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Old 2010-08-15, 11:07   Link #1
Seiryuu
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Are there any truly effective villains?

If you want to know what I mean by effective, look up the Evil Overlord List. It seems like almost no villains are really smart about what they're doing, leaving countless openings for attack, espionage and internal unrest. Are there any who do things right?
The only one I know who seems to be a good fit is Fate Averruncus of Negima:
Spoiler for in case you haven't gotten that far:


Another example from American cinema/comics is a character from a superhero movie from a couple years back. When the heroes got there, he went ahead and explained his plans and motivations, but in the end, he honestly asked them if they really thought he would give them such information if there was a way for them to stop him, and revealed that his plan had been carried out and successfully completed before he even opened his mouth.

What other legitimately intelligent and effective villains are there, strictly within anime/manga? As always age rating is irrelevant.

Conversely, out of curiosity, are there any major (not defeated in the first five eps) enemies who in some way actually want the hero to win and are acting in order to make the hero strong enough to defeat them and whatever might be behind them? So often the villain seems to be deliberately giving the hero no more than he can handle, as if he was trying to train him into someone who could stop him or his master once and for all, so it'd be interesting if the enemy was really doing just that.
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Old 2010-08-15, 11:16   Link #2
oompa loompa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seiryuu View Post
If you want to know what I mean by effective, look up the Evil Overlord List. It seems like almost no villains are really smart about what they're doing, leaving countless openings for attack, espionage and internal unrest. Are there any who do things right?
The only one I know who seems to be a good fit is Fate Averruncus of Negima:
Spoiler for in case you haven't gotten that far:


Another example from American cinema/comics is a character from a superhero movie from a couple years back. When the heroes got there, he went ahead and explained his plans and motivations, but in the end, he honestly asked them if they really thought he would give them such information if there was a way for them to stop him, and revealed that his plan had been carried out and successfully completed before he even opened his mouth.

What other legitimately intelligent and effective villains are there, strictly within anime/manga? As always age rating is irrelevant.
Mmmm... there are. Here are some off the top of my head, I might add some more later.

Johann Liebert from Monster was pretty good.
Shisho and Soujiro, not to mention Saito from Rurouni Kenshin
Without spoiling it, the villain(s) in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni
Personally, I thought the villains of TTGL were great too.
The villains from both FMA series
Vicious from Bebop too

Really from what you asked though, probably Johann and the ones from higurashi

Last edited by oompa loompa; 2010-08-16 at 07:58.
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Old 2010-08-15, 12:02   Link #3
Guardian Enzo
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Well it seems almost too obvious, but how about Light from Death Note?
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Old 2010-08-15, 13:55   Link #4
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One of the best villains i've ever come across would be Shinya from Tekkaman Blade. Just talking about him would be a spoiler, so it's best you experience what he can do for yourself.

Gotta second Death Note.

Giant Robo has a colorful collections of villains, that are known as some of the best.
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Old 2010-08-15, 14:44   Link #5
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What about Gendo Ikari?

True he violates #2 but that actually works to his advantage- so maybe he knew what he was doing there.

I guess #18 and #19 are his downfall. But really, considering that #18 was done before he decided to become and Evil Overlord, and that both #18 and #19 became indispensable to achieving his goal due to forces outside his control, and that he then took several steps to ensure that both #18 and #19 where emotionally crippled and thus dependent on him so as to better control them and ensure they did what he wanted... I think we give him a break on those.

#29 is ignored for the more classic intimidation of black with white gloves, and dark sunglasses to hide the eyes. I don't consider it an important violation.

He also does violate #98- in fact he actually forces them into the situation. However, this actually serves his plan well as he takes further steps that ensure the couple becomes dysfunctional and emotionally crippling, thus furthering his own plans.

In fact Gendo gets pretty far along with his evil plans, and even if it is eventually undone through his overdependence on a specific persons loyalty, that dependence was unavoidable and he really did take so many precautions on that front that most viewers are surprised that that is how he failed.

And even in failure, his plans are so well laid that it thoroughly screws over the hero.

Yup... Neon Gensis Evangelion and Gendo Ikari. The worst father since Darth Vader.

He also fits into your second question since the initial success of the protagonist was all part of his plan to begin with. Nothing like using your own son's heroic actions to serve your own perverted evil purposes.
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Old 2010-08-15, 15:36   Link #6
Falkor
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you may want to read Vinland Saga (thread at AS). there's someone that fits your description.

oh Liar Game (thread at AS) has smart villains as well.

edit: if you don't mind reading light novel, you may also want to try Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria (thread at AS)
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Old 2010-08-15, 15:38   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
Well it seems almost too obvious, but how about Light from Death Note?
I third Death Note
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Old 2010-08-15, 18:24   Link #8
GreatTeacherKen
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The shonen action manga Jojo's Bizarre Adventure has many intelligent villains especially from Part 3 onwards, which leads to some very clever and intense battles and a surprisingly high hero death rate.

None of the villains, with one justified exception in Steel Ball Run, explain their powers to the heroes so a lot of the fights involve the heroes struggling to figure out the villains' powers and how to counter them. The smarter villains are aware of their weaknesses and have even found ways to get around them like Dio Brando from part 3 and White Album (the villain's power's name, I don't remember his actual name) from Part 5.

While Jojo villains are on average much more evil and twisted than the example you gave for Negima, they are clever enough to get away with it. In the case of Dio Brando, most of his henchmen are either too terrified to oppose him (they have good reason to be considering how powerful and intelligent he is as he demonstrates quite well in part 3's final battle) or fanatically loyal to him (and possibly in love with him) thanks to his charisma. Not to mention that a lot of them are as twisted as he is.
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Old 2010-08-15, 20:01   Link #9
SeijiSensei
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I'm going to suggest an entirely unlikely villain. Indeed whether he is a villain at all is at least open to debate:

Spoiler for Kure-nai:
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Old 2010-08-15, 20:14   Link #10
sergho
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Spike's evil friend Vicious.
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Old 2010-08-15, 21:54   Link #11
wingdarkness
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How many times do I have to suggest this show in my forum lifetime?

Gankutsuou - Talk about effective...

I guess DeathNote is a decent suggestion, but Light isn't the "villain" at all...

Also YuYu Hakusho (Shinobu Sensui Arc)...Top 5 villain in anime-history for my money...

LMAO, Night Shift Nurses has a pretty effective villain^^...Seriously don't look for that show...

For Live Action: The villain from WATCHMEN was pretty damn effective and brilliant in alot of ways...
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Old 2010-08-15, 22:36   Link #12
Guardian Enzo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingdarkness View Post
I guess DeathNote is a decent suggestion, but Light isn't the "villain" at all...
I know that's sort of a complex matter, but I disagree. From a narrative perspective, he's not. From a moral one, he is.
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Old 2010-08-15, 23:23   Link #13
Sackett
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
I know that's sort of a complex matter, but I disagree. From a narrative perspective, he's not. From a moral one, he is.
He's a Villain Protagonist.
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Old 2010-08-16, 07:24   Link #14
Haak
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What you're looking for is the Dangerously Genre Savvy trope. Just scroll down for examples. I would also have to recommend Durarara!!
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Old 2010-08-16, 16:25   Link #15
VinnyI
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*cough*

Gantz
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Old 2010-08-16, 23:01   Link #16
SuzushinaYuriko
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I second Durarara!! because Izaya is a master at manipulating people. I think he's one of the smartest villains I've ever come across.
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Old 2010-08-17, 06:30   Link #17
Seiryuu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haak View Post
What you're looking for is the Dangerously Genre Savvy trope. Just scroll down for examples. I would also have to recommend Durarara!!
I hadn't seen that trope but it does fit. Especially if the villain is truly exceptional in this regard (that is, he didn't "lose" some of the list and he isn't insane or just plain stupid).
One of the biggest things I hate is enemies who go to the trouble of explaining what they're planning, or how their power works. What kind of idiot actually tells the enemy how they're beating him? At least with Fate, he only tells what's necessary and generally doesn't share information unless it will distract or intimidate.

Are there any tropes for my second item, where a major enemy is actually trying to make the heroes stronger with the intent of making them strong enough to defeat him? When I say major enemy, I mean someone who's not defeated early on.

There's several characters like the immortal mother of FoR, who act as "enemies" for a certain period in order to force the heroes to grow so they can take on the bigger enemies that await further down the road, and end the "fight" by testing the hero and then beginning to train him. This is close, but it winds up as a small introductory test arc rather than a central, possibly secret, part of the story.
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Old 2010-08-17, 09:34   Link #18
Westlo
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Originally Posted by Seiryuu View Post
Conversely, out of curiosity, are there any major (not defeated in the first five eps) enemies who in some way actually want the hero to win and are acting in order to make the hero strong enough to defeat them and whatever might be behind them? So often the villain seems to be deliberately giving the hero no more than he can handle, as if he was trying to train him into someone who could stop him or his master once and for all, so it'd be interesting if the enemy was really doing just that.
Umineko in a way.
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Old 2010-08-17, 09:42   Link #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian Enzo View Post
I know that's sort of a complex matter, but I disagree. From a narrative perspective, he's not. From a moral one, he is.
Even if he was a villain, he wasn't an intelligent one. Way too cocky and proud. Revealed his plans before they were done, didn't cover all the bases etc. He made so many stupid mistakes over the course of the entire plot that I don't get why anyone would consider him truly intelligent. The interesting bits of almost magical sequences he pulled off were completely overridden by him overlooking the simplest of details and making very stupid mistakes. L was much more intelligent. He didn't have the advantage of knowing everything from the go and still caught on really fast. But nobody in Death Note was a true genius.

I second Johan from Monster.

There are several instances of villains trying to train heroes into becoming strong enough to get rid of them. The one that vividly comes to mind atm is Fay's arc in Tsubasa Chronicles. I can't really think of another one off the top of my head though...weird how I feel as though I have seen this plot device many times. Oh yeah, Monster has just that too. LOL. Oh well.
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Old 2010-08-17, 11:00   Link #20
Animelover#1
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I liked the villains in: Sumomomo momomo and Busou Renkin
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