It’s rare in anime for the villain to actually achieve final victory. We’ve come to expect the heroes to find a way to thwart evil plans and bring the bad guys to justice. So, on the occasions when the antagonist does succeed and get away unpunished, it catches our attention. These inverted anime endings turn conventions on their head.
It’s only the best anime villains that can outwit and overpower the heroes to achieve full victory. Though we ultimately don’t approve of their misdeeds, we can appreciate the writing and characterization that goes into crafting these villains.
10 The Major (Hellsing Ultimate)
Major is the leader of the Millennium Organization and the main antagonist of Hellsing Ultimate. His ultimate goal is to ignite a war leading to massive destruction and loss of life. He is driven by a deep love of war and conflict.
His goal is not to win, but to simply continue the fight indefinitely. While the Hellsing Organization, led by Alucard, manages to quell the chaos in London, Major does indeed succeed in instigating a massive conflict. Thus, by the end of the series, we know he wins both ways.
9 Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord)
Ainz is the main villain in Overlord. But he’s also the main character through whose eyes we watch the show. In the series, he has successfully established the Sorcerer Kingdom and spread his influence across the New World he was transported to.
He defeats any major enemies or alliances that try to oppose him, such as the Re-Estize Kingdom. There is literally no power that can rise above him. It’s incredibly rare to see that in anime. And it’s that subversion of the standard villain storyline that makes Ainz such a standout antagonist in our eyes.
8 Kirei Kotomine (Fate/Zero)
Despite not being the main threat for much of the story, he is revealed to be the true mastermind behind the scenes. Kirei is troubled by his own morbid fascination with the suffering of others. Kirei has succeeded in corrupting those around him and bringing about widespread destruction.
He defeats his former mentor Tokiomi and forms a partnership with Tokiomi’s servant, Gilgamesh. Together, they kill Tokiomi’s daughter Rin’s guardian, Kariya. Kirei then goads Kiritsugu into using the corrupted Holy Grail, which ends up warping the city in a fire. However, Kirei survives and continues to revel in the suffering he has caused.
7 Sakura Wadagaki (Odd Taxi)
Sakura from Odd Taxi is one of the best characters who got away with their crimes. It was a mystery till the end of the show as to who killed Yuki Mitsuya. Yuki is one of the three members of the popular idol group Mystery Kiss. Sakura lured Yuki to a remote location and strangled her to death in order to take her place.
She then disposed of Yuki’s body. In the world of Odd Taxi, women are often stereotyped as being innocent and harmless. This stereotype worked in Sakura’s favor, as it made it difficult for the police and the public to believe that she could be capable of murder.
6 Kyubey (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Kyubey’s objective is to counteract the heat death of the universe. The Incubators have discovered that the emotions of adolescent girls can be transformed into energy. However, the catch is that the magical girls eventually transform into witches when their Soul Gem becomes tainted. Towards the series’ ending, Madoka changes the fate of every magical girl. Instead of becoming witches, they now ascend to a kind of afterlife.
While it appears that Madoka’s wish undermines Kyubey’s system, it can also be argued that Kyubey still wins in a certain sense. Madoka’s new system continues to counter entropy – however, it’s now done in a way that avoids the creation of witches. So, Kyubey and his race still achieve their ultimate objective of energy collection, albeit through a different process.
5 Eren Yeager (Attack On Titan)
Though Eren is the main protagonist of the Attack On Titan series, we can justify that he turned into a villain in the later parts of the story. Eren Yeager turned the world against him and wiped out ninety percent of humanity from the face of Earth, now what’s famously referred to as the Rumbling. Eren’s ultimate goal was to protect his people, the Eldians, from future oppression and hatred. In the final chapters of the manga, Eren is indeed stopped by his former friends.
However, the catastrophe led to a significant shift in the world’s political landscape and, in a way, achieved a part of what Eren intended: the immediate threat to Paradis Island was postponed due to the mutual fear. Finally, through his death, Eren achieves a personal form of freedom. Throughout his life, Eren was bound by his duty, his powers, and the cruel fate of his people. After death, these chains no longer bind him.
Though Father from Fullmetal Alchemist doesn’t survive, he manages to accomplish his goal of becoming a god, if only for a brief moment. His enhanced abilities even allowed him to create a miniature sun in the palm of his hand and nullify all alchemy in the area, rendering the protagonists’ attacks useless.
His defeat doesn’t change the fact that he successfully carried out the Nationwide Transmutation Circle ritual. This temporary victory makes Father a unique villain, one who actually managed to achieve his ultimate goal before his downfall.
3 Rustal Elion (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Rustal Elion is the head of the Arianrhod Fleet, one of the seven stars of Gjallarhorn, a military organization that serves as the primary antagonistic force in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. His ultimate victory is an unconventional twist in the narrative. Rustal utilizes a combination of hard power, psychological warfare, and public opinion manipulation to isolate Tekkadan and gradually whittle down their resources and morale.
In the aftermath of the conflict, he uses his newfound power to implement genuine reforms in Gjallarhorn, including the abolition of the oppressive hierarchical system that had previously defined it. Rustal also ensures that Mars gains the independence that Tekkadan had fought for, albeit under the oversight of Gjallarhorn.
2 Ryo Asuka / Satan (Devilman Crybaby)
In the final episodes, Satan (also known as Ryo Asuka) and Devilman (Akira Fudo) engage in a battle that ultimately results in the destruction of the world. Satan reveals his true identity and the fact that he led a rebellion against God due to his love for the demon race, which he considered unfairly oppressed.
However, victories come at a high cost. Ryo loses his best friend Akira in the process, and his triumph is hollow as he is left alone in a destroyed world. The series ends with God sending angels to reset the world, starting everything anew.
1 Sukuna (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Sukuna had sealed Gojo in the prison realm for a long time. But Gojo makes a triumphant comeback in the 221st chapter of the manga, setting the stage for an epic face-off against the King of Curses. The ensuing clash is nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. The momentum of the battle shifts back and forth, with each combatant taking turns to gain the upper hand.
However, just when it appears that Gojo might defeat Sukuna, the tables turn one final time. Sukuna, in a desperate bid to survive, draws on the power of Mahoraga. Sukuna’s attack bypasses Gojo’s Infinity, and thus, Sukuna shocks fans with his surprising win.
NEXT: Jujutsu Kaisen: Strongest Characters, Ranked