Many anime villains are deeply proud of their achievements and take an overtly aggressive role with the main character. Their noise makes them feared and intimidating, especially given that they don’t shy away from their actions. However, other antagonists prefer a much more nuanced approach.
They commit crimes in the shadows, remaining completely anonymous for as long as possible. Whether they prefer to avoid conflict or gradually hatch a larger plan, these villains’ ability to protect their identities means the heroes can never meaningfully let their guard down wherever they are. In this regard, anonymous villains are scarier than their simple counterparts.
10/10 Fraudrin possess the corpses of influential knights
Seven Deadly Sins
Fraudrin was a member of the Ten Commandments i Seven Deadly Sins. Considerably weaker than his constituents, he preferred to possess the corpses of influential knights rather than fight on his own. To Fraudrin’s credit, he largely succeeded in remaining anonymous.
By taking over Hendrickson, he turned the Holy Knights against the Sins and even managed to convince Dreyfus of his innocence. However, the one he had was marked with an eye-catching face tattoo, indicating that they were not to be trusted.
9/10 Diavolo was Italy’s crime mystery
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Diavolo secretly led the Italian mafia in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. His rule from the shadows was so absolute that not even his most trusted lieutenants knew his identity for sure. He might have been able to defeat anyone with King Crimson, though it would still attract unwanted attention.
Diavolo would do anything to maintain his anonymity, as seen when he attempted to kill his own daughter, Trish. The villain’s desperation horrified Bucciarati, who dedicated his entire team to stopping him once he learned of his true intentions.
8/10 Garaki conducted his worst experiments In The Shadows
My Hero Academia
Doctor Garaki was the most technologically advanced villain in My Hero Academia. Although he worked in a hospital in broad daylight, his true passion was creating monstrous nomu in the service of All For One. Garaki spent most of his life away from the meddling of heroes.
But when they confronted him at the hospital and stated his crimes with certainty, he knew the end of his medical career and possibly even his freedom had come. Regardless, Garaki’s triggered nomu bought him the time he needed to improve Shigaraki and kickstart a massive conflict.
7/10 Annie infiltrated Paradis for years
Attack on Titan
Annie Leonhart was the smartest warrior in Attack on Titan. A talented scout and fighter, she evaded Levi’s regiment when she attempted to capture Eren during the forest attack. The only reason her identity was eventually revealed was because of her closeness to Armin and his unusually high intelligence.
Anonymity suited Annie since the Warriors did not have the firepower to sustain a sustained war with Eldia. When Annie’s cover was blown and she teetered on the brink of death, she covered herself in a hardened crystal so that her enemies would be unable to kill her.
6/10 Rolo was Emperor Charles’ cunning spy
Between the first and second act of Code Geass, Emperor Charles wiped Lelouch’s memory. He tried to replace Nunnally with Rolo, who simultaneously acted as his “brother” and a gauge to see if the young man’s memories would return.
Rolo preferred anonymity since it made it easier for him to spy on Lelouch. Although Rolo prepared to kill him at first, Lelouch eventually convinced the young boy that he had his best interests at heart. Rolo believed in his feelings to such a deep degree that he abandoned his original mission.
5/10 Heathcliff secretly subjugated all of Aincrad
Sword art online
Sword art online began when Kayaba, the designer behind NerveGear, announced that he had trapped his players inside Aincrad. The only way to escape was to beat the game, and tampering with the machine from the outside would result in certain death.
Kayaba himself participated in Aincrad through his avatar, Heathcliff. The man mysteriously rose to prominence in the local community for the guild’s advancement of levels. Only Kirito began to suspect Heathcliff’s true nature after being forced to join his group.
4/10 Dain was a spy in the service of the Shadow Lord
Dain was Lief’s traveling companion for many years Delta Quest. He usually stayed on the sidelines, helping heroes with everyday tasks and mobilizing with their comrades. Over time, even the Guard veteran Barda grew to trust him despite his extensive experience and wisdom.
However, Dain revealed himself as an Ol, an ethereal creature designed specifically to serve the Shadow Lord. This made the attempt to regain the capital particularly devastating since his anonymity gave him a decisive advantage.
3/10 Light Yagami spent his career maintaining anonymity
To Death note‘s Light Yagami, anonymity was everything. Since L already suspected him from their first meeting, he spent the rest of the series avoiding guilt and suspicion. His rival’s death did little to ease the tension, as Near and Mello immediately replaced him.
Light was incredibly creative in devising alibis and excuses, such as dramatically eating potato chips and using Misa Amane to carry out murders in his absence. His anonymity proved crucial because although the notebook made him powerful, he could not carry out his twisted justice if others continued to investigate him vigorously.
2/10 Yoshikage Kira wanted a quiet life
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Despite being a prolific serial killer, Yoshikage Kira did not like attention. On the contrary, he wanted a quiet life where he could indulge his desires without facing any consequences.
When Shigechi accidentally revealed Kira’s identity, he prefaced their fight by saying that he hates conflict, but never lost when forced to fight. To Kira’s credit, this was a claim he was able to substantiate since he only lost when the heroes of Morioh teamed up to defeat him. In the end, not even acquiring a new identity could guarantee Kira’s anonymity.
1/10 Nobody still knows anything about Im
I was the true leader of the world government in One Piece. Considering that they use the five elders as proxies, they clearly value anonymity and want to be completely anonymous. Despite the series reaching its final saga, virtually nothing is known about Im.
However, it is implied that they are responsible for the Void Century given how determined they were to wipe out the scholars of Ohara. This suggests that Im is immortal and that they have controlled the entire world throughout recorded history.
NEXT: 10 Strong My Hero Academia Characters With Weak Quirks