Everyone loves to root for a hero, right? Wrong! Heroes are a dime a dozen, but in most media you so rarely get to see things from a villain’s point of view. It is easy to make a villain that is two dimensional and whose only motivation is to be evil. However, when an anime series puts the villain of the series in the main character seat, it is an opportunity to show them as real (fictional) people with actual personalities and motivations for doing what they do. For those that need a little more villainy in their life, try these anime recommendations.
This series is one of two series we need to put on here just to get it out of the way. For many, Death Note was one of their first clear-cut anime series where the main protagonist was overtly the villain. Certainly he might not have started out that way, but the longer Death Note went on, the clearer it became that Light was not a good guy until it reached a feverish crescendo of crazy at the end. Light may have had good intentions at one point, but those intentions deteriorated quickly.
Second on our obligatory mention list of two is Code Geass. Like Death Note, this took a protagonist that may have had nice motivations in the beginning, but lost those along the way. However, Lelouch is a little more ambiguous of a main character villain than Light. He did things, ultimately that would benefit the country, but would also benefit him. Certainly a rebel is not always a villain, but some of the things that Lelouch carried out were nothing short of horrific.
Saga of Tanya the Evil
The title of this series promises a certain something, and it delivers in full. Tanya is not some misunderstood anti-hero. No, she is a straight-up black-hearted, ruthless, loli child soldier that will take any means to fulfill her goal. She a military mastermind and combine that with her cruelty, this series can come up with some completely messed up situations.
In Hellsing, the main character can be debatable, but most view it as Alucard. While the original Hellsing animation paints him as more of an anti-hero, Hellsing Ultimate sees him fulfill his manga role as relatively villainous. His attachment to the Hellsing Organization is likely the only reason he doesn’t just bugger off an go about his business. However, just because he has to obey certain commands doesn’t stop him from enjoying the sheer pleasure of killing. He likes it. He loves it. He lives for killing.
Higurashi: When They Cry
You might be scratching your head a bit here if you have already seen this series, trying to think of how the main characters are evil. However, the girls (and Kenichi) all have distinct moments of evilness for various reasons. Through the different arcs, each girl is placed in the role of the villain, and I think that is very unique and actually what makes the show such a fun watch.
Lucy may share the main character stage in the show, but she is a distinctly villainous characters. The show goes well out of its way to make you feel sympathy for her, but she does terrible things. She has reasons for why she does all those terrible things, but she has killed both evil people and relatively innocent children for really quite morally shaky reasons.
Michiko and Hatchin
This series focuses on the titular characters who share the main character role. While Hatchin is relatively good, if only by her sheer innocence, Michiko is not. Sure, she saved Hatchin from an abusive foster family, but she did so for the kid to track down her father for her own vengeance. She is also a criminal that broke out of prison and throughout the series continues to do criminal things.