Villains are often seen and understood as sneaky and cunning threats to society who won’t hesitate to trample on others to get what they want. However, this cannot be indicated for everything bad guys. Some want to have as few casualties as possible, others may have a strict policy against harming children, and most will take the easier route if it presents itself.
Everyone is familiar with the “redemption arc,” where someone aligned with darkness turns their heel toward the light. While most villains don’t get this treatment, a villain doesn’t have to be liked by the audience. Just because someone does bad things doesn’t mean they can’t do good, or at least somewhat moral, things from time to time.
ten Battle Beast finds no pleasure in fighting weaklings (invincible)
“Survival of the fittest” has been the law of the jungle since ancient times, apparently even on other planets that appear in Invincible. Created to defend his home planet from an alien threat, Thokk, later known as “Battle Beast”, performed his task with aplomb. However, his bloodlust remained, and so he left for stronger opponents.
One of his famous lines on the show is “There’s no honor in killing bugs”, as he walks away from a winning battle. Battle Beast possesses a twisted form of honor in that it will fight weaker enemies, but only until it is convinced the fight is too one-sided in its favor. Once he realizes an opponent is not worth fighting, he refuses to engage.
9 Satsuki Kiryuin Only Recognizes Power (Kill La Kill)
Within the walls of Honnoji Academy, competition should be second nature to every student. The militaristic and authoritarian high school of kill her kill her looks more like an empire than an institute of learning, and above them stands Lady Satsuki.
Equipped with the secret sword Bakuzan and a Kamui (a combat sailor suit) named Junketsu, Satsuki easily outclasses the entire body. When scrappy Ryuko Matoi shows up to challenge her. Satsuki agrees to take on the challenge, but only if she defeats the club leaders and rises through the ranks, where she will be waiting at the top. It is only after they first meet that the true Empress of Honnoji is revealed.
8 Ereshkigal can’t bring himself to hurt humans (Fate/Grand Order)
Although she is the goddess of the Mesopotamian underworld, she is arguably one of the purest servants the last master of mankind has encountered. Like many divine entities in Fate/Grand Order, she cherishes humans in her own way. She debuts in the Seventh Singularity, gathering as many souls as possible in order to protect them from the end of the world.
Even when the Master and his team enter her kingdom to retrieve King Gilgamesh’s soul, she gives them simple questions rather than fighting them. Even when the gang responds incorrectly, only Ishtar, another goddess, is punished. Ereshkigal is essentially everything Ishtar isn’t: humble, selfless, and loyal-good despite what his biography says.
seven Nox’s plan will minimize losses (Wakfu)
The first antagonist wakfu, Noximilien Coxen, was once a normal man; he was a handyman who supported his family with his creations. Even if he wasn’t the best, he was happy. All of this was taken away with the discovery of the Eliacube, an artifact which he believes promises him wealth and fame.
At the start of the show, this all happened about two hundred years ago. His plan is to siphon enough energy from the world to power a contraption that will turn back time and repair his life and the world. He only gets his hands dirty against a dragon and the hero, Yugo, after he awakens his true power. Otherwise, he uses minions or stops time to resolve conflicts.
6 Soren is the definition of chivalry (the dragon prince)
Few characters are put in such a precarious position as Soren, Knight of the Crown Guard. When the kingdom of Katolis is infiltrated by Moonshadow Elf assassins, the king dies and the princes escape in chaos. As the kingdom mourns, Soren bears the heaviest burden of all: the secret mission to eliminate the surviving heirs and Ozymandias, the dragon prince.
He went through hardships that tested his physical and mental endurance. Even after all that, he has the pride that comes with those who have dedicated their lives to chivalry. As he started down the wrong path, this sense of justice eventually made him an irreplaceable ally to the true heirs of Katolis.
5 Ultra-Humanite is a sweet guy at heart (Justice League)
The legion of villains the Justice League faces are as diverse and unique as the heroes themselves. That said, it stands to reason that not all villains are mustachioed twirls bent on causing mayhem or world domination. Ultra-Humanite is one such villain, a mere human genius in the body of an albino gorilla.
Rather than using his genius intellect and immense strength for vile atrocities, he prefers to use it to preserve the ancient art world. For the rare times he appears in Justice League, his only adversaries are Batman and Flash. Both confrontations end the same way, with him in prison but having done more good than harm.
4 Mewtwo waits to fight accomplished trainers (Pokémon)
In the original version Pokemon: Red and BlueMewtwo is a being spoken of largely in legends and research notes from the lab in which he was born. Once touted as the most powerful creature in Pokemon back then, dealing with it was a final challenge after becoming the Champion.
This trend has continued throughout the franchise, with Mewtwo showing up as an antagonistic force to test how far the trainer has come. From its lively debut in Mewtwo Strikes Back to his not-so-surprising appearance in Pokken Tournament, where it appears as a darker version of itself, the Genetic Pokémon is rarely portrayed as heroic, except for its battle against Genesect. Even then, it took a colossal effort to emerge victorious.
3 Kraven is not Craven (Spider-Man)
Sergei Nikolaevich Kravinoff, also known as Kraven the Hunter, is one of Spider-Man’s most interesting villains. While it’s now more accurate to say he’s an anti-hero, his origins were as a big game hunter in search of the most elusive prey after becoming bored with animals. His target, of course, was Spider-Man.
As a hunter, Kraven has no problem using esoteric tricks and strategies to catch his prey, but even he has standards. If the flashy fur coats weren’t apparent, Sergei compares himself to the big cats, feared and revered beasts famous for their unparalleled skill and strength. He frequently makes reference to his honor and does everything possible not to taint it.
2 Roman Torchwick often picks Flight Over Fight (RWBY)
In a world filled with monsters born from darkness and the heroes who hunt them, there just so happens to be a great deal of petty crime rampant on the streets of Remnant. Roman Torchwick is one of those petty criminals.
Roman, for being a major character, has one of the fewest fights in RWBY. He has no code preventing him from fighting weaker people, he is the type to avoid fighting in general. From the first episode, he throws his minions at Ruby before fighting himself, only to take the first chance he has. This is Torchwick’s fighting style, using any tool at his disposal to finish a fight quickly or run.
1 Only the toughest can hope to challenge Nosferatu Zodd (Berserk)
Depending on where readers started Berserk, the initial impact of Nosferatu Zodd differs. Either he’s another monstrous obstacle to knock down, or he’s the connecting point that takes the series from historical fiction to dark fantasy. Either way, his first appearance says a lot about him as a character.
Zodd is a “true warrior” who only gives his full strength to the strongest. If an opponent approaches him, he is either knocked out or he survives. It’s only the latter that catches his eye, and once he deems them worthy, like Guts, he considers them an enemy worthy of truly fighting. Unless those conditions are met, it’s not a fight for him, it’s a massacre.
NEXT: The Most Obscure Marvel Villains With The Weirdest Powers