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Page image is JAFAAC.


The face of inevitable triumph.



See also:

  • The most impressive and villainous character in Ashita no Nadja happens to be a 13-year-old girl, Nadja's Forgotten Childhood Friend: Rosemary Applefield. Rosemary, believing Nadja was stealing the princess life Rosemary had always dreamed of away from her and casting her aside, becomes a willing participant in Hermann Preminger's schemes and proves herself a deceptive, manipulative, and ruthless schemer in her own right at only age 13. Pretending to be the long lost Nadja Preminger to the Duke and to Nadja's mother Colette, Rosemary charms everyone with her elegance, courtesy, and seeming innocence, which proves useful when implicating the real Nadja, the Black Rose, and even the Applefield orphanage in alleged crimes against her. When Nadja catches her in this act, Rosemary feigns being a victim of Hermann's cruel plot before shredding Nadja's most cherished dress right before her eyes. In a later meeting, Rosemary emotionally agitates Nadja to where it looks like she's assaulting Rosemary, which gets the police to go after Nadja. Nadja returns to prove her identity, but Rosemary is able to counter her claims with quick thinking and skillful manipulation of others in the room. After getting what she'd wanted but finding Victory Is Boring, Rosemary is quick to denounce her alliance with Hermann, who himself has come to fear her. And after all her devious trickery, she only gets a slap in the face before showing herself to be a Graceful Loser and imparting words of advice to Nadja as she leaves the manor of her own accord, receiving no punishment for her actions and even earning Nadja's respect. Karma Houdini, indeed.
  • Gakuhou Asano of Assassination Classroom was once a caring teacher who sought vengeance on the bullies who drove one of his students to suicide by getting them addicted to gambling, ruining their lives in the process. Becoming the chairman of Kunugigaoka Junior High School, Gakuhou established a system that would make sure that 95 percent of the students would be successful, by demeaning the lowest 5 percent, Class-E. He would make sure that the top 95 percent would constantly triumph Class-E over academic and sports, by subjugating them to his brutal teaching methods. Willing to prove that his system is flawless, Gakuhou challenges Koro-Sensei to open one of the five handout, before the grenades inside detonate, with four of them being lethal to Koro-Sensei. When Koro-Sensei fills out four of the five handouts, Gakuhou opens the one lethal to him in an attempt to take Koro-Sensei with him. Having a change of heart after Koro-Sensei saves him, Gakuhou accepts his loss with grace before resigning as chairman.
  • Balalaika from Black Lagoon. Ruthless, cool, very dignified ex-special forces commander, now the queen of the mafia. Her huge facial scars can't completely tarnish her incredible beauty, and her fighting skills and intelligence keep her on top of the crime control of Roanapur. When she heads to Japan on business, Balalaika casually manipulates a gang war simply to enjoy the excitement with no side ever coming close to even touching her. Earlier, when two of her beloved soldiers are killed by the assassin twins, Hansel and Gretel, Balalaika lures Hansel out to his death and delivers an utterly chilling Breaking Speech as Hansel bleeds to death. Frequently displaying a tactical brilliance, Balalaika shows again and again why she is one of the single most powerful and dangerous people in the world.
    • Series protagonist Rokuro "Rock" Okajima himself seems to be turning into a anti-heroic Magnificent Bastard as he becomes steadily more jaded. Proving his tactical acumen in the first few episodes by coming up with a genius plan to wipe out a pursuing anti-tank aircraft, Rock later shows his skilled manipulative side by becoming a flawless negotiator to the point that all the most powerful players in Roanpur genuinely like and respect him. During Roberta's rampage, it is Rock who manipulates Roberta and her master Garcia into a deadly confrontation to end the bloodshed, nearly getting both killed, but ending in Roberta recovering her sanity and leaving in peace. Rock continues to demonstrate his ability to use and manipulate others, even if for ostensibly desirable ends, as possibly the single most dangerous and skilled player of the criminal game in the darkness that is Roanpur.
      • He talked back at Balalaika and lived. That alone shows how much of a Magnificent Bastard he is.
    • Let's not forget Balalaika's biggest Rival and pretty much the only mafia leader in Roanapur who can constantly keep up with her: Mr. Chang from the Sun-Yee On Triad.
      • With the latest OVA series it is clear that Chang and Balalaika are equals. Balalaika might have her absolute lead in prowess and wit, but Chang makes it up with his great influence and far superior contacts, with CIA for example.
    • Eda, supposedly a flirty criminal nun from the so-called Church of Violence smuggling operation, is actually a skilled major player in her own right. A CIA agent who also completely dominates the Triad boss Mr. Chang, Eda is in effect the true secret ruler of Roanpur. On the field, Eda also freely manipulates the hapless Janet Bhai into a safehouse that will be invaded, with enough instructions to escape so Eda can extort her for protection, and later shows that she casually plays all sides in Roanpur while setting up an end to the insane battle maid Roberta's rampage.
    • Even Revy has had her moments in this trope's territory. Perhaps hanging around Rock and Eda a lot rubs off on her and makes this natural.
  • In Blade of the Immortal, Anotsu Kagehisa desires a world where "the sword excuses all". Creating the Itto-Ryu, Anotsu begins to hunt down dojos to eliminate them in order to abolish the stifling sword styles from the world in favor of a world of pure determination. Cleverly eluding his pursuers via having prostitutes disguise themselves as him and lead his hunters into ambushes, Anotsu's utter tenacity sees him through other attempts on his life and rallying the itto-Ryu against the shogunate, culminating in a dynamic assault on Edo castle itself. Even to the end, Anotsu remains a complex figure, stopping at nothing to achieve his dreams despite all the wrongs he has committed on his path.
    • Habaki Kagimura, secret master of the Mugai-Ryu and the shinbangashira—a major figure in the Shogunate—forms the Mugai-Ryu to secretly destroy the Itto-Ryu before luring the organization's strongest members into a trap and destroying them. Capturing series Protagonist, the immortal man Manji, Habaki subjects him to experiments to perfect immortality for the sake of the Shogun. When ordered to commit seppuku, Habaki uses his time to try to destroy the Itto-Ryu, dealing a series of decisive blows before engaging Anotsu himself with surprising good humor and mutual respect, with his only regrets at the end being the loss of the two loves of his life and his dead children.
  • Bleach's Sosuke Aizen. The man caused the exile of six Gotei 13 captains, multiple vice-captains, and both the Kidou Corps captain and vice-captain in a single move, while pinning it all on one of the exiled captains. He got away with this for over a century then had the entire governing body of the Soul Society slaughtered and replaced by him and his henchman without anyone noticing. He then manipulated everyone with ease in a great, long-running Gambit Roulette to steal the Hogyoku trapped in Rukia's soul, take over the Hollow world, create a new army of soul-eating supersoldiers, and then take over... pretty much everything else. He had backup plan upon backup plan, faked his own death, nearly stabbed to death his fiercely-loyal lieutenant (who remained fiercely loyal for a while afterward), took out the fighting strength of the Gotei 13 including Yamamoto himself, and very nearly succeeded in obliterating Ichigo's hometown to fuel his ambitions. He was brought down by his own Villainous BSOD upon realizing both that Ichigo had grown more powerful than he had anticipated and that enormously intelligent Urahara doesn't agree with his view on how the world should work.
    • One arc is pretty much the struggle between two Magnificent Bastard candidates: Shujuro Tsukishima and Ginjo Kugo. Even after it's revealed they're working together, it's Ginjo who proves to be the more impressive of the two. Desiring revenge on the Soul Society, Ginjo assembled the Fullbringer group Xcution and manipulated Ichigo Kurosaki into joining. Secretly in league with Xcution's greatest 'enemy', Shukuro Tsukishima, Ginjo in fact has Tsukishima erase his own memory to convincingly pull a ruse off so he may lure Ichigo into a trap and steal his Soul Reaper powers before empowering the other members of Xcution to attack Soul Society. Reflected as an Evil Counterpart to Ichigo, Ginjo even returns in the final arc to assist Ichigo one last time to save the world from the monstrous Yhwach.
    • Mad Scientist Mayuri Kurostuchi started as a depraved Complete Monster, but he reappears in the Arrancar arc by stepping in the way of his fellow Mad Scientist Szayelaporro, counters all of his techniques in increasingly Crazy Prepared ways, deals him one magnificent "The Reason You Suck" Speech that pulverizes his motivations and finishes it with one HELL of a Cruel and Unusual Death. He's later one of the few Captains who can talk back to a completely pissed off Yamamoto and make quite the points as he does so, keeps his Bankai when the Vandenreich steal almost all of them from the Captains, counteracts Giselle Gewelle's extremely hard to fight back against battle techniques, etc. It says a lot that he's a Captain despite his absolute dickery, since everyone is Soul Society is clearly aware that he's too dangerous if let loose.
  • Chisato Ichijiku of Brynhildr in the Darkness is the director of the experiments performed by a mysterious organization known as Vingulf and the man responsible for the events in the first half of the manga. Initially appears as an apathetic person in his teenage years, Chisato is heartbroken after his sister's death and tries his best to revive her, even joining Vingulf to do so, and participates in their unethical experiments. He even implants a parasite capable of annihilating the human race in one of Vingulf's subjects, "1107", in order to revive his sister. Despite his seemingly failed attempts at bringing subject 1107 to Vingulf's higher ups, he manages to do so after persuading a Valkyria class witch, Mako Fujisaki, to capture the escaped test subject and raids the hero's hideout along with her. Encountering the soul of his sister in the final moments of 1107 after she got ejected, Chisato finally regains his humanity and spends his last moments protecting Mako from harm.
  • Isley, the Silver King in Claymore, was the first of the Creatures of the Abyss, the first Number 1 of the first and only male generation of Claymores. Upon meeting the powerful Priscilla and learning her power, Isley submits to her, intending on manipulating her to bring the world under his control. Bringing about a war in the North with his former comrades now as Awakened Beings, Isley splits his forces in half to sacrifice them against another Abyssal One and the Claymore Organization while he heads South to defeat the third Abyssal One and take her lands. Bonding with The Heroine Clare's former companion Raki, Isley truly grows to love him and Priscilla as family and even sends them away when the monstrous Abyssal Feeders come for him to save their lives. Even post-mortem, we learn Isley only ever Awakened to begin with voluntarily to stop his former comrades and instilled Raki with a plan to help stop Priscilla if she became a monster, a plan that Raki manages to pull off thanks to his teachings.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion has many, with the Anti-Hero Or Villain Protagonist Lelouch Vi Britannia being one of the best examples. He turns a weak regional rebellion into a massive world war against his father, all while under the guise of the fabulously theatrical masked persona, Zero. We later see him curbstomping an entire Britannian platoon with a handful of the remaining members of La Résistance still in the area, all while treating it like a game of chess. Next, we see him playing the Japan Liberation Front against the Britannians to buy enough time to cause a mudslide to annihilate the enemy forces and nearly capture Cornelia. After that, we see him predicting Mao's responses to a recorded message to distract him from the police. His resume goes on and on...
    • His older brother Schneizel lacks the theatrics, but more than makes up for it in sheer competence, managing to wipe out all the progress that Lelouch made in over forty episodes in less than four minutes - though admittedly only through Lelouch's inability to kill an unarmed enemy soldier 40 episodes prior, and his unwillingness to use his Geass to erase knowledge of the Geass Research Facility. Without that, Schneizel's words would have just been hot air.
      • Considering both Charles and Marianne, it's In the Blood, after all.
        • Even when Schneizel separates Lelouch from the Black Knights, Lelouch, with only a few allies, manages to go and take over THE OTHER HALF of the world as from the half he captured last time He then goes on to finish taking over the rest of the world. His Magnificent Bastardness REALLY shines through, however, when you realize that taking over the world was really just part of a bigger plan to create a peaceful world for his precious sister Nunnally - a plan that requires his own death.
        • That entire sequence is even more awesome when you realize: he could have done this from the start. This is what Lelouch becomes after you take away his friends and love interest.
    • C.C. is one of these as well, seeing as she helps Lelouch with almost everything he does. She may be Lelouch's right-hand woman, but she's never outshined by him.
    • Cornelia has her moments as this too while commanding the Britannian army. She's even caught Lelouch off his guard at times!
  • In Dance in the Vampire Bund, Alphonse Medici de Borgiani is the Bund's master of intelligence who, for the sake of the Bund, will have a child kidnapped and bitten to blackmail the boy's politician grandfather. Constantly putting pressure on the hero Akira to better himself and become a strong companion for Princess Mina, Alphonse later orchestrates the betrayal and takeover of Mina's evil Doppleganger, before repenting and making plans to have Mina return to the throne via a series of clever contingencies. Finally, Alphonse allows himself to be destroyed and leaves a recording blaming himself for all of the Fake Mina's crimes so none of it will reflect upon the true Mina, protecting her, as Akira says, all the way to the bitter end.
  • Dances With The Dragons: Cardinal Moldeen Ogus Gyunei is the mastermind behind the series events, seeking to unite the Alshok Territory with the Seven-Cities Alliance and prevent the catastrophic Holy War from occurring. Arranging for the assassination of his own decoy, Moldeen uses this to expose and then kill the traitor in his organization. Hiring two assassins to use as bait to lure out a defector, Moldeen is also revealed to be responsible for the failure of the first treaty, which he did to create favorable conditions for Alshok. Admitting to be willing to deceive, betray, spill blood and even support oppressive regimes in the name of his end goal, Moldeen will stop at nothing to create a world where future generations can live in happiness.
  • The elusive, mysterious Amber of Darker than Black betrayed MI-6 to work for The Syndicate, eventually leading the deadliest squad of Contractors in Heaven's War. Realizing the Syndicate's true intentions and using her powers to see and rewind the future countless times, Amber manipulated the Syndicate and her own side to seal off Heaven's Gate, which caused a massive disaster that rendered most of South America uninhabitable. Returning in modern day Japan, Amber orchestrates a series of bombings while kidnapping the scientist behind the Saturn Ring project, manipulating her former lover Hei and the world's intelligence agencies to place Hei close to Hell's Gate so he can seal it as well and prevent the Saturn Ring project from killing all the world's Contractors. After settling things with Hei, Amber sacrifices herself to rewind time and give him a chance to choose a third option, later revealing she had foreseen that possibility and left guidance in the new world Hei had made.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note employs Memory Gambits, Batman Gambits and Gambit Roulettes left, right and centre while eating potato chips and wielding his pen like a sword to Ominous Latin Chanting. For a while he even manages to get most of the world on his side, whether it be as Serial Killer Kira, or as the facade of an investigator on the police task force looking to bring Kira down. Though as his Sanity Slippage sets in and his arrogance grows, he enters Smug Snake territory until he ends up losing his cool and control.
    • L Lawliet is the world's best detective and the Arch Enemy and only intellectual equal of Light. Introducing himself by tricking Light into revealing his location by sacrificing a death row inmate, L goes on to pursue Light with unfettered ruthlessness. With only mundane resources at his disposal, L manages to constantly evade Light's supernaturally-backed attempts to kill him and becomes ever-closer to exposing Light for his crimes. Even when Light deliberately loses his memories of his work as a Serial Killer, L continues to close in on his enemy and is only finally killed when Light convinces a Shinigami to take out L by giving its own life. Having left a fail-safe to inform his successors of his passing, L's posthumous machination leaves Near and Mello the field to finally take down Light, leaving his rival to scream and plead for his life before his own death, during which he sees a vision of L standing before him as the truly triumphant party in their feud.
  • Ryo Asuka of Devilman, in truth the fallen angel Satan, is the one who connives to have Akira Fudo become Devilman by tricking him into being possessed by the demon Amon. Upon regaining his memories as Satan, Ryo exposes the existence of demons and sets the world into a full-blown panic to make humanity turn on itself while he sweeps in with his demons to eliminate them, eventually facing and killing Akira himself to his great sorrow. Even after God resets the world, forcing Ryo to relive losing Akira over and over, Ryo shows hints of subtly altering things to eventually change the fate forced on him, showing why he is both Akira's greatest friend and deadliest enemy.
  • Jean-Luc LeBlanc, Nietzsche Wannabe and Evilutionary Biologist, of Divergence Eve.
  • D Gray Man: Even though very little is known about him, the more we learn about NEA D Campbell, the more he appears as this. His desire to achieve his ambition, that is to kill the Millennium Earl and take his place is so fierce that he orchestrated a plan that involved his own death at the end of the earl to be reincarnated decades later with absolutely no guarantee that everything would to just as planned. He is charismatic enough to rally humans to his cause when he himself is a human hater and wishes to kill them all. He has also shown to be very manipulative, impersonating others to reach his ends.
  • Gaku Yashiro is the psychopathic mastermind in ERASED who brings excitement into his everyday life by murdering children and expertly framing innocents for the crimes. His genius extending all the way to childhood, where he effortlessly murdered his abusive older brother and made it look like a suicide, he carries his depraved intelligence into adulthood, where he spends years perfecting the art of charming and manipulating others, especially his preferred targets. Be it noticing signs of abuse or taking advantage of their innate naivety, he always gets his target, and in a notable instance, murdered one of his male students who resembled a girl, knowing it would eliminate him from suspicion as a killer who solely targeted females. Despite Satoru's time travel abilities, Yashiro one-ups and outwits him at every turn, never even knowing of the man's powers, just being so naturally adaptable that nothing slows him down. Yashiro is a truly terrifying killer, having not only the smarts and charms to kill whoever he wants with ease, but also the fast-thinking to ensure that he's never caught, no matter what opposition arises.
  • Proxy One in Ergo Proxy, who is even referenced to be "the winner at the end of the world" (with good reason). Not only is he the master manipulator of nearly everything that happens in the course of the series, but he wins.
  • Hiruma, the team captain and quarterback for the Devil Bats, of Eyeshield 21. Scarily enough, he's also the Team Dad.
  • The Count from Gankutsuou- holy shit. Perhaps even more so than he was in the original story. Once an innocent man sentenced unjustly, Edmond Dantes returns as the ruthless, charming Count of Monte Cristo to destroy his enemies. Rescuing the son of his former best friend Fernand and his fiancee Mercedes, the young Albert Morcerf, it is later revealed the Count set up the kidnapping to begin with to gain Albert's trust. Manipulating his old enemies into trusting him with investments that ruin them, the Count also reveals he rescued a young alien girl named Haydee so she could expose Fernand as a traitor and the murderer of her father. Edmond also introduces one enemy, Villefort's, mentally unstable wife to poison so she will commit murders and further disgrace her husband while later having his ally, the bandit Andrea, reveal he is Villefort's illegitimate son to ruin him further. Finally, the Count plans to harden his own heart and kill Albert to destroy Fernand, not satisfied until he has given Fernand the same unending despair Fernand once gave him, before finally letting go of his hatred thanks to the love of Albert, ending his life with a final plea to remember that his name was Edmond Dantes. A charming, sophisticated manipulator, none around him ever saw the Count coming until he struck.
  • Master assassin Duke Togo, better known as Golgo 13, spends most of his stories coming up with a complex gambit to fool his target and get him in a position to take his shot. A master sniper, Togo has been active decades with incredibly few failures and a sterling reputation as a professional. In one instance, he tricked a CIA traitor into leading him to her boss while wearing a red coat against the snowy background to snipe them both in one shot. In another, knowing a mobster was faster on the draw than him, Golgo fooled him into being occupied with his dominant arm holding on to a woman so Golgo could outdraw him. Throughout every story, what characterizes Golgo 13 is cold charisma and unreadable expression, always having a plan to take out his target, no matter who it is.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn has Byakuran the third major Big Bad of the series.
    • But the true mastermind of the whole Future Arc was TYL!Tsuna. Yes, that Tsuna.
    • The Inheritance Ceremony Arc Big Bad, Daemon Spade, shows signs of this trope as well.
  • Kindaichi Case Files: The Gentleman Thief is really a cunning woman and Master of Disguise with a penchant for stealing precious items and leaving notes to her next targets. Disguising herself as a young journalist, Diago Maki, the Thief targets Gamou Gouzou's residence to steal his painting, "My Beloved Daughter". Although almost outwitted by Kindaichi, the Thief disguises herself as and old woman and ties him to a basket of heavy rocks, leaving him stranded in the middle of a busy street. Later appearances show the Thief uses the same ploy to trick Kindaichi and get away with her stolen goods, saying she hopes to meet her challenging rival again.
  • Saralegui from Kyo Kara Maoh. In one move, he made sure that Yuuri's crew all trusted him and wiped out Large Shimaron's army by by having his own servant shoot him in the chest with an arrow, making it appear as if the arrow was aimed for Yuuri and that he had thrown himself in the way to protect Yuuri, causing Yuuri to go into Maoh mode and destroy all of Saralegui's enemies for him. He then followed that up by hypnotizing Yuuri into wiping out Large Shimaron's navy for him. Remarkably, he still managed to finish up the series with Yuuri trusting him completely until the very end.
    • Murata also was pretty sneaky, carrying out a 4000 year plan with Shinou in order to destroy the Originators by trapping them inside Shinou, and in turn trapping Shinou inside Yuuri to get Yuuri to destroy them both. He isn't the Great Wise Man for nothing.
  • Johan Liebert - the Monster. He manipulates everyone he encounters as they were puppets on a string and then disposes of them without a second thought, subverts every Pet the Dog moment he's given in chilling ways, and never loses that Dissonant Serenity permanently affixed to his face. The problem is, the straight treatment the series gives his activities also makes him freaking scary to behold. A perfect example of a character who manages to be both this trope and a Complete Monster.
  • Arguably, the closest to Magnificent Bastard in Naruto is Kabuto Yakushi. Yes, THAT Kabuto, who has raised the most powerful zombie army in the history of that world... including the real Madara Uchiha among his sort-of members. Holy CRAP!
    • Kisame Hoshigaki at first appears only a 'thug lost in the mist' but is in truth one of the most level and devoted members of Akatsuki. After defeating Killer Bee, Kisame uses a plan to fake his own death with a White Zetsu clone and infiltrates bee's village of Kumogakure, gathering intelligence on the Allied Shinobi Forces. It is revealed later that Kisame was once tasked with eliminating traitors and potential captives in his home village of the Mist, even luring his treacherous teacher to his death to claim his sword Samehada. When exposed, Kisame uses clever tactics to preserve the intelligence and eventually, realizing he is not 'such a terrible man' after all, chooses to commit suicide rather than face capture, while using his last moments to rig the scroll with a trap that results in the intelligence finding its way to his superiors anyways, his death so impressive and touching that even the incredibly forgetful Might Guy, Kisame's supposed nemesis vows to remember Kisame for the rest of his life.
    • Nagato, better known as the alias of Pain, is the most visible leader of Akatsuki. Deciding that the world must known pain in order to know peace, Pain has the Akatsuki corner the war market in time of peace with Akatsuki acting as mercenaries in order to strengthen his group and weaken the military power of the villages. Secretly leading a rebellion in his home village of the Rain, Pain conceals his victory and projects an air of mystery and power as to be seen as a god. Secretly plotting to merge all the Bijuu into a superweapon to terrify the world into peace, Pain kills his former mentor Jiraiya and proceeds to attack Konohagakure with a series of ruthless, brilliant tactics that leave the village all but helpless against him. Finally facing Naruto, what truly saves the Leaf is Pain acknowledging his former idealism and sacrificing himself to revive the villagers. With unmatched charisma and drive for his version of peace, Pain remains one of the most memorable and driven villains in the series.
    • Sumire Kakei of Boruto, true name Sumire Shigaraki. A seemingly shy, sweet young lady, Sumire is the successor of the ROOT ninja Tanuki Shigaraki and seeks revenge for her family's stigmatization by destroy the Leaf. Playing the innocent, Sumire infects others with negative emotions to harvest their chakra for her creature, the Nue, manipulating all around her and even using an attack to injure herself to deflect suspicion. Sumire manages to outwit and elude even other veteran ninja while summoning the Nue to destroy the village, only being stopped by Boruto helping her to realize how much she loved the mask she created and the friends she gained along the way.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Gendo Ikari, the leader of the NERV organization. While far from his only ploy, the greatest reason he is on this page is for his involvement in the Human Instrumentality Project, even though he wasn't the one in charge. He was enough of a key factor to be considered the one most responsible for it, and he even had his own motive for manipulating its execution: to be reunited with his dead wife Yui.
  • Manning from Orguss 02 is a perfect example of the trope. Perfect quote, when he's on a plane with two others that's under attack by an enemy Giant Robot:

Manning: "When I give you the signal I want you to push that button. That's not so hard."
Lean: "That's the hatch release. If I open the hatch, then what?"
Manning: "I'll escape in the Decimator."
Lean: "You mean the only person who's going to get out of this alive is you?"
Manning: <Shrugs> "Beats everyone dying, doesn't it?"

  • A good few characters from Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Everything Kyouya did had a purpose that would benefit him in the long run (with one or two notable exceptions). He even used the Host Club profit to buy out his father's company unbeknownst to his dad, who thought of him as a loser because of the Club itself. Character Development later turns him into a Guile Hero.
    • Benibara and the Zuka Club are also contenders, having seen right through Haruhi's masquerade and also matching the Host Club in style, charisma, and persuasiveness. Tamaki and the twins, Hikaru and Kaoru, get their moments as this too.
  • Ryoko Asakura of Haruhi Suzumiya fame has some qualifications down. Not only is she intelligent, but her charismatic and cheerful personality makes it so easy for one to lower their guard around her. She had Kyon and the audience fooled twice. Even though we should know better by the second time, she has us fooled anyway.
    • Haruhi Suzumiya herself displays tendencies of this on occasion, particularly in the manga adaptation. She's at least got the ruthless, bold and charismatic part down.
  • Akio Ohtori from Revolutionary Girl Utena. He seduces multiple women including Utena, his sister Anthy, and his fiancee's mother as well as some guys Touga. He also: rigs the entire series of duels; creates a false timeline; convinces his own sister to stab Utena; and runs a private school in his spare time. And he gets away with all of that. ( Well, almost all. Anthy does shake off his mind control in the end and leaves him to find Utena.
  • Lord Laertes Van Di Montague from Romeo X Juliet, who pretty much rose from the slums after the death of his prostitute mother, infiltrated himself in the Montague clan as a kid, killed its leader when he was of age, slaughtered the rival clan of the Capulets both to gain power and as revenge for his destitute origins, and ruled Neo Verona with a hand of steel for almost 15 years. And that's just the beginning...
  • Kunzite from Sailor Moon. After over a season of Monsters Of The Week, most of the Shitennou repeatedly showing themselves to be incompetent, and Usagi continuing to win and even gain ground against the Dark Kingdom, it was a breath of fresh air to see Beryl's Dragon catch the entire team and almost finish them off (and only fail because of a scout he didn't know about), take all seven Rainbow Crystals (with Zoisite's help) and thus almost claim the Silver Crystal for the Dark Kingdom, defeat and nearly kill all of the Sailor Senshi in battle, come up with a nearly successful way to zero in on Sailor Moon and get her to expose her true self, set clever and efficient traps for the Senshi, tear through Usagi's obvious Out-Gambitted ploy like it was made of wet paper, and finally go down fighting against Sailor Moon instead of getting the You Have Failed Me... treatment. Even if he's not as awesome as some of the examples on this page and went through a five episode period of Badass Decay, the series could've used more like him.
    • Professor Tomoe, who is not only a brilliant (and hammy) Mad Scientist but also subverts the Bad Boss trope and actually got very far in his objectives as a result in spite of his underlings frequent incompetence.
    • Cele Cele of the Amazoness Quartet showed qualities of one in episode 156 when she successfully manipulates her target into betraying his own dream while in the guise of a sympathetic and charismatic Rich Bitch.
    • Sailor Galaxia. Her complex scheming and effective manipulations of all of her soldiers, as well as her sheer power and style, puts her squarely here in this trope. Particularly in the manga, where her agency is her own rather than of the Bigger Bad Chaos.
  • Xellos, the self proclaimed Trickster Priest, for The Slayers fits this bill quite nicely, even moreso in the original novels. Hiding his true self behind a veil of smiles and pleasantries, Xellos ruthlessly manipulates Lina and friends into carrying out his wishes and destroying his enemies. Frequently arranging situations to benefit himself no matter what the outcome, Xellos helps destroy his Mistress, the Grand Beast Zelas Metallium's rivals and other Mazoku should it benefit him. Xellos tends to change his schemes on the fly as well, making it impossible to tell what was part of his plans from the start, even if he admits he feels some affection for Lina and her team. Xellos is so charming and affable, it's very easy to forget that he is a demonic being under his friendliness.
  • Shut Hell: The Dreaded, ruthless Khan; Genghis Khan himself. Born Temujin, and branded with the Tangut letters on his back marking him as a slave forever, the Khan seeks to destroy the Tangut script and the people of western Xia to forever remove knowledge of the brand on his skin. Utterly dominating the Mongol tribes through his dark charisma and power, the Khan sweeps through Western Xia and Jin, devastating all in his path with his brilliance and strength. Ever quick to turn any disadvantage back to his side, the Khan even handles the death of his son and commander Tolui by enslaving the young prince Yurul and forcing him to take Tolui's identity. A man who rose from nothing to become the greatest warlord the world had ever seen, the Khan decides he will burn all in his path, no matter how much fire it takes.
  • Medusa Gorgon in Soul Eater. Manipulates her daughter... son... child into becoming a Dark Magical Child... but subverts the usual Heel Face Turn so that "s/he" would be The Mole instead. Blackmails other witches, like Eruka, into working for her by planting parts of her body in them that explode whenever she wills it. Matches the best Technician and Death Scythe in Shibusen in battle, resurrects the monster, gives The Corruption to the main heroine/hero duo, comes Back from the Dead by stealing the body of a little girl with the promise of returning it later (a promise she actually keeps but only when she finds a better body, as mentioned below) but still fully using said little girl's body as an advantage so no one can attack her, drives the best tech crazy, frames him for murder, drives out a good witch who wanted to defect, and convinces Shibusen to let her lead them in an assault against her Rival Older Sister.
    • Then she proves herself to be an Uber Magnificent Bitch when she reveals that she had lied about Arachnaphobia kidnapping Chrona, gets Maka to defeat her sister Arachne, then leaves Rache's body as she promises and then steals Arachne's body exactly as planned.
    • In the manga, Medusa may be even more of a Magnificent Bitch, via using her own death at the hands of a Crona whom she drove even more Ax Crazy, to fully make him/her a slave to the Black Blood. What would normally be a Kick the Son of a Bitch and Crowning Moment of Awesome for Crona... becomes a nightmarish Thanatos Gambit in Medusa's hands. Hoooo Leee Sheeeeet.
      • In short: the only time Medusa lost, it was because she won.
  • Though spending much of his time observing the major events, Shinkohyou of Soul Hunter proves himself to be one of the strongest and most compelling rivals of Taikoubou. Defeating Taikoubou for mocking his fashion sense, Shinkohyou leaves his Worthy Opponent ecstatic at facing challenging combat. Trying to stop the crown prince of the Yin Empire from fleeing, Shinkohyou gives him and his brother a Motive Rant so enlightening that they betray Taikoubou. Though seemingly villainous for much of the story, Shinkohyou is truthfully a neutral Trickster who switches sides based on which he finds more entertaining.
    • Chou Koumei is one of the strongest Kingo Island Sennin under Youkai Tsuten Kyoshu and the instigator behind a battle between the aforementioned and Kongrong Mountain to test his super paopei, destroying the relationship between the two groups. Teaming up with Dakki, Chou Koumei puts a series of maneuvers in play to stop the Zhou Empire from revolting against Choka. Kidnapping Taikoubou's companions to get him to fight, Chou Koumei takes advantage of the former fleeing from combat to turn his spirit beast into stone, forcing him to confront him. After seemingly defeating Taikoubou, Chou Koumei attempts to change the story by making another manga to replace it and when Taikoubou is resurrected, Chou Koumei turns himself into a plant and tries to drain the Earth of its nutrients. Even when finally defeated, Chou Koumei remains cordial, proving himself to be one of the most respectful and interesting opponents of the series.
  • Askeladd Olafson from Vinland Saga introduces himself to the audience sacking a fort and robbing it of its riches with a series of clever schemes, barely shedding a drop of blood. Leader of a group of Viking raiders, Askeladd was born the son of a slave and a lord. Murdering his father years later after his mother's death, Askeladd framed one of his brothers after ingratiating himself to his family. Playing the cutthroat court of King Sweyn with clever gambits, Askeladd has the caretaker of the weak prince Canute murdered to build Canute into an ideal candidate for the throne. Also driven by his desire to protect his maternal homeland of Wales, Askeladd finds himself briefly outplayed by Sweyn who demands he kill Canute or see Wales invaded by the Danes. Askeladd instead chooses to kill Sweyn and allow Canute to kill him, achieving all his goals posthumously by making Canute a beloved, respected King and knowing the young man will forge Askeladd's ideal kingdom and defend Wales out of gratitude.
  • Sakyo from Yu Yu Hakusho is a charming, charismatic member of the Black Black Club who came up from nothing. A born sociopath who despised his honest, loving family, Sakyo graduated from torturing animals into high stakes gambling where he amassed a fortune to join the demon-trafficking and torturing Black Black Club. Deciding to advance even further, Sakyo plays the group's founder Gonzo Tarukane by secretly paying off the Toguro brothers when Tarukane hires them as bodyguards, rigging the gambles he makes with Tarukane by having the Toguro brothers take a dive against Team Urameshi. Setting up his team to fight in the Dark Tournament, Sakyo takes a curious liking to Shizuru Kuwabara and protects her during the events while also manipulating and eventually disposing of the rest of the Black Black Club, before gambling his own life on Toguro's victory in order to insure he can see a portal opened to the Demon World out of sheer morbid curiosity. When Toguro is defeated, Sakyo immediately offers his life without complaint, bidding a last fond farewell to Shizuru first.
    • And later, we have the only living being able to Out Gambit Kurama and get away with it: King Yomi. Not only he did that, but he forced Kurama to work with and for him! Fucking awesome.
    • There's also Shinobu Sensui, who expertly manipulated disadvantaged superpowered youths into heinous acts in an attempt to stall the good guys, forced Kurama into a situation where he would have to kill a young child in order to proceed, tricked Makihara/Gourmet into eating Elder Toguro, who took control of him and killed him, and kidnapped Kuwabara so that Gourmet/Toguro could eat him and absorb his newfound dimension cutting powers in order to destroy a powerful barrier. Later, after killing Yusuke, Sensui manipulates Kuwabara into cutting down the Kekkai barrier, which is the only thing preventing not only Sensui's plan, but also preventing Kurama and Hiei from crossing over to try and exact revenge.
    • The Younger Toguro brother sold his soul 50 years ago to become a powerful demon after winning the Dark Tournament in despair over the deaths of his students and the knowledge of his impending mortality. In present, having grown disillusioned with his life, he manipulates the events with Gonzo Tarukane to see if Yusuke Urameshi is a worthy adversary and forces him and team to join the Dark Tournament. Toguro manipulates Yusuke into becoming stronger while also keeping him from making Toguro's mistakes before the final match. After killing Yusuke's mentor, his former teammate and lover Genkai, Toguro is dissatisfied with Yusuke's strength and seemingly murders his friend Kuwabara to force him to fight all out, only to reveal he faked Kuwabara's death. Unlike his twisted elder brother, Toguro never sold his pride along with his soul and displays a true sense of honor, grateful to give his all against a final worthy adversary.
  • The leader of the Phantom Troupe, also known as the Spiders, in Hunter X Hunter, Chrollo Lucilfer is a handsome, charismatic young man who masterminds elaborate heists and mass murders, only to get bored of the objects he obtains and sells them away again. Coming to the mafia-ruled Yorknew City, Chrollo masterminds the heist of the century where the Spiders infiltrate the mob and steal all the items from a high profile auction while Chrollo targets and steals the power of one mob boss' daughter. Completely outwitting the mob, Chrollo learns there is a contract on his head from the Twelve Godfathers and instantly hires different members of the same assassin family to target the Godfathers before having the Spiders fake their deaths and escape completely free. Chrollo also deeply values the other Spiders, offering the lives of multiple mafia soldiers as a "requiem" for the fallen Uvogin, and when he faces off against the ruthless killer Hisoka, he shows what a brilliant tactician and combatant he truly is by completely outplaying and seemingly killing the skilled fighter. A charming, philosophical man who freely admits he places no value on his own life, Chrollo is one of the most memorable villains in the series.
  • Alex MacGregor is The Rival of Victor "Bloody Rain" Freeman in Blaster Knuckle. Raised in the beast-slaying organization Silven Kreuz, Alex befriends Victor during his time in the organization. Becoming a feared and cunning Bounty Hunter while remaining part of Silven Kreuz, Alex enjoys hunting both beasts and human criminals. Joining a police hunt of Victor while knowing that he isn't a murderer, Alex befriends a young Bounty Hunter and tries to convince him to return to his old life and has a duel against Victor that ends in a harsh tie with both injured. Later, Alex manages to survive unscratched by the traps of the beasts in the town of White Rock Valley and kill his attackers. Enraged at the death of his friend, Alex joins forces with Victor to kill as many beasts as they can. Killing the beast leader personally by using his own power against him, Alex reminds the good times and allows Victor to go away, warning him about other members of Silven Kreuz and showing why he's both Victor's enemy and friend.
  • Brain Powerd: Winston Gaybridge is initially presented as a Reasonable Authority Figure before revealing himself as the Governor of the Reclaimers. Intending to control Orphan and awaken it, potentially causing The End of the World as We Know It in an attempt to make humans value nature, Gaybridge dislikes his own actions yet is willing to accept the guilt for causing the destruction of mankind. After the United States of America invades Orphan, Gaybridge shows his distaste towards American imperialism yet uses the Americans for his own purposes. Painting the crew of the Novice Noah as terrorists, Gaybridge fires nuclear weapons against the ship—uncaring about the thousands of refugees caught in the crossfire and inside the Novice Noah itself, and when the Novice Noah teleports the nukes elsewhere, Gaybridge orders multiple nuclear strikes to frame the Novice Noah for it, turning them into enemies of the world. Polite to both allies and enemies, Gaybridge's defeat was a product of his lack of understanding of Orphan's unexpected human-like nature.
    • Baron Maximilian is a mysterious man who becomes Jonathan Glenn's Evil Mentor, giving him the Baronz, a special and powerful antibody that damages the mind of their pilot. Showing a clear fondness for Jonathan, the Baron ensures the best for him, joining the Reclaimers with the eventual intention of synchronizing Jonathan's mind with Orphan. Realizing a coup against Winston Gaybridge and taking control of the Reclaimers, the Baron supports Quincy Isamu after she synchronizes with Orphan,due to knowing that Jonathan supports her as well. Knowing about Jonathan's grudge against Yu Isamu, the Baron pilots the Baronz, intending to kill Yu for Jonathan's well being. Revealed as Anoha McCormick, formerly the captain of the Novice Noah and Jonathan's regretful negligent mother, Anoha is defeated, dying at the hands of her son. A mysterious, powerful and intimidating persona, Baron Maximillian is able to overcome the odds in order to bring happiness to her son,and while her apocalyptic plans failed due to the collective efforts of the Novice Noah, Anoha died fulfilling her true goal of reconciling with her son
  • Although she is one of the good guys, Haruna Saotome herself is this in regards to pactios, or anything involving magic. Ships everyone with Negi, DRAGS Negi to Comiket, and makes plans to conquer the entire Magic World.
  • A ton of characters in Future Diary take shots at exemplifying this trope, and among the biggest one of all turns out to be Yuno Gasai.
    • Second place would go to Mur-Mur, seemingly the humorous minion of Deus Ex Machina, but schemes behind her master's back to continue the survival games for eternity to amuse herself. Convincing Yuno Gasai to travel to the 2nd World and take that Yuno's place so she can still be with Yukiteru Amano, Mur-Mur would also take her own 2nd world counterpart's place so she can manipulate the people in that world; She tells Keigo Kurusu that he can cure his son's illness if he wins causing him to turn against Yuki, and lies to Yuki that he can resurrect his dead parents if he becomes god. Mur-Mur also takes direct manners to those that interfere with her plans such as erasing all of Akise's actions in Paradox, abandoning Yuki in the 2nd world before traveling to the 3rd world with Yuno, and brutalizing Minene Uryu when she fights her; she would have won if Yuno had not killed herself out love for Yuki, leading Mur-Mur to unite Yuno's 3rd world counterpart with Yuki.
  • Dr. Grace O'Connor from Macross Frontier is slowly revealed to be a shining example of this trope. For most of the first half of the series, we are only given very subtle hints at her role in the grand scheme of things. Even the first time we actually see her working towards her goals, it's with a disguise so well done that fans were arguing if it even was her. Even the choice voice actor playing the role was seemingly meant to mislead. It's only around halfway when she singlehandedly sets up the destruction of an the planet Gallia IV where here her ward, Sheryl is scheduled to perform, in the hopes of killing the latter, as a means to win public support for the oncoming war with the Vajra at the same time destroying the only major piece of evidence that would link her to everything. It's also revealed at this point that she's a Cyborg with the ability to transplant her consciousness over multiple bodies. Which is why it was okay for her to personally detonate the bomb that took out the planet. Later on we learn that she was the one behind Sheryl's rise to fame, giving her the V-Type infection that had the capability of summoning the Vajra to attack whenever she sang, as revenge to the latter's grandmother who was her former professor. The act of having Sheryl die on Gallia IV was simply due to her not living up to Grace's expectations as well as Grace discovering, Ranka Lee, the daughter of another of her former colleagues who had better potential than Sheryl as well as making her revenge even sweeter. All the while she had put Ranka's long lost brother Brera under her control via neural implants and was using him to control her. Even when Ranka rebels and glees from her duties, it's because Grace allowed it and was using her brother to manipulate her into finding the Vajra homeworld and her target, the Vajra Queen. And the reason for all this, so that she could hijack the Vajra Queen once she had learned how Ranka was able to communicate with them, and use the Vajra to take out any opposing fleets. Once this was done, she'd used the Vajra's fold communication network as a way to implement a galaxy wide neural network with her at the top controlling everyone. And all this was simply a way at getting back at her old mentor and colleague who were pretty much against the idea of such a network, for obvious reasons. And she had already succeeded somewhat by having the entire Macross Galaxy fleet under her control. Sure there were the other voices that she consulted with, but in the end, it was clear that it was her that was in control.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes has quite a few, but one that really stands out is Adrian Rubinsky, who manipulates both sides of a massive intergalactic war to increase his own profit, and eventually even outsmarts and kills his own son, who had been studying from him too well and was looking to replace him.
    • Paul von Oberstein is the most ruthless of Reinhard von Lohengramm's inner circle. A man infamous for his Dissonant Serenity and ruthlessly pragmatic advice, Oberstein devotes himself fully to Reinhard and his new dynasty, using his tactical and political brilliance to help entrench Reinhard as the rightful ruler of the crumbling Empire. Seeking to destroy the Goldenbaum dynasty, Oberstein hears that its mad prince Braunschweig is planning to nuke the rebellious colony Westmoreland, and intentionally delays Reinhard from hearing the news to let the attack happen. This has the effect of the entire empire unifying around Reinhard in revulsion, just as Oberstein planned. Oberstein makes himself a hated figure to keep any loathing directed from Reinhard, manipulating other admirals as he sees fit to keep Reinhard's empire safe and even uses himself as bait to lure out the last of the Terran cultists to eliminate the final threat to Reinhard's rule, seemingly aware the empire he has forged has no place for him.
  • Most of the enemies in Fullmetal Alchemist are either outright monsters or have a very tragic element to their existence. However, Zolf J. Kimbley walks the fine line between Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard. Despite his psychopathic tendencies, he has a very strong (if completely alien) moral and warrior code that he follows, one that he is aware of being at odds with society (which is why he takes great lengths to mask it). But his Crowning Moment of Awesome for this trope was when, in the manga, he came back from a disembodied spirit state to help Ed destroy Pride...and that was just because he thought Pride was being a hypocrite!
    • Perhaps the earliest sign that he had tendencies toward this was during the Ishbalan massacre. Even though he delighted in the genocide, he was one of the very few soldiers present willing to acknowledge the full weight of his actions and remember those he cut down while others chose to look away.

"Do not look away from each new death. Look straight ahead, and never forget them. Because they certainly won't."

    • The Father of the Homunculi. He founded the country of Amestris to perform a ritual, hundreds of years later, in the window of a few minutes. When everyone brought the fight to his doorstep, he abused the Toll required of Human Transportation to teleport all of the sacrifices he needed straight to him. When he was short, he forced someone to transmute. When Hohenheim tried to destroy his container, he revealed that he had evolved beyond the need for it. When Greed tried to usurp him, he revealed that he had been standing in the wrong spot, since he knew Greed would try that.
    • Colonel Roy Mustang serves as Edward Elric's recruiter and direct superior for most of the story. He is wildly charming, always has a back up plan, carries out undercover missions, uses his charismatic playboy exterior to hide his movements from enemies and allies alike, and ambitiously plans to become the Furher of Amestris.
    • Scar in the 2003 anime counts as well. He used to live normally until his older brother performed a human transmutation to revive his girlfriend, unknowingly creating the homunculus Lust. During the Ishbalan genocide, Scar was saved by said brother, who sacrificed his arm and life to ensure his survival. Deciding to take revenge on the Amestrian State Alchemists, Scar goes to Central and mercy-kills the suffering Nina Tucker before fighting Edward Elric. Years later, Scar continues with his one-man crusade and crosses paths with the Elric brothers, constantly fighting with and sparing them—especially Alphonse—as they remind him of his past, and even working together sometimes. Discovering the real nature of his arm as an incomplete Philosopher's Stone, Scar decides to finish what his brother started and travels to the war-torn city of Reole, where he leads and protects the civilians, creates a city-wide transmutation symbol and tricks the Amestrian soldiers to their deaths with the help of Lust—who acknowledges their shared past after meeting him—while the civilians evacuate. A survivor determined to succeed, Scar uses his last moments to save Alphonse and finish the transmutation, dying while thinking about the Elric brothers, his brother and his own guilt.
    • Furher King Bradley and General Grumman also display tendencies of this trope, moreso in the original manga and Brotherhood.
  • Amusingly, Hayate the Combat Butler has a character who straddles the line between this and Guile Hero. Miki Hanabishi is known for her plots to make trouble for Hinagiku, in fact it's clearly stated in her profile that she enjoys it, but generally seems to be using such tactics to push Hina to the forefront of the competition for Hayate's affection. While at the same time pursuing Hinagiku with her own romantic interest.
    • A possible example is Mikado Sanzennin, Nagi's grandfather. A pretty much fearless Tsundere like Nagi is terrified of him, and with good reason.
  • Durarara!! has Izaya Orihara, an information broker and one of the most dangerous men in Ikebukuro wanting to declare his "love" for humans by manipulating them for his own amusement. Introducing Masaomi Kida to his follower Saki Mikajima she would have Saki form a romantic relationship with Masaomi while Izaya instigates a gang war between Masaomi’s gang, The Yellow Scarves, and The Blue Square, leaving Masaomi vulnerable, endangering Saki, and dismantling both gangs in the process. Also a member of The Dollars, Izaya has recruited thousands into the Dollars before turning them against their leader by reveal to them his identity, Mikado Ryuugamine, allowing them to reek havoc throughout Ikebukuro. After being stabbed by "Jinnai Yodogiri", Izaya would allow himself to be capture, tricking his captors into revealing information on "Jinnai Yodogiri" before sending his newly formed group to defeat them afterwards. Also holding immense animosity for Shizuo Heiwajima for not being able to manipulate him, Izaya has provoke Shizuo constantly, cost him his job, frames him for murder, manipulates a girl to kill Shizuo, and tries to kill Shizuo himself. When Shizuo manages to beat Izaya, he attempt to goad Shizuo to kill him, content that the masses witnessing Shizuo will then view him as a monster.
    • Kasane Kujiragi is a Dhampyr who uses the name "Jinnai Yodogiri" to orchestrate the events of 2x. After Izaya Orihara ignores her warning to not interfere with her plans she has him stabbed and later interrogated for information, before allowing him to continue manipulating people to keep them distracted from her own scheming. Also a wielder of Saika, Kasane would hand over Saika to Shingen Kishitani having him spread Saika throughout Ikebukuro creating more Saika wielders and expand Saika influence to almost everyone in Ikebukuro giving Kasane complete control over masses minds and the city. She would also posses Shingen’s son Shinra to make Shinra’s Love Interest Celty Sturluson more vulnerable allowing Kasane to defeat her and give Celty her head to put her under Kasane’s control. Kasane would later save her half-niece, Ruri Hijiribe, from her stalker while taking full blame for the crimes Ruri committed as the Hollywood Serial Killer, so that Ruri can continue living a normal life.
  • Guilty Crown: Gai Tsutsugami is the mysterious and charming young man who leads La Résistance organization, Funeral Parlor, to rebel against the evil organization known as GHQ. To this end, he uses several extreme measures such as releasing a convinced bomber to destroy a Kill Sat, stopping a person who sold an illegal drug, saving innocent civilians from danger and attempting to negotiate with one of the most influential persons in Japan for support. After sacrificing himself in order to prevent the spread of the Apocalypse Virus and its embodiment, Mana Ouma, and gets revived by the GHQ for the second time to become the new Adam for Mana, Gai decides to play as a much more evil counterpart to Shu Ouma, such as working together with GHQ, severing Shu's arm, stealing his Void Genome weapon and butchering Shu's classmates, and attempts to instigate another Apocalypse Virus on a global scale so that Shu could kill both Gai and Mana in order to free the latter from her role as the harbinger of the Apocalypse Virus.
  • Grimms Notes (2019 anime): Curly is a member of the religious cult known as Church of Fortrem and also a member of the Rogue Storytellers known as Chaos Tellers. Believing that people in their own Story Zones have accursed fates that were given to them from the Book of Fate, Curly teams up with another Chaos Teller, Loki, to manipulate the people in their Story Zones who had a horrible fate in their books by turning them into a Chaos Teller, which resulted in the Story Zone getting distorted and several innocent citizens turning into creatures known as "Villains". Eventually, Curly's plans culminate as she attempts to destroy all of the Story Zones and recreate them in their own image along with Loki in order to liberate people from their accursed fates as a last resort. Despite her beliefs being refuted by the heroes, she remains affable towards them, making her one of the most compelling enemies the heroes have faced.
  • Black Butler has Lau in the anime and Claude
  • Silvia von Phoenix, the ultimate Big Bad of Princess Resurrection is described by her youngest sister Sherwood as a "natural born swindler". Hellbent on winning the Royal battle, Silvia plays her own siblings endlessly, having spent her sister Hime's childhood toying with and testing her for fun and to strengthen her. Using her brilliance to stay a step ahead of her siblings and eliminating her strongest brother Emile by making him her enslaved Blood Warrior, Silvia defeats and absorbs their eldest brother Fuhito to gain his power before attempting to defeat Hime and claim victory for herself, with one Bad Future having her utterly victorious.
  • Lady Eboshi of Princess Mononoke is the ruler of Irontown is a woman with a backbone of steel. Forging a mining community with nothing but her own will and strength, Eboshi made it a refuge for lepers, outcasts and the downtrodden, even buying the freedom of many women from brothels and giving them a new home, training them to work and fight. Coming into conflict with the gods of the forest and local warlords, Eboshi leads her people to fend them off and fight back, even luring out the Great Forest Spirit to destroy it, in hopes of reducing the forest animals to just normal beasts, claiming her trick to killing a god is to not fear it. Even after losing an arm to the bite of the decapitated wolf goddess Moro, Eboshi merely grins and reminds herself that a wolf's head still has a bite. Easily one of the most morally complex and strong-willed antagonists in a Miyazaki film.
  • Souichi of Challengers and The Tyrant Falls in Love is a relatively down-to-earth version of this. When a professor attempts to rape him, Souichi attempts to murder the guy. Morinaga stops him, but Souichi still manages to stab the guy deep in the ass with a pair of scissors. When Soichi and Morinaga witness a guy on his cellphone ignoring the pleas of a woman who has an assistive device in her heart, Souichi gets fed up when the woman collapses and snatches the phone out of the guy's hand then snaps it in half. Soichi is not a supervillain and he hasn't got the world under his thumb, but he's a damned terrifying force when his protectiveness of his brother, his sense of justice or his hatred of gays is crossed, which is often.
  • Vincent Nightray from Pandora Hearts also fits this title pretty well. Xerxes Break too; he and Vincent each appear to have the upper hand on the other at points, and it's unclear who is actually the master manipulator between them.
    • Glen Baskerville, real name Oswald, is the mysterious leader of the Baskerville family. Having ordered the slaughter of the population of Sablier to spare them the horrifying fate within the Abyss centuries in the past, Glen returns in the present time by taking over the body of his reincarnation and assumes direct leadership over the Baskerville clan once again. Able to force skilled schemers like Rufus Barma and even fellow Magnificent Bastard Jack Vessalius to the limits of their wits, Glen ultimately almost attains his goal of altering the timeline by killing his own sister to prevent the events of the series from occurring, only stopping when he realizes his own hypocrisies and hollowness of his goals hidden behind good intentions.
    • The aforementioned Jack Vessalius is the true mastermind behind the events of the work. The illegitimate son of a noble, Jack fled from his home, living on the streets until he met a girl from the Baskerville family. Wanting to meet her again, Jack uses his noble family's name to be able to see her. When the Baskerville girl was sacrificed to the Abyss, Jack obsesses over seeing her again, deciding to throw the whole world into the corrupted Abyss to bring it to her. Causing the catastrophic Tragedy of Sablier, Jack blames the Baskerville and Nightray families while painting himself as the hero, going on to seek a chance to recreate it. Manipulating Oz's entire life to fulfill what Jack believes is the wish of his beloved, he is an ultimately Tragic Villain, even finally redeeming himself after accepting the errors of his own acts.
  • Hokuto Kaneshiro of Rosario to Vampire was once a human who left an abusive father to attend Yokai Academy. Finding only pain and suffering until he met Kiria Yoshii, Hokuto resolves to tear down the barrier between worlds and expose monsters to humanity. Playing at being Tsukune's friend, Hokuto reveals he is truly the leader of the rebellious group Anti-Thesis, letting himself be defeated so he will be placed in front of the headmaster in order to attempt an assassination attempt and steal a rosary to destroy the barrier. The only reason his plan fails is Hokuto deciding at the last moment to assist Tsukune instead. Even in part 2, Hokuto returns to help manipulate the end of Fairy Tale, aiding Tsukune one last time against even Kiria.
    • Alucard is the true Big Bad of the series, using multiple aliases to achieve his goals. As the Masked King, Alucard formed the Miao Triad family, bidding the evil vampire Gyokuro Shuzen to form the anti-human terrorist organization Fairy Tale while also joining it under the secret name of Miyabi Fujisaki. Manipulating the heroes into a confrontation with Gyokuro and her squadron leaders, Alucard reveals himself only after the fighting to hijack her plans and awaken his true body, easily overcoming the other heroes and setting to attack the human world. Upon his final destruction, it is revealed that Alucard's full intention was to make himself the villain and create a group that had to be opposed by an alliance of human and monster, exposing the monster world to humankind, even making provisions to ensure his final subordinates survived the fight.
  • Souma Saiki from Sakura Gari is mostly a Broken Ace, but shows shades of this — specially when he deals a spectacular and fatal Humiliation Conga to his ex-lover Katsuragi for raping/torturing Masataka, his Morality Pet.
  • Kanako Watanabe/the President from Star Driver. In a group full of Smug Snakes and Punch Clock Villains, Kanako stands out as easily the most competent, stylish and charismatic member. In addition to leading Adult Bank, she runs her own business in her husband's absence, she married said husband to begin with for his wealth so that she could put all that money to good use, the things she does are done often for pragmatic reasons or just for her own amusement, she's much more intelligent than she frequently lets on, often monitoring her assistants/underlings and knowing what other people are planning or doing but not acting so long as she senses no threat for any possible outcome, she manages to steal Takuto's first kiss, and she proves to be Crazy Prepared when the reason she has her large ship to begin with comes to light towards the end of the series.
  • Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica seems to be the kind of person who walks the line between Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard. So far his plans are very cruel and have had huge consequences (like tricking young girls with deep wishes into becoming pretty much liches, then withdrawing info about the tremendous disadvantages of the Magical Girl job, and watching as they become witches and end up killing or being killed), but except for Madoka (the girl with the most potential) not making the contract (and once only becaue Homura stopped her from doing so), it has all gone just as planned. It's even better/worse when you see that his goals aren't 100% self-serving... but very akin to those of the Anti-Spiral: sacrificing some... to save everyone. And for that, he had Sayaka become a witch, then Kyoko to pretty much join her in death... and thus, he left Madoka and Homura in such a position that if Madoka doesn't become a Puella Magi, the universe will die.
    • However, he gets screwed over by someone else at the last moment... Turns out you can turn Madoka into a mixture of Physical Goddess and Guile Heroine by giving her so many awful truths to work with. Suck on that, Kyubey.
      • Even then, he doesn't exactly 'lose.' Madoka recreates the world and eliminates all witches. So instead Puellae Magi fight demons, and harvest energy from them. It's not as efficient a method of harvesting energy, but it still allows Kyubey to accomplish his mission, just in a somewhat more modest way.
  • Shirou Kotomine of the Fate Stay Night series is a Church minister presiding over the Red Faction and is the Master of Assassin Semiramis. In reality, he is Amakusa Shirou Tokisada, Ruler Servant summoned in a prior Grail War. Noble and benevolent, his methods are ruthless and cunning. Seeking humanity's redemption out of pure love for mankind, Shirou bid his time, gathered items as catalysts to summon a Servant in the Middle East, and waited Yggdemillenia of the Black Faction to show themselves. Midway during the next Grail War, Shirou launched an ambitious attack that sees him singlehandedly take over the Servants of the Red Faction, reclaim the lost Greater Grail, and out-gambit his enemy Darnic. He intends to invade Greater Grail's innards to access True Magic to begin humanity's salvation. Ever calm and collected, it is only when he is minutes close to achieving his dangerously alluring dream that Shirou rants to Seig not to ruin humanity's salvation
  • In Fist of the North Star, Raoh himself, Kenshiro's eldest brother disciple in Hokuto Shinken styles himself as Ken-Oh The Conqueror. In a series of brilliant and ruthless campaigns, Raoh carves out his own empire in the wasteland while defeating any martial artists who challenge him and sending them to the prison Cassandra while stealing their scrolls for his own usage and advancement. While sometimes at the disadvantage thanks to Kenshiro or rival forces, Raoh is infamous for pushing back to be stronger than ever through sheer force of will and tenacity. Possessing a strong form of honor, Raoh does not hesitate to execute any in his army who terrorize or violate his citizens and when he faces the warrior Fudoh, Raoh orders his own men to kill him should he take a step back, a request he is furious they ignore. When he finally faces Kenshiro and loses, Raoh embraces his brother with true affection and uses the last of his energy to purge the radioactive toxins from the atmosphere, declaring proudly that he lived his life without regrets as he dies standing proud.
  • Rurouni Kenshin's Shishio Makoto came up with the plan to burn Kyoto right to the ground as a DISTRACTION while he and his minions sailed a warship into Tokyo and let sheer panic rip the government apart. This is just his biggest, most expensive example though. Despite being foiled there, Shishio proceeds to have the heroes fight his men in single matches, all for the purposes of weakening or eliminating them before they face Shishio himself when he gains greater understanding of their abilities through the fights. Even after his defeat and death, Shishio shows no sign of complaint and instantly sets off with his deceased lover and most loyal follower to begin conquering Hell itself. He practically lives for this trope.
  • The main point of Iason Mink's character in Ai no Kusabi is that he is both magnificent...and a complete and utter bastard. Only his high status in society let's him get away with it.
  • Kokujo, of Duel Masters, uses his phenomenal skills in psychological warfare to completely destroy the hero in their first duel. The dub furthers his status by having him shamelessly call himself "an evil genius."
  • Knight Templar Lieutenant Colonel Dewey Novak of Eureka Seven, a military commander and aspiring dictator who knows all there is to know about charisma, sophistication, power, influence, and exploitation. And genocide, too. A defining moment for him is when he tells his younger brother Holland that he knows how the masses who consume the various media outlets on which he's made his speeches think - they aren't interested in hearing the truth: if convenient lies resonate emotionally with them and tell them what they want to hear, they'll buy into them. That's why he feels justified in bending the truth or lying to suit his sinister purposes. And even when he appears defeated, he pulls off a My Death Is Just the Beginning suicide that almost ensures his goal's completion.
  • Albelt Dessler of Space Battleship Yamato is the charming, sophisticated supreme ruler and dictator of Gamillas. Desiring a peace in the galaxy through ultimate control, Dessler has expanded the Gamillas empire but keeps new conquered races happy by allowing them to prove themselves equal citizens in the empire on pure merit. When earth proves more difficult to conquer, Dessler deals with the matter by assigning a failed commander to either give Dessler more knowledge of the earthlings' tactics, or removing an incompetent without him lifting a finger. Dessler also outplays any who attempt to usurp his authority and when defeated, he promptly reemerges to take the Yamato over to restore himself to glory, convinced that his success is the glory of Gamillas itself.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist Choji Suitengu of Speed Grapher, a sophisticated businessman who uses his wealth and power in his agenda to eliminate greed and power. Believing everything 'has its price,' especially human life, Suitengu is dedicated to overthrowing the social order of Japan, manipulating all the upper echelons of society with his Roppongi Club that caters to a variety of fetishes. Constantly planning ahead of series hero Saiga, Suitengu also manipulates his lover, Shinzen of the powerful Tennozou Group and later disposes of her when she attempts to betray and kill him.Revealing his tragic past to his arch enemy, the prime minister, when the man tries to kill Suitengu and take over the Roppongi Club, Suitengu kills him and enacts his master plan: completely erasing the corrupt upper class and causing a massive financial crisis to completely break their hold on Japan forever. Oh, and he smokes rolled up dollar bills.
  • Sword Art Online designer Akihiko Kayaba, a pioneer in the field of Virtual Reality (VR), traps 10,000 players inside his game, killing them in the real world if they die in the VR one. Disguising himself as Big Good Heathcliff and guiding the players through the dungeon floors of Aincrad, Kayaba intends to betray and kill them in the last dungeon, acting as the Final Boss of his own game. When Kirito is able to deduce "Heathcliff's" true identity, Kayaba praises the boy for his observance before challenging him to a duel, promising to end the game of Kirito wins. Keeping his word and freeing the players, Kayaba seemingly commits suicide, though actually copying his Fluctlight onto the internet to continue existing. Reappearing in the next arc, Kayaba helps Kirito defeat the Arc Villain, Sugou, whom even he finds repellent. Entrusting Kirito with his last invention, Kayaba encourages him to go on to share it with the world, leading to the creation of many innovative VR games. Though utterly sociopathic, Kayaba never strayed from his strict moral code and stood out as one of Kirito's most noble foes.
    • Initially presented as Kirito's eccentric and annoying benefactor, Seijirou Kikuoka is revealed to be much more. Actually a lieutenant in the JSDF, he leads RATH, creators of the virtual world Underworld, which is inhabited by highly developed AIs known as "Artificial Fluctlights". Convincing Kirito to work in the Project Alicization while hiding its morally dubious aspects from him, Kikuoka intends to use "complete Fluctlights" as combatants, hoping to avoid human casualties in warfare and showing Japan's potential to the world. After Kirito is hospitalized and suffers from brain damage, Kikuoka takes him from the hospital to the Ocean Turtle and connects him to the Underworld, hoping to save his mind out of genuine concern and affection. After the Ocean Turtle is attacked by Glowgen Defense Systems, Kikuoka helps to defend it, sends Asuna to the Underworld to save Kirito and stop the sociopathic Gabriel Miller, and is injured while trying to protect his companions. Initially willing to sacrifice infinite AIs for one single human, Kikuoka learns to value the Underworld and promises to protect it. Having helped Kirito and Asuna one last time, he successfully fakes his death after showing Japan's potential, completely avoiding any punishment.
  • The fourth season Bakugan Big Bad Mag Mel. The guy managed to effortlessly trick the heroes into giving him the power to free himself from his prison before they even know he existed. He proves to be a Manipulative Bastard and Chessmaster so cunning that he's always several steps ahead of the group and even the one time thus far he's lost, he still got half of what he wanted and the Brawlers find out while they were fighting his forces on one of their ally's homeworlds, Mag Mel had utterly demolished Bakugan Interspace with another attack that cripples the transporters so no one can get out except his minions, who are free to get in and out at will. While he's not exactly charming, he realized this and made (literally) his Co-Dragons extremely charismatic and planted them in Bakugan Interspace to raise followers and generally cause chaos.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Both the protagonist and antagonist are viciously efficient operators:
    • Series Anti-Hero Ogami Itto is a stoic, charismatic warrior unjustly framed by the Yagyu clan. On the run with his three year old son Daigoro, Itto constantly showcases his strategic genius in his assassinations. In one instance, he allows himself to be captured by the enemy to get close to a target, revealing that the warning they received was written by him. In another, he uses Daigoro drowning as bait to trick a target's bodyguard into trying to save him so Itto can kill him. Itto singlehandedly brings down the powerful Yagyu clan on his own, showing why he is a man who walks the road of demons, the Path of Meifumado.
    • Series Big Bad Yagyu Retsudo is a charismatic old man with the soul of a samurai that contrasts with the hard ruthlessness of an assassin. After the Yagyu lose the post of Shogun executioner to Itto, Retsudo uses a seemingly innocuous sparring match to trick Itto into knocking his staff into a man who could pose a threat to him, leading to the man's death. Later framing Itto for treason, Retsudo is revealed to be manipulating the entire Shogunate from the shadows and even when exposed for this, manages to connive his way back to power, having his rival, the poisoner Abe no Kaii, eliminated by setting a fire on a date that will force Kaii to commit seppuku. Retsudo then uses a legion of ninja to face Itto, having them focus on breaking Itto's infamous sword, so he has the advantage for their final battle. A ruthless genius, Retsudo continuously shows why he is Itto's greatest enemy.
  • Lupin III: Arsene Lupin III, the titular thief, is a debonair rogue always ready with a plan for a brand new caper. A thief who savors the rush and thrill of the theft far more than any monetary value, Lupin also delights in paying karmic justice to deserving victims. Throughout multiple anime incarnations, Lupin is characterized by choosing seemingly impossible ventures or is thrust into inescapable situations, only to execute a cunning plan and escape completely free, in one instance even outsmarting an ancient brain supposedly beyond any human being's. Rarely ever losing his playful grin, and always ready with witty repartee, Lupin remains one of anime's most successful examples of a Gentleman Thief who is constantly capable of twisting a situation to his advantage.
    • Lupin's occasional lover, rival and ally, Fujiko Mine, is his equal in brilliance and audaciousness. A skilled thief who lives for the rush of the theft, Fujiko is able to perform as many complex schemes as Lupin while constantly outwitting him and everyone around her to get her big score. In one instance in The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, she poses as a tutor at an all girls' school, allows one girl to seduce her, only to reveal she knew the girl was a cop in disguise, to fool him and steal the codes she needed. Equally capable of ruthlessness, Fujiko once escaped prison by seducing a guard and sending him to execution in her place, never hesitating to weaponize her sexuality. At the end, Fujiko allows nobody but her to define herself and stops at nothing to achieve her goals, no matter who she has to manipulate or fool, while always maintaining the same charismatic style as Lupin himself.
  • Hao Asakura of Shaman King was once a shaman in heian-era Japan where he lost his beloved mother at the prejudices of humanity. Manipulating future events and even his own reincarnations to empower himself, Hao is reborn again in modern times as the twin brother of hero Yoh Asakura. Absurdly powerful and intelligent, Hao remains a step ahead of the heroes, defeating all challengers and enemies in an attempt to become the Shaman King and destroy humanity. At the end, Hao succeeds in his goal, becoming Shaman King, but proves open to reason and opts to watch the world for himself, being as brilliant a villain in victory as he was in the attempt to get there.
  • Millions Knives from the Trigun manga. A frighteningly superpowered Badass Abnormal with charisma to spare and the flaws of a Shakespearean character.
    • Legato Bluesummers from the anime. An utterly terrifying, nihilistic, relentless agent of death with the ability to mentally control any villager--man, woman, or child--to their deaths. His first appearance absolutely terrifies Vash, whom he makes his mission to completely break. And by forcing Vash to kill him, as far as he knows, he wins.
    • Or the manga for that matter. And in that version, he actually spent most of it crippled and still managed to remain nightmare-inducing for its entire run.
    • Gasback Gallon Getaway is a roguish, boisterous criminal who, despite his brutish appearance, is in truth a calculating thief who views the act of robbery and thievery as "art" forms. After his initial bank heist is foiled by treacherous minions, Gasback spends decades plotting both revenge against the men for "sullying" the art of robbery with their dishonorable betrayal, and the greatest heist he's ever concocted. Laying waste to two of the men's prospering enterprises, Gasback repeats the process on his final betrayer, revealing at the same time that each of his before robberies were all to amass materials needed to steal a Plant, which he pulls off flawlessly before escaping. Giving Vash one of the hardest fought battles of his life through sheer determination to never lose, Gasback gains respect for the hero when beaten, and is revealed to have spent those decades of planning taking care of a woman he loved and even leaving her enough money to sustain her for the rest of her life.
  • Yuto Kigai and Seishiro Sakurazuka from X 1999. Yuto is polite, softspoken, a little snarky, very caring towards Satsuki and yet is able to carry out Kanoe's instructions without even getting his suit dirty. Seishirou is a charismatic murderer with a charming smile, a Star-Crossed Lovers bond with Subaru Sumeragi, very cruel and very stylish puppy-kicking acts under his belt, and in the end he manages to play one Hell of a Thanatos Gambit to die exactly in the way he wanted to, also ensuring that his killer will be the only person he ever sort-of cared for, Subaru...who will end up as the next Sakurazukamori as well..
  • While it's still a little earlier, it looks like Masako Natsume from Mawaru Penguindrum is heading towards this. Her method of erasing people's memories is a little... odd, but the rest of her actions are very efective. Kidnapping a boy to blackmail his brother and friend/prospect girlfriend? Not good. Kidnapping a boy to get the attention of his brother, staging a whole chase so said brother will remember her from his past, and then letting the kidnapped guy go... but not before giving his rescuer a Forceful Kiss, which was her intention all along? Fucking awesome.
    • Sanetoshi Watase has some inklings of this too. In his quest to regain contact with his lost "soulmate", he has managed to stylishly appear to Himari in a dream, give her a new Penguin Hat, and almost get away with giving her a kiss. Later he brings Himari Back from the Dead with a mysterious serum, managing to rope her protector/brother/possible love interest Kanba into a Deal with the Devil to keep her alive. And later it's revealed that some time ago he actually forced Masako into the same Deal with the Devil so she could keep her young brother Mario alive as well. Thus, he has almost completely outgambitted both Kanba and Masako to different degrees, all while looking fabulous in that coat and pink hair of his, and specially in now hospital-confined Himari's eyes. Hmmmm!
  • Semmerling from Riding Bean. She does begin to lose her cool somewhat when Bean survives a point-blank shot to his forehead (good thing he wears that Kevlar headband) and proceeds to tear the door off of her car with his bare hands but then, who wouldn't?
  • The Major from Hellsing starts a war that levels London, manipulates all of his enemies into doing exactly what he wants them to do when he wants them to do it, and he gives one HELL of a speech. He seems to conduct everything like the conductor of a symphony, which is even lampshaded at one point. Oh, and he defeated Alucard.
  • Michio Yuki from MW. He kidnaps his victims in order to extract money from the corrupt politicians who covered up the titular chemical warfare that took away his conscience. He even impersonates the women he killed as part of his plan.
  • Miyo Takano from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni certainly counts, as it turns out she masterminded the events seen transpiring in the first six arcs, seeks to gain immortality for herself and for her grandfather's research on the local Hate Plague to the extent of faking her own death so that she can continue her work from the shadows, exalts herself to the status of the true Lord Oyashiro (with an epic Evil Laugh as she does so), and loves frightening people with tales of Hinamizawa's past just to see them squirm. In fact, in most worlds we see the story occurring in, Takano is successful in her plans, with Rika and the others dead or powerless to stop the catastrophe she wrought from occurring, and her feeling like she's achieved everything she wanted and needed to achieve in order to ascend to god-like status as the ultimate testament to the validity of both her grandfather's life's work and all the suffering she'd had to endure in her own life prior. The only reasons she's thwarted in the final world are that Hanyuu was able to physically incarnate this time and join her friends as the "winning card" needed to work a miracle, and that Takano herself finally begins to succumb to the effects of the virus that had consumed her life. And even then, Takano technically doesn't even lose in the end, as the world Hanyuu has brought about is one that "doesn't need losers" and Takano is taken by her boyfriend to receive treatment for her illness, which keeps her from taking the fall and being the patsy for Tokyo's actions like Nomura had intended. Avoiding legal repercussions for her actions and even shown to be continuing to live a decent life in Hinamizawa in the Kira and Rei OVA series', Takano remains a Magnificent Bitch par excellence.
    • Shion Sonozaki tries her hand at being this in the Musubienishi-hen episode of Kira, disguising herself as her sister to manipulate Keiichi into pretending to be her boyfriend and hero. At least until she resigns from her mischief after Keiichi blows her cover and realizes who she really is, after which she really opens up to him in tears after hearing him say "That's why... this one's on me..." before his loss of consciousness. In fact, Shion had already displayed many shades of this trope in her own focal arc, Meakashi-hen, where she effortlessly impersonated Mion in order to manipulate both her friends and even the village leaders, and her premeditated torture and killing spree in the name of getting answers about the truth behind Oyashiro's Curse and taking revenge on those who'd wronged her and her beloved Satoshi ends up a complete success, leaving the entire main cast sans Rena dead, and rather than be made to face justice for these crimes, even her own death (fueled by a Heel Realization and feelings of My God, What Have I Done?) is by her own hand, on her own terms. What's most ironic is that Shion had been going after all the wrong people and killed them all under the false belief that they had anything to do with the murders and disappearances that happened around the village, but in doing so, Shion ensures that Rika dies ahead of schedule, which throws a wrench into the plans of the curse's actual instigators and prevents a viral outbreak and village massacre from occurring in these realities. Basically, Shion Out-Gambitted Miyo Takano without even realizing she was doing so!
    • Similarly, Umineko no Naku Koro ni gives us Beatrice, an Anti-Villain with standards who, as a Game Master, often clashes with Battler and uses magic to elegantly commit a series of bizarre murders on Rokkenjima. She's truly impressed by Battler's performance, and often looks for ways to make him surrender as best as possible. Oh, and she's also a Laughably Evil Large Ham.
    • Bernkastel counts as well. Using Ange, Erika, and most other people as pawns for her plans, and planning to keep Beatrice in the game and torture her for all eternity? She definitely deserves a praise for those. Notably, Bern manages to be a Complete Monster at the same time, but is so enjoyable in her antics that one could almost forget it.
    • And what about Lambdadelta? Her plan is to "trap" Bernkastel by making the battle between Battler and Beatrice last for eternity, which seems to be successful.
    • Higanbana of her self-titled series counts as well. Offering Marie a chance to become Mesomeso and acting as a villain against heroic characters or an Anti-Hero against villainous characters is definitely saying something.
  • Perhaps the most impressive and villainous character in Mon Colle Knights happens to be Redda, the Big Bad and final villain. He has a deviously cruel sense of chessmastery and mastery of manipulation, is Bishounen in appearance (especially behind that scary mask of his), and shows a nice Xanatos Gambit starting with the part where he uses Rockna as bait to lure Mondo and all his monster friends to him, forcing him to give up all of his collected Monster Items so far and handing over to him a fake Rockna that was actually a rat in disguise. Then he summons Dread Dragon and traps Rockna within its neck, and tells Mondo that he can either destroy it and Rockna with it, or get killed himself while trying to save her without harming Dread Dragon, and orders Dread Dragon to create a wormhole that sucks up all of Mondo's monster friends. And, even when Gabriolis shows up and helps him save her so the two can fuse with him to destroy Dread Dragon, this still provides enough of a distraction so Redda can get the last Monster Item, and he succeeds in collecting it so he can finally summon Oroboros to destroy everything and create in their place a world made of nothingness, which was his ultimate goal all along. And if that's not enough, since Oroboros needs a new body in order to be resurrected, Redda revives Dread Dragon and fuses Oroboros with it to create Doomsday Dragon. Another perfect example of a villain that happens to be both this and a Complete Monster, so much that even the Laughably Evil Terrible Trio of Villains Out Shopping fear him.
  • Altena from Noir plays the Mama Bear role for the young saplings. However, she intentionally manipulates both the Sodats and the three saplings (Kirika, Chloe and Mireille), in order to achieve her master plan—which is to recreate the bloody history of the Sodats. She's completely dedicated and willing to die for her goal. And in the end, she does.
  • Naraku from Inuyasha is definitely one, if you can look past his For the Evulz and Villain Ball tendencies, or his frequent Villain Sue Karma Houdini status. Especially during the Mt. Hakurei Arc, in which he manipulated a priest and a powerful group of super powered bandits into becoming his Quirky Miniboss Squad with a few words to earn their loyalty.
  • Keima from The World God Only Knows can be argued to be one when he is in "God of Conquest" Mode. Even when certain events happen that confuse other characters, he simply interprets them as "flags/events" and proceeds as planned. Even for something as inconsequential as Shiori quietly yelling at him for being a jerk.
    • There's even a point in the manga where Haqua looks at a giant stack of notes Keima wrote as "The Demon of Conquest" and finds that he has written stage directions as well as lines for every single possibility that would occur during the event. All for a quick 5-minute chat.
  • Tian of Feng Shen Jr., once known as Hei Long, wiped out the ancient gods when they betrayed him and nearly murdered his beloved wife. Recreating the world, humanity and gods, Tian has humanity enslaved so he may have blood crystals harvested in order to revive Bai Long. Upon Bai Long's imperfect revival, Tian tries to end hostilities via his sheer power, before being betrayed by the evil Shen Yen. Seemingly accepting his death, Tian fakes it and is revealed to have been manipulating everyone so he may judge their worthiness for himself, honoring his vow to spare humanity when hero Ah Gou proves himself to Tian in combat.
  • Shogo Makishima from Psycho Pass is Wicked Cultured and highly knowledgeable in literature, music, theater and ass-kicking (he at first seems like a Non-Action Big Bad, but turns out to be a Blood Knight who is simply bored of most fights because almost no one is good enough to land a hit on him). He desires to bring down the Sibyl System that controls the futuristic Dystopia he lives in, at any cost. He also enjoys getting people to submit to their worst impulses and then disposes of them once they've lost his interest. Despite being villainous for that last part, he does care for people in his own twisted way....he believes the Sibyl System has regressed humanity by suppressing humanity's darker instincts along with their freedom of expression and ability to make their own choices. Makishima is also a master of Xanatos Speed Chess, the Indy Ploy, making allusions to classic literature (especially Dystopian literature) and making "The Reason You Suck" Speech to anyone. To top that off, he is an Übermensch who is literally unable to be judged by the slave morality of his world (the Sibyl System), similar to how Nietzsche himself described the Übermensch. He also becomes a Hero Killer as well, both in that the protagonists take extra caution when dealing with him and the literal sense.
  • Main character of Seven Mortal Sins, Lucifer, Fallen Angel turned Demon Lord of Pride, can achieve anything she sets her mind to. Deciding to take over hell, Lucifer has a policy of challenging the Demon Lords known as the Mortal Sins at their own games on their own turf, constantly getting the better of them and winning no matter what venue they choose, constantly coming up with new plans and strategies. It is later revealed that for all her haughtiness and deep pride in herself, Lucifer was the only angel to object to God's plan to wipe out hell and the earth, having been protecting humanity from the start, and manages to get the better of both her arch-rivals, the demon lord Belial and the new leader of the Seven Lively Virtues, her old partner Michael via a few clever gambits, culminating in Lucifer embracing her love for her human companion Maria and claiming her rightful throne as the ruler of hell and queen of pride itself.
  • Yuri "Yurippe" Nakamura of Angel Beats! is the tough and hot-tempered yet efficient and insanely charismatic leader of the SSS Afterlife Battlefront, a group of dead students in purgatory who are rebelling against God, whom Yurippe blames for the unfairness of her life. Fighting opposition from Kanade Tachibana, who the Battlefront knows as "Angel", Yurippe fully acknowledges how inept her subordinates are and thinks up plans to work around this in order to gain advantages over the student council, being able to fight Angel to a standstill while ensuring important followers and resources aren't claimed by Angel, lead a stealth operation to hack Angel's computer in her dorm room and uncover crucial information from it, and sabotage Angel's performance on an exam so that her grades lower and she loses her status. Ever Crazy Prepared, Yurippe also knows how to make good use of her lackeys through intimidating them with twisted penalties to pay for failure, keeping them in the dark about key details she knows until the time is right to make them aware, and using their own idiocy as convenient distractions in operations. When threats emerge and come after Battlefront, Yurippe uses her quick wit, decisiveness and skill with combative weapons to counter them, even breaking a shadow's illusion over her with a heartfelt World of Cardboard Speech. As perceptive and caring as she is ruthless, Yurippe earns and keeps the loyalty of her troops through her raw charisma and being a fair and inspirational leader in spite of her frequent cruelties towards them.
    • Demonstrated particularly well in the special episode "Stairway to Heaven", which has Yurippe concocting "Operation High Tension" - the plan being to have everyone in Battlefront (except her and Yusa) act with high tension for an entire day in order to confuse Angel as to why they're not passing on despite seemingly having maximum joy and personal fulfillment, so that she'd go report the error to God and Battlefront could then find out about God and possibly defeat Him. This ends up going so well that Yurippe even gets in a moment of Evil Gloating and a ridiculously hammy Evil Laugh, with Yusa even telling Yurippe that she sounds like a villain. Unfortunately, the mission's success doesn't get the result Yurippe had hoped for - Angel just gets reminded of her secret garden where she tends to plants and vegetables grown there. In frustration, Yurippe declares that the other Battlefront members pay the penalty game for failure anyway, which is to go an entire week without eating or drinking. This leads to a final scene where everyone but Yurippe is dead of starvation and thirst all while Yurippe just drinks a bottle of water and remarks "it's not like they're gonna really die" with clear amusement. Yusa has the episode's final line before she too dies - "you really do make the best villain, Yurippe." To top it off, the end credits sequence has all of Battlefront except for Yurippe vanish no sooner then it had started, leaving Yurippe as the only one standing. Another special episode, "Hell's Kitchen", has Yurippe making all her followers in Battlefront try to kill one another in a dangerous picnic, with the plan being to summon a demon due to all the death and treachery, which would force Angel and God's hands against it. As expected, she concealed her actual intentions behind the death game from the rest of Battlefront as she made all of them unknowingly dance to her tune.
  • Attack On Titan gives us Erwin Smith, the Commander of the Survey Corps. Drawing partial inspiration from the tropenamer, Erwin is a handsome and charismatic leader, noted to always lead from the front and hailed as a strategic genius for greatly improving the survival odds of the army he commands. He is also completely and utterly ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes for the good of humanity — described in the narrative as a man willing to cover his hands in blood and a man willing to throw away his humanity to win against monsters. Even with humanity facing utter extinction and many a Pyrrhic Victory, Erwin stays cool as a cucumber and remains unshaken in his resolve. When brought before a council and told to explain himself, he states without hesitation that his plan — which left a major city badly damaged and many dead among both the military and civilian population — was a success. The council is forced to agree with his reasoning and let him keep his command.
  • In Banana Fish, the former KGB Lieutenant Blanca becomes The Mentor to Ash Lynx, making him into a merciless fighter. Hired by Dino Golzine, Blanca attacks and easily subdues Ash for Dino. When Ash manages to escape from Golzine's clutches, it is Blanca who hunts him down for them, using his knowledge of the New York City sewer system. Realizing the depths of the depravity of Yut-Lung, his current employer, Blanca betrays him and allies with Ash out of a show of his own beliefs of honor and human compassion, proving his status as Ash's most Worthy Opponent in the series.
  • In the radioactive wasteland of Tokyo and its surroundings in Coppelion, Ibara Naruse faced some truly brilliant adversaries
    • Doctor Coppelius, initially named Matasaburo Itami, was called to create the Coppelion after the nuclear outbreak that destroyed Tokyo. Using the alias Doctor Coppelius, he created Haruto Kurosawa by cloning himself and tried to revive his deceased daughter by cloning her. Exiled by the Three Professors, Coppelius kept himself hidden and managed to contact with some flawed Coppelion in Tokyo, promising them to fix their flaws if they help him. Stealing Aether that allows him to survive in radioactive areas and improving it before escaping to Tokyo to reunite with his allies, Coppelius captures the Ultimate Coppelion and analyzes her DNA to bargain it. Eventually captured for his creations and put in a jail, he writes a formula to turn Coppelion into regular humans to save them from a genetic flaw before escaping. Finding a clone of his own daughter as a member of the Lost Retrieval Unit, Coppelius liberates them to kill the Professors. Rediscovering his faith in humanity, Coppelius tries to stop his own apocalyptic plan, and as he dies, Coppelius gives his last Aether to Haruto to save Ibara. An eccentric old man proud of his creations, Coppelius dies as he lived, with a silly smile.
    • Ougai Masamune is the Japanese Minister of Internal Affairs. Initially helping the Coppelion program, Ougai is actually a nationalist intending to turn Japan into a world power. Side-stepping the Copellion and the Tokyo survivors, Ougai manipulates the First Minister and the jingoistic members of the E9 council into intervening in a foreign war with the intention of making them use nuclear power again after showing the radiation-resistant Coppelion. Intending to sell them to ensure the Japanese supremacy in a nuclear powered world, Ougai threatens the survivors of Tokyo and sends the Three Professors to capture the Ultimate Coppelion desired by the entire world. After the world is threatened by a new nuclear meltdown, Ougai eventually acknowledges his own mistakes and tries to atone for them, helping the Coppelion to save the world and helping to create a new law for a more responsible use of nuclear power. Abandoning his self-interested partners, Ougai creates a new magisterium, puts his former enemy Mishiba in charge of it and helps a depowered Ibara to reunite with her friends for a while, showing that despite everything, Ougai truly loved his country and wished for a better future.
    • JSDF Commander Kunikawa is the leader of the First Division, soldiers abandoned by their own government—including his politician best friend who would become the Japanese First Minister—in the toxic ruins of Tokyo. Developing a hatred towards mankind, Kunikawa manages to survive for years, planning his revenge. Working with the violent Ozu sisters, Kunikawa tries to cause a new nuclear meltdown in the Daiba nuclear plant, endangering Japan and even the world. He kidnaps a Coppelion for his plans and despite being captured, he manages to escape anyway, fooling even Teen Genius Haruto Kurosawa. Intending to succeed, Kunikawa is only stopped due to the combined efforts of the survivors of the Planet base and the heroic Coppelion. Having an honest talk with Haruto, who was almost as misanthropic as he is, about the actions of Ibara Naruse, Kunikawa recovers his faith in mankind, giving his own life to save both the survivors and his remaining soldiers, while giving his cape—accidentally causing the future redemption of the First Minister at seeing it—to Haruto to show his faith towards him before dying, smiling at having recovered his own humanity.
  • Sir Isaac Ray Peram Westcott in Date A Live is seen developing a gambit to throw Tohka Yatogami over the edge of the Despair Event Horizon and invoke her Inverse Form that he's been trying to harness after thinking up several ways to get her to do so, including Cold-Blooded Torture. He subtly manipulates everyone to get what he wants. First, trying to murder Shido just to evaluate Inverse Form Tohka's power. Then, when Roger Murdoch and a few other DEM executives conspire to remove him by all means necessary, he indirectly forces Shido and the Spirits into foiling the assassination plan, given they had to prevent said plan from causing any harm to the city.
    • Kurumi Tokisaki was once a normal, human girl. After being turned into a Spirit and lied to by the First Spirit after killing her best friend, Kurumi resolved to undo the First Spirit's existence no matter what it took. Introduced as a mysteriously charming transfer student, Kurumi stays one step ahead of Shido Itsuka and Ratatoskr, ultimately engineering a Sadistic Choice where either a spacequake destroys the city or her "City of Devouring Time" consumes Shido's entire school. After being saved from an Efreet by Shido, her next appearance sees her help Shido against Miku and DEM while trying to uncover Nia's location. Helping Origami go back in time to stop her parents' murder, Kurumi learns the horrible truth and uses her time powers to help Shido correct the mistake, including convincing her past self to offer aid. Against the overwhelming might of Mio Takamiya and Isaac Westcott, Kurumi put a clone back in time as a contingency to impart critical knowledge to Shido in case she's killed and steals back Nia's Qlipha Crystal from Westcott to even the odds. Brimming with self-confidence to match her enigmatic nature, Kurumi was both a deadly enemy and a pivotal ally.
  • Blood-C has Fumito Nanahara, the secret Big Bad of the story who orchestrated the entire Truman Show Plot, keeping Saya Kisaragi brainwashed and under his control by posing as a Nice Guy cafe owner and giving her coffee and pastries that hazed her mind, wiping her memory and keeping her in her false persona whenever she wasn't in contact with the blood of Elder Bairns. Not only did he effortlessly control Saya, Tadayoshi, the Elder Bairns and all the cast members, but he also predicted Kanako's betrayal and had her killed along with her co-conspirators. In the show's last episode, he casually shoots Saya in the face when she's going in for the kill, managing to escape the set totally scot-free until The Movie, where even then his death at Saya's hands is dictated according to his desires.
  • Fairy Tail has Future Rogue. The guy manipulated the entire Fiore Royal Family into using an Artifact of Doom powered by Zeref's magic and Celestial Spirit Magic by telling them it would save their country from a swarm of dragons coming to destroy them. In reality, using the Artifact of Doom was what caused the dragons to appear, and he promptly used a Compelling Voice spell to force the dragons into becoming his submission, as part of a ploy to kill Acnologia and take his place as the Dragon King. The dragons he summons proceed to curb-stomp the very mages whose magic is designed to kill them, while Future Rogue wipes the floor with Natsu. The only reason his plan didn't succeed was due to The Power of Friendship causing one of his dragons to rebel against him.
    • Zeref the Dark Mage is known as the most evil wizard of all time. In truth, a tormented genius cursed with everlasting life after he tries to resurrect his beloved younger brother, Zeref plotted to send the future Dragon Slayers into the future to one day combat the evil dragon Acnologia. Upon surrendering to darkness, Zeref clandestinely founded the Alvarez empire as Emperor Spriggan and used them to wage war on Fairy Tail, seizing the ultimate magic Fairy Heart for himself, intending on using it to wipe out the current timeline and go back to correct all his mistakes in the hopes of forging a better world.
    • Ultear Milkovich is a manipulative, backstabbing sorceress who uses other wizards to further her Master, Hades', plans to bring back the aforementioned Zeref. Even after her Heel Face Turn, Ultear continues to show her ruthless nature, even trying to kill the heroic Rogue to prevent him from becoming a villain in the future and her honor by giving her youth to cast a spell to turn back time and save the heroes from death. Later returning as a magical projection, Ultear helps save Fiore from the Alvarez Empire's sorceress Dimaria.
  • In Flame of Recca, Kurei Mori, The Dragon to Kouran Mori is the string puller behind the events of the first 50+ chapters. Kidnapping Recca's "princess", Yanagi, Kurei baits Recca to his castle. Defeating Recca and the heroes' Team Hokage, Kurei forces them to participate in the lethal combat arena, Ura Butou Satsujin, where the wealthy gamble on the fights—including Kurei's adoptive father, the aforementioned Kouran. After witnessing the abilities of Team Hokage, Kurei prepares powerful fighters to challenge them and even uses the heroes to take down the traitorous Genjuro, along with his minions. Having removed all other opposition, Kurei challenges Recca to one-on-one combat and after being defeated, honors his promise not to attack Recca or his friends. Helping the heroes kill Kouran after he betrays Kurei, Kurei proved himself to plan one step ahead of everyone else and always remained a Noble Demon at heart, despite his brutal tendencies.
  • In Jackals, Lee Mei Lang is so skilled and awesome in her villainy that you can't help but root for the total bitch she is.
    • Even better, the reason she took over Tennouren to begin with was to destroy every gang in the city including her own. All in order to essentially gain an ARMY * . To wit, she and her spider-whip henchgirl are the only people to walk away from the gang wars completely unscathed.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has no shortage of examples, with the most obvious being Dio Brando. His entire character motivation is to make the protagonist's life a living hell, and he's willing to kill puppies to do it. And that's before they've even started high school.
    • Yoshikage Kira is a suave, handsome Serial Killer who wants nothing more than to have an "average" existence and live without any distress or worry in his life. Having spent his life specifically seeking third place in any competition or test he took, even planting himself in inconspicuous positions in group photos, just to remain under the radar as neither particularly gifted or flawed, Kira then used his appearance as a normal person to mask his serial killings, murdering women to then take their hands and treat them as "dates" so as to satisfy his hand fetish. Using his Stand, Killer Queen, Kira easily eliminates all evidence of his victims, murders all those who could even possibly stand in his way, and sets numerous traps for Josuke and his friends as they close in on the killer. When seemingly beaten, Kira escapes, kills a man and steals his identity, and gains Bites the Dust, a time-rewinding ability that he uses to murder everyone who could possibly stop him. Even when killed and sent to the afterlife, Kira happily accepts his new "peaceful" existence, only truly losing when the souls of his victims lash out at him and curse him to an eternity of suffering. Though spending much of his time on the run from Josuke, Kira stays one step ahead the whole time, and has such sheer willpower to survive that he unlocks entirely new Stand abilities.
    • Enrico Pucci is a charming priest who was plunged into despair after racists murdered his sister due to his own mistakes, and the extremely unfortunate set of circumstances that brought about her demise drove Pucci to hate the idea of an unforeseen future and "fate." Coming to idolize DIO, Pucci collects the man's thoughts and plans for a new way of life called "Heaven," and, after handily pulling the strings of everyone in Green Dolphin Street Prison—taking time to try to genuinely help the prisoners there even as they attempt to rob him blind—Pucci uses his upgraded Stand "Made in Heaven" to begin his final plan: To force every human being to live out their whole lives, and see the entirety of the universe's lifespan, then relive their lives knowing their and everyone else's fates, this enabling them to never be surprised or broken by life's events, knowing beforehand all that will happen. Pucci is easily the most well-intentioned and genuinely caring Big Bad in the franchise, wanting to simply end the pain that comes with not knowing one's fate, and even while dying a torturous death tries to ensure his "Heaven" will carry on, even at the cost of his own life.
  • Koko Hekmatyar of Jormungand is a brilliant young Arms Dealer who runs her organization with ruthless efficiency. Constantly making advantageous illegal deals and dictating the course of conflicts, Koko adopts the young former child soldier Jonah as a way to keep herself shackled to her humanity, frequently taking on those who attempt to undermine or kill her while leading them to their own demises in breathtakingly impressive fashion. Koko is revealed to despise the arms trade despite her skill with it, and puts Project Jormungand into play: a plan to use a satellite system to seal the skies from humanity, destroying all aircrafts in the sky at once to force world peace, believing herself to be the one to create a true peace for the world, even successfully pushing Jonah into agreeing with the plan at the end, declaring her personal soldiers will be the final soldiers left.
  • Satsuki Kiruyin from Kill la Kill. She takes advantage of Ryuko Matoi's arrival at Honouji Academy, using Ryuko's battles with her Absurdly Powerful Student Council to make the final adjustments to her Goku Uniforms to stage a full scale invasion of Japan, while also purging the system of any dissenters for good measure. Ryuko herself points it out!
    • Nui Harime also gets this status by simple virtue of being a Magnificent Troll.
  • Evilutionary Biologist Reiichi Shidoh of Killing Bites organizes the underground "Killing Bites" fights between the Half-Human Hybrid Therianthropes. Utterly unscrupulous, Shidoh uses shady tactics: tampering with the rules of the ring and manipulating the Zaibatu's conglomerates to allow for his experiments on Therianthropes. Betraying and arranging the murder of Mitsukado Zaibatsu's chairman, Yozan Mitsukado, Shidoh sets it up to look like an accident; then ordering his Therianthropes follower to murder her own investor to eliminate the witness to his crime. In spite of his unfettered nature, Shidoh truly believed his experiments on Therianthropes would fix the struggling Japanese economy and genuinely cares for Hitomi, even risking his own life to save her when he found her as a child.
  • Sinbad, king of Sindria and leader of the Seven Seas Alliance from Magi Labyrinth of Magic is a heroic, charismatic ruler who wages war against the evil organization Al-Thamen. Unknown to most, Sinbad is halfway fallen into depravity and all his seeming benevolence is a front with alternative motives, cultivating allies and pawns alike to use against Al-Thamen, even using mind controlled sleeper agents in other nations to spy through and seize control of them at advantageous moments. Later taking over the world, Sinbad seeks to rewrite reality itself to make a perfect world, even plotting to return everything to raw energy and recreate it the right way. At the end, upon realizing his crimes, Sinbad opts to stand with Alibaba and Aladdin to save the world from the depraved King David, showing himself, whether the hero or villain, to be the best at what he sets his mind out to.
  • Made in Abyss: Bondrewd the Novel, Sovereign of Dawn and one of the legendary White Whistles, is also one of the most brilliant and ruthless among them. To research the Abyss and its Curse, Bondrewd experiments on orphan children while sacrificing his own humanity to create his White Whistle and creating complicated ways to navigate throughout the Abyss through his technology with no physically adverse effects to himself. Even in spite of his objectively monstrous actions, Bondrewd still sincerely loves and cares for the children under his care and takes pains to remember their identities even as he sacrifices them for his experiments, taking one of them as his own daughter and raising her to become genuinely well-adjusted and innocent. Though undoubtedly an amoral Humanoid Abomination dedicated above all else to scientific triumph regardless of the cost, Bondrewd still demonstrates he understands love and family in his own warped terms and operates with perpetual affability and style, comfortable to abandon even his own ambitions to see those with brighter aspiration succeed where he couldn't
  • The Promised Neverland: Archduke Leuvis is a demon who lives for the thrill of combat. Latching on to Emma as his worthy adversary, Leuvis shows himself to be fully willing to offer up his own weaknesses and to arm his opponents to equal the playing field and once his comrades are dead, engages Emma and her friends with a shockingly display of combat instinct and battle tactics, completely seeing through everything Emma's team does while countering until he is finally cornered. Even upon dealing Emma a seemingly fatal wound, Leuvis is courteous and respectful to her, thinking how much he loves humans for their ingenuity, unlike his fellow demons who consider them lesser beings and only fit for food. A demon of shocking charm and charisma, Leuvis proves why he is the most deadly adversary yet encountered by Emma and her friends.
  • Rookie Policewoman Kiruko-san: Seemingly respectable business director Jean Smith is really a powerful criminal trying to expand his operation by using the small town of Nagashima for smuggling. Knowing The Heroine Kiruko and her allies are infiltrating his cruise ship to capture him, Jean has his men prepare for the attack while he personally greets the police in a jovial and personable manner. Ordering his men to take Kiruko's senior officer hostage, Jean escapes the cruise ship along with his hostage before trying to sink the boat. Eventually captured by the police, Jean nevertheless remains cordial to the cops and calls a rescue jet as a backup plan to escape. Genuinely friendly to both his enemies and allies, Jean remains the suavest criminal Kiruko has faced.
  • Esdeath from Akame ga Kill! fits this trope nicely with her tactical brilliance, overwhelming shows of power and skill, and charismatic leadership that makes her an inspiring figure that many choose to follow and lay down their lives for, all of this in spite of her monstrous sadism, love of torture, and active part in creating corruption within the empire and ensuring that the series' Crapsack World stays that way. She cares little for others yet knows how to play to the emotions of those others so that they don't even realize it. In the anime's finale, even after losing the final battle to Akame, it's Esdeath who has the last laugh when she uses the last of her strength to take out not just herself but Tatsumi along with her so that they may be Together in Death, leaving Akame utterly powerless to stop it and devastated as a result.
    • There's also Seryu Ubiquitous, who developed a backup strategy during her fight with Mine and Sheele in case she was in a jam, ordering Coro to enter Berserker mode and try to crush the life out of Mine, which forced Sheele to come to her rescue only to get shot from behind by her by surprise. And that's not all; she even called for backup from the Imperial guards beforehand. She truly proved herself to be one step ahead of the good guys in that fight, and from her laugh as Coro munched on Sheele in the aftermath of the fight, you could just tell that she was enjoying said victory. She was even able to beat down Mine during her second showdown with her with her own hands in a series of punches when her other weaponry failed against her. In fact, had it not been for the damage done to her body, she definitely would've killed Mine that way.
  • In Ao No Fuuin, we have Takao. His entire actions throughout the story were either orchestrated or predicted by him. Takao is the one who cloned Rago, bringing about the heroine Soko. His role as the Genbu has him work to protect Soko and he uses her to resurrect the Oni tribe, the reason she was cloned for to begin with. Despite Soko refusing to willingly do so, he either forces her to do it or brainwashes her with his Mind Manipulation. And even when it looks like Soko finally got away from him and can be happy with Akira, Takao isn't concerned. He knows Soko is too responsible and will return to his side. And even when he's about to be killed, he makes sure his final words will stop her from abandoning the Oni tribe and take up her duty as their leader. This guy is good!
  • My Hero Academia: 'Sensei', better known as All For One, is a incredibly powerful villain, the arch-nemesis of the heroic All Might. Secretly ruling the country from the shadows for generations, All For One was seemingly killed by his enemy, but survived and rebuilt a group of villains in secret. Wanting to hurt All Might, All For One tracked down All Might's mentor's long-lost grandson, and raised him as the villain Shigaraki tomura, knowing this revelation would be the one thing to crush All Might's heroic spirit. Even in his final battle with All Might, All for One is pleased even if he loses, knowing his loss will inspire Tomura to become the greatest villain in history to oppose All Might's own successor.
  • Bel Peol in Shakugan no Shana, known as the "Arbiter of Reverse Reasoning" and "The Strategist", lead Bel Masque in the first two seasons. In the past, Bel Peol sacrificed her right eye as part of a plan to retrieve her master's body; later convincing a Denizen into going for a dangerous mission, resulting in his death for her cause. Trying to destroy Misaki City, Bel Peol nearly succeeds in all her attempts thanks to her tactical brilliance and pushes the heroes to their limits. Joining her master, the Snake of the Festival upon his revival, Bel Peol acts as his Dragon and together they usher in the creation of Xanadu, a paradise for Denizens and humans alike, fighting fiercely for it. A ruthless, goal-driven woman, Bel Peol nevertheless showed fondness to her underlings and exceedingly intelligence thinking in the field of battle, proving herself a worthy leader of Bel Masque.
    • The aforementioned Snake of the Festival or "The God of Creation", is the original leader of Bel Masque. Summoned in ancient times by the Denizens of the past, the Snake tried to create a paradise for them before being sealed in the Abyss. In present convincing Protagonist Yuji Sakai to become his vessel, the Snake retakes leadership of Bel Masque, giving a speech so powerful it gains him the complete loyalty of all the present Denizens. Leading the Denizens in the devastating Second Great War, the Snake oversees the brutal combat to have his body recovered from the Abyss. Returning to Misaki City to create Xanadu, the Snake uses his own body and a member of the Trinity as sacrifices to create his new world. Realizing the Denizen's wish for peaceful coexistence, the Snake completes his mission despite massive opposition and returns to sleep, wishing his vessel success for the future.
  • Sgt Frog: One manga had Momoka's father try to force her into another private school, causing Fuyuki and the others to stand up to him. The end reveals that Dark Momoka planned the whole thing. She told her dad that she wanted to go to a private school so he could meet and gain respect for Fuyuki.
  • Tokyo ESP: The Professor, formerly Hokusai Azuma, was an archeologist who discovered the Holy Ark containing the Super Empowering Glowing Fishes. Becoming one of the first espers of the modern era, the Professor was betrayed and attacked by the General of his country and the Ares organization, which left his entire crew dead. Crafting his persona as "The Professor", he went back to Japan, adopting the son of one of his deceased crew-mates and begins plotting his vengeance against Ares, founding the terrorist group known as the Esper Liberation Front. Successfully opening the Ark atop the Tokyo Tower, the Professor causes a Mass Super-Empowering Event and despite his subsequent imprisonment, completes his revenge on Ares by leaving the heroes with instructions to take them down and free his beloved daughter. Driven to avenge his comrades, the Professor ruthlessly advances on his goals with care for none save his own child.
  • Tokyo Ghoul and its sequel has several of these running around.
    • The Clown Gang. In a Cruel Twist Ending to the original series, it turns out that they have been around the entire time and manipulating everyone. Uta and Itori have spent the series steering Kaneki along through various encounters, with Roma spying on Anteiku, Nico spying on Aogiri and later giving Kaneki information about them to steer him along, and Souta being the one that dropped the steel beams on Rize and started the whole thing. In the sequel, they begin messing with the heroes again for purposes still not fully understood.
    • The One-Eyed Owl, Eto / Sen Takatsuki. There since the very beginning, they've been quietly manipulating events. Even when they seemingly lose, they still manage to come out with some gain while further sowing seeds of discord and doubt in everyone involved. Along the way, they've managed to manipulate Hinami into her eventual Face–Heel Turn, plant seeds of doubt in Amon's mind about the CCG, made Kuro and Shiro realize they were being manipulated by Dr. Kanou, manipulated Takizawa and Kanae into fighting a mentally-unstable Sasaki, and (in the anime at least) exposed Anteiku in order to capture her father and create a power vacuum in Tokyo.
    • In the sequel, we have Nimura Furuta. Seemingly a minor background character, they turn out to be a sinister Red Herring Shirt that masterfully manipulates everyone around them. Mid-battle, he casually drops the meek and clumsy shoving a comrade into the path of a fatal blow, and using it to take down Matsumae. He reveals that he knows Tsukiyama from his days at the Ghoul Restaurant, and cheerfully kills Matsumae before using her kagune to finish off the only witness. By the time backup arrives, he's beaten himself up and tells a sob story about being the only survivor. This fools his superiors, and he pretends to become hysterical with grief over the death of his partner.....but is actually laughing over it all.