Anime is famous for its dynamic portrayal of evil. Its most iconic villains are loved as much as their heroic counterparts thanks to the complex personalities, dynamic character arcs, and cool character designs bestowed upon them by talented mangaka like Yoshihiro Togashi.
Togashi alone has introduced fans to iconic villains like Itsuki Annote, Chrollo Lucilfer, and Hisoka Morow. All three of these characters spend most of their time on screen masking their evil intentions behind kindness. Of course, these three are not the only anime villains to mask their cruelty with kindness, but they are certainly amongst the best of the best.
10 Rachel Is Forced To Be Kind Because She Is Weak (Tower Of God)
The main antagonist of the Tower of God is quite different from the average anime antagonist. Unlike Madara and Frieza, Rachel is exceptionally weak — so weak in fact that she is only able to continue climbing the tower by manipulating others with kind gestures and fake injuries.
The first season of Tower of God showed Rachel manipulating her peers with pity and kindness in order to continue moving up the tower. Even when it seemed like Rachel had turned a new leaf, she devastated fans by betraying Bam, one of the sweetest anime characters of all time.
9 Vicious Becomes More Cruel Because He's Forced To Be Kind (Cowboy Bebop)
As would be expected from a man named Vicious, the primary antagonist of Cowboy Bebop spent the majority of his time onscreen being cruel. Still, in order to maintain his position in the criminal organization known as the Red Dragon Syndicate, Vicious was forced to be kind and respectful to those known as the Elders.
Vicious' rank and emotional instability made every act of forced kindness more tense than the last. When this tension finally broke, Vicious proved just how cruel he could be by overthrowing the Elders and fighting his old friend to a standstill.
The hedonistic clown that serves as Gon Freecss' foil throughout Hunter x Hunter is one of the creepiest anime villains of all time. Between his questionable behavior and obsession with combat, Hisoka is able to simultaneously creep out and excite every anime fan who makes it through Hunter x Hunter.
Without his planned fits of kindness, Hisoka would be nothing more than a run-of-the-mill serial killer. With his moments of kindness, however, Hisoka is one of the most memorable, creepy, and cruel anime villains ever put to screen.
7 Gentle Criminal Is Both A Gentleman & A Criminal (My Hero Academia)
Gentle Criminal may not have to be kind in order to be cruel, but he balances the two character traits better than any other anime villain. As stated in his name, Gentle chooses to be both a gentleman and a criminal.
Due to Gentle Criminal's status as an internet celebrity and aspiring super villain, Gentle is forced into kindness by his audience. From his point of view, a gruff and hateful villain would have no hope of gaining fame and making it into the history books. If only he could let that idea grow and use his Elasticity Quirk to help rather than cruelly manipulate the people of Japan.
6 Light Yagami Acts Kind To Mask His Cruel Intentions (Death Note)
The morally bankrupt protagonist of Death Note is often celebrated as one of the best anime protagonists of all time. Light's ability to win over fans despite his evil actions is due in large part to his kind and charming personality.
Throughout Death Note, Light goes from a normal high school student to the prime suspect in a string of untraceable murders. If Light failed to keep up with his kind outward persona for more than a second, he would have been caught by L and stopped from his cruel murder spree much more quickly.
5 Chrollo Is As Respectful As He Is Powerful (Hunter X Hunter)
It takes a lot to stand at the top of a criminal organization like the Phantom Troupe. Many would believe that it takes nothing but strength and an iron thumb, but the Phantom Troupe is not that sort of group. To stand at the top of this group, Chrollo Lucilfer had to earn the respect of each of his members.
Thanks to his kind heart and cruel soul, Chrollo was able to win over some of the most powerful people in the world. If his position were only held by means of strength, the Troupe surely would have abandoned him the moment he lost his nen. Instead, they helped him track down a nen exorcist and return to his former glory.
4 Obito Kindness Led Him To The Peaks Of Villainy (Naruto)
The man who is often compared to Naruto because of his kind and goofy personality isn't ever forced to be kind, but it is through his kindness that viewers found out exactly how cruel the world of Naruto really was. Obito's unassuming personality is exactly what allowed him to thrive.
If Obito hadn't been the kind goofball that he was, the Akatsuki never would have bent to his rule. His kind words and lighthearted approach to villainy allowed him to sneak his way to the top of the most powerful group of rogue ninjas to ever threaten the shinobi world.
3 All For One Was Forced To Be Kind To Gain Power (My Hero Academia)
All For One has tormented the people of Japan for generations, but he wasn't always powerful enough to combat the likes of All Might. The All For One Quirk began as nothing more than a copy Quirk that gave its user the ability to steal other people's abilities.
Unlike Monoma's Copy Quirk though, All For One's Quirk could only gain strength by removing the Quirk from another and adding it to his own. Initially, the All For One Quirk was incredibly weak. It wasn't until All For One established himself as a kind and reliable person that he was able to gain power and begin tormenting the citizens of Japan.
2 Itsuki Annote's Respect For Sensui Is Both Kind & Cruel (Yu Yu Hakusho)
Itsuki's ordinarily stoic demeanor in Yu Yu Hakusho masked what can be considered one of the most kind, loving, and respectfully villainous personalities in anime. The love Itsuki had for Sensui was so powerful that he learned to love all of Sensui's unique personalities.
Itsuki even stepped back and let Sensui's soul completely darken after his final spirit detective case. He did this because he respected the man and didn't want to interfere with his natural character growth. If only Istuki had chosen to share his kindness with someone who wasn't quite as cruel as Sensui.
1 Suguru Geto Tricked Others With Kindness (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 introduced Jujutsu Kaisen fans to Suguru Geto's past and motivations. The former best friend of Satoru Gojo and foil to Yuta Okkotsu made his mark on history by unleashing thousands of cursed spirits in Japan with the hopes of remaking the world.
While Suguru was surely powerful to defeat and absorb any cursed spirits that came his way, he never would have been able to collect so many cursed spirits if it weren't for his kind façade. Thanks to Suguru's kindness at the head of a pseudo-religious group, he becomes a villain capable of going to war with the combined strength of Japan's strongest jujutsu sorcerers.
NEXT: 10 Best Anime Defined By Their Protagonists