An antagonist is someone or something that goes against the protagonist. In most series, the protagonist is the main character and is usually the hero, whereas the antagonist is the main villain that the hero must defeat. In theory, this usually makes the antagonist the most hated character within the series, however, in anime/manga especially, that’s not always the case. Within this genre of Literature, the antagonist is arguably the most liked character within the series. Below I have compiled a small list of antagonist that you just can’t hate; not in any particular order.
If there ever was an anime version of the legendary character Joker, it would be Hisoka. Hisoka is from the famous series Hunter x Hunter (pronounced Hunter Hunter) that got a revamp in 2011. Although the series itself isn’t complete and updates slowly, it has a fan base that can rival Dragon Ball. Centered on the protagonist Gon, Hunter x Hunter started off as a fun loving anime….until we encounter Hisoka. Just as the Joker from DC Universe, Hisoka has only one desire, to enjoy himself. His primary source of enjoyment is from fighting strong opponents. He isn’t oppose to nurturing someone to become a formidable foe in the future (much as he did with Gon) nor is he impatient (joined the Phantom Troupe just to fight Chrollo Lucifer). Matters not what the means or form of challenge is, as long as the opponent is formidable, he is on board and ready for the challenge.
Named after the home world of all Saiyans, Prince Vegeta (technically the King) has been the main antagonist to Son Goku since the Saiyan Saga in Dragon Ball Z. A proud warrior who has not once lost to Goku in a one on one fight; Vegeta is almost the complete opposite of Goku. Unlike Goku, Vegeta cares very little about companionship, nor does he has a sense of justice. He would fight to kill any foe that dares to defy him and isn’t above attacking his own companions that stands in his way. However, it is that same attitude that gave him such a strong fan base. Perhaps many grew tired of Goku’s good nature, or perhaps they lost faith after Piccolo grew soft thanks to Son Gohan; whatever it may be, the Saiyan Prince became one of the most love characters within the franchise.
3. Sasuke Uchiha
Sasuke Uchiha, is one of the original members of Team 7 in the hit series Naruto. Being one of the few that acknowledge Naruto at an early stage, it would make sense that Naruto and Sasuke would be best friends; however, it was not so simple. Being forced to witness the slaughter of his clan by his older brother, Sasuke developed a lot of emotional issues, one being trust issues from an early age. This, along with his thirst for revenge, made him stand out academically and socially while keeping to himself. This caused a rift between himself and Naruto which got in the way of the inevitable friendship that was in the making. In fact Sasuke wasn’t that liked until the mission to the Land of the Waves. In his fight against Zabuza Momochi and then Haku, Sasuke’s popularity increased. Later in the Chunin exam and the revelation of his background, Sasuke’s fan base was much larger than Naruto’s own. Everyone wanted a curse mark on their shoulder, a Sharigan and to do Chidori. However that popularity took a heavy blow when he aligned himself to Orochimaru and even more so he became responsible for Itachi’s death. However through it all, the fan base kept growing as he constantly redeemed himself and pulled off amazing feats. Sasuke Uchiha has become without a doubt, one of the most loveable Emo Antagonist.
4. Donquixote Doflamingo
Doflamingo affectionately called Doffy by one of his subordinates was a former Shichibukai and Captain of the Donquixote Pirate Crew in the hit series One Piece. As One Piece is a constantly expanding storyline, there have been many antagonist, some arguably more potent than Doflamingo. However, due to his arc, Doflamingo had gained a lot of fans. His charisma, his ruthlessness, his calculating mind, his strength; all that and more made it quite hard to hate Doflamingo. In fact, a few of my closest friends were hoping that Doffy would loose the fight. Doffy has become a fan favourite and it’s no secret that the One Piece fan base is patiently waiting for his reappearance and if possible, a round two between Luffy and Doffy.
5. Zeref Dragneel
Zeref Dragneel, older brother to Natsu Dragneel and ruler of the Kingdom Alvarez, is arguably the main antagonist within Fairy Tail. At first, he was deeply hated by the fans. He was known as The Dark Wizard Zeref, and his influence caused a lot of distress within The Fairy Tail Timeline; He robbed Mavis of her life, took Jellal from Erza, created the demons from The Book of Zeref, created Achnalogia, etc. Sad to say, Zeref was not likeable at all, that is until we got his backstory. To bring his only family back to live (Natsu), Zeref gave up his mortality, to protect the one that he loved (Mavis), he gave up his heart, to ensure his brother has a future, he gave him up to Igneel. Zeref may still be seen as a Dark Mage, however his love and compassion that made him into one, has earned him a spot in the hearts of Fairy Tail Fans.
6. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
If you have yet to finish Bleach Manga, this would contain spoilers. Grimmjow, AKA Espada No. 6 is the first instantly liked villain within the Bleach Universe. All other villains you warmed up to, even Byakuya Kuchiki, one of the strongest and most loved Captains, was hated/questioned at the beginning by the majority of fans. Grimmjow on the other hand, from his first scene, was instantly liked. He was quick and ready to fight and kill like Kenpachi. He was brave enough to defy the stronger Espadas and even Aizen to do whatever he wants. He was strong enough to back the protagonist Ichigo into a corner without even trying and he gave us one of the best fights within the Bleach universe. However he didn’t stop there. Accepting his loss in Hueco Mundo, Grimmjow trained and came back stronger than before to help Kisuke Urahara in the fights against the Quincy. There is literally no hating this character.
As we can see, some Antagonists are much more favoured than the actual Protagonist of a series. Be it their charisma, class or sheer strength, these characters are loved by their respective fan base all round. Comment and let us know your thoughts on this list and if there are any that you would like to add.