Realistically 2018 was not a good year for villains. And by that I mean we didn’t really get anyone who stood out as a well crafted or particularly interesting villainous character (at least none in the shows I was watching). Most of the time there either wasn’t a villain, the villain was more a force of nature or some kind of larger problem and not a person, or the villain was kind of lame. So no Makishima (Psycho Pass) type characters that just made me want to discuss them and their motives. It is a shame considering this is my first yearly top 5 villain list and it is going to be pretty ordinary. I guess we can just cross our fingers and hope for some better villains in 2019.
That said, I’d love to know who your favourite villains were in 2018 so please leave me a comment below.
Honourable mentions this list go to Cartaphilius from The Ancient Magus’ Bride who was almost a good villain and then somehow just kind of became fairly lame. I really wish they’d done more with him given the build up he got. And Sagawa from Kokkoku who again seemed like a really solid bad guy and then… well I’m not sure I ever understood his motive in the first place so I can’t say whether or not he got his wish.
Number 5: Milza from Record of Grancrest War
It is probably a sign of how weak I found villains this year that I even considered Milza. He started out as a fairly strong character but ultimately he was far too arrogant and his plans were pretty flawed. Theo and his army got the best of Milza at every turn and all and all he ended up being pretty disappointing. Still, he was the main antagonist for a lot of the series and it was pretty satisfying seeing him defeated.
Number 4: Carnival from Lostorage Conflate Wixoss
Another villain that just doesn’t hold up. Carnival has more or less become a lackey in the latest Wixoss entry and other than stirring the pot a bit their presence in the series is fairly forgettable. Which is a shame given Carnival could have been a great antagonistic character with just a bit more effort put into them. In terms of villainous attitudes, Carnival definitely wins.
Number 3: Cancer from Cells at Work
Probably not a villain at all so much as a natural hazard, but Cancer from Cells at Work deserves a mention here. Such a great character considering the potentially dark subject matter here. They managed to present Cancer as a clear threat, as someone who was disruptive to the natural order and needed to be eliminated, while still managing to give them enough individual personality and desire to live to make them reasonably sympathetic. For a two episode character, Cancer had more characterisation than most the rest of the characters on this list. The only reason Cancer isn’t number 1 on the list is because I’m kind of uncertain as to whether villain is really the right classification for them at all.
Number 2: Dino from Banana Fish
Dino was going to take number one on the list. Not because he’s actually all that great a character, but because at least he really is a villainous scum-bag who was unwavering in their horrible endeavours. However, then the second last episode happened and we suddenly had a new final bad guy for Ash to fight, and then Dino did a last second random act of something that was probably just him trolling the other bad guy but might be considered a potential help to Ash so I kind of felt his credit as a villain was questionable when technically he saved the day (momentarily). It wasn’t the first time he’d helped Ash either. While his motives were always fairly repulsive, measured by his actions, Dino saved Ash on at least three occasions. Not much of a big bad when you keep rescuing the hero.
Number 1: The Goblins from Goblin Slayer
Which means, the number one spot on the list doesn’t go to a person but rather a whole species as depicted in Goblin Slayer. These green monsters are definitely not something you want to bump into unaware and you certainly don’t want them deciding to visit your farm. Considering the goblins in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime have been great fun to meet as characters, it is fascinating the contrasting view shown in Goblin Slayer. These inarticulate and vicious creatures will stab you, tear you apart, rape you, and use you as a literal shield against arrows. The show has wasted no time trying to show them in a sympathetic light but rather has only depicted them as something that must be stopped at all costs.
And that’s my list of anime villains in 2018. I’d love to know what made your list or who your favourite villain was this year so be sure to share in the comments.
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