7 Cruel Gods
by Lynzee Loveridge,
Famine, rivers of blood, locusts, or a death game of mentally unstable teenagers trying to kill each other with their cell phones, life is hard enough without the powers that be actively working to make things as horrible as possible. Reality-warping abominations and computers attempting to Ctl+Alt+Del entire worlds are all here. The only rule is the being must have omnipotence in the world they reside in and motives that are intentionally destructive or cruel.
Note: Spoilers for Madoka Magica: Rebellion
7. Drosselmeyer (Princess Tutu) In The Nutcracker, Drosselmeyer is an eyepatch-wearing eccentric affectionately called "uncle" by the children in the story. His machinations send Clara on her dream-fueled journey to see the Sugar Plum Fairy. Princess Tutu's Drosselmeyer is presented similarly, at least at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that this old man is pulling the strings of his sentient characters with little regard for what kind of tragedy befalls them. He may be their God, but Drosselmeyer is more interested in weaving a good fairy tale than whether it has a "happily ever after" or not.
6. God (Demon Lord Dante) A self-appointed deity, this God is an overpowered space being who delights in the struggles of mankind. For humanity, this means their very livelihood is reliant on pleasing him, and when that fails, he torches their homes. He creates demons inadvertently by spreading himself among mankind, but instead of correcting the problem, he sits back and enjoys the resultant chaos. His form shifts at will into somewhat humanoid animal guardians, ranging from a fanged horse to a lizard-bird creature.
5. Yggdrasil (Digimon franchise) If a world is digital, it only makes sense that its ruling force is technology-based too. Yggdrasil, named after the World Tree of Norse mythology, rules over Digimon but is also bent on destroying them for various reasons depending on the series. In the Digital Monster X-Evolution movie, Yggdrasil is responsible for enacting a technological version of "Noah's Ark," but decides to follow up on saving a select number of Digimon by wiping them out and the worlds with them. In Digimon Data Squad, Yggdrasil goes a step further, deciding that humans are unjustifiably cruel to Digimon and must be taken out as well.
4. Masami Eiri (Serial Experiments Lain) Masami Eiri abandons the physical world and continues living as an omnipotent being within The Wired instead, where he embedded code of his own consciousness. He hopes to convince all mankind to "evolve" this way, but when Lain rejects him, this digital god won't take no for an answer. He attempts to manifest again in the physical world but fails, instead assuming a form of mismatched flesh. There's a metaphor here for creating man in his own image in reverse, and the results are far from beautiful.
3. Deus Ex Machina (Future Diary)Deux ex Machina (the irony of this name is its own topic) may be all-powerful but his life isn't everlasting. His rule as God wasn't particularly bad either, but when he needs an heir, he comes up with the most brutal possible game. Instead of choosing someone based on their good deeds, he creates a death match game that pits everyone from a patricidal toddler to the most yandere girlfriend in the history of anime against one another. No matter who wins, the rest of us lose.
2. Homura Akemi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 3: Rebellion) Milton wrote "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" in 1667 when he introduced Satan in Paradise Lost. Lucifer's rebellion against God has been the plot of many a horror film, and it's often cited as a cautionary tale against the sin of Pride or romanticized for rebels against an unjust authority. Homura Akemi takes up this mantle in Madoka Magica: Rebellion, overruling Madoka's sacrifice for what she believes is her friend's own benefit, ensnaring her in a false encapsulated world that appears normal. She controls everyone within her selfish reality, stripping her captives of free will in the name of her "love."
1. God Hand (Berserk) The God Hand are five twisted beings serving the only god fit to rule over a world like Berserk's. The beings are revered as gods despite their horrific appearances and origins. Their followers, known as Apostles, are also terrifying as they consume the flesh of humans and revel in sadism. Really, the mythology behind the God Hand and who they serve paints a dark picture about mankind itself and its need for a powerful deity to blame its misfortune and suffering upon. Each member also illustrates how far man can fall in the pursuit of his own desires.
The new poll: Which of the brand-new Pokemon starters are you going to choose when Sun & Moon are released?
The old poll: Which Summer 2016 anime series are you still looking forward to each week?
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When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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