Madness in all its glory.
This is my first journey through the “100 Days of Anime” Challenge, an ambitious project that I’ll be taking. For the full list of prompts, click here.
“Best Anime Villain?”
A villain makes the viewer feel anxious, vulnerable. Shrouded and mystery with an obscure motive, the villain is the one that moves the plot forward, taking conflict to our protagonist whether he’s ready for it or not. What makes a good villain stand out is not an elaborate backstory for his motives, no. It’s the powerful and terrifying effect he has that makes our protagonist vulnerable – leaving us on the edge of our seat.
Which is what makes Betelgeuse Romani Contee one of my favorite villains ever.
That’s not to say he’s the best villain out there, no, far from it. What Betelgeuse does best is inspiring terror in every scene he’s in. The mysterious “bishop” of an equally secretive cult, his initial entrance is when Subaru is at his weakest both mentally and physically. Brilliantly voiced by the energetic (and absolutely fanatical) Matsuoka Yoshitsugu, Betelegeuse is quickly recognizable by his insane monologues appropriately accompanied by paranormal neck-bending, inhuman body contortions, and the usual repetoire that screams “fanatical maniac”.
And a dangerous one at that.
Performing atrocity after atrocity right in front of both protagonist and the viewers, we grow to both fear and hate Betelegeuse. Tragedy follows every scene the man goes, and Betelegeuse masterfully shows us just how powerful he is, introducing hidden abilities the moment we get our hopes up. All of this introduced me to a tension I could never experience if I was watching any other Isekai or Battle Harem. By placing a villain right in front of our powerless Subaru, it raises the stakes for each encounter with the viewer helplessly watching every moment. Time and time again, we see him killing off Subaru, or our favorite characters with ease.
And that all makes his defeat so much sweeter.
Though there are far better villains out there – ones with relatable motives that throw you into a moral gray, or just plain scarier villains, Betelegeuse left an impression on me, what-with his fanatical behavior and memorable antics.
What’s your favorite trait about a villain? Who is it and why?