Sunday, October 12, 2008

The 50 Greatest Animated Villains of All Time (Part 5)

This is it: The Top 10. This the part that everyone wanted to see, and it's finally here! It's been a great series, and I loved writing it.

We've truly seen some greats. To refresh your memory of the 40 villains that didn't make it to this entry:

Part 1 (50-41)
Part 2 (40-31)
Part 3 (30-21)
Part 4 (20-11)

I'll confess: I wrote most of this part before writing all of Part 4. I've had the Top 10 set for a while, but I couldn't wait to write it down.

So here, now, are the 10 Greatest Animated Villains of All Time.

#10: Yosemite Sam - Looney Tunes

Voiced By: Mel Blanc

We start off the final part of our countdown with that oh-so-classic Looney Tunes villain Yosemite Sam. Why does he outrank Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny's most quintessential villain? He's just as dumb as Elmer, and he likes to shoot things, but it's Sam's personality that makes him better.

While Elmer is a hunter, he only does so for sport. Outside of the woods or hunting season, he's generally a nice guy that's always suffering on the business end of Bugs's ass kicking.

Sam, however, is a genuine douchebag. It's his arrogance that sets him apart from the rest of the Looney Tunes villains. He's got a short temper, won't hesitate to shoot things that piss him off, and is rarely a nice person. He, unlike Elmer, won't back down to the old "I dare you to step over this line" trick, which in most cases sent him off a cliff.

In more recent Looney Tunes ventures, while Elmer is usually seen as an underling or a willing partner of other "good" Looney Tunes when the plot calls for it, Sam is usually cast as a villain.

To sum up his personality, here's an exchange between Bugs & Sam in an old cartoon about both of them running for mayor:

Bugs: (as Teddy Roosevelt) I speak softly, but I carry a BIG STICK!
Sam: Well, I SPEAK LOUD! AND I CARRY A BIGGER STICK! (he then proceeds to whack Bugs over the head with his bigger stick)

#9: Dick Dastardly & Muttley - Wacky Races

Voiced By: Paul Winchell (Dick Dastardly), Don Messick (Muttley)

Ah, yes, Dick Dastardly & Muttley from the Hanna-Barberra series "Wacky Races." These masters of trickery piloted Car #00, "The Mean Machine" during the Wacky Races, an ongoing contest to crown a racer the title of "World's Wackiest Racer."

Every episode involved Dick Dastardly & his dog Muttley setting elaborate traps against the other competitors in order for them to gain an easy victory. Of course, such as Wile E. Coyote can never catch the Roadrunner, The Mean Machine was the only one out of 11 cars to never win a single race. In fact, had they not constantly stop to set or fall for their own traps, they could easily win every race just by their pure speed. Hell, there were several instances where they never made it to the finish line, either by being arrested or flying away somehow.

In the World of Hanna-Barberra cartoons, these guys were their go-to villains. I've always wondered why they were always used and H-B had not bothered to come up with better villains. Let's look at the other memorable Hanna-Barberra "villains":

-Ranger Smith from "Yogi Bear," the Boss character who was usually mean and kept attempting to keep Yogi & Boo Boo in line.
-Mr. Slate from "The Flintstones," the Boss character who was usually mean and kept attempting to keep Fred Flintstone in line by constantly threatening to fire him.
-Mr. Spacely from "The Jetsons," the Boss character who was usually mean and kept attempting to keep George Jetson in line by constantly threatening to fire him.

Hmm, they all seem pretty interchangeable. It somewhat makes one regret that H-B always resorted to "Villains of The Day" in every single show they ever did, including the aforementioned shows.

But somehow Dick Dastardly & Muttley stand out. Dick was, well, a dick and always imagined up some crazy schemes to take out the other characters in order to gain victory, treasure and/or stopping that pigeon. Of course, Dastardly would always fail and Muttley would just giggle in that smoker's wheeze of his.

In case you're wondering, the closest they ever got to winning was 4th place, which occurred when Dastardly stopped to pose for a Photo Finish in the first episode.

#8: Mr. Burns - The Simpsons

Voiced By: Harry Shearer

Full name Charles Montgomery Burns, he's the character that defines "evil" on The Simpsons. He's primarily based on the boss characters I mentioned earlier, with a pinch of old-timey "release the hounds" Robber Barons. The fact that this single man owns a utility (in this case, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant), makes him pretty intimidating. Thanks to this, along with general evil, meanness and greed, he is one of (if not THE) most powerful person in Springfield.

Ironically, due to being 104 years old, he's also the most fragile character on the show. His physical strenght varies between episodes. In one, he can be strong enough to lift a bowling ball and almost roll it down a lane. In another, he's unable to grab a teddy bear out of a baby's clutches.

As far as villainy goes, he has done it all: Become the most powerful man in Springfield, smuggle prescription drugs over the border, shut down the town's power in protest to a strike, capture the Loch Ness Monster, build a Casino, employed said Monster in said Casino, credits his long life to Satan, ordered a hit on the Rolling Stones after the Ramones insulted him through song, attempted to kill 25 puppies to make a tuxedo (kill 2 for matching clogs!), cheated at a softball game by hiring nine professional ringers, ran for Governor of the state that Springfield resides in, blocked out all TV and Beer in Springfield to get back his beloved Bobo, made working bombs for the Nazis, has contracted every disease known to man but exist in perfect balance within his body, became a powerful member of the Republican Party, monopolizing all media in Springfield, using his recycling plant to clean the ocean of its inhabitants, attempting to make himself a God, dumping nuclear waste in a playground, posing as Wavy Gravy to disrupt Greenpeace, stealing a $1 Trillion Bill meant for Europe and accidentally giving it to Castro, stealing Christmas from 1981-1985, and possessing a Richard Simmons Robot.

But by far his most villainous deed was building a slant oil drill to siphon the oil field underneath the Elementary School and subsequently blocking out the sun in order to have his Nuclear Power Plant to be the sole energy provider in Springfield. This event, as Smithers put it best, is when he "crossed that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy." These two events resulted in the entire town calling for his death, and when he was finally shot, an entire mystery was set off in the only 2-parter in the show's history to discover the shooter. Then we found out it was Maggie.

#7: Scar - The Lion King

Voiced By: Jeremy Irons

So what if "The Lion King" was a ripoff of "Kimba The White Lion" and "Hamlet," we were 6 when we watched this and we didn't give a damn about that little fact.

In classic Disney form, Scar is a villain wishing to depose of the current Pride King (in this case, his brother) in order to rule the Pride for himself, via the usage of manipulation and henchman. And, oh yeah, this time he actually kills off Mufasa by letting him fall to his death to a stampede of Wildebeests while his son watches in horror. So after getting rid of Simba, he takes over the Pride and the kingdom falls into ruin. In a cruel twist of fate, the climatic battle ends with Simba dropping Scar to his death, and the Kingdom magically turns back to normal.

I must credit Jeremy Irons for his excellent work in voicing the character. He made Scar threatening, ruthless, menacing, and cold. And when he shut up Zazu for humming "it's a small world," you could feel his pain.

Also, it didn't hurt that the entire "Be Prepared" sequence was based on Nazi marches from WWII. Scar: He's Not Afraid to Annex Poland!

#6: Lex Luthor - DC Animated Universe

Voiced By: Clancy Brown

I guess I should explain what the "DC Animated Universe" is to my readers who have no clue what this is. This is the term given to all of the animated DC Comics shows that were produced by Bruce Timm. Crossovers happened quite often, and Justice League had tied just about every previous series together into the same continuity. The series in question: Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures, Batman Beyond, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited.

And in this universe, one of its top villains is the legendary Lex Luthor. If I need to explain that he's Superman's archnemesis, why are you even reading this? While his appearances in Superman: The Animated Series mimic his role from the comics, that being a corrupt white-collar criminal bent on ruling the world and destroying Superman, it's his role in the Justice League & Justice League Unlimited series that made this great villain even better.

One of his more infamous plots was to run for President of the United States, which was part of an elaborate plan to make Superman angry. It was all a red herring to support Project Cadmus, a organization dedicated to wipe out the Justice League, should it ever turn on Earth's Population. Thank to some events from the Superman series, Luthor's mind is melded with Brainiac's, which made for some great stories involving Luthor becoming obsessed with resurrecting him. One such plan involved Lex merging with Braniac into one super robot in order to destroy the Earth. This was ultimately thwarted by The Flash. At the end of the series, he eventually joins, and later takes over, an organization similar to the Legion of doom in order to finally resurrect Braniac, which later fails when he discovers that he instead resurrects Darkseid. As it turns out, he's the one that ultimately stops Darkseid by giving him the Anti-Life Equation that he ultimately sought for.

#5: Satan

Voiced By: Harry Shearer (Devil Flanders, pictured)

The King of Darkness, Satan, The Devil, Beelzebub, Old Scratch, Your Mom, etc. himself ranks at #5. I don't think I need to give some info on who he is, but he represents ultimate evil. The ruler of Hell, he's the one character you never want to meet when you die.

So why only at #5? Well, that all depends on which interpretation of Satan we're talking about. This entry represents every interpretation of Satan in the medium of animation. Depending on which TV show you watch, or what movie you see, Satan is either totally awesome, or a complete pansy. Pictured above is one of my favorite interpretations, the Ned Flanders Devil from the Treehouse of Horror IV episode from The Simpsons.

And now, some other well-known animated Satans:

-Satan from "South Park"
-Chernabog from "Fantasia"
-The Robot Devil from "Futurama"
-The Devil from "Lucy, Daughter of The Devil"
-Hades from "Hercules"
-The Blues Devil from "Metalacalypse"
-Peaches from "Rocko's Modern Life"
-Hell, you can even argue that Unicron is the "Transformers" version of Satan.
-The Angel Satan from "The Adventures of Mark Twain" (warning, clicking the link sends you to a VERY creepy clip of said special)

So, if Satan only ranks at #5, which 4 villains have him trembling in fear?

#4: Megatron/Galvatron - Transformers

Voiced By: Frank Welker (G1 Megatron, Post-Movie Galvatron), Leonard Nimoy (Movie Galvatron)

There was no way that I was going to leave off Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons. In animated villainy, this is as badass as we can get. First off, Generation 1 Megatron is the most beloved out of all the Megatrons that have since come into being. Why? Because he transforms into a fucking handgun. Physics defying aside, you have to admit, that's pretty awesome. Sure, you need someone to hold and fire you, but when you have enough firepower to blow a huge metal chunk out of a 12 foot robot? I have the feeling that some shrinkage wouldn't be a bad tradeoff.

As leader of the Decepticons, and being pretty brutal at it, he's virtually unquestioned by his loyal minions. Save for Starscream, of course, who finally deposed of Megatron near the middle of Transformers: The Movie after the battle that mortally wounded Optimus Prime.

Enter Galvatron. With Unicron's "help," Megatron is reformatted into a totally new character voiced by Leonard Nimoy. He shows off his new found power and badassness by tracking down Starscream and promptly blasting him to bits the second he's crowned as the new Leader of The Decepticons. The trade off? While he's super powerful, he's still Megatron on the inside and refuses to take orders from anyone, including Unicron. This is when a fail-safe is activated by Unicron to damage his mind whenever he got out of line. This eventually drove Galvatron insane, and by "insane," I mean loving to blast his fellow Decepticons for no good reason but for pure joy.

These two are paired as one entry due to the Japanese. Yes, since they never produced the movie, they had to write a hasty storyline creating Galvatron as a brand-new character different from Megatron. Then there were all of the post-Beast Wars series that had Megatron evolve into Galvatron, who was more or less a superpowered recolor of Megatron. All to force everyone to buy another damn toy.

#3: Judge Doom - Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Voiced By: Christopher Lloyd.

To the 8 of you who haven't seen this great movie: I apologize for spoiling the ending. Hell, the above video is pretty much the ending.

Despite appearing live-action for 95% of the movie, Judge Doom is included here due to the revelation that he was a Toon the entire time. This remains one of my all-time favorite movie reveals, right up there with "Vader is Luke's Father," "Rosebud is a sled," "Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze," and "Everyone dies at the end of Cloverfield."

With villainous actors, you can't go wrong with Christopher Lloyd. Sure, he's more well-known from "Taxi" and "Back To The Future" as protagonists, but I know him as Judge Doom. A few other great villains he's voiced include Rasputin from "Anastasia," Merlock from "Ducktales: Treasure of The Lost Lamp," and The Hacker from "Cyberchase." (I don't watch it, but it's to appease any 8 year olds who might be reading this.)

He is the only actor who could've played this excellent part: Old town Judge and businessman who buys the Red Car Trolley company to replace it with a Freeway, and clearing Toontown in the process with his DIP concoction. DIP, of course, is a mixture of turpentine, benzene and acetate, known paint thinners. It is, at least established in the movie, the only surefire way to kill a toon. Sure, you can make them die laughing, but then you have their angels to deal with.

The detail that I certainly can't forget about him was when he finally reveals himself to not only be a toon, but was the murderer of R.K. Maroon, Marvin Acme, AND Eddie Valiant's brother as his voice gets progressively higher in pitch.

"Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked... just... like... THIIIIIISS!" And then his eyes shoot out into Daggers. Damn, I loved that.

#2: The Joker - Batman: The Animated Series

Voiced By:
Mark Hamill

The greatest comic book-adapted-to-animation Villain is The Joker from Batman: The Animated Series. Nicholson, Romero, Hamill. Heath Ledger had some pretty damn big shoes to fill in The Dark Knight, and I must say he filled them quite nicely. So, out of those four great actors, how come Luke Fucking Skywalker is there, and is also the lone animation representative?

It's quite simple. First of all, you have the great writing that went behind Batman: The Animated Series, with several of the greatest episodes involving The Joker. The series took pages from both the dark comic roots and the campy 60's live action show and mashed them into the homocidal trickster we see today. They usually involved Joker creating some elaborate plan to destroy Gotham city and to unmask Batman, but with great writing. Second, Mark Hamill's excellent voice work, as he created this Joker to come off as vile, insane, but humorous at the same time.

Third, it's the fucking Joker. He's there to be the Yan to Batman's Yin. One couldn't exist without the other, and the death of one would mean a tragic victory for the other. Batman would've killed Joker, but he would be a murderer like him. Likewise, if Joker ever killed Batman, he'd have no purpose, as about all of his plans involved with him merely screwing with Batman.

For more information about this excellent character, rent some DVDs and read some comics. This is a 10 entry animation list, not a Joker Love Orgy (despite sounding like a great idea).

So it's all come down to this. Which villain was so awesome and evil that they earned the top spot on the list?

#1: Maleficent - Sleeping Beauty

Voiced by: Eleanor Audley.

Yes, Beaming for Bunnies readers, my ranking of the Greatest Animated Villain of All Time™ is Maleficent from the 1958 Disney Movie Sleeping Beauty. Look at her, that screams "OMG! LOOK AT THAT FUCKING THING, GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM HER!!!"

For a Disney villain, she is the one that truly defines it. Sinister, manipulative, legitimately frightening henchpet (her raven Diablo), wields magic powers, is much uglier than female protagonist and curses her for it, and is able to call upon "all the forces of Hell" to shapeshift into this:

Damn. As the story goes, she curses baby Princess Aurora to die by pricking herself on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday. As it was the Middle Ages, spinning wheels were as widespread as iPods are today, so Aurora was fucked. Thanks to her three fairy guardians, they managed to change to curse to have her sleep for 100 years and could only be awakened by a necrophiliac Prince. That was a start. Of course, this does happen, and Prince Philip eventually finds Aurora to get his corpse freak on, and battles it out with Maleficient in one of the greatest clashes in all animation.

They sure don't make them like that anymore. She pretty influenced Disney Villains more than the Wicked Queen ever could. It's a known fact that Ursula, Jafar, and Queen Narissa from "Enchanted" were all either heavily influenced or modeled after her. Whenever Disney has its villains attack in a group, who is the leader? Maleficent. Who is the main antagonist in the "Fantasmic" show? Maleficent. Who is the fucking antagonist in "Kingdom Hearts?!"

Ansem. But mostly Maleficent.

One commentator asked if the #1 villain, in this case, her, ate babies. My answer: We were never told if she did. Hell, that's probably why the good fairies protected Aurora, to keep Maleficent from eating her at her Christening. Angry at this, she then curses her, and the story really begins.

And there you have it. It took me 8 months, but I did it. A complete countdown of the 50 greatest animated Villains of All time. Who did I miss? Different ranking? Comment below!

In the near future, I'm going to combine all 5 entries into one super-post with a rewritten, updated list to boot!

In the meantime, I'm gonna go lie down. See ya at the wrap party!


dc said...

My mother made me a Maleficent costume when I was younger. It was awesome. Great list and a great read!

dohopoki said...

I was looking for a picture of Dick Dastardly when I was smearing you a couple weeks ago, having thought I had already seen him on here. Shows what I was about to know.

Dan said...

Great countdown! I honestly didn't see #1 coming at all but she's a good fit. Now that all 5 entries are up I'll have to go reread them all again.

Anonymous said...

U FORGOT MUMRA (Thundercats)!!!!!!!! Definitely in the top 10!!!

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading...
Mostly good, but I was EXTREMELY disappointed that Eris (Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas) didn't make it.

Acme Girl said...

Wow! Maleficent's the #1 villain on your 50 greatest villains list? Cool! She's my favorite Disney villain! So sexy and seductively evil. She gets my vote! In fact, I'm gonna dress up as her this Halloween (2009 as of this writing). I pity anyone who dares to mess with her. Definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Anonymous said...

Where is Xanatos from Gargoyles? The only animated villain that wasn't a cliche.

Dwayne601 said...

Let's see Maleficent only a danger to those are more beautiful than her...the fuckn Joker will kill the president just because its Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Malificent was after Aurora because she wasn't invited to her christening. She cursed and entire kingdom because she wasn't invited to a party. And she can control the powers if evil. That's pretty villianous

Anonymous said...

Great. I think Joker is the first. But your list is very cool.

Anonymous said...

I think there should have been Judge Frollo from the screen version of The Hunchback Of Notre Dame by Disney. He was great in the book, and was great in the animated movie. Probably the most hypocritical pervert ever put into animation.
Also, about Devil... You could mention HIM from Powerpuff Girls. Definately one of the creepiest animated villains of all time.

Anonymous said...

What about the villian from the black cauldron? Def one of the creepiest scariest villians ive ever seen!! But maleficent was a good #1!

Simon Picclesworth said...

This is a good list but you have 0 anime charecters, I mean come on some of the best villains of all time have come out of Dragon Ball Z. Freeza, Cell, Majin Buu. And what about pokemon, Jesse and James. Mewtwo?? You should widen your view a little man...

Anonymous said...

OK. I have no problem with anyone on this list, except with you wasting 5 spots on Darkwing Duck villains. However I do have a problem: WHERE IS HIM??? Mojo Jojo is a fine villain, but HIM is the stuff of nightmares. His echoing falsetto voice, his abiility to turn into different things and control people's minds. He is the devil for God's sake!! Really disappointed.

Ishaan Shrivastava said...

This list needs a remake with Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls in it. Honestly. SERIOUSLYYYYYYY!