Anime Underground

The 16 Smartest Anime Villains Of All Time  

Leo Reyna
19.5k votes 5.1k voters 79.6k views 16 items

List Rules Vote up the most genius anime villains in history.

It's not always brute strength that wins the day because sometimes, it takes a little brain to outmatched brawn. That why, when it comes to anime villainy, it's the smartest ones that are always the most terrifying, yet, captivating to watch. No matter how fired up a hero may be, it's all meaningless if they don't have a strategy to overcome their highly intellectual foe.

Present in this list are the smartest anime villains of all time. They aren't just among the greatest anime villains - they are antagonists who are always two steps ahead of their adversaries, playing out their deadly game of wits with sinister glee. That's not to say these villains are invincible, but when presented with an impossible situation to overcome, they always manage to find some small detail to exploit for victory.

Whether it's taking advantage of their victim's frail emotions, or sacrificing as many pawns as necessary to declare checkmate, these intelligent villains are a dangerous force to be reckoned with. Listed here are some of the smartest villains in all of anime. Which ones deserve to reign all over the others? Vote up the characters you believe are the smartest anime villains around. 

1 2,571 VOTES
Sōsuke Aizen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 16 Smartest Anime Villains Of All Time
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

While all the other Souls Reapers are out playing tic-tac-toe, Sōsuke Aizen is playing 4D chess with a 3D chess board. It took Aizen a hundred years to calculate the perfect plan to overthrow the Soul Society. He spent his time gathering intelligence and enlisting the right kind of men for the job. He drowned his former comrades in conspiracies and paranoia, ensuring they fight amongst themselves before they ever grew suspicious of him.

For good measure, he staged his own death by hypnotizing the witnesses to see what he wanted them to see. Once the ugly truth came out, even without his hypnotic powers, Aizen wiped the floor with Ichigo and the other Soul Reapers with ease. 

More Sōsuke Aizen

#21 of 111 on The Best Anime Swordsman of All Time #2 of 218 on The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time #22 of 386 on The Most Powerful Anime Characters of All Time #16 of 218 on The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time

Is s/he genius?
see more on Sōsuke Aizen
Light Yagami is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 16 Smartest Anime Villains Of All Time
Photo:  Madhouse

As the ancient proverb says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Light Yagami was a bored high school kid when he came across the Death Note. If you write a name in the notebook and picture that person's face, they will die within 30 seconds. Yagami might have had noble intentions when he first began using the Death Note to rid the world of evil, but as the series progressed, he became nothing more than a cold and calculated serial killer with a God complex. 

It wasn't just the Death Note that made Light such a terrifying villain - it was how he used it. For years, Light was able to hide his true identity from the police, while strategizing unthinkable ways of executing anyone who came close to the truth. 

More Light Yagami

#22 of 359 on The Hottest Anime Guys of All Time #4 of 1136 on The Very Best Anime Characters #16 of 156 on 25+ Anime Boys You Definitely Crushed On #1 of 218 on The Greatest Anime Villains of All Time

Is s/he genius?
see more on Light Yagami
Shougo Makishima is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 16 Smartest Anime Villains Of All Time
Photo:  Production I.G

Shogo Makishima is just a proud humanist who enjoys dystopian literature and overthrowing Japanese society. Makishima is certainly a troubled young man who is obsessed with restoring individual thought to the futuristic world of Psycho-Pass. He will take any violent means necessary to complete his goal. While Makishima's charisma is alluring, his love affair with the worst aspects of humanity makes him a twisted individual. 

More Shougo Makishima

#52 of 143 on The Best Anime Characters With White Hair #86 of 218 on The Smartest Anime Characters of All Time #17 of 20 on The 20 Best Quotes From Anime Villains #7 of 13 on The 13 Greatest Anime Anti-Villains of All Time

Is s/he genius?
see more on Shougo Makishima
4 1,814 VOTES
Father - Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Father - Fullmetal Alchemist: ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 16 Smartest Anime Villains Of All Time
Photo: Studio Bones

Father, the true evil mastermind in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is the oldest Homunculus recorded in history. He commands his seven Homunculus children, all born from the vices he purged from his body years ago. Father is a living and breathing Philosopher's Stone, capable of breaking all the rules of alchemy and surpassing its limitations. He uses his great knowledge to influence humanity for his own personal gain, such as orchestrating wars and the Genocide of Ishval, so he can become the new God of the world. 

Is s/he genius?