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Sandbox / Big Bad Anime And Manga

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"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Big Bad is the one who turns out to be behind several other seemingly independent threats.

  • Aika 16 has Risako, Aika's teacher, who turns out to be an agent for a secret organization, who tries to stop Aika's expedition.
  • Aika Zero has Miyu Shiratori, the leader of the White Knights that terrorize the school.
  • Assassination Classroom: Shiro is the most recurrent antagonist Koro-Sensei and his students face over the course of the series, earning this spot by default. Then it's solidified when it's revealed that he's really Yanagisawa, the Mad Scientist who transformed Koro-Sensei from a human into what he now is, making him responsible for the whole series in the first place. Then he and the God of Death, who he makes his Dragon, jointly serve as the Final Boss at the series' climax.
  • Attack on Titan has the iconic Colossal Titan, a Kaiju-like Titan that quite literally kicked off the series by ending a century of peace. Revealed not to be true once his Secret Identity is revealed. He's merely a guilt-ridden Tyke Bomb serving an even greater threat. That threat is revealed to be the Kingdom of Marley, a nation subjugating the Eldians and are using the power of seven out of the nine Titan powers they've gained in an attempt to acquire the resources of Paradis Island and later seek the genocide of the Eldians living there..
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  • Aura Battler Dunbine: Lord Drake Luft is responsible for the war in the setting, seeking to conquer all of Biston Well and rule supreme.
  • Beasts of Abigaile: Aaron, the sinister headmaster of Abigaile Island, a correctional "school" where lugas are conditioned to become slaves. He's also responsible for revealing the existence of the lugas to the government, which in turn led to their country of Ruberia being conquered and them being enslaved in the first place.
  • Black Clover: Licht, the leader of the Eye of the Midnight Sun, leads a group of rogue mages whose goal is to destroy the Clover Kingdom, putting him at odds with the kingdom's Magic Knights.
  • Bleach:
    • Sosuke Aizen is behind almost everything that's happened in this manga right down to even being responsible for Ichigo and Uryuu being born. His hollowfication experiments bring Masaki and Isshin together, in the process destroying her planned Arranged Marriage to Ryuuken and freeing them both to Marry for Love. In the final arc, Aizen manages to manipulate Yhwach with his power despite being imprisoned.
    • In the final arc, Yhwach, The Emperor of the Vandenreich, is revealed to be involved in almost everything Aizen isn't and it's hinted that Yhwach may be the reason why Aizen became a villain in the first place. Yhwach is responsible for the existence of the Quincies and the Great Offscreen War with the Shinigami. Shutara claims he's more evil than Aizen. He also caused the deaths of Yamamoto, Ichigo's mother and Uryuu's mother, and is the reason why Uryuu was denied Quincy training after Souken's death.
  • In Brave10, Tokugawa Ieyasu is responsible for the political machinations threatening Isanami, Yukimura, and Ueda's independence. Although he's portrayed as ineffectual and always at a distance, both Hattori Hanzo and Date Masamune are working for or through him to attack the Braves on all sides.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Aion's behind a huge chunk of the bad things that happen and is the final foe Chrono and Rosette have to face—although in the manga his morality is a little more gray than his anime counterpart.
  • In Claymore Priscilla looks like the most logical pick for this role, until you find out that the Organization has used the island Claymore is set in as a giant-sized research lab for the whole time as a mean to produce controllable Awakened beings, they created the Yoma and every single nasty thing that inhabits Claymore's Crapsack World ultimately exists only because of them, Abyssal ones and Priscilla included.
  • Vicious from Cowboy Bebop. Due to the episodic nature of the show, he's only in 5 episodes, but he's not only the central threat of those episodes, he also plays a huge role in Spike's past.
  • Delicious in Dungeon has the Lunatic Magician set up as us this in the first couple of pages, being the one who created the dungeon by sinking a whole kingdom into the ground, but seems to simply be a myth or legend, with the Red Dragon taking the spotlight after eating Falin alive, forcing the party to go save her. However, after its revealed the Magician (aka Thistle) very much exists and is behind the Red Dragon, she solidly takes this role in the story. She cursed the residents of the Golden Kingdom with immortality, executes any who try to escape, attacked Team Touden with the monsters she controls, stole away Falin and mutated her into her chimera form, and is just murderously insane in general. Even the people she's "protecting" hate her.
  • Doubt Trilogy by Yoshiki Tonogai:
    • Doubt: The Wolf, who uses her hypnotic abilities to trap people in a mafia-esque game called “Rabbit Doubt”, with one of them as the murderer. At first thought to be ???? (the bald man found in the surveillance room.), it's then revealed to be Mitsuki Houyama, who’s actually under the control of Rei Hazama, all because she was falsely accused of being a fraud and her parents killed themselves out of shame.
    • In the sequel Judge, the titular Deadly Game is overseen by what appears to be a talking doll resembling some sort of fox-like animal. It calls itself the Judge, and it becomes clear that it’s a proxy for someone amongst the participants. In the end, the mastermind behind the Judge game is actually two people, Hikari and Hiro, as Revenge by Proxy for a court case in which Hiro’s brother and Hikari’s lover, Atsuya, died and the perpetrator got off scot-free. Though, of the two, Hikari’s more dominant, as seen when she kills Hiro at the end for indirectly being responsible for Atsuya’s death.
    • In Secret, the mastermind is Shinichi Mitomo, the school’s guidance counselor who consults the students after a tragic bus accident. However, it’s subverted in that this game is not lethal- he simply claims that three of them are murderers and that he has the evidence, and encourages them to confess. The real Big Bad would be the murderer who Mitomo suspects caused the “accident”. It’s then double subverted when it’s revealed that the crash really was an accident, and Mitomo made it look intentional to pin it on two of the students and get another thrown in jail. Said person’s motive for doing this was to kill everyone who he suspects got his beloved sister pregnant- he wanted her for himself.
  • The sequel anime, Dragon Ball Z has a Big Bad for each saga. The Saiyajin saga's main menace was Vegeta, who led the attack of the title alien race (which Goku is also a member of) on earth. He gets better.


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