Thursday, May 1, 2014

Top 10 Anime Anti-Heroes

Written by Shiggins

Sometimes, we need a character that is questionable and not on the two main sides available to him/her. A selfish, self-involved character perhaps? An anti-hero is someone who operates for their own reasons, and does whatever they want or feel they need to do because of their morals and ideals. They can be both a hero and a villain, but they don't generally belong on either side.

So to celebrate my personal favourite type of character, here is the top 10 anti-heroes list.

Note: Some minor spoilers ahead. Only one character per anime.

10. Gary Oak - Pokemon

"If you showed up on time, you would've seen that I got the best Pokémon from Professor Oak! It pays to have a grandfather in the Pokémon business, isn't it?"

We need to start noticing Pokemon on this blog. And here to make us remember that it is an anime for all ages is Gary Oak, the infamous rival of Ash Ketchum and grandson of Professor Oak who, in the video games, seems to have his name forgotten by his grandfather. Starting off with the pokemon starter Squirtle, which Ash originally wanted, he went on through the series to become the best pokemon trainer while being a bit of a prick about it.

"I want Gary to be the best... like no-one ever was."

I think what most attracts us to Gary is how much he is like a typical person who plays the games. Where Ash talked about how he wants to bond with the pokemon, Gary doesn’t say any such crap and instead gets the strongest pokemon around to fight against the Gym Leaders, one after another until he can become the Pokemon Master. He has his own group of cheerleaders who literally cheered him on during every battle, and we all had a small inkling of understanding when we saw them. Who wouldn’t cheer for a guy who can annihilate almost every Gym Leader without following Ash’s silly and hypocritical rules? 

Ultimate proof that Gary Oak is the true Master of the Pokemon series.

Looking back on my childhood, it’s amazing that Gary wasn’t around more. Other than Giovanni cheating using Mewtwo, Gary beat every Gym Leader before Ash did and he always went against Ash’s goody-two-shoes ways to do it. Tragically, Gary is no longer a part of the series and spends his days as a proper friend of Ash now and works as a researcher for his grandfather. And due to his lack of proper time, this anti-hero only makes it to the 10th spot.

9. Seto Kaiba - Yu-Gi-Oh

"Do you ever shut up? I know what it means. Now you can summon your strongest monsters to the field more easily. Please, what do you take me for, some kind of rookie?"

Yu-Gi-Oh has many characters that you will forget without a moment’s notice. Like Tristan. However, Seto Kaiba is something very special. Why? Well, it’s because he is one of the biggest examples of anti-heroes ever. He’s self-involved, selfish, arrogant and obsessed with that card game that the entire world of Yu-Gi-Oh takes far too seriously. Kaiba is the CEO of the multi-national gaming company known as KaibaCorp and is the proud wielder of the infamous Blue-Eyes White Dragon card.

So many Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged quotes. So little time.

What makes him an anti-hero is that there are some positive qualities to him. He’s a talented orphan and tactician who looks out for his little brother Mokuba (who gets kidnapped literally every season of the anime), and Mokuba always comes first for Seto. During the series, Kaiba has fought many foes and heroes, including the main protagonist Yugi Motou several times. And just in case you’re wondering, he lost every time, I think.

"Screw the rules! I have money!"

Whenever a villain of the series is wreaking havoc, chances are that Mokuba will get kidnapped and this will cause Seto to jump into action and maybe pair up with his rival. Whether it’s jumping out windows, flying jets shaped like his dragon or hosting an entire tournament based around a children’s card game, he’ll do whatever he wants, when he wants. And damn it, we’re going to let him.

8. Ciel Phantomhive - Black Butler

"Pain tends to heal as time passes, but personally, I don't want time to heal my wounds."

Speaking of rich people, we now come to the young head and only survivor of the Phantomhive family, Ciel. After his family and home were wiped out by a fire, Ciel was kidnapped and sold to people that even the manga has yet to explain. When he finally made a deal with a demon to help him avenge his family, he escaped and began his life as an anti-hero who worked for the queen and carried out tasks that many would consider cruel, dark or unnecessary.

Tea: The perfect drink to have while pondering revenge!

Many would say that the true anti-hero of this series is Sebastian, Ciel's butler. However, I personally disagree for one reason. Everything that Sebastian does in the series is by Ciel's orders. Ciel is ruthless, selfish and shrewd, doing whatever he wants because it's justified by his status and his desire for revenge. In many ways, he's like a little brat who got smacked once and thinks that lets him have power over the non-smacked.

Ciel swears that this was just a one-time thing!

So what makes Ciel high on this list? It's because he is a lot more complicated and unusual than people give him credit for. He might not be as hot or as brutal as Sebastian is (although many would disagree), but Ciel is in charge and makes harsh decisions. I don't want to give too much away because trust me, he does some really dark stuff in the series, but Ciel's willingness to not show mercy and make questionable decisions is what earns him such notice on this list.

7. Itachi Uchiha - Naruto

"You said that you see me dead at you feet. But you cannot possibly win against me. Unfortunately your goal will end as mere fantasy. Vanish like a dream upon waking."

Everybody knows about Itachi Uchiha. He's the older brother of the annoying Sasuke Uchiha and the one who slaughtered the entire Uchiha Clan, leaving only his little brother alive who would then go on to seek revenge against him in an angry rage. Chances are you already know this and are sick of hearing about it, since it gets talked about so much, but it turns out Itachi wasn't the cold, ruthless villain we all thought he was, and he wanted Sasuke to be strong enough to kill him one day.

Absolutely fabulous!
I know many people have different opinions of him, but I enjoyed his character. Itachi made a lot of mistakes during his time as an anti-hero, when let's face it, there were so many other ways he could have solved his problems. (Maybe teach Sasuke a jutsu or two instead of making him turn evil and insane?). However, his decision to sacrifice everything and take on the "evil villain" role is one we can never forget.

Cutest anti-heroes I've ever seen!

Along with his partner Kisame, Itachi was one of the most notable members of the Akatsuki and made some of the biggest impacts on the entire series. He's had his redemption now but we'll always remember the times he spent as the false-villain, acting as dark and cool as possible with those red eyes that so many have come to love and loathe. And personally, I enjoyed how much he did and how much he gave up for it. He was a good man who made a lot of bad mistakes.

6. Scar - Fullmetal Alchemist

"I am walking down a path of no return, so I will leave behind me every gift I've received from God."

When a characters goals are constantly justified because of God, it's a good chance they are an anti-hero. I know some would call Greed a better anti-hero than Scar, but since Scar was in the series first and has a more tragic and justified background story, I give this spot to him. One of the few Ishvalans to survive a horrible civil war, Scar has a pure hatred for state alchemists, who work for the government and were ordered to participate in the war. Of course, one of the victims of the war was Scar's alchemy-loving brother which started Scar's path to killing as many state alchemists as he could.

The name "Scar": Because sometimes, the simple choice is the best choice.

In typical story-telling style, this makes Scar end up chasing after and trying to kill the man protagonist Edward Elric. At times, it's hard to remember he's an anti-hero because along the journey, he kills quite a lot of characters including what looks like the Monopoly man and one whom I nicknamed Mustachio Furioso (Google Basque Grand to see why.)

"I wanted to be higher on this list, damn it!"

Scar is not a bad man but you can never call a mass murderer a hero, hence the title anti-hero. He has discarded his name due to walking away from the "path of God" and it's hard not to love how he actually lost his arm and got his own dead brother's arm sewn on to replace it. Of course, it's a bit silly how he also turned out to be the killer of a specific character's parents but fiction loves stuff like that. If you aren't convinced he's a good anti-hero yet, you should see how awesome his fighting is when he has no other choice but to work with Edward Elric.

5. Alucard - Hellsing

"How beautiful. Nights like this make me want a bite to drink. Yes... I couldn't imagine a more... perfect evening."

I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is the greatest vampire ever put to fiction. Alucard is Dracula himself, but even more than that because he lives in the modern age and spends his time hunting other insignificant vampires and ghouls, all for his master Integra Hellsing. Arguably one of the most sadistic characters ever, Alucard enjoys the death, slaughter and blood of his opponents to a twisted level that shows he is definitely not a good person.

In some weird way, vampires are and will always be sexy.

He's got the guns, the knowledge and the bloodlust needed to be a complete villain, but the fact he's on the size that are against the nazis just show how everything is not how it seems. Alucard is easily the most terrifying character in the series, and everyone who faces him becomes fully aware of why you shouldn't mess with him. He tears people apart and decorates flagpoles with their corpses, and you support him because he's on the side of the good guys.

"Sexy X2 mode - activated"

He does have some semblance of a backstory which could be considered tragic, but that was so long ago and he's done so much that the story nowhere near justifies his mass murdering psychotic reign of terror. And yet, we love him. We do, because he is so much fun. He can do whatever he wants and kill every character and even use the souls of those he has drank as pawns in his massive destruction, and we will still love his disturbing anti-hero ways.

4. Kenpachi Zaraki - Bleach

"Death and pain are just a small price to pay for the enjoyment of battle!"

The only Bleach character that seems to get huge popularity from even the Bleach-haters, Kenpachi is the battle-loving captain of Squad 11 and adopted the name "Kenpachi" when he killed the last battle-loving captain known as Kenpachi. With his little "loli girl" Yachiru on his back and by his side, Kenpachi is constantly rushing into battles that he shouldn't and doing whatever he damn well feels like.

"Do I look like I care I made it this high?"
When we first saw Kenpachi, we all got a sense that he was capable of so much. And we were right because from giving Ichigo the first cut on his body, to having huge grins of enjoyment from the possibility of getting cut, to slicing folk in half within seconds of meeting them, Kenpachi does brilliantly with a serious "fuck you" attitude.

Do these look like the faces of mercy?

Of course, he tends to back up the side of the good guys but of course, just backing up a side doesn't make you part of that side. Kenpachi has a death count that would make some serial killers pale and cry, and he doesn't even go full power or force to do it. He holds his power back and refuses to go full because his battle-boner would go down and he'd get bored. So we cheer for him as he fights the villains and just loves it so much, that even villains like Hisoka and the Joker would be freaked out.

3. Viral - Gurren Lagann

"I have no reason to listen to anything a human says!"

What, you don't know this guy? Shame on you! He is Viral from Gurren Lagann and one of the members of the Human Execution Squad. In case it isn't obvious yet, Viral isn't human and is instead a Beastman, which are a blend of human and animal DNA mixed together to create this infertile but terrifying species that now take control of the entire surface. Viral is also one of the top wielders of the giant robots known as Gunmen.

Viral is happy to finally be getting recognised.

When we first met him, he's a full-blown villain. No doubt about it. He's also the rival of fan-favourite character Kamina, and then later the main character Simon. He sees humans as nothing but "Naked Apes" and his cocky personality causes him to suffer several defeats at the hands of the heroes, as he does nothing but do his best to get a full-blown victory. However, as time goes on and we see Viral get constantly smacked, yelled at and more, we see his other side start to show more. We see he is not dishonourable and has his pride, even going so far as to respect Kamina and Simon despite trying to kill them.

Well.... Someone certainly imagines themselves highly.

However, what most attracted me to Viral was how deceiving his first impression is. We see so much of his true self, including a side that was said to be impossible for his own species. He wants to fall in love and have a child. I know that sounds really simple and cliche, but sometimes we don't need a big thing where characters demand tons of ridiculous plots or ideas. It's the little things that can make a big difference, and with Viral, it introduces so much more to his character than doing something super-dramatic.

2. Light Yagami - Death Note

“I will become the God of this world.”

Okay, you knew he would be on this list and don't bother saying or complaining he doesn't belong here. Sure, you're probably sick of hearing his name by now but face it, he's infamous at being an anti-hero. He's the student who got the top grades in school and one day, just happened to pick up the Death Note, a notebook that kills whoever has their name written in it. Of course, he starts off his quest by actually trying to do some good, planning to only kill criminals and trouble-makers.

He's hungry... for justice!

And we all know what happens next. Light snaps and tries to become "God", killing all these people under the alias of "Kira". Soon, he's going on a rampage of murder and slaughter as he battles his rival L over the difficult decision of whether or not it is justified to kill criminals. With brilliant brains, good looks and ruthless decisions, Light provides constant drama and strategy as he makes the show his own.
We all have that one certain friend who's a freak.

What makes Light so popular is just how dark he gets and how brilliant he is at it. When he started off, he was calm but finding this necessary as the world needed to be taught a lesson. However, the power of the notebook corrupted him and he soon found himself sinking into insanity, and creating genius plots to allow himself to do nothing more than murder those he saw as unfit to live, or who were just in the way of his glorious triumph. Shame to think he thought he was doing the right thing during it all.

1. Vegeta - Dragon Ball Z

"My heart is calm and pure... pure evil!"

Oh Vegeta, you are in such denial. He is the Prince of all Saiyans, the biggest rival Goku has ever had and the second/third-toughest character to survive the series. Starting off as nothing more but a rebellious villain who wanted to blow up the Earth to sell for scrap, with a dark intent to destroy everyone who fails him, Vegeta has possibly had the most development of the series, although Piccolo and Gohan are definitely near his level.

Make fun of the Kai Dub? Not while Vegeta is around!

After his defeat on Earth, Vegeta's alignment went into question during the Frieza arc as he then joined forces with Gohan and Krillin to satisfy his own ends. So after the typical death-then-come-back moment that almost every character faces in that series, Vegeta finally made it to Earth and his rivalry with Goku, his son from the future Trunks, and the nagging girl "he totally doesn't love" Bulma being involved, Vegeta jumped constantly around as he kept changing his morals and what he truly wanted.

How an anti-hero deals with a mid-life crisis.

And that's what made him such an important brilliant part of the series. Everything he did was for his own gain at first, and all he did was focus on taking down "Kakarott" for his own pride and glory. As time went on, Vegeta went through the changes that so many go through in real life. He learned pride wasn't important, he cared for his family more than anything, and he basically learned to grow up. Vegeta started out as a villain and ended as a hero, but we'll never forget the path he took to get from there. The ultimate anti-hero path.

Honourable Mentions

Guts - Berserk

Smoker - One Piece

Any characters I missed out? Any other suggestions for top 10s? Let me know in the comments below!

My response to you if you dislike our Top 10s

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on


  1. You have Gary's name spelled incorrectly, its actually Gary MotherF****** Oak.

    1. Oh my god, you're right! I can't believe I made such a mistake! *going to Gary's Shrine to beg for forgiveness*

  2. Where tf is lelouch from code geass

    1. Unfortunately, I have little experience with Mecha anime. (I only watched Gurren Lagann because of Kamina). So sorry.

    2. Well gurren lagann is "worse" about being mecha compared to code geass. Gurren Lagann has long ass mecha fights and all about the mechas, which most of people hate; Code Geass has more strategy oriented mecha wars (they literally play/fight like chess) and is not all about mechas, story doesnt rotate around mecha.

  3. Accelerator -To Aru Majutsu no Index
    Kumogawa misogi - Medaka Box
    EMiya Kiritsugu - Fate/Zero

    dude these three are the epitome of antiheroes.

    1. I've never heard of the 1st two, but I was considering Kiritsugu. The problem was I really hated his backstory involving zombies and stuff. It was easily my least favourite F/Z episode and ruined his character for me.

  4. I hate how Light makes the list but Lelouch doesn't. Lelouch is just as brilliant as Light (if not more), had a much more noble cause, didn't have a god-complex like Light, cared for his friends and family more than Light, planned his death, had a more interesting power, overthrew a corrupt government, and was a genuine extermist to the point of killing God.

    1. Yeah, as I said before on one of the above comments, I have little experience with Code Geass because it's a mecha anime and the only mecha anime I've seen is Gurren Lagann. I promise to watch Code Geass soon and I know if I do watch it, he's probably going to deserve a spot here. But until then, I haven't seen Code Geass... Yet.
      Sorry about that.

    2. Oh. Okay. Just know Code Geass does have mechs, but that's not what the shows about at all. Just picture a Death Note with broader themes. I compare it to Death Note a lot because they're similar, especially when it comes to characters.

    3. That's what I hear, yeah. I am going to watch it very soon. Just wrapped up in a lot of stuff right now.

  5. Thumbs up for a good list , Smoker is a bit dubious but other than that solid list , epic for including guts from berserk . Lelouch's power of kings should get him in top 3 rankings for anti hero's but think death note with more planning and better killing intent mixed with manipulation . Again , solid list , i like it

    1. Thanks, Jerry. I don't know a lot about Smoker but he's likable enough for me to include. And yeah, Guts is awesome! (I just had to quit reading because of the huge length and that fairy thing...)

  6. Acho que Hiei e Sesshoumaru mereciam um lugar nessa lista

    1. Eu nunca fui a certeza se Hiei contado como um anti- herói ou um vilão reformado devido a minha inexperiência com a série . (Eu sou mais fã de Hunter X Hunter) .
      O mesmo vale para Sesshomaru .
      (Ame sua imagem de perfil btw )

  7. Golgo 13? Come on man.

    1. Ah... That show takes me back. I'm not sure if Shiggins or ClayDragon have seen any of it though.

  8. I'm pretty sure Atem is an anti-hero. I mean, although he defends Yugi, Joey, Tea and Tristan, he also drives people insane and kills a lot of people, not just play card games. He is pretty dark and brutal.

    1. That's fair, yeah. The 4kids version of Atem that most people are used to is a hero, but he could be considered an anti-hero in every other version so you're right.

  9. True, and, to be honest,he is definitely scary when Yugi's in danger, particularly due to the fact that Atem does care about Yugi. I doubt he does in other versions, though. I'm not particularly okay with him not caring for Yugi.

  10. Just a question but do you know what kind of motorcycle kaiba is riding.