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Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains

Evil By Design

At this point, One Piece should need no introduction. Even casual anime enjoyers will be familiar with the show just for the incredible amount of episodes it’s spawned over its run.  It’s arguably one of the largest franchises out there, so even people not familiar with anime will have likely heard of the series. Part of the reason why One Piece has become a household name around the world is its characters. This isn’t necessarily tied to the central cast of characters either. Some of the most unforgettable and endearing moments can be linked to the anime’s villains. This shouldn’t be surprising given it’s a shounen anime. That is to say it aimed at a younger demographic with action focused stories. Common tropes like hero vs villain is the basis and the villain is important in order for the hero to shine. No good shounen series can go on without some good villains. What separates One Piece from the rest of the pack, however, is that due to its longevity, it has an abundance of memorable villains and archnemeses. 

Since One Piece currently sits at over 1,000 episodes, there’s no way to fit every single villain  on this small list. So naturally, the barrier of admission has to be steep to filter out the riff-raff. Just being despicable isn’t nearly enough to end up on this list. The show itself is filled with cringy ne’er-do-wells. Designs will play a huge part in who makes this list. Also a forewarning, Kaido did not make the list, since that would be too obvious.

10. Jango

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

Easily one of the coolest characters off design alone, seeing this character was a real treat for Michael Jackson fans. That’s right, for the one person who didn’t notice, this character is based off of the late and great Michael Jackson. The most obvious hint being that he makes his first appearance via moonwalking. His costume design is also reminiscent of MJ’s “Smooth Criminal” get-up. He also wears a groovy pair of heart-shaped shades, which make him stand out even more. Despite being introduced as a secondary villain to Kuro, Jango easily steals the show. Compared to Kuro, who tries too hard to come off as cool and mysterious, Jango is just being himself and having fun. His weapon of choice is still one of the most creative of the series, with him utilizing sharp circular discs to hypnotize his enemies. When this fails to work (which is most of the time) he instead throws them at his opponents.

9. Buggy

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

A pirate as funny as a clown or a clown as rowdy as a pirate? Regardless of which he is, Buggy is one of the more loveable villains on this list. Design-wise, it takes a bit to get used to his look. With hair as blue as the sky and a big red nose, his look can be jarring. Eventually, however, his design warms up on viewers and quickly feels right. His devil fruit ability is also one of the coolest in the series, with him being able to dismember his own limbs at will. While there are some cool fight scenes, this power makes for some great comedic moments. For example, he loses his torso and some other body parts, making him look like a little kid. This gag went on for multiple episodes. He’s also seen as a recurring villain throughout the series, with him being a fun addition to whatever the Straw Hat crew are doing.

8. Crocodile

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

One of the legendary seven warlords, Crocodile’s introduction was a long time coming and also when things started going up to ludicrous heights. Crocodile’s existence had been repeatedly hinted at in prior arcs and building up an incredible amount of hype. The build-up paid off, as the Alabasta arc is considered by many fans to be one of the best arcs in the anime’s 1,000 episode run. This particular villain is a unique type of evil even within this list, as he literally plunges an entire country into a civil war. Through dastardly manipulation, he is able to come off as a hero while also purposely destroying the country from the inside out.  So basically the average politician. 

Crocodile’s devil fruit power and overall design are also pretty top-tier. With a cool scar, a golden hook, and permanent cigar fixed to his mouth, it’s hard to get any cooler. Yet he manages to do just that with his power, which includes the ability to control sand, a convenient power to have in a country surrounded by sand. This leads to not one but multiple incredible fight scenes between him and Luffy.

7. Magellan

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

As the warden of Impel Down, a notorious prison for pirates and other criminals, Magellan has the perfect design. In a prison akin to hell, it only makes sense that the warden himself looks like the devil. Not buying the whole “hell” thing? The prison guards are all sadistic and borderline inhuman. Both the warden and vice warden (Hannyabal) resemble figures of the afterlife, with the latter resembling Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife.  Not only that, but his devil fruit power is poison. He can literally fill entire dungeons with poison, killing any and all prisoners for whatever reason. Throughout the entire Impel Down arc, he feels like an unstoppable force, with Luffy failing to properly beat him not once but two times! He’s also one of the more horrifying villains on this list, as he can and does take hundreds of lives at a moment’s notice, and the deaths that occur as a result often look genuinely painful. Another important factor in his inclusion on this list is his involvement with Ace’s imprisonment. This entire arc follows Luffy as he tries to rescue Ace from his execution. Magellan stands as one of the biggest hurdles for Luffy to overcome.

6. Rob Lucci/Spandam

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

This one is a bit of a cheat, as it includes two characters. This actually makes sense, however, as Rob Lucci is a sort of tool for Spandam, so it would be difficult to keep the two characters separate. Starting off with Rob Lucci and his design, his character comes off as intimidating when first introduced, which is ironic considering how he’s supposed to be a government spy. Right off the bat, however, it feels like there’s more to his character. The answer is in his eyebrows, which are just so reminiscent of Kazuya Mishima. It’s impossible to look at his face and not think “wow, this guy has serious war criminal vibes.” He also has a pet bird attached to his shoulder, which is always a welcome design element, as it takes the edge off his overly cool guy demeanor. His design gets even cooler when he reveals his devil fruit power, which involves him morphing into a humanoid leopard which is a perfect reflection of his predatory nature. He was reintroduced after the timeskip and is even more powerful after utilizing Haki. His run as the main villain in Enies Lobby, however, is what makes him unforgettable, as his fights with Luffy in this arc lead to the introduction of Straw Hat’s gear techniques.

Spandam’s inclusion on this list is mainly due to how much of a jerk he is. His actions throughout the Water 7 arc and Enies Lobby led to so much suffering that it’s hard not to hate this guy. Even worse is that he is all bark and no bite, as he frequently hides behind Rob Lucci and other members of CP9 while claiming the glory. His design isn’t bad, as it’s definitely fitting of an aristocrat, especially with his cool devil fruit sword.

5. Enel

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

It’s impossible to talk about Enel without first bringing up how much he looks like Eminem. The resemblance is uncanny, as Enel looks like a jacked version of Slim Shady. The Skypiea arc is unforgettable for plenty of reasons, in part due to the fact that it takes place in the sky. One of the more out there arcs in terms of concept, some fans thought the arc was redundant, as it involved a civil war after the Alabasta arc, an arc which also focused on a civil war plaguing a country. This, however, does not subtract from Enel’s inclusion on this list. As befitting of a villain, this character has a god complex. Literally, this dude expects people around him to treat him like a god. His design plays off of this, as he looks like Eminem if he were reincarnated as Buddha. He also just so happened to kick out the previous god from his throne. His powers are also pretty crazy, as he ate the lightning devil fruit. Unfortunately, he ends up fighting Luffy, who is obviously impervious to his attacks as a rubberman.

4.Ryuma

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

Fan of halloween specials? How about a whole Halloween arc? The Thriller Bark arc takes place in a haunted amusement park. Every single enemy in this arc stands out, as a majority of them look like extras for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” if it were an anime. The premise is that the Straw Hat crew lose their shadows and can’t leave the amusement park without first retrieving them. The shadows are being used to reanimate the dead. One such dead body is that of Ryuma, a legendary swordsman. If this name seems familiar, it’s because it belongs to that of the protagonist of Monsters 103 Mercies Dragon Damnation (which is coincidentally now available on streaming platform Netflix).They are indeed the same character, albeit the one in Thriller Bark has long been dead.  Without knowing any of that, however, fans would likely still be drawn to mysterious aura. He has a similar aura to Zoro, the manliest man in the show. Obsessed with being the strongest and proving himself in battle, these swordsmen share plenty in common (which makes sense as Eiichiro Oda confirmed them being related via a Q & A). If fans were ever curious to see what would happen if Zoro became a villain, this is the closest they’re gonna get. His design is also refreshing, as it’s a taste of things to come in the Wano arc, which has the most distinct setting in the entire series. 

3. Blackbeard

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

Arguably the most well-known pirate in real history, it only makes sense that he would make an appearance on this list. Being built up as one of the final antagonists of the series, Blackbeard has been a constant antagonist throughout the series, being first mentioned as far back as the Drum arc. In fact, a majority of the major events that occur throughout the series can be traced back to him. In particular, the deaths of Portgas D. Ace and Whitebeard. While not directly responsible for Ace’s death, he did capture him and surrender him to the Marines, which would lead to his actual death. In Whitebeard’s case, however, he did in fact kill him in order to steal his devil fruit ability.

Moving on to his design and abilities, Blackbeard stands out from everyone else as he looks like a genuine pirate. When thinking of pirates, most people think of someone grimey, dirty, and wild-looking. Blackbeard is the character to truly capture this aesthetic to the T. His power is something else, as he is the only character with two devil fruit abilities. His first ability comes from the darkness devil fruit, which gives him powers similar to a black hole. This is what allows him to steal his second power after killing Whitebeard and absorbing his devil fruit ability, which grants him control over quakes. There would be no way of justifying his exclusion from this list.

2. Kizaru

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

Every anime has that one character that is considered by fans to be the unofficial badass of the series. No need for discussion, just universal agreement. Kizaru is one such character, and it’s easy to see why. The dude is the epitome of cool and is based off of Kunie Tanaka, a Japanese actor known for playing criminals and antagonists as well starring in films about the yakuza. Kizaru is particularly intimidating due to his nonchalant nature. Regardless of the situation, he seems carefree and unconcerned with the current situation. Due to this characteristic, whenever the Straw Hats run into him, it never feels like they can get an upper hand. It also never seems like he’s going all out, despite having an overpowered devil fruit ability which gives him control over light. From moving at the speed of light to shooting laser beams out of his fingers, he is overpowered even amongst the other admirals. While some fans may deem Sakazuki more deserving of a spot on this list, he just doesn’t stand out as much as Kizaru, who is hard to forget.

1. Donquixote Doflamingo

Top Ten ‘One Piece’ Villains
Image via Toei Animation Co., Ltd

Is the number one entry any surprise? The anime character behind Bad Bunny’s style and success, Doflamingo was always meant to have this spot on the list. Based on design alone, he is so iconic that it’s unlikely that he will lose his number one spot on this list even by the time the series comes to a final conclusion. His name is befitting considering how eye catching his design is, like an actual flamingo. From his pink feather jacket and unique shades to his muscly and overbearing stature, he’s up there with Rob Luccie in terms of “bad dude with ‘tude” designs. HIs devil fruit is also designed purely for evil, with his ability to create and control strings. While he can use these strings weapons on their own, he will often use them to physically control others like a puppeteer. A truly fitting ability for such an evil villain.

One Piece (1999) Official Toei Animation Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.
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Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.