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13 Anime Characters Who Were Forced To Be Evil

August 19, 2020 3.1k votes 658 voters 20.0k views13 items

Just because an anime character has done terrible things doesn't mean it's always their fault. In some cases, they have little choice but to go along with the evil scheme of a truly nefarious person.

Sometimes, anime characters who were forced to be evil are like that because they were manipulated into thinking it was the right thing to do. That's true of Reiner Braun and the other Warriors from Attack on Titan. They truly thought they were in the right - and what's more, they wouldn't be treated like human beings if they didn't go along with it. That actually brings us to the other reason why anime characters are sometimes forced into nefarious deeds - they or someone they love is threatened if they don't comply. That's the case for Isabella from The Promised Neverland, who turned against the children of Grace Field House for reasons that are surprisingly sympathetic.

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  • Before most Naruto fans learn the reason why Itachi Uchiha annihilated his entire clan, they tend to think of him as irredeemably evil. But once his backstory is revealed, it becomes clear that he never had a choice to begin with. 

    As a thirteen-year-old boy, Itachi was approached by Danzo Shimura, the leader of Root. Danzo gave Itachi a choice: take down the Uchiha clan himself and spare himself and his younger brother Sasuke, or be slaughtered along with them. Itachi chose the former, then ended up joining the Akatsuki in order to lure Sasuke to him so he could destroy him and gain the mangekyo sharingan in the process. 

    Itachi could probably have told his family about Root's plans, which could have given them the chance to stage a coup. But for Itachi, this wasn't a choice - he knew that if he did that, the warfare and bloodshed would extend far beyond just his family. Even his parents understood why he had no choice but to walk down the path of villainy, and forgave him just before he took their lives. 

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  • Kagura - 'Inuyasha'
    Photo: Sunrise

    One of the major methods through which Naraku executes his evil schemes is by using people who he's either brainwashed or threatened into doing his bidding. One of those people is Kagura. Naraku formed Kagura from his own body, and as a result, he holds her heart in his hands. This means that should she ever disobey him, she'll be immediately destroyed.

    Despite the risk, Kagura tries to disobey Naraku covertly, helping Inuyasha and anybody else who wants to see Naraku destroyed by giving them information and aid whenever she can. She does this because she absolutely loathes him, wants nothing more than to be free of him, and feels sorry for people like Kohaku who are victimized by him. She eventually does get her much-desired freedom, but at great cost - Naraku returns her heart, but stabs her and poisons her afterwards, giving her little time to do anything with it. 

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  • 3

    Mother Spider Demon - 'Demon Slayer'

    Mother Spider Demon - 'Demon Slayer'
    Photo: ufotable

    Most of the demons in Demon Slayer were forced to be evil to some degree or another. That's because when they're transformed, they often lose control of themselves completely and start devouring whatever humans come their way. Some embrace their new way of life, while others are tormented by it. And of course, they have varying levels of control over their behavior. 

    One demon who lacks any control over her post-transformation life is Mother Spider Demon. She was transformed against her will as a young girl, then forced to join Rui's Spider Family. There, if she couldn't fulfil her role as 'mother' to his specifications, she'd have to deal with his wrath. Her fear of Rui leaves her little choice but to help fight the Demon Slayers and generally wreak havoc, but really all she wants is some peace.

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  • Killua Zoldyck - 'Hunter x Hunter'
    Photo: Madhouse

    When you're raised by a group of assassins who indoctrinate you since birth to participate, you don't get a whole lot of choice about the whole 'being evil' thing. Along with his siblings, Killua was poisoned, whipped, mind-controlled, and otherwise tortured to prepare him for a future in the family business.

    While some of his targets may have deserved it, some didn't... and anyway, it's still not exactly a wholesome life for a little boy. It's amazing that he managed to be as sweet and loving as he is with Gon! 

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