Anime has some of the best redemption arc in any medium. The power of love, friendship and humanity are the strongest forces in many of these films and can even turn a villain into a hero. However, redemption does not always happen the same way.
Once the villain’s reason for becoming evil is explained, their path to becoming a hero becomes clearer. Whether they just need someone to show them love and a different way to survive or have to overcome hardships before choosing to do the right thing, their views are equally entertaining.
10 Osamu Dazai – Stray Dog Bungou
When Atsushi and the audience first meet Dazai, he seems to be a carefree (even careless) and cheerful guy: the biggest clue that his exterior has deeper problems than his sadness. Obsession with suicide. It is later revealed that Dazai was once a highly regarded member of the Port Mafia. As a mafioso, he is cruel to both his enemies and allies.
However, he is very close to his mafia colleague, Sakunosuke Oda, who holds to the ideals of kindness and compassion no matter his profession. When Odasaku was killed, his last words to Dazai urged him not to continue down his dark path but to stay “on the side to save people”. Dazai remembered his words for the rest of his life, leaving the Port Mafia for the Armed Detective Agency and working to protect Yokohama instead.
9 Shouya Ishida – The Silent Voice
One of the best coming-of-age anime movies is also a feature-length redemption arc. As a child, Shouya participated in bullying his deaf classmate, Shouko Nishimiya, and was made the sole scapegoat when they were caught. The withdrawn and self-loathing teenager Shouya can only achieve the redemption he craves by reaching out to others, no matter how much the prospect terrifies him.
Naturally, Shouko is the first person Shouya tries to reconnect with. As they grow closer, the relationship not only helps Shouya move forward, but also allows the sensitive and compassionate Shouko to let go of the blame and self-hatred she has carried within herself for years . In the end, they both found happiness in each other and their friends, wholeheartedly encouraging each other to continue living life to the fullest.
8 Meruem – Hunter X Hunter
Not all of the Chimera Ants followed Meruem, as their species often did when the King was born, but none of them wanted to surpass him. He kills people on a whim, doesn’t care about anyone but himself and quickly sets out to take over a country and begin his plans for world domination. However, Meruem also has the ability to change like everyone else.
Through his relationship with Komugi, Meruem begins to recognize and respect the good qualities of people. Even if he can’t shake his nature – he informs Netero that instead of eating humanity, he will rule them all fairly – he does the best he can with the experience I have. In his and Komugi’s final scene, in one of the saddest episodes of Hunter x Hunter, he shows a softness and gentleness that his newborn self could never have imagined.
7 Thorfinn – Vinland Saga
As the child of retired Viking warrior Thors, Thorfinn only admired his father’s strength but did not understand the horror that made Thors choose a peaceful life instead of fighting. When Thors was murdered by the mercenary Askeladd, Thorfinn swore revenge. He grew up with Askeladd’s Viking group, harboring grudges and fighting to become strong enough to kill Askeladd the way he believed his father should.
Thorfinn’s journey begins as one of the best revenge plots in anime, but doesn’t play out the way such stories usually do. Years of hatred and fruitless efforts turned him into a bitter shell of his former self, and the end of his mission pushed him to rock bottom instead of satisfying him. To rise up and become a true warrior, he must rediscover the values his father tried to pass on to him before his death. This leads to Thorfinn’s incredible transformation into one of the few true pacifists in the manga and anime.
6 Generations of Miracles – Kuroko’s Basketball
Full-blown redemption arcs are rare even in the best sports anime villains, with a natural tendency to move quickly from one opponent to the next. If anyone changes his or her non-athletic lifestyle, it is often the hero’s only rival. Kuroko’s middle school teammates fit into both categories.
The Generation of Miracles were superior, but Kuroko was appalled at how cruel they became to the weaker players on the field. Separated into high school teams, they all represent the barriers that Kuroko must overcome to assert his own style of basketball. Kuroko’s love of the game and seamless teamwork with Seirin reminds them of gentler days and inspires them to change: by “Last Game”, they and Kagami are defeating an American team. Arrogance equals perfect teamwork.
5 Gaara – Naruto
It would probably have been interesting to see more of Gaara’s development from stage to stage: finding out that he went from an overlooked villager to the Kazekage is a of the most rewarding and pleasant moments in Naruto. But the big difference from his first appearance to his most recent ones is enough for him to qualify. Ostracized and abused as a child for being Shukaku’s host, Gaara resolved to love only himself and devoted his life to slaughter.
Fighting with fellow jinchuuriki Naruto, the first person he had ever met who could understand him completely, had seriously shaken his worldview. Realizing that he could have another way of life, Gaara began trying to connect with others for the first time. He succeeded spectacularly: he became close to his siblings, was loved by the Sand Village to the point of becoming Kazekage after just two years, and Boruto, Shinki’s adoptive father.
4 Bakugo Katsuki – My Hero Academy
Bakugo Katsuki begins his story as something worse than a villain: a bully. Despite Deku’s affection for him, Bakugo quickly began bullying his “best friend” after discovering that he had no Quirk. Hearing that Deku will still try to get into UA High, Bakugo becomes even angrier and cruelly taunts Deku, but he is saved thanks to his intervention at the beginning of the story.
However, Bakugo’s redemption will be a long time coming. Although he slowly but surely comes to accept Deku as his peer, he won’t admit his wrongdoing or even apologize, until one of the best scenes in My Hero Academia. When the rest of Class 1-A came together to bring Deku back after he ran away, Bakugo finally shared his feelings, admitting that he had always been jealous of Deku’s determination and eventually apologizing for his behavior in the classroom. your past.
3 Crona – Soul Eater
Especially considering poor Crona’s fate in the manga, Crona’s journey to freedom and self-confidence is all the more exciting. Throughout their lives, they were controlled by their evil mother, the witch Medusa, and used as tools and experiments. When Maka touched their souls and offered to befriend them, it was the first time someone had treated them with care.
Realistically but unusually for the standard redemption arc, Crona has a relapse, manipulated by Medusa into poisoning their DWMA professor. But they are determined to make amends for what they have done and stay with their new friends. Not only do they muster the courage to challenge their mother, but they also continue to face many fears one day at a time.
2 Teruki Hanazawa – Mob Psycho 100
As Mob meets more Espers, he learns that not everyone has tight control over their psychic powers or uses them for noble purposes. Teru believes his power puts him above everyone and lets him do whatever he wants. After he and his hair suffered a crushing defeat against the Mob, Teru seriously reconsidered this attitude.
Although his inflated ego remains, annoying his new friends, he accepts that he is still just a normal person even with his powers and is determined to treat others More like Mob. Luckily, he’s still going strong, using his extraordinary abilities to help his friends and protect others from much worse Espers than before.
1 Vegeta – Dragon Ball
Vegeta is one of the most famous villain-turned-heroes in anime history. First arriving on Earth as part of the Frieza Force, he quickly became one of the most fearsome enemies on the planet; even after turning on Frieza, he still goes on a rampage when he loses to Goku. But when he realizes that his ego and limited vision are doing more harm than good, both to himself and to the people he has grown to care about, he accepts that he must change.
In the end, Vegeta achieved the peaceful life he had by getting out of his own way. After giving up his obsession with becoming stronger than Goku, he is free to pursue a new path outside of the brutality in which he grew up. Although he still has his immense pride to deal with, he is now more than just a dedicated person. husband and father, but among the strongest and fiercest protectors on Earth. After all these years, Vegeta’s redemption still feels real, and it sets the stage for many similar characters in the future.
Seeing villains become heroes is one of the best things about being an anime fan. While it has become a recurring trope in the medium, it still works just as effectively as the first in creating compelling characters. Redemption story is a large part of the reason why the anime is so successful, as the journeys of these characters are both triumphant and inspiring to viewers.