Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Top Thirty Cartoon Villains

In Augusts past, I gave you my Top Thirty Video Game Villains and my Top Thirty Anime Villains. Now I shall give you my list of Top Thirty Cartoon Villains: the villains from western animation whom I consider to be the best, or at very least, my personal favorites from the cartoons I've seen. So:

Before we get to the numbers, here's my honorable mentions for contenders and my big runner up: 

 Dr. Doom (The Fantastic Four): The ruler of Latveria, arch enemy of the Fantastic Four, and the ultimate supervillain in the Marvel universe. Victor Von Doom has always been one of the most compelling and badass supervillains in comic book history but he was never translated perfectly to screen...until the revamped second season of the 90's "Fantastic Four" show. While the show was still quite mediocre, it gave us a perfect rendition of Doom. Voiced excellently by Simon Templeman, he was majestically villainous, arrogant, stylish, deadly, and intelligent, providing a true challenge whenever he appeared.  He also guest starred in the 90's Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man shows, though in the latter he was strangely voiced by Tom Kane using this strange accent that made him sound like a cross between Bela Lugosi and Ricardo Montalban, but it still worked for me. Doom's been in other animated series since then: "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" "Iron Man: Armored Adventures", "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes", "Ultimate Spider-Man", "Avengers Assemble", etc. and they've all been solid depictions of him, but I still say that 90's Doom was the closest to nailing the character's essence. I'm not sure why that is, but what's for certain is that no other media depiction of Doom did it quite better, least of all his total butcheries in movies. Yeesh!

 30: No Heart (The Care Bears Family): While coming from a show that's aimed primarily at little ones, No Heart deserved mention here because he's most likely the first exposure I, and I think a lot of children, had to a villain who was truly Satanic in nature. "Care Bears" had this with the Book Spirit and Dark Heart in their movies, but the only one to fit the bill on the small screen was No Heart, arch nemesis of the Care Bear family. Because he shrouds himself in a hood and cloak, no one can be sure whether or not No Heart is human or demon, but he's most certainly evil. In his castle high up in the dark clouds, he rules from his throne and has a host of demons and dark spirits who serve him. In his earliest appearances, we actually see him sending these demons out to Earth to possess kids into doing bad things, just as demons are traditionally described to do. When he's not taking on the Care Bears himself by turning into a purple whirlwind and transforming into different creatures, he spends his time torturing his most lowly servant, Mr. Beastly, or "BEASTLYYY!!!" as he often calls him. He also has a preteen niece named Shrieky whom he has no affection for, yet gives her what she wants just to keep her loud mouth shut. His voice is done by Chris Wiggins, who does an excellent job of knowing exactly when to be subdued or hammy, but always menacing. Sadly, No Heart fell victim to Lord Zed Syndrome in that he was deemed too frightening for children, so he stopped appearing on a regular basis as the show went on, only appearing briefly as Beastly and Shrieky's disgruntled boss. But for what he was, he was the definition of a vile villain in a saccharine show, and my favorite villain from the franchise.

 29: Discord (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic): This is a cartoon that does many things right as well as many things wrong (most of what's wrong can be found in it's notoriously rabid fanbase), but one thing it does right is surprisingly appealing 
and effective villains. But none moreso than Discord, an ancient demon dragon who is the living embodiment of chaos and disorder. Debuting in the second season's premiere, he grabbed my attention immediately with that design. It's like a dragon crossed with a horse with mismatched horns, mismatched eyebrows, mismatched hands, a snaggle tooth, and a long body that goes down in odd shapes and colors - a fittingly bizarre and chaotic look. Even better is his characterization, which strikes a perfect balance of being very wacky and humorous with being very creepy and menacing. He can be best described as Emperor Joker crossed with Mr. Mxyzptlk crossed with Loki crossed with the Genie from Disney's "Aladdin" crossed with Q from "Star Trek", right down to having the latter's actor, John DeLancie, providing his voice. He's very whimsical, zany, and silly, often changing his shape and pulling various quick sight gags. But Discord is also sly, meticulous, and downright malicious, not ever to be underestimated. Not only does he get some of the show's best stories and best lines, but he had something of a character arc too! Starting as a straight-up bad guy, he soon learns that Chaotic Good exists as well as Chaotic Evil or Chaotic Neutral, so he decides to give accepting friendship with the ponies a try. And yet, as a "friend", he's still untrustworthy and an antagonist, causing as much trouble as he's able to while hiding behind his friend status so that he can get away with it. It's not until the fourth season finale that Discord learns the true meaning of friendship and the magic it brings. He's still a chaotic trickster, but that's his nature, not his fault. With John DeLancie always giving it his all in the role, Discord is one of the show's best characters.

 28: Gideon Gleeful (Gravity Falls): This crazy kid comes from a fairly recent show, so you know he has to be really good at being really bad to make the list. Trust me, he is. Gideon Gleeful, better known by his stage name of "Lil' Gideon", claims to be a child psychic who wants to use his gift to help make the town of Gravity Falls into a better, nicer, friendlier community. With his southern accent, cheerful demeanor, and appealing charisma, he's much like a religious leader, but at a very young age. Thus just about everyone in town loves Gideon, always going to his live events and giving him their trust and adoration in response to his generosity. But behind the scenes, the real Gideon is a selfish, greedy, maniacal, power-hungry little sociopath who wants nothing less than absolute control over all the town's secrets. His spoiled rotten, entitled attitude and psychotic, amoral behavior makes him a lot like Eric Cartman - well, if Cartman had access to magic powers. He's incredibly childish, yet wants to seem grown up. His main target is Stan Pines' Mystery Shack, where Gideon believes the companion volume(s) to his secret magic journal is being held. With the books, Gideon hopes to unlock the vast secrets of the universe and become all-powerful. But Dipper and Mabel Pines are always standing in his way. Gideon hopes to dispose of Dipper (even attempting to murder him on more than one occasion) and make Mabel his queen, and ultimately send Stan packing once the shack belongs to him. Everyone who knows his true nature fears him, even his own parents! A large part of what makes this villain work is the voice acting by Thurop Van Orman. He hits all the right notes in making the character sound funny, batshit insane, and thoroughly nasty. Not many people can make the line "This ain't the last you'll see of little ol' me." sound chilling, but he does. Lil Gideon's a star at cartoon villainy.

 27: Vandal Savage (Young Justice): While I was never too fond of this show and even less fond of the execution of the Light, one thing it got right was the Light's chief member, Vandal Savage. Simply put, this is the definitive version of this particular supervillain. With a broad, scarred face and only slightly groomed black hair, he looks like a neanderthal who's survived all the way to modern times to become a more sophisticated individual. But don't be fooled: brutality has not left Vandal, and he's named "Savage" for a reason. Top it off with an evolved intellect, masterful planning skills, and the gravelly voice of Miguel Ferrer, and you have an intimidating villain whose presence is impossible to ignore whenever he's on the scene. While much of his schemes are shrouded in mystery, including why he's been working with the Reach and Apokalips, we do get insight into his motivation and it's a really intriguing one. Vandal is a firm believer in humanity's evolution as a species, something he can attest to himself due to all his centuries of living and evolving. He now is thoroughly convinced that we are at a stage where we can take great power in to our own hands, no longer requiring the aid of super beings. His arguments are not baseless, either: he really seems to believe in where humanity is headed and does raise some very good points. And thus, he and the Light will stop at nothing to destroy the Justice League and all of their friends, ridding the world of superheroes forever. But while he might have some valid ideals, what can never be overlooked is that Vandal is indeed evil. Hell, he practically invented evil as a human concept, and he lets the concept consume him and drive his actions. He doesn't just want to rid the world of super powered beings, but of super powered heroes so that gifts such as powers cannot be used to do good ever again. Ultimately an unfeeling madman with a distorted view of the greater good, Vandal is a threat to a universe he professes to champion. He must be stopped!

 26: ZIM (Invader ZIM): A villain who is the main protagonist of a show that has his name as the title, he received extraordinary build-up on Nickelodeon when his series was first coming to the network. We were told "the invasion would begin" before we knew what show was being advertised. When we got the title of the show, we got the name of the invading alien, "Invader ZIM", but we still had yet to see him. Finally...this happened. After all the build-up, mystery, and scares, ZIM was revealed to be a short, spastic, completely insane kid alien who was invading Earth with limited resources and a wacky robot sidekick. And it just worked. The series shows us that ZIM is in fact a clumsy, incompetent soldier of the planet Irk who's more of a threat to himself and his own side than he is to any planet he's sent to invade. The Almighty Tallest sent him and his G.I.R robot to Earth to get rid of him, not even knowing Earth actually existed! So his "invader" title is a complete sham, but ZIM doesn't realize this because he is fully dedicated to invading a planet, conquering it, and enslaving or wiping out it's native species. Passionate, overzealous, and fanatical are all words that can describe him, on top of being totally psychotic and not too bright. Despite being an idiot, ZIM's success and failure ratio varies depending on the episode. The high point of watching his evil plots against our planet in action is always seeing him go up against his arch nemesis Dib, a wannabe paranormal investigator who's the only sane man who can see ZIM for what he is - so sane that it drives him as insane as the rest of the cast in his fight to save the Earth. With a deranged voice performance by Richard Steven Horvitz and even more deranged animation to match his deranged character, ZIM was a great comedic villain whose show was cut down too soon. But he's still out there, waiting to bring DOOM!

 25: Pinky and the Brain (Animaniacs): Before ZIM, there were Pinky and the Brain, a pair of villains in their own cartoon segment of "Animaniacs" before proving popular enough to spin off into their own show bearing their names as the title. Their story goes that they're two lab mice of ACME Labs who were the subjects of many experiments, particularly gene splicing and brain wave tests. The results made the Brain into a super genius with an enlarged head, but turned Pinky...well, as the theme song puts it, insane. Now having advanced knowledge of life and the world, the Brain could see how vastly unintelligent the Earth's human population was in comparison to him. He declared then that it was his destiny to take over the entire world and enslave the human race so that they could have an overlord to obey, which would keep them from destroying themselves in their stupidity. It would also usher in an age of mice supremacy, as payback for all the lab experiments. So from their cage, Pinky and the Brain plan to each night do "the same thing they do every night - try to take over the world!" The attempts are never successful, usually because of Pinky's apathy or bungling stupidity, but sometimes it's due to Brain's own hubris that he fails. Yet they never give up - well, Brain doesn't. Pinky's mostly just along for the ride. When one thinks "villainous comedy duo", these two come to mind, for they are the absolute best. Their antics could have easily been repetitive to the point of getting old, and yet somehow they never do. They're always funny, always engaging, always pleasing to watch. Props must go to Rob Paulsen (Pinky) and Maurice LeMarche (the Brain) for their voices: they make the characters what they are, and are still doing their voices at panels years later after the show ended. You could give them any sort of material, and they would nail it with their delivery alone. So, hats off to them! YES! Narf!

 24: Don Karnage (Tale Spin): The cast of "Tale Spin" was an odd bunch, comprised of three characters from "The Jungle Book" and a bunch of original characters. And out of all the characters unique to the show, the best was Don Karnage, captain of the Vulture's crew of air pirates and arch enemy to Baloo the Bear. A ravenous looking wolf in fancy clothing, Karnage is like what Nostalgia Critic described him as: Ricky Riccardo if he got bored and decided to take his band, make them all pirates, and start robbing the shit out of people. His greed for anything of value is rivaled only be his immense arrogance. He seems to have built a reputation for himself long before he ever even got a reputation, and is thus always striving to live up to his own hype. Vain, cocky, ill-tempered, and dismissive of others, he's the type of guy who makes trouble and leaves disaster in his wake wherever he goes, no matter what he does, and he fully embraces it. While he's a very hilarious villain, owing largely to Jim Cummings' voice and delivery in the role using this very strange Cuban/Spanish accent, he can also be surprisingly dangerous and credible in the right situation. In the pilot movie for the show, he launched a full-on terrorist attack on Cape Suzette using destructive electric power. Now that's hardcore! Don Karnage's presence in episodes is always something to look forward to because of just how funny yet unpredictable a villain he can be.

 23: Duke Igthorn (Adventures Of The Gummi Bears): Don Karnage was not the first great comedic villain to grace the Disney Afternoon. That title goes to Duke Sigmund Igthorn, lord of Castle Drekmoore and sworn enemy of the kingdom of Dunwyn. Once a knight who served under King Gregor, Igthorn grew tired of taking orders and decided he wanted to take the throne himself. Why? Because he's greedy, selfish, and ambitious - what else do you need in the business of evil? So he founded his own castle in the land of ogres, and even made the ogres into his lackeys. He was out to invade the kingdom when he had his first chance encounter with the Gummi Bears. Since then, Igthorn made it his number one priority to capture the bears, steal the secrets of their heritage, namely their Gummi Berry Juice, and use the power to oust King Gregor and take the throne of Dunwyn at last. While it was standard procedure for cartoon villains of the 80's to be bumbling and ineffectual blowhards, what makes Igthorn stand out is that he was actually one of the most competent and successful of the bunch. On more than one occasion, he came closer to defeating his enemies and winning the day than Megatron, Cobra Commander, Skeletor, Mumm-Ra, or the Shredder ever did. In the series finale, he actually DID finally get what he wanted - he took the Gummi's secrets, ousted Gregor and became king! He was overthrown and defeated in the end, but for a moment, he actually won. That earns him points in advancing on this list. Also notable is his dynamic with his main ogre lackey, Toadwart, which is clearly inspired by the interactions between Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, and in this case it's actually not a bad thing in the slightest. He also has a goody-two shoes brother named Sir Victor, whom he hates, and has a crush on recurring villainess Lady Bane. These extra layers to his character help propel Igthorn to further greatness.

 22: Negaduck (Darkwing Duck): Negaduck is both Darkwing Duck's evil twin cliche and his answer to the Joker. Of all his regularly appearing foes, he's the most memorable, the most evil, and the most dangerous. Like the Joker, he holds the unique place of being the hero's most evil and psychotic enemy while also being his funniest as well. Simply put, Negaduck is a veritable fountain of black comedy. When you get down to it, his character really relies on one joke: he's EVIL. So the extremes they take this are always incredibly fun to watch. He's misanthropic, he's sadistic, he hates all things good and orderly, he despises things that are cute and fluffy, he loves guns and chainsaws, he delights in shootouts, car wrecks, armed robberies, and mindless destruction. Even when he has you right where he wants you, he's going to draw out your torment and suffering as long as possible just for fun before he kills you. Can there be any better kind of villain than this? Jim Cumming simply owned this role, giving him a dark, raspy, sneering voice that sends shivers down your spine when he's being serious but can also make you laugh out loud when he's being funny. Oddly enough, there were two different versions of this character: one was DW's bad side split from him in one episode, while the one we usually see is an evil version of him from an alternate reality known as the Negaverse. Either way, his personality is the same. He's committed any heinous crime you could name, even implied child abuse, and he's enjoyed them all. Such an unusually depraved character for a Disney show, but he's such a delightful sicko.

 21: Mozenrath (Aladdin: The Series): Speaking of evil counterparts, here's a particularly unique take on that trope. While Abis Mal, Mekanicles, Mirage, Sadira, Ayam Aghul, and Saluk had their moments, no villain could measure up to the great Jafar - except for this creepy kid. He's a young evil sorcerer, a practitioner of the darkest magic who rules over the land of the black sand after having ousted the previous ruler, his mentor Destain. Ambitious, power-hungry, and devious, Mozenrath's goal is to dominate as many kingdoms as he can with his power so that he may one day rule all the seven deserts. From his citadel, he plots alongside his pet eel-serpent Xerxes. He targets Agrabah "because it's there", but things become more personal when he makes an enemy in Aladdin. Now he constantly seeks to increase his magic power and conquer Agrabah, and he and Aladdin are always at each other's throats. Mozenrath gets a great deal of characterization in all of his episodes. He's strangely charming and has a wicked sense of humor, brought out perfectly by the voice acting of the late Johnathan Brandis. He also has his own honor code - when he's defeated, he retreats without immediately striking back, even when he could very well kill his enemies where they live. Being a teenager, he's also got a petulant side that comes out when things aren't going his way. And he brings a darker, more urgent tone to stories featuring him. Above all, Mozenrath is Aladdin's dark mirror image. While Aladdin found his Genie and got his services for free, Mozenrath gave up the flesh on his right hand for the power of his magic gauntlet. It's implied that he was also a street rat, and he had to connive his way to a better, more privileged life. Had Aladdin taken a darker path, he might have become Mozenrath. Truly a great and fun villain.

 20: The Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): You know you have a good villain when there are three great animated versions of him. The one of the 80's cartoon was a whiny, clownish evil mastermind wannabe who was married to Krang and operated from within the Techno Drome. The one from the 2003 4Kids series was dark, evil, psychotic, hate-filled Utrom criminal named Ch'rell who inhabited the body of an Asian man while plotting planetary domination. And the recent one from the 2012 CG series is a large, brooding, scarred criminal warlord who seeks domination to satisfy his power lust and self-entitlement. While the first incarnation was hilarious and campy but the other two serious and menacing, they all have a few things in common: they are all Oroku Saki, old nemesis of Hamato Yoshi and leader of the Foot Clan. They are all the Shredder, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' greatest enemy. I like them all for different reasons. The 80's version is just plain funny, even by 80's cartoon villain standards. He's pathetic and the show is fully aware of it. The 2003 version is most likely the scariest and most formidable depiction of the character in the history of the franchise, combining the Turtle's two main enemies from the comics (the Utrom and the Foot Clan) and literally attempting to wipe out the multiverse out of blind hatred for the Turtles. The recent version (pictured) may possibly be my favored version due to just the presence he has. The combination of his design, voice (performed perfectly by Kevin Michael Richardson), animation, and intriguing character makes him an awesome villain to watch. With Shredder, things are always dangerous and personal. I wish him a good career!

 19: Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Phineas & Ferb): There are many pathetic comedic villains that people enjoy watching the most.  Some like Mr Burns, Plankton, Dr. Drakken, or the Monarch.  But if you asked me, my personal favorite would have to be this guy - Dr. Doofenshmirtz of Danville. He's a clumsy, eccentric, scatterbrained loser who lives in a big apartment building that he somehow made into his own individual company ("Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated!") where he secretly (or not so secretly since he put "evil" in his company's name) does work as a mad scientist who plots diabolical plans to take over the entire tri-state area!  The one thing always in his way is Agent P. of the O.W.C.A agency, better known as Perry The Platypus. It's their battles that are always ultimately undoing the things Phineas and Ferb create for the days, with everyone none the wiser of it. Doof is great in so many ways: he's petty, he's over-the-top, he's diabolical, he's silly, and he's pitiful. He has several different backstories that he uses to justify his evil deeds, whether they be his hilariously exaggerated family issues or something wrong in his personal life.  He's layered, he's even likable, and he's ultimately pretty damn harmless. His ludicrous plans and "inators" are always what end up resolving the plots of the episodes after all. Doof seems to owe a lot to the old Disney Afternoon villains, too. Like Don Karnage, he speaks with a silly accent and like Duke Igthorn, he's always trying and failing to take over something, and has a goody two-shoes brother whom he despises. His relationship with his nemesis, Perry the Platypus, is great; though they play the role of arch enemies, Doof is really just lonely and continuously goes these rounds with Perry because he wants him in his life. And his voice acting by Dan Povenmire is just hysterical.  He can say anything in that scratchy, accented voice and it will most likely turn out as comedic gold.  He's just an excellent deconstructed villain and one of the most genuinely hilarious comic villains to come around in ages. Say it with me: "CURSE YOU, PERRY THE PLATYPUS!"

 18: The Delightful Children From Down The Lane (Codename: Kids Next Door): For a show about kids fighting adult tyranny in a dystopian future, these guys caught me off guard when I watched the debut episodes. The arch enemies are five polite, well dressed, almost robotic children who speak in creepy unison?  But that's part of what makes them so interesting to watch. I was considering putting Father on this list, but he got a bad case of Villain Decay if I ever saw it over the course of the show. The Delightful Children, however, stayed dangerous and effective. They never really got less creepy, you just got used to them through longer exposure to them. I enjoy how they're designed to be the perfect "good little boys and girls" who do as they're told and obey adults to contrast with the Kids Next Door's rebelliousness, when in reality, they're actually anything but good; they're spoiled rotten, greedy, self-centered, sadistic little psychopaths. This was shown as clearly as the first time they'd invite a bunch of kids to their birthday party but not only not share any of the cake, but force the other kids to watch them enjoy it. What little assholes. They also got an interesting and tragic backstory. They really did used to be good kids, and top KND agents, but are now so far gone and brainwashed that it's impossible for them to ever revert or reform. Simply put, he level of evil that emits from these kids is.delightful.

 17: Carmen Sandiego (Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?): The master thief herself, Carmen Sandiego was always committing elaborate heists all over the world in attempts to steal as much of the Earth's most famed and valued treasures as possible. Why?  Because she enjoys it and wants to challenge herself: to show how good at what she does she is to the world. And that's a pretty damn cool villain. As the leader of the VILE organization, she always gives orders to criminals far less intelligent than herself, which always ensures that while they may blunder their tasks, she'll always stay ahead of the ACME agents that pursue her. Carmen was usually always escaping and evading the law in this show, despite all hopes to finally capture her. A villain who never truly gets defeated is hard to pull off but if done right, they earn my respect, which is the case with Carmen. She's got layers to her too. She used to be an ACME agent until she decided she wanted to pursue a more challenging and self-fulfilling life career. She also has her own honorable standards and lines she's not willing to cross, which is shown clearly when she's paired up with or against the sociopathic Lee Jordan. While her design and Rita Moreno's voice might not be the best, the way she was written and handled made up for it. And of course, her name's in the title. She is truly the star of the show and it's a position that she reinforces well.

 16: Aku (Samurai Jack): The dark, fiery, shape-shifting master of evil. I quite enjoyed this show whenever it was on but this villain was the definite standout. He owes much of his appeal to the voice acting by the late, great Mako, who gave a marvelously hammy performance that was silly but threatening and commanding at the same time.  He was well written too: pure evil, malicious, and vile but also very quirky and humorous. He had some of the best lines and jokes in the whole series. He had layers to his personality but no true redeeming qualities whatsoever and we all loved him that way. Aku also never failed to make things personal for our hero, the titular samurai, It's a shame the show got canned before we could see their conflict end.

 15: Derek Powers (Batman Beyond): A rich business mogul who bought out Wayne Enterprises and turned it into Wayne-Powers industries in future Gotham City, this man was the main villain of the show's first season. He's suave, sophisticated, affable, insightful, and also utterly deranged and pure evil. It was he who ordered a hit on Terry's father, ensuring he died so that he wouldn't tell of his most corrupt business dealings. He was developing a radioactive substance that could be used to kill living things within a few hours, and was planning on selling it to warring nations in order to profit. But when the new Batman intervened, he ended up getting exposed to the radiation. Powers managed to be saved, but his skin melted right off him, turning him into a green glowing skeleton with hazardous electrical energy coursing through his bones. He put on fake skin to cover his condition, but whenever he wanted to take care of something personally, he'd show his true self - Blight, as he was now called. With a great presence, a nice design, and a smooth sounding voice, he was a worthy foe for Batman. His skin condition could be seen as metaphorical for the type of person he is. Beneath his exterior, he's a selfish, greedy, amoral psychopath who wants to kill all that stands in the way of his dark desires. He also has a son named Paxton, who's almost just as deplorable as he is. Though Blight was set to become the new Batman's arch enemy, he never reappeared after episode 13. Sad waste of a great villain.

 14: XANA (Code Lyoko): One of the best examples 
of an evil AI villain you could ever find in the realm of fiction. XANA was an incredibly unsettling main villain; unfeeling, ingeniously calculating, always ahead of the good guys, and constantly coming up with plans to bring destruction to the outside world. As a corrupted computer program and master of the virtual world of Lyoko, XANA had no true physical form, voice, or personality at all. The most we see of him is often represented by a black polymorphic specter, and like the dark lord Sauron, he is symbolized by an evil eye. But his mind is always there controlling the system, so his presence is always felt. His mind is linked to all of his monster forces, he can cause massive damage from the super computer, and he can eventually even possess human hosts. What's most interesting about XANA is that despite all he lacks, he still manages to have a clear characterization and was always learning new things and upping his game, making him that much more dangerous of an adversary. This reaches its' pinnacle when he takes over William Dunbar once he becomes a Lyoko warrior and makes him his personal avatar to lead his forces in the fourth season. Bonded with William, XANA really got an edge and was contentiously badass. Through all of the show's seasons, this nefarious program was such a menacing and satisfying villain, it was almost sad to see him go.

 13: Mojo Jojo (The Powerpuff Girls): Along with the ineffectual Doofenshmirtz and the darkly comical Cartman, this sinister simeon is my favorite comical villain to make this list. Formerly Professor Utonium's pet monkey who was supposed to assist him in his lab but instead just messed things up, Jojo's brain got mutated by the same Chemical X accident that created the Powerpuff Girls. Feeling dejected, Jojo remade himself into the supervillain Mojo Jojo and has dedicated his life to attempting to take over the world in order to show humanity his genius, and taking revenge on the Powerpuff Girls, who are always thwarting his evil schemes. Though he's used for comedy often (this is a comedic show, after all), Mojo Jojo can actually be a threatening villain. He's super intelligent, nefarious, and determined to carry out his evil at all costs. He's shown that he is not to be underestimated on several occasions, particularly in The Movie, which was ironically enough, his first ever evil scheme against the girls chronologically. But what really makes Mojo shine is the way he talks. His speech patterns spoofs the old, corny dubs of Japanese movies or shows in which the characters spoke fast, used poor grammar, and often reiterated the basic points of what they were saying. And Roger L Jackson does the voice and delivers the lines to hilarious perfection, even using a Japanese accent. He also has an awesome maniacal laugh and great villainous dialogue too."Curses!" He has a three dimensional personality and his own way of living life. Mojo is just plain entertaining and his antics seldom failed to amuse.

 12: Dr Ivo Robotnik (Sonic The Hedgehog): While I far prefer the bumbling yet competent incarnation of this character from the old Archie comics, I still have a great appreciation for the Robotnik of the all too short-lived Saturday Morning cartoon show. He's much more respectable as a villain than the completely inept Robotnik of "Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog" or the boring, generic Robotnik of "Sonic Underground."  Formerly the overlander scientist Julian Kintobor, Robotnik is now more machine than man and has built an industrial empire that has all but consumed the planet Mobius. Among the only places untouched is the forest of Knothole, which is where the Freedom Fighters' base is hidden. Assisted by his whiny nephew Snively, his army of swatbots, and his faithful robot pet Cluck, the bad doctor uses everything in his power to try to rid Mobius of natural beauty, even using the horrific method of roboticizing Mobians, but Sonic the Hedgehog is continuously standing in his way and crushing his plans. This makes the blue hedgehog his most hated enemy. Robotnik is a merciless, despotic, ingenious villain and has a very intimidating presence on this show. Props must go to the always excellent Jim Cummings for his voice acting, making the character sound completely sinister and mechanical, like he's always orgasming on his own toxic filth.  He can't place higher on the list because he suffered some unwarranted Villain Decay in the show's second season up until the finale, where he was seemingly defeated once and for all. But we all know better: Ivo Robotnik will always be Sonic's eternal foe.

 11: Amon (The Legend Of Korra): Leader of the Equalist movement, champion of the anti-bending revolution, and public enemy no. 1 in Republic City, Amon was a truly badass villain. While this show had notable failings in it's first season (and even more in it's second before finally getting it right by the third), Amon was definitely one of the biggest exceptions. He has a mesmerizing design, with that creepy kabuki-looking mask that seems to stare into your soul and strike fear in your heart. His voice is compellingly done by Steve Blum, who gave an epic performance in every scene Amon appeared in. His character was shrouded in mystery, and yet he spoke with such charisma and conviction that we felt we knew him well anyway. He was both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Everything about him was just creepy awesome. What made him an especially fearsome enemy for Avatar Korra was that not only did he stand against all bending, believing it to be a corrupting influence that led people to lives of oppression and impurity, but he actually had the power to take away people's bending permanently. This is a power that only the Avatar wielded before, but Amon claims the spirits bestowed it upon him so that he could restore the balance that the Avatar failed to bring to the world. While he held some understandable and even agreeable ideals, his ethics were always morally ambiguous and his actions were flat out villainous. He planned to take over Republic City as it's dictator so that he could de-bend the city's entire bender population, and then from there, "equalize the rest of the world." So he was plotting what is basically the spiritual genocide of an entire people. Ultimately, he was an extremist, a mastermind, a fear monger, a madman, a fraud, and even a hypocrite, since he was in truth the very thing he hated. His true identity is Noatak, the son of Yakone and brother of Tarrlok, and the most powerful bloodbender alive. He used his bending to block the chi of other's, cancelling out their bending, and he wanted to change the balance of power so that he and his cohorts were now the oppressors. While he can't reach my top 10 because he got taken down in a huge anticlimax, he was overall a very well handled and memorable antagonist - one of the best in the Avatarverse.

 10: Eric Cartman (South Park): I don't like him because he shares my first name: quite frankly, that's embarrassing. No, I like Cartman for the same reasons everyone else does. He is the perfect asshole character. He is everything wrong with the rural white trash of America - ignorance, obesity, bigotry, paranoia, hatred, selfishness, greed, and egomania - all embodied in a chubby grade-schooler with a grating voice. Cartman is the ultimate child sociopath. He is mean, nasty, thorough repellent and contemptible...but also utterly hilarious and enjoyable to watch. His antics are so wrong and the show presents them as being just that. Thus we want to see where things go and how or if Cartman will end up getting his just desserts. Since he's such a loathsome piece of work, this makes his frequent comeuppances that much sweeter and more satisfying. Sometimes he receives no punishment and it only serves to remind us of what a little shit he is. The most famous instance of this being when he got payback on the neighborhood bully by killing the boy's parents, grinding them up into chili, and making him eat it. That was when Cartman made the transition from an Archie Bunker type character into being pure evil. But rather than being put off by his wickedness, I just can't get enough of it. The fatass is most certainly one of the most twisted villains to ever appear on television, and for that, we must respect his authoriteh

 9: Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls): The chief antagonist of this modern Disney animated masterpiece, Bill is a inter-dimensional space demon with the power to enter people's minds, invade their thoughts and dreams, and even take possession of their bodies from within, and all it takes for him to work his magic is for a deal to be struck and sealed with a handshake. He began life as a person from the flat 2nd Dimension until he gained his supernatural powers and used them to "liberate" his world from it's natural boring state...by completely wrecking it and altering it's reality. Bill took it upon himself to do the same thing to other worlds so that chaos, distortion, and all around weirdness would reign supreme throughout the universe. And it's because of this that he sets the main conflict of the series in motion, linking Earth and his nightmare realm, and then slowly scheming and working to bring about an apocalypse in which the worlds would collide and he could wreak havoc on a global scale. The brilliance of Bill's character is that he's got such a ridiculous looking appearance, engages in silly antics and behavior, has a fast-talking, joke-cracking salesman type personality akin to Hades from "Hercules", and is just absolutely hilarious, yet also fascinating to watch and speculate about, and surprisingly enough, completely, utterly terrifying and genuinely intimidating as a villain. It's a bizarre mix of comedic and nightmarish but he achieves just the right balance and totally sells you on just what a threat he truly is. Like the villain mentioned below, he gets scarier with each appearance but in his case it's rarely ever so much that he sucks the fun spirit out of this largely comedic show...well, until the very end where he just gets really freaking dark, but it still stands that he's delightful to watch. This evil triangular freak of nature surpasses even Gideon in what a fun, memorable, and formidable foe he is and stands as one of the best Devil figures to be found in animation. To the very end he'll be watching you in your nightmares.

 8: Professor Pericles (Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.): A fairly recent villain in the realm of animation but one of the most chilling ones that I have ever seen. This is not the type of antagonist you'd EVER think would come out of a series in a franchise where most of it's villains were guys in cheesy ghost or monster costumes. No, this bird is truly evil, the animal version of Hannibal Lecter if you will. Forget about Mr E or the Freak of Crystal Cove; Pericles is the true villain of this show, and he is brilliant at it. From the very start he had a genius level intellect, and since he's descended from the Annunaki alien race, he was corruptible to the Evil Entity of Nibiru. Since he was so smart, he was more in tune with his master's evil since birth, but had to grow up and develop before he could act upon his evil urges. He was adopted by Ricky Owens, whom he convinced to form a mystery solving group with his friends, Mystery Incorporated. But as soon as the opportunity was presented to him by the corrupt Fred Jones, Perciles sold his friends out so that he could find and claim the pieces of the Planispheric Disc that could lead to the hidden cursed treasure of Crystal Cove. But Jones betrayed him, scarring him and committing him to an asylum for insane animals. Caged up for years, Pericles spent his days in telepathic contact with his master, waiting for the moment to break loose and resume his mission. That came when the new Mystery Inc. gang stumbled upon the big mystery. Pericles soon became the enemy of Scooby Doo, and is his exact opposite in every way. Selfish, scheming, arrogant, unkind, and brilliant, the parrot is a pure evil mastermind with a monstrous nature. And he is scary as heck, with Udo Kier giving an immensely creepy performance. What also stands out about him is that he only keeps getting scarier as the series progresses, committing a surprising amount of atrocities too. He flat out murders people, aids Mr. E in trying to blow Mystery Inc. up with a bomb, takes control of Destroido Co's research labs in order to create skeletal cattle spliced with Bee and Piranha DNA that devour and kill many Destroido employees and then unleashes an entire herd of these on Crystal Cove in order to devour it, abuses his old friend Ricky and then has cobra venom injected into his spine so that he wouldn't turn against him, has populated areas of Crystal Cove leveled to the ground so he can force it's citizens into slave labor to find the gateway to the treasure, uses his killer robot army to suppress the citizens while planning to massacre them all once they'd served their purpose, orders one of his robots to gun down a teenage girl with a machine gun, and he deliberately asks the Nibiru Entity if he can be his vessel, intending to use the Entity's power to dominate the Earth, not knowing that the Entity would actually eat him from the inside and take over his body. Sweet dreams, kids!

 7: Megabyte (Reboot): It was either him or Megatron from "Beast Wars" (a similar villain from Mainframe Entertainment) going on the list, and since Megatron is pretty overdone in general, I went with Megabyte. He's an evil computer virus, the head mafioso of Mainframe, and was one of the late Tony Jay's finest roles. I mean, what more could you want in a villain? His character is cunning and malignant, and like Pericles above, he was always getting more and more dangerous as the series went on. He was an enjoyable but fairly standard villain in the first season. At the end of the second season, however, he actually managed to dispose of our hero Bob and already had things all ready to start his takeover of Mainframe. Only Enzo Matrix stood in his way now, but when he was taken out in a game, there was nothing blocking Megabyte's path to dominating the city. Well, except for his crazy sister Hexadecimal, but he took care of her too. It soon seemed as if nothing could stop Megabyte in the third season, and that's part of what made it such an intense watch. And like most villains here, he was so hungry for power that he would never be satisfied until he had it all. His greatest desire through the entire series was to enter the Super Computer and infect the entire system. He almost succeeded if it weren't for that meddling Matrix...and Mouse.  But even after that, he managed to cause a system crash in Mainframe with his last evil breath, only to be thwarted by Bob once more. And even after that, he still returned in an upgraded form in the second TV movie, "My Two Bobs", which ended with him victorious! And then the series was canned, so that's where it ended! Unbelievable! If Megabyte finally does reach the Super Computer to infect it's system, then XANA's going to have a powerful threat to deal with.

 6: Lex Luthor (Superman: The Animated Series): Unlike Dr. Doom, Superman's arch enemy has gotten plenty of great media interpretations. But for me, the definitive Luthor is the one from the DCAU's Superman series. Well designed and superbly voiced by Clancy Brown, this Lex Luthor really captured the villainous tycoon's character: he's calm, cultured, and sophisticated on the outside but on the inside he's a cheap, petty thug with a hot temper and an inability to let go of a grudge. He's the school bully all grown up and beneath his immense success in life, he's still a pathetic and empty man. But he's also cold, manipulative, brilliant, and ruthless. He's very confident in his evil because he's certain he can get away with it every time. He has the belief that all that matters in life is to have wealth and power so that he can be content. And while he has that, he has few friends nor does he have the respect of many people. So naturally he hates it that Superman shows him up all the time. Not only is Superman the new most powerful man in Metropolis, but he has all that Luthor lacks, and Luthor cannot comprehend how an alien being could have more humanity than him. And thus he seeks to destroy Superman and though he inevitably fails every time, his intellect and the lengths he'll go to get his revenge make him a constant threat in the man of steel's life. Lex was portrayed especially well in the Superman series and I enjoyed Clancy reprising the role in "Justice League" and "The Batman": he just nails it.

 5: The Green Goblin (The Spectacular Spider-Man): This...well, spectacular rendition of Spider-Man's greatest enemy had to make this list somewhere. And we saw enough of him for him to make it this far up. A composite characterization of both the Green Goblin of the Lee/Ditko era and the original Hobgoblin, this goblin was always showing fantastic displays of sheer Magnificent Bastardry. With a great looking design (I particularly love the pumpkin belt around his waist) and voiced by Steve Blum, who gave him a perfect sounding evil psychopath voice and maniacal laugh, he's pretty much the best media adaptation of the Green Goblin outside of the original comics. Yes, he even topped Willem Dafoe's version. The Goblin's greatest strength was how sly and underhanded he was: an archetypal trickster on the outside but with a deranged, dangerous mind on the inside. He was also the first enemy to truly go toe-to-toe with Spidey and exchange physical and verbal blows with him. This guys' one liners always cracked me up. And in a time when supervillains were being made as products of the Big Man, the Goblin was the first to come out of nowhere with his own agenda: to replace the Big Man as the ruler of New Yorks' crime syndicates. And eventually he succeeded, leading to one hell of a series finale!  The Green Goblin loved to keep us all guessing about his true identity. Underneath the mask is Norman Osborn, an insanely unapologetic man so rotten to the core he would go to whatever lengths he deemed necessary to fulfill his evil goals, even setting up his own son, complete with twisting said son's leg while he was passed out! Man, he really is a monster! Though in the end he was outed for the fiend that he was and his hold over the city was broken, he somehow managed to fake his own death and leave the city scot-free without anyone knowing. The last thing we see in the show is that he's still out there, and then the last thing we hear is the terrifying scream of one of his pumpkin bombs. Yikes! Hopefully, this is a villain who will haunt the viewers of this show for years to come.

 4: Slade (Teen Titans): The Titans' greatest adversary and Robin's arch enemy in particular. How great a villain is Mr. Slade Wilson that he makes it this far on the list? Well, he gave a spectacularly evil performance in the episode "Haunted", which is one episode in a season where he was never really there! That's how effective his evil is; you just cannot keep this guy down for good. Slade is a diabolical, relentless criminal mastermind who is also very cold, calm, and intelligent. He always plans ahead and prepares for the crimes he commits. And his agendas are always kept hidden; every small plan has a deeper purpose known to nobody but himself. He speaks cryptically in a chillingly calm monotone voice by Ron Pearlman, and will often talk like some sort of twisted Warrior Therapist. He's just plain badass, wearing his intimidating half-faced mask and dark costume. His goal is apparently to form his own totalitarian crime empire by taking over different cities, but in advance he needs an apprentice to rule alongside him, carry out his will, and take over once he's passed on. When the Teen Titans first interfered with his plans, he took notice of how similar Robin was to him. Both were smart, determined badass normals who hated to lose. So over the course of the first season, he enacted many evil plans with the purpose of building Robin up to be his apprentice. He made Robin serve him through threatening the lives of his friends, but underestimated the Titans' strength and was eventually overcome by them. In the next season, he preyed on a superpowered teen girl's vulnerability to successfully make her his apprentice and she even helped him take over the city at last. But that didn't last long and Slade ended up getting thrust into the heart of a volcano where he died. But he was saved from going to Hell by the demon lord Trigon, whom he swore to serve in exchange for his life back in the fourth season. In that season he was given demonic powers of his own but his most dangerous weapon was still his evil mind. While he strives for greatness, Slade starts off as quite the Smug Snake because he tends to not think outside his own box of what could upset his grand plans, and he frequently underestimates his young opponents while overestimating himself. But as the series went on, he learned from his mistakes and became more and more of a threat each season. What I think I like most about Slade is how he, in all respects, embodies the child predator: an experienced, manipulative adult who preys on teenagers at their most vulnerable, whether it be as an abusive father figure, a bad teacher, or a full blown ebephile. He's a scary-ass supervillain to be sure, and when he's around, things get tense.

 3: Princess Azula (Avatar: The Last Airbender): Who could possibly rival Slade or Xanatos for most badass villain in animation? A 15 year old girl, that's who! Azula, crown princess of the Fire Nation, was the primary antagonist of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" for two seasons and played her role to brilliant perfection. The daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Fire Lady Ursa, sister of Prince Zuko, and niece of Uncle Iroh, she actually comes off the lovechild of Xanatos and...someone else (Carmen Sandiego? Demona? Narissa from "W.I.T.C.H?") 
in that not only is she a firebending prodigy, but she's an evil genius who makes several calculated plans, takes risks, and usually succeeds at what she does. We see that the Fire Lord makes his plans by building off of the ideas of others in his council, so he's very fortunate that his daughter is an honest to goodness Chessmaster who can strategize great plans of her own. She's charismatic, manipulative, and devious, always telling lies and half-truths or making frightening threats that always come off as very convincing. Not only is Azula insanely smart but she's an insanely powerful fire bender too. Trained well in the art of casting and redirecting lightning, she's leagues ahead of her older brother in terms of strength. She is among the deadliest and most ruthless enemies you could possibly go up against in this world. And not only is she strong, but she is also pure, unashamedly, uncompromisingly evil. This is a villain that you just love to hate: she's been brought up to be just like her dear ol' daddy and she likes it that way. Even if she does have a secret soft spot for her friends or even her brother, she's still a wicked, unsympathetic little monster. There is no one she won't use, and she wants to control everyone through fear and manipulation. She has no room in her black heart for emotions such as love. A definite Magnificent Bitch, Azula was always amazing me by pulling off brilliant evil deeds that always screwed the heroes over. And then in the end, we see her get deconstructed. The life and character that she's built up for herself comes crashing down on her and all of her pains and insecurities come to light. After she loses her hold on her brother and her friends turn on her, she spirals downward into an unhinged berserker, a paranoid tyrant, an out-of-her-mind psychopath, and finally breaks down into what she always truly was; a warped, frustrated, and sad child who desperately wanted attention and self-worth. It would seem incredibly difficult to make such a deep, layered, three dimensional tragic character out of such an evil villain but Azula pulled it off so beautifully. She was an interesting, malevolent, and dangerous person all the way to the end.

 2: Demona (Gargoyles): The arch foe of Goliath and the Manhattan gargoyle clan. Demona is a ravishing female gargoyle harboring an ugly personality. Formerly Goliath's lover, she hates humanity for the scorn they bore her kind and for as long as we can recall, she was resenting the humans and looking for a way to take revenge on them, so then gargoyles could be the dominant race. But through her wicked deeds, she's always bringing tragedy upon herself and ruining her own life as well as the lives of others. Demona, however, will never admit to this and will always look for a scapegoat: the humans, Elisa, Goliath and his clan, anyone but herself. She'll always be in denial and have a justification for her own self destruction, never willing to owe up to her misdeeds and face down her true greatest enemy: herself. Which is what makes her a compelling tragic villain of Shakespearean levels. Pair this great writing up with a powerful vocal performance by Marina Stiris, and you've got one of the all-time greatest animated villains to exist. Gregxb has talked more about her on his own blog than I ever could, so next!

 2.0: David Xanatos (Gargoyles): Yeah, I know I'm cheating here. I shouldn't have two villains from the same show on this list right next to each other on one spot. But I can't help it: they're both such great, richly developed antagonists that they needed to both be here. Between Demona and Xanatos, though, I tend to find Xanatos the more enjoyable of the two. Demona's technically the greater evil, but Xanatos stands out more for me. He's a great, three dimensional character whose roles in the show's plots and interactions with other characters was always entertaining. An insanely wealthy industrialist and CEO of his own company, he is truly a man of wealth and taste. He's charming, civilized, and serious minded but with a wicked sense of humor about him as well. And if there was ever a villain deserving of the Magnificent Bastard title, it would be him. He's always manipulative, always cunning, always thinking fast and making complex plans that he pulls off brilliantly. He knows how to think outside the box: his evil plans are layered with many aspects or possible outcomes. There's always a plan B, C, D, E, or F embedded within his schemes. He has styled himself after all the great mythical tricksters and man, does it show. Nearly everything he sets out to do, he succeeds at, and even when he fails, his layered plotting ensures that he gets something out of the end result regardless. It's a chance he's always willing to take and he usually wins, hence the Xanatos Gambit. And though he is Goliath's arch enemy (David vs Goliath, get it?), Goliath and his clan are rarely ever the focus of his plans. He just does his own thing and knows when and how to use the gargoyles to suit his plans whenever it's required. In that respect, Xanatos is truly the ultimate chessmaster. He's not a very evil man at all, at least not as evil as Goliath may make him out to be, but he is definitely a man of few morals. Whether he be doing good or bad deeds, he's always an untrustworthy, self serving bastard. His character developed over the series and he learned to love, to raise a family, and to make peace and be on good terms with his enemies. But he always keeps that villainous edge to him (except in "The Goliath Chronicles" which made him boring. David Xanatos is many things but boring should never be one of them!)  What's really great is that he has no excuse for it, either. Nothing made him the way he is, no childhood trauma or event in his life. Hell, his father's a good working class man who disapproves of what he's become! Xanatos is (quite literally in certain areas that involve time travel) a self-made man; he is what he is and he is so confident and so proud of what he is that you just have to love him for it. And I must give praise to Johnathan Frakes. As well written as Xanatos is, he wouldn't have come off nearly as endearing if not for brilliant voice acting. Xanatos often gets the best and funniest lines in the show and Frakes' witty delivery of them is always perfect. It rounds out Xanatos perfectly, and ensures that he remains one of THE most badass villains in the history of animated television. And so, with credentials like those, who could possibly top him?

 1. The Joker (Batman: The Animated Series): This is still my ultimate all-time favorite animated villain ever; Bruce Timm and Paul Dini's rendition of the Batman's arch enemy, the clown prince of crime himself...THE JOKER! Really, what can be said that hasn't already been said about this guy? He is the perfect supervillain and the perfect adaptation of the character. Yes, there are many great versions of Joker but the thing is...none of them quite achieve the perfect balance between the criminal clown and the psychopathic killer that this one does. As he is written, this Joker is a very loony, eccentric, whimsical, and hilarious individual who loves to commit his crimes in his signature zany and utterly unpredictable style. But he's also a deranged, self-centered, diabolical nutjob who means to cause Gotham City and possibly the rest of the world great harm solely because it amuses him. Batman is always on his trail whenever he's up to no good, and is always there to stop his crimes from reaching success. He's thrown back into Arkham Asylum until he breaks out again for his next twisted gag. And he wouldn't have it any other way; he loves the "games" he plays with Batman and will eternally be a thorn in the Caped Crusader's side through the rest of his crime fighting career. Like Xanatos, a well written villain like Joker needs a perfect voice to bring him to life, and Mark Hamill is that perfect voice. His performance has defined the Joker for many, especially his signature insane laughter, which Mark accordingly "played like an instrument". He hits all the right notes and his delivery is always spot on. It's hard not to imagine this voice when you're reading the Joker in comic books. His relationship with Batman, as well as his relationship with Harley Quinn, were very well showcased and developed over the show. While comedic in personality most of the time, instances like "Mask of the Phantasm" shows how dangerous the Joker truly is. Best of all is that it wasn't just limited to one show. With great writing and Mark Hamill's voice, Joker was consistently entertaining in all the other shows he's in ("The New Batman Adventures", "Batman Beyond", "Static Shock", and "Justice League"), even when his character design sucked ass in that first sequel series.  And if the presence of the Jokerz gang in future Gotham City of "Batman Beyond" shows anything, it shows that out of all the villains that plagued Gotham in the past, the Joker is the one who left the biggest legacy. A testament to what a magnificent villain he is and why I consider him to be by far the best cartoon villain of all time.

2 comments:

  1. Definitely did like Doom's portrayal in Season 2 of Fantastic Four and Season 1 of The Incredible Hulk as well, but I thought the Doctor Doom storyarc in the 1980s Spider-Man solo cartoon also got the character right (not counting the lack of his rivalry with Reed Richards in the show) and better capturing his status as the ruler of a country.

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    1. That one always slips my mind, mainly cause memories of his one appearance in "Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends" always follow. But you're right, that did use him well as an efficient Big Bad with diplomatic and political power.

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