Anime Villains, Ranked: Meruem, Sosuke Aizen & More

Sosuke Aizen & Meruem
Photo Credit: Studio Pierrot, Madhouse

As subjective as the list of the best villains in anime goes, one cannot deny that such a listicle would include certain names popularly known in the anime world. Even though the opinions of different viewers may vary due to their favorite genres, there exist some iconic antagonists in various anime who continue to dominate the industry with their presence.

Legendary names such as Tetsuo Shima, Madara Uchiha, Ryomen Sukuna have left an indelible mark on the fandom, but not everyone can make it to the list. However, here are four ranked anime villains who have been famous for their overwhelming power and strategic prowess. 

Meruem (Hunter x Hunter)

Considered to be one of the most intelligent antagonists, Meruem embodies various elements that make him an incredible villain in the anime universe. His influence starts with his complex and dynamic character development, through which he evolves from an impulsive being to someone who understands human emotions and ends with his overpowering strength.

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Moreover, he possesses great physical prowess and combat skills. But his intellect is nothing short of surprising. He adapts well and has impressive strategic brilliance, which helps him outsmart his opponents. Through his character, one explores the intricate themes of humanity and possession of power, adding further depth to his character.

Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)

Sosuke Aizen is another antagonist whose character boasts intellectual prowess and the ability to strategically manipulate his opponents. Although he is calm, he successfully masks his ulterior motives behind his humanitarian persona, eventually betraying the Soul Society to pursue his ambitions. Given his rank as the Captain of the Fifth Division of Gotei 13, his betrayal was unexpected and left a great impact on the Soul Society members.

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Aizen has immense spiritual strength, and he can take control over any challenging situations with his intellect. He uses his ability to manipulate and control the situations, establishing his dominance. Moreover, his mysterious aura allows him to create narrative suspense in Tite Kubo’s series.

Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord)

Unlike most villains in the television genre, Ainz Ooal Gown plays as an unconventional antagonist. He starts out as a player in MMORPG, which is a virtual reality, and gets trapped in the game world that bestows him with new power. Besides finding his way with this overwhelming power, he also struggles with a sense of isolation. 

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Although his intentions are not particularly noble, he wishes to establish his influence in the virtual reality. To do so, he progresses from a simple human being to an overlord who couldn’t care less about emotions. All he cares about is his power, thereby challenging the ideas of ethics and morality. Additionally, his character takes a dive into existential questions and moral ambiguities, making him one of the most complex characters in the anime world.

Johan Liebert (Monster)

Johan Liebert uses manipulation to play tactical games with his opponents. Hence, he stands out as one of the smartest anime villains. Although he is mostly an antagonist with an enigmatic backstory, his character has complex layers that leave fans intrigued about him. 

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Unlike other entries in this list, his manipulation is mostly of the emotional kind, which he uses to influence people. Moreover, he has a way of strategizing events without even appearing at the forefront. Johan’s interactions with Dr. Tenma and his twin sister also add depth to the plot, so much so that his very presence becomes the most interesting aspect of the psychological thriller.

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