There is nothing worse in anime than a villain who won’t let go of a grudge. While heroes sometimes have loose codes of honor, villains tend to have none at all. They will only direct their anger and hatred at anything that gets in their way, not caring what they hurt or destroy in their path.
Villains who hold grudges can often cause a cycle of hatred to continue, as their purposeless hatred can hurt people who were not even involved in their grudge. And in anime, villains can hold onto their anger for decades, sometimes centuries, until they have the perfect opportunity.
Char Aznable faked an identity to get his revenge
Mobile Suit Gundam
Casval Rem Deikun was the son of Zeon Zum Deikun, the leader of the Zeon political party. Casval lived a happy life until the Zabi family came and took over the Zeon movement. The Zabi family tried to put the remaining Deikun family members under their control, but Casval escaped.
Unable to take what had been done to his family, Casval spent the next few years under an assumed identity. He climbed the ranks of the Zeon military and even befriended Garma Zabi to suit his own ends. At the end of Mobile Suit Gundam, But Char brings down the entire Zabi family, killing several of them—including Garma—personally.
Doctor Gero destroyed all of humanity to beat one man
Dragon Ball Z
The Red Ribbon Army was well on its way to world domination. Then a small child came along and completely decimated their powers, leaving them with nothing but a memory. But there was one person in the Red Ribbon Army who just couldn’t take the loss: their scientist Doctor Gero.
Gero spent nearly twenty years working on androids that would be powerful enough to crush Goku for his actions against the Red Ribbon Army. Finally, he had poorly programmed the androids to have no respect for humans, so when activated, they destroyed the majority of humanity. If not for Trunks, all of humanity would be doomed.
Shigaraki created a guild for revenge
My Hero Academia
Shigaraki’s pain i My Hero Academia comes directly as a result of the war between All For One and the sixth owner of One For All, Nana Shimura. The terrible home life he had to deal with has given him a grudge, not just against heroes, but against humanity as a whole.
His rage and hatred are a side effect of being raised in a home with a man who had suffered directly from the heroes’ “kindness”. However, unlike his father, Shigaraki has taken his hatred to another level. He trained under All For One and created an entire organization of villains, all so that he could inflict the same pain on society that was inflicted on him.
Patri remembered what happened to his people centuries later
IN black clover, the elves of the Clover Kingdom enjoyed a happy life of coexistence with the humans until one day the group was wiped out. Believing that they were betrayed by the humans, the king of the elves, Patri, harbored a hatred of humans that lasted for several centuries.
Patri invented a way to reincarnate several of the elves, and created an entire terrorist organization to see his goals accomplished. Although none of the people who could have wronged him were still alive, Patri refused to let any of the mages in the Clover Kingdom know what their ancestors had done.
Scar waged a one-man war against an entire military
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Scar was a peaceful Ishvalan for years until the Amestris military attacked his people. When he recovered, the loss of his family and brother prompted him to do something forbidden in their religion: learn alchemy. Even if he just stops making something with alchemy, he still knows that what he is doing is not allowed.
Despite this, Scar uses the power of alchemy to destroy the military, tearing through soldiers with his own powers. Although he is fighting a hopeless battle against an army far more powerful than he is, this is the only way Scar knows to gain some measure of peace for what was done to his people.
Vicious couldn’t let go of being tricked
Vicious was one of the most brutal assassins for the Red Dragon Syndicate in Cowboy Bebop, so it would probably have been a good idea not to cross him. That didn’t stop Spike, Vicious’ friend, and Julia, his girlfriend, from falling for each other. In his need for revenge, Vicious had Spike’s new girlfriend, Julia, attempt to set him up.
When that failed, he waited several years to try again, this time kidnapping Faye Valentine in hopes that Spike would show up to save her. Even after becoming the leader of the Red Dragons, Vicious still couldn’t let Spike go, and sent an entire hit squad after him to force Spike to track him down.
Acnologia spent several hundred years hunting down every last dragon
IN Fairytale, Acnologia started out as a doctor with good intentions, but the war between humanity and dragons changed him. Acnologia became a master of Dragon Slayer magic and hunted so many dragons that he turned into a dragon himself.
Acnologia herself was arguably the reason the war between humans and dragons ended. But even centuries later, his rage was not satiated – he was still trying to hunt down the last dragons. There’s a reason Acnologia is the final villain Fairytale: he even hates his fellow Dragon Slayers, knowing that they will eventually become Dragons as well.
Madara Uchiha wanted to be elected as Hokage
Long before the Hokage village, the Senju and Uchiha clans fought each other before forming an alliance. But when the head of the Uchiha clan, Madara, was passed over for the chance to lead their new village, a feud that would last for generations began.
He formed plans within plans, ruining the lives of countless people in his country, all because he was passed over. Naruto’s entire origin story exists almost entirely because of Madara’s actions. Although Madara’s plans changed over the years, by the end he was driven enough to fight the entire ninja world to make his new goal a reality.
Quincies carry an ancient grudge with them
The last arc of Bleach focuses on the people of Soul Society confronting their greatest shame: the Quincies who survived their attempts to wipe them out. The Vandenreich is a collection of Quincies chosen by Yhwach to wield his awesome power. With that power, Yhwach waged war against Soul Society, intending to pay them back for nearly wiping them out over a millennium ago.
In other words: the original war against the Quincies took place over 1200 years ago, but instead of letting it go, they decided to attack the Gotei 13 for revenge.
Frieza is completely obsessed with Saiyans
Dragon Ball Z
Despite having enough power to wipe out planets, Frieza’s greatest fear is that someone will rise up to defeat him. For this reason, Frieza destroyed the Saiyan homeworld. After being finally defeated by Goku, Frieza refused to accept his loss. He had his body rebuilt and traveled to Earth for a rematch, though no one was looking for him.
When he was revived, he returned to Earth once more for another battle. This time he had created a new form for himself that was the same color as the Saiyan’s hair when they transformed.It took Frieza being defeated three times before he finally stopped attacking the Saiyans, and even now in the manga he’s grown strong enough that he’ll probably seek them out again eventually.
NEXT: 10 Shonen Heroes Who Didn’t Deserve to Win (But Did)