There are countless creepy villains in anime of all shapes, sizes, powers, and evils. No matter what genre you peruse, you’re sure to find pure evil right around the corner.
Some antagonists may be goofy or downright annoying, but more often than not the villain of the story is just that: a villain. The worst of the worst. While there are so many to choose from, there are always crowd favorites–some that we can never burn from our memories. Some that chill us to the bone.
Check out our top eight picks for some of the creepiest anime villains. See if your favorite baddie made the cut!
Our top 8 creepiest anime villains
8. Akito Sohma (Fruits Basket)
To start this list off, we have a villain everyone in the shoujo world can recognize without so much as a second glance. Akito in Fruits Basket sucks. Let’s just call it as it is right now. She is the leader of an entire family/clan of people and essentially uses them as her playthings. She was raised with the notion that she can do whatever she wants with little to no consequence. This makes her violent, excruciatingly verbally and mentally abusive, and chaotic.
She actively ruins the lives of everyone in contact with her and blames everyone else for her actions and anything negative that ever happens to her. Part of what makes her so terrifying is that she is someone you could meet in real life. She’s an abusive narcissist who was raised to do whatever she wants to whoever she wants, and she constantly manipulates the people who are close to her.
7. Yugi (Tenchi in Tokyo)
Yugi is a villain not many talk about but is as sinister as they come. She is a centuries’ old mutant from the planet Jurai who wants to take Earth for herself, and in order to get what she wants, she creates different versions of herself to manipulate the people of Earth who can help her achieve her goal.
Part of what puts her on this list is that, as the main villain in Tenchi in Tokyo, she creates Tenchi’s love interest only to rip her out of existence. We get emotionally invested in this couple and this young woman, Sakuya, only to have her essentially killed in the end. The moment Yugi ends Sakuya’s life by “taking back her shadow” is the most heart breaking, traumatizing moment in the series–a moment that scarred viewers forever. Plus, she has the appearance of a little kid, which makes her even creepier. However, her tragic backstory shines a light on this and why she became so evil. You’d be evil too if you were encased in darkness for 3500 years. The whole thing is messed up.
6. Light Yagami (Death Note)
Light is a really good example of a hero turning quickly into a villain through diving into his own darkness. Upon finding the Death Note, he takes other people’s lives in his hands and makes himself a sort of god on Earth. He believes what he does is morally justified, which seems to be a classic villain MO (both in real life and fiction), and is amplified as he goes down the rabbit hole of his crimes. His descent into madness and murder is quick and jarring, and we as an audience watched it all take place from the beginning. Between all the people he killed and his twisted ways of thinking, there was no way he wasn’t appearing on this list.
5 & 4. Mother & Sister Krone (Promised Neverland)
Each one of these ladies brings her own scare tactic to the scene. Mother (or “Mama” as the kids call her in the Japanese version), is a mother figure that the kids of Grace Field House love and trust. She’s the only adult that was ever exposed to the children (until Sister Krone shows up) and shows them nothing but warmth and adoration. This is what makes her that much more sinister; she shows that evil can be hidden under the friendliest faces, and she seems unfazed in her duty in raising children for slaughter. Pretty disturbing.
The other terrifying adult in this series is Sister Krone. She comes into the scene after Mother realizes something is up and needs backup so she can ensure everything goes smoothly at Grace Field House. Sister Krone is ruthless in her quest to become a Mother, and it seems that’s all she cares about. She acts in ways that disturb the children and unsettle the audience, including ripping off her baby doll’s head during a monologue. Much like Mother, Sister Krone also knows what she’s doing and is totally okay with these children’s fates, and she scares the kids constantly—not even trying to hide it. These two send shivers for sure.
3. Imperfect Cell (Dragon Ball Z)
The Dragon Ball franchise is chock-full of the creepiest villains, as well as having a good list of villains-turned-heroes. The one who takes the cake for this series, though, would have to be Cell—Imperfect Cell to be precise. Of all the sagas in Dragon Ball Z, Imperfect Cell’s has to be the most disturbing. In this form, Cell looks like an insect with a kraken mouth and sucks people’s lives away, absorbing them with his tail. On top of that, he’s virtually indestructible. He’s absolutely terrifying.
2. The Titans (Attack on Titan)
There are few things more petrifying than the Titans in Attack on Titan (here’s looking at you, Smiling Titan). They’re obviously one of the reasons the series is so popular. It’s so scary and shocking that you can’t look away. Titans are probably the most horrific creatures in all of anime. They’re giant, human-like, man-eating creatures with grotesque characteristics. They’re tough to kill and even harder to keep out. The series keeps these creatures frightening as well by also showing us how human and real the characters and situations are, making it easier to place ourselves into the characters’ shoes. The shock value alone is enough to keep us up at night.
1. Johan Liebert (Monster)
The villain who tops this list is Monster’s Johan Leibert. Although not as grotesque as the Smiling Titan, Johan wins this top spot of evil because he ticks all the boxes of a bone-chilling villain.
He doesn’t view people as human beings, holding a weird manipulative power over them and enjoys telling them that they’re worthless and convincing them to kill themselves and other people. He doesn’t believe people are equal and says that the only thing they’re truly equal in is death.
He’s dangerous. A serial killer with absolutely no remorse, and sometimes he kills just because the person is there and he’s got a gun in his hand or a rock nearby. He’s been killing people since he was a kid; it seems as easy as breathing to him. And while some of the other villains on this list killed more people, Johan is unsettling because he is cool, calm, collected, and does everything with focused determination.
John Liebert wins for creepiest anime villain
He hasn’t gone mad from the power of a Death Note or come to Earth to suck people’s lives away. He was born and raised as a human like everyone else, but he lives his life casually killing his own kind. He’s also highly intelligent and calculative and uses this to create a grand plan of destruction, which he does many times throughout his life.
As mentioned above, he’s human. He isn’t a creature made in an experimental lab somewhere; he’s just an evil human being, which makes him all the more frightening. This is someone you could meet in real life, albeit not as easily as meeting someone like Akito (hopefully) as he is more than just a dangerous, mentally unstable tormenter–he’s a psychopathic genius with a grand plan. He can make you trust him and then convince you that you’re worthless before staging your “suicide”. He’s beyond creepy—not to mention those evil, knowing stares… *shivers*
This list touched on some of the creepiest, most unsettling villains in anime, but there are still a lot out there. Which ones creeped you out the most and why? Feel free to comment with your thoughts below or let us know on Twitter!