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Top 10 Anime Villains Turned Heroes

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly McKean
Even monsters can turn over a new leaf. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime Villains Turned Heroes. For this list, we’re going to be looking at the bad guys in anime who decided who went over to the light side. We’re not saying that they need to have had a total attitude adjustment, but obviously have taken strides to turn their alignments in a more lawful good direction. Get ready for salvation and spoilers down the line.
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Top 10 Anime Villains Turned Heroes
Even monsters can turn over a new leaf. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime Villains Turned Heroes.
For this list, we’re going to be looking at the bad guys in anime who decided who went over to the light side. We’re not saying that they need to have had a total attitude adjustment, but obviously have taken strides to turn their alignments in a more lawful good direction. Get ready for salvation and spoilers down the line.

#10: Accelerator

“A Certain Magical Index” (2008-)
Back in his heyday, this guy was nothing more than a psychic murdering-machine, which he demonstrated time and time again by brutally killing Misaka’s clones with absolute ferocity. With his unmatched esper abilities, it looked like nothing could stop Accelerator’s rampage, let alone change his heart. That is, until Mr Unlucky himself Touma leapt into he fray and served him up his first defeat. Coupled that with an unexpected friendship with the adorable Last Order, and it wasn’t long until the esper’s aggression gave way to hope.

#9: Gajeel

“Fairy Tail” (2009-)
Hard to believe that the Steel Dragon Slayer was once on the side of evil, but hey, every bad boy needs to start somewhere. Originally in service to traitorous guild Phantom Lord, Gajeel quickly made an enemy of Natsu by attacking his fellow guild members. As most things go with the people that Natsu beats down, he soon found himself offered a chance at redemption by joining Fairy Tail. Considering this decision would eventually propel his strength sky high and land him an adorable love interest in the form of Levy, way say Gajeel made the right call.

#8: Ikalgo

“Hunter x Hunter” (2011-14)
Given how the Chimera Ants tend to bend the knee to monsters like Meruem and Pitou, not to mention get off on devouring humans, you wouldn’t expect one to make friends with likes of Killua. While originally loyal to the cause, this octopus finds himself enthralled by human loyalty, switching sides after the young Zoldyck shows him true friendship. While he’s certainly more of a comedic character, the fact he was willing to fight against his own kin and take a hellish amount of punishment to save his new friends speaks volumes.

#7: Ren

“Shaman King” (2001-02)
To say that the Tao heir was a stubborn mule would be an understatement. With a bitter rivalry between himself and Yoh that carried over well into the preliminary rounds of the Shaman Tournament, it wasn’t until his best frenemy came to recuse him from his imprisonment that he finally started to come around. Don’t get us wrong, he’s still not the most hospitable person to be around, but it’s fair to say that he was firmly Team Asakura by the time Hao entered the picture.

#6: Viral

“Gurren Lagann” (2007)
A prideful Beastman that was all about human subjugation during the earlier parts of the series, it was clear that for the sake of honour, he would happily butcher the likes of Team Dai-Gurren. Funny how prison can change a man. After joining forces with an adult Simon to stage a breakout, Viral ended up becoming a valued (if somewhat aggressive) member of the crew. Don’t let his shark-y nature throw you off, you’d be happy to have him around too if you were going up against something as crazy as the Anti-Spiral.

#5: Ken

“Digimon Adventure 02” (2000-01)
Originally going by the moniker of the Digimon Emperor, Ken brought a new level of fear to the Digital World by enslaving the occupants with mind-controlling devices. Despite being bested at every turn by the Digidestined, it wasn’t until his own Digimon died in his arms that Ken got a major reality check. From that point on, he did all he could to redeem himself of his past sins, somewhat succeeding after he became an official part of the Digidestined. While still haunted by his past actions, we’d say he certainly made the most of his second chance.

#4: Gaara

“Naruto” series (2002-17)
With a past that darkly reflects Naruto’s, Gaara’s life was mired in tragedy from an early age. Blamed for his mother’s death, despised by everyone in the village, vessel to a demon, nearly assassinated by his uncle. No wonder he snapped. His puberty was certainly a bloody one, considering how he murdered multiple shinobi and almost crippled Lee for life. He finally took a step in the right direction following his defeat at Naruto’s hands. Throw in a change of wardrobe and fresh attitude towards life, and Gaara returned as a steadfast ally that would go on to become the youngest leader in the Sand Village’s history.

#3: Scar

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” (2009-10)
Driven by vengeance over the slaughter of his people at the hands of State Alchemists, Scar wandered the world for the longest kind as a dispenser of death, killing many notable soldiers and innocents in the process; including Winry’s parents and Nina. This murderous streak would eventually lead him into conflict with the Elric brothers, and while they were originally more than happy to kill each other, Winry’s willingness to break the cycle of violence eventually led to Scar finding a reason to abandon revenge for the sake of peace.

#2: Hiei

“Yu Yu Hakusho” (1992-94)
The short-statured owner of the Dragon of the Darkness Flame may be mostly associated with Yusuke’s ass-kicking posse, but lest we forget the two didn’t start off on the best of terms. In fact, he straight up wanted to slice apart the Spirit Detective. Given how Yusuke wasn’t exactly the uber-powerful shounen star back then, the three-eyed demon might have actually succeeded if not for the timely intervention of Kurama. From that point on, the quartet would get embroiled in all manner of crazy adventures together, which would overtime soften Hiei’s fiery demeanour. He’s no ray of sunshine, but at least he now tolerates humanity as opposed to wanting to reduce them to ashes.

#1: Vegeta

“Dragon Ball Z” (1989-96)
To go from wanting to blow up the Earth to starting a family with one of its occupants is a pretty big leap, one that could only the Saiyan Prince could complete with such grandeur. While his rivalry with Goku remains eternal, Vegeta’s slow exposure to the wonders of the world eventually led him to abandon his destructive ways and pursue the life of a family man. Of course, the woman he chose to marry was none other than Bulma freakin’ Briefs, so it’s not like he had to be blackmailed into the hero lifestyle.
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