Sometimes you just gotta cheer for the opposition. Maybe the anime didn’t develop the “good” main characters enough, or maybe you just don’t like them. Or maybe you actually sympathize with the enemy. Or the antagonist / villain is just a really interesting character. Whatever it is, it happens sometimes. I’m not sure if it’s ever explicitly intended, but it’s an interesting occurrence.
And with that, here are 5 times I cheered for the antagonist / villain in anime. Not a top 5, so the order doesn’t actually hold any significance here.
#5. Kill la Kill – Satsuki Kiryuuin
I was wondering if this counts, an antagonist that actually takes on a different role later on in the anime. I’m going to go with the idea that this does count IF I cheered for the character while they were playing the antagonist. Which I did for Satsuki in Kill la Kill.
I feel like I can’t be alone in this and a lot of other people would agree with me here. Satsuki is super cool. It’s hard for Ryuuko to compete with a character like this (although she comes close). Calm and collected, badass, powerful. Such a memorable character. The scenes introducing her are so well done too. For me this was a case of “I like the protagonist, but I love the antagonist!”.
And I know what you are thinking: “But doesn’t that make the anime boring, considering the anime is designed to follow the protagonist as they progress through various challenges?”, and here’s where I stand on that: I may have cheered for Satsuki over Ryuuko, but I didn’t care for Satsuki’s lackeys. So really it’s only when the two fought each other one on one that I cheered for Satsuki. It was still entertaining watching Ryuuko fight all of the other characters that got in her way.
Just writing this makes me want to re-watch Kill la Kill.
And probably the most important aspect of Satsuki to mention: her imperial styled attire! Love it! I am a sucker for 19th / early 20th century style military uniforms. They just looked so badass back then. Why did modern military have to start being so practical with their attire?
Maybe this is why Arlette ended up being my favourite character in the game Lost Technology…
#4. Tokyo Ghoul – Ghoul Investigators
It’s been several years now since watching Tokyo Ghoul (S1 & S2), but one thing I remember from the series: I don’t like the ghouls. I’m with the humans on this one. The ghouls need to be dealt with and are just too dangerous to society. I don’t particularly care if a ghoul is “peaceful”, they still consume human flesh and blood. It doesn’t really make sense to try and co-exist with something like this. I mean who would want to live with cannibals in their city?
That and I didn’t really grow attached to any of the characters. Which ended up being the perfect recipe for me to cheer for the “enemy”. I may not agree with all of their methods, such as torture, but I still agree with their overall position. Ghouls should not be living amongst humans. Deport them to some island or something, or lock them up, or whatever.
It was still entertaining to watch both sides clash with each other too. When Kaneki went full ghoul supremacist in the end there I was totally cool with it. I never watched Tokyo Ghoul re; and don’t plan to; but from what I did watch (S1 & S2), I still enjoyed watching the struggle between humans and ghouls. I think the overall concepts of the story are neat, but the execution wasn’t there. That and I just don’t see any logic in humans trying to co-exist with cannibalistic people that live off human flesh and blood, and would always be a lingering threat that could strike at any moment as they blend into society.
#3. Made in Abyss – The Abyss
This is a conflicted one. I cheered for the abyss, but I also didn’t. I’ll put it on this list anyways since the abyss is a cool antagonist.
Part of me didn’t want the abyss to succeed in killing off our protagonists, because I wanted to see more of the abyss. And if they die, then how will we get to see more of the abyss? They are our guides, after all, as they descend further and further throughout the anime.
Secretly though, I wanted the abyss to win. Too many times we see anime introduce a 2-dimensional antagonist like this; an antagonist that doesn’t really scheme or think for itself, just something innately dangerous. Mindless creatures that characters have to fight from time to time.
And because we see this often, I couldn’t help but think, “It’d be pretty cool if the abyss managed to take them out here, or at least one of them”. Admit it, you never thought for a second that the abyss would actually succeed in taking the lives of one of the protagonists, even when one was in grave danger. This is why I cheered for the abyss, because we are just too used to mindless threatening antagonists like this failing. It sure would have been a shock if the abyss managed to score a victory in Made in Abyss.
What purpose would that have served from a story perspective? I don’t really know. It probably isn’t worth throwing away all of the character development that the anime achieved just for a little shock value. But what a shock it would have been! Right? (I feel like I am alone with this opinion).
#2. Medaka Box – Kumagawa
While his appearance is brief, I would cheer for Kumagawa in a third season of Medaka Box. So I’ll include him here too. Not too much to write about him, because we don’t see much of him.
He is someone who loses at everything he does, or something like this. And because of this, somehow, he gained the ability called “All Fiction”, which lets him erase anything from existence. Basically, if he denies the existence of something, it will cease to exist – it becomes fictional and is no longer a part of reality. He can also deny the existence of wounds or his own death, allowing him to cheat death with his ability.
It’s a very interesting and creative ability. Pair that with his character, which is also unique in many ways, and you have a “villain” that I would cheer for everyday of the week. He’s just too interesting not to.
#1. Nisemonogatari – Kaiki Deishuu
You all knew this was coming. Kaiki Deishuu is the man. Remember when I said that the order of this list doesn’t matter? I lied. Kaiki is #1. The rest are in no particular order, but Kaiki takes his spot here at the top.
Just like Satsuki, he only plays the antagonist for a portion of his appearances. But he is just such a cool antagonist.
One of the things I enjoy about Kaiki Deishuu is how he is initially portrayed versus how we perceive him later on in Monogatari. The first time we ever see Kaiki is when Araragi runs into him outside Kanbaru’s house. Kaiki is shown as this dark, mysterious, and dangerous figure. Senjougahara explicitly tells Araragi that Kaiki is a dangerous man. Not only this, but her fear of Kaiki causes her to take action in order to protect Araragi from Kaiki. So our first impression of him is: dangerous.
Then we see Kaiki when he is confronted by Karen. Is he still dangerous? Yes, but not in the same way that he had been framed earlier. Kaiki’s interactions with Karen show us that he is not dangerous in terms of physical prowess or aggression, but that he is dangerous through his words and ability to deceive. The original images of a dark, mysterious Kaiki are replaced with those of a man who is very skilled at wordplay, trickery, deception.
It’s an interesting transition that I don’t believe happens too often, and I think it really made me love Kaiki Deishuu as a character (of course, he gets even better in Monogatari Series: Second Season).
I also really like the trickster type of antagonist, although I feel like way too many of them are overly predictable (the types that play chess with themselves while gloating about how everything is going to plan). Kaiki manages to differentiate himself from the generic trickster type of antagonist / villain. It’s something I’d love to see more of.
Bonus: Demon Girl Zakuro – Hotel Owner
I feel like I should mention this guy again, because I use his picture a lot on this blog. He just has that great sophisticated look and a killer moustache. In the anime he is a very minor character that only appears once – so he is more like a small time antagonist. He dislikes demons interrupting the construction of his hotel, so he requests them to be exterminated. But considering that demons can be “friendly” in this anime, it’s sort of an antagonistic thing to ask for them to be exterminated instead of just removed / relocated. And that’s the story behind this guy.
And that’s all for now. I came up with this idea thinking it would be easy to find a number of anime where I had cheered for the “enemy”. Turns out it was harder than I thought, and I had to look through my list to come up with these. Many cases I like an antagonist / villain, but not enough to explicitly cheer for them OVER the protagonist.
Anyone else have some anime where they cheered for the antagonist?
Until next time!
Thanks for reading.