Every main character needs something to fight. Creators use an opposing force to tell their stories. Shonen anime villains often go hand in hand with heroes due to personal and moral differences.
Shonen villains are meant to be equal but opposite, so they’re usually just as strong and smart as the heroes. If these characters weren’t morally corrupt with a lust for power, they would have the skills to change the world for the better. Unfortunately, villains use their abilities for evil, which leads to wasted potential.
ten Aizen was too smart for his own good (Bleach)
Aizen may be a terrible person, but he’s also a genius. Not only does he trick all of the Soul Reapers into trusting him, but he also manages to quietly take over Soul Society without anyone noticing. If Ichigo’s appearance hadn’t motivated Captain Hitsugaya to investigate Soul Society, no one would have found out about Aizen’s betrayal.
His intelligence and skills as a captain could have been used to improve Soul Society if he had stayed on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, his ego got too big for him and he wasted his skills as a Soul Reaper.
9 Nagato would have made a difference (Naruto Shippuden)
Nagato is the definition of what could have been. He and his friends had big plans to make a difference in the Ninja world and bring peace to all. As an orphan who lost his family during the Third Great Ninja War, he could have gone vengeful. Instead, he wanted to make a difference.
Unfortunately, the tragic death of his closest friend, Yahiko, caused him to abandon his goals and turn to villainy. Despite his losses, Nagato could have changed the world for the better if he had held on. He resembles Naruto in many ways, which makes his turn to villainy an unfortunate mess.
8 All For One used his power for himself (My Hero Academia)
All For One is an almighty monster who goes up against the symbol of peace All Might. At one point he had complete control over the world and he used his Quirk to bring people to his side. Considering the power of his Quirk, things might have turned out differently had he used it for good rather than evil.
The power to remove and give Quirks would make a huge difference to someone who couldn’t handle the downsides of their Quirk or someone who never had a Quirk to begin with. Instead, All For One used his abilities to gain power for himself and the world suffered.
seven Light has been corrupted by power (Death Note)
Early in the series, Light is shown to be incredibly intelligent. He may be a high school student, but he’s worked with the police on several cases before and he still manages to stay on top of his studies while doing it. Not to mention that he is exceptionally popular with his classmates.
However, all of his potential as a future detective is wasted as soon as he retrieves the Death Note. He becomes obsessed with fixing the world and gaining power, which results in the deaths of thousands of people. The Light could have had a positive influence in the world, but it is instead corrupted by the Death Note.
6 Eren chose the wrong type of freedom (Attack On Titan)
It’s a surprise for the fans and the characters when Eren decides to destroy the world. For most of the story, he is determined to rid the world of Titans and protect his loved ones. As a result, audiences saw him as a typical shonen protagonist.
However, even early in the series, there were signs that her beliefs might change. Eren had the potential to reshape the world peacefully, but unfortunately he uses his powers to destroy his enemies.
Shou Tucker is introduced as a brilliant scientist and a loving father. He gained notoriety by producing the only chimera capable of human speech, and his research into chimeras earned him an alchemist’s license. Despite what he portrays on the surface, it is revealed that his means to achieve his goals are much darker than anyone thought.
Tucker may be a smart man, but he’s definitely not smart enough to realize how his decisions are ruining his life. He sacrifices his family and his job to achieve insane goals and ends up with nothing because of it. Not only does he ruin his own potential, but he also takes away his family’s promise.
4 Madara abandoned his village (Naruto Shippuden)
Madara and Hashirama are two of the most influential characters in the series. The Shinobi world changes completely after finding Konohagakure together. Things would probably have continued to improve if Madara had not abandoned his village.
He becomes too obsessed with his own clan and goals, and loses the village he helped create. Madara could have been an excellent leader in Leaf Village, but he let the thoughts of others blind him.
3 The redesign could have saved people (My Hero Academia)
Like Shou Tucker, Overhaul is a mad scientist obsessed with his own goals. He pretends to want to help his father figure, but he becomes blinded by his lust for power. His ability to deconstruct and reconstruct anything he touches has the potential to save many people.
If used as a healing Quirk, it is even more powerful than Recovery Girls. Overhaul’s myopia and overconfidence caused him to lose his Quirk and the opportunity to restore his adoptive father.
2 Kyogai was a writer (Demon Slayer)
Kyogai was a powerful lower moon demon in demon slayer. But before his life as a demon, he was a writer. Not much is shown of his background, but it’s clear that he not only enjoyed writing, but dreamed of teaching others to write.
Even though his past visions indicate that he hit a plateau with his writing, he might have improved if given the chance. Instead, he becomes a demon and any chance of having a normal human life becomes completely lost to him.
1 Young Toguro was an excellent teacher (Yu Yu Hakusho)
In his youth, Toguro is a powerful warrior and an excellent teacher. He had the skills to win the Dark Tournament, and he also had a school where he taught others how to fight. However, everything changes for him when his students are killed by a demon. After that, he throws away his life and his love for Genkai.
Toguro becomes a demon himself who only seems to care about being the most powerful. If things hadn’t gone wrong for Toguro, he could have been an ally or even Yusuke’s teacher.