The quote “You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain” is true for these 10 anime characters who ended up becoming what they hated most. Despite what one might think, life isn’t easy for a fictional character. Even if they are important enough to be protected by plot armor, tragedy strikes almost always. However, while that is bad news for them, the audience loves a little bit of angst.
Seeing characters deal with unwanted change, their journey suppressing or accepting it, and the result of their actions is what makes anime interesting. Episodes where the protagonists return stronger than ever after suffering in the pits of hell are highly anticipated. After all, these badass moments are what we live vicariously through.
Unfortunately, not every character has such a cool end. Most give in to the darkness, while others, unable to bear it, become an empty husk. Let's look at these ten characters that have become what they hated most and their ways of dealing with it.
A word of caution before we start 一 keep an eye out for spoilers!
10. Mikaela Hyakuya (Seraph of the End)
Mikaela Hyakuya led a terrible life. As an orphan, the only family he had were other children from the Hyakuya Orphanage. To take care of them in a city run by vampires, Mika regularly offered blood to Ferid Bathory in exchange for supplies and food.
Sick of their living conditions, Mika planned to escape alongside Yu and the other kids. However, fate wasn't so accommodating. As they reached the city's exit, Ferid Bathory arrived, taking pleasure in seeing the dismal conditions of the children. The vampire then went on to murder Mika's entire family as the boy lay helpless. When it was Mika’s turn to die, the Third Vampire Progenitor, Krul Tepes, arrived and turned him into a vampire against his will.
Now, being a creature that he hated, Mika desperately wished to die. The trauma of seeing his family getting murdered by a vampire was etched into his bones, and he could not fathom becoming a monster of that kind. However, as a vampire, Mika was immortal and unable to even end his life.
While Mika ended up accepting his new identity later on in the series, the anger he felt towards vampires only transformed into disgust towards everyone.
9. Ophelia (Claymore)
Ophelia was Claymore No. 4 of Clare's generation, proud of her identity and strength. However, she had a sadistic nature and enjoyed the thrill that came with war and the mutilation of her victims. Ophelia's cruelty extended to not only humans but also to her own comrades that had often experienced her bloodlust.
Despite acting playful or sarcastic most of the time, Ophelia was unusually serious when it came to "Awakened Beings." Traumatized after watching one kill her family, she both hated and had an unhealthy obsession with them. In fact, Ophelia vowed only to kill Awakened Beings and even went as far as forcing other Claymores to awaken so that she could fight them.
Ophelia’s mental decline while fighting Clare during a mission triggered her awakening in a grim twist of fate. Upon seeing her reflection in the water and realizing this, she was extremely distraught. Having become one of the "monsters" she sought to destroy, Ophelia's hatred towards the Awakened Beings was so deeply rooted that she allowed Clare to take her life. This way, she finally found peace.
8. Zero Kiryu (Vampire Knight)
Born to a Vampire Hunter's family, Zero learned how to fight and kill them from a very young age. After his experience with Yagari’s fiance, he started to believe that no vampire was innocent. However, Zero’s hatred towards them completely matured when Shizuka, a pureblood vampire, murdered his parents and turned him into a vampire.
After Kiryu's awakening as a vampire, he harbored great disgust towards himself and continuously feared turning into a Level E threat. Furthermore, his burning hatred of all Purebloods led to his strong desire to kill vampires while simultaneously resisting the urge to drink blood.
Zero's outlook on life became so miserable that he tried to kill himself with an anti-vampire gun but was stopped by Yuki in time. While Kiryu came to accept his fate, later on, he nevertheless had a difficult time thinking of himself or any other vampire as anything but a monster.
7. Acnologia (Fairy Tail)
Fairy Tail fans know all about Acnologia and the threat he posed to the world. However, like most characters, his past is nothing short of a tragedy. As it turns out, Acnologia was actually a powerful Dragon Slayer who turned into a dragon due to his overuse of Dragon Slayer Magic.
In his early life, Acnologia was a doctor that took care of dragons. But, in a grim twist of fate, they ended up murdering his family, destroying his city, and claiming the life of a child. This horrendous event led to Acnologia becoming a ruthless, bloodthirsty, and violent Dragon Slayer who vowed to kill every dragon that he could.
Unfortunately, due to the overuse of his Dragon Slayer Magic and bathing in the blood of his victims, Acnologia started taking the form of a dragon. Unlike most characters on this list, despite becoming what he hated most, Acnologia went on to proclaim himself as the Dragon King and reveled in his change.
6. Origami Tobiichi (Date A Live)
Origami Tobiichi harbored an intense hatred towards all spirits due to their hand in murdering her parents. This hostility led her to lose all common sense near a spirit's vicinity as she immediately tried to kill it. In fact, when Origami realized that her love interest, Shido, had a sister who was a spirit, she spared no effort in trying to kill her. Shido only managed to stop Tobiichi by telling her about the Phantom's existence.
As the series progressed, Origami showered a growing desire to obtain power. This caused her to join DEM and even accept a Sephira Crystal that turned her into the thing she hated most 一 a spirit. With finally enough power to fight evenly against Spirits, Origami’s disgust was such that she decided to end her life after killing them all.
However, Tobiichi soon found out about the Phantom and the truth behind her parents' death. Ridden with guilt and anguish, she suffered an emotional breakdown and inverted. Unlike most characters on this list, Origami Tobiichi sought to become the creature she hated just to gain enough power to eradicate them all.
5. Dabi (My Hero Academia)
In a surprising reveal, My Hero Academia’s resident villain 一 Dabi 一 turned out to be the number one hero’s eldest son named Toya Todoroki. His tragic childhood is what led him to choose such a contrasting path.
When Toya Todoroki was born with a fire Quirk more powerful than his father’s, Endeavor placed his ambitions on his child and trained him from a very young age. Dabi studiously practiced and even looked forward to becoming a hero that surpassed All Might.
Unfortunately, due to his inherited resistance to cold instead of fire, Toya would burn himself every time he used his Quirk. This resulted in Endeavor labeling him a failure and refocusing his attention on creating another possibly powerful child.
Burdened with the hopes and dreams of his father and then thrown aside when he could no longer fulfill them, Toya fell into despair, resulting in him losing control over his Quirk and burning an entire forest. The incident was so ferocious that he was presumed to be dead. However, Dabi ended up surviving, and his traumatic experiences led to him becoming what he hated most 一 a villain.
In the end, it was Endeavor’s traumatic abuse and abandonment that led to Dabi embracing the dark side and abandoning his dreams of becoming a hero.
4. Obito Uchiha (Naruto Shippuden)
Obito Uchiha has often been referred to as the "Naruto who took a different path." This is because Obito was often left alone and ignored during his childhood, leading to his desire to become a Hokage. He wanted to get acknowledged by the people of Konoha and make the world become a better place.
Due to the raging war he was brought up in, Obito and his team had to go on missions and take part in it first hand. Seeing so much bloodshed, betrayal, and pain in the world, he grew up to despise war and suffering. However, his life was overturned after a fatal incident.
When Obito was just about to die, he was saved by Madara Uchiha, who filled his mind with false ideals. The young Uchiha only grew more twisted when he saw Kakashi stabbing Rin, the girl he loved. At this point, Obito realized that the world was a horrible place where children were forced to become soldiers and kill their own friends.
Obito sided with Madara, believing that an illusion of bliss was the way to end this constant horror and suffering. To fulfill this goal, Obito Uchiha ended up single-handedly causing the Fourth Shinobi War and becoming who he hated most.
3. Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte)
Shinichi Izumi feared parasites and was horrified by their action of killing humans senselessly. Unfortunately, the saying "You attract what you fear" held true in this case. Izumi was soon infected by a parasite larva called Migi, who burrowed into his arm. Thankfully, Migi could not enter Shinichi’s brain, allowing the latter to maintain control over his body and consciousness.
Throughout the series, Shinichi's feelings towards the Parasites kept changing. In the beginning, he felt extreme hatred towards the creatures. However, his anger and disgust towards them only strengthened after parasites killed his mother and Kana. From then on, Shinichi made it his goal to eradicate the monsters.
In order to fulfill this desire, Izumi cooperated and coexisted with Migi, cleaning up any parasite they came across. However, after being saved by Reiko and encountering the psychotic Uragami, he faltered in his conviction and started to wonder who the real monster was. By the end of the series, Shinichi concluded that the parasites he hated were only trying to survive, and there was nothing he could do but protect the ones he loved.
2. Light Yagami (Death Note)
Light Yagami was a brilliant student with a strong sense of justice. So when a Death Note fell into his hands, he had to make good use of it. With this newfound power, Yagami decided to rid this rotten world of criminals, one at a time. His main goal was to create a new world free of injustice and populated only with honest and kind people.
Despite starting with this noble idea, the Death Note's power soon tainted Light, and his desire now warped into being the "God of the new world." Yagami used any means to achieve his goals, including putting his family in harm's way. Light considered his actions as the ultimate "sacrifice" the world had to make to better itself. While Light started with a justifiable cause of ridding the world of criminals, he ended up becoming one.
1. Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)
This list would have been incomplete without mentioning Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan, the typical example of someone becoming what he hated most.
Within the first few episodes of the series, Eren's hatred for the Titans was palpable - and understandably so. He witnessed his mother being eaten by a Titan, which led to his desire to wipe them off the face of Earth. Eren was so committed to his goal that he joined the Survey Corps despite the risks accompanying it.
However, once again, fate played its cruel joke. After finding the basement and unlocking his father's memories, Eren learned about the truth about the Titans and the history between Eldia and Marley. Now vowing to free him home from their true enemy, the entirety of humanity across the ocean, Eren grew up to become a monster worse than the ones he hated and swore to destroy.