Welcome, readers! A friend of mine was looking for examples of human villains for character inspiration. This post was his idea. In anime, there are many villains who are monsters, vampires, or otherwise nonhuman. So for this post, I specifically picked antagonists who are just plain human. (One or two of them use magical powers, but are still human.) Let’s get started.
1) Chrollo Lucilfer (Hunter x Hunter)
Chrollo is the leader of the Phantom Troupe, a gang of professional thieves and murderers, also known as the Spiders. As the leader, Chrollo has a calm but magnetic personality. There is evidence in the series that he cares about his followers, though nobody else. Using a special power called Nen, Chrollo can steal powers and abilities from others. He’s excellent in a fight and is a serious threat even to the world’s best assassins.
2) Esdeath (Akame ga Kill)
Working as a high-ranking general for a corrupt empire, Esdeath is a sociopath who wields terrifying ice powers. She is an interesting and nuanced character, with some admirable or even sympathetic qualities. Esdeath is a great villain because of her ability to do whatever the empire needs done, even if it’s cruel or difficult. She’s incredibly dedicated, beautiful, and mighty– and severely lacking in empathy.
3) Gaku Yashiro (Erased)
This looks like a sweet and amiable man, right? He’s an elementary school teacher with a reputation for caring about his students and putting people at ease. But is this really who Gaku Yashiro is? Not at all. As it turns out, he’s a kidnapper and serial killer of children. We know very little about the inner workings of this psychopath’s mind, but one thing is for sure: he is a great human villain.
4) Isabella (The Promised Neverland)
Isabella is the main antagonist of The Promised Neverland and “Mother” at Gracefield orphanage. Though she behaves kindly, with endless love to give to the orphans, there’s more to her than meets the eye. Isabella is one of many women who work with man-eating demons in order to survive. It’s her job to care for the kids until they are the right age to be shipped out– as demon food. This is quite an interesting villain.
5) Johan Liebert (Monster)
The next human villain is my favorite in all of anime: the enigmatic Johan Liebert. He is a serial killer whose actions, methods, and goals are always shrouded in mystery. Johan kills best by manipulating others to actually do the deed. He can also easily talk people into killing themselves. There’s nothing magical about Johan’s mentalist abilities or eerie charisma– he’s human through and through.
6) Kotomine Kirei (Fate Zero)
Kotomine is my least favorite villain on this list, but despite my personal lack of interest in him, there’s no doubt he’s a worthy villain. After all, he’s positively despicable. Kotomine worked as an executioner in the Holy Church, until he was chosen to be one of seven mages to compete in a magical war. The winner gets their one wish fulfilled by the Holy Grail. Early on in Fate Zero, Kotomine had little sense of purpose or interest in life. However, with some encouragement from the other villains in the series, he becomes a nihilistic psychopath who derives pleasure from harming and killing others.
7) Shougo Makishima (Psycho-Pass)
And the final entry for today’s human villains is another great favorite of mine: Shougo Makishima from Psycho-Pass. In a dystopia where everyone is judged by a measure of their propensity to commit crime, Makishima is an oddball: he is immune to the measurements (the Psycho-Pass and Crime Coefficient) used by the government. Makishima is sociopathic and indirectly or directly kills many people without a shred of remorse. His goal is to see true human nature that is liberated from “law.”
That wraps it up for today, so thanks for reading! Sayonara~