Japan’s netizens club together to crown fictional stars who are flies in your soup, pebbles in your shoes, peas beneath your bed, or just plain evil!

Whoever said a story needs to focus on the good guy? While in general people love to root for a plucky, kindhearted underdog, the huge media response to Breaking Bad‘s conniving Walter White or acerbic superhero icon Tony Stark shows that jerk protagonists are here to stay — love them or hate them. Anime and manga are no exception! While bright-eyed idealists are as popular as they ever were, plenty of us just can’t get enough of these characters who stumbled off the straight-and-narrow and ended up in the spotlight anyway.

A recent poll by rankings site Goo Ranking had users decide who their favorite liars, cheaters, murderers and swindlers were. Even celebrated morally-grey heroes like Elfen Lied’s Lucy (17th), Devilman Crybaby’s Akira Fudou (14th) and the Fate franchise’s Shirou Emiya (12th) failed to make the top ten cut, so these are truly the cream of the crop!

Please be aware: several entries contain spoilers!

10. Accelerator/Ippou Tsuukou (A Certain Magical Index)

With his trademark devil-may-care slouch, sly grin and shock of white hair, Accelerator is one of the most striking characters in the A Certain… franchise for a reason — not least that he started out as an antagonist. This didn’t stop him seizing control of the narrative in multiple later stories in the series. His colossal amounts of psychic power, ruthless will and occasional sentimentality combine to make him a fan favorite to this day.

9. Black Jack

Osamu Tezuka’s medical mercenary set the mold for crotchety doctors long before Dr. House was thinking of studying medicine. Though the titular doctor has a heart of gold and primarily serves the destitute, the weak and those shunned by society, he has a penchant for charging his patients outrageous medical bills. His temper and off-beat humor don’t exactly endear him to most other characters, either, but he has a firm spot in our hearts! (Let’s hope he doesn’t cause a thrombosis while he’s in there.)

8. Sebastian Michaelis (Black Butler)

He really is one hell of a butler, and Sebastian Michaelis proved his staying power by gracefully sliding into eighth place. Though employed as a butler to Ciel Phantomhive and sworn to obey his every command, he often shows an inhumane lack of care when his young master is kidnapped, threatened or otherwise endangered…and often is responsible for Ciel’s misfortune himself. You can’t blame him too much, though: he’s a demon in human form.

7. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)

Lelouch was designed by darling manga artist collective CLAMP to win over viewers. His creators intended him to evoke “beauty” and “coolness”, modeled him on pop stars to give him that ethereal touch of charisma…and then granted him the powers he wields with his Geass, which allow him to bend an entire nation to his will. Lelouch’s penchant for war crimes and desperate quest for power may be tragic, but audiences still can’t get enough of him to this day.

6. Char Aznable (Gundam)

Char first appeared as a villain in Mobile Suit Gundam as a foil for classic hero Amuro Ray. His character does something especially wild, in that he becomes a major hero in sequel series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam before reverting to a villainous type in Char’s Counterattack. His attitude, sharp fashion and aviator shades just keep fans coming back for more, whichever side he pledges his allegiances towards.

5. Lupin III

Blasting onto the scene with limbs flailing in every direction, accompanied by a swell of jaunty jazz, it’s the not-so-gentlemanly thief Lupin III! Lupin is so beloved at this juncture it’s easy to forget he’s actually a petty thief who’s constantly getting himself into tangles due to his weakness for women. He’s definitely a lot nicer than other entries in the list!

4. Light Yagami (Death Note)

Admit it. You were expecting him, weren’t you? And it’s no surprise to see Light Yagami enshrined this high up in the list, as his ill-conceived moral crusade against crime and corruption turn him into a murderous, twisted monster by the end of the series’ run. Be that as it may, audiences love a dramatic tragedy, and Light’s constant plotting, quick wit and eventual downfall make him a deeply intriguing character to watch.

3. Ainz Ooal Gown (Overlord)

Now for an interesting case: Ainz is actually the protagonist trapped inside his own in-game avatar — the overlord of a once-great guild. When the MMORPG he was playing shuts down and reality shifts to become the game itself, he takes his guild’s name as his new name and sets off to find any trace of the reality he once knew — and along the way causes countless deaths, because what need does a skeletal overlord NPC have for silly human morals?

2. Koro-sensei (Assassination Classroom)

https://twitter.com/tentacleteacher/status/1250589225646469122

This one’s a no-brainer: Koro-sensei is an evil alien who descends upon the Earth promising to blow it up. Classic villain behavior, right? But wait — Koro-sensei’s willing to give humanity a fighting chance. Not only does he give his students, a motley crew of social misfits and miscreants, a chance to assassinate him and win a cash prize, but he instructs them in how best to do so! He also teaches them their regular curriculum with kindness and aplomb, and is all around the best teacher you could hope for…aside from the genocidal alien part.

So here we are. Get ready! Who did the poll decide was the number one jerk hero?

1. Duke Togo (Golgo 13)

This won’t come as a surprise if you know anything about just how passionate Japan is about Golgo 13. The longest manga still currently in publication, Golgo 13 follows Duke Togo, an assassin with a mysterious past; no one knows his real name or even his real nationality. Yet his stoic, somber form has made a huge impression on Japanese media, with popular shonen manga artists like Eiichiro Oda and Yoshihiro Togashi among his many fans.

Can’t get enough of arbitrary anime lists? Us neither! Check out some lists for nostalgic favorites, gorgeous guys, and awful adaptations.

Source: Goo Rankings via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso

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