I spent a long time considering this one. Since the challenge asked for the “best” anime villain and not my “favorite” anime villain, the choice was a little easier than in the last few entries. (I despise having to pick a single favorite because I have no single favorites– only groups of favorites.)
The best kind of villain, in my opinion, should meet the succeeding requirements. 1) They make you hate them with the things they do. 2) They have tragic stories or great intentions or something else that makes you feel slightly understanding or sympathetic toward them. 3) They have personal significance to you or your experiences, for good or for ill. 4) At least once, they frightened or disturbed you. And finally, 5) In the end, they are irredeemably evil.
I still have at least three villains that meet these criteria, but the one I chose for this post is, of course, Light Yagami. I didn’t choose him because I really wanted to. It’s kind of boring to write about Light when everything to be said about him has already been said by someone else in the last 15 years. Light isn’t my favorite villain, but he’s the one who best meets the criteria above.
The deciding factors were the first and the fifth items, which are of course subjective and vary per person. When compared to many other villains, only a few made me hate them as much as I hate Light. (At the same time, as a villain, I love him.) And even fewer than that could be considered irredeemably evil. In the end, it had to be Light, Makishima Shougo, or Johan Liebert. Light made me angrier than the other two, who were more fascinating to me than decidedly repulsive.
So yeah, Light Yagami is the main character of Death Note, the famous anime everybody and their mother knows about. By some definitions, he is not a villain, but more of an anti-hero, and there are certain individuals who straight up consider him the hero. It’s all up to one’s values, I suppose. For me, he’s a definite villain. Using the Death Note, he kills criminals to make the world a place full of “good people,” ruled by him as “God.” He also kills those who try to catch him or uncover his identity, and later, he kills political and military leaders to threaten them into acknowledging his power– oh, and to stop wars, supposedly.
I often wonder just how many people Light murdered by writing their names in the Death Note. Light had five years between defeating his major rival and the time when he was acknowledged as “Justice,” by world powers like the U.S. Suppose he wrote 50 names in the Death Note every day for those five years. That would be 91,250 deaths. I don’t doubt that Light’s kill count was reached that high by the end. Maybe it even got to 100k. Then again, maybe it didn’t, since there’s only so much room in the Death Note. Anyway, Regardless of kill count, I believe that Light Yagami is the best anime villain in all the anime I have seen.
Oh if you have time, or any thoughts you want to express, please drop a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I’d be glad to have a good discussion over this! Ja ne! Mata ashita!