Anime, as a genre, is really good at creating villains for stories. There are many that choose to create your average "pure evil" type of character, which can be extremely horrifying but also makes it a character that you can purely hate. A truly good villain, however, won't have all negative attributes.
There are several ways you can make a villain and there's no right or wrong way to do it. But, if you really want to write someone worth the audience shaking in their boots, you'll want to get a little creative. Here are three ways to make a good villain via anime characters!
At First, They're a Little Absurd
Villains in anime can be extremely absurd looking or have an random goal in the beginning of a series or arc. When we're introduced to them, we might file them as just being purely evil or over dramatic. In your average story line, an anime may keep up this appearance as the whole of the villain. Perhaps they never change and their ridiculous build is what makes them the villain of the show.
A truly good anime will change this archetype. Maybe they give a reason as to why the villain is this way or maybe it's just a facade so that the audience will brush this character off as no big deal; the second can lead to an amazing plot twist. This can also work in reverse, depending on the story, where we watch a character slowly loose their morals and original reason while committing crimes.
Light Yagami, from Death Note, is a good example on that front. Originally, he decided to kill criminals who he felt were not being brought to justice. While as viewers, we know that what he was doing was wrong, at least there was a method to the madness. But once he started creating pure war and spreading fear, we lost faith completely. The same can happen in reverse, but either way, it's an excellent formula for villain building.
They Look Like You And Me
You never know what people are truly thinking, after all. Can you really trust them? Perhaps some of the best villains in anime have always been the ones that look just like anyone else. In fact, they may even looks so plain they might have just been background characters if not for their subtle interaction.
Looks can mean everything when it comes to a show. Anime, especially shonen types, tend to get a reputation for outlandish character designs. If you like JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, you know exactly what we're talking about; no one would wear that stuff everyday. This stereotype works in the advantage of anime creators because they can catch viewers off guard by giving them a villain you'd least expect.
Shou Tucker, from Fullmetal Alchemist, is the best example for this. Sure, you may have thought he was a little off, and certainly stressed or depressed, but no one would have guessed what he would do to his daughter and family dog. And here he was, looking like a normal father and smiling as his kid and dog played around in the yard. Shou has a face like any other human; he doesn't wear bright colors or wear a mask, and yet we acknowledge him as one of the evilest villains in anime.
You Feel Bad For Them
There are villains out there that we can only ever feel hate for. They've done something to a show's characters or they've destroyed the world in unforgivable ways to such a degree that we can't go back. When a hero defeats them, we're happy and hold no reservations. Villains that have backstories that make you really feel, however, can change the entire aura of the story.
Good verses bad anime will always be relevant, but it isn't the only kind that can make viewers feel something for a show. When a villain is given a good backstory that could sway the way we see them, suddenly we're not so sure if we should be cheering for their doom. Even if we know that they need to be defeated, there's a small part of us that wishes things could have been different.
One Piece's Big Mom recently did this. After knowing just what kind of person she is this entire arc, selfish, snobby and evil, we finally saw her backstory. Abandoned by her parents for having an uncontrollable hunger, she was left at an orphanage who's lead guardian, Mother Caramel, turns out to be a child trafficker for the navy. The worst part? Big Mom never knew and still adores Mother Caramel. While we know she needs to be stopped and that she's nothing but evil now, we may still feel pity for who she was as a child and her lonely, attention starved past.
What makes a good anime villain to you? Who's your favorite? Let us know in the comments!