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Ranking The Character Design For Every Major Shonen Villain

Updated June 28, 2021 14.5k votes 1.5k voters 40.1k views25 items

No matter the genre or the character type, design is an extremely important part of any anime experience. Design can tell you a lot about the character's personality and background, as well as help to determine the series' overall aesthetic feel. For this list, we'll be focusing on some of the stand-out villains from the shonen genre, and the choices their creators made in bringing them to life. 

So, which are the best shonen villain character designs? That's in the eye of the beholder. Love old school pirates? Then you might like Blackbeard from One Piece. Love modern takes on mythical figures? Then maybe you're a fan of Soul Eater's Medusa Gorgon. Love a villain who repeatedly changes forms? Anything from Cell to Father could be a favorite. 

Vote up the anime villains you think had the best design, and vote down those who need some reworking.

  • Photo: Madhouse

    Though Hunter x Hunter isn't the first piece of media to try and make a clown look intimidating, it does a damn good job. More like some iterations of The Joker and less like Pennywise, the series goes out of its way to emphasize how attractive Hisoka is with shower scenes and emphasis on his muscles. 

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    Great character design?
  • When Masashi Kishimoto designed Pain, he including piercings for a reason. In the data book, he explains:

    "He's Akatsuki's leader, so he has to look fairly cool, but I still wanted him to look dangerous. Since his name is 'Pain', I decided to add some piercings to his body, like he's the kind of guy who would inflict pain upon himself.” 

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    Great character design?
  • Throughout most of Rurouni Kenshin, Shishio Makoto appears covered in bandages. That's because he suffered from severe burns that nearly ended his life, and which ultimately cause him to overheat and pass away after a particularly tough battle. Despite these injuries, he still manages to look incredibly intimidating for the show's duration. 

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  • The cool thing about Sōsuke Aizen's design is its versatility. He starts out looking like a walking dad joke, but after his grand betrayal, he looks exactly as evil as he is. His winged transformations range from oddly beautiful to terrifying. 

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    Great character design?