I’ll be discussing two characters here, and there are major spoilers for Magic Knight Rayearth and Fushigi Yugi coming. Some readers will find the Fushigi Yugi section disturbing.
First up is an alternative view of Clef from Rayearth. For those who have seen the series this supposedly good guy knew from the start that the Magic Knights had been summoned to perform an assisted suicide.
And he didn’t tell them until killing Princess Emeraude was the only way to save their own lives.
Did I mention that the Magic Knights are eighth graders, ie: they are only 14 years old.
That alone makes Clef a bastard.
The entire second season* of Rayearth is born of the Magic Knights having had to deal with killing a human. It is safe to say that they don’t handle it well for a while.
But when the Magic Knights return to Cephiro in the second season he lies again, and asks another character Sierra to live a lie: to live as her twin sister Presea who the Magic Knights believe to be dead.
It is also possible to view Clef as manipulating the events of the second season to force Hikaru‘s ascension to the Pillar of Cephiro.
I’m actually in two minds about Clef, but the alternative view is compelling enough that he can be quite a disturbing character to watch at times.
However the best, purest, villain I’ve ever encountered in animé has to be Nakago from the Seiryu Seishi. Years back when watching this series at JAFWA with rdmasters, leecetheartist, and others Nakago was the villain who evoked one of the most visceral reactions I’ve ever had to a character. “Nakago’s a bastard” was our oft-repeated refrain.
His manipulations of the heroes were bad, brutal, and ruthless enough with a willingness to stoop to murder and mindcontrol that was simply breathtaking.
But it was his treatment of Yui Hongo, his supposed priestess and leader, that was truly appalling.
In the Fushigi Yugi universe the mikos (priestesses) can after collecting the right plot coupons summon their god and obtain three wishes.
In order to gain control of those wishes Nakago did his absolute best to destroy Yui’s freedom and sense of self.
To be acceptable to the god, a miko must be a virgin (no surprises there). And young (15 or 16) (again no surprises there).
But Nakago made sure that Yui did not know this.
Because Nakago wanted Yui to hate her former best friend Miaka Yuki.
To do so he convinced Yui that Miaka had abandoned her (she hadn’t) and was therefore responsible for Yui’s having been raped.
Except it didn’t happen. At least, not technically in the physical sense.
There was an attempt (which was bad enough) that I think Nakago was responsible for (which is worse) but he offed his mooks before they could finish. Nagako then presented himself to Yui as her hero and protector.
Nakago’s villainy and evil ranges in scale from epic kingdom shattering deeds to deeply personal mind rape. I find the more personal evil to be the most horrifying and the treatment of Yui in particular was something that I found to be very confronting.
Towards the end there were attempts to justify Nakako’s actions with a tragic back story.
However I still cheered when Nakago got what was coming to him at the end.
*The second season of Rayearth is entirely necessary, has more character development than the first, and twice as many episodes as it needs. Oh well, two out of three ain’t bad.
Day 1 – Very first animé: Robotech, Gall Force, Vampire Princess Miyu.
Day 2 – Favourite TV series: Card Captor Sakura.
Day 3 – Your animé crush: Oh grow UP already.
Day 4 – Favourite Film: My Neighbour Totoro.
Day 5 – Animé character you feel you are most like (or wish you were): Kinoshita, Rocket Girls.
Day 6 – Most annoying animé character: Lynn Minmei, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross.
Day 7 – Character you’d most like to slap: Hiyama Hikaru, Kimagure Orange Road.
Day 8 – Most epic scene ever: Launch day – Wings of Honneamise.
Day 9 – Saddest animé scene: The passing of the Fortune Twins – Nariya and Eriya.
Day 10 – Favourite slice of life animé: ARIA.
Day 11 – Favourite mecha series: Patlabor: The Mobile Police.
Day 12 – Best instalment of a franchise you don’t like: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: The War In The Pocket.
Day 13 – Worst instalment of a franchise you do like: WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3.
Day 14 – Current (or most recent) animé wallpaper: I think I had a Silent Mobius wallpaper once.
Day 15 – A reality check for a genre you like: Romantic/Heroic Space Pirates.
Day 16 – An animé classic that simply doesn’t work for you: Ghost in the Shell (film).
Day 17 – Best Background Music: Silent Mobius 2: The Motion Picture.
Day 18 – Best Five-team: Silent Mobius.
Day 19 – Change you’d like to make to any one animé: Add an animation budget to Lodoss Wars.
Day 20 – Most ambiguous animé character: Reki, Haibane Renmei.
Day 21 – Favourite OAV Series: El Hazard the Magnificent World.
Day 22 – Animation studio you’d most like to slap: Gainax.
Day 23 – Animé you think had the best, or most intriguing art: Reki’s paintings in Haibane Renmei.
Day 24 – Favourite animé hero or heroine: Hitomi Kanzaki, Vision of Escaflowne
Day 25 – Best animé villain: Nakago, Fushigi Yugi
Day 26 – Your favourite harem animé
Day 27 – Favourite animé opening theme song
Day 28 – Favourite animé companion/summoned creature
Day 29 – Best Animé Music Video
Day 30 – Favourite animé ending theme