When it comes to bad guys, we’re supposed to hate them, but sometimes antagonists will come along and have some sort of attractive quality to them that we just can’t resist. Look at Boba Fett or Loki, fans just can get enough of them because of a plethora of reasons. Anime is no stranger to this idea, so we thought we’d collect 8 of the coolest bad guys we just can’t help but like. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Vicious (Cowboy Bebop)
In Cowboy Bebop, we only see Vicious in five episodes, but he makes his presence known instantly. Often wielding a katana, with his trusty cormorant upon his shoulder, Vicious never shows any fear in the face of danger and is even a pretty snazzy dresser. We spend the entire series waiting for more and Vicious never disappoints when he appears, even defeating armed gunmen with nothing but his sword. While he does prove to be slightly insane, we can’t help but enjoy the mysterious swordsman in the grey hair.
Throughout Trigun, we learn more and more about Vash’s mysterious brother, Knives, but it’s not until the very end that we meet him in the flesh. Vash’s biggest rule is that he does not kill, but as he continues his search for Knives, keeping to this rule becomes much, much harder, making Vash’s stubbornness almost frustrating by the end. Enter Knives, the yin to Vash’s yang, who will kill freely at his own discretion. While this may seem like a horrifying prospect, Knive’s freedom is a breath of fresh air and when coupled with his laidback attitude, we can’t help but admire the man who can stand equally against Vash the Stampede.
Gilthunder (The Seven Deadly Sins)
For those of you that have not watched The Seven Deadly Sins, do yourselves a favor and watch it right now, trust me. Gilthunder is a Holy Knight that also grew up in the shadow of the protagonist and vice sin of wrath, Meliodas. While he may do everything he can to stop the Seven Deadly Sins, his unflappable confidence and physical prowess are nothing to balk at. Time and time again he matches up against some of the most powerful characters in the show, all with a degree of silent conviction. It’s impossible to watch Gilthunder fight with honor and dignity yet not appreciate his iron will, for he, if anyone, will be the one to surpass the Seven Deadly Sins.
Cell (Dragon Ball Z)
This was a very hard pick, as I wanted to include Vegeta on this list, but ultimately, he’s been seen as a good guy for so long, it’s hard to include him on this list. Cell is an android with one goal: to destroy. After absorbing other powerful fighters, Cell achieves his perfect form and invites the Z fighters to participate in the Cell Games as one last chance to save the universe. Rather than defeating his opponents as quickly as possible, Cell often lets them achieve their final form so that he can challenge himself. This devotion to the fight, as well as the overall classiness of Perfect Cell makes him stand out against the childish antics of Buu and the detestable behavior of Frieza. Although he does want destruction, it’s Perfect Cell’s “honorable” desire to face his opponents in their strongest form that makes him a character we secretly like.
Tetsuo, the poster child for Akira, is there really anything else I need to say? Besides devolving into some kind of mutant baby, Tetsuo obtains some pretty sweet powers and even gets to wear an awesome red cape. We can’t help but enjoy his rampage through the city, not because of the destruction, but in envy of how powerful he becomes in so short a time. While his fate may be somewhat less appealing, having his psychic abilities, even just for a day, would be a way cooler experience than a joy ride on Kaneda’s bike.
King Bradley/Wrath (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Theoretically, this role would be perfect for Nick Offerman in a live-action production of FMA: Brotherhood, but alas! It is not so! King Bradley is calm and in command throughout the entirety of the series, only rarely displaying his sin of Wrath, and even then never losing complete control of himself. His speed and swordsmanship are abilities that prove to be some of the most impressive of the FMA:B cast. Even though he turns out to be mostly diabolically evil, we can’t help but admire his abilities, as well as sympathize with his backstory. The Fuhrer King Bradley will forever be the badass antagonist that we always wished would change sides before the end…sigh.
Medusa (Soul Eater)
Can you watch Soul Eater and not like Medusa? I really want to know. Medusa’s plan to resurrect the Kishin becomes the central focus of the show, and despite being constantly matched up against opponents that could quickly overpower her, Medusa somehow always slithers her way to the top. Her pseudo-romantic relationship with Stein also becomes one of the most complex and interesting story arcs within the show. Medusa is a textbook femme fatale that is more powerful than she lets on and I think we all fall for her at one point or another, making her a top candidate for this list.
Zechs Merquise (New Mobile Report Gundam Wing)
I had a tough time deciding between Zechs and Char Aznable, as the two are nearly identical, but Zechs wins out on basis of the Gundam Epyon alone. Zechs is an amazing mobile suit pilot with a mysterious backstory that turns him into more of an antihero than just a plain antagonist. His skills in a mobile suit are only matched by Heero Yuy, but Zechs still only wishes to face the rival pilot if they are at their maximum potential. While this desire may be his undoing, it’s hard to hate a guy that loves battle more than he loves winning, especially when he gives the deadliest assassin in the solar system a second chance at besting him. Plus, who doesn’t want that sweet helmet of his?