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Top 10 Smartest Anime Series Villains

VO: Rebecca Brayton
These bad guys are way to brilliant for their own good, or the good of anyone else. While some villains use brute force and strength to get what they want, this list covers the anime villains who get the upper-hand though intelligence and deception. Often, but not exclusively the leader of an evil group, we pick out the most manipulative villains who have ambitions that take into account the big picture, and will do whatever it takes to see their goals fulfilled. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 smartest anime series villains. Special thanks for our user Duel Blades for suggesting this topic on our website's WatchMojo.comsuggest page!

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Script written by Brandon Stuhr.

Top 10 Smartest Anime Series Villains

These are some the greatest and most villainous minds that anime has to offer. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 smartest anime series villains.

For this list, we considered evil anime characters that are way too brilliant for their own good. Also, we do get into some minor spoiler territory so SPOILER ALERT.

#10: ‘Sir’ Crocodile
“One Piece” (1999-)

He’s one of the most evil pirates to ever roam the high seas. An imposing, confident and terrifying man with the type of battle scars you’d expect on a baddie of his caliber, Crocodile can cause a lotta damage considering he only has one hand. And he’s not just brute strength: you have to be pretty intelligent and somewhat merciless to run a large criminal organization like Baroque Works, as he used to do – let alone rule an entire kingdom. The longest running antagonist in the series, Crocodile is a force to be reckoned with in body and mind. Hey, he was even able to defeat our beloved hero Luffy.

#9: Orochimaru
“Naruto” franchise (2002-)

Considered one of Konohagakure’s illustrious shinobi, Orochimaru has an interesting goal: he wants to become immortal so he can live many lives and learn everything there is to know about the world. Finally a quest for knowledge… Or not. Orochimaru later absconded from the Konoha clan in order to avoid facing the consequences of his unscrupulous experiments on villagers. And, that immortality thing may be working for him, because Orochimaru has apparently died on multiple occasions, but keeps reappearing. Serving as a main antagonist throughout the series, Orochimaru consistently clashes with our heroes.

#8: Griffith
“Berserk” (1997-98)

In a world where that explores the fundamental strengths and flaws of humanity, a figure is necessary who’s willing to make the hard decisions. The head and creator of the Band of the Hawk mercenary group, Griffith has remained steadfast in his ambition to one day become ruler of his own empire, using his smarts and charisma to manipulate others into helping him. And, while he is the main antagonist of the series, he’s not necessarily evil. But don’t get us wrong: he is willing to sacrifice anything or anyone to satisfy his ambition.

#7: Annie Leonhart
“Attack on Titan” (2013)

What kind of a person could actually make a world ravaged by human-eating titans worse? How about a woman who can defeat the resistance from the inside out? Annie, like our hero Eren, can transform into a titan at will. Detached and private, she was able to infiltrate the military and serve as a spy for the majority of the series undetected, while still acting as a major threat to the resistance. Who she works for is unknown, but we can only predict they are worse than she is.

#6: Super Buu [aka Majin Buu Evil]
“Dragon Ball Z” franchise (1989-)

The “Dragon Ball” universe has sure had its fair share of intelligent and ruthless villains. The combination of Evil Buu and Good Buu, Super Buu has all of the traits to fit the bill – which makes sense, seeing as how he’s created by Evil Buu eating the chocolate form of Good Buu. Combining the powers of both characters, Super Buu has an incredibly increased intellect and power, plus he’s prone to fits of intense rage. This reveals one of his hidden powers: he can rip a hole through spacetime if he’s angry enough. This gives him free will to pretty much do what he pleases.

#5: The Major
“Hellsing” franchise (2001-12)

You have to be pretty evil to be hand-picked by Adolf Hitler. In a United Kingdom and Europe that is crawling with vampires, The Major is tasked by the top Nazi with refining a synthetic method of vampirization in order to create the ultimate army. Definitely not a guy you want to cross, this war-monger can personally be held accountable for over 3 million deaths by series end. A skilled speaker, a tactical wizard and practically immortal to boot, The Major has no regard for life and will give up his own, or better yet yours, to carry out his mission.

#4: Naraku
“Inuyasha” (2000-04)

Even in the demon realm, a half-human can be a bigger threat than a full demon. Naraku is known as a spider hanyō, which is a half human and half evil spirit. Hell bent on eliminating his half human self to become even stronger, Naraku believes that obtaining all of the pieces of the Shikon no Tama, a cursed jewel, will allow him to achieve his lofty goal. Practically superpowered, with abilities like master manipulation at his disposal, Naraku is brilliant, even being fully responsible for the seal placed on the half-demon Inuyasha. Nothing will stand in the way of Naraku’s goals – not even our heroes.

#3: Johan Liebert
“Monster” (2004-05)

Johan Liebert is the perfect example of a monster. And though the character is shrouded in mystery, here’s what we do know: he was born in the 1970s as a result of a genetic experiment, the goal of which was to develop a child who had a high intellect, a perfect appearance, and could essentially lead the human race. Some could say they succeeded, but that is definitely debatable. An example of an Antichrist figure with the personality of a serial killer; Johan lives up to this series’ name. While little is still known about him, it’s best to stay out of his way.

#2: Father
“Fullmetal Alchemist” (2003-04) / “Brotherhood” (2009-10)

The leader and creator of the Homunculi – or artificially created humans in the world of “Fullmetal Alchemist” – Father is the overall series antagonist of the manga and “Brotherhood” series. Originally just a powerful entity in a flask, once Father takes his physical form he is a force like no other, with his manipulative mind constantly toiling to achieve his goals. Over-confident that his plans will work, Father is – for all intents and purposes – immortal and seeks only the “Truth.” He quickly becomes the most fearsome enemy the Elric brothers must defeat, and believe us that is no easy task.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Fullmetal Alchemist” (2003-04) / “Brotherhood” (2009-10)

Medusa Gorgon
“Soul Eater” (2008-09)

Toguro Brothers
“YuYu Hakusho” (1992-94)

Sōsuke Aizen
“Bleach” (2004-12)

Cinder Fall
“RWBY” (2013-)

#1: Light Yagami
“Death Note” (2006-07)

Sometimes it’s hard to hold the power to kill people in the palm of your hand – that is, unless you’re Light Yagami. In this fictional world, Light obtains a Shinigami’s Death Note which bestows upon him the power to kill anyone – within certain guidelines, of course. Though he claims to be ridding the world of evil, Light becomes a straight-up serial killer plain and simple. Cold and calculating, he tries to keep many steps ahead of his rival L – and nearly succeeds due to his brilliance. Well, y’know what they say: absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite intelligent anime villain? For more devious top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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