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Villains are a lot of many different things.

You have the antagonists who are sympathetic and potentially even woobies. You have the antagonists who most likely meant well, but unfortunately became villains because of their good intentions. You have the antagonists who have their loved ones and standards, yet are still a force to be reckoned with. And then there are the antagonists that are absolutely heinous and irredeemable, with nothing remotely pleasant about them.

And yet, despite the fact that we're supposed to be rooting for the good guys instead, we still absolutely love the bad guys, for whatever reason.

Maybe they have some kickass theme music. Maybe they're so terrifying and powerful, you can't help but be intrigued by them. Or heck, maybe the protagonists just aren't interesting enough to warrant much of your attention, so you're rooting for the much more entertaining villains.

Whatever the reason, this page was created for the sole purpose of gushing about the baddies you love to hate!

Related to Gushing About Characters You Like, Gushing About Shows You Like, etc.

NOTE: Please do NOT bash other people for liking a villain who may not be your cup of tea, for whatever reason! This page is for gushing and not starting flame wars! Also, please remember to put examples in alphabetical order of the name of the work to avoid duplicates and confusion.

There might be unmarked spoilers on this page, as well. So, just be mindful of that.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Even though there are many cool Dragon Ball, special mention goes to Goku Black form Dragon Ball Super. From his calm and cool demeanor, his faux-polite mannerisms, his unique and cool powers and the way he is smug about it, and his speech about how he is going to eradicate humanity for justice or how superior he is to all the mortals. As much of a colossal bastard as he is, the way he acts easily makes him one of the coolest villains in the entire Dragon Ball franchise. Sadly his manga incarnation isn't really as received as his anime counterpart.
    • On the topic of Dragon Ball Super and Goku Black, special mention also (and I guess by proxy, as well) goes to Zamasu. Unlike most villains who start off strong like Frieza or Buu, or starts of average then works his way up like Cell, Zamasu has a Sword and shield dynamic with Goku Black. Aside from being the first villain to achieve in outright killing Goku (or at least an alternate version of Goku) and the first (canon) villain to achieve immortality, his haughty personality, almost Shakespearean mannerisms and rather divergent motive, Zamasu treads the line of truly chilling villain and Narm Charm.
    • Among all the villains of Dragon Ball, there are no other characters that can match the uniqueness and characterization than the revamped Broly from Dragon Ball Super: Broly. In contrast to his non-canon counterpart who is essentially a giant fucking baby due to hating Kakarot for crying for three hours, this Broly is a tragic multi-dimensional character to the point that when he is about to lose, rather than cheering for his defeat, you cried and plead with the movie to not kill him.
  • In a similar vein to above, Kira Yoshikage from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable. He is cool and collected, but incredibly twisted in the brilliantly written way that Horihiko Araki writes his villains. He manages to turn down the stakes of the series while keeping the back half of the show tense, fun, and enjoyable. And while he isn't nearly as hammy as DIO, he has plenty of both Funny Moment and Moment of Awesome. Not mentioning the amazing final fight against him, beginning with him on top of the world and ending in him getting done the dirtiest of all of the main Jojo villains, even more so than Kars. You'll never look at the Mona Lisa the same way again.
  • Johan Liebert of Monster fame is frequently cited as one of - if not the best - anime/manga villain ever, and for very good reason! He puts up such a convincing act to make people believe that he's really very kind, compassionate and gentle, when in reality he's a... well, just look at the title of the manga. Throughout the story, he manipulates people into either killing themselves or committing crimes for him; which include setting a highly occupied library aflame as well as killing several people which happens to include his own twin sister's adoptive parents. He's also frighteningly intelligent as he figures out that a detective was lying about killing a criminal drunk when in reality he was sober before either convincing him to commit suicide or shoving him off a tall building. Not to mention that he also plays kindly with children... which just so happens to include convincing them to play a "game" in which they throw themselves off the roofs of tall buildings, and "if at first they don't succeed, try again". And in one of the most despicable acts he's ever done (and that's really saying something), he tells a young orphan boy to go to a red light district in order to find his mother and that if he doesn't find her, it means that nobody loves him and he's not wanted. There, the boy sees some truly awful things and almost commits suicide in response to all of this! After all of this, some of you might be wondering if he Used to Be a Sweet Kid with some kind of Freudian Excuse, right? WRONG! He also was an Enfante Terrible that murdered several sets of adoptive and foster parents with his sister none the wiser until he was caught in the act and convinced her to shoot him in the head which she does! And he also convinced fifty adults and children to slaughter each other, all the while he calmly observes the massacre. So yeah, there are several reasons he's often cited as the greatest anime/manga villain ever!

  • The Rogues (longtime Flash adversaries) are some of the coolest antagonists in comics. When written at their best, they are complex, even sympathetic bad guys. These days, they're encroaching on Anti-Villain territory, especially with the recent Rogues' Rebellion miniseries.
  • Lex Luthor not only puts up with someone biologically superior to his race in every way, but has in many cases guided the rest of villains, has an awesome suit (business and Power Armor), and an unbreakable will. He's probably one of the most powerful earth level villains there is.
  • Darkseid is another great one. A God hellbent on destroying all free will, with Omega Beams and pretty much all Kryptonian powers. He's also got a planet of people who fear and worship him.
  • The Joker. Is there any more that really needs to be said here?
  • Thanos is my favorite Marvel villain. A god-like alien from the planet Titan who is madly in love with Death and would do anything to impress her. He can outwit nearly anyone save for Reed Richards or Doctor Doom and can easily go toe to toe with any of Earth's mightiest heroes. He is consistently a threat to the Marvel Universe and nearly destroyed it multiple times. He's just an awesome villain.

    Fan Works 
  • Inkopolis Chaos's Lt. Obsidian. She's a delusional, hypocritical, immoral bitch who'd throw away innumerable innocent lives for the sake of power, control, and disproportionate revenge. That's why she's the best-written villain to conclude the series with.

    Film - Animated 
  • Sir Miles Axlerod from Cars 2. He's such a cleverly-written plot-twist villain that serves as an antithesis to Mater!
  • Gush about Disney Villains here:
    • Chernabog from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence of Fantasia, for this troper at least, is the perfect personification of evil in the animated medium. He never utters a single line, yet has instilled fear into many tropers and is considered one of Disney's greatest villains. Torturing his own minions for his amusement, summoning the spirits of the dead to dance for him, and being driven back only by the ringing of holy bells and the approaching dawn (And even then, only temporarily), Chernabog was evil itself in its most frightening form.
    • Prince Hans from Frozen. His plan was diabolical, his actions were frightening, but the best part was that he not just fooled Anna, but all of us into thinking he was nice and charming. He puts on such a good charade and appeared so caring and sympathetic to the others that it comes off as a total shock to us the moment he outs himself, even upon repeat viewings. That was good villainy.
    • Although most people gush over Maleficent, in this troper's opinion, the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is and always will be the best Disney Villain of all time. She always manages to terrify the audience, whether in her dark, Coldly Hammy form as the Queen, or in her Ax-Crazy, Laughing Mad form as the Witch. She pretty much set the standards for every Disney villain (including Maleficent), and possibly villains in general, to follow. Her movie was released all the way back in 1937 and she still leaves a huge impact on anyone who watches the movie. That, my friends, is evil done right.
    • Hello? The Horned King anyone? He's so demonic and may very well be spawn from Hell itself, trying to destroy all of mankind!
    • Claude Frollo of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Man, this guy was twisted and terrifying; one of Disney's darkest villains, and absolutely awesome for it.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Lord Shen. He has a sympathetic, tragic backstory that could've been avoided if he had not acted in haste. In the present day, he's cold and depraved.
  • It's a shame that Penguins of Madagascar didn't do so well in the box office, because Dave is easily one of Dreamworks' best villains. He's just so funny and hammy, it's impossible not to like him. Despite his insanity, he manages to be an extremely clever villain who spectacularly subverts Paper-Thin Disguise. It certainly helps his case that he has an extremely tragic backstory. And besides, octopuses are just plain awesome!
  • Toy Story 3: Lotso. He's so dastardly, and cruel. Once sympathetic, but now cold and hard as steel.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Any villain from the Star Wars movies. They are epic, ruthless, cruel, and yet so effective. And let's not forget the fact that they have both Christopher Lee and James Earl Jones.
  • Freddy Krueger is most DEFINETLY one of the best horror villains out there! His monstrous, amusing, smart and Deadpan Snarker personality REALLY works well! I also like his glove! It's too bad he had to go through Villain Decay though...
  • THE CREEPER!!! Omigosh, where do I START with this guy?! He has an awesome truck, awesome humor, awesome wings, awesome attitude... he practically OOZES awesomeness!!!
  • Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th is also rather awesome, namely for his sympathetic backstory.
    • Jason may be the star of the series, but his mother, Mrs. Pamela Voorhees deserves as much credit. Unlike many other slashers at the time, she isn't some implacable monster or psychotic sadist, she's a sad woman seeking justice for her son and dealing with grief the only way she knows how. And yet, she's so convincingly deranged, wickedly clever, and downright vengeful it genuinely is unnerving when she lets the Mask of Sanity slip. Pamela may have died long before her son made his name, but her love for Jason is the real heart of this ridiculous franchise. And in my opinion, it makes for one of the most disturbing, complex, and tragic horror villains ever.
  • The Shredder!!! A classic example of Love Makes You Evil. And he utterly dominates our heroes in the final fight. His on-screen presence is very threatening, helped very much by his theme song - Shredder's Suite.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki from Thor. There's a good reason everyone says he has more fangirls than the hero, and not only that, but he is one of the best manipulative villains of all time, and his twist ending in the second Thor movie left everyone waiting, wondering, and soon to be theorizing more than the Reichenbach Fall.
    • Thor: Ragnarok adds a wonderful secondary villain in The Grandmaster. The hedonistic, literally colorful ruler of a trash planet is what Affably Evil is all about (they're not slaves, they're "prisoners with jobs"!), and a reminder to Beware the Silly Ones.
  • Dark Helmet from Spaceballs. He's prone to Breaking the Fourth Wall and being the Butt-Monkey, and is played by Rick Moranis. How can you get better than that?
  • Hans Gruber from Die Hard. A charming, cultured, charismatic, intelligent, impeccably-dressed Gentleman Thief who puts on a front of being a terrorist as a front for the ultimate heist.
  • Rev. Harry Powell from The Night of the Hunter is one of the most terrifying villains in cinema, a seemingly wholesome and charming preacher who is really the embodiment of a wolf in sheep's clothing - a misogynistic serial killer.

  • Theon Greyjoy from A Song of Ice and Fire. Betrays his oldest friend, murders two innocent kids when said friend's brothers escape... But to be fair, he grew up in a gilded cage, being disrespected by everyone around him and just wanted his dad to like him. Then he meets Ramsay Bolton and all is forgiven.
  • Lord Foul the Despiser from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. A Chessmaster par excellence, this guy was a direct rival to God in the world he inhabits, and because he is imprisoned within the Arch of Time, he literally cannot be killed without destroying all of creation. In the first trilogy, he had already destroyed The Land once by forcing its greatest mage into a Despair Event Horizon and convincing him to cast a Fantastic Nuke spell on the entire continent. And that was all just in the background story. Throughout the series proper he manipulates everyone into doing exactly what he wants, even when they are aware that he's doing it. His machinations are so subtle that avoiding any of his obvious traps means you'll only step into a worse, less obvious trap. He is flawed, though, and those flaws are the only reason he gets brought down every time. And he has style. Lord Foul is truly a Worthy Opponent for heroes anywhere.
  • Sol of Warrior Cats is an amazing villain. He's always cool and composed, and is very snarky. He also has delightfully satisfying plans, and is mysterious enough to merit any number of crazy guesses. He's one of the most unique, and interesting antagonists in the series, and that's saying something.
  • Every single major villain of Worm is an absolute gem, but the best one is, without a doubt, the Villain Protagonist, Skitter... always doing the wrong things for the right reasons. She goes from being a bullied schoolgirl to a minor villain to a complete nightmare, being mentioned in the same breath as the most prominent heroes and villains in the world.
  • Annie Wilkes from Misery: Some Stephen King villains are incredibly memorable, but Anne Marie Wilkes, the deranged Battleaxe Nurse taking in her favorite author who coincidentally crashed in a snow storm near her house, is one of the best. She puts Paul Sheldon, the author she takes in, through psychological torment and physical torture all because her favorite book character died in his latest novel. Said torture involves cutting off Paul's thumb, chopping his foot off, and throwing him into the rat-infested basement. She also isn't a two-dimensional villain like King sometimes puts in his writing. She's well-written and sympathetic at times. She exemplifies addiction and the worst of fandom all at once. She is truly a terrifying, brutal, and complex villain.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development! Evil Matriarch, Rich Bitch and Chessmaster extraordinaire. She's a criminal mastermind who single-handedly decides and controls the fate of her entire family, as well as running the family business solely through manipulation, embezzlement and fraud. And she pulls it all off without even her children noticing for years, all while being piss-ass drunk.
    Michael: And what do you need with one of Mom’s furs?
    Lindsay: I’m... cold.
    Lucille: So am I. No.
  • Gus Fring from Breaking Bad. Confident, manipulative, and chillingly professional, Gus stands out even in a show filled to the brim with fantastic villains.
  • Servalan from Blake's 7. Scheming, ambitious, devious, ruthless, manipulative and utterly fabulous.
  • Given that it coined the term "Big Bad", Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its fair share of brilliant baddies:
    • The Master. The ultimate ancient vampire with just the right mixture of campiness and menace, with a design that invokes the original onscreen vampire, Count Orlok.
    • Angelus. The most personal threat Buffy ever faced - her vampire boyfriend's psychotic alter-ego. He spent decades wreaking havoc across Europe, committing all kinds of atrocities. He's a cruel, sadistic monster with a nasty sense of humour who gets his kicks from being horrible.
    • Mayor Richard Wilkins III. He's like a fifties sitcom dad if he were a supervillain. His cheery facade is really a front for a ruthless and greedy man who seeks immortality. Yet his father/daughter relationship with Faith gives him something of a redeeming quality.
    • Glory. A hell god with unlimited strength, killer good looks, the emotional maturity of a teenager and an ego the size of the Hellmouth. Powerful, vain and so damn entertaining.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Missy, the female incarnation of the Master who first premiered in Series 8, has got to be one of the best incarnations of them to date! Cruel, silly, evil, funny, manipulative, charming and just overall incredibly well-acted by Michelle Gomez, this "Queen of Evil" has it all!
      • You got it! From "Say something nice" to "Did I mention: Bananas!?", she knows just the right thing to say before killing you. Long story short: she’s freakin' awesome.
    • Her Mook, Seb, was also a lot of fun. Even though he only appeared for three episodes, he was quite charming in his own weird kind of way. He had plenty of funny moments, including his death, and I enjoyed how snarky he was.
    • Sutekh! Everything about this guy just oozes evil and sheer, unrelenting power; especially with that voice that whispers instead of shouts provided by Gabriel Woolf! He wants to destroy all life simply because he's afraid of something "challenging him". And yet, despite how insecure that might make him sound in himself, the fact that he's more than capable of wiping out everything in the universe single-handedly certainly makes up for it! His appearances in both the Big Finish Doctor Who note  audios and the Faction Paradox audios by Magic Bullet Productions also do an incredible job of expanding on his character and backstory while not dumbing him down. And that's not always an easy feat! Although, it certainly helps that Gabriel Woolf continued to play him in those audios. All of this combined makes for a very interesting and compelling villain!
    • The War Master incarnation played by Derek Jacobi is by-and-large my favorite incarnation of the character. While his appearance in Utopia might've been a one-off, Big Finish fleshed him out into an amazing Villain Protagonist. Sure, the "Machiavellian schemer" is tried-and-true for villains but this incarnation demonstrates why it's stood the test of time. This version isn't just smart and cunning but he's the most Pragmatic of all the Masters; remaining focused without too many of the Master's usual flaws/neuroses that serve to hinder them, which is what makes watching him so engaging. But the best thing about the character for me personally is his reversal of Evil Me Scares Me. The character's fear of having positive qualities makes an excellent parallel to the War Doctor's fear of having devolved into a monster. Derek Jacobi's delivery only enhances this more and effortlessly portrays the Master simultaneously at his most human and at his worst. And that's what makes this character work without being a Draco in Leather Pants: He's able to fake his morals; tap-dance along the Moral Event Horizon until the right time to strike and when he does, it's so satisfying. And he's well-aware of this....which is what makes him one of the universe's biggest threats. Any madman can rub their hands in glee while holding the button to a destructive super-weapon. But it takes a special sort of evil to worm their way into the hearts of great people, corrupt heroic stories from within and transform victory into true tragedy while re-writing the script from the sidelines. And that madman is The War Master.
  • Adar from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power for the whole humanizing thing he brings for the Orcs and the amazing acting of Joseph Mawle. He deeply cares about the Orcs, no matter how Always Chaotic Evil they get, and wants to give a home where they don't have any master to enslave them.
  • Once Upon a Time main villains/antagonists are awesome:
    • From Season 1:
      • Regina may be a frequent dog-kicker, but there's something so touching in her unwavering faith in Daniel and her other father's memory, and in her love for them. She is also a loving, responsible mother, one of the funniest Deadpan Snarker on the show, and her determined but illogical frantic assaults against all obstacles are very inspiring. She also has an awesome theme! She's the evil queen, so she definitely counts as a villain. And she simply revels in being such!
      • Then there is Mr Gold, the charmingly funny Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard who plays everyone like he would a fiddle. His name is actually Rumplestiltskin, and he does everything he does to find his son, but is also unwilling to compromise his power, the lust for which led him to abandon his son to begin with. And for all his self-loathing, he can't ever quite kick his nasty habits that lead to conflict between him and his loved ones.
    • From Season 2:
      • Captain Hook is the ultimate deconstruction of handsome devil. He is charming, polite, and does everything he does to get revenge after a horrible crime. He is lecherous, disrespectful, suffers from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, and he subverts Would Not Hit a Girl twice in one episode. And yet through all this there is a definite tragic Death Seeker vibe to him, as though even he's miserable at how far he's fallen.
      • Cora is a nice, beautiful, motherly woman who appears to be in her late fifties, early sixties. She's also a Stage Mom of hell who kills anyone if it can better her social standing, including children, is Really 700 Years Old, and is awfully cynical, but she is fairly sympathetic because she still loves her daughter in some way.
    • From Season 3:
  • T-bag from Prison Break. He's a nasty piece of work: a sociopathic sexual predator and a paedophile. But when you find out his back story, you can't help but feel sorry for that poor little boy. Which makes you hate him more, because you feel sorry for him! Great acting on the part of Robert Knepper.
  • While many a show can claim to have an intelligent antagonist, few work as well as Farscape's Scorpius. No matter what the situation, he either has a plan or is able to come up with one on the fly. He's so good, he managed to convince the protagonists for nearly half a season that he was dead, and all the while he had gotten what he'd been after the previous season anyways. Not to mention the fact that he's a master manipulator, able to convince just about everyone but the Moya crew that he's on their side. He is one of the definitive Magnificent Bastards, and one of the most interesting antagonists ever filmed.
  • The Governor from The Walking Dead enjoys holding gladiator style death fights, keeps a host of walker heads in a display case, manipulates those around him, has his own torture chamber, stabs his best friend, mercilessly decapitates a defenceless old man, coldly shoots his deceased surrogate daughter in the head, and completely destroys everything Rick worked so hard to accomplish, simply out of spite. Yet he's also an intelligent, charming and attractive badass, with a cool Eyepatch of Power.
  • Khan Noonien-Sing is the quintessential Star Trek villain. Erudite, charming, cultured and sophisticated. He's also a ruthless, determined warlord who'll stop at nothing to achieve his goal. Arguably the most dangerous threat Kirk ever faced.
  • One of the joys of The Wire is that the criminals are real people with layers:
    • Avon Barksdale is a ruthless, bloodthirsty drug lord who values family, honor and loyalty above all else.
    • Stringer Bell is the sobering Ying to Barksdale's raging Yang - a cold, calculating intellectual with a simple dream of going legit and being a proper businessman. Despite being a backstabbing bastard, he is a genuinely tragic figure - in different circumstances, he could have succeeded, but his criminal nature and naive nature about how life outside of the ghetto works doom him.
    • Wee-Bey Brice is the main enforcer in Barksdale Crew. A murderer several times over who lets his son live a good life. Plus, he loves his fish.
    • Marlo Stanfield is a cold, stoic, petty bastard who strives for power and status at any cost. His utter disregard for human life is terrifying.

  • Iago. The greatest Manipulative Bastard ever. At the start of the play, he is passed over for a promotion (and, like all great villains, he knows his own worth). He responds by manipulating every other character in the play in order to destroy Othello. And succeeds.

    Video Games 
  • Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 provided about 30% of the awesomeness of the game. He's got a number of traits to him. For one, because of the game's brilliant ECHO system which allows the player to talk to NPCs anytime without disrupting the gameplay, Jack will randomly phone you up to have a conversation about how much you suck, and because of how much of a colossal fucking asshole he is it's impossible to sit through his rambling without laughing your ass off while being disgusted at the same time. He also a ridiculously competent villain who has a tendency to change the atmosphere, but despite those conflicting qualities they're both written and timed in a way where they're used appropriately at all times without either ultimately overshadowing the other. He's a truly complete villain and a prime example of Love to Hate.
  • 39th Slayer. He hunts you down relentlessly through the entire game (of JtRH, the second game in the DROD franchise). He's indestructible (and even when the designers slipped and left in a way to kill him, he's right back in the next room!) His weapon of choice is a hook, and he's so deadly with it that even Beethro, One-Man Army smitemaster, runs rather than fight him. And that voice... for anyone who's ever played JtRH, it becomes the voice that haunts their nightmares... "Keep running, delver!"
  • Spamton from Deltarune pretty much took over the whole fandom and became the new Tumblr Sexyman (despite being a short little trash gremlin that would sell your kidneys for three dollars) the day Chapter 2 was released, and for a good reason! He's incredibly hilarious yet terrifying, is very memorable despite the fact only one encounter with him isn't optional, and has many Hidden Depths, not to mention having a very tragic backstory of a Rags to Riches salesman who was abandoned by all his friends and family, only to lose it all and be driven into a homeless madman who's dialogue is littered with Word-Salad Horror. Oh, not to mention the absolute bangers that are his battle themes, and how he shows himself to be The Chessmaster during the Weird Route who takes advantage of your slaughter across the Cyber City to take over Queen's mansion and become a self-described god. He becomes even better when he transforms into Spamton NEO, finally giving the fandom the Mettaton NEO fight they've been waiting six years for.
  • Hibachi in all the DonPachi series. It's a giant mechanical bee you fight at the end of each game and can only appear if certain conditions are met, such as beating the game without continues, finding all the bees, or using no bombs. It also has two forms, with the second form being a Pintsized Powerhouse that fires bullets and other projectiles all over the place. Also, in the latest installment, SaiDaiOuJou, Hina takes the Hibachi mantle, and she's just as tough, especially when you fight her as Inbachi.
  • How about E.V.O.: Search for Eden?
    • Bird-King. Although he turned me off for the first time when I saw that he was incredibly racist, I realized that made sense of him to call other creatures vulgar - they are incredibly stupid, unlike him and his race. And what's better is that he's not actually very evil! He seeks to have the Birdmen rule the world... using intelligence, something human race ultimately proved to be powerful. Aside from that, he seeks to go with his race on a Journey to the Universe, as he puts it. The very thought of an avian race going to space made me giggle.note  Also, I like his design.
    • The Yeti Avenger. Man, if E.V.O. Search for Eden was popular, he would become an Ensemble Dark Horse, and for good reason. Although he is a Yeti, he is quite the opposite of his predecessors, the Sir Yeti, who would kill any mammal that tries to challenge him, and Yeti Mother, who is a Violently Protective Girlfriend. He is the least evil out of the colorful array of villains you face. He lives and protects the Yeti sacred ground and attacks you because you humiliated the Yetis (by killing their leaders, that is). And how! As has been said in the character page, he is the Yeti version of Little Mac. He packs a powerful punch and is perfectly capable of uppercutting you. You might even feel sad when fighting him, considering his sad history. He easily combines the sadness of his backstory and the coolness of his fighting, although he might become a That One Boss. He is vengeful, after all.
    • Cro-Maine. Yes, he's an annoying and grating boss. Yes, he is a cheating bastard. But he is even less evil than Bird-King. He is a cavemannote  who was bullied and abused by the Monkey-Human tribe, who, as we've seen, are rock-throwing jerks. He is a Punch-Clock Villain who works for the Big Bad. Except he wasn't forced into becoming The Dragon by the Big Bad. As he mentions himself, the Big Bad cared for him when he was alone. Wow. Opens up another side to the gargantuan, delusional amoeba we love to hate, doesn't it?
    • And, of course, Bolbox himself. He is a giant, mutated single-celled organism that came to be this way because he ate the Crystals. What makes him different from the other bosses is that he is also out for Gaia. He seems to be the only competitor out there. Unlike the omnicidal Sir Yeti or the gluttonous Bee Monarchs, he isn't very heinous. And he doesn't seem to have been an amoeba, either - he has some friends (the Tyrasaur clan, the Bee Queen and Cro-Maine, the latter being from a Monkey-Human clan, who, as you might remember, live in South America), which means he was a normal animal before coming to Eden. He is not really a villain. He is a rival. He is just like you. However, unlike you, he doesn't kill and eat everything he sees.
      • Another possible reason why you and Bolbox are the only competitors actually trying to find Eden is because the other ones died at the path. You are being helped (read: constantly revived) by Gaia's divine intervention. Bolbox, who constantly used the Crystals, couldn't have been helped by Gaia and therefore revived. In other words, Bolbox went through the hell of evolution you went through AND DIDN'T DIE. He was just that badass.
  • From the Final Fantasy series:
    • Kefka from Final Fantasy VI is freaking awesome! Let's count down the ways, shall we? First of all, he's genuinely funny. Some of his hammy and somewhat over-the-top mannerisms and one-liners can be freaking hilarious! I mean, him shouting "You sound like chapters from a SELF-HELP BOOKLET!!!" in response to the heroes Patrick Stewart Speech is one of his most quotable and most awesome lines! Secondly, despite how funny he can be, he's also legitimately scary. I mean, he sets Figaro castle on fire when Edgar refuses to cooperate with him and he poisons Doma when they were going to win anyways and when some of their own men were being held prisoner in the castle's walls and for what reason? So he can hear the "sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison"! And that's not even including him massacring the Espers at Thamasa to murdering General Leo in the process! And the kicker? He actually succeeds in his plan! Yes, he is actually able to become the God of Magic and wreak havoc upon the world, killing untold millions and literally reshaping the continents! And he rules over this dystopia for an entire year before the heroes are able to defeat him! And yet, even then, the world is still destroyed! Sure, the heroes and the remaining population can rebuild, but the Reset Button isn't pushed and as such, millions are still dead and the face of the world is still forever changed! Not to mention the fact that he has the last laugh in that the power of magic as well as magical creatures like the Espers end up disappearing from the world forever as a result of his death! And so, while he isn't everyone's cup of tea note , his general popularity is well-deserved!
  • There's one video game villain that caught my interest from the get-go and only went up from there. I'm talking about Bedman from the Guilty Gear series. His character design is unique; he's a young, sleeping teenager strapped to a giant, demonic, and mechanical bed capable of dragging people into a nightmarish dream world and obliterating them from there. The damn bed itself is pretty much indestructible. Most of the characters in Xrd -Sign- are flat-out curbstomped by this dude, showing that he's as powerful as he is a creative character. Oh, and he's quite the Motor Mouth who says the most condescending but amusing things. That's quite the villain the people over at Arc System Works have brought to life.
  • Hades of Kid Icarus: Uprising! What other villain can rip the credits up just when you think the day is saved? Oh, and he can hold witty banter with the protagonist...while the protagonist is running around in his internal organs.
    • To a lesser Extent, Pyhron and Viridi. The Former is the hammy sun god who is ultimately consumed by the power of the Aurum Brain; while the latter starts out wanting to destroy humanity due to how much we have destroyed the earth. She ultimately does do a heel face turn though.
  • Out of all the villains in Henry Stickmin Series, Dmitri Johannes Petrov, aka The Warden, is my favorite antagonist. The fact that he's the most dark and reprehensible of the bunch is really great, not to mention his complex position of being a villain who's technically on the side of the law, but has selfish motivations.
  • I've got two words right here; Master Xehanort. Good Lord, Master Xehanort! He's been everything from (Presumably) The Ace to (Definitely) an Old Master. His actions have shaped the entire fate of the World (Read; universe) for over the last ten years, permanentely reshaping it. His existence has split into several others, each one just as threatening and formidable as the last. The greatest bit of it all? Every event, every action taken by himself or his Heartless and/or Nobody is interconnected. It's all one giant plot, and it's working. Xehanort and Xanatos should be tied for the Tropes they live.
  • Marx from Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra. Clowns are scary. Bats are scary. So put them together, and you have a living reservoir of Nightmare Fuel! (And as if that wasn't enough, he also becomes a zombie. He has great battle music, a cool design (just look at those fantastic crystalline wings!), and a creepy Evil Laugh.
  • Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. He still stays creepy and evil while still being crazy and funny.
  • Fawful from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Who else can spawn such quotable lines, like "The Mustard of your doom" or the infamous "I have fury" while still keeping an aura of evilness to him?
  • Makoto Kagutsuchi, the CEO of Amaterasu Corporation and the Twist Villain of Master Detective Archives: Rain Code is one of the most ridiculously over-the-top and downright manipulative villains I have seen in a Murder Mystery game. And he succeeds because he does it so well, and it's all part of a plot that's intended to be beneficial to an immortal species that he shows empathy for, which makes him going so far in his acts even more ludicrous.
  • Can anyone say "Sovereign?" It's one of the largest ships in the entire galaxy, and it has firepower to match; of course it just settles for ramming straight into enemy fleets, WHICH WORKS. Even when it is defeated, it takes an ENTIRE FLEET and Commander Shepard's crew to put it down. And even then, it brings down multiple Alliance Ships with it. It even has ominous music to go with it.
  • GLaDOS from Portal. She may have pulled a stint as a hero for a while, but you can't help but love her hilarious dialogue. Even her evil moments are so despicably evil you can't help but be intrigued.
  • Disregarding the divisive quality of the game itself, Secret Agent Clank's version of Klunk. Not only was it surprising to see him become a villain in his own right and conceive an evil plan that actually worked to the point where he almost won, his boss fight is quite creative, with him using mechs in form of other characters. Plus, his redesign is cool.
  • Luca Blight from Suikoden II is a deliciously evil bastard. He instigated a war between Highland and the City-State by having a Youth Brigade from his own country slaughtered and why? So he can continue to Rape, Pillage, and Burn everything in his path! And he only gets worse from there! He burns villages to the ground, ignores the villagers pleads for him to spare them, including an incident where he had a woman act like a pig before killing her anyways, sacrifices an entire city's worth of citizens to power a living weapon, and to top it all off when you finally get to kill him, he proclaims himself to be the true face of evil before he finally dies. And his boss fight is no slouch either! Three separate parties of elite warriors attack him one party at a time and in-between all of the fights, he's riddled with arrows and even then, he's still not done! You have to bring him down in a duel to the death that you can still lose! And this in turn means that you have to start the battle over from the beginning! And yet, despite all of this, he actually has a genuinely tragic backstory in that his caravan was attacked by some City-State thugs hired by the Mayor of Muse when he was about nine or ten years old and while his cowardly father ran away, he had to witness his mother being raped in front of him! And yet, despite his horrifically tragic origins, he's still a complete and utter dick to everyone and everything. And this makes for an incredibly evil, sadistic and entertaining villain.
  • Wild Dog, from Time Crisis. He's probably one of the most indestructible villains of all time. He has his battle against the VSSE in every game, and whenever he's defeated, he blows himself up. But that's also a hint that he'll be back right away. He also has a very awesome Leitmotif.
  • The Stranger from The Walking Dead. I'm so sorry about stealing your food, Stranger! He wasn't the monster I thought he was going to be, and he really could have been a good parent to Clementine if he wasn't out of his mind.
  • Albedo from Xenosaga is so insane and over the top in both his words and mannerisms that he can get quite scary. The fact that he can regenerate his limbs, that smooth voice of his note , his E.S named Simeon, and the fact that he has a surprisingly heartbreaking backstory as a result of his immortality, all come together to create a very memorable, terrifying, and compelling villain!

    Web Comics 
  • Holy Crap, Tarquin from The Order of the Stick. He's a ruthless villain manipulating both his guests and his kids, Elan and Nale in order to try and make Elan become what he believes to be a true hero. He stabs Elan to attempt to kill Roy. He then proceeds to kill Nale, his son and a character who had been in the comic for Nine Years.

    Western Animation 
  • Let's take a minute and talk about some Courage the Cowardly Dog villains, shall we?
    • First of all, there's Katz. A badass, intimidating villain with a great Leitmotif. Easily one of the scariest characters in the show, and in a much more subtle way than, say, the Blue Thing.
    • He may be far sillier than most of the other characters, but Cajun Fox still manages to be awesome. Not only is he completely hilarious, he too is scary in subtle ways. He also has an awesome voice, courtesy of John Dilworth himself. He also has one heck of an ear worm for a Leitmotif and some pretty Cool Shades.
    • Another epic villain: The Great Fusilli! First of all, he's voiced by Jim Cummings, who is no stranger to voicing scary villains. Also, he has some really awesome Creepy Circus Music as his Leitmotif. His design is really cool, from his reptilian eyes to his Badass Cape, complete with High Collar of Doom. And he technically wins, which not even Katz can say. Speaking of Katz, Fusilli is every bit as sadistic as him, if not more so.
    • The Stitch Sisters are one of the creepiest, most underrated characters in the show. Everything about them is scary. Their bulging eyes, their raspy voices, their Leitmotif, which makes excellent use of an organ, their Evil Laugh, and the fact that they stitch people's souls into a magic quilt, where their victims are trapped FOR ETERNITY. Fun fact: They're voiced by Fran Brill, who also does voices on Sesame Street of all shows!
  • Bushroot from Darkwing Duck. An amazing villain with amazing powers and an amazing woobie backstory. And he's cool.
  • Nobody knows sexy better than Cousin Mel. Her Fiery Redhead status combined with all her recycled villainous tropes, beauty mark, and seductive voice would make the men fall for her even if she didn't have an impossible not-to-lust after body.
  • World from the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends movie Destination Imagination. Sure he wasn't really evil. But he was an all-around awesome antagonist. He was also cute with a backstory that will break your heart. Earn Your Happy Ending indeed!
  • Bedlam from Get Ed. He acts so gentlemanly, but can kick our heroes' asses and is very savvy!
  • Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls is an intriguingly amoral and genuinely alien bastard. And I love him.
  • The Boogeyman and Jack o-Lantern from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. The first was hilarious yet totally despicable and the second was one of the funniest yet frightening characters with a personality that makes his episode one of the most exciting to watch.
    • The Brain Eating Meteor. He's an oldie, from when the show was still under Grim & Evil, but damn if he ain't amazing. Voltaire provides an amazing song for the character, and he works well as a parody of Audrey II.
  • Canaletto from Ōban Star-Racers is very underrated, and yet one of the most brilliant, formidable, and downright ''terrifying'' villains I've seen in any cartoon. He manipulated the events of the entire series from a bird cage over thousands of years, he's chillingly charismatic for an Omnicidal Maniac, and he's powerful enough to curb-stomp the resident space wizard. Oh and dear god, his voice. Everything he says oozes confidence and malice. What's more, he damn near won were it not for one Heroic Sacrifice. Hats off to you, you vile, evil space bird.
  • Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. He's "evil" (so he says), but not as good at it as he is comical.
    • Seconded-Inator. The creators of P&F have stated that they had no intention of making a Sadist Show, and no character is ever a complete idiot or a jerk. As crazy as the characters get, they're all grounded in reality and you can feel for them, and Doofenshmirtz might just be the show's best example. He suffered one of the most horribly abusive if tragicomic childhoods in the history of fiction, between all the lawn gnomes, ocelots, kickballs, and baking soda volcanoes. He's an incredible inventor, but his skills never got the chance to flourish that the two title characters have. (In fact, it's likely that without the other's support and fraternal love, Doof is what Phineas or Ferb may have become.) So he turns to the only outlet he has left, his -inators, to get back at the world that hurt him, or at least try to. He recognizes his limits, which is why he limits himself to the more manageable goal of taking over the Tristate Area. And notably, he clearly has standards, and whenever confronted with real evil, such as Rodney's plan to move the earth into a new ice age, Rodrigo's goal of destroying the Tristate Area, or Red Skull's, well, being the Red Skull, he works willingly with Perry to set things right. He's always honest and honorable, "playing by the rules" of how evil is supposed to be done, and his Odd Friendship with his Arch-Enemy becomes one of the most touching aspects of the show.
    • We can't gush about Doofenshmirtz without also acknowledging Vanessa. Their father-daughter relationship is one of the show's best in a show powered by strong character relationships. When we first meet Vanessa, she's very much the stereotypical Bratty Teenage Daughter, griping about her embarrassing and evil father, with a Candace-like determination to prove to her mother that Heinz is a bad parent and a bad person. Yet he has faith in their bond, and is desperate to do right by her in a way his own parents never did for him. He spent a decade hunting for a discontinued doll she wanted, sends creeps her harass her to different dimensions, and regularly risks life and limb when she's in serious danger. Gradually, they meet each other halfway. He realizes that his baby girl is growing up, and supports her as she does, and she realizes that there's good in her dad, more than he gives himself credit for, to the point where she manages to persuade him to give up evil in the Grand Finale.
  • Both villains from Wakfu.
    • Nox in Season 1. He can slow down time and teleport, he made robots that can suck out the life force out of pretty much anything, and damn he is a jerk to the Universe. His actions are pretty much justified: he collects wakfu so that he may travel back in time to save his family from dying. Not only he'd save them, but all his deeds would be undone. Unfortunately, he only managed to travel back 20 minutes in time, instead of the intended 200 years. Cue the breakdown, and what looks suspiciously like a suicide.
    • Qilby in Season 2. He has an arm and a scythe made out of wakfu, he has a spaceship, he has portals, and he captures two dragons.note  Not to mention he perfectly faked a wise man before, and he betrayed the people he's supposed to be leading. Now tell me he isn't awesome.
  • Peridot from Steven Universe! Despite the fact that she's shown no redeeming qualities thus far, the fandom idolizes her as an adorkable computer nerd—and for good reason. She's got some great one-liners and a super unique design.
  • The Grand Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels is one of the most memorable and charismatic characters on the show. His Early Bird Cameos give us quick tastes of the power he wields, and provide us a sense that he is someone to be feared. Then he makes his first appearance in Rise of the Old Masters — and it is awesome. In the span of a few seconds, the heroes go from dominating the battlefield to running for their lives. For the rest of the season, they engage in quick skirmishes with him, until finally, in the Season One finale, they make a final stand against him, and defeat him. Really, the only complaint about the character is that he's underutilized, in much the same way as Darth Maul before him.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn. Unlike other major Star Wars villains, he doesn't need to use the Force to be a threat. He's unflappable, tactically and strategically brilliant, and utterly ruthless in getting things done. He could've actually destroyed the Rebellion if he hadn't been both Surrounded by Idiots and blindsided by factors that he couldn't have known about. And now Ahsoka shows that even being pulled into another galaxy can't stop him from causing trouble. He truly is the Heir to the Empire.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Toffee. The villain has been in very few episodes, but he has made such a great impact on the series, is cold and calculating, and incredibly intimidating.
  • Zaheer from The Legend of Korra. Not only is he the best villain of the series and the rest of the Avatar-verse, but he is seriously a contender for best villain of the 21st Century. That's how good he is! He's intelligent, philosophical, and calm for most of the time he appears in the series. He genuinely cares about his subordinates and believes that what he is doing is right. Finally, he serves as the perfect antithesis to the air nation, the White Lotus, and the avatar.