. Able to force skilled schemers like Rufus Barma and even the below-mentioned Jack Vessalius to the limits of their wits, Glen ultimately almost attains his goal of altering the timeline by killing his own sister to prevent the events of the series from occurring, only stopping when he realizes his own hypocrisies and hollowness of his goals hidden behind good intentions.
    • Jack Vessalius is the true mastermind behind the events of the work. The illegitimate son of a noble, Jack fled from his home, living on the streets until he met a girl from the Baskerville family. Wanting to meet her again, Jack uses his noble family's name to be able to see her. When the Baskerville girl was sacrificed to the Abyss, Jack obsesses over seeing her again, deciding to throw the whole world into the corrupted Abyss to bring it to her. Causing the catastrophic Tragedy of Sablier, Jack blames the Baskerville and Nightray families while painting himself as the hero, going on to seek a chance to recreate it. Manipulating Oz's entire life to fulfill what Jack believes is the wish of his beloved, he is an ultimately Tragic Villain, even finally redeeming himself after accepting the errors of his own acts.
  • Parasyte: The parasite who would eventually take the name "Reiko Tamura" is the most scientifically-inclined and philosophical of her race. Finding safety for her fellow parasites in rallying them together under the parasite-sympathizing politician Takeshi Hirokawa, Tamura also invents the immensely powerful parasite "Gotou" through experimentation. Proving her ingenuity when she is attacked by three rival parasites, Tamura feigns madness to throw them off before easily dispatching her enemies. Taking interest in the unique bond of Shinichi Izumi and his parasite, "Migi", Tamura eventually tells the two of her hope for humanity and parasites to coexist before she allows herself to be gunned down by the police, shielding and then passing off to Shinchi the only thing she ever really loved: her human child.
  • Pluto:
    • Dr. Roosevelt is an advanced supercomputer who, though isolated in the body of a stuffed teddy bear, masterminds a massive portion of the plot. Serving as the personal advisor to the President of Thracia, Roosevelt uses the President as his puppet to do his bidding, notably starting a war with the only country to threaten Thracia in robotics, Persia. Having Persia decimated so as to make Thracia the undisputed strongest country in the world, Roosevelt showcases his adaptability as he then assists the revenge-seeking Abullah in his plans to destroy the world's strongest robots. Fully endorsing Abullah's plans to detonate a bomb underneath Thracia, Roosevelt reveals how he has played everyone in the hopes of the bomb triggering a chain reaction that will wipe out 90% of all human life, and leave robots to reign supreme over human life. Even as he faces death, Roosevelt simply remarks it's a "shame" that his plot failed, as it could have meant paradise for himself and fellow robots.
    • The most powerful AI in the world, Goji, at first couldn't even operate thanks to the flood of information it had to deal with, but upon latching onto the personality and memories of Dr. Abullah, Goji reformats itself into a perfect mimicry of the man, including his desire for revenge following the death of his family in the Thracia-Persia war. Believing himself to be the actual "Dr. Abullah", Goji turns Abullah's robot son Sahad into the monstrous killing machine Pluto, using him to destroy the seven strongest robots in the world while Goji himself eliminates members of the Bora Investigation Squad to silence the information they possess on his plans. Displaying honor as he follows through on promises he makes, and even showing immense respect and empathy for his opponents' personal tragedies, Goji simultaneously never hesitates to use his enemies' emotional attachments to entrap them. Goji's ultimate plan is to destroy Thracia by sacrificing himself, determined to make each and every Thracian pay for the suffering their country caused Abullah in his life.
  • Princess Mononoke: Lady Eboshi, the ruler of Irontown is a woman with a backbone made of steel. Forging a mining community with nothing but her own will and strength, Eboshi made it a refuge for lepers, outcasts and the downtrodden, even buying the freedom of many women from brothels and giving them a new home, training them to work and fight. Coming into conflict with the gods of the forest and local warlords, Eboshi leads her people to fend them off and fight back, even luring out the Great Forest Spirit to destroy it, in hopes of reducing the forest animals to just normal beasts, claiming her trick to killing a god is to not fear it. Even after losing an arm to the bite of the decapitated wolf goddess Moro, Eboshi merely grins and reminds herself that a wolf's head still has a bite, being one of the most morally complex and strong-willed antagonists in a Hayao Miyazaki film.
  • Princess Resurrection: Silvia von Phoenix, the ultimate Big Bad is described by her youngest sister Sherwood as a "natural born swindler". Hellbent on winning the Royal battle, Silvia plays her own siblings endlessly, having spent her sister Hime's childhood toying with and testing her for fun and to strengthen her. Using her brilliance to stay a step ahead of her siblings and eliminating her strongest brother Emile by making him her enslaved Blood Warrior, Silvia defeats and absorbs their eldest brother Fuhito to gain his power before attempting to defeat Hime and claim victory for herself, with one Bad Future having her utterly victorious.
  • The Promised Neverland:
    • Isabella was once a child raised in the Farm system, chosen to become a "Mama" to raise other children to be fed to the demons. Upon realizing that some of her charges have learned the truth, Isabella requests a helper in Sister Krone, before constantly outplaying the children and foiling their plans. Setting up Krone to take the fall and eliminating her when she proves too ambitious, Isabella initially defeats the kids, but manages to secure the life of Norman by giving him to a secret group. Gracefully acknowledging her later defeat, Isabella is put in charge of all other Mamas and eventually inspires them to rebel against the Farm system, overcoming and defeating their oppressors to seize the future.
    • Archduke Leuvis is a demon who lives for the thrill of combat. Latching on to Emma as his worthy adversary, Leuvis shows himself to be fully willing to offer up his own weaknesses and to arm his opponents to equal the playing field and once his comrades are dead, engages Emma and her friends with a shockingly display of combat instinct and battle tactics, completely seeing through everything Emma's team does while countering until he is finally cornered. Even upon dealing Emma a seemingly fatal wound, Leuvis is courteous and respectful to her, thinking how much he loves humans for their ingenuity, unlike his fellow demons who consider them lesser beings and only fit for food. Returning from the dead, Leuvis manages to diffuse the rage of the demon populace, helping to end the oppressive system and place Mujika on the throne. A demon of shocking charm and charisma, Leuvis proves why he is the most deadly adversary yet encountered by Emma and her friends.
  • Psycho-Pass: Both seasons' Big Bads prove to be as charming and intelligent as they are threatening to the status quo of their society:
    • Shogo Makishima is a ruthless Serial Killer obsessed with the darkness of human nature. Swaying others into becoming serial killers as well to help to damage society and eliminating them when they disappoint him or serve their purpose, Makishima begins cultivating inspector Shinya Kogami as his nemesis as he schemes to destroy the oppressive Sibyl system. Forming multiple plans to tear the system down, it is revealed the system in fact wants Makishima to join its hive mind, which he lethally rejects by murdering their emissary, declaring is loyalty is to his own individuality and he will keep playing his games by his own will. Cultured, charming, manipulative and ruthless beyond measure, Makishima will stop at nothing to impose his vision of freedom upon Japan and revel in the resulting chaos.
    • Kirito Kamui was surgically made into a collective being as a child after he alone survived a plane crash indirectly caused by a precursor to the Sibyl System and now seeks its betterment for humanity. A master psychotherapist, Kamui gets his followers' crime coefficients below judgeable levels, making them all the more threatening. Engineering a series of daring attacks, Kamui surmises the physical location of the Sibyl System and forces it to remove a number of corrupted brains from itself so that it can judge his collective mind. Though killed in his quest, Kamui is happy to have forced Sibyl to reconsider its position and leaves Akane Tsunemori with his ideals to carry forward for a brighter future.
  • Puella Magi Oriko Magica: White Magical Girl Oriko Mikuni uses a series of manipulations and distractions in order to murder Madoka Kaname to prevent her from inevitably becoming the witch Kriemhild Gretchen and destroying the world. Using the Black Magical Girl Kirika Kure to keep the heroines and even the cunning Kyubey busy, Oriko personally proves a match for the time-travelling Homura Akemi and manages to kill Madoka in one timeline while faking an attack at Kyubey. Wracked with guilt by what she must do, Oriko nevertheless stops at nothing, determined to save the world while outplaying everyone around her.
  • Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace: The original Twenty-Faces, Namikoshi, pioneered the Serial-Killer Killer phenomenon after he spent his childhood bullied by his classmates and abused by his parents, before making friends with the brilliant Kogoro Akechi, together creating the "Dark Star" formula. Accelerating the coding of the formula as the abuse he suffered worsened, the Dark Star was set to murder both his abusers and those in society who take advantage of their power. When Akechi realizes their formula is lethally unstable, Twenty-Faces fakes his own death, then teams up with a medical examiner who works with Akechi to avenge the death of her brother. Kidnapping Akechi's assistant, Twenty-Faces takes him and ten children to the top of a clock-tower, planning to murder them all by having them jump in five-minute intervals. While he may be ruthlessly unfettered in his goals, Twenty-Faces truly believes his doings will be what creates a just and fair society.
  • Record of Lodoss War:
    • Karla, the Grey Witch, was the only survivor of an ancient magic civilization who implanted her consciousness into an enchanted circlet that possesses whoever kills her host body Seeking to prevent one side from ever growing too powerful, Karla has manipulated almost every war in Lodoss's history to bring about the ruin of any nation that may grow too powerful, even secretly fighting as one of the Six Heroes to stop the Demon God from destroying the world years ago. In present, Karla serves as the adviser to Emperor Beld of Marmo, guiding his nation to the top, ending with Beld slaying the Emperor Fahn of Valis- only for Karla to intervene and cause Beld's death herself to decapitate Valis and Marmo alike. Constantly escaping death, Karla stops at nothing to ensure Lodoss's balance remains as she wills it, no matter what she has to do.
    • Ashram, the Black Knight of Marmo, is seen by many as Marmo's true ruler and the heir to Beld himself. Once a young man fighting a war against the Thieves' Guild who allied with Beld, Ashram helped Beld to unify all of Marmo while vowing to one day surpass the emperor. Enraged at Beld's death, Ashram takes his demonic sword, the Soul Crusher and masters it, destroying the ancient dragons of Lodoss to find the Scepter of Domination and control the world. While seemingly dying, Ashram returns to depose the corrupt governor Rabido and manipulates him to his death, taking over all Marmo himself with his lover, the dark elf Pirotess at his side. Seeking to create a new home for the people of Marmo, Ashram ends up achieving all he sets out to do before departing Lodoss for a new home.
  • Rookie Policewoman Kiruko-san: Seemingly respectable business director Jean Smith is really a powerful criminal trying to expand his operation by using the small town of Nagashima for smuggling. Knowing The Heroine Kiruko and her allies are infiltrating his cruise ship to capture him, Jean has his men prepare for the attack while he personally greets the police in a jovial and personable manner. Ordering his men to take Kiruko's senior officer hostage, Jean escapes the cruise ship along with his hostage before trying to sink the boat. Eventually captured by the police, Jean nevertheless remains cordial to the cops and calls a rescue jet as a backup plan to escape. Genuinely friendly to both his enemies and allies, Jean remains the suavest criminal Kiruko has faced.
  • Rosario + Vampire:
    • Alucard is the true Big Bad of the series, using multiple aliases to achieve his goals. As the Masked King, Alucard formed the Miao Triad family, bidding the evil vampire Gyokuro Shuzen to form the anti-human terrorist organization Fairy Tale while also joining it under the secret name of Miyabi Fujisaki. Manipulating the heroes into a confrontation with Gyokuro and her squadron leaders, Alucard reveals himself only after the fighting to hijack her plans and awaken his true body, easily overcoming the other heroes and setting to attack the human world. Upon his final destruction, it is revealed that Alucard's full intention was to make himself the villain and create a group that had to be opposed by an alliance of human and monster, exposing the monster world to humankind, even making provisions to ensure his final subordinates survived the fight.
    • Hokuto Kaneshiro was once a human who left an abusive father to attend Yokai Academy. Finding only pain and suffering until he met Kiria Yoshii, Hokuto resolves to tear down the barrier between worlds and expose monsters to humanity. Playing at being Tsukune's friend, Hokuto reveals he is truly the leader of the rebellious group Anti-Thesis, letting himself be defeated so he will be placed in front of the headmaster in order to attempt an assassination attempt and steal a rosary to destroy the barrier. The only reason his plan fails is Hokuto deciding at the last moment to assist Tsukune instead. Even in part 2, Hokuto returns to help manipulate the end of Fairy Tale, aiding Tsukune one last time against even Kiria.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Makoto Shishio was once the feared Hitokiri of the Shadows during the Bakumatsu. Betrayed by the government and left for dead, Shishio survived and by virtue of his overwhelming power and charisma creates a powerful organization consisting of loyal soldiers he effortlessly manipulates, with one named Usui even ostensibly wanting revenge against Shishio for blinding him, unaware Shishio is well aware he's lost all hope of vengeance and is just manipulating him by using his pride. Shishio then sets up a complex plan to burn Tokyo, only for it to be revealed this is a ruse as he attacks Kyoto instead. Despite being foiled here, Shishio proceeds to have the heroes fight his men in single matches, all for the purposes of weakening or eliminating them before they face Shishio himself when he gains greater understanding of their abilities through the fights. Even after his defeat and death, Shishio shows no sign of complaint and instantly sets off with his deceased lover and most loyal follower to begin conquering Hell itself.
  • Saint Seiya:
    • Gemini Saga is a man who had wrested with the evil in his heart his whole life. After murdering the Pope and taking his place, Saga frames the pure-hearted Gold Saint Sagittarius Aiolos for his attempted murder of baby Athena and has him mortally wounded, ruling Sanctuary for thirteen years with almost nobody the wiser. Having his forces close in on Athena, Saga later recovers his goodness and ends his own life to atone for his misdeeds. Later revived by Hades, Saga turns out to deceive Hades the whole time to free Athena from mortal constraints and gives his life to help Seiya and the other Saints.
    • Virgo Shaka is known as the Man Closest to God. A living Buddha, Shaka is known as perhaps the mightiest Gold Saint and one of the craftiest. Effortlessly outplaying Leo Aiolia, Shaka controls his mind to send him to fight the Bronze Saints and later faces Phoenix Ikki as a skillful fighter. When the revived Gold Saints come to Sanctuary, Shaka effortlessly defeats Hades' Spectres and then allows his own end at the hands of the revived Saga, Shura and Camus to send his soul to aid Athena to the end.
    • Capricorn Shura is one of Saga's Co-Dragons, helping to keep control of Sanctuary and directing their forces for total control despite known Saga is an imposter. Having lost faith in humanity, Shura reveals himself as a dangerous and skilled killer who faces Dragon Shiryu, finally overwhelmed as Shiryu prepares to sacrifice himself. Recovering his ideals, Shura gives his own life to preserve Shiryu's, later returning as part of Saga's conspiracy to help Athena and participates in the final sacrifice to assist the Bronze Saints.
    • Sea Dragon Kanon is the twin brother of Saga, the leader of Poseidon's Mariners who helped to awaken Poseidon to manipulate him and the Mariners in flooding the world. Using them as his secret army to help pave his own road to world domination, Kanon later repents and inherits his brother's mantle as "Gemini" Kanon, ultimately proving an invaluable ally who infiltrates the underworld to help stop Hades and dies a loyal Saint of Athena in a suicide attack against one of Hades' top minions.
    • Wyvern Rhadamanthys is perhaps the most powerful of Hades three Judges of the Underworld. Distrusting the revived Gold Saints, Rhadamanthys sends a secret force of Spectres to attack Sanctuary behind his superior Pandora's back and lures three Gold Saints to a trap where their powers are reduced so he can easily defeat them. When the Bronze Saints team up with the supposed defector Lyre Orphee, Rhadamanthys is the only one to block his binding music and deals him a fatal blow. Forming an enmity with Kanon, Rhadamanthys is able to even go head to head with the Gold Saint, showcasing himself as one of the mightiest and most intelligent generals in all of Hades' army.
  • Samurai Champloo: Kagetoki Kariya is a master swordsman and wise old man, his skills renowned so much that he is known as the "Hand of God". A dignified and intelligent samurai, Kariya realized that the world was changing and allied with the shogunate, allowing the shogunate to believe he is a puppet when reality, he is using the empire to further his own agendas. Tending his garden while making comparisons to life and defeating Mugen in combat with the same amount of exertion, Kariya fights Jin and defeats even him, giving pointers on his fighting style the entire time. Ordered to eliminate the legendary "Samurai who Smells of Sunflowers", Kariya uses Fuu to lead him to the Samurai, kills the man after offering him last words with his daughter Fuu, spares the Samurai's elderly caretaker and then tries to kill Fuu as well, offering her the chance to honorably take her own life in the process.
  • Senran Kagura (2013 anime): Lady Fubuki is the main antagonist of the Shinovi Master season. A Half-Human Hybrid born to a human shinobi father and yōma mother, Fubiki swore revenge when the shinobi took her family away from her. Taken in by the yōma Rasetsu and Gessen Master Kurokage, Fubuki bonded with them and Yumi, eventually recruiting Rasetsu to her cause. Manipulating the the siblings Gekko and Senko by turning them against the other schools, Fubuki has them kidnap the Hanzo girls, sans Asuka, and use them to force the others into the Shinovi Masters tournament. While Rasetsu guards the captives, Fubuki reveals her true plans at the tournament's conclusion and launches a yōma invasion, intending to kill all shinobi. Sending her minions to surface in a faraway island to divert the top shinobi, Fubuki defeats even the powerful True Kagura and corners the other heroines several times, nearly reaching her goal. Though defeated in the end, Fubuki accepts her loss and gives up on her hatred, befriending Asuka and rekindling her relationship with Yumi.
  • Seven Mortal Sins: Lucifer, Fallen Angel turned Demon Lord of Pride, can achieve anything she sets her mind to. Deciding to take over hell, Lucifer has a policy of challenging the Demon Lords known as the Mortal Sins at their own games on their own turf, constantly getting the better of them and winning no matter what venue they choose, constantly coming up with new plans and strategies. It is later revealed that for all her haughtiness and deep pride in herself, Lucifer was the only angel to object to God's plan to wipe out hell and the earth, having been protecting humanity from the start, and manages to get the better of both her arch-rivals, the demon lord Belial and the new leader of the Seven Lively Virtues, her old partner Michael via a few clever gambits, culminating in Lucifer embracing her love for her human companion Maria and claiming her rightful throne as the ruler of hell and queen of pride itself.
  • Shakugan no Shana:
    • Bel Peol, known as the "Arbiter of Reverse Reasoning" and "The Strategist", lead Bel Masque in the first two seasons. In the past, Bel Peol sacrificed her right eye as part of a plan to retrieve her master's body; later convincing a Denizen into going for a dangerous mission, resulting in his death for her cause. Trying to destroy Misaki City, Bel Peol nearly succeeds in all her attempts thanks to her tactical brilliance and pushes the heroes to their limits. Joining her master, the Snake of the Festival upon his revival, Bel Peol acts as his Dragon and together they usher in the creation of Xanadu, a paradise for Denizens and humans alike, fighting fiercely for it. A ruthless, goal-driven woman, Bel Peol nevertheless showed fondness to her underlings and exceedingly intelligence thinking in the field of battle, proving herself a worthy leader of Bel Masque.
    • The Snake of the Festival or "The God of Creation", is the original leader of Bel Masque. Summoned in ancient times by the Denizens of the past, the Snake tried to create a paradise for them before being sealed in the Abyss. In present convincing protagonist Yuji Sakai to become his vessel, the Snake retakes leadership of Bel Masque, giving a speech so powerful it gains him the complete loyalty of all the present Denizens. Leading the Denizens in the devastating Second Great War, the Snake oversees the brutal combat to have his body recovered from the Abyss. Returning to Misaki City to create Xanadu, the Snake uses his own body and a member of the Trinity as sacrifices to create his new world. Realizing the Denizen's wish for peaceful coexistence, the Snake completes his mission despite massive opposition and returns to sleep, wishing his vessel success for the future.
  • Shaman King: Hao Asakura was once a shaman in heian-era Japan where he lost his beloved mother at the prejudices of humanity. Manipulating future events and even his own reincarnations to empower himself, Hao is reborn again in modern times as the twin brother of hero Yoh Asakura. Absurdly powerful and intelligent, Hao remains a step ahead of the heroes, defeating all challengers and enemies in an attempt to become the Shaman King and destroy humanity. At the end, Hao succeeds in his goal, becoming Shaman King, but proves open to reason and opts to watch the world for himself, being as brilliant a villain in victory as he was in the attempt to get there.
  • Shin Mazinger: Baron Ashura is the right-hand of Dr. Hell. Created from the fused and preserved corpses of Mycenaean lovers Tristan and Isolde, Ashura acts the loyal servitor, engaging Mazinger multiple times and proving their strategic acumen by leading robotic monsters to attack Tokyo, constantly pushing Mazinger to the brink and even using a hostage gambit with Sayaka to force Kouji Kabuto's compliance. Finally allying with Kouji against Dr. Hell to secure Hell's destruction, Ashura reveals the reason was to resurrect the Mycenaean empire and caps their plan by ending their own life to unlock the seal and unleash Mycenae back upon the world.
  • Shut Hell: The Dreaded, ruthless Khan; Genghis Khan himself. Born Temujin, and branded with the Tangut letters on his back marking him as a slave forever, the Khan seeks to destroy the Tangut script and the people of western Xia to forever remove knowledge of the brand on his skin. Utterly dominating the Mongol tribes through his dark charisma and power, the Khan sweeps through Western Xia and Jin, devastating all in his path with his brilliance and strength. Ever quick to turn any disadvantage back to his side, the Khan even handles the death of his son and commander Tolui by enslaving the young prince Yurul and forcing him to take Tolui's identity. A man who rose from nothing to become the greatest warlord the world had ever seen, the Khan decides he will burn all in his path, no matter how much fire it takes.
  • Slayers: Xellos the Trickster Priest is a Mazoku, and the most mysterious member of the cast. Hiding his true self behind a veil of smiles and pleasantries, Xellos ruthlessly manipulates protagonist Lina Inverse and friends into carrying out his wishes and destroying his enemies. Frequently arranging situations to benefit himself no matter what the outcome, Xellos helps destroy his Mistress, the Grand Beast Zelas Metallium's rivals and other Mazoku should it benefit him. Xellos tends to change his schemes on the fly as well, making it impossible to tell what was part of his plans from the start, even if he admits he feels some affection for Lina and her team. Xellos is so charming and affable, it's very easy to forget that he is a demonic being under his friendliness.
  • Soul Eater: Death City and the world it resides in are both home to manipulative witches and power-seeking gods, but the ruthlessness and immense charisma these characters showcase puts them head and shoulders above the rest:
    • Lord Death/Shinigami is the leader of the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), founding and running the organization for the purpose of wiping out evil in the world. Recruiting hundreds of humans and Death Weapons alike to his cause, Death puts up the front of a silly goofball while truthfully masking a more vicious—but nonetheless noble—persona as he trains his students in taking on enemy forces. Death teams students in ideal groups to help them grow, sends them on successful missions tailored to their strengths, and keeps the DWMA afloat even amidst assaults by Medusa and Arachne Gorgon. When Kishin Asura escapes a prison designed by Death himself, Death instantly begins weeding out the monster's whereabouts, invading cities and forcing witches into assisting, before ultimately making a pact with the witches he's warred against for so long, realizing that Asura is the greater evil. A proud father to Death "the Kid" who willingly gives up his own life to help his son defeat Asura, a great leader to the DWMA, and a true friend to several characters, Lord Death's like-ability is only matched by his intelligent mind.
    • Dr. Franken Stein is the DWMA's most successful former student-turned-teacher, a diabolically sadistic scientist who controls his cruel urges by fighting alongside allies he genuinely cares about. Introduced to the story physically and verbally thrashing several DWMA students as part of a "test" of their abilities, Stein personally leads his students on several missions to train them further, and spends his free time deducing the identity of school doctor Medusa Gorgon as a scheming witch and working to end her plans. Destroying Medusa's physical form in combat through both skill and analysis, Stein is later framed for the murder of a fellow DWMA member, but he quickly flees into hiding, tracks down the true culprit, and exposes the attempted frame-up, clearing his name. During the final assault on Asura's moon lair, Stein brilliantly strategizes against and massacres swathes of enemy troops to the shock and awe of everyone around, all while maintaining his friendly disposition and care for his companions, even assisting in the final battle with Asura himself with great success.
    • The man known as "Mifune" and "God of the Sword" is a samurai and guardian of the young witch Angela Leon. Through sheer tactical acumen, Mifune takes down dozens of armed thugs and soldiers of the DWMA with his "Infinite One-Sword Style" technique. With Black*Star as his chosen Worthy Opponent, Mifune, through multiple clashes, teaches him to become a true warrior and through his own manipulations and deals, manages to ultimately secure protection for Angela within the DWMA, even at the expense of his own life.
    • The Index, aka the Table of Contents, is the guide of the Book of Eibon and the true mastermind behind the Noahs and their groups. The Index creates Noah from the Book of Eibon and uses him to infiltrate Arachne Gorgon's group, having him play the part of loyal servant before swooping in and stealing the powerful weapon BREW. When the DWMA Spartoi group enters the Book of Eibon to rescue an ally, the Index manipulates and strings them along, pretending to be a helpful presence but truthfully trying to orchestrate the group's destruction to prevent their interference in its own plans. Successfully evading suspicion as the mastermind behind Noah even after Noah's destruction, the Index simply creates another artificial construct of Noah, uses him to invade Asura's lair, and reveals its plans to absorb Asura into the Book of Eibon and use his power to spread vast knowledge and intelligence to all humankind, coming within seconds of completing his plans near-flawlessly before Crona interferes.
  • Soul Hunter:
    • Though spending much of his time observing the major events, Shinkohyou proves himself to be one of the strongest and most compelling rivals of Taikoubou. Defeating Taikoubou for mocking his fashion sense, Shinkohyou leaves his Worthy Opponent ecstatic at facing challenging combat. Trying to stop the crown prince of the Yin Empire from fleeing, Shinkohyou gives him and his brother a Motive Rant so enlightening that they betray Taikoubou. Though seemingly villainous for much of the story, Shinkohyou is truthfully a neutral Trickster who switches sides based on which he finds more entertaining.
    • Chou Koumei is one of the strongest Kingo Island Sennin under Youkai Tsuten Kyoshu and the instigator behind a battle between the aforementioned and Kongrong Mountain to test his super paopei, destroying the relationship between the two groups. Teaming up with Dakki, Chou Koumei puts a series of maneuvers in play to stop the Zhou Empire from revolting against Choka. Kidnapping Taikoubou's companions to get him to fight, Chou Koumei takes advantage of the former fleeing from combat to turn his spirit beast into stone, forcing him to confront him. After seemingly defeating Taikoubou, Chou Koumei attempts to change the story by making another manga to replace it and when Taikoubou is resurrected, Chou Koumei turns himself into a plant and tries to drain the Earth of its nutrients. Even when finally defeated, Chou Koumei remains cordial, proving himself to be one of the most respectful and interesting opponents of the series.
  • Souten no Koumori: The Iron Demon ninjas' leader is a ruthless tactician tasked with assassinating the pre-teen Lord Chiyozuru by the boy's uncle. Carefully surveying Chiyozuru's manor, the leader advances his men until realizing his surrogate daughter and former deadliest ninja, heroine Henpekumaru, is aiding Chiyozuru, moving swiftly to personally engage her. Chastising Henpekumaru for her softness in leaving their clan, he nevertheless admits to his own tenderness towards her and foregoes killing her, even when doing so leaves him open to a fatal arrow barrage.
  • Space Battleship Yamato: Albelt Dessler is the charming, sophisticated supreme ruler and dictator of Gamillas. Desiring a peace in the galaxy through ultimate control, Dessler has expanded the Gamillas empire but keeps new conquered races happy by allowing them to prove themselves equal citizens in the empire on pure merit. When earth proves more difficult to conquer, Dessler deals with the matter by assigning a failed commander to either give Dessler more knowledge of the earthlings' tactics, or removing an incompetent without him lifting a finger. Dessler also outplays any who attempt to usurp his authority and when defeated, he promptly reemerges to take the Yamato over to restore himself to glory, convinced that his success is the glory of Gamillas itself.
  • Speed Grapher: Chōji Suitengu is a man who flaunts his extensive wealth via using expensive yen notes as cigars, believing everything "has its price", especially human life. In truth, Suitengu is dedicated to overthrowing the social order of Japan, manipulating all the upper echelons of society with his Roppongi Club that caters to a variety of fetishes. Constantly planning ahead of series hero Saiga, Suitengu also manipulates his lover, Shinzen of the powerful Tennozou Group and later disposes of her when she attempts to betray and kill him. Revealing his tragic past to his Arch-Enemy, Prime Minister Katsuji Kamiya, when the latter tries to kill Suitengu and take over the Roppongi Club, Suitengu kills him and enacts his master plan: causing a massive financial crisis to completely erase the corrupt upper class and completely break their hold on Japan forever.
  • Steamboy: Edward "Eddie" Steam was injured in a steam accident. Rebuilding himself into a metal cyborg, Eddie decides to build steampunk weapons of war, with his Magnum Opus being a giant floating castle, which he proceeds to pilot over London. When his son Ray and father Lloyd try to destroy it, Eddie proclaims that it will still inspire people, given that it has been revealed to the world. Later he ends up helping Lloyd and Ray destroy it over the Thames. While Lloyd tries to cut off his escape, Eddie manages to evade him, and it is shown that his prediction was true, given that the world goes through a steampunk revolution.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry: Ralph Werec is the brother of heroine Sara Werec and second-in-command to Captain Vivian Medlock. After discovering that the Union was carrying out horrific experiments on the alien Emilies, a disillusioned Ralph defected from the Union to the Deague, and begins by leading an attack on a Union academy and killing everyone inside. Fighting against his revenge-seeking sister Sara, Ralph leads the Deague in fighting the Union and shows himself to be their greatest threat. Feigning loyalty to the Deague and seducing Vivian to get her and her soldiers on his side, he eventually reveals that he was using them all and betrays Vivian, hijacking the security system to kill her. Revealing that he despises both sides of the war and considers them equally corrupt, Ralph carries out his plan to Kill All Humans as revenge for their sins. Yet, despite opposing her, he loves Sara and explains his motivation to her in hopes that she will join him; when she refuses and defeats him in the final battle, he accepts that he went too far and gives her a tearful, heartfelt goodbye.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Original series:
      • Akihiko Kayaba is a brilliant programmer desiring a fully-immersive Virtual Reality simulation and creator of Sword Art Online, the world's first VRMMORPG: trapping 10,000 players within and setting it so they die in real life if they do in the game while preventing authorities from stopping his game. Disguised as Heathcliff, a charming leader of a group of players within Aincrad, Kayaba reveals himself when hero Kazuto "Kirito" Kirigaya deduces his identity and duels the latter, releasing the players and seemingly killing himself when beaten but in reality sending his Fluctlight to continue existing on the internet. Reappearing out of disgust for the next season's Arc Villain, Kayaba assists Kirito in defeating the antagonist and entrusts Kirito with his final invention: made to allow others to create their own virtual reality games and have it shared with the world. Returning once more in the Alicization arc, Kayaba helps save the virtual reality world the heroes are within by taking control of a robot in the setting, proving himself Kirito's most honorable foe.
      • Seijirou Kikouka masquerades as Kirito's benefactor but in reality is a JSDF lieutenant leading RATH, the creators of virtual reality world Underworld. Swindling Kirito into work for him, he hopes to use the artificial Fluctlights of Underworld as soldiers to avoid human casualties in war and when Kirito is hospitalized, Kikouka has him connected to the virtual reality world, hoping to save his mind out of genuine concern. When attacked, he helps fight the sociopathic Gabriel Miller and through the series learns to value the AIs he once sought to use as Cannon Fodder to save human soldiers, successfully escaping after showing Japan's potential at the arc's end.
    • Ordinal Scale: Tetsuhiro Shigemura is the creator of the AR device Augma and its game, Ordinal Scale, distributing it to all the Sword Art Online (SAO) survivors so he can steal their memories from that game in hopes of resurrecting his deceased daughter, Yuna, who died while playing SAO. Forcing the players to fight bosses of SAO, which makes them relieve their experiences in SAO Tetsuhiro then has Eiji Nochizawa attack them to ensure their defeat before Tetsuhiro collects their memories. Already collecting memories from countless gamers, Tetsushiro gathers all the remaining SAO players to a stadium before unleashing numerous SAO bosses onto them, hoping to gather all their memories in one swoop, risking their deaths in the process. With his plan nearly complete, he is only stopped by his revived daughter turning against him and chooses to take his loss with grace, before being recruited into RATH by Seijirō Kikuoka, due to the latter's respect for Tetsuhiro's genius.
  • Sword of the Stranger: Luo-Lang is a masterful swordsman who seeks a proper challenge and duel above all else, allying with the Ming group for the opportunity to face opponents of all kinds. Introduced utterly decimating an entire band of raiders with skill and ingenuity, Luo-Lang even disarms himself and defeats their leader with his bare hands to showcase his abilities. Assisting his employer Byakuran in tracking down the young boy Kotaro, Luo-Lang simultaneously deduces supposed allies of Byakuran's are scheming against him, and kidnaps their leader to throw them into disarray. lup-Lang grows impressed with the sights and tales he experiences of the mysterious swordsman "No Name", to such an extent that he betrays and kills Byakuran for dishonorably trying to shoot No Name in the back, before challenging No Name to a final, lethal duel. Though the brilliant fight ends with Luo-Lang mortally wounded, he nonetheless spends his final moments utterly content that he finally found someone worthy to fight against.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lordgenome, the Spiral King and initial Big Bad, is the totalitarian ruler of the Beastman Empire who once challenged the Anti-Spirals as a great leader of mankind with his Spiral Powers. Defeated and faced with his race being wiped out, Lordgenome created the Beastmen to force humanity to live underground, sacrificing their freedom to keep them safe from the Anti-Spirals. Successful for many centuries with his armies, Lordgenome's forces prove a near-match for the heroes at every turn before they manage to fight their way through to his fortress. Seemingly killed by Simon, Lordgenome warns him of the risks of Spiral Power to humanity and when resurrected to help stop the Anti-Spirals, gives his life to finally end the alien monsters' threat.
  • Terror in Resonance: Nine or Arata Kokonoe is one half of the terrorist duo Sphinx, serving as the brains behind Sphinx's bombings, giving police forces cryptic riddles to solve along the way while making sure no one gets killed during the bombings. When FBI agent Five intervenes and hijacks two of Sphinx bombs, Five goes out of his way to save as many people as possible while taking credit for the bombings to further his own cause. In his final plan, Nine would detonate an atomic bomb that he stole earlier in the stratosphere for everyone to see. Nine would reveal that he deliberately connected all of the bombings for Shibazaki Kenjirou to solve while allowing himself be arrested so that he would be able to tell his story as a survivor of the Athena Plan's experiments and people would listen to him. Eventually succumbing to the experiment's wounds, he would give Shibazaki the means and determination to expose those involved in the Athena Plan before finally embracing his death.
  • Tiger & Bunny: Yuri Petrov, "Lunatic," is a vigilante NEXT who forgoes any attempts at fame or upholding of morality, to instead dish out justice as he sees fit. Raised by an abusive superhero father, Lunatic came to despise all forms of evil in the world, believing the most sure path to safety and peace was the extermination of those who do wrong, and goes about executing and assassinating countless rapists and murderers, all while keeping up the guise of the charming judge of the city of Sternbild. As Lunatic, he gains immense popularity for his effectiveness, and his code of honor leads to him going so far as to save the life of his enemy Kotetsu, noting it wouldn't be just for a hero like him to be killed. Lunatic walks away from the story as dangerous and powerful as ever, showing no signs of being stopped by anyone in his self-perceived righteous crusade.
  • Tokyo ESP: The Professor, formerly Hokusai Azuma, was an archeologist who discovered the Holy Ark containing the Super Empowering Glowing Fishes. Becoming one of the first espers of the modern era, the Professor was betrayed and attacked by the General of his country and the Ares organization, which left his entire crew dead. Crafting his persona as "The Professor", he went back to Japan, adopting the son of one of his deceased crew-mates and begins plotting his vengeance against Ares, founding the terrorist group known as the Esper Liberation Front. Successfully opening the Ark atop the Tokyo Tower, the Professor causes a Mass Super-Empowering Event and despite his subsequent imprisonment, completes his revenge on Ares by leaving the heroes with instructions to take them down and free his beloved daughter. Driven to avenge his comrades, the Professor ruthlessly advances on his goals with care for none save his own child.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Eto Yoshimura, the "One-Eyed Owl", is the leader of Aogiri Tree. A half-ghoul dedicated to destroying the organization V, Eto participates in a series of terrorist attacks, manipulating the Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG) while killing off their investigators. Centering in on hero Ken Kaneki, Eto guides him to becoming the One-Eyed King and the savior of the ghoul race while manipulating events to her satisfaction. Even after being publicly outed as a ghoul, she uses a press conference to win sympathy for her race and set the events of the end in motion.
  • Tokyo Tribe: Mera, leader of the Wu-Ronz and former best friend of hero Kai Deguchi, plays the role of the monstrous Buppa's right-hand man to avenge his parents' deaths at the latter's hands. A master manipulator, Mera evades blame for killing Buppa's son and manages to win back his most loyal followers by sheer charisma after his own second-in-command, the loathsome Skunk, betrays him. Karmically killing Buppa, Mera then makes amends with Kai and saves the woman he loves by chasing down Skunk with Kai's aid.
  • Trigun:
    • Manga: Millions Knives is a humanoid plant who was driven to misanthropy upon discovering humanity had performed horrifying experiments on his own kind. As a child having manipulated the "Great Fall," an event where he caused an entire fleet of humanity to crash to their deaths on the planet Gunsmoke, Knives now seeks revenge on both humans and his twin Vash for allying with them. Siccing the Gung-Ho Guns onto Vash to distract and torment him by targeting innocents, Knives traverses Gunsmoke and influences other Plants to merge with him, making him all the stronger as he reveals his final plan to lure the final vestiges of humanity to Gunsmoke, wipe them all out, and use their Plant captives to create a new, peaceful world of nature and flourishing life. Upon being defeated and witnessing humanity realize the error of their ways, Knives saves his brother's life and spends his last moments granting a poor family a bountiful apple tree as the only recompense for his atrocities he is able to perform.
    • Anime: Legato Bluesummers sheds his manga counterpart's Laughing Mad insanity and numerous breakdowns, instead being a suave, always calm mastermind who serves as Vash's true Arch-Enemy in the series. A nihilist with the belief that all of humanity meaningless and deserves to be purged to save it from misery and despair, Legato allies with Millions Knives in preparing for the destruction of humankind and the rising of Plant life. Not entirely devoid of respectable attributes even as he sends the Gung-Ho Guns after Vash with orders to target civilians in the process just to torture the pacifistic hero, Legato slaughters a group of human traffickers and frees their slaves, informing the young women to use their time wisely before Knives wipes them all out. In the end, Legato forces Vash to break his Thou Shalt Not Kill code, giving him the ultimatum of either shooting Legato or watching as his best friends are murdered by the villain, and dies with a smile on his face as he knows the act of taking a human life will drive Vash into utter despair.
    • Badlands Rumble (2010 film): Gasback Gallon Getaway is a roguish, boisterous criminal who, despite his brutish appearance, is in truth a calculating thief who views the act of robbery and thievery as "art" forms. After his initial bank heist is foiled by treacherous minions, Gasback spends decades plotting both revenge against the men for "sullying" the art of robbery with their dishonorable betrayal, and the greatest heist he's ever concocted. Laying waste to two of the men's prospering enterprises, Gasback repeats the process on his final betrayer, revealing at the same time that each of his before robberies were all to amass materials needed to steal a Plant, which he pulls off flawlessly before escaping. Giving Vash one of the hardest fought battles of his life through sheer determination to never lose, Gasback gains respect for the hero when beaten, and is revealed to have spent those decades of planning taking care of a woman he loved and even leaving her enough money to sustain her for the rest of her life. Always charming even with his loud personality, Gasback was undoubtedly the most swashbuckling villain Vash ever faced.
  • Tweeny Witches: Sigma is a young, treacherous warlock with a mysterious agenda of his own. Introduced as an Aloof Ally of the Magical Girl Squad, Sigma almost manipulates them into helping him get the True Book of Spells for his leader, Grande. After getting imprisoned for failure, Sigma uses Jidan's connection to Arusu, the owner of the book, in an attempt to trick his superiors into releasing him. Even after the warlocks decide to keep him imprisoned, Sigma manages to escape with Jidan when the warlocks try to transfer the latter as hostage. Saving Arusu from the destruction of Wizard Kingdom, Sigma reveals that his true goal is to avenge his father through the savior as Grande killed Sigma's father for foretelling the savior's appearance. An impressive manipulator despite his young age, Sigma ultimately plays an instrumental role in saving the Magical Realm.
  • Vinland Saga: Askeladd Olafson introduces himself to the audience sacking a fort and robbing it of its riches with a series of clever schemes, barely shedding a drop of blood. Leader of a group of Viking raiders, Askeladd was born the son of a slave and a lord. Murdering his father years later after his mother's death, Askeladd framed one of his brothers after ingratiating himself to his family. Playing the cutthroat court of King Sweyn with clever gambits, Askeladd has the caretaker of the weak prince Canute murdered to build Canute into an ideal candidate for the throne. Also driven by his desire to protect his maternal homeland of Wales, Askeladd finds himself briefly outplayed by Sweyn who demands he kill Canute or see Wales invaded by the Danes. Askeladd instead chooses to kill Sweyn and allow Canute to kill him, achieving all his goals posthumously by making Canute a beloved, respected King and knowing the young man will forge Askeladd's ideal kingdom and defend Wales out of gratitude.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne:
    • Folken Fanel, Van's elder brother, is the chief strategist and tactician of the Zaibach Empire, seeking to bring about a future free of uncertainty. Tasked with retrieving Escaflowne, Folken trails the heroes across various countries and landscapes, outmaneuvering them and luring them into traps while managing to acquire the power of Atlantis, all the while trying to convince Van to join the Empire to ensure his brother's safety. When Van and Hitomi's bond threatens Emperor Dornkirk's ideal future, Folken uses the fate alteration machine to separate them and sway Hitomi towards her other love interest, Allen. Ultimately realizing the error in Dornkirk's methods, Folken allies with the heroes and gives information on the Empire's tactics and weapons to help Van's cause, resolving to learn the laws of destiny himself to remake the world into a better place.
    • Emperor Dornkirk, ruler of the Zaibach Empire, was formerly a scientist from Earth obsessed with learning the laws of destiny. Transported to Gaea, Dornkirk used his knowledge of science to transform the chaotic land into a powerful, technologically advanced nation. Seeking the power of Atlantis to control destiny, Dornkirk plans to use Hitomi and Escaflowne as the final piece in his plan. Eventually, Dornkirk allows Folken to kill him, using Hitomi's anguish to trigger the fate alteration machine and grant everyone their wishes, hoping to create an ideal future for everyone.
  • Wedding Peach: Potamos is a water demon and the final Arc Villain. Initially having a crush on the fire demon Ignis, she gives him a Mercy Kill when he's redeemed and has his powers drained, vowing revenge on the Love Angels. Potamos attempts to kill them several times and is nearly successful, once catching them in their civilian identities by not letting them transform, and only fails due to outside interference. Her crush on Yosuke/Viento ultimately leads to her taking a mortal wound for him, and she dies happy that he lived, with Wedding Peach realizing her feelings for him were genuine.
  • Witch Craft Works: Weekend is a Tower Witch and explosive trap master who makes deals with other witches to weaken the seals holding the White Princess Evermillion. With a powerful bomb, Weekend distracts Kazane Kagari with protecting Tougetsu City, while she uses bombs she had planted prior to damage the bases of the Workshop Witches. Freeing herself when seemingly defeated, Weekend nearly defeats Ayaka Kagari in combat, only losing due to third party intervention and ends up joining the heroes. After joining them, Weekend proves herself an inquisitive investigator, coming close to finding the answer to a series of mysterious events and only stopped by the antics of her ally. Though a self proclaimed mediocre witch, Weekend uses a combination of intelligence and technology to take down two of the series' most powerful magic users.
  • World Embryo:
    • Takao Mishima, born as Ryuusei Takao, used to be a child living on Hatsumi Island, taking care of the local Coffin Princess Julie. Forced by his family to betray his then-friend Shirou Karasawa, Takao later helps him to bring back his deceased girlfriend as a Coffin Princess. Becoming the only survivor of the destruction of the island at Shirou's hands, Takao is betrayed and framed as a murderer by him. He becomes the feared Jinki Hunter, killing members of F.L.A.G and infected humans before their transformation. Meeting a girl who admires him, Takao starts to care for her, even comforting her after she is lethally hurt by Kanshuus. He allies with his former enemy, protagonist Riku Amami, to avenge her, and they manage to defeat Shirou together. After the Coffin Princess Amane]] endangers the world, Takao works with the spirits of the people from Hatsume Island to convince Rene Arisugawa to become another Princess as a way to counter Amane, succeeding and personally dealing the final blow. Betrayed by the spirits, Takao is willing to be killed to save the world, and in the epilogue, Takao is determined to save Riku from himself, just as Riku did for him.
    • Born Amane Sasamori, Amane Amami is Riku Amami's adoptive sister and first love. A kind teenager forced into becoming a Coffin Princess for multiple reasons and becoming aware of the real nature of humanity and the corruption inside the World Embryo, she decides to absorb humanity inside a virtual paradise. To do so, she manipulates her family and sends a baby version of herself, later known as Neene, to them, hoping that she becomes strong enough to take control of her. Suceeding, Amane takes control of Neene's body and tries to cause the destruction of the world while faking a villainous personality. After the fate of humanity is decided in a game, The Coffin Princess cheats by forcing F.L.A.G. members into fighting their traumas before revealing that it was just a trap to capture Jinki users. Stopped only by Takao and Rene, who interrupt her duel with Riku, she apologizes to him for all the pain that she caused to him before ensuring Neene's survival, knowing that she would be vital to save humanity.
    • A Consummate Liar since childhood despite his kindness, Suraga, alias of Riku Amami himself, is the newest threat to humanity after Shirou and the above mentioned Coffin Princess. Having lost all hope after his beloved lose her memories and determined to get them back by using the Kanshuu, Suraga causes multiple controlled Kanshuu outbreaks, knowing that his former friends will stop them and return the victims back to normality. Having lied to the world itself by his own words, Suraga's attacks becomes a routine menace in the new world. After his plan is eventually discovered by the remaining Coffin Princesses, they use Takao to force him to confess his plan before helping him to—after lots of losses—get his happy family back.
  • Yōtōden (1987): Ranmaru Mori is a demon who disguises himself as a young man while manipulating the entire war in Japan. Using Oda Nobunaga and the Oboro ninja as puppets, Ranmaru uses Nobunaga's excesses to wipe out ninja clans so the survivors seek vengeance while following a prophecy and using sacred weapons Ranmaru himself created, to gain enough negative energy to free his fellow demons. Ranmaru even sneaks a mole into their camp as a demon disguised as a monk who has no idea of his true nature, his plans going off perfectly until almost the very end.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho:
    • Sakyo is a charming, charismatic member of the Black Black Club who came up from nothing. A born sociopath who despised his honest, loving family, Sakyo graduated from torturing animals into high stakes gambling where he amassed a fortune to join the demon-trafficking and torturing Black Black Club. Deciding to advance even further, Sakyo plays the group's founder Gonzo Tarukane by secretly paying off the Toguro brothers when Tarukane hires them as bodyguards, rigging the gambles he makes with Tarukane by having the Toguro brothers take a dive against Team Urameshi. Setting up his team to fight in the Dark Tournament, Sakyo takes a curious liking to Shizuru Kuwabara and protects her during the events while also manipulating and eventually disposing of the rest of the Black Black Club, before gambling his own life on Toguro's victory in order to insure he can see a portal opened to the Demon World out of sheer morbid curiosity. When Toguro is defeated, Sakyo immediately offers his life without complaint, bidding a last fond farewell to Shizuru first.
    • The Younger Toguro brother sold his soul 50 years ago to become a powerful demon after winning the Dark Tournament in despair over the deaths of his students and the knowledge of his impending mortality. In present, having grown disillusioned with his life, he manipulates the events with Gonzo Tarukane to see if Yusuke Urameshi is a worthy adversary and forces him and team to join the Dark Tournament. Toguro manipulates Yusuke into becoming stronger while also keeping him from making Toguro's mistakes before the final match. After killing Yusuke's mentor, his former teammate and lover Genkai, Toguro is dissatisfied with Yusuke's strength and seemingly murders his friend Kuwabara to force him to fight all out, only to reveal he faked Kuwabara's death. Unlike his twisted elder brother, Toguro never sold his pride along with his soul and displays a true sense of honor, grateful to give his all against a final worthy adversary.
    • The "Black Angel", Shinobu Sensui was once a brilliant young Spirit Detective whose idealistic view of humans was shattered by the Black Black Club. Years later, he uses the depraved Chapter Black tape to recruit a group of psychics to his side as Team Urameshi goes after him, manipulating all his enemies and allies alike to achieve his goals and weaken Yusuke's team. In one instance, Sensui forces Kurama to duel in a game against a little boy, with the boy not knowing he will die if he loses. Sensui is aware Kurama will do it, but knows it will shake him up too much to be of use in fighting Sensui at his best later, while also knowing a guilt-stricken Koenma will use up too much power restoring the boy to life. Sensui also uses his multiple personalities to bear the burdens of his crimes, revealing his true self in time to defeat and even kill Yusuke before opening a path to the demon world. His true goal? Is an elaborate suicide attempt to die at the hands of a powerful demon to atone for taking so many demon lives in the past. Passing as a dark mirror to Yusuke himself, Sensui remains one of his most sympathetic and fascinating enemies.
  • Zatch Bell!: Zeno Bell is the twin brother of Zatch who, thanks to unfortunate circumstances, comes to resent Zatch and desires both the Mamodo World crown and to make his sibling's life miserable. Learning the existence of the ancient Mamodo weapon Faudo, Zeno strays to the shadows and uses a doll-like emissary to manipulate both Zatch's group of friends as well as Leo and the Faudo cult against one another. Upon Faudo's awakening, after Leo weakens the heroes, Zeno sneaks into the control room, sends Leo away, and takes over control of Faudo in one fell swoop. Earning the loyalty of the other cult members, Zeno still uses the power of Godafu as a contingency in the event one tries to betray him and shows flexibility as a fighter. Even so, Zeno is ruthless enough to make people submit to his ways through fear and pain. Upon the realization Zatch lived a horrible life himself and that their father hid the whole story from him, Zeno immediately changes his ways and, in his final moments in the Human World, provides the twin he now loves everything he needs for the tournament.
  • Zetsuen no Tempest: As the "Mage of Exodus", Aika Fuwa's duty was to stop the Tree of Genesis from massacring modern civilization and restarting the world, and would sacrifice anything necessary to accomplish it for a bright future for Yoshino and Mahiro. With her ability to foresee future events, Aika imparted cryptic advise to Mahiro and Yoshino ensuring they'd survive the incoming disasters she couldn't stop. Later learning about her death from Hakaze, Aika realized her death was a suicide she planned since it was mandatory to set in motions the events needed to save the world. Resolving herself to her fate, she fought off Hakaze who was trying to prevent it and then killed herself and her parents, leaving behind final messages to her loved ones to explain the truth and hoping they can move forward despite being distraught from her actions.
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