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Joined: 18 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 7:49 pm Reply with quote
Villains are usually characters the audience loves to hate, but once in a while, a villain shows up that throws this off balance, sometimes to the point where it's questionable if they deserve to be called a bad guy/girl.

So which villains do you think are the most sympathetic?

Possible Spoilers!

For me:

Fate Testarossa and Arf from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha 1st Season: They are 1st introduced as being rather intimidating, the 1st real threat to Nanoha. Arf in particular seems like the typical arrogant villain who taunts the hero. But this is very quickly subverted. spoiler[ Fate is brutally abused by her mother who Fate mistakenly believes loves her largely because she posseses Alicia's memories (Precia apparently used to be rather kind) Fate endures the abuse because she is again due to the memories convinced that Precia loves her and so she wants to help make her 'mom' happy and it's very tragic and horribly cruel once Precia reveals that she hates her. ]

spoiler[ It's rather ironic that Arf acts more like a mother to Fate than Precia does. I found Fate/arf's close relationship to be realy moving, especially considering how much Arf cares about Fate. Arf clearly shows discomfort with the way Fate is treated, and she eventually even retaliates against Precia.]

Really, knowing all of this makes it hard to despise these two characters, their motivations are essentially self-less, even heroic. Though in Fate's case they're tragically misguided.

The Velka Knights from Magical girl Lyrical Nanoha A's: The Nanoha series actually seems to have a lot of sympathetic villains. Like the previous example, their motivations are very selfless. All of their actions are geared toward helping Hayate recover, though again, it is slightly misguided, but in a different way from the previous example.

Sugintou from Rozen Maiden: I find it hard to really despise her. She's pretty much been shafted her entire life so it's pretty hard to blame her for having an extreme inferiority complex. Ouverture spoiler spoiler[ She's incomplete, and the person she loves most, Father (and she wants to make him proud by becoming Alice), dotes on Shinku. But despite this, she doesn't seem to dislike Shinku intially and gets along pretty well with her (even though Shinku doesn't see her as an equal and even less so once she learns the truth about Sugintou). Sugintou's very innocent, almost child-like in these early stages, which makes everything that happens afterwards painful to watch (in a good way) The way she screams when she gets sucked into the ground after being chopped in half by a trigger-happy Souseiseki is quite painful to hear. Shinku's junk comment is really cruel, though to be fair, Sugintou did do something that was malicious earlier.]

I think the events in the first season take on whole new meaning after watching Ouverture. Shinku even comes across as more of a jerk with this knowledge though she does grow out of it eventually.

Traumend spoiler spoiler[ Even though she became more ruthless by the events of the first season. She hasn't completely lost her humanity as shown by her interaction with the sick girl Megu who is very similar to Sugintou. Indeed her primary reason for participating in the alice game changes a bit in this season. She also participates in order to help Megu recover. So her ruthlessness is even more justified.]

Considering her background, I'm really tempted to call sugintou more of an antiheroine than an actual villain. There are other characters in the series who I think have much more questionable motivations.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:24 am Reply with quote
One thing I like about anime is that a lot of them have villains that I can be sympathetic towards (something superhero cartoons lack, which is not preferable for kids IMO). A lot of the shounen anime (ie. Hajime no Ippo, Naruto, Bleach, etc) especially don't have the main character simply defeating one evil guy to reach the next one. The anime actually take the time to present a sympathetic story of how the villain came to walk the path of life he/she has chosen and how that path has led him/her to become a villain.

As for "most" sympathetic villain, probably Johan Liebert from Monster, because imagine the good he could've done for society if only he wasn't an abused-as-a-child, psychopathic murderer.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:56 am Reply with quote
first of all, the term "villain" has to be defined, it is usually called the character that opposes the protagonist, but let's choose an example here, Death Note, Light is obviously the protagonist, but L opposes him, does that make L the villain? or the obviously evil person Light? in the literal sense of the word, the villain would be L, but from society's rules and norms, Light is the villain.

If I was to choose a villain based on the literal definition, one of the most sympathetic villains is...(rest is spoiler because if you haven't watched, you won't know what happens) spoiler[Griffith from Berserk, even though he rapes Casca, who is Gutts' girlfriend, he only chose the path that he did because of the hardships near the end of the anime, his plan to become a king was going smoothly, and had Gutts stayed, it would've probably happened, but because he left, Griffith became depressed, and tried to find comfort with the princess, when he gets caught, he's punished with his tongue cut out, his wrists and his achilles tendon cut, leaving him permanently disabled, and his only way out was to sacrifice his friends]

From the point of view of society, and the villain is the one who is doing evil, the most sympathetic to me would be Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass:Lelouch of the Rebellion, even though he may not be doing evil deeds in the eyes of the people who want independence from Britannia, he is nonetheless a terrorist who is trying to destroy the set government, i feel sorry for him because he truly believes what he is doing is just, now i differentiate him from Light because Light becomes a character beyond a simple human, with no emotion or sympathy for other human beings, even contemplating killing family, but Lelouch is different in that he regrets killing, and even hesitates when family or friends are involved, making him not a clean-cut villain, and even one to feel sorry for and want him to succeed
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the Rancorous

Joined: 08 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:48 pm Reply with quote
I guess it can be argued whether she was really a "villain" or not, but Chloe from Noir is my nominee.
She quickly became my favorite character of the series with how cool, sleek, and mysterious she was, but once I started to learn more about her and how she came to be, I couldn't look at her as an evil assassin. spoiler[She was raised against her will to be a heartless killer and was always alone. She was told her whole life that Kirika was her partner and that they would be together forever, and Chloe became obsessed with that idea since she knew only solitude. In turn, everything she did was in order to bring her companion, Kirika, closer to herself.
Her gut wrenching death in ep 25 will forever be one of the most unforgettable scenes I've seen. "It should've been me!" ]

Another one would be Megumi from Ramen Fighter Miki, always having to deal with that rabid protagonist and her inhuman mom... poor skewer-thrower Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:31 pm Reply with quote
I always felt sorry for Homura from Saiyuki. I know he spoiler[destroyed Goku on a number of occasions, but not out of malice, more to prepare Goku to kill him.] He really got a raw deal spoiler[with his sweetheart in Heaven.]
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Forums Superstar

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:38 pm Reply with quote
I started to feel sorry for Suitengu from Speed Grapher. spoiler[He had his beloved sister taken away from him as a child, was forced to fight in the battlefield for nearly a decade, all because his parents left piles of debt and he had no money to pay any of it off, explaining perfectly why he is so obssessed with money in the present day.]
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:03 pm Reply with quote
Zagato from Magic Knight Rayearth easily tops my list. spoiler[Granted it's also debatable if he was even truly a villain in the strictest sense.]

I'm also going to offer an odd one out and say Harry MacDougal from Outlaw Star: spoiler[On one hand he seems emotionally unstable and insane but on the other he seems to be acting legitimately like he's in love with Melfina. In fact if you notice he often switches between compassionate and psycopathic on a hair trigger. It's like he suffers from dissassociative identity disorder. It's like he really did love her but had some functional problem in his brain that made him unable to stop hurting her or doing bad things. So I really did feel sorry at the end, especially considering he sacrificed himself to save melfina and bring Gene to her.]
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:51 am Reply with quote
I'm a little sympathetic towards spoiler[Takano Miyo] from Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni Kai.

spoiler[Her parents died, she was thrown into an absolute hellhole of an orphanage, complete with an insane abusive caretaker. After all that emotional damage, her grandfather shows her love, and she supports him and his research. His theories were laughed at, and so she does everything she can to prove them right. It doesn't justify her killing the entire village, but it's still sad. I wanted to hug her a couple of times. And then I remembered that she killed Rika...:p]
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:04 am Reply with quote
Toguro and Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Toguro, spoiler[he was a fighter who had his students killed by a demon in front of him in a dojo. Met that demon again some point in time later in a tournament and defeated him. Even after that he still couldn't get over it because he felt it wasn't enough to make up for the lost of his students. After that he decides to become stronger and stronger. Years later he became interested in Yusuke after seeing him in action. His goal was to be defeated by someone he felt is worthy of ending everything he went through in the past.]

Sensui, spoiler[was a spirit detective who killed demons on his missions. One day he went to a place where he saw what a few humans were doing to some demons by slaughtering them. He had a change of heart from that. He decided that humans are even worse and felt bad about all the demons he killed. He wanted to go to the land of the demons he killed homeland and feel what their pain was like. In order to do this, he would have to find something that would open the gate to the demon world, and wanted to lure the person who does his old job (Yusuke) to the demon world so that he can be defeated.]

Pegasus and Marik from Yugioh.

Pegasus, spoiler[he once had a lover he did many thing with. She died at some point and Pegasus would do anything to have her back. One day he acuired one of the millennium items the millennium eye. Then he had in mind to get other millennium items along with combining them with Kaiba Corporation's virtual technology to bring his dead lover back to life.]

Marik, spoiler[he wants the title of the pharaoh for himself so he can set him and his family free. His family guarded the tomb for generations. Yugi Motou has the spirit of the pharaoh within himself. Marik wants to get revenge on him because he thought the spirit of the pharaoh killed his father (Marik doesn'tknow that it was an evil entity that was born within him that did it). He blames Yugi for all the things that angered him. His goal was to do things to humiliate Yugi and kill him.]

Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z can be sypathetic somewhat. He was spoiler[enslaved by Frieza as a boy and took orders from him]. Then later in his life spoiler[he wants to outdo Goku because he made Vegeta jealous at times].

Maybe I'm the only one but I don't like it when a show or any type of fiction makes you sypathize with the villain too much because sometimes it can make the character not look as threatening as they first seem or that it ruins something.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:40 pm Reply with quote
GreatTeacherKen wrote:
Villains are usually characters the audience loves to hate, but once in a while, a villain shows up that throws this off balance, sometimes to the point where it's questionable if they deserve to be called a bad guy/girl.

So which villains do you think are the most sympathetic?

Some of my favorite characters are the ones who, like you stated, are the ones who become questionable if they are truly evil. I believe some of the best shows are the ones which are able to show that the line between right and wrong is not always so clear.

This being so Death Note and Code Geass had some characters I truly enjoyed watching. Now, like young98 said, Light and Lelouch could easily been seen as villains; Light from L's and the investigating team's perspective and Lelouch from Britannia's perspective. Now, one of the things which I believe which makes these shows great is that at the same time if one were to look at a these characters from a different perspective they could be seen as hero's.

First, let's look at Light. He is killing thousands of people, which in most cases is seen as something horrible, but the thousands of people he is killing are nearly all criminals; people have broken the law. Now, if we take a look at Light's mindset for killing so many people he very well is doing the right thing. By killing of anyone who commits crimes he is reducing crime rates and making the world a better place. Take a moment to ask yourself, "Is killing of criminals to stop crimes all together, wrong?" If Light were able to create a world without crime think of how many lives could be saved in the future. Even if he had to pay the price of a few innocents to reach his goal would the final outcome of being able to save thousands, perhaps millions then be worth it? Truthfully, I see Light as a hero. That being said, I can see how one can see Light and/or L as a villain or as a hero. Each of them is striving for there idea of justice, and each of their mindsets holds a compelling reasoning behind it. If we return to my argument of how Light could perhaps be saving millions by cleansing the world of crime, L could then be seen as the villain by trying to stop Light and potentially creating millions of deaths by allowing crime to continue. Would that then make L a mass murderer as well?

Now let's look at Lelouch. He is a terrorist destroying the Britannia government. But is it that simple? Could Britannia be viewed as the initial terrorist by first destroying Japan's government. Then that would make Lelouch somebody who is trying to overthrow the oppressor and regain control of the government which was taken from the people. Depending on the view point taken, Lelouch could either be seen as a villain or a hero. And of course, the same goes with Britannia. This is seen in the anime as there are those who support Lelouch as well as those who support Britannia. Each group of people take the side which they believe is most just, but if one views each side from a neutral standpoint do they have the power to say which side is right and which is wrong? Could it be one side more right than the other? Or are both equally wrong or right? How can one say without becoming biased?

I really enjoy animes like Death Note and Code Geass because of their power to create the questions of right vs wrong. All in all, my favorite villains are the ones that can be considered heroes for that goes to show the complexities that revolve around defining what is just.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:20 pm Reply with quote
This is one of the things that always bothered me about Anime. [not too exaggerated blanket statement]all the villains seem to have some form of a tragic past that makes you want to feel bad for them [/blanket statement]

I think there are not enough badguys that are just pure evil. I'm not talking bout like Frieza who is just so obsessed with his own power and superiority (that's just annoying)

Hell, the villain can even become good later on, I just want a bad guy without a tragic past.

Take uhh...fudge, i cant remember his name for the life of me. The knife throwing dude with the big ass hat from Getbakers. He was just a pure bad guy. It's more fun with characters like that
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:43 pm Reply with quote
I'm sympathetic towards the Count from Gankutsuou.

spoiler[Ok, clearly he's manipulating even the most innocent in order to get his revenge, but his best buddy framed him and locked him away in order to steal the love of his life. Besides, his friends were corrupt as I don't know what.]

I can't even blame the guy.

I do disagree with needing more villains who are just villains for the hell of it. I don't like shallow characters who just are villains for no apparent reason. I find it a lot more interesting when they have some backstory and have some reasoning towards their actions. I'm even more interested when you can somehow get me sympathetic for a villian that I really feel is evil and would be better off dead at one point. If you can get me to feel for that character and possibly even make me want him/her to live, I gotta hand out a cookie.
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Christopher Fritz

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:38 pm Reply with quote
Although I'm sure I can think of more sympathetic given time, the person who stands out most for me is Princess Kraehe, from the series Princess Tutu.

As the prince is to be saved by a princess, Princess Kraehe is introduced as a rival to Princess Tutu, and Tutu is the good one -- so of course Kraehe is the bad one. Tutu is working to save the prince by restoring his lost heart. Kraehe is doing the opposite, trying to keep the prince from regaining his heart. Your typical villain.

However, as is revealed later in the series, spoiler[Kraehe was taken from her parents as a baby by the crows, and made to believe the prince's nemesis, the raven, was her father. She was raised drinking raven's blood to keep her until the raven's power. The raven promised Kraehe she'd marry the prince, and as a child she played with the prince and adored him. The prince may have had no heart, but this did not matter, as it meant he would never turn his back on Kraehe.] Kraehe could be with her prince forever.

As a teenager, Kraehe spoiler[wanted only to be with the prince, as she had fallen in love with him over time. She locked away her memories of being the raven's daughter, and lived as Rue, an ordinary girl, the prince's girlfriend.] Life was good, and nothing could go wrong for her and her prince.

However, Tutu arrived with plans to restore the prince's heart. spoiler[With his heart restored, the prince might not want to be with Kraehe, and indeed, his interest and attention turned toward Tutu the more Tutu restored his heart. The prince's emotions may have gravitated toward Kraehe, but the recovering prince himself chose Tutu.]

And if that wasn't enough, spoiler[the raven had Kraehe poison the prince with the raven's blood]. Kraehe wanted only for the prince to be with her, but spoiler[the raven's blood transformed the prince into a crow]. spoiler[Into a crow with] nothing by contempt for Kraehe. spoiler[Into a crow wanting nothing more than to give his heart, his life to the raven.]

Although the ending for Tutu herself felt a little lacking to me, I believe Kraehe's ending to be the most fitting in the series.

Especially with DVD box sets out in Australia and USA at a reasonable price, and with one of the best English dubs I've ever heard, there's no reason for any fan of fairy tales not to buy this series Wink (After going on about Kraehe, a character I actually was very much not fond of my first watch through the series, mention of the box set and reasonable price and excellent dub only seemed a fitting end-of-post.)
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:22 pm Reply with quote
Full Metal Alchemist is a good example of how anime gives villians depth. I vastly prefer this method of providing the "bad guy" with an actual personality with motivations, pain and sometimes devotion. It provokes kids that watch to think about the human condition rather than just inhaling some naive black and white depiction of good and evil.

Most of the villians in FMA have a tragic backstory and understandable, if not excusable, motives for their actions. Here are just a few of them...

Wrath: His character migrates from tortured and abandoned child to vicious enemy. In the end he then achieves anti-hero staus, in my opinion, when he spoiler[intervenes in the fight with Envy to help Ed and sacrifices himself in order to open the gate for Al.]

Sloth: She retains some memories of those she loved as a human and mistakenly tries to kill in order to purge herself of this pain. spoiler[She also becomes a "mother" figure for the poor needy Wrath. Just before she dies she even tells Al and Ed to "Take care of each other."]

Lust:She is even more focused on becoming human than the other Homunculi and is tortured by memories of her previous life. spoiler[She ends up switching sides to aid the Elric brothers and shows affection for Scar, the brother of her human love.]

Scar:A man of strong principals, he genuinely believes he is delivering justice spoiler[for his slaughtered people and some argument can be made that he is in the right. He repeatedly spares and aids the Elric brothers who should be his enemies. He is constantly misunderstood and protects innocent life when the expectation is that he is there to take it. In the end his actions are purely heroic as he fights desperately against Kimblee, sacrificing himself to save those around him. ][/spoiler]
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:18 pm Reply with quote
Well, as has already been mentioned, Edmond Dantes from Gankutsuou is defonatly a villain you feel sorry for.
He gets progressivly nastier and nastier as the series goes, and by the end you see his true colours, but you also know what made him that way. No matter how bad he got, and he got pretty damn terrible, I could never hate him.

Another good example is Vetti from Glass Fleet. He was a monstrous bad guy, and I hated his guts from the get-go. Perfect villain, but about halfway through the series, you start to get some glimpses into his childhood that bring his character in real perspective.
spoiler[Him being raped by foster parents can help to explain how he could do some of the things he does.]
I still rather dispised him, but I got a good feel for what made him into the monster he was.
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