Anime villains are reviled in many circles. However, there are a handful of antagonists who fans think would be better suited to being heroes. Many of these villains’ motivations are either from a misplaced sense of justice or have a shred of truth to them. Some were manipulated by others into becoming villains. Because of this, many viewers believe that these antagonists need a shot at being heroes.
Many of these villains see or used to see themselves as heroes at one point, but their ideals deteriorated along the way. Wherever they may be now, these anime characters would make great heroes if they had only switched to the other side.
10/10 Akihiko Kayaba Created His Own World
Sword Art Online
Akihiko Kayaba is the brilliant mind behind the titular game in Sword Art Online. As wide-release players get their first taste of the new game, Kayaba traps them all for a social experiment and challenges them to beat all the levels of a grand tower to escape. After a while, Kayaba joins the players to see his creation but retains administrative access to return to the real world.
If Kayaba were a hero instead of a villain, he could have been the one to rescue the trapped participants of his game – thereby redeeming himself and the property. Kayaba ruined so many lives just to see his own vision come true.
9/10 Sho Kusakabe Could Be A Hero With His Brother
When Sho Kusakabe was a baby, he was taken from his home during a fire and was brought up by the villainous White Clad. As one of the holders of an Adolla Burst, the White Clad groomed him to become the ultimate warrior for their cause.
However, this meant that he lost out on growing up with his brother, Shinra, whose whole mission is to become a hero. If Sho had the chance to live with Shinra, the two could have become an unstoppable heroic team in Fire Force.
8/10 King Bradley Could Have Been A Good Ruler
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
King Bradley is the Fuhrer of Amestris in the classic Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Unbeknownst to the public, Bradley is the Homunculus known as Wrath, who is aiding the takeover of the country.
However, if he had not revealed himself, the citizens would have continued with him as their leader like normal. If Bradley was a hero, not only could he have used his immense power to help overthrow Father’s dastardly plan, but he could have also been a great and benevolent ruler.
7/10 Su-Won’s Reign Is Marred By His Crime
Yona Of The Dawn
At first, Su-Won seems like an amiable, if flighty, prince who enjoys his luxurious life. However, fans’ opinions of him quickly change upon seeing him assassinate his uncle, King Il in Yona of the Dawn.
Su-Won immediately ascends the throne in Il’s place and begins making radical changes throughout the kingdom. Had he been a hero, Su-Won would only be seen for the good changes he is making to Koka Kingdom. Unfortunately, everything he does in Yona of the Dawn is marred by King Il’s murder.
6/10 Rui Could Have Had A Genuine Found Family
Rui is a young-looking demon who was turned into one as a child due to his chronic illness. Yet, after his transformation, Rui developed a thirst for human blood. Bereft and feeling like there was no other option, Rui’s parents planned to kill him and then themselves to protect others from Rui’s thirst and atone for their son’s sins.
Unfortunately, Rui misunderstands their gesture and kills them before they have a chance to kill him. This left Rui completely alone. Now, Rui forces other demons to become a part of his “family” against their will. Had Rui been a hero instead, he could have provided a haven for demons who wanted to live out their eternities in peace in Demon Slayer.
5/10 Reiner Braun Deserves A Win
Attack On Titan
When fans first meet Reiner Braun in Attack on Titan, they know him simply as one of the brash members of the 104th Cadet Corp. However, his true identity as someone from outside the walls and the Armored Titan rocked the fandom to its core. Initially, fans could not believe that Reiner was working to destroy everything Eren Yeager and his friends had fought so hard for.
Yet, when viewers look at things from Reiner’s perspective, he was only trying to follow orders to the best of his ability. Reiner is not the best or most capable soldier, but he clawed his way into becoming one of the most revered Eldian Warriors of Marley. If Reiner were the hero, fans could then see his triumphs the way he does.
4/10 Junpei Yoshino Joined The Wrong Side
Life is hard for Junpei Yoshino in Jujutsu Kaisen. He does not have many friends, and the kids at school bully him mercilessly. Plus, the teachers always seem to turn a blind eye to the abuse Junpei receives. Therefore, he jumps at the chance to gain power and be the aggressor for a change.
Though Junpei is an antagonist, Yuji Itadori and fans alike felt for his plight. Had Junpei been a hero instead, he could have overcome his bullies the right way, and become the heroes he saw in so many films.
3/10 Kowaru Nagisa Became An Ally
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Kowaru Nagisa is originally brought in as the fourth pilot in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Kowaru is a capable pilot, and a delightful person, something that Shinji takes notice of. Therefore, it is a shock to everyone’s system when it is revealed that Kowaru is actually the Son of Adam.
If Kowaru were a hero, he could become a major asset to NERV. Plus, he would have remained on the team if he were on the heroes’ side, making a genuine relationship with Shinji possible.
2/10 Zuko Could Have Avoided Strife
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Prince Zuko’s only thought at the beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender is to return his honor by capturing the Avatar. Though he eventually sees his father for who he truly is and joins the good guys, Zuko wastes a lot of his time and energy trying to please Firelord Ozai.
Had Zuko been a hero from the beginning, it would have saved him a lot of strife. Aang could have learned Firebending earlier, and Zuko could have had the opportunity to pursue his life how he saw fit rather than trying in vain to please someone else. Plus, with Zuko at their side from the start, Aang and the others might have been able to reach the Fire Lord sooner.
1/10 Tomura Shiguraki Could Have Reached His Dreams
My Hero Academia
In the latest seasons of My Hero Academia, Tomura Shiguraki is one of the most powerful and most feared villains. His vendetta against heroes is rooted in his beliefs, fueling his hatred and his strength.
Yet he did not always feel this way. When Tenko was a young boy, he only wanted to be a hero. He played heroes with his sister even though his father disapproved. Tenko Shimura could have stood up to his abusive father and proven himself to the world if he had become a hero instead.
NEXT: 10 Most Well-Written Anime Villains Of All Time