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Villains ( (ヴィラン) Viran?, lit. "Opponent") are people who use their Quirks to commit crimes, cause destruction, and potentially put innocent lives at stake.

There are many different types of villains in the world, including thieves, murderers, drug dealers, hate groups, and terrorists.

According to Naomasa Tsukauchi, in the current age, the crime rate committed by villains is quite low as a result of being pressurized by the huge amount of Heroes.

Overview

Origin

Criminals using their new superpowers to rise to power.

Before the Quirk phenomenon occurred, villains only existed in fiction, such as Captain Hero Comics' Demon Lord.[1] When Quirks seemingly made reality resemble these superpower-filled comics, the public took a second look at the concept of villains, especially when some people began using their new gifts to benefit themselves instead of helping others. Some, like Yoichi Shigaraki, thought comics' idealist concepts could do good, including using the term "villain" on real offenders. Meanwhile, others like All For One scoffed at the notion of villains, saying the real-world wasn't so simple.[2] Early on, who counted as a "hero" and "villain" had yet to be defined, blurring the line between the two. The most gray area of debate was where vigilantes fit on the spectrum.[3]

At first, the countries of Earth were unprepared for this new type of criminal and were overrun. Even organised crime collapsed, with traditional organizations like the Yakuza nearly going extinct.[4] During this chaotic era, several notorious villains arose, who would be remembered for decades, including: All For One, Oji Harima the Peerless Thief, and Destro.[3] One major source of villains in this era was the conflict between Quirk users, known back then as Metahumans, and anti-Quirk factions, such as the Meta Liberation Army[5] and Creature Rejection Clan.[6] Meanwhile, other villains, like All For One, would profiteer from both sides.[7] As the births of Quirk-users increased, acceptance rose with it, eventually making the conflict lose its prominence.

Villains and crime reduced to a mere spectacle thanks to the rise of heroes.

With the efforts of vigilantes, the world finally stabilized and hero society emerged from the ashes. An official definition was created for villains, which, though to a lesser degree, included vigilantes. The Pro Hero profession was created to combat villains and the rate of crime became low in the modern day. Villains were forced to adapt to this regulated world. Some accepted their careers were likely short-lived, prioritising the thrill over secrecy, committing crimes in broad daylight. Meanwhile, others retreated to the shadows, waiting and planning for the time to rise again.

All Might alone sewed fear into the hearts of villains, to the point where villains like Number 6 had to be purposefully discreet so as to not get on All Might's radar.[8] Civilians felt so well protected, active crimes were watched like spectator sports. Even casual and snide remarks would be made at low-rate villains.[9] While hero society succeeds in stopping physical crimes, its weakness is in addressing their social roots. Several villains of the modern generation have their motives tied to the flaws within hero society.

"Villain" Term

The villain label has two distinctive definitions, the strict legal term and the broader cultural one. On the legal side, it is a category of criminals that use their Quirks to commit crimes. This definition includes a wide range of offenders, from petty thieves to serial killers. Civilians can get away with minor offences without being labelled as villains.[10] It's implied that once an offender is deemed a villain, they're treated more harshly in the justice system, including minors.[11]

It's a debate amongst heroes on what the minimum requirement to be a villain is and whether intent matters. An example is the Instant Villains: bystanders unwillingly injected with Trigger and forced to go on violent rampages. Endeavor believes any Quirk-user who endangers the public is a villain and it's up to the police to decide whether pressing charges is appropriate. Meanwhile, All Might counters that heroes should assess their opponent's intentions and attempt to save them if they're a confused civilian.[12]

While villains are mostly associated with violent crime, villainous acts can be involved in white-collar crime. For example, Giran using his Muddied Quirk to daze the memories of his clients while brokering.[13]

There is a ranking system to differentiate villains' threat levels, the lowest being F and the highest being SS. There are no known cases of Quirkless villains, and Heroes don't have the jurisdiction to go after non-Quirk criminals, needing to refer them onto the police.[14] Although there is an expectation for extreme cases, allowing heroes to use their Quirks to incarcerate non-Quirk criminals, albeit with restraint.[15]

An offender remains a villain until they've fully served their sentence or the statute of limitations runs out for their offence. Once either of these two things happen, they're considered an "ex-villain", similar to an ex-con.[16] Gentle Criminal was told by investigators he could still rebuild his life and reform himself, despite years of thefts and assaults.[17] On the other hand, the very worst villains, like the inmates on the lowest level of Tartarus, can be imprisoned for life and will be considered villains as long as they live.[18]

On occasion, an offender can be mistakenly called a villain, whether by themselves or the authorities, but a further investigation could clear them of the villain accusation. For example, Takeshi Bushijima was initially called a villain on the news, as he released his Poison Gas Quirk in a city alleyway. However, it was later revealed that his poisonous gas stockpiled involuntarily inside his body and made him very ill, and that he had no choice but to release it for the sake of his health. Because of this mitigating factor, Takeshi was spared the villain label and given a more lenient sentence.

Due to the definition of villains being decided by a select group of officials, the term can be susceptible to bias and hypocrisy. What's morally right and legally right don't always overlap, leading to questionable cases on who count as a hero or villain. The Hero Public Safety Commission orders its Pro Hero agents to commit traditionally villainous acts, but uses its authority to cover it up. Lady Nagant had assassinated dozens under the Commission's orders, but she was only legally deemed a villain when she murdered one of their own. On the other side of the spectrum, many heroes let The Crawler's vigilantism slide, knowing he was competent and good-natured. When an arrest warrant for The Crawler was issued, it was conveniently when the police were at a low-point. Soga Kugisaki further accused the police of demonizing good people and doing it to maintain their ego.

While police and heroes stick to a strict definition of villains, the public use the term more loosely and causally. Villains are deeply ingrained into Japan's culture, to the point that young children frequently speak about them. In everyday usage, "villain" can be a general insult for anything that's socially disapproved of. The insult can be used with different levels of seriousness, ranging from a petty joke to a genuine accusation. For example, people can be stereotyped as potential villains based on their appearances. While there's the comical ranking of "Heroes That Look Like Villains",[19] this line of thinking has lead to extreme cases of innocent people with Mutant-type Quirks being attacked.[20]

There are other things that are not actually illegal that can cause innocent people to be insulted as villainous. This can include Quirks with high villainous potential, such as Hitoshi Shinso's Brainwashing, with the young man having been stereotyped as a future criminal solely for how his Quirk could easily be used for wrongdoing. Secondary, unruly behavior like Katsuki Bakugo being an aggressive bully, making both the public and the League of Villains suspect that he could be converted into a real villain. Various people don't even like to use the term villain. All For One accuses the term of being too emotionally charged and simplistic, citing "Quirk criminal" as a better alternative.[21] Additionally, Soga thinks that the label is too sweeping, leading to good-natured people and victims being unfairly called villains.

Becoming a Villain

A victim of cruel society.

Like other types of criminals, people commit illegal acts for countless reasons. It can be motived by reasoning anywhere from economical, political, social, or personal. Though villains can add a unique angle to their motives via the usage of their Quirks.

For some people, the path to becoming a villain starts with some kind of tragedy that leaves them with no other choice; such as when Jin Bubaigawara lost his job and was left alone and in poverty, or when Toya Todoroki suffered abuse at the hands of his father and ended up burning and disfiguring himself with his own Quirk. Even worse, some people can fall victim to the Quirk-boosting drug Trigger, which can make them lose their sense of reason and cause them to violently rampage and attack everything around them as their Quirks go berserk. These unwilling villains are labeled as Instant Villains.

Other villains are driven by a goal that they are passionate about, one they would not be able to achieve by other means; such as Chizome Akaguro wanting to purge the world of fake heroes, or Kai Chisaki wanting to bring the Yakuza back to its former glory. At the same time, some villains try to set themselves apart from others by trying to make their actions come off as "honorable" such as the Gentle Criminal being a gentleman thief who performs his organized capers with nobility, and the Hotta Brothers being dealers who pride themselves on selling a legal version of Trigger, despite their aforementioned acts still being illegal and wrong. Furthermore, the former boss of the Shie Hassaikai (prior to Kai's command) believed strongly in things such as honor and values, refusing to cross certain moral lines such as attacking civilians or harming innocent people, and believing that this distinguished the Yakuza group from regular villains.

It is also possible for people with Mutant-type Quirks, otherwise known as heteromorphs, to become villains due to the discrimination they receive based on their appearances. As revealed by Skeptic, many heteromorphs fall into villainy due to facing racism and inequality, which leads them to despise both society and Heroes as a result.[22] Examples of this include Shuichi Iguchi and Chojuro Kon, where the former became a hikikomori due to receiving racism for his lizard-like appearance, and the latter was labelled as a monster for his chimeric traits. At the same time, there are also hate groups that target and commit crimes against heteromorphs, such as the Creature Rejection Clan and its various factions.

A child succumbing to the influence of her Quirk and committing assault.

It is even possible for some people to end up becoming villains solely due to the Quirk they were born with. Nine for example was born with a powerful, almost "god-like" Quirk that allowed him to control the weather, which led him to become disillusioned with the structure of society, feeling oppressed and desiring to create an ideal world where power would determine ones worth. Flect Turn grew to hate Quirks in general, specifically due to the effects of his Quirk always being active, pushing everything and everyone away, resulting in him becoming the leader of the cult Humarise, with the purpose of forming a world without Quirks.

In other cases, a Quirk can even affect one's personality to the extent where they would become villains, such as Himiko Toga, whose Quirk requires blood, leading her to develop an interest in blood and gore that she was forced to suppress from a young age. This eventually caused her to snap under her Quirk's influence, attacking a fellow student who she saw bloodied and bruised from a fight and then promptly running away and becoming a serial killer involved in bloodletting murders.

Furthermore, though it is quite uncommon, it is even possible for Pro Heroes to be villains, or become villains, some having defected to the dark side, or others using their hero position as a cover, such as Slidin' Go, Lady Nagant, and Rock. Although, in some instances, the villain-hero is actually a double agent working to take down the real villains, as was the case with Hawks.

All these reasons aside, it is still possible for people to become villains solely for their own self-interests, such as Goto Imasuji being a violent, rampaging killer for no other reason than hedonistic sadism and bloodlust. Other villains are simply criminals or terrorists who are only out for profit, such as Wolfram and his crew.

Villain Name

Like Heroes, Villains often choose to go by a code name. Like hero names, a villain name helps a villain cement the image they wish to represent, and it shows their true character. For example, Chizome Akaguro goes by "Stain" because he is willing to stain his hands with blood in order to rid the world of false heroes. Danjuro Tobita chose the name "Gentle Criminal" because he presents himself as a dandy gentleman, despite his criminal activities.

Some villains choose names that describe their Quirks, or are at least based on their Quirks; Goto Imasuji calls himself "Muscular" because his Quirk enhances his muscle fibers. Atsuhiro Sako calls himself "Mr. Compress" because his Quirk allows him to compress things into tiny marbles.

A Villain Name does not necessarily have to be original. Some people may choose to use the same name, or a very similar name, as an already existing and well-known villain that is no longer active. By doing so, they have the opportunity to keep the legacy of said villain alive. An example of this is Rikiya Yotsubashi, who took the name "Re-Destro" after taking up the cause of his ancestor, Chikara Yotsubashi, who went by the name "Destro".

Not all villains use a code name, however. Some will just go by their actual name, like Himiko Toga.

Costumes

A villain using support gear.

Some villains, though not all, wear a costume while they are out committing crimes. These costumes disguise their identities, making it harder for law enforcement personnel to identify them. Villains can also wear a costume as a means to get a message across such as Spinner dressing like the Hero Killer: Stain, to represent the ideology of his idol and inspiration.

While some villain costumes are purely cosmetic, villains are also known to be equipped with illegal Quirk support gear acquired through the black market via brokers, like Giran. This illegal gear is generally considered to be less reliable and durable than that made by professional support companies for heroes. Still, equipment used by villains are shown to work in conjunction with their Quirks, such as Himiko's syringe needles and mask making it easier for her to drain blood from others and transform.

Villains are also known to make use of various drugs from the black market.

Villain Groups

A team of villains working together.

While some villains choose to work alone, others prefer to commit crimes as a team or organization, usually with one member as the leader of the group. Some villains work in teams of two, such as Gentle Criminal and La Brava. Other villain organizations have dozens of members, or even thousands, such as the Meta Liberation Army. These larger villain groups will often have several of its stronger members as higher-ups who lead the lower-ranked members under the command of the supreme leader.

List of Villains

League of Villains

Associates
U.S.J. Underlings
Nomu


Meta Liberation Army


Paranormal Liberation Front

Lieutenants
Warriors
Nomu
Associates


Villain Factory


Yakuza


Other Known Villains

Independent Main Series Villains
Independent Vigilante Villains
Independent Team-Up Villains
Wolfram's Crew
Nine's Crew
Humarise


Ranked Villains

Rankings according to My Hero Academia: Ultra Archive: The Official Character Guide which covered Villains from Chapter 1 to Chapter 88, and the updated rankings based on My Hero Academia: Ultra Analysis: The Official Character Guide which covers up to Chapter 235.

Name

Affiliation

Quirk

Archive

Analysis

All For One League of Villains All For One S S
Chronostasis Shie Hassaikai Chronostasis - B
Curious Meta Liberation Army Landmine - C
Dabi League of Villains Blueflame B A
Daruma Ujiko League of Villains Life Force - C
Deidoro Sakaki Shie Hassaikai Sloshed - C
Gentle Criminal Independent Elasticity - C
Geten Meta Liberation Army Ice Manipulation - B
Giant Villain Independent Gigantification D -
Gigantomachia League of Villains Multiple Quirks - S
Giran League of Villains Muddied B C
Hekiji Tengai Shie Hassaikai Barrier - C
Himiko Toga League of Villains Transform C A
Hood League of Villains Multiple Quirks - S
Kendo Rappa Shie Hassaikai Strongarm - B
Kurogiri League of Villains Warp Gate B B
La Brava Independent Love - C
Magne League of Villains Magnetism B B
Mimic Shie Hassaikai Mimicry - B
Moonfish League of Villains Blade-Tooth A B
Mr. Compress League of Villains Compress B B
Muscular League of Villains Muscle Augmentation A C
Overhaul Shie Hassaikai Overhaul - B
Re-Destro Meta Liberation Army Stress - A
Rikiya Katsukame Shie Hassaikai Vitality Stealing - C
Shin Nemoto Shie Hassaikai Confession - C
Skeptic Meta Liberation Army Anthropomorph - B
Sludge Villain Independent Unnamed Sludge Quirk D -
Soramitsu Tabe Shie Hassaikai Food - C
Spinner League of Villains Gecko C C
Stain Independent Bloodcurdle S A
Tomura Shigaraki League of Villains Decay S S
Toya Setsuno Shie Hassaikai Larceny - C
Habit Headgear Independent Trap Flex C -
Trumpet Meta Liberation Army Incite - B
Twice League of Villains Double C S
Yu Hojo Shie Hassaikai Crystallize - C


References

  1. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 333.
  2. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 193.
  3. 3.0 3.1 My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 171.
  4. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 115.
  5. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 218.
  6. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 220.
  7. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 59.
  8. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 99.
  9. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 1.
  10. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 7.
  11. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 74.
  12. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 6+ Alpha.
  13. My Hero Academia: Ultra Analysis: The Official Character Guide.
  14. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 2.
  15. My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission.
  16. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 5.
  17. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 183.
  18. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 297.
  19. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 110.
  20. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 310.
  21. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Manga: Chapter 92.
  22. My Hero Academia Manga: Chapter 341.

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