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Posted 7/12/13 , edited 7/12/13
If there is one thing I have learned about anime in the past decade that I have been watching it, it is that you can almost always judge an anime (or in long running anime's case, an ark) by how the villain is. As someone who is an aspiring author, and as a huge fan of anime, I was wondering what you guy's like and dislike in villains.

For me, I like a villain that can be taken seriously. Sorry, but Team Rocket doesn't cut it. I also like villains to be secretive, but not so secretive that you hardly learn anything about them for 200+ episodes (I'm looking at you Tobi and The Smoking Man). Finally, they need to have a good reason for doing what they do. No, I don't mean a reason that is rooted in good, I mean the writer needs to really think out the villain's motivation.

Also, note that Villain and Antagonist are two totally different things. Light Yagami and Leluche vi Britania are two examples of villains that are protagonists.

Here is a short list of some of my favorite villains from various series:

The Puppet Master, from Ghost in the Shell
D-Reaper, from Digimon: Tamers
Kirei Kotomine, from Fate/Zero
Light Yagami, from Death Note
Leluche vi Britania, from Code Geass
Dio, from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part 3
Pain, from Naruto Shippuden
Johan, from Monster
The Laughing Man, from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Along Complex

Now then, here are my discussion questions.
What do you look for in villains?
Who is your favorite villain?
Do you agree with my choices? Why/Why not?
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Posted 7/12/13 , edited 7/12/13
Personally speaking I do like villains in most of the cases more than the typical hero's. I'am a bad person, I know
A good villains has to have a hidden agenda. You have to think you know it, but in reality you did not. Villains which only act on impulse or without thinking their plan to the end nor accepting that they also have to pay a price are not good in any way.

He may not be a villain, but for some reason I like Valvrave's prophet of doom, L-Elf, for really thinking the things through and just do what is needed to archiv his goal.

The other type which is very intriguing are the villains which are totally insane from the common peoples point of view. Like the Millenium Earl from DGM. I like him for just being outright evil, true to his colors and ruthless by the means to realize his goals.
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Posted 7/12/13
I hate villains that are merely cardboard cut-outs. It's much more interesting when you can understand where they are coming from, even though you may not agree with what they are doing. Like "The Friend" in 20th Century Boys.

Desslok from Space Battleship Yamato (Star Blazers) is one that I've always liked. From one point of view, he's a hero to his people, though he's certainly the villain to people on Earth.


Posted 7/12/13


I agree with a lot of the points in your post. However, I REALLY liked Tobi as a villain. I love when villains are a mystery, and I think Tobi is the perfect example of that. I loved Pain as a villain as well, being a a redeemable character and all. He wasn't doing evil deeds just for the sake of it. He didn't have a corny, evil laugh and make stupid decisions. That's why I love the show Naruto as a whole. It really has a lot of depth in regard to the good guys and the bad guys. Also, even if you hate Naruto with a passion, you can't deny it isn't cool that the villains have taught Naruto and helped him grow just as much as his allies. Johan was a terrifying and great villain as well. For me this is the way villains work: either they do evil because they are basically just insane (a good example of this is Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight, how cool was that character?!?!?!) or the villain actually has a lot of depth to them. That's my opinion anyways. I really like it when the villains are part of an organization as well for some odd reason. That is just totally cool to me! Like Akatsuki from Naruto!
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Posted 7/12/13 , edited 7/12/13
The Puppet Master is debatable to a degree, but I wouldn't call The Laughing Man a villain. Both were are arguably antagonists, but they played the opposition to the true villains in both cases before Section 9 became involved.

Speaking of Ghost in the Shell, looking at SAC and 2nd GiG, I like when the villain isn't necessarily an individual (like in 2nd GiG) rather than a twisted social structure that pits "normal" people against one another (like in SAC).

Which is to say, everyone is acting realistically in their own self interests, which conflict, and produce villainy. This is similar to the war in The Legend of the Galactic Heroes where neither side is evil; they're just oppositional.

Shin Sekai Yori is another recent example of this.

Psycho-Pass is another interesting case where (ending season spoilers):
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Posted 7/12/13
I really like villains who can be manipulative and control other characters cleverly and believably (not with some kind of cheap trick) therefore I really agree with your choices of Lelouche and Light, they have to be 2 of my favourite villains. Also Izaya Orihara from Durarara!! fits into that category as well I believe
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Posted 7/13/13

Insomnist wrote:

The Puppet Master is debatable to a degree, but I wouldn't call The Laughing Man a villain. Both were are arguably antagonists, but they played the opposition to the true villains in both cases before Section 9 became involved.




Ghost in the Shell spoilers below




Also, I do agree that Individual Eleven were good villains.
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Posted 7/13/13 , edited 7/13/13
Aizen from Chrono Crusade

Yomi from Ga Rei Zero

Johan from Monster

Gendo (?) from Neon Genesis Evangelion

Kano and Yoshii from Texhnolyze

When I think of more I'll add them...
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Posted 7/13/13

Willwatch4food wrote:


Insomnist wrote:

The Puppet Master is debatable to a degree, but I wouldn't call The Laughing Man a villain. Both were are arguably antagonists, but they played the opposition to the true villains in both cases before Section 9 became involved.




Ghost in the Shell spoilers below




Also, I do agree that Individual Eleven were good villains.

Gotcha; that's a good point about the first movie too. I guess it wasn't fresh enough in my mind.
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Posted 7/13/13
What I want to see in a villain is for him/her to have some justification for the reason they act, well, evil. I don't want villains who want to destroy the world or enslave humanity "just because" they're the villain and for the sake of it. I'd rather them have a past that explains how they became the person they are now that comes into conflict with the "hero" of the show.

I don't want just another greedy or power hungry villain with a superiority complex. I want them to have a tragic past or something that makes their actions not seem so hollow.


Sesshoumaru-sama wrote:

Personally speaking I do like villains in most of the cases more than the typical hero's. I'am a bad person, I know
A good villains has to have a hidden agenda. You have to think you know it, but in reality you did not. Villains which only act on impulse or without thinking their plan to the end nor accepting that they also have to pay a price are not good in any way.

He may not be a villain, but for some reason I like Valvrave's prophet of doom, L-Elf, for really thinking the things through and just do what is needed to archiv his goal.

The other type which is very intriguing are the villains which are totally insane from the common peoples point of view. Like the Millenium Earl from DGM. I like him for just being outright evil, true to his colors and ruthless by the means to realize his goals.


Would L-elf count as an anti-hero instead?
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Posted 7/13/13
I generally like villains in series, I find them easy to enjoy as long as they're even slightly developed.

On a side note, doesn't that make Maou Sadao a villain? Cause he's a really funny villain
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Posted 7/13/13
What do you look for in villains? Their appearance and personality

Who is your favorite villain? Obito Uchiha/Tobi
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Posted 7/13/13
I take it you don't consider Accelerator a "villain"...

First, you have to figure what is considered "good", and what is considered "evil"- along with the gray areas and from whose perspective which is which.
For villains who are truly "evil", I really don't care much about them. It's those villains who do their own "good", just that it is percieved as universally "evil". In short, someone who is willing to turn against the whole world for their own "utopia". That's what a villain is. Not always necessarily true "evil".
Because, the more often a villain appears, the more he/she starts to feel like a "protagonist"-type character, where you can connect with their ideals and hardships. You sart to see them less as an antagonist-type villain, and more like another human being (or whatever it is). When a someone sees the dark truth of the world but goes down the wrong (or sometimes right) path to change it- that's what I look for in a villain.
Although it's true that the whole "mysterious" thing suits a villain type, it's better, in my opinion, if they were more open, so that they show their individuality. In the end, most villains are still human- they feel emotions, too.
That being said, I like it when a villain messes up, or fails humorously, because it shows that they are not perfect, and that the story could possibly be written around them. I've learned that these kinds of villains make an anime/manga much more interesting, since it eliminates the whole "this is good; that is evil" concept and portrays the conflicts that occur when two truths collide. There isn't any stereotypical hero vs. demon king (though, I can't even use that example now- with all the anime/LNs using that plot in that manner), and the situation can turn out either good or bad regardless of who wins. After all, it's the "black" or the "white" that matters, it's the "gray" inbetween.
...Then there are the villains who are just plain insane. They originally had a goal or something to achieve, but went mentally unstable when it failed. I can't help but feel a certain attraction to those guys as well...
In a sense, villains can actually be considered more "good" than heroes.
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Posted 7/14/13

Rito2Ru wrote:
Would L-elf count as an anti-hero instead?


Possibly. We still only know very little about his motivations and past.
Considering this he could also be L-Guevara.
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Posted 7/14/13
I've always felt that most of the best villains don't see themselves as evil. To their way of thinking, their goals and ideals are right, just and for the good of the world.

Take Psycho-Pass for example. Once you understand the villain's goals you find it very difficult to disagree with him, and it gets harder as the secrets of the world are revealed. Frankly he isn't wrong but he is still a truly evil SoB due to the method he chooses to achieve those goals. Had he gone about things differently he'd have been a hero instead.

the line between hero and villain is very thin. Lots of really great villains are only so because they took just 1 step in the wrong direction.
Such a slight difference that they don't even realize it themselves.

that said there is something to be enjoyed by the cackling evil style of pure villainy.
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