Top Five Favourite Anime Antagonists

Before I begin, I’d like to state a big, massive spoiler warning. I am going to be ruthless with spoilers here, so if you haven’t seen or read the entirety of Baccano!, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Fate/Stay Night, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and Umineko no Naku Koro Ni, tread with caution. You’ve been warned.

Credit to riso and agasang for art.

5) Claire Stanfield – Baccano!

This is a good one to start the list with. If you’ve seen Baccano, it should be obvious why he made the list. He has no supernatural or preternatural powers to speak of, but he is still the most intimidating character in the show – even among those with supernatural powers. His one asset is his incredible acrobatic skills, but what really makes Claire so intimidating is his mind. He is SCARY. A serial killer with an extreme sense of justice, a solipsist who believe it is impossible for him to die (and proves it through his actions), and has the power to strike impossible fear in the hearts of his enemies. He’s the ultimate ally, but you don’t want to get on his bad side. Immortals fear this guy. Claire Stanfield is a special kind of crazy.

4) Anti-Spiral – Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Anti-Spiral isn’t a new idea. An super-intelligent nigh-omnipotent interdimensional cosmic entity which rules over the universe with suppressive force. But Anti-Spiral does it so perfectly, and in the face of the Spirals of Earth, the conflict is unparalleled. Anti-Spiral’s only motivation is to use it’s power to protect the universe from being destroyed, to prevent the evolution of spirals to reach a point where the universe is reduced to zero, a big crunch. It uses it’s ultimate power to halt the spirals indefinitely, and uses the tactic of absolute despair to keep the spirals under control. When facing the Spirals of Earth, it didn’t seek their absolute destruction, but rather sought to teach them the lesson of despair, and to return to where they came from. Even in the end, the Anti-Spiral refused to go all-out, and only used enough power to match Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, so that they would fight and win on even grounds, to inflict even maximum despair. That’s deep.

3) Fei Wong Reed – Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle

This guy is under-rated as hell. Easily one of my favourite villains, just because he’s so flawless. “Just as planned” always comes to mind when thinking of Fei Wong Reed. Throughout the story, just about every single event that happens is part of Fei Wong Reed’s design; a design he’s been acting out for years before the characters were even born. He is the ultimate puppet master, pulling all the strings without any of the characters being aware, save for maybe Yuuko or Fai. He will stop at nothing to grant his wish, not caring how much he stains his hands, and the hands of others with blood. He’s pretty much willing to destroy the universe to grant his wish. And what is his motivation? What is his story? Fei Wong Reed is a fragment of an emotion, the fleeting emotion of Clow Reed to prevent Yuuko from dying. It only lasted for a moment, but through it Fei Wong Reed was born, and so too did Yuuko remain in a state before death, with Fei Wong existing after Clow to fulfil his undesired wish of saving Yuuko’s life. Fei Wong Reed wasn’t even human, he was just a fragment of emotion which grew strong enough to control the multiverse, and break it. Fei Wong Reed is the destructive potential of love, manifested in the most extreme manner possible.

2) ‘Archer’ – Fate/Stay Night

Archer’s existence itself is a paradox. The future incarnation of Emiya Shirou, born of his desire to become a hero and save people’s lives. Archer, or ‘Heroic Spirit EMIYA’,
is a callous man who has learned of the pain and suffering that comes with trying to become a hero, and has entered the holy grail war with the sole intention of killing his former self, to prevent his suffering from ever happening. His existence itself arises many philosophical questions, and questions about the self. The clash between Emiya and Archer is not just any battle, it’s an internal struggle between the past and future, a battle to determine whether Emiya deserves to exist or not. I could talk about it for hours, but there’s no doubting that Archer’s existence is one that is full of depth and intrigue. Heroism in despair.

1) Bernkastel – Umineko no Naku Koro ni

The Voyager of the kakera herself. There’s just so much to say about Bernkastel. If common speculation is to be believed, then Bernkastel is the future incarnation of Furude Rika from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Flashing back to that, Rika was a young girl who was burdened by an unavoidable fate of being murdered, and forced to repeat it over and over again in a time loop, searching for a way to escape her fate. After innumerable attempts, she was finally able to escape her labyrinth of despair by creating a ‘miracle’ through her will, and defeated Takano Miyo. It’s not clear what happened after this, but somehow, we are reintroduced to this incarnation of Rika named ‘Frederica Bernkastel’ in Umineko no Naku Koro ni. However, if it weren’t for her appearance, you wouldn’t be able to make any connection between Bernkastel and Rika. You see, Bernkastel’s personality is just about the opposite of Rika. This is a Rika who has lived for an eternity, a being who has forgotten what it means to be alive and simply continues to ‘exist’; her only objective to find different ways to escape from boredom. For the first half of the story, Bernkastel remains a quiet observer, spectating the game between Battler and Beatrice and offering the occasional hint where necessary, but rarely getting involved. When you enter Umineko no Naku Koro ni Chiru, however, she takes a far more active role, and you begin to see her true colours. She becomes preoccupied by toying with people’s emotions, baiting them with a glimmer of hope before tearing it all away, just to see the look on their face when they’ve lost everything. In Episode 5, you see her expressing her bitter resentment of her double Erika Furudo when she displeases her, and Erika vents her hatred toward her own underling, Dlanor A. Knox. Both Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are haunted by their pasts, of ‘being stuck in a labyrinth with no escape’, experiencing the endless depths of despair. Bernkastel is an old and broken Rika, who has lost all humanity, and takes joy in defiling the humanity of others. Compared to Beatrice, who manipulated Battler into fighting her by pretending to be heartless, Bernkastel has completely forgotten what a heart is. It all becomes painfully clear in Episode 7, where Bernkastel appears to be almost likable toward the end of the episode, until that infamous Tea Party occurs and our opinion of her is once again flipped 180 degrees. Defiling Beatrice’s story just for her amusement and showing it to Ange and Lion, just to destroy Ange and reduce Lion and Will to hopeless sobbing in a sea of despair before ripping them apart as well. Where Erika is an intellectual rapist, Bernkastel is a rapist of the soul. And she scares the living hell out of me. Rika was for me one of my favourite and most motivational characters in Anime, and to see her reduced to the ultimate despair of Bernkastel is chilling. Bernkastel IS despair, and the way she will rip apart your soul for fun is nothing short of absolutely terrifying.
Although, most of this is just my interpretation. I still await the conclusion of Episode 8.

About Aspirety

Australian J-geek with a passion for Gaming and Writing. Psychology student, Nintendo/Key/Ryukishi07 fan.
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6 Responses to Top Five Favourite Anime Antagonists

  1. Ritsuioko23 says:

    Bernkastel is just plain awesome though I don’t think she’s the reincarnation if Rika. But rather the person who made Rika go through hell. Rika was her game piece and Takano was Lambdadelta’s game piece. And the whole game that Lambdadelta lost to Bernkastel before the events of Umineko had to be Higurashi. That is my theory.

    • Aspirety says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much confirmed. But I like to consider the origins of the meta-characters, and I believe it’s definitely possible that Bernkastel is the meta incarnation of Rika, born through her desire to prevent her own death and the misfortunes of others. But we know that for a piece to ascend to the meta world and become a witch, they must be acknowledged by another witch. My guess is Hanyuu/Featherine,

  2. Sakutaro of Dusk says:

    I’ve come here to enlighten you all. This was all confirmed by Higurashi’s sound novels many years ago:

    -Furude Rika: weird girl from Hinamizawa who can see Hanyuu. Her personality is killed when Frederica Bernkastel enters in a new world and possesses her body.

    -Frederica Bernkastel: Rika after countless deaths and Higurashi’s main character. She is given her name in Saikoroshi-hen (her poems appeared since the first arc, but they were written by Frederica after the end of the series). She also “vanishes” in the same arc (Saikoroshi-hen) in order to become Rika (the weird little girl, unaware of kakeras) again.

    This is left to interpretation in Umineko:

    -Higurashi was a “game” between Lambda and Featherine. Featherine was the Game Master and Hanyuu was her piece. Lambda’s piece was Takano Miyo.

    -Witch of Miracles, Bernkastel: Everything you said about her personality in your post~

    There are two theories about her, it’s like a small catbox:

    1) She is our well known Frederica Bernkastel after separating herself from Rika’s body, thus leaving behind her human emotions and becoming a witch. Her name is just Bernkastel now, since she has nothing to do with Rika anymore. “I’m not Furude Rika, you are a fool if you thought so”. (I believed this theory before reading Higurashi, but I don’t like it anymore)

    2) She is the “meta-Rika” where Hanyuu placed all of Rika’s memories after each death. A human mind cannot possibly carry hundreds of years of memories, that’s why Frederica (and Hanyuu) couldn’t remember every single minute of her past lives. That’s why Frederica (always called Rika by anime-only fans) seems to be incredibly wise between her death and the new world, because she is “meta-Rika” during that time and can access all her memories of a hundred years, without the limitations of a human brain.

    That’s why she forgot that Takano was the culprit at the beggining of Minagoroshi-hen. At the end of that arc, her new memories were transferred to this “meta-Rika” like always and she possessed the Rika from the final kakera (Matsuribayashi-hen). Frederica won in this world and was eventually put by Hanyuu into a dream-like world known as “Saikoroshi-hen”, where she learned many things before returning to her previous world. Then, she decided to behave like the little girl she should be and stop being Frederica Bernkastel. Thanks to Hanyuu’s powers, she cut her ties with the metaworld (meta-Rika) and lived a normal life.

    Meta-Rika, aka Bernkastel, was left alone after her human version (Frederica) defeated Takano. Her last memories (the last time she was updated, so to speak) were those of Minagoroshi-hen (and it’s implied that she used her power of Miracles to create the miraclous kakera called Matsuribayashi-hen).

    I really like this second approach. This is the bitch who toyed with Beatrice’s gameboard, the one who painted Kyrie as a complete monster in the minds of most readers. Our beloved Frederica Bernkastel (who probably “vanished” after she decided to become Rika again) is totally innocent!

    What do you think, everyone~?

  3. Lyn says:

    I actually agree with your list totally. archer and frederica and fei wong ftw, ah screw it i just love your blog overall so what does meh opinion matter? XD you like all my favorite visual novels

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