Anime is a storytelling medium that isn’t known for its subtlety. Anime heroes are aspirational paragons, while anime villains are literal monsters who look as evil and threatening as their reputations imply. However, there are some unique cases where an anime villain may look weaker and even more timid than they really are.
More often than not, a villain’s seemingly weak display is meant to surprise both the anime’s heroes and the audience. Some villains knowingly trick their heroic foes by appearing weaker than they actually are. Either way, these anime villains show why people shouldn’t be judged by appearances alone.
This article contains spoilers.
10 Sawyer The Cleaner (Black Lagoon)
Sawyer the Cleaner is probably one of Black Lagoon‘s youngest characters. It was safe to assume that Sawyer’s age was somewhere between her late teens and early 20s. She was a frail Goth who dismembered and disposed of bodies for a living. Sawyer was also Roanapur’s resident chainsaw-wielding mercenary.
Despite her weak appearance, Sawyer was strong enough to swing a chainsaw around. Said chainsaw was also taller and heavier than her. Sawyer could bring her chainsaw to a gunfight and still win. She even backed experienced killers like Revy into a corner. Sawyer worked better with a team, but she was still not one to be underestimated.
9 Bob Poundmax (Gungrave)
Millennion was Gungrave‘s central organized criminal faction. Its elite bosses were hardened criminals who wore their body counts and experiences on their sleeves. Bob Poundmax was the apparent exception since he was Millennion’s jolly and gluttonous information expert. That was until he unleashed his abilities as a Superior.
When Bob nearly died because of his unhealthy eating habits, he was saved by being transformed into a Superior. The procedure granted him superpowers but made him unnaturally large and hungry. Bob was the first Millennion boss to be killed by a resurrected Brandon Heat, but he was still a force to be reckoned with.
8 Pesci (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
When he debuted in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, Pesci was quickly laughed off. Besides being one of the ugliest villains yet, Pesci was an assassin who couldn’t even stand the thought of killing people. Pesci’s Stand, Beach Boy, being a fishing rod and his childlike dependence on Prosciutto made him look even more pathetic.
But when Prosciutto almost died, Pesci became one of Passione’s deadliest enemies. Pesci used the unassuming Beach Boy to deadly effect, and he nearly killed Team Bucciarati by himself. Even though he died, Pesci’s impressive fight turned him into one of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure‘s most unlikely yet respected villains.
7 Buggy The Star Clown (One Piece)
For the longest time, Buggy was dismissed and mocked by One Piece fans for being the lamest and weakest Devil Fruit user. Buggy’s ability to split his body into many pieces was handy in a fight, but it was still one of the weakest powers in the entire anime. Buggy’s cowardly personality also didn’t help his weak reputation.
Despite these shortcomings, Buggy became a Warlord. Now, Buggy was backed by the World Government and given command of a formidable fleet. It’s also worth noting that Buggy’s real strength was his ridiculously good luck, which helped him survive fights against One Piece powerhouses like Monkey D. Luffy and Admiral Kizaru.
6 Ebisu (Dorohedoro)
To most viewers and Dorohedoro‘s characters, Ebisu was the ditziest Magic User around. Besides being a teenage rookie who could easily be pushed around, Ebisu seemed like she was off in her own world. This made the fact that Ebisu could transform into a deadly monster all the more frightening and unexpected.
When Fujita was threatened by a bullying Magic User, Ebisu suddenly transformed into a towering brute with a lizard head. Ebisu currently doesn’t know how to summon the beast, nor does she know what it is. Still, these don’t mitigate the fact that she could possibly be one of (if not) the physically strongest characters of the potential shonen Dorohedoro.
5 Twice (My Hero Academia)
Given his eccentric personality and mannerisms, Twice (aka Jin Bubaigawara) seemed like he was just My Hero Academia‘s villainous comic relief. Twice’s ability to clone himself was also the kind of power that the superhero genre didn’t take seriously. Despite these, Twice was one of the League of Villains’ deadliest members.
Twice’s clones were only as strong as ordinary people, but his ability to spawn a theoretically infinite number of clones meant that he could overwhelm his enemies. This turned him into the League’s trump card. Hawks knew this too well and killed Twice before he could turn the tide against the heroes during the Paranormal Liberation War.
4 The Tres Bestias (Bleach)
In Bleach, the Arrancar followed a caste system. If Espada like the arrogant Barragan Luisenbarn were the elite, the Fraccion served them. Although they were weaker, the Fraccion were still serious fighters. But then there was Tier Harribel’s Fraccion, the Tres Bestias, a trio that bickered more than they actually fought Shinigami.
Individually, Emilou Apacci, Franceska Mila Rose, and Cyan Sung-Sun looked weak and unreliable. Together, they were an effective unit. They were also the only Fraccion who could summon Ayon, their monstrous and powerful familiar. More impressively, they were some of the only Arrancar to survive Sosuke Aizen’s downfall.
3 Fat Buu (Dragon Ball Z)
Before he became one of Dragon Ball Z‘s most beloved characters, Majin Buu started out as one of the Z Fighters’ deadliest enemies. Majin Buu was a feared and legendary galactic conqueror, but when Babidi summoned him, he came back as the childlike Fat Buu. Contrary to his reputation, Fat Buu only wanted to eat and play.
Despite his innocence and incompetence, Fat Buu was still just as powerful and monstrous as before. Fat Buu’s naivety actually made him more dangerous since he had no understanding of right or wrong. It took Mr. Satan, of all people, befriending Fat Buu to help him reject his villainous past and become the overlong Dragon Ball‘s newest hero.
As Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood‘s main villains, the Homunculi were menacing villains whose appearances reflected the aspect of Father’s soul that they embodied. Pride was the odd one out since he took the form of the young and innocent Selim Bradley. In truth, he was the strongest and most ruthless Homunculi.
Pride was the oldest Homunculi and second only to Father. Pride hid his true power and cruelty behind Selim’s facade, and he relished in this cover whenever he could. Nobody wanted to fight a kid, let alone be rude to one. Edward Elric had to be pushed to the breaking point before he could even take his fight against Pride seriously.
1 Empress Marianne Vi Britannia (Code Geass)
One of Code Geass‘ biggest twists was that Lelouch’s mother, Empress Marianne, was arguably the overall villain. As far as Lelouch, his sister, Nunally, and audiences were concerned, Marianne was a perfect mother who was loved by everyone. More importantly, everyone thought she died during a terrorist attack.
In truth, Marianne had a Geass, and she used it to transfer her spirit into Anya Alstreim. As the Knight of Six, Marianne maintained her spotless posthumous legacy and worked with the detestable Emperor Charles zi Britannia to initiate the Ragnarök Connection. Marianne’s saintly appearance betrayed just how cruel and manipulative she really was.
NEXT: 10 Anime Villains Who Became A Loose End
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