The villains of My Hero Academia are not so different from the hardships and accomplishments of the heroes from the series, especially when it comes to their backstories and subsequent storylines that develop throughout the manga and the anime TV show.
A lot of the MHA characters come from harsh backgrounds and have to figure out where their place is in society and what their beliefs are, and this can lead to some endearing stories and experiences. As the stories continue to unfold, villains from both the manga and the TV series are contenders for having the coolest and most interesting backstory.
Updated on October 6th, 2021 by Tanner Fox: The My Hero Academia anime’s fifth season has offered up some shocking twists and surprising developments, and it has many fans re-evaluating their favorite villains. From forgotten D-listers to titanic threats to world peace, much like the heroes, My Hero Academia’s villains are constantly growing and evolving.
With an entire season 5 arc dedicated to the backstories of some fan-favorite criminal offenders, it’s time to adjust perceptions on MHA villains both larger and small.
14 Gentle Criminal
Without a doubt the lamest villain with the series’ lamest story arc is Danjuro Tobita, A.K.A. Gentle Criminal. Everything he does is a stunt, with the only motive to be internet famous. That said, his relationship to La Brava is somewhat touching, as he opts to lie to investigators in order to make her out to be innocent.
Yet, Gentle is very selfish in his acts and uses villainy to gain attention, which seems like a fairly weak motivation. What’s more, he isn’t honest about the fact that he could be a hero instead of a villain in the My Hero Academia universe until it’s too late.
13 Shin Nemoto
Only equipped with a handgun and his loyalty, Shin Nemoto isn’t the most impressive or important villain, even if he looks pretty cool. Unfortunately, he basically just follows Kai Chisaki around like a puppy, and, when push comes to shove, he fuses with Kai, which eventually leads to his demise.
One of the Eight Bullets featured in the fourth season’s Shie Hassaikai arc, Shin Nemoto is a deeply cynical man who seems to have wholeheartedly adopted Overhaul’s pessimistic worldview. If nothing else, his character serves to indicate how alluring Overhaul’s rhetoric can be on the criminal underworld of My Hero Academia.
12 Hekiji Tengai
Tengai originated as a devout Buddhist, but, as the newest member of the Shie Hassaikai, he assumes a position as one of the group’s Eight Bullets. Unfortunately, he starts out in this criminal group as a glorified babysitter for Kendo Rappa, A.K.A. The Rapper, another Eight Bullets member.
Hekiji Tengai’s cool demeanor matches Overhaul’s and makes for an interesting juxtaposition between himself and his partner. However, his potential is arguably wasted, as he’s mostly used as fodder for Class 1-A student Eijiro Kirishima’s character development.
A comic relief character first introduced in My Hero Academia‘s third season, Spinner isn’t meant to be taken seriously. With a quirk that grants him the powers of a reptile, few of his villain allies take him seriously, and he’s often been likened to the cartoonish heroes the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In the manga series, however, Spinner takes on a drastically different role. Made a societal outcast as a result of his strange appearance, Spinner struggles to find purpose as a villain despite possessing little real power.
Jin Bubaigawara is better known as the villain Twice. He was originally a member of the League of Villains and later a lieutenant in the Paranormal Liberation Front.
He is comedic and expressive, but he’s also shown to struggle internally, and his inner battle derives from something even more heartbreaking, which is his lack of friendships. Himiko Toga’s friendship and compassion for him also make him an interesting story because they both don’t quite seem the villain-type, but he toughed out that role until the end.
9 Himiko Toga
Himiko Toga’s character arc is interesting from start to finish; her traumatic history of familial judgment led her to shed her otherwise bubbly personality and seek out evildoers who would not disavow her based on her abnormal Quirk.
She is fascinated with the concept of love and cannot seem to escape it, even when she is explaining herself mid-battles. Her perkiness is generally off-putting to those she encounters, as she carries herself under a “villain” title and she uses that to her advantage. She gets to lead the Vanguard Action Squad in the Forest Training Camp Arc and continues on multiple missions after that.
Often compared to DC’s villain The Joker thanks to his angular facial features and pinstripe suit, Re-Destro is the CEO of Detnerat and the son of Destro, a revolutionary who fought for the liberation of maladjusted Quirk users. He’s a major hurdle in Tomura Shigaraki’s quest for domination, and he meets his match when Shigaraki unleashes the true potential of his power.
A relatively uninteresting villain on the surface, Re-Destro serves as a reminder that not all MHA evil-doers act as villains just for the sake of it. Re-Destro had a complex legacy and belief system, and he fought not for the sake of chaos, but to enact his own version of justice.
7 Kai Chisaki
Also known as Overhaul, Kai is the Shie Hassaikai leader, and he wields an incredibly powerful Qurik which allows him to disassemble and reassemble the makeup of whatever material he touches. One of the coolest things he did was fusing with Shin Nemoto, for his Confession Quirk, and Rikiya Katsukame for his Stamina Siphoning Quirk during the hero raid against his organization.
His storyline is one of the coolest, as, even with his disposition and lack of value he places on human life, he seems to care about his boss, who rescued him off the streets—and yet he seems almost inhuman in his behavior. When he disagrees with his boss, he still kept him around in a coma while he attempted to complete his own personal vendetta. He’s a germaphobe who wears a symbolic plague mask, adding some serious flair to his design.
Dabi’s nonchalant and arrogant exterior makes him oddly appealing to many fans. He became even more relevant when the manga revealed his real name, Toya Todoroki.
He has one of the most heartbreaking backstories, but, when he realizes he somewhat agrees with Stain’s philosophy that society would be better without heroes, he grows as a character, letting his emotions show. He becomes one of the more interesting villains because the stakes are higher when he starts to involve Endeavor and Shoto in his plans to hurt people and his family.
Introduced in My Hero Academia‘s first season as a core member of the League of Villains, Shigaraki was an enigmatic entity whose real body—let alone backstory—could scarcely be understood. However, he morphed from a terrifying to tragic figure following a season 5 revelation.
In fact, Kurogiri is actually an experimental Nomu created from the corpse of Shota Aizawa’s childhood friend. Originally an ever-upbeat go-getter, almost none of his former personality remains, and his is one of the most upsetting stories in the entire series.
4 Chizome Akaguro
Also known as Hero Killer Stain, Chizome Akaguro is a villain vigilante who believes the world would be a better place without heroes. Specifically, he hates false heroes, the people with quirks that claim to be heroes to help but are actually just in it for fame and money. Even as a villain, he seems to like All Might.
He realized that his beliefs were based on Stendhal, another vigilante who has split personalities and lived both in his vigilante and civilian identities. Stain adopted his “duty” from someone else, and, even knowing he disagrees with the method, morally he continues to go about it the wrong way.
3 Tomura Shigaraki
An archetypal villain apprentice, Tomura Shigaraki’s story arc initially seems to be pretty open-and-shut. However, with a tragic past and a devastatingly powerful quirk, there’s more to All For One’s successor than meets the eye.
He started as a typical villain who just wants to destroy the things he hates. When he realizes he needs to readjust his views to truly rule the criminal underworld, he does. But, he also still seems to battle with the fact that he wasn’t one of the “lucky ones” to be rescued by heroes, so he acts as if villainy is all that he can do.
The marquee villain of the My Hero Academia movie Heroes Rising, though he doesn’t have the kind of relationship with All For One that Shigaraki does, Nine is, in a sense, the Darth Vader to All For One’s Emperor.
Wielding a Quirk which, while powerful, degrades his physical health, Nine is often seen wearing a type of life support apparatus. He also shapes his worldview around the idea that might makes right, going so far as to partake in an experimental surgery to grant him One For All’s abilities. An incredibly powerful villain, he’s only taken down by Midoriya and Bakugo when the former temporarily shares his power with the latter.
Aside from his epic fight against All-Might, All-For-One is the most powerful villain with an open-ended storyline. He somehow survives losing his face, keeping his identity hidden, and escapes Tartarus, the special prison for villain criminals.
He has adjusted to losing his sense and takes Quirks to add to his outrageous amount of strength and abilities. All-For-One works from behind the scenes like a puppetmaster and never breaks from his suave and domineering character. The man behind nearly every conflict in My Hero Academia, there’s no denying the impact of his still-ambiguous story.