Top 10 Villainous Anime & Manga Groups
Written by: ClayDragon & Shiggins
Welcome to our newest Top 10 list (it’s only been about two and a half months since the last one)! Villains are cool. This is a fact. Therefore, the more villains you have together, the cooler that group will be. On one hand, many of these groups are made up of evil characters, but some groups either change their ways at some point, or have characters that could be considered anti-villains at best. As a result, we’ve widened the definition to any group that opposes the heroes for a significant amount of time.
As is this the case with many of these lists, SPOILER ALERT. You have been warned.
10.) Oración Sies (Fairy Tail) (Written by Shiggins)
Members: Cobra, Midnight, Racer, Hoteye, Angel, Klodoa and Cubellios.
Members: Cobra, Midnight, Racer, Hoteye, Angel, Klodoa and Cubellios.
Brain, a genius scientist who used to experiment on children and uses tattoos to hide his crazed Zero form, leads this unusual gang of villains for only one arc but they certainly provided entertainment while they were around. Cobra, the Poison Dragon Slayer, is probably the closest to a second-in-command, while Angel provides crafty support and dirty tactics with her Celestial Magic. Brain’s son Midnight is definitely a contender for most powerful member as he uses his illusions and rape-face to take down his opponents. Along with Racer, the super-fast Mohawk man, and Hoteye who uses his eyes and love for money to liquefy the Earth itself, Brain and his talking staff Klodoa manage to stand up to Guilds which are usually filled with hundreds of members.
|The picture colours them in so your puny brain does less work remembering who is who.|
To be honest, I’m surprised this group is so low on the list. It’s not that they’re a bad group (well, they are bad guys but… you know what we mean). I suppose it’s because of a lack of character development, which is really their biggest flaw. Despite being only 6 people, 1 skull and 1 flying snake, they make up one of the darkest and strongest Guilds of the world. When we first saw this group, they were attempting to awaken the Dark Magic known as “Nirvana” so they could spread chaos around the world.
I like to think that they look back at this point in their lives and scream “what were we thinking?!”
After that, we saw an anime-only return (which Hiro Mashima confirms is canon) from them with new members, designs and a new dastardly plan. These days however, things seemed to have changed. They are no longer in prison, and are instead working for Jellal’s “guild” known as Crime Sorcière. And honestly, I hope that means we’ll be seeing more group dynamics soon because it’s always a shame when groups don’t talk enough to show their relationships and characters to each other. Fingers crossed people.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Hoteyes
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Cobra
9.) Shichibukai (One Piece) (Written by Shiggins)
Leader: World Government
Members: Dracule Mihawk, Donquixote Doflamingo, Bartholomew Kuma, Boa Hancock, Crocodile, Gekko Moriah, Jinbe and Marshall D. Teach (Blackbeard).
Out of every group on this list, none change members as constantly as this one. They aren’t loyal to one another but more their own goals or morals, which instantly makes them a risky group to hang around with. In a way, it’s shocking that the World Government even met up with these pirates in the first place! Why would you want this pack of nutjobs anywhere near you?! Whatever the reason is, these pirates work for the World Government to further their goals but it never seems to be permanent anymore.
I want to meet the idiot who looked at these guys and thought “Let’s tell them what to do!”
One is a priest turned into a robot, one is a demonic shadow-stealing ghoul, one is a noble swordsman, one is a sexy queen of snakes and women-only, one is a badass swordsman with an epic hat, one is a treacherous annoyance and the main antagonist of the series, and one is a flamboyant looney who laughs and kills for fun. It’s honestly shocking that somebody thought it would be a smart idea to have these guys’ work for them. Nevertheless, they actually manage to do their job well as they fight against the other pirates who remained loyal to their own side.
The one member missing from every group of characters.
I suppose it’s unfair to say every member of this group is a villain. Jinbe is most certainly not a villain, and neither is Boa Hancock. Dracule Mihawk is a very debatable person but I would have deep trouble calling him “evil”. As for the rest of the group, just avoid them at all no matter what. They are dangerous. They are mad. And they will show no mercy to you. For that reason and the amount of diversity amongst them, they deserve the 9th spot on the list.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Crocodile
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Dracule Mihawk
8.) ‘Team Izaya’ (Durarara) (Written by ClayDragon)
Leader: Izaya Orihara
Members: Namie Yagiri, Saki Mikajima, and Masaomi Kida.
Okay, this is using the word ‘team’ very, very loosely. In fact, most of the characters in this group don’t even know that they’re working together. It’s less a tight-knit gang of individuals and more like a network of puppets all dancing to Izaya’s tune, but the fact remains that they all willingly (for the most part) serve to further Izaya’s goal, either because they have nothing better to do or because they have no other choice in the matter. The nature of this goal is left somewhat vague – there are hints that Izaya wants to create a city-wide war in order to ascend to Valhalla – but for the most part, he just loves to screw with people.
|Namie's job description probably states that she has to insult Izaya at every opportunity.|
His actual control spreads a lot further than just three people, but due to a number of circumstances these are the people that he spends the most time manipulating. In the case of Namie, he took her on as his personal assistant after he essentially got her fired from her previous job (not that he actually needed an assistant, he just did it to rub his superiority in her face). With Saki and Masaomi, however, things get a little bit more complicated.
|"Dance, puppet, dance!"|
In order to incite this war, Izaya plans on pitting two rival gangs against each other in a city-spanning battle. To do this, he gets friendly with both Kida (the leader of one of the gangs) and Saki (Kida’s girlfriend). He then makes Kida more and more reliant upon his help, before arranging for the rival gang to kidnap Saki. At this point, Izaya buggers off and lets the animosity between the two gangs boil over whilst he sits back and watches – thus ensuring that no matter the outcome, his side comes out on top.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Izaya Orihara
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Masaomi Kida
7.) Team Rocket (Pokemon) (Written by ClayDragon)
Members: Jessie, James and Meowth.
Prepare for trouble, and make it double! Yes, it’s Team Rocket, and no villainous list would be complete without them. The main antagonists of the Pokémon series, Team Rocket is a vast criminal organisation headed by Giovanni, with huge amounts of money and power. However, the three main representatives of Team Rocket don’t really live up to expectations. Jessie, James and Meowth are all determined to catch Ash’s Pikachu, even when there are other, rarer Pokémon to be caught. Despite this seemingly simple goal, their lack of competence ensures that almost every plan they make ends in failure.
|Damn it Meowth, you're ruining the choreography.|
This was the case for a long time in the anime, until the start of the Unova saga. From that point on, the trio became a lot more competent, and even succeeded in furthering Team Rocket’s plan to take over the region. Of course, as soon as they turned their attention back to Pikachu, failure was inevitable. Even though the three of them have different personalities and backgrounds, they all work together surprisingly well, and their obvious care for each other makes it very hard to call them out-and-out villains.
|The perfect disguise!|
James especially is the nicest of the lot, which is shown when he manages to capture his Pokémon simply by giving them some food, when most other people have to battle them first. That’s not to say that Jessie and Meowth are worse; the three of them have been known to side with Ash on occasion, and they’ve even been known to perform some heroic deeds, purely because it’s the right thing to do. It gets to the stage where you wonder why they’re still working for the villains when they have the capacity to be decent people.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: James
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Jessie
6.) Noah’s Ark Circus (Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus) (Written by ClayDragon)
Members: Beast, Doll, Dagger, Wendy and Jumbo.
Circuses are always fun to go to. There’s the lion tamer, the trapeze artists, the knife-thrower, the strongman, the prosthetics made from the bones of dead children… Initially just a group of homeless children trying to survive in London, the top-tier members of the circus were taken in by Baron Kelvin, a wealthy philanthropist who took them to live in a workhouse. By giving them a safe home and another chance at life, he had effectively gained their undying loyalty. As things turned out, this was not a good thing.
Being obsessed with perfection (more specifically, Ciel Phantomhive), Kelvin asked the orphans to start up a circus, and then demanded that they use the cover of the circus to kidnap children for him. Kelvin then used the children to build a perfect replica of the room in which Ciel was held captive and tortured. When the kidnapped children were deemed expendable, Kelvin’s doctor would then kill them, harvest their bones and then make prosthetics from them – prosthetics which, ironically enough, would then be given to the circus members (who were unaware of the origins of the prosthetics).
|Look how happy they are. Look at the smiles. It won't last long...|
Despite being kidnappers and murderers, the circus members are shown to be quite sympathetic, as they know what they’re doing is wrong but are bound by their loyalty to Kelvin. Even their deaths are packed with more emotion than you’d expect, especially Joker, who seems to go through an entire mental breakdown before he finally dies. This, and the caring interactions between the members, definitely guarantee them a place on this list.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Dagger
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Joker
5.) Ginyu Force (Dragon Ball Z) (Written by Shiggins)
Leader: Captain Ginyu
Members: Jeice, Burter, Recoome and Guldo.
Sanjou!! Ginyu Tokusentai!! Right now, you should be experiencing a Vietnam-style flashback where you see these idiots appear, introduce themselves to the catchiest villain theme song ever, then fly off to destroy Vegeta, Krillin and Gohan. Chances are, if you never liked them then you were far too close-minded and stuck-up to appreciate something so funny and ridiculous. They’re brilliant parodies of shows like Power Rangers and the “Magical Girl” genre (which I never really liked), and just one look at them tells you that immediately.
How could you not be scared by this? No symmetry whatsoever!
You have Captain Ginyu, the leader with the ability to change bodies whenever he feels like it, Recoome who is the huge ginger idiot with massive strength, Jeice who is the Australian one, Burter who is the super-fast blue one, and Guldo who is the tiny green one with psychic powers. Together, they are special freelancers that Frieza hires so he can take down Vegeta and get his Dragon Balls back. Providing support and friendly banter during intense battles, they are an unusual group who like to resolve things between each other with games and bets, but utterly destroy their opponent with brute strength once the game has had them decide who fights first.
The things anime filler makes people do…
When some characters die in series, the readers let out a sigh of relief because they got boring and/or annoying due to overstaying their welcome. Sadly, the exact opposite is the case here. The Ginyu Force could have been villains for years and done so much but they were quickly wiped out and we only got a brief glimpse of them every now and again in filler. On the bright side, we have nothing but good memories of these idiots and their special pose. Let us all have a moment of silence for one of the only groups on this list I can actually picture as friends and co-workers at the same time.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Ginyu
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Jeice
4.) The Homunculi (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) (Written by ClayDragon)
Leader: Father (The Dwarf in the Flask)
Members: Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Pride and Sloth.
Whilst the term ‘homunculus’ usually refers to a miniature human being, the homunculi in Fullmetal Alchemist are more like superhumans, with each one having a unique ability that sets them apart. The homunculi were created by Father, who intended for them to represent each of the Seven Deadly Sins. His reasoning was that if he were to remove himself of these sins, then he would be one step closer to becoming a perfect being. As such, he gave them the names of the sins they represented and made them work for him.
|Anticlockwise from top left: Lust, Greed, Wrath, Pride, Sloth, 2nd Greed, Envy and Gluttony. Centre: Father.|
Due to being fused to Philosopher’s Stones, the Homunculi are far stronger and more resilient that any normal human. Furthermore, they can each use their abilities to further enhance their strengths. For example, Envy can shapeshift into anyone he’s seen, Greed can cover his body in a layer of carbon to render him invulnerable, and Pride has total control over any shadows he inhabits.
|Why does he need the tusk?|
Even though they’re all Father’s ‘children’, some of them don’t seem too bothered with actually following his instructions, with one Homunculus in particular betraying Father three times. They also don’t tend to fight alongside one another, with Lust, Gluttony and Envy being the only three that team up with each other. Regardless, they’re both evil enough and powerful enough to deserve this spot on the list.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Greed
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Pride
3.) The Espada (Bleach) (Written by ClayDragon)
Leader: Sōsuke Aizen
Members: Coyote Starrk, Baraggan Louisenbairn, Tier Harribel, Ulquiorra Cifer, Nnoitra Gilga, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, Zommari Rureaux, Szayelaporro Granz, Aaroniero Arruruerie, and Yammy Llargo.
A group of ten of the most powerful Arrancars in Hueco Mundo, the Espada are Aizen’s private army, with each one in command of even more Hollows, known as Fracccion. Even though they’re all on the same side, there’s a lot of infighting, with some Espada being willing to inconvenience or even seriously injure others in order to get in Aizen’s good books. Despite there being only ten of them, none of the Espada work together in order to fight an opponent, instead relying on their own strength to get the job done.
|Say what you like, at least Aizen is an equal-opportunities employer.|
In a manner similar to that of the Homunculi, each of the Espada embodies a certain aspect, although these tend be more abstract than the concept of sins. For example, Starrk embodies Loneliness, Ulquiorra embodies Emptiness, Grimmjow embodies Destruction and so on. Whilst this isn’t made into a big deal in the series, it does help to understand the characters more, and in some cases makes it easier to sympathize with them.
|Does everyone have their tea?|
Sadly, the Espada have so far only featured in one arc, and although it was a long one some characters didn’t get enough screentime. This would be remedied by the fact that the surviving ones have returned in the most recent manga arc, but we’ve only seen one panel of Harribel, and Grimmjow hasn’t even properly shown up yet (although we have heard his voice and seen his legs in the background). The sooner they show up, the better, because we can’t get enough of them.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Starrk
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Grimmjow
2.) The Akatsuki (Naruto) (Written by ClayDragon)
Leader: Obito Uchiha
Members: Itachi Uchiha, Kisame Hoshigake, Hidan, Kakuzu, Deidara, Sasori, Pain, Konan, Zetsu and
The origins of the Akatsuki are…complicated, to say the least. Originally, we were led to believe that the organisation was started by Nagato, Yahiko and Konan. This was all well and good, until it transpired that Tobi knew more about the founding than he let on. Then it turned out that it was actually started by Obito Uchiha on the orders of Madara Uchiha. But then it turns out that Zetsu was manipulating Madara all along, so I have absolutely no idea who originally came up with the idea for the group.
|This isn't ominous at all...|
What I do know is that the group contains some of the most powerful ninjas seen in the series, and that there are very few members who are just plain unlikeable. Each member is assigned a partner, who they complete missions with and fight alongside. Some partners make some sense, like pairing the artistic Deidara and Sasori together, or the two immortals together. But some seem a bit strange, like Itachi and Kisame, and Pain and Konan. Even if the pairings seem strange, they give us a number of good fights and interactions.
|"I call the big one Bitey."|
Most members get enough screentime to endear themselves to the audience, with only one or two members feeling a bit out of focus. Deidara, Itachi and Kisame in particular get the most coverage, and as such are probably the best three members. It doesn’t help that they’ve given us a number of good fights, and their conversations with their teammates just helps to seal the deal: the Akatsuki are easily one of the best villainous teams out there.
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Itachi Uchiha
Shiggins’ Favourite Member: Kisame Hoshigaki
1.) The Phantom Troupe (Hunter X Hunter) (Written by Shiggins)
Leader: Chrollo Lucilfer
Members: Feitan, Shizuku, Nobunaga Hazama, Phinks, Machi, Kortopi, Franklin, Bonolenov, Shalnark, Hisoka, Kalluto Zoldyck, Pakunoda and Uvogin.
I’ll admit, when I first saw this group, that I wasn’t impressed. They looked silly and cartoonish, as if the writers were just trying too hard to be as outlandish as other manga or anime out there. I soon discovered that I was a buffoon who had made the wrong choice and that the Phantom Troupe is, to sum it up quickly, a group of epic characters who deserve so much respect. It would take far too long to talk about every single one of these characters since almost all of them deserve a long entry on their own list, so you’ll just have to find out about them for yourself. Led by Chrollo Lucilfer, a man with the power to steal other people’s powers so long as they are still alive, the Phantom Troupe are notorious for various crimes around the world including theft and murder.
I know silhouettes make them more mysterious but it’s hard to take the really tiny ones seriously.
Their most notable crime is the annihilation of the Kurta Clan, who were the clan of one of the main characters of the series. They did this and many other crimes for treasure, glory and just personal interest. Some wanted to test their strength, some wanted to sell the sacred Scarlet Eyes of the Kurta clan and some wanted to because they were told to. In fact, the main focus of the first arc they appear in is filled with murder and deceit and more murder, and it’s all because they want to steal some items in a very valuable and risky auction.
Don’t you just love all the smiles in this picture?
What makes this group number one on the list though is all the little things about them. Some are dear friends who wouldn’t hide tears if something happened to one of them. Some despise each other and would gladly betray them for amusement or satisfaction. They have rivalries, friendly competitions, banter and more. There’s even a ranking within the group for arm-wrestling (the strongest is Uvogin). And although Kurapika is the good guy who wants to kill them all, I can’t help but hope he fails because I just love so many of them that to see him kill them off one-by-one would depress me. Yes, I care more for the group of villains than one of the main characters!
ClayDragon’s Favourite Member: Shizuku
Shiggin’s Favourite Member: Uvogin
|Gung-Ho Guns (Trigun)|
|Millenium Nazis (Hellsing Ultimate)|
|The Fog Troupe (Magi)|
Is there a group that you feel we missed out? Or do you have any suggestions for another Top 10 list? Let us know in the comments below!
|I think that costume came right out of his closet...|
Thanks for reading!
ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at firstname.lastname@example.org. The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993, but he doesn’t use it that much. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Two articles in 24 hours? That's a new record!
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 email@example.com, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.