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"Our showdown, while inevitable, is premature. Although it would be the simplest thing for me to take away your bending right now, I won't. You'd only become a martyr. Benders of every nation would rally behind your untimely demise, but I assure you, I have a plan. And I'm saving you for last, then you'll get your duel, and I will destroy you."
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The animated medium has always been about entertaining not just children but also the entire family. These masterminds have managed to be fun incarnate thanks to their charm, wit, and magnificence in a way that's had plenty staying tuned—even if some have you question What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!


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    Examples 

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Individual works:

     A - H 
  • Archer:
    • "Tragical History": George Spelvin is a computer programer who manipulates Cyril Figgis into uploading a computer virus onto ISIS's network on the pretense that he will make Cyril a hero in front of his colleges, also bribing Cyril to unsure his loyalty. After Cyril uploads the virus, Spelvin reveals that he has no intention to help Cyril and his true plan was to use the virus to download the identities of all of ISIS's secret agents onto his servers, then sell them for $50 million to anyone willing to buy. With Spelvin's plans nearing completion, Cyril and Sterling Archer attempt to stop him only for Spelvin to effortlessly defeat Sterling with the help of his two bodyguards, and is only stopped by Cyril shooting at his servers before making his escape.
    • "Movie Star": Rona Thorne is a KGB spy under the guise of a famous movie actress who is assigned to assassinate the Soviet Premier. When she learns that ISIS agent Lana Kane was task with protecting the premier, Rona convinces ISIS's director, Mallory Archer, to allow Rona to tag-along with Lana on her mission, under the pretense that it will help Rona for her upcoming spy movie. Rona also exploits Sterling's jealousy of Lana to have him hinder her mission before injecting them both with tetrodotoxin and would successfully assassinating the premier before escaping.
    • "Helping Hands": Hands is a brilliant inventor who created an exo-suit that not gives the user Super Strength and giving people with disabilities free mobility. Planning on selling her exo-suit to the highest bidder, Hands laces her villa with lethal traps should anyone try to steal it, as shown with the ISIS agents. When Sterling Archer escapes Hands' traps and meets her, the two hang out before Hands attempts to convince Sterling to abandon his allies when they get into a shoot-out with their rivals, JUNO. When Sterling decides to help his allies defeat the JUNO agents before attempting to steal the exo-suit, Hand activates a failsafe on the suit that immobilizes Sterling before re-activating it to deal with the last JUNO agent standing.
    • "Robot Factory" & "Best Friends": Aleister is an assassin hired to kill the ISIS agent Cyril Figgis. To get close to his target, Aleister exploits a job opening to be Sterling Archer's valet, using his skills and charms to win over everyone in ISIS and get hired. Aleister discreetly plants traps for Cyril and later tries shooting Cyril while he's at the haberdashery before subduing and binding Sterling to bait Cyril. Successfully luring Cyril to his trap, Aleister only fails to kill Cyril due to battling with Sterling, where Sterling declares Aleister to be the best valet he ever had before killing him.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise:
    • Original series:
      • Princess Azula shows herself as far more ruthless and manipulative than her elder brother Prince Zuko. Pursuing the Avatar, Azula later conquers the supposedly impregnable city Ba Sing Se by sheer guile after winning its secret police the Dai Li to her side by sheer force of will and charisma. After supposedly killing Avatar Aang, Azula gives her brother credit, knowing that if Aang is found alive then it is Zuko who will suffer the wrath of their father Fire Lord Ozai. While she succumbs to madness at the conclusion of the show, The Search shows Azula begin to recover, even manipulating Zuko when he knows how dangerous she is, before she returns in Smoke and Shadow, having accepted she will never have the throne. Instead, Azula orchestrates a series of plots to force her brother to take a heavy hand, content to manipulate him into being the Fire Lord she believes he should be.
      • June is a sultry, whip-wielding bounty hunter who uses her shirshu Nylah to masterfully track targets across the world, using Nylah's paralyzing tongue and her own fighting skills to easily accomplish her missions. Hired by Prince Zuko to hunt down Avatar Aang, June first tracks down and ambushes Aang's friend Katara, then uses her as bait to lure Aang into a fight, where June works with Nylah to take down Aang's sky bison Appa. Even when beaten by the group's quick thinking, June simply dusts herself off and continues her successful career, spending her free time kicking ass in bar fights while endearing herself to the occupants before working with Zuko once more on a mission to help protect the Earth Kingdom with her usual snark and skill.
    • The Legend of Korra:
      • Amon, master of the equalists, is one of the most skilled Benders and fighters in history. Born a Water Bender named Noatak, he later comes to see Bending as the root of evil, and adopts a mask with the name Amon. Swaying countless followers to his 'Equalists', Amon defeats avatar Korra, but spares her to prevent her from being a martyr, while initiating a series of gambits to depower Benders in public for maximum efficiency while also orchestrating a take over of Republic City. When Korra confronts him with his falsified backstory, Amon reveals he has ever used makeup to make himself appear hideously scarred in preparation for such an event. Hellbent on eradicating Bending and able to inspire countless non-benders to his side by sheer force of will, Amon showed himself as one of Korra's most dangerous and brilliant enemies.
      • Iknik Blackstone Varrick is a member of the Southern Water Tribe who built a multinational shipping corporation from a local delivery service in a single canoe. He becomes a business partner to Asami Sato and Future Industries, then hires criminal gangs to sabotage their operations and drive Future Industries into bankruptcy so he can buy a controlling share of the company at a bargain price. He also heighten tensions in the brewing Water Tribe Civil War and tries to get the United Republic involved, intending to use his control of the technology market to become a war profiteer. When his efforts to convince Republic President Raiko to enter the war fail, he begins making propaganda films to sway public opinion and arranges to have crooks posing as Water Tribe members abduct Raiko. Through it all he evades detection by seemingly being too silly and friendly to be an evil schemer, and is only caught by sheer bad luck — but he even planned for this eventuality by having a prison he built include a luxury cell especially for him. Charismatic, kooky, sly, manipulative, and running multiple schemes for power at once, Varrick became a enemy of Team Avatar while they each considered him to be a helpful friend.
      • Zaheer is the leader of the Red Lotus, a secret society dedicated to bringing about chaos as the world's natural order. Imprisoned years ago for attempting kidnap Avatar Korra, Zaheer attains airbending after the events of Harmonic Convergence. With his newfound powers, he breaks himself and his fellow members out from prison, before resuming their goal to capture the Avatar. Undeterred by any setback he comes across, Zaheer comes up with plans on the fly that allows him to stay one step ahead of the heroes. Once a deal with the Earth Queen Hou-Ting goes south, he murders her out of contempt for her tyranny, publicly declaring the liberation of the Earth Kingdom and throwing the land into his desired anarchy. After losing his lover P'Li in battle, Zaheer awakens the power of Flight and manages to escape with his remaining comrades with a captured Korra. Zaheer plans to kill Korra in the Avatar state by poisoning her body with mercury and end the Avatar cycle for good, but was narrowly thwarted and imprisoned once again. Briefly returning in Book 4, an imprisoned Zaheer helps Korra recover from her trauma so that she could help fix the mess he created and take down Kuvira. Always polite to ally and enemy alike, Zaheer has both guile and conviction on his side, through which he attains the power of flight, a feat no other airbender has achieved in 4000 years.
      • Kuvira, the final Big Bad of the series, decides to reunify the fractured Earth Kingdom with herself as its ruler. Kuvira begins to win over the loyalty or obedience of the provinces and towns by offering protection against bandits and distributing food with the caveat that they must pledge loyalty to her and her alone. Kuvira then proceeds to launch a bloodless coup by dissolving the position of Earth King and proclaiming the birth of the Earth Empire before attempting to conquer her former home of Zaofu. Setting up a duel and allowing Airbenders to interfere to "break the agreement" against her, Kuvira proceeds to take it as justification to conquer Zaofu, before moving on to Republic City itself where her strategic prowess nearly secures the city's fall with the full intention of forging order out of chaos in what Kuvira truly feels is best for her homelands.
  • The Backyardigans:
    • "Le Master of Disguise": The titular antagonist, Le Master of Disguise, is a scheming trickster able to change his appearance with masterful skill. On the run from Paris police Inspector Austin, Le Master disguises himself as the Orient Express's conductor to escape the Inspector before changing his persona to that of a waiter. Further fooling Austin and playing him against the train's passengers, Le Master rounds out the story by pulling off his most ingenious plan yet, disguising himself as Austin and nearly tricking bystanders long enough for him to make his escape in Istanbul.
    • "Robot Rampage": Professor Bug is a self-proclaimed Evil Genius who seeks to take control of every last robot in Mega City. Stealthily infecting various robots with his "bugs" to distract local robot repairman Austin, Bug uses the opportunity to infect all Mega City robots with his bugs and bend them to his will. Cheerfully singing about his newfound power while still avoiding giving Austin any clues to his villainy, Bug—refusing to let even one robot possibly thwart him—focuses all his attention on tracking down uninfected robot Rosco, and sics the powerful Rex Robot onto Austin and his friends when he infiltrates Bug's lair. Even when beaten, Bug simply prompts to assist the heroes in repairing all the corrupting robots, noting that he now has plenty of free time on his hands since his scheme was foiled.
    • "Flower Power": The Gloom Meister is Flower Girl's Arch-Enemy, a cackling, well-dressed supervillain with a hatred for all things pretty and flowery thanks to a fear of them. Causing chaos throughout Garden City to gain Flower Girl's attention, the Meister lures her into a trap that leaves her powerless, with the heroine only escaping thanks to a split-second window of opportunity. The Meister plans to use his Gloomsday machine to plunge Garden City into perpetual gloom, yet quickly turns the machine into a weapon to help him overpower and fight off Flower Girl. After his plan is thwarted, the Gloom Meister overcomes his fear of flowers with Flower Girl's help and rechristens himself the Bloom Meister, becoming a new hero to Garden City in the process to atone for his mistakes.
  • Ben 10 franchise:
    • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Aggregor is an Osmosian warlord who desires total control of the universe. To do this, Aggregor captures five Andromeda aliens before attempting to return to his homeworld in order to fully absorb their power. When his ship's hyperdrive was damaged, Aggregor used Paradox's time machine as backup, successfully merging himself as Ultimate Aggregor. With his newfound power, Aggregor traveled around the universe, collecting the four pieces of the Map of Infinity by letting the heroes do the hard work before swooping in to take it. Afterwards with all four pieces, Aggregor travelled to the Forge of Creation in order to absorb an infant Celestialsapien so he can obtain absolute power. A ruthless villain who deals with the heroes personally, Aggregor stood out as the most successful among Ben's adversaries, only failing due to Kevin making a Heroic Sacrifice by absorbing the Ultimatrix to gain enough power to defeat him.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse:
      • Khyber is the alleged "greatest huntsman in the galaxy". Hired by Dr. Psychobos and Malware to hunt down all of the predatory species for the Nemetrix and later the Omnitrix itself, Khyber thoroughly studies his prey and begins hunting Ben Tennyson, using the Nemetrix attached to his pet which he controls by whistling, eventually succeeding in subduing and capturing Ben. Assisting in the attack on Galvan-Prime, after being disrespected by Psychobos, Khyber turns on him and escapes with the Nemetrix. Later teaming up with Albedo, breaking him out of prison and swapping the real Ben in his place, Khyber then hunts Ben in his own personal reserve using his new pet. Fighting the heroes over possession of Azmuth's brain, Khyber gets captured and resists interrogation until the information is forcefully extracted from his mind. Escaping yet again, Khyber teams up with Skurd, offering the Nemetrix in exchange for his powers.
      • Attea is the princess of the Incurseon empire and daughter of Emperor Milleous. After being thwarted in her first attempt to usurp her father, she is made a general of his army and invades several planets including an assassination attempt on Vilgax. Acquiring mind control serum made from harvested Amber ogia, she uses it to create an army of Way Bads. Attea and Milleous launch a full-scale invasion on Earth, succeeding in taking it over and exiling Ben Tennyson. However Ben manages to escape and returns as Bullfrag and helps to defeat the Incurseon and Way Bad armies. Upon Milleous being arrested, Attea reveals she was the one who freed Ben and that the entire war was one elaborate ploy to get her father removed so she could take over the empire.
  • The Boondocks:
    • Reverend Rollo Goodlove is a straw liberal activist whose motivations behind his multiple causes are money and publicity. First appearing in "The S-Word", Rollo convinces the Freemans to sue Mr. Petto for using a "racial slur" on Riley, and prolonging the issue by collaborating with Ann Colter in orchestrating a political debate. In "The Hunger Strike" he convinces Huey to continue his hunger strike in the kid's efforts to boycott BET, only to abandon his cause once the network gives Rollo his own TV sitcom. Helping the Freemans once again in "The New Black", he manages to convince the public that Riley is a special needs child using the word "gay" to describe things he doesn't like, switching their ire to those who sued Riley for saying the slur. While the beliefs in his causes might not be genuine, his charisma and master planning are, making Rollo one of the most likable masterminds on the show.
    • "Riley Wuz Here": The "Art Teacher" is a former Shell-Shocked Veteran turned crook who moonlights as an educator. Upon overseeing Riley spray painting a house, he immediately takes a liking to him and takes him under his wing. Teaching Riley basic drawing before moving out a bigger canvas, he has Riley paint several beautiful murals on various homes. Proposing on the last night to paint someone who isn't in the picture anymore, he has Riley paint a mural of his deceased parents. When the police show up, the art teacher shoots their tires and takes off. Despite only appearing in one episode, the art teacher stood out as one of the most soft spoken antagonists and provided one of the most touching scenes in the show.
  • Castlevania (2017): Isaac is a Devil Forgemaster, Dracula’s last friend and a ruthlessly competent general. An abused servant until he killed his master, Isaac believes the world will only know love once all humanity is purged. To this end, he helps Dracula by reviving corpses as monsters to serve in his army. When the brutal Viking Vampire Godbrand suggests deposing Dracula, Isaac effortlessly kills him. No one ever discovers Godbrand’s death, with Isaac even telling Dracula that if anyone ever sought to betray him, Isaac would remove such that even Dracula wouldn’t know. After Dracula’s death, Isaac continues his war on humanity, seeking to build an army with his Devil Forgemaster skills. Utterly loyal to Dracula and one of the main reasons the Vampire Lord is a threat, Isaac is a human who can easily compete with all manner of monsters.
  • Class of the Titans: Cronus, Lord of Time and King of the Titans, is the ruthless villain who plots his own escape from Tartarus and promptly asks the Oracle of Delphi for what can stop him. Upon learning of the young would-be heroes, Cronus repeatedly showcases new plans that put him close to completely dominating the world with the young heroes struggling to match him. Cronus takes hostages to lure others into traps, including gods and even fakes his own defeat to take over the underworld. Rarely at a loss, Cronus always rebounds from his defeats and even ends the series defeated but alive and powerful as ever, plotting to weaponize the now unknown future to complete all his plans and dominate the world.
  • Clone High: "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts": The Pusher, in actuality Larry Hardcore, is a rockstar drug dealer who sells raisins as drugs to teenagers. A loyal fan of the California Raisins who was hired by the raisin council to come up with a plan to sell more raisins to teens, the Pusher takes advantage of the average teenager's rebellious attitude to sell them raisins under the guise of hallucinogenic drugs, having done so to several high schools before doing the same to Clone High. Growing more powerful with each raisin buyer, the Pusher allows Principal Scudworth to create a divide between the students and their parents just to sell the teens more raisins.
  • Close Enough: "Joint Break": Barb leads a crew of elderly women on a series of successful bank robberies to pay off their medical bills, using their guise as elderly folks to avoid suspicion from the police. Befriending Pearle Watson, Barb tricks her into becoming her get away driver and persuades her to join her crew for a job involving stealing an armored truck filled with money. Aware of Pearle's past as a cop, Barb took all the bullets from Pearle's gun when she tries to stop them. Stopped by Pearle's friends on the force, Barb convinces Pearle to let her take one more water aerobics exercise in the ocean, letting the waves kill her and going out on her own terms.
  • Cyberchase: The seemingly friendly Ledge reveals himself as the mastermind behind the outbreak in the "Sensible Flats" episode. Devising a machine that transforms its victims into replicas of the Hacker in three minutes, Ledge deceives the Cybersquad into exhausting themselves, nearly succeeding at disposing them. In his next appearance, Ledge decides to outdo his former idol as a villain. Tricking the Hacker into wearing a clown suit, Ledge snaps a picture at his expense and publishes it worldwide. Upon learning of the Blue Bird of Zappiness, Ledge bugs the Hacker and effortlessly manipulates Buzz & Delete to his side, having backup plans in store if they proved to be problematic. Despite his few appearances, Ledge earns the ire of both the Cybersquad and the Hacker and stands as the most competent and dangerous of the series' antagonists for a reason.
  • Dan Vs.: The Imposter is the most friendly antagonist in the show, as well as the most crafty. While the Imposter's MO is stealing people's identities and taking over their lives, he generally goes after people who are isolated from society, winning over the town under their name. Despite being outsmarted by Dan in his first appearance, the Imposter evens the score and then some in his second when he accurately predicts Dan's every move, luring him and Chris into a trapped apartment, before implanting a transmitter into Dan's molar. The Imposter then orchestrates Dan's arrest by Playing the Victim Card in front of an officer.
  • DOTA: Dragon's Blood: The Elf known as the Invoker was once a brilliant scholar who gained the affection of the goddess Selemene with whom he had a daughter. When his daughter died as a result of Selemene's pride and ego, the Invoker forms a pact with the demon Terrorblade, manipulating all events of the series and the theft of Selemene's sacred lotuses to initiate a war between Selemene's order and the rest of the region to weaken faith in Selemene. Ending in Selemene's defeat at Terrorblade's hands, the Invoker ends the first season imperiously gazing down at the defeated form of his former lover, his revenge complete at last.
  • Futurama: "Less Than Hero": The Zookeeper is a supervillain who commits crimes with a pack of highly trained animals. Planning to steal the Quantum Gemerald, he causes chaos in the Museum of Natural History by having animals attack the patrons, distracting the New Justice Team long enough for him to grab the Gemerald. When the heroes corner him, he drops the Gemerald off of a balcony which distracts them and allows him to escape. Learning that Leela is Clobberella, the Zookeeper kidnaps her parents and holds them hostage so the New Justice Team will steal the Gemerald for him, and ultimately escapes with the Gemerald.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: While the Puffy gang often encounter smug Jerkasses, these four are the exception.
    • "Bad Manager": Slick Shady, the "biggest weasel in rock", is a manager who's also an expert rock-paper-scissors player. Coercing the reluctant Kaz into betting his prize money in a game of rock-paper-scissors, Shady easily wins, and gets him to bet Ami and Yumi, whom he also wins. With the duo now his, Shady lavishes them in an ultra-luxurious lifestyle, all while Kaz degrades into a washed up flea circus manager. After Ami and Yumi challenge Shady to a game of rock-paper-scissors for their release, he ups the ante by forcing Kaz to leave the music business should they lose. A man of his word, Shady allows Ami and Yumi to return to Kaz after they beat him, while also leaving his mark as the best manager the duo have ever had.
    • "Phantom of Rock": The titular Phantom of Rock, Johnny Ghost, is a legendary rocker who can get the best out of any band. Working with Kaz to get Ami and Yumi out of their creative stagnation, the Phantom fakes kidnapping Kaz and has the duo go through his deadly haunted castle. At the end of the trail, the Phantom reveals that he had sampled Ami and Yumi's screams and grunts to be used in an enjoyable single, ending the episode willing to collaborate with the Puffy gang again after having so much fun messing with them.
    • "Janice Jealous": Janice herself is a monotone nerd whose yo-yo skills and expertise in arcade games made her King Chad's latest girlfriend. After Ami and Yumi lure Chad from her by copying her looks and behavior, Janice feigns sadness in order to get their attention. Getting the rockers to feel guilty and return to being themselves, this leads to Chad breaking up with them and allowing Janice to swoop in to take him back, having copied her looks off of Ami, while having also learnt guitar and joined a band during their breakup. Janice ends the episode at Chad's side again, serving as the only antagonist to score one over the Puffy duo.
    • "Legend of Mei Pie": The eponymous Master Mei Pie is the greatest guitar maker in the world, and the one Yumi goes to for a new guitar. Mei Pie gives the rocker a list of items that require her to travel around the globe, uncaring that Yumi goes through pain to retrieve them. Once all the items are brought to him, Mei Pie, rather than giving Yumi a new guitar, instead returns her old one to her, stating that the entire thing had been a test to see how much effort she would put into accomplishing her goals, with Yumi playing far better now than she was before thanks to his methods.

     L - X 
  • The Little Prince: The Snake, once the first being alive, travels the cosmos to corrupt planets so it may destroy them and bring back the darkness it loves. Using its charisma and intellect, the Snake convinces the worlds to embrace the worst sides of themselves to bring the worlds to ruin, constantly matching wits with the titular "Little Prince" and even using a disguise to lure the Prince to its own trap. After manipulating a civil war on the planet of the beautiful Rose, the Snake only relents to save the Prince when the Rose is threatened, even offering its own life to rescue the Rose as the one being it ever loved.
  • Looney Tunes: Cecil Turtle is a seemingly timid tortoise who has the unique distinction of being the only character to have defeated Bugs Bunny on a consistent basis. Having been challenged to a race on three separate occasions, Cecil was able to outsmart Bugs every single time. In Tortoise Beats Hare, Cecil recruits the help of his identical-looking cousins to fool Bugs into thinking that he was in the lead throughout the race. He managed to sneak past the finish line and forced Bugs to fork over the ten bucks he wagered on their match. In Tortoise Wins by a Hare, Bugs challenged Cecil to a rematch, and he convinced Bugs that his shell was the key to his superior speed. Bugs dresses up as a turtle in order to beat Cecil, but is targeted by the rabbit mob who bet all their money for the rabbit to win. Cecil disguises himself as a rabbit and tricks the mob into helping him win the race. In Rabbit Transit, Cecil uses a jet engine hidden beneath his shell to gain the lead during their race. Bugs manages to cross the finish line first, but Cecil gets him to admit that he was going over the speed limit and has him arrested for speeding. With a perfect track record, Cecil is Bugs' only foe who could beat him at his own game.
  • Mega Man: Fully Charged: Chaotique is a Friendly Enemy rival of Mega Man who loves the next big thrill and getting one over on him. Introduced convincing Aki and Bert to slack off and have fun, she frames Bert for theft and is able to evade and defeat Mega Man in battle, having studied him beforehand, before confessing to her crimes and evading arrest. Her next appearance has her succeed in a prank to make the school fade away, again evading capture. Her third appearance has her learn of the Mega Key's existence and powers when it's used to repair her, and while she feigns remorse, she sells it out to Sgt. Night. The comic series shows Chaotique remains at large even after Night's defeat, and she's never defeated in combat.
  • Monster Force: Dracula himself, a vicious but elegant pastiche of his Universal incarnation, stands as the Monster Force's most formidable adversary. Dracula constantly executes schemes to net himself more power at any cost, usually running rings around the Monster Force until it's almost too late to stop him, always operating with sadistic charm and rebounding from every defeat. Dracula makes pawns of his other vampire cohorts in a scheme meant to steal their energy so he can become a god, outsmarts Dr. Crawley in the guise of vampire hunter Bram Stoker and nearly drives him to despair, and even mounts a successful invasion of Monster Force's own base in the finale through guile.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The Gnome from the season 5 episode "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey," sought to create a utopia revolving around himself. To this end, he manipulates the Powerpuff Girls into making a deal with him promising to get rid of the town's villains if they gave him their powers in return. Quickly asserting himself as the ruler of Townsville after vanquishing the other villains, the citizens of Townsville worship the Gnome and establish a cult dedicated to him. In his final moments, the Gnome realized the error of his ways, and willed himself to die, concluding that he couldn't exist in his perfect utopia.
  • The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Dr. Zin is the chief enemy of the Quest family and a genius scientist and criminal mastermind. Arranging for a military coup in a country developing a powerful satellite, Zin attempts to blackmail the world with it while simultaneously destroying the Quests. Later faking his death to test his twin daughters, Zin reveals his disappointment while sending in a robot double armed with a bomb to kill the Quests, later relying on a mind control device to trick Jonny and friends into a trap while he controls Dr. Bentham and Race into becoming his tools.
  • Reboot: Megabyte, the Big Bad of the series, is a ruthless, yet charming Virus who intends to siege control of the entire system. Frequently coming up with genius schemes that come within a hairsbreadth of taking over Mainframe itself, Megabyte later allies with the hero Bob to prevent a Web invasion before betraying Bob and ejecting him into the Web, taking over Mainframe to remake it in his image. Eventually, Megabyte plots to simply abandon it to infect other systems before being overthrown. Later returning disguised as a second Bob, Megabyte organizes the complete takeover of Mainframe yet again. The most brilliant foe that Bob and his friends ever face, Megabyte is equal parts sophisticated and vicious, rarely at a loss and quick to recover, intending on bringing all he he can dream of under his control.
  • Regular Show: Thomas is a seemingly average intern revealed to be a skilled Russian spy named Nikolai. Ingratiating himself into the gang's favor by helping fight off a hostile takeover by an army of past foes, Nikolai thwarts any attempt to sabotage his cover while playing the part of an unassuming Nice Guy, all the while covertly setting up machinery to transport the entire park landmass to Russia. Eventually subduing the entire crew, Nikolai discovers his Russian masters' true warmongering intentions and betrays them for his new friends, fighting off fellow spy Natalia and returning the Park to America, before going into hiding as a fugitive traitor.
  • Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: The ruthless General James Rinaker, secretly a Shadoen agent in disguise named Wraith, is the Alliance's cold, no-nonsense head and a mind more than worthy to lead the Alliance in keeping the masquerade steady. Rinaker's penchant for manipulation and subterfuge leads to countless successful missions with no fear about doing what has to be done in the process, with alliances made and broken at his own convenience and foes to his operation like Hanek swiftly disposed of through his agents. Even when he's ousted, Wraith nearly manages to wipe out everyone who knows his secret, and manipulates even the Shadoen commanders by convincing them humanity will be cowed through one show of force — a ploy that ends with the Shadoen high command wiped out by the ensuing retaliation, allowing Wraith to take over. At the end, it takes the unification of all the alien races Wraith meticulously turned against each other as Rinaker to finally topple the web of deceit he's fostered through decades of cool-headed treachery.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: "Hassle in the Castle": Bluestone the Great is an ex-magician criminal wanted in six states, and one of the gang's more affable foes. Seeking the treasure of Vasques hidden in his old castle, he disguises himself as "the Phantom" and uses his magic tricks to scare away visitors so that he could take the treasure for himself. When The Mystery Gang investigate, he easily fools the gang with his deceptions and traps, while also showing more theatrical flair than their average adversary. Eventually foiled thanks to Scooby, he takes his capture in stride, happily showcasing the one trick they couldn't figure out and allowing himself to be taken in.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Vincent Vladislav ("V.V.") Argost is a well-spoken, charming television show host who uses his status to mask his brilliant schemes in obtaining the power of Kur. Working with his loyal servant Munya, Argost concocts a variety of plans to steal the Kur Stone over the course of 11 years until he succeeds in totally outwitting the Secret Scientists organization, then duels consistently with the Saturday family to track down clues to Kur. Argost will fake defeat to throw his enemies off, manipulate entire civilizations into serving his goals, and uses Cryptid techniques to outpace opponents physically as well as mentally. Revealed to have once been a Himalayan Yeti that repurposed himself to integrate into humanity, Argost eventually convinces Zak Saturday himself into becoming his pupil, encouraging the boy to develop his powers of Kur, then betrays and successfully drains both Zak and his doppelganger's Kur energy to become master of all Cryptids, coming seconds away from completing his goal of destroying humanity and ruling the world.
  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century: Professor James Moriarty is a clone of the original created by a Mad Scientist to serve him but ultimately usurped his creator. A Diabolical Mastermind extraordinaire, Moriarty outplays the New Scotland Yard to create a wave of crime unseen for centuries and nearly takes over Earth from the moon with a complex scheme until a resurrected Sherlock Holmes is able to stop him, though Moriarty escapes. Constantly matching wits with Holmes from thereon out, Moriarty shows respect and admiration for his opponent, even when at odds with one another and though his plans are ultimately halted by Holmes, Moriarty ends the series free and still at large.
  • The Simpsons: Springfield has many citizens and many villains – but despite so much competition the following still manage to leave their mark of devious charm:
    • "Homer the Vigilante": Molloy is a resident of the Springfield Retirement Castle who moonlights as the Springfield Cat Burglar. When Homer, head of the new Neighbourhood Watch, was interviewed by Kent Brockman, Molloy phoned in to taunt Homer that he would steal the Springfield Museum's Zirconia and succeeds despite Homer's efforts. When arrested, Molloy gracefully returns all his stolen goods before being put in jail, where he tells Homer and Chief Wiggum about where he hid all his stolen loot, leading to the whole town hunting for it. When the location Molloy described is found, all that is present is a note saying Molloy lied and used the time they spent searching to escape. An archetypical Gentleman Thief, Molloy remains memorable despite his only appearance and relatively humble goals.
    • "You Only Move Twice": Hank Scorpio is the president of the Globex Corporation whose passions include his employees' wellbeing, fun runs and world domination. Threatening the UN with a Doomsday Device, Scorpio holds the world ransom while at the same time becoming friends with new hire Homer Simpson, actually managing to make Homer productive. Executing the escaping Mr. Bont after Homer tackles the agent and successfully repelling an attack on his lair, Scorpio amiably parts with Homer when the latter decides to return to Springfield for the sake of his family. Conquering the East Coast, Scorpio gives Homer the Denver Broncos as a farewell gift and assures him they will always be friends. Emulating the best aspects of the classic Bond villains he parodies, Scorpio also cares just as much—if not more—about his employees' happiness than he does about conquering the world. The height of Affably Evil and perhaps the show's most successful villain, Hank Scorpio is a beloved character years after his single episode.
    • "The Wandering Juvie": Gina Vendetti is a troubled pre-teen, who got into a juvenile correctional facility by shoving Snow White off a building. She easily manipulates Bart by tricking him into going along with her by playing a Wounded Gazelle Gambit, using her wits to outsmart the Warden of the facility and escape using a disco ball connected to a rope and a blacksmith to remove their cuffs. Despite constantly hurting Bart both mentally and physically, she truly loves him, and has no family to speak of and when caught she confesses everything get Bart set free. Troubled, and intelligent with a Hidden Heart of Gold, Gina showed herself to be among the most clever of Bart's girlfriends.
    • "The Debarted": Donny is a troubled orphan from Shelbyville who quickly befriends Bart Simpson. Having been asked by Chalmers and Principal Skinner to infiltrate Bart's gang of friends, Donny takes the heat for one of Bart's pranks, tricks him into accusing Milhouse, and helps Skinner stay one step ahead of Bart at any given time. When Groundskeeper Willie sells Bart out, Donny has a Heel Realization and decides to stop Skinner and Chalmers. Troubled, calm, and a surprisingly good planner, Donny got the best of both Bart and Skinner.
    • "The Book Job": Neil Gaiman, the King of Fantasy Books, is a Con Man who regularly heists his way to the top. Overhearing the main crew coming up with their book idea, Gaiman decides to steal it for himself and integrates himself into the group. Pretending to be a fool, Gaiman secretly strikes a deal with Moe the Bartender. When the publishing company changes their book to be about vampires, Gaiman plays on their pride of authorship, costing them their millions, and convinces them to swap the company's flash drive with one holding their original book. While Lisa is successful in swapping the flash drives, it is revealed that Gaiman had replaced theirs with one that gave him the credit, before escaping to Shelbyville and double-crossing Moe by poisoning him. Hammy, snarky, and smarter than he at first appears, Neil Gaiman is able to heist his way onto the bestseller list once again, despite not even being able to read.
  • Tales of Arcadia: Morgana, also known as the Pale Lady, Baba Yaga, and by many more names, was a young student of Merlin who despaired at her brother Arthur's persecution of magical beings. Falling to darkness when Arthur died, Morgana would manipulate legions over the ensuing centuries to advance her goals of world conquest, having the troll Angor Rot sell his soul to her to use him as her assassin. Upon returning to life in Wizards, Morgana later repents and joins the heroes to help defeat the evil Arcane Order and the resurrected Arthur, giving her life to destroy him when she realizes he is beyond saving while reconciling with her mentor Merlin and following him into the afterlife.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): Agent John Bishop is the leader and founder of the Earth Protection Force, an anti-alien task force Bishop designed after undergoing trauma and experimentation at the hands of aliens. Believing that all aliens and mutations are enemies of humanity, Bishop keeps himself alive for centuries to secure humanity's "safety", creating an entire clone army under the U.S. government's nose and even successfully staging an alien invasion to gain more funding for the EPF. Bishop is as dangerous in combat as he is in strategy, as he dances around entire groups of trained combatants including the Turtles, Karai and Hun, always using nothing but his surroundings and quick-thinking to get the upper hand and keep up. By the year 2105, Bishop has come to see the error in his hatred of all aliens, and develops a peace treaty between several alien worlds and Earth, becoming the beloved President of the new galactic federation and keeping the peace with a gentle but firm hand.
  • Totally Spies!: Kyle Katz is a thief the WOOHP could never catch as he committed countless jewelry heists throughout the world. Targeting the Uzbekistan Pearl, Katz seduces the three spies with his gentlemanly charm and putting the Pearl in his grasp. As the spies enter the vault to stop Katz, he steals the pearl and locks them inside while he makes his escape. Although defeated and caught in the end, Katz never sheds his affability, even throwing the girls a rose. Despite only having one appearance, Katz remains one of the suavest antagonists faced by the spies.
  • Transformers franchise:
    • Beast Wars: Megatron, a rogue Predacon general who took the name of the Decepticon leader, is a brilliant, charismatic and ruthless foe who repeatedly comes up with new schemes to defeat the Maximals under Optimus Primal. Faking the Predacons' destruction to gain an advantage or using spies and psychological warfare, Megatron even uses cover of a truce to betray Optimus and succeeds in temporarily destroying him. Utilizing his soldiers as expendable resources, Megatron routinely comes within inches of victory, even manipulating a former Decepticon into working for him so he can destroy the sleeping Autobots and completely change history. By the sequel, Beast Machines, Megatron turns out to have taken over Cybertron and repeatedly keeps the Maximals on the run.
    • Transformers Animated:
      • Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons and the Arch-Enemy of the Autobots. A brilliant tactician who kickstarted the entire Decepticon cause into an organized, deadly army and initiated the Great War, Megatron was reduced to but a head after the betrayal of his lieutenant Starscream; however, even this doesn't stop Megatron, as he manipulates Isaac Sumdac and several other humans to reconstruct his body and return to life. Megatron is constantly updating and adapting his plans, going from trying to steal the Allspark to using its shattered fragments to create a Space Bridge with ease, and uses the mole he planted in Cybertron ages ago, Shockwave, to construct Decepticon uprisings so as to distract Cybertron and let Megatron invade. Rarely losing his cool and his plans always being foiled only by an outside source he couldn't have predicted, Megatron makes one final scheme by using rudimentary tech to take control of Omega Supreme, create clones of him, then use them to conquer Cybertron before expanding the Decepticon rule across the cosmos.
      • Shockwave is Megatron's "most loyal servant", a manipulative shapeshifter who infiltrates Cybertron as the Autobot Longarm. When Bumblebee learns that there is a Decepticon spy in their midst, Shockwave first tries to murder the bot before framing the innocent Wasp as the spy, successfully protecting his identity to such a point that he murders the current head of Cybertron intelligence to get himself the promotion with no suspicions. Shockwave manipulates the Autobot leadership for years as he orchestrates Decepticons across the galaxy, and always pounces on any potential leaks of his identity, leading Blurr into a lethal trap when he tries to investigate Longarm and cutting off communications with Optimus Prime when his team learn of Shockwave's status as a mole. When realizing he is moments away from being exposed, Shockwave deals a fatal blow to Ultra Magnus, kidnaps Arcee and uses her memories to help Megatron with his plans to clone Omega Supreme, only being beaten after he lures an Autobot team into a trap and nearly murders them all by playing on their compassion.
      • Swindle is a fast-talking, smooth arms dealer who plays both sides of the Autobot-Decepticon conflict to bring himself the most profit. Introducing himself by manipulating a group of human villains into building a powerful EMP weapon, Swindle betrays them all and tries to sell the weapon to Megatron, demonstrating its abilities by easily incapacitating the entire Autobot team. Though he is captured thanks to a surprise attack, Swindle bounces right back as he stages a breakout of an Autobot prison ship, taking control and planning to use the Autobot crew as hostages before harvesting their parts for extra cash. Swindle is always ready with a new gadget or weapon to get out of any situation, such as arming the Decepticon prisoners or disabling Jetfire and Jetstorm in a cinch, and he ultimately gets away scot-free, using an Autobot rescue attempt to distract his cohorts, looting the entire prison ship's belongings, and fleeing into space while remarking how much he "loves a shopping spree."
    • Transformers: Prime:
      • Soundwave is Megatron's most trusted operative, an oft-silent head of Decepticon communications who uses his position to spy on friend and foe alike to further the Decepticon cause. Regularly thwarting attempts to overthrow Megatron with both tactical surveillance and physical might, Soundwave is always on standby to supply Decepticon troops with transportation and strategic schemes, serving as the primary source of Decepticon victories. Always taking the most pragmatic ways to accomplish his goals, Soundwave contrasts fellow lieutenants Starscream and Airachnid's sadism and cruelty with his own brand of cold efficiency, often forgoing outright physical confrontations in favor of just teleporting entire armies of enemies out of his way. Even when captured and threatened with torture and interrogation by the Autobots, Soundwave just mocks his captors before wiping his own hard drives, fully willing to perish to ensure Decepticon victory.
      • Shockwave is the head scientist of the Decepticons, dictating his actions based not on personal feelings, but on logic and greatest chances for success. Established immediately as Starscream's far more competent, threatening rival, Shockwave survives an attempt by Starscream to leave him for dead, instead fully repairing himself and his lab of his own construction using nothing but ruins of Cybertron. Upon finding his way to Earth back into the Decepticon fold, Shockwave quickly proves his usefulness in furthering the groups' schemes, as he creates and unleashes Predaking, outwits the Autobots in retrieving Decepticon artifacts, and even concocts the final plan of the Decepticons in the series, adapting materials from a freak accident to reform Cybertron and return it to prosperity. As efficient physically as mentally, Shockwave thrashes any opponents he faces personally, and cements his status as a truly impressive Decepticon when he singlehandedly convinces the Predacons to fight Unicron alongside the Autobots for the good of Cybertron.
  • VeggieTales: Larryboy and the Bad Apple: The Bad Apple is a manipulative fruit who considers herself the embodiment of temptation. Seeking vengeance on all of Bumblyburg for the humiliation of her ancestor, the Bad Apple plans to lure every citizen into a temptation-based funhouse to trap them forever so she can claim the city in her family's name. To accomplish this, the Bad Apple lures the mayor of Bumblyburg and its top reporter Petunia into her "temptation webs", trapping them both before doing the same to Larryboy himself and his butler Alfred. With a silver tongue always ready to spin a web of lies and deceit to accomplish her goals, the Bad Apple comes dangerously close to succeeding in her scheme, proving to be one of Larryboy's most notable and dangerous adversaries.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender
    • Prince Lotor is the handsome, charismatic son of Zarkon and Honerva. Returning when his father is incapacitated, Lotor uses his charisma to win the Galra to his side and proves a deadly enemy of Voltron with his brilliance. Even when Zarkon awakens, Lotor changes gears to ally with Voltron, eventually killing his father and becoming the new head of Galra. Manipulating the Paladins, it is eventually revealed Lotor has preserved the Altean race, albeit while harvesting some for their Quintessence, leading to a massive confrontation. Despite his evil actions, even Allura acknowledges Lotor's good intent in the end, and he remains one of Voltron's most utterly brilliant and capable adversaries.
    • Honerva, aka High Priestess Haggar, is Prince Lotor's mother and the ruthlessly capable force behind Zarkon's throne. Nearly eliminating Voltron and all of her opponents in one fell swoop during one gambit, upon regaining her memories, Honerva ends up manipulating the entire Altean colony founded by Lotor into her pawns by using their belief of Lotor as a savior. Using them to assist her in opening up the path to reality itself, Honerva intends to find a reality where she is happy with her husband and son, deciding the rest can burn, before realizing her errors and having a chance to fix it at cost of her life.
  • Wakfu: Nox, the mad Xelor and keeper of the Eliacube who serves as the Big Bad of the first season, is an audacious and brilliant Time Master who devotes himself wholly to one thing: to turn back time two-hundred years, back to when his Eliacube-induced insanity resulted in the death of his family. Nox drains the wakfu from entire countries and leaves all around him in ruin to store the captured wakfu in the Eliacube, affording himself no setbacks and firmly convinced turning back time while simultaneously erase all of his own atrocities, allowing him and the World of Twelve a fresh start. With his ruthless, unfettered agenda leading to the defeat of everyone who tries to stand up against him — with Nox effortlessly tricking the entire Sadida military into wasting their soldiers on a diversion Nox sets up, and even defeating the ancient dragon Grougaloragran and Yugo himself — Nox's defeat only comes when it's revealed he never could have gotten enough wakfu to bring his family back, even his final defeat cast in an immensely sympathetic light.
  • We Bare Bears: "Googs" : Ari Curd is the founder of the Googs headquarters. Designing the virtual reality goggles, she throws a contest with the offer being a tour around the facility. When the bears win, she tricks them into being her test subjects and through her online avatar, she plays on Panda's frustration with his brothers to send him on a rocket to the moon and later, the sun while he's vulnerable. Ending the simulation Ari cheerfully greets the Bears and offers to give them the real tour, albeit oblivious to their trauma.
  • Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?: Carmen Sandiego is a rogue ACME agent who became the world’s most successful master thief just for the sake of the thrills. To this end, Carmen stole famous landmarks and objects across the world, leaving difficult to follow clues and patterns to challenge herself with cunning pursuers. Having a strict moral code, Carmen only steals her items for the thrill, later returning them and despises violent measures. Treating her thievery hobby and escapades more like a mental game than anything else and remains affable to her companions and her enemies alike. Carmen is one of the most worthy adversaries for the ACME agents and the players in the show.
  • The Wrong Trousers: Feathers McGraw is a penguin who imitates a chicken while committing robberies. Taking advantage of Wallace’s hospitality, Feathers drives Gromit out of the house by making him think he’s being replaced and then traps Wallace in the reprogrammed electronic trousers that Wallace gave Gromit as a birthday present and runs him wild through the town. Feathers then uses Wallace to steal a diamond from the museum and when confronted by Gromit with a rolling pin, pulls a gun on Gromit. Feathers then narrowly escapes during a harrowing pursuit on a train set while nearly outsmarting Gromit at every turn.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Once the greatest hero to have ever lived, Chase Young was tempted into drinking the Lao Mang Lone soup which gave him eternal youth in exchange for corrupting his soul to the Heylin side. Betraying his benefactor, Chase spent 1500 years honing his own skills while maintaining his youthful appearance. Seeking world domination, Chase saw interest in Omi, whom he constantly helped deal with common threats earning the young monk's trust. Chase eventually tricked Omi into defecting to his side by trapping Master Fung into the Ying-Yang world, forcing Omi to use the Ying Yo-Yo to rescue him, unaware that his good chi will be left behind. Even after Omi reverts back to the Xiaolin side, Chase took advantage of Omi's adherence by showing him a vision of his Heylin self pledging his loyalty to him, causing Omi to reluctantly remain by his side. When the Xiaolin monks defeats him in a showdown, Chase accepts his loss and releases Omi from his grasp. A ruthless, self-serving yet charismatic and honorable Heylin warlord, Chase Young stood out as one of the Xiaolin's greatest foe, never being truly defeated in the end despite suffering numerous setbacks.

 
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