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The 20 Best Anime Villains Who Switched Sides And Became Heroes

Updated August 21, 2020 54.6k votes 11.9k voters 236.8k views20 items

List RulesVote up your favorite instances of when an anime villain turned good.

Anime villains don't always stay villainous. Actually, there are plenty of anime villains who turned good. In series like Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh! this happens to nearly every villain, while other anime use the trope more sparingly. Sometimes it's heartfelt, and sometimes it's kind of hamfisted, and it happens for a lot of different reasons.

In some cases, a change of heart occurs when an intelligent villain realizes that their former behavior is no longer in their best interest. In other cases, a villain with good intentions finally gets the opportunity to be the good guy they've always been on the inside. Maybe a villain who was really into the whole evil thing realizes the error of their ways after a showdown with the protagonist. Maybe they begrudgingly join the good guys, but their old personality keeps creeping in. No matter the reason, characters who make the switch from villain to good guy can be fascinating. 

Which switchover did you think was the most plausible and interesting? Vote up the anime villain who joined the good guys whose story most resonated with you, and vote down the characters who would have been better off staying villains.

  • Yu Yu Hakusho features the murderous Hiei, who dedicated his childhood to various killing sprees. He had to join the Spirit Detectives as a condition of his parole, and he was pretty surly about it until they took on a mission to rescue his twin sister Yukina, whose relation to him had been kept a secret. Despite not being being forced to accompany them this time, Hiei still tags along, making up excuses for why he's interested the whole time. 

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  • Photo: Sunrise

    Sesshomaru easily has the best character development in the entire series. He went from a ruthless demon who hated humans to an ally who ends up taking care of a little human girl. His drastic change is all thanks to Rin. Although Sesshomaru initially rejects Rin's help and kindness, he realizes how much he's grown to care for her after she is killed by wolves. He brings her back to life and Rin becomes his travel companion for the rest of the series. Sesshomaru's acceptance of humans brings out his compassionate side, and he eventually aids Inuyasha and his friends in defeating Naraku.

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  • 7

    Crona - 'Soul Eater'

    Photo: Bones

    Like a lot of characters who start off as villains before migrating over to the good guys, Crona of Soul Eater never actually wanted to do anything villainous - they were forced to become a killer by their abusive mother, Medusa Gorgon. Said abuse made it just about impossible for Crona to go against their mother in any way, so for a long time, they simply obeyed while becoming increasingly mentally unstable

    Eventually, Crona meets Maka, and starts feeling wanted to protect her instead of attack her. This eventually leads to recognizing their mother as abusive, realizing that they don't need her approval and deciding to try to help thwart their evil plans.

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  • 8

    Nishio Nishiki - 'Tokyo Ghoul'

    When viewers first meet Nishio Nishiki of Tokyo Ghoulhe's not exactly nice. He immediately decides that Ken Kaneki is untrustworthy, and as a result he harasses him and even tries to fight him to the death. After Kaneki helps him rescue his kidnapped girlfriend, he changes his mind about him, and joins Anteiku, a group of ghouls dedicated to acquiring their human flesh in an ethical manner. 

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