These villains from some of the best anime of all time embody the megalomania required to develop a deep-seated god complex.
Some anime villains possess a god complex, believing they have the right to become supreme beings and rule over others.
Characters like Tetsuo Shima and Karl Fritz demonstrate this god complex through their actions and motivations.
Light Yagami from
becomes consumed by his megalomania and truly believes he can create a crime-free world as a god-like figure.
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Villains are a common occurrence in most anime, especially as a means to help protagonists propel themselves forward and become better versions of themselves. However, while certain villains usually have origins that make them figures worthy of either sympathy or scorn from viewers, some villains in anime outright think they can become gods.
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Falling within the confines of a god complex, certain villains who possess this quality have motivations and ambitions to become some form of supreme being. This can take the form of an actual declaration of intent to become a god, or an aspiration to become a figure that “watches over” or “governs” on the assumption that they simply have a right to do so. Among villains in anime, which ones fit this description best?
10 Tetsuo Shima (Akira)
The Representation Of Corrupting Power
Immense psychic abilities
When Tokyo became Neo-Tokyo after the events of World War 3, the dystopian future of Akira saw a spike in the popularity of biker gangs that fought for “dominance” over the criminal underworld. Film deuteragonist Tetsuo Shima was originally a gang member led by his childhood friend Shotaro Kaneda. Life for the arrogant Tetsuo takes a drastic turn when a collision with the Esper Takashi unlocks his latent psychic potential.
Tetsuo’s powers, which rival the eponymous Akira, worsened his aggressive tendencies, as the child used his abilities to rampage all over Neo-Tokyo, believing he was unstoppable. Unfortunately, Tetsuo is quickly humbled when his abilities spiral out of control and his body becomes a mass of flesh when he is unable to contain them. It took the reawakening of the dormant Akira for Tetsuo to calm down, but by then it was too late, as both of them disappeared into a void.
9 Zamasu (Dragon Ball Super)
Believes There Could Only Be One God
Chapter 16, Episode 52
Core Person Physiology, Genius Status, Prodigious Fighting Talent, Immense Ki
While villainous Frieza fit the bill of someone daring enough to want to become a god among mortals, the Dragon Ball series would add Zamasu to its most megalomaniacal villains. Being nigh-immortal due to his nature as a Core Person, Zamasu is technically already a “god” among the gods of the beings introduced in Dragon Ball Super. Zamasu already resented any gods who didn’t meddle in mortal affairs, but what pushed him past the brink was witnessing Goku attempt to reach godlike powers without intervention.
By then, Zamasu was convinced that the only way to stop this travesty was to wipe out all evil mortals and rule supreme among fellow immortals. This descent eventually had Zamasu possess Goku, combining his godlike prowess with Goku’s nigh-infinite potential. Such was his strength that it took many powerful beings to truly destroy him and his similarly-thinking counterparts: God of Destruction Beerus and Future Zeno, who both had to erase him from existence.
8 Sosuke Aizen (Bleach)
Self-Proclaimed One To Stand In The Heavens
Release Date October 5, 2004 Creator Tite Kubo Genres Action , Adventure , Fantasy Seasons 17 Studio Pierrot Streaming Service(s) Hulu See at Hulu
Chapter 79, Episode 23
Shinigami Captain, Shinigami Physiology and Combat Prowess, Genius-level Intellect, Kido Master, Immense Spiritual Power, Nigh-Omnipotence via Hoygoku
Detained in Muken
Originally the Captain of the 5th Division in Bleach, Sosuke Aizen grew tired of the Soul King’s passivity in handling Soul Society’s affairs. Through the creation of the manifesting Hogyoku, Aizen eventually defects from Soul Society to become the embodiment of a being capable of standing upon the heavens. He almost succeeded, as Hogyoku-enhanced Aizen became a godlike being, and only a seal activated by his self-doubt could stop his plans.
In the final arc, Yhwach of the Quincy attempts to sway Aizen to join his side, but the latter eventually betrays him. Aizen’s “betrayal” of Yhwach, who technically freed him, may stem from his pride as a Shinigami and his refusal to be ruled over by a Quincy, technically a rival species. In his depiction during his detainment, Aizen still seems convinced that he is destined to eventually rule over Soul Society, opening the possibility of future generations having to fight Aizen again.
7 Kaguya Otsutsuki (Naruto)
Broke Taboo To Become A Goddess And Stop Mankind’s Wars
Release Date October 2, 2002 Creator Masashi Kishimoto Genres Animation , Action , Adventure Seasons 5 Studio Pierrot Streaming Service(s) Crunchyroll , Hulu , Netflix
Chapter 679, Episode 458
Otsutsuki Physiology, Rinne Sharingan, Immense Chakra, Chakra Control
When Kaguya Otsutsuki and Isshin Otsutsuki arrive in the world of Naruto to cultivate it into a Chakra Tree for their clan, Kaguya defies protocol and eats the Chakra Fruit. This makes Kaguya the world’s first chakra user, using her newfound powers to forcefully stop humans from fighting by becoming an absolute ruler. Kaguya’s rule eventually descended into tyranny, with her being overcome with the desire to possess all chakra, including her children’s. While her sons Hagoromo and Hamura eventually seal Kaguya, she plots her return after thousands of years.
After her resurrection in the Fourth Great Ninja War, witnessing the world’s constant conflicts made her lose faith in humanity entirely. This fully devolves into Kaguya being convinced that only she can possess chakra and know how to use it, and only she can lead humanity to their salvation. Naruto and Sasuke, descendants of Hagoromo’s sons Indra and Asura, eventually permanently seal Kaguya.
6 Karl Fritz (Attack On Titan)
Condemned His Kingdom As Sinners And Locked Them Out Of Civilization
Attack On Titan
Release Date April 7, 2013 Creator Hajime Isayama Genres Action , Drama , Fantasy Seasons 4 Studio Wit Studio, MAPPA Streaming Service(s) Crunchyroll , Hulu
Chapter 64, Episode 44
145th King of Eldia, Founding Titan
Mankind’s desperate efforts against the Titans in Attack on Titan resulted in the creation of the Survey Corps and the Omni-Directional Mobility Gear, with the discovery that Eren Yeager is also a Titan eventually leading to a horrifying truth about their reality. As the series progresses, it’s learned that humanity’s city in the Walls is within what’s known to the rest of the world as Paradis Island and that the people inside it were the last members of the Kingdom of Eldia.
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In the ancient past, Eldians transformed Eldia into a powerful nation by committing wars and atrocities with the Power of the Titans. Its last king, Karl Fritz, was overcome by the guilt of his predecessors and conspired with other nations to secure the fall of his kingdom. After the Eldians were exiled to Paradis Island, Fritz transformed into a Founding Titan to alter the memories of his people. Despite his intentions, Karl Fritz condemning his entire kingdom as sinners and deciding their fate on his own was characteristic of someone with a god complex.
5 Light Yagami (Death Note)
Kira Persona Will Lead The World To A Paradise Without Criminals
Release Date October 4, 2006 Creator Tsugumi Ohba Genres Thriller , Supernatural Seasons 1 Studio Madhouse Streaming Service(s) Crunchyroll , Hulu , Netflix , YouTube
Chapter 1, Episode 1
Human Physiology, Genius-level Intellect, Death Note (can kill anyone with a face and a name)
When high-schooler Light Yagami discovers the Death Note in the eponymous anime, he begins killing criminals after class as “Kira.” Only through the efforts of L, touted as the world’s greatest detective, does Light meet his match. While much of the Death Note anime revolves around their cat-and-mouse game while working in the same Kira Investigation Team, it’s Light’s descent into sheer megalomania that marks his god complex.
Genuinely believing himself to be the upcoming god of a crime-free world, Light would stop at nothing to further this goal. Manipulating others became child’s play, with Light casually forming plots to get the police off his trail at the expense of others. Ultimately, Light overestimated his value as a possessor of the Death Note, eventually leading to his demise at the hands of law enforcement.
4 SEELE (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Wants To Forcibly Unite Mankind Through The Human Instrumentality Project
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Release Date October 4, 1995 Genres Sci-Fi , Mecha , Drama Seasons 1 Studio Gainax, Tatsunoko Production Streaming Service(s) Netflix $38 At Amazon
Worldwide Conspiracy, Wealth and Influence
While protagonist Shinji Ikari and the Evangelions work within NERV to protect the Earth from Angels, their organization in Neon Genesis Evangelion is secretly being used to further the agenda of their main funder: SEELE. Known only as a secretive conspiracy that controls much of the world’s governments, SEELE is supporting the Earth’s fight against the Angels for another objective: the Human Instrumentality Project.
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Through the Evangelion Unit-01, the souls of humanity will be forcibly combined within the extraterrestrial Lilith’s Egg to become a singular consciousness. While dictating mankind’s fate is already nefarious enough, other media hint at more sinister agendas. In The End of Evangelion film, a SEELE member says that the Evangelions can become their “own” ark, separate from humans. Meanwhile, the Neon Genesis Evangelion 2 game hints that only SEELE would undergo Instrumentality within the Evangelion, becoming a more powerful being compared to the rest of mankind. While Human Instrumentality happens across all Evangelion storylines, SEELE’s fate is unknown in all of them.
3 Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Possesses An Insatiable Thirst For Being At The Top
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Release Date October 6, 2012 Creator Hirohiko Araki Genres Action , Fantasy Seasons 6 Studio David Production Streaming Service(s) Crunchyroll , Hulu , Netflix , Tubi , Amazon Prime Video See at Hulu
Chapter 1, Episode 1
Vampire Physiology, Stand User: The World (time manipulation)
In the craziness of the world of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dio Brando serves as one of its most iconic antagonists. After starting as a man of low birth, a miserable childhood forged Dio Brando into a man obsessed with becoming the richest, and eventually most powerful, man on Earth. Even before becoming a vampire, Dio was already willing to use his charm and manipulative abilities to goad people into doing his bidding. After his vampirism and eventual discovery of his Stand, the World, Dio further succumbed to his megalomania.
Such was Dio’s innate charm that he managed to attract followers to his cause – people he still looked at as pawns to be used in his grand design – and such was Dio’s ambition that his Diary contained plans to “attain” Heaven, or total control over reality. While this was not realized due to his eventual death, versions of Dio who managed to control immeasurable power were introduced in other JoJo stories.
2 Griffith (Berserk)
The God Hand, Falcon Of Light Who Wants To Unite The Physical And The Astral
Release Date October 8, 1997 Creator Kentaro Miura Genres Fantasy , Action Seasons 1 Studio OLM Team Iguchi Streaming Service(s) YouTube
Chapter 12, Episode 2
Beyond-Mortal Physiology (God Hand, Incarnation), High-Absoluteness
Incarnated, Leader of Falconia
Unbridled by his ambition to be above all, Griffith of Berserk stopped at nothing to achieve his desires – to the point of discarding his humanity to become Femto of the God Hand, manifestations of the Idea of Evil’s, and therefore collective humanity’s will. Over time, Femto as Griffith has begun amassing power in the Physical World while people are convinced he is the destined “Falcon of Light.” Griffith eventually merges the Physical and Astral Worlds into the Interstice of Fantasia, an ancient unified space where fantastical monsters roam the lands.
In the current manga, Griffith rules over Falconia, his city and humanity’s safest bastion against the horrors of Fantasia. Such was Griffith’s ambition “to win” that his status as an Incarnated astral being and a God Hand made his endgame rather unclear. Griffith being driven solely by his ambition to rise above has made his god complex all but declared, but it’s yet to be seen if his movements are of his own will or are a reflection of the Idea of Evil.
1 Father (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Wanted To Be Above God Itself
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Release Date April 5, 2009 Creator Hiromu Arakawa Genres Action , Adventure , Fantasy Seasons 1 Studio Bones Streaming Service(s) Crunchyroll , Hulu
Episode 1, Chapter 31
Original Body derived from the Eye of God, Vast Alchemical Knowledge, Power Of God
Originally a bit of alchemical essence from the Gate of Truth, the Dwarf in the Flask would use his connection with Van Hohenheim, then Slave 23, to lure him into creating for him a physical body using all the souls of the Kingdom of Xerxes. Hohenheim parted ways with the Dwarf after this horrific act, while the latter went eastward to spread Alchemy, eventually becoming known as Father.
In the events of Fullmetal Alchemist, it’s revealed that Father not only created the nation of Amestris, but he also conspired to create yet another country-wide Philosopher’s Stone. After timing its activation during an eclipse, Father’s true plan is revealed: absorb God into his body, creating a being beyond God. Father succeeds, becoming nigh-unstoppable until Hohenheim, a fellow immortal and living Philosopher’s Stone, helps destabilize Father’s body. Ultimately, God is released from Father and takes him back into the Gate of Truth to punish him for his hubris.