Heroes in isekai anime are always lovely to see. It’s satisfying to watch them defeat villains and save beautiful princesses at the end of the series.
But let’s switch things up a bit, shall we? That’s what we thought when we decided to make a list of the best isekai anime where the main character is a villain, far from being heroic.
And from ruthless killing machines like in Saga of Tanya the Evil to borderline situations like in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Table of Contents
8. The Rising of the Shield Hero
Yes, we know that including The Rising of the Shield Hero on this list might be seen as a controversial choice, and we can already hear the disagreements. But let’s get straight to the point.
Naofumi is a regular Japanese guy who loves reading fantasy books and light novels. One day, he comes across a mysterious white-page book at the library, which takes him to a fantasy world.
He soon finds out that he’s one of four heroes chosen to save the world and he’s the Shield Hero, the weakest and most discriminated against. But, he’s determined to rise up and become a strong and respected hero. Here starts his rise.
We know what you’re thinking, and we agree with you: Naofumi is not a villain. However, it should also be admitted that at the beginning of the series, he is strongly treated as one.
And what’s more, even Naofumi himself, in the first few episodes, convinces himself that he is a villain and performs a few morally questionable acts.
But as we know, the entire first season is centered around his redemption, and we see him abandon this dark path.
This character development and moral complexity are reasons why this anime deserves a spot on this list.
7. Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs
Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs is a unique isekai anime from 2022, consisting of 12 episodes.
The story revolves around Leon, a former Japanese worker who gets reincarnated into an otome game where women hold absolute power over men.
In this alternate world, men are treated as objects for romantic pursuits or even as slaves.
Leon, however, refuses to accept this oppressive system and uses his real-world knowledge to incite a rebellion and overturn the status quo.
We don’t know much to add, actually. It’s worth noting that the character Leon is portrayed as a villain in this series, as he becomes a controversial figure, something of a disruptor in this new world.
But as you surely noticed, this anime is quite controversial, and we leave the ultimate judgment to you.
6. I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss
I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss is an isekai anime released only recently in 2022, running 12 episodes so far.
Irene is a girl who mysteriously dies in real life, only to awaken in the body of Aileen Lauren Dautriche, a noble girl of her kingdom.
But surprise soon turns to panic when the girl realizes she has been reincarnated as the villain of the videogame she was playing before she died.
The problem? She knows that her character doesn’t have a happy ending, and she is destined to die at the hands of Claude. Her plan to avoid this fate of hers? Find the man and seduce him.
I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss is another anime quite similar to My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, which is also on this list, following a similar plot with some differences.
You probably figured out, that it’s an isekai with a protagonist who plays the role of a villain, but in a lighthearted and alternative manner, without excessive drama or complex plot twists.
5. The Executioner and Her Way of Life
The Executioner and Her Way of Life is a 2022 isekai that combines adventure, action, fantasy, and yuri romance.
The story takes place in an alternate world threatened by the Lost Ones, destructive individuals from a distant land called Japan.
Menou is an executioner tasked with eliminating this threat but during her mission, she encounters Akari, a Lost One with apparent immortality. Menou seeks a way to defeat this immortality, and Akari, desiring to lose this ability, joins her.
This will lead to a heartwarming relationship between the two, with the sad goal of finding a way to end Akari’s life.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life is a good isekai with a unique and touching storyline.
In this situation, the line between the villain and the hero is extremely thin.
The Lost Ones are seen as threats to be eliminated, but Akari isn’t truly evil. However, despite her good intentions, she is viewed as a threat, and the task of killing her becomes necessary, casting her as if she were the story’s villain.
4. The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat
The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat is a 12-episode isekai anime with politics released in 2021.
Lugh Tuatha Dé, the world’s most legendary assassin, is killed after being betrayed and is offered a chance at resurrection by a goddess in another world, but with a catch.
The condition is to kill the hero of that world.
This anime is unique in that it presents the classic isekai story from the perspective of the villain, making for the twist that you’re looking for.
In conclusion, if you’re into an anime with this premise and a good amount of engaging action, The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat is a series to consider.
3. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has a unique premise and is an isekai anime with a strong female MC that will entertain in its 12 episodes.
The story follows Catarina, a young girl who, after being hit by a rock on the head, finds herself reincarnated as the villainess of the videogame she was playing before dying.
The problem? Catarina knows that her character dies in every possible route!
Despite being destined for a bad ending in all routes, Catarina sets out to create her happy ending, going against her fate.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! is an isekai that you’ll surely enjoy if you want something lighthearted and fun, all with a villain as the MC of the story.
And in this matter, Catarina is unique, who appears as the villain in the story and faces the consequences of this destiny, although she isn’t truly evil.
Overlord is a very popular isekai anime that’s been out since 2015 and has multiple seasons. If you’re into isekai with a bad guy as the main character, this is a must-watch, no doubt about it.
Although the initial premise is the same as other anime in the genre, the protagonist Momonga is not reincarnated into a weakling but instead into what is considered the most powerful being in his world.
This will lead him to be in command of a powerless army with which he will slowly conquer everything conquerable in a series of events that are never predictable or trivial.
And that’s exactly what’s unique in this series. The rawness of the actions performed by Momonga is real, as the tangible weight they have on the people of his world, as he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
Alongside Saga of Tanya the Evil, Overlord is one of the absolute best choices in this subgenre.
So, if you’re in the mood for a top-notch anime where the main character is more villain than hero, you must watch this series if you haven’t already.
1. Saga of Tanya the Evil
Saga of Tanya the Evil is an isekai anime released in 2017 that we consider to be one of the best and most innovative anime of this genre released in recent years.
It follows the story of Tanya, a young blonde girl who appears innocent but is a merciless and strong warrior on the battlefield, leading the Imperial Army.
Tanya was previously a Japanese bureaucrat, who was reincarnated as a child in a world destroyed by war due to his cynicism and blasphemy.
But instead of being desperate, he chose to rule this new world too with his undisputed intellect and evilness.
Saga of Tanya the Evil is one of the cornerstones in the isekai subgenre with a villain main character, and it’s also a standout in anime with evil protagonists in general.
When it comes to comparing it with Overlord, it’s genuinely tough to decide which one is the best in this regard, but we’re pretty sure that both are top choices in this field.