We’ve always loved heroes in movies and animes, and we aspire to be one. They’re the role models and someone we look up to. Heroes are the main character yet sometimes they’re not the ones who fascinate us, it’s the villain.
As the saying goes, childhood means loving Batman while growing up means understanding Joker. There are many anime villains whom we end up respecting and loving more than the main characters. But how do villains become respectable and fascinating?
While the heroes are too much optimistic about life, life is not all about them and that is what villains make us realize. There are inequality and betrayal, sadness and pain. Villains are realistic, they show the part of society which is not talked about. They show the human emotions which are otherwise considered sins.
Anime villains like Uchiha Madara, Pain, Obito (Naruto), Scar, Lust (Full Metal Alchemist), Crona (Soul Eater), Esdeath (Akame ga kill) are few of the examples how a society produces a villain. All these characters were driven to the point of being called a villain because of their experience with society.
They were once innocent peoples who just wanted to be loved. We get attached to these characters, we’re sympathetic to them and end up loving them despite everything they’ve done. That’s because we accept their realistic approach and we understand them.
While on the other hand, some anime villains like Chrollo Lucifer (Hunterxhunter), Makishima Shogo (Psycho-pass), Johan Liebert (Monster) earn our respect and fascinate us not only because they’re good looking but also because they have their own different view towards world and society. And they’re charismatic.
Although they might’ve chosen to be bad, we usually end up liking them more than the protagonist because they had some valid points. They had those huge fascinating ideas about the world and free will. They’re manipulative and thought-provoking and have a way with words. Sometimes even we the viewers are manipulated by their words.
Similarly one of the greatest villains in history, Griffith (Berserk) is so passionate and charming we end up fascinating him. This ambitious man doesn’t mind eliminating anyone standing on the way of fulfilling his dreams. And since we quickly give up on our dreams, we end up finding him so charismatic, we end up following him, we end up wanting to see him more than the protagonist.
Also, we find some of the characters like Pain (Naruto), Lust (Full metal alchemist), Shinsuke Takasugi (Gintama) respectable because they were right in their own aspect even though that doesn’t justify their doings. They were driven by revenge or hatred which is also a human emotion.
But above all one of the greatest reasons why we end up loving, respecting and fascinating these characters is because of their backstories.
Crona was abused for years and was forced to kill and torture young animals while Esdeath inscribed her father’s saying “The strong survive and weak die” in her heart after she lost her entire tribe as a child. Obito lost his love and was manipulated with hopes and dreams to be with her. Griffith was so poor he couldn’t afford to eat while Johan Liebert’s childhood was ruined by experiments.
At the end of the day, we end up asking ourselves were they really villains or were they made one?.
We end up justifying their actions. After all, no one is born a villain. They were just humans who wanted to be loved, who wanted to be free, who wanted to avenge their loved ones or who were used by adults for their own benefits in childhood.
We fascinate these characters because we can’t differentiate whether they really are villains or not.