Anime has no shortage of memorable villains, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Powerful, imposing, and often rotten to the core, it takes a lot to make a good, memorable villain. One way to do this is to give them an eye-catching costume that makes their design unique.
That being said, not all anime villains have a flashy outfit or even need one to stand out. In fact, the absence of a costume can say a lot about a villain or their personality. In some ways, not having a costume can actually make some anime villains even more intimidating.
ten Cell doesn’t wear a costume – it’s just what he looks like (Dragon Ball Z)
Most iconic dragonball characters have some sort of unique or memorable outfit that makes them stand out in a crowd, whether it’s a uniform or armor. One of the few exceptions is the Cell Bio-Android of Dragon Ball Zbut he is still recognizable despite everything.
Despite Cell’s appearance, he doesn’t wear a suit — or any clothes for that matter — which is what his half-human, half-insectoid body naturally looks like. In short, whether he’s in his perfect shape or not, Cell doesn’t need any clothes.
9 Yuno Gasai wears normal clothes, hiding what a cold-blooded killer she is (Future Diary)
Outside, Yuno Gasai from Future Diary seems like an average high school girl, but underneath she’s a cold-blooded killer willing to tear anyone and everyone apart for the sake of her beloved Yuki. Yuno’s average exterior hides her violent nature, which is also reflected in her fashion sense.
Although Yuno has a few memorable outfits, they’re technically not costumes. Her wardrobe consists mostly of her school uniform and casual clothes, which look normal until she ruins them in a fight.
8 As a serial killer, Gaku Yashiro hides in plain sight (deleted)
A serial killer is often someone trying to blend in with the public as best they can, looking like any average citizen – maybe even trustworthy too. Gaku Yashiro’s Deleted does just that, hiding in plain sight as a normal school teacher while hiding his love of murder.
Adding to Yashiro’s personality as a kind and welcoming adult figure is his attire of a suit, button down shirt, and tie – the kind of attire often seen on any teacher. By looking as normal as possible, Yashiro is able to evade capture for many years, only revealing his true nature to his future victims.
seven Hiro Shishigami almost looks like he could have been the protagonist (Inuyashiki)
In the beginning, Hiro Shishigami from Inuyashiki seems like an average-looking anime protagonist, but that only adds to the stark contrast between his appearance and the twisted side he hides from everyone. His violent tendencies only deepen after becoming cybernetic.
Hiro doesn’t wear any sort of special outfit, nor does he need to. He usually only wears his school uniform with a jacket, though his other outfits are just as normal. It almost conveys to the audience how little he cares about the murders he commits or being caught for them.
6 Shogo Makishima’s casual outfit expresses his confidence and apathy (Psycho-Pass)
Despite all the systems in place to assess the likelihood that a person may commit crimes in Psycho Pass, Shogo Makishima managed to manipulate his own Crime Coefficient, making him immune to the supposed all-knowing Sibyl System. With this, Makishima committed many gruesome deeds without consequence.
Makashima’s personality traits can also be seen in his sense of fashion. While his attire isn’t abnormal, it is extremely casual, even baggy at times, almost as if how the world views Makashima doesn’t matter to him. For the audience, Makashima’s wardrobe shows his level of confidence and how untouchable and unbound by morality he feels, as well as how apathetic he is to the suffering he causes.
5 Despite Claw’s Flashiest Members, Toichiro Suzuki Only Wears Work Clothes (Mob Psycho 100)
Claw’s organization is a despicable group in the world of Mob Psycho 100, consisting mostly of espers, who sought to take over the world. Many of its members were on the more dramatic side and even had outfits that made them look like supervillains, but the same was not true of its leader, Toichiro Suzuki.
Despite how flashy some of the espers working under Suzuki were, Suzuki wore strictly business attire. This gave him a professional air, which matched the way he looked down on everyone around him, especially those without psychic powers.
Shou Tucker is perhaps one of the most infamous characters Fullmetal Alchemist never produced. The man sacrificed his wife and daughter for what he claimed were contributions to science. Although few people could see him coming just by looking at him, his first introduction made Shou an average good-hearted man in both his demeanor and attire.
Shou’s unassuming look hides what he really is inside. It makes him all the more shocking when he ends up showing the Elrics – and viewers – just how far he’s willing to go to keep his state alchemist license.
3 From the outside, Johan looks normal and that’s what makes him terrifying (monster)
At the beginning of Freak, Dr. Kenzo Tenma chose to save Johan Liebert as a boy rather than the mayor, Roedecker. This turned out to be the biggest mistake Dr. Tenma had ever made. Even as a child, Johan was a cold, calculated killer who inflicted the worst possible pain on his victims for no reason other than his own pleasure. However, to the ordinary person, he would look normal, which makes him more terrifying.
Johan carefully crafts an average but charismatic character, and that extends to his wardrobe as well. He maintains a normal appearance, but is well-dressed, hiding his true personality and allowing him to unintentionally manipulate others. Johan proves that sometimes the scariest monsters look the most human.
2 Izaya’s normal outfit doesn’t make him any less threatening (Durarara!!)
A character’s look can be iconic even without it really being a costume and Izaya’s outfit from Durarara!! definitely fits the bill. While Izaya mostly wears casual clothes, the most recognizable part of his attire is his dark fur-lined coat, a standard garment he has made his own.
Izaya’s laid-back, laid-back look adds to his need to create chaos. He sees the world around him as one big game – one he doesn’t take seriously. Even so, that doesn’t make it any less intimidating.
1 Light’s anonymity is part of what made him such an effective killer (Death Note)
Whereas Death Note Light Yagami would see himself as the hero of his story, proclaiming himself to be justice itself and striking down the bad guys for the sake of the innocent, his cruel and ruthless actions accentuated by his massive ego say otherwise. As Kira, Light used the Death Note to kill criminals and anyone else who got in his way, unbeknownst to the public.
Being a shadow killer, Light didn’t need a costume and wore casual clothes, his school uniform, or just business attire. Light’s unassuming gaze was the disguise he wore while committing these acts, using his anonymity as an ordinary person to hide his evil machinations.