Happy Early Halloween, my Otaku-Ghouls, and Gals.
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons, and Halloween contributes heavily to that: Delicious candy flows at cheap prices; horror movies are abundant, and the decorations pouring out of department stores burning money like hellfire.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
Naturally, this is the time of year when fear becomes trendy. While I don’t dive into Horror anime as much as I’d like, I do adore when a character makes me shiver in my blanket burrito. Thus I present to you the top ten anime characters that, one time or another, made me shake in my fashion boots. As always, this is just my list, and I’m open to suggestions in the comments from what I haven’t seen.
10. The Major — Hellsing (Spoilers: Minor)
In an unrelated project, I once asked “who wants to own a war?” in jest. Little did I know, there was an answer to that question.
The Major, lacking a real name, loves war. He doesn’t care if he’s on the winning or losing side of any war; he just wants to be a part of the whole bloody affair. This obsession not only leads him to fighting for the Nazi’s in WWII, but to forming a neo-nazi organization, Millennium, and plunging London into a bloody chaotic heap. Intelligent, ruthless, and usually in a jaunty mood, The Major has no qualms about sending his men to die at the hands of a monster, using them as bait to lure out other people, or anything that results in mass death. Worse yet, this soft-spoken, impeccably dressed man will do it all with a jaunty smile on his face.
9. Majin Buu — Dragon Ball Z (Spoilers: Moderate)
The Major’s greatest strength is the power of an army. But what if one person had all that power? What if it was a toddler?
For all the Goofy Dragon Ball Z has ever done, Majin Buu was a stroke of genius. He looks like a joke villain, This pudgy pink ball of lard but Akira Toriyama made him just about the most dangerous thing his group of martial artists ever dealt with. He took all the power of several nuclear warheads and put it in the hands of a childish, easily angered creature, and what followed was utter, terrifying chaos. This funny-looking creature destroyed cities, Kami’s lookout, and nearly the whole planet, in one season. And that was just in this form — you don’t wanna see him in his second and third state.
8. Sebastian Michaelis — Black Butler (Spoilers: None)
When it comes to power, both Buu and Sebastian are forces to be reckoned with. But where Buu lacks in intelligence, Sebastian has in experience, cunning, and just sheer, cold cruelty. The only reason people don’t shake when they see him is the charming dandy candy wrapper on the outside.
The demonic butler of Kuroshitsuji is a near indestructible force under the command of Earl Ciel Phantomhive, revenge-seeking-child #524. Fast, strong, and immortal, Sebastian attacks every problem (or person) his masters points him too with precision and machine-like efficiency. This results in the Butler bringing hell to earth on several occasions for the Earl’s enemies, leaving one to question just what this ruthless creature would do if he wasn’t on a leash. And with the threat of his reward on the horizon, namely Ciel’s soul, the show always feels like a trap waiting to trigger.
7. Orochimaru — Naruto (Spoilers: Minor)
While Naruto doesn’t impress me as much as it used to, it’s hard to deny how utterly creepy and disturbing that is Orochimaru. Unlike Sebastian, the snake villain of Naruto is not bound by anyone, and thus free to be the disturbing bastard that he is.
One of the three greatest ninjas of Konohagakure, Orochimaru is described as “twisted”, while “creepy” is a better term. Besides conducting mass experiments on the village population to gain immortality, Orochimaru is no stranger to wearing other people’s skins like a suit, nor in testing the limits of human body modification. Orochimaru himself is body horror incarnate, especially when wielding a host of snake-jutsus that make his own body react in unnatural fashions. If there was ever a man who embodied hard-science horrors, it was Orochimaru.
6. Akito — Fruits Basket (Spoilers: Minor)
But why I hear you ask? Akito doesn’t kill anyone, nor does he have any supernatural powers. But Akito has one thing that makes him terrifying: complete control over a whole family, and he abuses it to horrific extents.
For most of Fruits Basket, the head of the Sohma family tended to be a shadowy figure that never showed his face. But later episodes (and chapters) revealed that Akito was a cold creature, so afraid of being left alone that he’d do anything to keep the family close by. This, sadly, included physical abuse, gas-lighting, brainwashing, and any other trauma he could think of. The control Akito has over the minds of those in the Zodiac is terrifying to watch and will break your heart each time you get a tiny glimpse.
5. Light Yagami — Death Note (Spoilers: None)
Abused power is, indeed, a terrifying concept. None utilize this to greater effect than Light Yagami, the teen with the power to murder in just a few pen strokes.
Light is the bored genius child in every classroom, the one who’s too smart and frustrated with all the wrongs he sees around him. But, unlike the others, Light stumbles upon the power to do something about it: a Notebook that can kill with a name and a face. Light’s goal seems like it would be the obvious solution, i.e use the Death Note to kill criminals, but Light takes it several steps too far. Believing himself to be a new God, Light’s ultimate goal is to murder anyone he deems as unworthy and start a new perfect society of justice. When challenged, he becomes an unhinged creature they call Kira, killing anyone he rationalized as dangerous and manipulating everyone around him for the greater good.
4. Shishio Makoto — Rurouni Kenshin (Spoilers: Minimal)
Speaking of creating the perfect world, someone else beat Light to that punch a long time ago. But where Light has to hide for fear of being stopped, this fellow operates as a public terrorist.
Shishio Makoto was a former assassin for the government, the same government who tried to burn him alive when they had no more use for him. After surviving the flames Shisho has formed an anti-government militia and plans to take over all of Japan. But where Light plans to make a “perfect world” where crime is reason enough to be slaughtered, Shisho believes the weak exist to aid the strong (mostly by dying) and has no trouble at all crushing people under his heel. Intelligent and charismatic, it doesn’t take long for this sadistic samurai to gain a following, and for his burning passion to almost destroy an entire country.
3. Fuhrer King Bradley — Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (Spoilers: Minor)
We’ve played with a lot of beings now with unrestrained power, who are usually either apathetic or on a leash. Imagine what would happen if that endless power were released onto the world with little to no safeguards.
That is King Bradley, and that is terrifying
The “enigmatic” leader of Amestris makes only a few appearances early on, but these brief appearances usually resulted in someone being slaughtered before the audience could blink. He is ruthless against his enemies, blindly fast, and seems to be powered by an endless supply of cold, cruel, anger. There’s no mercy to be found when Bradley’s decided your fate, a feature that has lead to Mustang questioning his intentions, especially when this was the same man who kept the fires burning for the Ishvalan war. Even the audience isn’t exactly sure what side Bradley is really on.
2. Lucy — Elfen Lied (Spoilers: Moderate)
When Elfen Lied isn’t painting its story with buckets of blood, it shows some serious depth and Shakespearean characters. None more so than Lucy, whose traumatic past makes her a rage-fueled murderer who will leave you in sympathetic tears.
Lucy the Diclonius has experienced the best and the worst of humanity all at once and too fast. Her whole life has been defined by aggressive, over-cruel bullying, borderline on sadistic, resulting in her torturing and killing her tormentors in the most brutal fashion. But Lucy has also experienced love from a childhood friend and actually seeks to atone for her sins in the name of that love.
1. Legato Bluesummers — Trigun (Spoilers: Mild)
The Gung-Ho guns were a very late addition to Trigun, but their leader more than makes up for it.
The manga shows Legato in a more sympathetic light, revealing him to be a former slave that was abused before being rescued by Vash’s nemesis. The anime leaves his background a mystery but makes his disturbing nature abundantly clear. Legato is a manipulative nihilist who’s bound and determined to torment a man who swears to never kill, strictly because that man causes him “undue irritation.”
Legato’s talks of everything being pointless and empty, alongside his powers to control bodies through his mind (combined with, you guessed it, some sadistic intelligence) make him the most disturbing force to be reckoned with. Legato’s penchant for psychological warfare, and sheer obsession with breaking one man make him one of the scariest things to ever cross into anime.
Who in anime terrifies you? Plan on dressing up as any of them for Halloween? Feel free to let us know all about it in the comments below. And don’t forget to like and follow for more content just like this.