Countless works of fiction involve an evil organization or two, and the world of anime is no different. Some of the most notorious, powerful, and memorable anime villains of all time aren’t just schemers or fighters; they are also leaders, and they know how to run a secret organization or even an entire army or nation of their own.

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Whether a hero or a villain, a true leader needs a clear and achievable goal, a plan of action, loyal and skilled followers, and more than a little talent in leadership. Charisma, strategic brilliance, and resourcefulness can all help with that, and anime villains never fail to have these attributes. Which villainous anime leaders are the best at what they do, or left the strongest impression on the viewer?

10 The Detective L Led A Team Of Trusted Investigators (Death Note)

This series is famous for blurring the line between good and evil, where the protagonist Light Yagami becomes the villain, and L is the hero who was simply assigned the role of the antagonist. Still, given his ruthless methods and role in the story, it’s safe to categorize L as the leader of the antagonistic group, even if fans love him.

L usually works alone, but the rules have changed for the Kira case. L is leading a small but trusted team of police officers, including Light’s father Soichiro, to hunt and take down Kira, no matter what. L is a rather capable leader, given how he used to work solo.

9 The Battle Against Hades Was Almost Personal (Fairy Tail)

A century ago, a man named Precht Gaelbolg was one of the founders of the Fairy Tail guild, and he served as its second master, after Mavis Vermillion herself. Eventually, though, Precht left the guild and became the villainous Hades, and he is now Makarov Dreyar’s biggest enemy.

During the Tenrou Island arc, Hades and his Grimoire Heart guild waged war on Fairy Tail, and it took everything Natsu and his friends had to take him down. As a villain boss, Hades favored magical strength over tactical brilliance, but he was still a highly capable villain boss.

8 Diavolo Rules Passione From The Shadows (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Italy is famous for its pleasant weather and sunny Mediterranean seas, but it is also home to the deepest shadows where crime runs rampant. In the early 2000s, during the Golden Wind story arc, Italy’s streets are soaked with blood and drugs thanks to local gangs and crime families. Passione is the worst of them.

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The mysterious “boss” keeps the drugs and blood flowing, and Bruno Bucciarati and Giorno Giovanna are determined to take him down. It won’t be easy, though. Diavolo is paranoid, smart, and has a mighty Stand named King Crimson. He’s the boss for a reason.

7 Muzan Kibutsuji Is Merciless Even To His Followers (Demon Slayer)

Muzan Kibutsuji is the one villain whom Tanjiro Kamado will never, ever forgive. Some demons have tragic backstories as former humans, even Rui and Kyogai, but not Muzan. He is an ice-cold monster through and through, and he has sired countless demons across Japan to enforce his will.

Muzan is also directly in charge of the Twelve Demon Moons, or the Kizuki, and he’s not afraid to weed out the weaker ones out of sheer frustration. Only Enmu survived the slaughter of the Lower Six Moons, and he appeared again in the Mugen Train movie.

6 Chrollo Lucilfer Is The Brilliant Leader Of The Phantom Troupe (Hunter X Hunter)

Chrollo Lucilfer leads the mighty Phantom Troupe organization, and he has long since established himself as one of anime’s best villain bosses. He is not only the boss but also the founder, having the rank of #0 among the Troupe’s members. Physically, he’s not the strongest of them, but he doesn’t have to be, either.

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Chrollo’s real strength lays in his cool disposition and his brainpower, being able to coolly and smartly lead an organization of rowdy and powerful characters for all this time without fail. If that weren’t enough, he is also capable of mass slaughter and cunning manipulation.

5 Pain Was Once The Outward Leader Of Akatsuki (Naruto)

pain from naruto close-up

Who exactly leads the Akatsuki organization? The chain of command extended further and further as the story went, to include characters such as Madara Uchiha, Black Zetsu, and Kaguya Otsutsuki herself, not to mention Obito Uchiha to a degree. At first, though, Pain was the main leader of this shinobi gang.

Pain was once Nagato, an idealistic boy who, under better circumstances, could have been more like Naruto Uzumaki. For a time, Pain was the boss, and his idealistic self became cold and brutal as he schemed to collect the nine Tailed Beasts and wield their power. During his heyday, he ranked among the elite of all anime villains.

4 Captain Blackbeard Commands A Crew Of Criminals & Thugs (One Piece)

Captain Blackbeard of the Blackbeard Pirates is the evil twin of his former captain, Whitebeard, in many ways. Blackbeard broke the “iron law” and slew a fellow crewmate, leading to his exile from Whitebeard’s fleet. So, Blackbeard formed his own gang, which soon grew to include some of history’s worst villains of all time.

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Blackbeard has his own ship, terrifying crewmates, an odd charisma, and of course, incredible powers. He started off with the Dark-Dark Fruit, but he also obtained the fallen Whitebeard’s Tremor-Tremor Fruit. He is now the dark king of the high seas, and one of Luffy’s greatest challenges.

3 All For One Sought To Make His Own World A Reality (My Hero Academia)

MHA All for one Recruited a Villain

All For One, who has a Quirk of the same name, is much older than any of the heroes whom he faces on the battlefield. Ever since the early days of Quirks, he sought to unite the world under his leadership, and make people happy and safe by distributing Quirks according to need. But of course, he is not completely benign about this.

All For One wanted to unite the entire world by making everyone loyal to him personally, and his younger brother could not accept this. All For One is not only a titanically powerful supervillain, but he also ended All Might’s career and has inspired a new generation of villains to finish what he started, including Tomura Shigaraki. True evil never dies.

2 Captain Sosuke Aizen Planned Everything To Rule The Heavens (Bleach)

Anime Bleach Sosuke Aizen

It seems that every last thing is already a part of Sosuke Aizen’s plan, and given his brilliant mind and his illusion-based zanpakuto, it’s easy to see how he’s been one step ahead of the heroes all this time. Aizen’s scheme goes back over a century, and he took absolutely everything into account, even Ichigo Kurosaki’s birth.

Aizen is not only a master schemer, but he also dreams big, intending to fill the empty throne of heaven and rule all of creation. In a battle, he is practically invincible between his shikai, masterful swordsmanship, advanced kido spells, and spirit energy. He is the boss to end all bosses.

1 Father Is A Master Schemer Who Embodies Fascinating Themes (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)

The mastermind Father has it all: incredible alchemy powers, a lofty ambition rooted in bloodshed and arcane symbology, a squad of powerful minions, and even personal connection to the heroes, Edward and Alphonse Elric. Father might not be quite as powerful as Sosuke Aizen or All For One, but he is even more compelling.

Father dreams to bring down God and become a supreme being, and he will use alchemy to trade millions of human lives to become that supreme being one day. He planned it all out for centuries, and the entire nation of Amestris itself is a massive tool for his plan. If an entire country was born for the sake of one plan, then a true anime leader is at work.

NEXT: 10 Anime Villains Who Are Actually Selfless

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