Fictional Characters
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21 Anime Heroes Who Look Like They Should Be Villains

Updated September 17, 2020 51.8k votes 6.9k voters 161.4k views21 items

Not every anime hero actually looks the part. In fact, there are plenty of menacing anime heroes who look straight up villainous.

Sometimes, this is because they have anti-hero tendencies, and the character designers were trying to imply that through visual cues. This is definitely the case for Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho, a former criminal who is still largely on his own team, but frequently works to protect humans and demons alike from danger. But sometimes, these types of characters defy expectations about what a hero should look like. Sajin Komamura of Bleach may look like a menacing wolfman, but he's actually a gentle soul.

Anime heroes who look like villains can take some getting used to, but they add to the overall visual experience of the series in which they appear. 

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    Ozen - 'Made In Abyss'

    Partially because of her appearance and partially because of her imperious attitude, Ozen seems like she's going to be a villain when she first appears. But actually, she's putting up a hardened front to scare adventurers out of venturing too far into the Abyss, a process that could be fatal.

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    Raye - 'The Promised Neverland'

    Raye - 'The Promised Neverland'
    Photo: CloverWorks

    Raye is a little boy burdened with painful knowledge, and that knowledge shows in his face. Despite his nefarious appearance, all he really wants is to escape from a desperate situation with his friends. 

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  • Hiei - 'Yu Yu Hakusho'
    Photo: Sunrise

    Hiei is a demon who spent his early years as a criminal, but who now works to defeat yokai and humans who stir up trouble. While his true motives are often obscure, he's not entirely a bad guy - even if he looks the part. 

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    White Blood Cell - 'Cells At Work'

    White Blood Cell - 'Cells At Work'
    Photo: David Production

    White Blood Cell's job is to protect the body from invaders, which makes him a "hero" in the strange world of Cells At Work. But despite his hero status, he frequently appears quite menacing - though Red Blood Cell, his coworker and friend, is able to see past all the bloodthirstiness. 

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