Sometimes, anime villains are just evil personified and only want to take over the world.
Other times, they’re surprisingly human and make some valid points.
Today we’re going to focus on that second type. Here are my picks for anime villains that were honestly kind of relatable.
Anime: Akame ga Kill!
Even though his design would have you think he’s a monster – Bols is actually a bit more complex.
Yes, he does burn people alive for a living. Can’t really relate to or endorse that part.
But he’s also a genuinely good guy who loves his wife and daughter more than anything else in this world. And he obviously feels guilty for all the atrocities he has done.
In fact, he can’t even stand to show his face – believing that he’s a disgusting monster. And I have to say that I feel for the dude.
Soldiers often have to do immoral things but knowing that they take no pleasure in it makes them a bit more relatable.
Also, Bols is just a sweetheart.
I honestly can’t even blame Tahomaru for being a villain.
Because all he knew was that his land was in danger because of the resurgence of his brother.
Mind you, said brother also basically took his own mother away from him – as she was always too focused on what she had lost to appreciate Tahomaru in the present.
And by the end, he obviously grew to understand where Hyakimaru was coming from. So all this boils down to is a boy being jealous of a brother who hogged all of his mother’s attention.
I have siblings so I felt that on an emotional level. We haven’t killed each other though – at least not yet.
Anime: The Promised Neverland
Although the final season of The Promised Neverland was a dumpster fire – I still liked certain aspects.
For one, I definitely grew to understand Isabella.
After all, she didn’t have much say in the matter. If she had refused to become a Mother, they would’ve just killed her and put someone else in that position.
But you can clearly see that she cared deeply for her children (even when she had to physically hurt them). And while I can’t get behind physical abuse – I see where she’s coming from.
Doing things you don’t want to do in order to survive is the quintessential human experience – Isabella just happened to get a really rough deal.
Anime: Gurren Lagann
Lordgenome has a similar relatability factor as Isabella – although it’s on a much bigger stage.
It’s always easy to complain about the current situation you’re in. But you can’t really know whether it’s the worst possible outcome.
As a leader, Lordgenome basically had to choose whether to be oppressive or possibly end all of humanity. Can’t say that I’ve ever seen stakes that high – but I could imagine the weight.
And of course, he’d be a bit rough around the edges after an experience like that! Although I can’t get behind the way he treated his daughter in the beginning.
Overall, my dude was carrying the fate of the world on his shoulders and simply made the wrong call.
And in the words of a wise prophet: everyone makes mistakes, everyone has those days.
6. Madara Uchiha
Anime: Naruto: Shippuden
Let’s be honest here – if the Infinite Tsukuyomi was real, there’d be a lot more Madaras walking around. I wouldn’t even be surprised if it turned out that was the end goal for Meta.
Madara simply had to live through some pretty awful events – fighting his own friend, facing discrimination, and feeling the terror of war.
Of course, he’d want to escape to a fantasy world where none of that existed! Reality shifting was basically the talk of the town over on TikTok for a while – so he’s definitely not alone here.
5. Tohru’s Father
Anime: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Although Tohru’s father is a minor character – I want to give him the spotlight.
The dude looks like your standard villain – menacing face, dark cloak, immense power. But he had a good point.
His entire plot point revolved around him wanting to take Tohru back home.
And while it’s set up as a conflict, he definitely had good reason to.
After all, in the eyes of dragons, human life is extremely short. So there’s a 99% chance that Tohru would see Kobayashi’s death. And knowing Tohru – she’d probably blow up the planet or end her own life.
So, appearances aside – Tohru’s dad was a justifying worried parent.
And while his communication skills definitely need some work (as you can’t always just fight your problems away), I sympathize with the old guy.
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Although Meruem was initially a very basic villain (with casual murder everywhere), he quickly developed.
By the end of the series, he felt more human that the entire main cast.
He realized that he was the most powerful guy around and actually wanted to use said power in order to better society. And while that’s a dictatorship, it potentially could’ve worked out.
After all, Meruem has a supercomputer brain capable of running countless simulations.
He was the epitome of that one person in every group project that takes on the leadership role because they have the highest grades.
And I honestly can’t be mad at that.
His final scene was also the most tragically human thing I’ve seen in my life – so he got some bonus points there.
3. Tsukasa Shishio
Anime: Dr. Stone
In the modern era, Tsukasa would definitely have a cult following. After all, his mission statement is to cleanse the world of boomers so that young people can have a fair life (and maybe afford a house).
And seeing how his backstory involves him fighting people just so that he could pay for his sister’s medical bills – he’d get the sympathy points as well.
Is his execution a bit extreme? Perhaps.
I mean he’s wiping out thousands or millions of people.
But can I kind of understand where he’s coming from? In this day and age – yes.
2. Kirito Kamui
Anime: Psycho Pass
Kirito has the same appeal as Tsukasa.
After all, he’s just fighting an unjust system. The fact that people also died as a result of his actions isn’t the main point of his character.
Because from his perspective – society literally told him he doesn’t exist, and he saw countless people die for no reason. So can you really blame him for trying to tear down such a system?
Do methods justify the means? I’m way too dumb to answer that.
But I do know that I can relate to this character on a surface level if nothing else.
1. Gentle Criminal
Anime: My Hero Academia
Gentle is probably one of the most relatable villains I’ve ever seen.
All he wanted was to be a hero – and then one accident completely ruined his social standing and reputation.
Other heroes looked down on him, he had no support system, and his conscious was running rampant. So, he decided to prove a point.
He never wanted to harm anyone – but rather to just leave some form of legacy behind.
His stunts were mostly harmless and done for the sheer shock factor.
He was basically a YouTube prankster but without paid actors.