Ranking Popular Shonen Anime Villains By How Hard They Were To Beat

When faced with wildly powerful opponents, shonen heroes are forced to put everything on the line to take them down. Sometimes, this means developing brand new powers, sometimes it involves coming up with a strategy, and sometimes it involves relying on luck or help from their friends. No matter how they do it, these villains push the heroes they fight to their limit.

Who are hardest shonen anime villains to beat? There's a whole lot out there. Meruem from Hunter x Hunter was so tough that Isaac Netero had to sacrifice himself to take him down. Sousuke Aizen from Bleach survives one of the most terrifying attacks in anime history, and is only destroyed by an unexpected trap. 

Which of these villains would you never want to find yourself up against? Vote them up! 


  • After Goku transports Cell to King Kai's planet so that Cell can explode and avoid damaging anybody else, it looks like the villain might be defeated - but he regenerates and faces off against Goku's son, Gohan.

    At first, Cell has the upper hand, but then Vegeta distracts Cell with his Galick Blazer. Sensing an opportunity, Gohan launches a Kamehameha at Cell with guidance from his father's spirit. This is enough to overwhelm Cell's own attack, rendering Gohan the proud but exhausted victor. 

  • After a long, hard battle in which it looks like Luffy has run out of haki and might be on the verge of losing, he manages to pull himself together and re-enter Gear Fourth. Using the King Kong Gun, he's able to overwhelm Donquixote Doflamingo's Spider's Web and 16 God Threads attack. The force of Luffy's attack is so strong that it not only defeated his enemy, it also upended part of the city. 

    After Doflamingo lands unconscious in an underground trade port, he's found, arrested, and taken to Impel Down prison. 

  • Though he was arrested and placed in Tartaros Prison, All For One Isn't necessarily defeated for good. He's still scheming behind the scenes, and with the series still unfinished, it's not impossible that he could break out of prison. But still, the epic showdown between All Might and All For One put the villain at a major disadvantage, so it's worth mentioning here. 

    The battle, which originally starts as a rescue mission to get Katsuki Bakugo back from the League of Villains, ends with a one-on-one showdown between the Number One Hero and his longtime foe. All Might uses up the last of his strength in his fight, funnelling everything into one final United States of Smash, an attack so powerful that it generates a twister and destroys nearby buildings - and takes down All For One, too. But the result involves revealing his true emaciated form to the public and formally ending his hero career.

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    By the time Naruto appears, the entire village has already been hard at work trying to take Pain down. He's destroyed nearly all of Konoha, and ended thousands of lives in the process. And Naruto doesn't seem to be making much progress until he goes into Tailed Beast Mode after watching Hinata seemingly sacrifice herself to protect him. 

    Once Naruto regains control over himself, he fights the Deva Paths and eventually defeats them with clone techniques and Rasengan, finally earning an audience with Nagato himself. Naruto manages to persuade Nagato that his methods won't lead to peace. Nagato uses the Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique, reviving everyone who passed away and ending his own life in the process.