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The 15 Strongest Hero/Villain Duos In Anime History, Ranked

April 24, 2020 2.9k votes 612 voters 18.2k views15 items

A hero is only as interesting as the villain they oppose. The very best villain hero duos push each other to their limits, forcing each other to find new depths of strength that they never even realized they had.

Who are the strongest hero-villain duos in anime? Goku from DBZ is one of the most powerful characters in the anime world, and one of his most long-standing enemies, Frieza, is one of the few people who can even begin to hold their own against him. There's also Griffith and Guts from Berserk, a duo who used to be friends before Griffith dramatically betrayed Guts and the rest of their mercenary band in order to gain ultimate power. 

Which set of heroes and villains are your favorites? Be sure to vote them up!

  • 1

    Naruto Uzumaki & Sasuke Uchiha - 'Naruto'

    Sasuke Uchiha doesn't always fit the villain role, but when he does he's one of the strongest villains in the series... well, okay, he probably isn't as strong as ultimate BAMF Madara, but he's the one with the most meaningful connection to the protagonist, Naruto. 

    Naruto and Sasuke begin their ninja training as bickering pre-teens with minimal skills, but they quickly grow into two of the most powerful ninja in history. Naruto learns Sage Mode, Rasengan, and gains control over the Nine Tailed fox that lives inside of him. Meanwhile, Sasuke learns Chidori, Cursed Seal techniques, and the various powers his Sharingan eyes can unlock.

    Though the two are allies at first, that changes when Sasuke runs away to join Orochimaru so that he can get strong enough to eliminate his brother. When he finds out that it was actually the Konoha government's fault, he sets his sights on destroying the village itself - putting him at odds with Naruto and temporarily into the villain category. 

    Love this duo?
  • 2

    Goku & Frieza - 'Dragon Ball Z'

    Goku and Frieza are notorious for having a fight that lasts a full eighteen episodes - one of the longest fights in anime history. While the pacing could have been better, there's a reason why the show focused so hard on these two warriors. Goku is well-known for being one of the most powerful anime characters in history: from his multiple power-up transformations to his ki-based moves, he's practically unbeatable. Frieza is one of the cruelest villains in series' history, having no qualms about blowing up entire planets in order to wipe out a species. Goku isn't going to stand for Frieza's attempts on the Earth - and what's more, he's thrilled to take on a powerful opponant. 

    Love this duo?
  • 3

    All Might & One For All - 'My Hero Academia'

    At the start of My Hero Academia, All Might is the number one hero by far. Meanwhile, All For One is among the most terrifying villains in history. Both have extraordinary powers that are outside of what's typical in their world. All Might has a stockpiling quirk, One For All, that allows him to unleash huge bursts of power. Meanwhile, All For One's quirk is a stockpiling quirk in another sense - it allows him to steal multiple quirks and use them for himself.

    The two are arch nemeses, with All For One being the villain who gave All Might the grave injury that would ultimate force him to step down as a hero - but not before an epic fight in which he takes All For One down.

    Love this duo?
  • 4

    Light Yagami & L Lawliet - 'Death Note'

    Photo: Madhouse

    Light Yagami and L Lawliet might not be the most physically powerful people in the world, but their minds are on another level. Light has the power of the Death Note on his side, but he also has an incredible aptitude for manipulation and analysis. While L has no supernatural powers to aide him, the guy is the single greatest detective in series history. Besides being blisteringly intelligent, the two of them have an interesting relationship. They absolutely want to destroy each other, but they also respect each other's intelligence and form a tenuous bond.

    Love this duo?