There's no villain like an anime villain, is there? When done right, they're the perfect mix of subtle character tragedy and over the top flair. You know exactly why they do what they do - mostly because they spend one or (if you're truly among the lost) more episodes carefully explaining it to you - and yet they do it with such sadistic glee that any reasons they had kinda go up in smoke.
And thank the gods for them all.
But of course, not all villains are created equal. Some have to stand above the rest through sheer force of awesomeness. And you wouldn't have clicked on this article if you didn't want to hear which ones we think are the best of the worst.
Ground rules are obvious: Only one villain per franchise, otherwise it would be nothing but DBZ villains from top to bottom. The reasons each entry lands where they do will be covered in the entries themselves. Other than that, it's anyone's game. These are the anime villains that anime fans remember the most because they're the baddest bad guys in town.
10. Vicious (Cowboy Bebop)
Starting off with a classic, we have the original angry sword boy himself, Vicious from Cowboy Bebop.
Vicious isn't exactly the most interesting villain out there, his characterization kinda ends after episode 5. But his presence and the atmosphere surrounding him more than pick up the slack. You just look at this guy and get this sense of dread. Almost like looking at Anton from No Country For Old Men, Vicious is just this thoroughly uncomfortable and uneasy presence.
A lot of that comes from both his stellar character design as well as the voice work by both Norio Wakamoto and Alex Hassell. But he also pulls off some insanely evil sh*t too. From forcing Spike and his lady love Julia apart for several years, to performing a violent coup on the criminal syndicate both he and Spike worked for for years, there is a trail of bodies behind Vicious that eventually includes Spike as well. But at least our favorite bounty hunter/responsible Afro owner manages to bring Vicious down with him.
But despite his short tenure at the top of the triad, the galaxy is unlikely to forget this cruel, cunning, and Machiavellian bastard anytime soon. Vicious definitely lives up to the name.