10 Most Complex Antiheroes in Anime

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In many anime, it’s not always as simple as labeling characters as heroes and villains. These sigils don’t always do the characters justice by trying to simplify the complexity of a character. For many, the terms anti-villains and anti-heroes can be difficult terms to distinguish and choose, but they represent a character’s complicated personality, backstory, or conflicting ambitions.


RELATED: The 10 Best Naruto Antiheroes

While anti-villains are bad guys who display heroic or admirable qualities, anti-heroes are the exact opposite, often being characters who don’t display these traits. They can still fight evil, do whatever they want anywhere, or they could just be the main focus of the show. Antiheroes come in all shapes and sizes, but some have more complexity and intrigue than others.

10/10 Askeladd’s complexity casts doubt on his true status

vinland saga

Despite poor initial DVD sales, vinland saga It shocked the anime world with its release in 2019, even if manga readers already knew how good the story was. Weather vinland sagaThe first season of had a compelling story full of fights and brutal schemes, a character named Askeladd stole the show.

Askeladd is a rare case of a character who can be seen as a protagonist, antagonist, anti-villain, and anti-hero, depending on which perspective is explored. As far as anti-heroes go, Askeladd did bad and morally gray things like most Vikings, but with the overall goal of keeping his beloved Wales safe from Viking invasion. Thorfinn saw him as a villain, but Askeladd played for the bigger picture.

9/10 Satsuki played the role of the villain in preparation for fighting the main evil

kill the prey

kill the prey‘s Satsuki Kiryuin is another example of a character that fans see as both an anti-villain and an anti-hero. Satsuki started out as the villain of the anime, provoking Ryuko and appearing as the antagonistic president of the Honnoji Academy Student Council. She even claimed responsibility for Ryuko’s father’s death. This was a lie.

In fact, Satsuki only played the role of the villain for the first half, later revealing that it was all done to raise an army in preparation for fighting her mother, Ragyo. People see her as an anti-villain, but since she wasn’t really the villain of the play, her approach is clearly that of an anti-hero.

8/10 Revenge led Sasuke down a dark path.

naruto

Another character that almost creates a separate category for them is Sasuke from naruto. Sasuke was led down a dark path through a thirst for revenge against his brother Itachi, who was believed to have wiped out his entire Uchiha clan.

RELATED: Sasuke’s 10 Worst Enemies In Naruto, Ranked

However, after Itachi’s death, Sasuke struggled with the revelation that Itachi had made a great sacrifice. It wasn’t the monster Sasuke thought it was. Sasuke seemed lost, becoming colder and more antagonistic over time. Sasuke followed the line of villain and antihero, the latter being a better way to summarize many of his wrong doings.

7/10 Lelouch had to paint himself as a villain to atone for his sins and achieve world peace.

Code Geass

Code GeassLelouch vi Brittania, or Lamperouge, is one of the best examples of a complicated anime antihero. Lelouch was a British prince who would eventually come to fight his family after being betrayed and exiled. When given the power of the Geass, Lelouch had an ultimate power to command others to submit to his will, a morally gray power if there ever was one.

At the end of the day, Lelouch wanted to create a better world for his loved ones, and this led him to dark places to achieve it. He left death and destruction in his wake, from Euphemia to the residents of the Geass Order. In the end, he came up with the Zero Requiem, a plan to paint himself as the outright villain. He even died as a means to bring about a peaceful world for everyone else.

6/10 Revy’s affinity for violence was shaped by a tough childhood

Black Lagoon

What Black Lagoon followed a band of mercenary pirates, it’s safe to assume they bordered on the villain/anti-hero line simply because of their occupation, however Revy took that line further. Revy was the gunslinger of The Lagoon Company and quickly became a fan favorite with her fighting skills and rude personality of hers.

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From the foul language and showing joy in killing, Revy would have been seen as a villain from some perspectives were it not for her starring role in Black Lagoon. Revy was shaped by a traumatic past with an abusive father whom she ended up killing.

5/10 Caiman does whatever it takes to uncover the truth.

Dorohedoro

Most of the characters in Dorohedoro they’re likable, which immediately complicates how the audience is supposed to see them. While En’s crew can be seen as anti-villains, Nikaido and Caiman can be seen as anti-heroes. In Caiman’s case, he is the main protagonist: a lazy and selfish human with the head of a lizard whose hatred of wizards leads him to find out who cursed him.

Caiman is nice to those he likes, even if he doesn’t necessarily show it. However, it is his rudeness and affinity for senseless violence that can blur the lines of his morality. Caiman shows the Wizards very little mercy, regardless of his innocence, and he doesn’t hesitate to kill them all if it helps him catch the one who cursed him.

4/10 Endeavor will always be scarred by his past behavior

my hero academia

my hero academia it’s about heroes versus villains, but sometimes the lines are blurred. There are two main cases of anti-heroes through personality traits gradually softening over time: Bakugo and Endeavor. While Bakugo’s rude and aggressive personality is straightforward, Enji Todoroki, or Endeavor, has a more complex depth to him.

RELATED: My Hero Academia: 10 Ways Endeavor Changed The Series

Everything Endeavor did was with a view to besting his rival All Might and nothing more. She would continue to perform her heroic duties, but rarely with the selflessness of a hero. Enji’s family resented him, and he later faced an uphill battle to redeem himself. Ever since he became the number one hero, Endeavor has begun to change his ways, but he will always be marked by his past transgressions.

3/10 Eren’s anger and hatred have blurred the lines of his true state.

attack on titan

Eren Yeager blurs the lines of good and evil in attack on titan. He started out as the brash protagonist, hell-bent on destroying the Titans for killing his mother and destroying his life. This anger quickly turned into defiance and arrogance, with many finding Eren unlikable as he grew older.

attack on titanThe great four-year time jump revealed a much colder and more dangerous Eren. His anger at the titans had turned into a rage that wanted to cleanse most of the world. Eren’s actions turned evil in appearance, as he had to follow a morally gray route to ensure an end to all chaos.

2/10 Light Yagami’s God complex and initial quest for justice quickly descended into absurdity.

Death Note

Released in 2006, Death Note it remains one of the most popular anime to this day. He quickly hooks his viewers with his unique perspectives on the characters and whether they should be perceived as good or bad. Light Yagami was the lead, but his god complex and the direction he took saw him on the line between anti-hero and outright villain.

When Light first got the Death Note, used it to kill bad guys. Eventually, his definition of “bad guys” got confused and he got carried away. Light descended into villainy, but as the main character, he still believed that he was dispensing his due justice, even though any semblance of his old personality and good qualities had long since faded.

1/10 Kiritsugu would do anything to fulfill his promise of a peaceful world.

fate/zero

fate/zero is a dark and gritty anime, with Kiritsugu Emiya arguably the best representation of its intense themes. Kiritsugu started out with a naive optimism for a peaceful world, but was sent down a dark path to achieve it when he killed his father for causing an outbreak in his village. Kiritsugu was shaped by his past trauma and the promise to become a hero, made to his late friend Shirley.

He was forced to make impossible decisions and sacrifice lives for the greater good, no matter what others thought of him as a result. Kiritsugu sought the Holy Grail as a means to save humanity, but pursued his ideals to the point of delusion. He would clash with Saber on multiple occasions due to his contrasting natures. Saber was heroic and honorable, while Kiritsugu was cold and overwhelmed by what he had to do.

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