Friday, February 3, 2012

My Top 20 Favorite Cartoon Villains

Continuing blogging about villains, these are my Top 20 favorite cartoon villains. I considered these animated villains for this list only if I'd watched them on broadcasted TV: no computer or DVD.  And they're all from TV shows rather than animated movies. Counting down from 20 to 1, here they are:

  20. Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz  ("Phineas and Ferb"):   There are many pathetic comedic villains that people enjoy most.  Some like Mr Burns, Plankton, Dr. Drakken, the Monarch, or Pinky and the Brain.  But my personal favorite would have to be this guy.  He's a eccentric, scatterbrained loser who lives in a big appartment building that he somehow made into his own company where he secretly does work as a mad scientist who plots diabolical plans to take over the entire tri-state area! Doof is great in so many ways: he's petty, he's over-the-top, he's pitiful,  he has several different backstories that he uses to justify his evil deeds, he has family issues, he's layered, he's even likable, and pretty damn harmless.  His ludicrous plans and "inators" are always what end up resolving the plotline of the episodes. His relationship with his nemesis, Perry the Platypus, is great; though they play the role of arch enemies, Doof is really just lonely and continously goes these rounds with Perry because he wants him.  And his voice acting by Dan Povenmire is hysterical.  He can say anything in that scratchy, accented voice and it will most likely turn out as comedic gold.  He's just an excellent deconstructed supervillain and one of the most genuinely hilarious comic villains to come around in ages.

  19. The Delightful Children From Down The Lane ("KND"): For a show about kids fighting adult tyranny, these guys caught me off guard when I watched the debut episodes.  The arch enemies are five robotic, well dressed children who speak in a creepy unison?  But that's part of what makes them so interesting to watch.  I was considering putting Father on this list, but he got a bad case of Villain Decay if I ever saw it over the course of the show.  The Delightful Children, however, stayed dangerous and effective.  They never got less creepy, you just got used to them.  I enjoy how they're designed to be the perfect "good little boys and girls" who obey adults to contrast with the Kids Next Door's rebelliousness, when in reality, they're actually anything but good; they're spoiled rotten, greedy, sadistic little psychopaths. This was shown as clearly as the first time they'd invite a bunch of kids to their birthday party but not only not share any of the cake, but force the other kids to watch them enjoy it. What assholes.  They also got an interesting tragic backstory.  They really did used to be good kids but are now so far gone and brainwashed that it's impossible for them to ever reform.  To put it plainly, the level of evil that emits from these kids is...delightful.

 18. Carmen Sandiego  ("Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?")  The master thief herself, Carmen Sandiego was always committing elaborate heists all over the world in attempts to steal as much of the Earth's treasures as possible.  Why?  Because she enjoys it and wants to show how good at what she does she is to the world.  And that's a pretty damn cool villain.  As the leader of the VILE organization, she always gives orders to criminals that are far less intelligent than herself, which always ensures that while they may blunder their tasks, she'll always stay ahead of the ACME agents that pursue her. Carmen was usually always escaping and evading the law in this show.  A villain who never truly gets defeated is hard to pull off but if done right, they earn my respect, which is the case with Carmen.  She's got layers to her too; she has her own standards and lines she's not willing to cross, which is shown clearly when she's paired up with or against the sociopathic Lee Jordan.  And of course, her name's in the title. She is truly the star of the show and it's a position that she reinforces well.

  17. Professor Pericles  ("Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.")  A fairly recent villain in the realm of animation but one of the most chilling ones that I've ever seen.  This is not the type of antagonist you'd think would come out of a series in a franchise where most of it's villains were guys in cheesy ghost or monster costumes.  No, this bird is truly evil, the animal version of Hannibal Lecter if you will.  Forget about Mr E or the Freak of Crystal Cove; Pericles is the true villain of this show.  From the very start he had a genius level intellect and a sense of arrogance about it.  When his friend Ricky drifted away from him, he felt neglected and underappreciated so he sold out his friends to a really bad guy, who turned on Pericles, scarred him, and got him commited to an animal asylum where he really did go insane. But now that he's out, Pericles uses his intelligent scheming and ruthlessness to get closer to the mythical treasure that he seeks.  But he's found a new arch enemy in his successor, Scooby Doo.  In just 4 episodes thus far, Pericles has scared and amazed me.  Udo Kier does a fantastic job giving him his creepy sounding voice. I cannot wait to see what this psycho parrot gets up to next.

 16. Aku  ("Samurai Jack")  The dark, fiery, shape-shifting master of evil.  I quite enjoyed this show whenever it was on but this villain was the standout.  He owes much of his appeal to the voice acting by the late, great Mako, who gave a marvelously hammy performance that was silly but threatening and commanding respect at the same time.  He was well written too: pure evil and malicious but also very humorous. He had some of the best lines and jokes in the whole series. He had layers to his personality but no true redeeming qualities whatsoever and we all loved him that way.  Aku also never failed to make things personal for our hero, Jack. It's a shame the show got canned before we could see how their conflict ended.

  15. Giovanni  ("Pokemon: The Indigo League"):  One of three anime villains on this list.  The big boss of the Team Rocket gang, Giovanni is kind of the evil criminal mastermind that the likes of Dr. Claw should've been. First seen sitting in the shadows, stroking his Persian like a James Bond villain, and giving his henchmen orders in a booming, deeply altered voice, he immediatly came off as a threatening villain to be reckoned with. And by the time he stepped out of the shadows, he did not disappoint.  Giovanni's a ruthless but suave man of great wealth, status, power, and intelligence, and yet he's always wanting more.  He wants nothing more than to create an army of the strongest and most valuable pokemon in order to take over the world.  Through world domination, he can control everything.  He has a sadistic streak and fancies himself as a great ruler due to him always wanting to prove himself to his mother in childhood (it's all there in a Japanese radio drama, folks).  What really seperates him from some other villains like him is that he doesn't give a shit about what his minions do and how they deal with the good guys. He's always focused on his own plans, which is his number one priorities.  His Team Rocket underlings are only means to his ends.  Because he prefers to keep focused on fulfilling his own needs, he's rarely seen in the show but it was always great when he did show up, particularly in the Mewtwo story arc that concluded in the TV special where he showed just what a badass bad guy he truly is.  He was recently brought back into main villain role for the "Best Wishes" series and is as fiendish as ever (despite a stupid wardrobe change) but the impact he had on the original series is what I like to remember most of him.

 14. XANA  ("Code Lyoko"):  One of the best examples of an evil AI villain you could ever find.  XANA was an incredibly unsettling main villain; unfeeling, ingeniously calculating, always ahead of the good guys, and always coming up with plans to bring destruction to the outside world. As a corrupted computer program and master of the virtual world of Lyoko, XANA had no true physical form, voice, or personality at all.  The most we see of him is reperesented by a black polymorphic spectre, and like the dark lord Sauron, he is symbolized by an evil eye. But his mind is always there controlling the system, so his presence is always felt.  His mind is linked to all of his monster forces, he can cause massive damage from the super computer, and he can eventually even possess human hosts.  What's most interesting about XANA is that despite all he lacks, he still manages to have a clear characterization and is continously learning new things and upping his game, making him that much more dangerous of an adversary.  This reaches its' pinnacle when he takes over William Dunbar when he becomes a Lyoko warrior and makes him his personal avatar to lead his forces in the fourth season.  Bonded with William, XANA really got an edge and was contiously badass. Through all four seasons, this evil program was a very menacing and satisfying villain indeed.

  13. Mojo Jojo ("The Powerpuff Girls"):  Not counting the ineffectual Doofenshmirtz, this sinister simeon is my favorite comical villain to make this list. Formerly Professor Utonium's pet monkey who was supposed to assist him in his lab but instead just messed things up, Jojo's brain got mutated by the same Chemical X accident that created the Powerpuff Girls.  Feeling dejected, Jojo remade himself into the supervillain Mojo Jojo and has dedicated his life to attempting to take over the world in order to show humanity his genius, and taking revenge on the Powerpuff Girls, who are always thwarting his evil schemes. Though he's used for comedy often (this is a comedic show, after all), Mojo Jojo can actually be a threatening villain. He's super intelligent, nefarious, and determined to carry out his evil.  He's shown that he is not to be underestimated on several occasions, particularly in The Movie, which was ironically enough, his first ever evil scheme against the girls chronologically.  But what really makes Mojo shine is the way he talks. His speech patterns spoofs the old, corny dubs of Japanese movies or shows in which the characters spoke fast, used poor grammar, and often reiterated the basic points of what they were saying.  And Roger L Jackson does the voice and delivers the lines to hilarious perfection, even using a Japanese accent.  He also has an awesome maniacal laugh and great villainous dialogue too. "Curses!"  He has a three dimensional personality and his own way of living life. Above all, Mojo is just plain entertaining and his villainous antics almost never failed to amuse me.

  12. Dr. Ivo Robotnik  ("Sonic The Hedgehog"):  While I far prefer the bumbling but competent version of this character from the old Archie comics, I still have a great appreciation for the Robotnik of the all too short-lived Saturday Morning cartoon show. He's much more respectable as a villain than the completely inept Robotnik of "Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog" or the boring Robotnik of "Sonic Underground."  Formerly the overlander scientist Julian Kintobor, Robotnik is now more machine than man and has built an industrial empire that has all but consumed the planet Mobius.  Among the only places untouched is the forest of Knothole, which is where the Freedom Fighters' base is hidden.  Assisted by his whiney nephew Snively, his army of swatbots, and his faithful robot pet Cluck, the bad doctor uses everything in his power to try to rid Mobius of it's natural beauty, even using the horrific method of roboticizing Mobians, but Sonic the Hedgehog is continously standing in his way and defeating his plans. This makes the hedgehog his most hated enemy.  Robotnik is a merciless, despotic, ingenious villain and has a very intimidating presence on this show.  Props must go to the always excellent Jim Cummings for his voice acting, making the character sound completely sinister and mechanical, like he's always orgasming on his own toxic filth.  He was seemingly defeated for good in the last episode but we all know better: Ivo Robotnik will always be Sonic's eternal foe.

  11. Dr Doom  ("The Fantastic Four"):  The ruler of Latveria, arch enemy of the Fantastic Four, and the ultimate supervillain.  Victor Von Doom has always been one of the most compelling and badass villains in comic books but he was never translated perfectly to screen...until the revamped second season of the 90's "Fantastic Four" show.  While the show was still mediocre, it gave us a perfect rendition of Doom.  Voiced excellently by Simon Templeman, he was majestically villainous, deadly, and intelligent, providing a true challenge whenever he appeared.  He also guest starred in the 90's Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man shows.  In the latter, he was strangely voiced by Tom Kane using a strange Transylvanian sounding acccent, but it still worked for me.  Doom's never gotten a TV version better than this, least of all his butchery in the live action movies. Yeesh!

  10. Lex Luthor  ("Superman Animated"):  Unlike Dr. Doom, Superman's arch enemy has gotten plenty of great media interpretations. But for me, the definitive Luthor is the one from the DCAU's Superman series.  Well designed and superbly voiced by Clancy Brown, this Lex Luthor really captured the villainous tycoon's character: he's calm, cultured, and sophisticated on the outside but on the inside he's a cheap thug with a hot temper and an inability to let go of a grudge.  He's the school bully all grown up and beneath his immense success in life, he's still a pathetic and empty man.  But he's also cold, manipulative, brilliant, and ruthless.  He's very confident in his evil because he's certain he can get away with it everytime.  He has the belief that all that matters in life is to have wealth and power so that he can be contnet.  And while he has that, he has few friends nor does he have the respect of many people.  So naturally he hates it that Superman shows him up all the time.  Not only is Superman the new most powerful man in Metropolis, but he has everything that Luthor lacks, and Luthor cannot comprehend how an alien being could have more than him.  And thus he seeks to destroy Superman and though he inevitably fails every time, his intellect and the lengths he'll go to get his revenge make him a constant threat in the man of steel's life.  Lex was portrayed especially well in the Superman series and I enjoyed Clancy Brown reprising the role in "Justice League" and "The Batman" too.

  9. Myotismon  ("Digimon Adventure"):  Another anime villain and one of the most devious, frightening, and memorable villain of any kids' cartoon show.  A phantom digimon spawned from Apocalymon, Myotismon ressembles a vampire, right down to using blood and bat based attacks, which instantly earns him awesome points in my book. Well dressed, well groomed, and with an intimidating presence, he is characterized primarily by his thrist for power.  He could never be satisfied with just taking over the digital world, so he seeks to conquer the human world as well.  He is supremely arrogant and believes that he is destined to have this power. With his nightmarish underlings, he opened the gate out of the Digital World and invaded the real world in search of the chosen child of light.  Sending his henchmen after the citizens of Odaibah, including the Digidestined's families and friends, he made things very, very personal. Though he has charisma and style, Myotismon is quite literally a monster. Not only was he dangerous and continously ahead of the game, but he was despicable.  There was no evil deed he wouldn't commit for the sake of power.  All of this was brought out incredibly well by his voice actor in the dub, Richard Epcar. Myotismon was pure evil and played it to least until he was taken out for good in the sequel series, but we're going to forget that ever happened, okay?

 8. Megabyte  ("Reboot"):  It was either him or Megatron from "Beast Wars" (a similar villain from Mainframe Entertainment) going on the list, and since Megatron is pretty overdone, I went with Megabyte.  He's an evil computer virus, the head mafioso of Mainframe, and was one of the late Tony Jay's finest roles. What more could you want in a villain?  His character is cunning and malignent, and he was always getting more and more dangerous as the series went on for three seasons.  At the end of the second season, he actually managed to dispose of our hero Bob and already had things all ready to start his takeover of Mainframe.  Only Enzo stood in his way now, but when he was taken out in a game, there was nothing blocking Megabyte's path to dominating the city.  Well, except for his sister Hexadecimal, but he took care of her too.  It seemed nothing could stop Megabyte in the third season, and that's part of what made it such an intense watch. And like most villains here, he would never be saitsfyed until he had it all.  His greatest desire through the entire series was to go to the Super Computer and infect the entire system. He almost succeeded if it weren't for that meddling Matrix...and Mouse.  But even after that, he still returned in an upgraded form in the second TV movie, which ended with him victorious!  And then the series was canned, so that's where it ended!  Unbelievable!  If Megabyte finally does reach the Super Computer to infect it, XANA's going to have a powerful threat to deal with.

  7. Cell  ("Dragonball Z")  The last villain on here to come out of Japan.  The "Dragonball" series had many entertaining and powerful villains such as Piccolo, Vegeta, and Freeza.  But when this insectoid abomination came along, he topped them all.  He was quite literally the perfect villain. An android organism created by the mad Dr Gero,  Cell was made from the cells of the most powerful fighters on the planet Earth. The cells in his nucelous gives him everything that those warriors have but his design could not be completed until he had absorbed Androids 17 and 18, two other creations of Gero.  Before he died, Gero left Cell with this knowledge, so Cell's only goal was to fulfill his design and be complete; to reach his perfect form.  But since 17 and 18 had been slain in his universe, he had to travel to an alternate timeline in order to find them, which is the present timeline of "Dragonball Z".  There he absorbed the androids and reached his perfect form shown above.  He has a superb design, a magnificent voice (by Norio Wakamoto in Japan and perfectly emulated by Dameon Clarke in the US dub), and a kickass theme music (in the US dub only).  He was not only strong and smart, but was a spirited competitor with a charismatic personality too.  He wanted to show the entire world his perfect power, so he proposed a tournament in which he would fight and defeat all of Earth's champions and afterwards, blow up the Earth.  Being a sadist, Cell even had this announcement broadcasted on national television just so he could see the earthlings' terrified reactions. Cell thought of nothing but himself and how he could flaunt his perfection. When he realized the full extent of his design, he determined it was his destiny to lay waste to the entire universe and live forever. Overall, he was much more of a menace than Freeza ever was: when Freeza got outclassed, he stayed outclassed.  When Cell got outclassed, he blew himself up only to come back with new power and seemingly unstoppable!  He put the entire world in panic and it took everything the heroes had to finally vanquish him.  He was defenitely the series' ultimate villain and a favorite of mine to this day.

  6. The Green Goblin  ("The Spectacular Spider-Man")  This...well, spectacular rendition of Spider-Man's greatest enemy had to make this list somewhere. And we saw enough of him for him to make it this far up.  A composite characterization of both the Green Goblin of the Lee/Ditko era and the original Hobgoblin, this goblin was always showing fantastic displays of Magnificent Bastardry.  With a great looking design (I particularly love the pumpkin belt around his waist) and voiced by Steven Jay Blum, who gave him a perfect sounding evil psychopath voice and maniacal laugh, he's pretty much the best media adaptation of the Green Goblin outside of the original comics.  Yes, he even topped Willem Dafoe's version. The Goblin's greatest strength was how sly and underhanded he was: an archetypical trickster on the outside but with a deranged, dangerous man on the inside. He was also the first enemy to truly go toe-to-toe with Spidey and exchange physical and verbal blows with him. This guys' one liners always cracked me up.  And in a time when supervillains were being made as products of the Big Man, the Goblin was the first to come out of nowhere with his own agenda: to replace the Big Man as the ruler of New Yorks' crime syndicates.  And eventually he succeeded, leading to one hell of a series finale!  The Goblin loved to keep us all guessing about his true identity. Underneath the mask is Norman Osborn, an insanely unapologetic man so rotten he would go to whatever lengths he deemed nessecary to fulfill his evil goals, even setting up his own son, complete with twisting said son's leg while he was passed out!  Man, he really is a monster. Though in the end he was outed for the fiend that he was and his hold over the city was broken, he somehow managed to fake his own death and leave the city scot-free without anyone knowing.  The last thing we see in the show is that he's still out there, and the last thing we hear is the terrifiying scream of one of his pumpkin bombs. Yikes!  Hopefully, this is a villain who will haunt the kids who've watched this show for years to come.

  5. Slade  ("Teen Titans"):  The Titans' greatest adversary and Robin's arch enemy in particular. How great a villain is Mr. Slade Wilson that he makes it this far on the list?  Well, he gave a spectacular performance in the episode "Haunted", which is one episode in a season where he was never really there!  That's how effective his evil is; you just cannot keep this guy down for good.  Slade is a diabolical, relentless criminal mastermind who is also very cold, calm, and intelligent.  He always plans ahead and prepares for the crimes he commits. And his agendas are always hidden; every small plan has a deeper purpose known to nobody but himself.  He speaks cryptically in a chillingly calm monotone voice by Ron Perlman, and will often talk like some sort of twisted Warrior Therapist.  He's just plain badass, wearing his intimidating half-faced mask and dark costume.  His goal is apparently to form his own totalarist crime empire by taking over different cities, but in advance, he needs an apprentice to rule alongside him, carry out his will, and take over once he's passed on.  When the Teen Titans first interfered with his plans, he took notice of how similar Robin was to him.  Both were smart determined, badass normals who hated to lose.  Over the course of the first season, he enacted many evil plans with the purpose of building Robin up to be his apprentice. He made Robin serve him through threatening the lives of his friends, but underestimated the Titans' strength and was eventually overcome by them.  In the next season, he preyed on a superpowered teen girl's vulnerability to successfully make her his apprentice and she even helped him take over the city at last.  But that didn't last long and Slade ended up getting thrust into the heart of a volcano where he died.  But he was saved from going to Hell by the demon lord Trigon, whom he swore to serve in exchange for his life back in the fourth season.  In that season he was given demonic powers of his own but his most dangerous weapon was still his evil mind.  While he strives for greatness, Slade starts off as quite the Smug Snake because he never really thinks outside the box of what could upset his grand plans, and he frequently understimates his young opponents while overestimating himself.  But as the series went on, he learned from his mistakes and became more and more of a threat each season.  What I think I like most about Slade is how he, in all respects, embodies the child predator: an experienced, manipulative adult who preys on teenagers, whether it be as an abusive father figure, a bad teacher, or a full blown ebephile.  He's a scary-ass supervillain and when he's around, things are never, ever not intense.

  4. Demona  ("Gargoyles"):  The arch foe of Goliath and the Manhattan gargoyle clan. Demona is a ravishing female gargoyle when an ugly personality. Formerly Goliath's lover, she hates humanity for the scorn they bore her kind and for as long as we can recall, she was always looking for a way to take revenge on the humans and for gargoyles to be the dominant race.  But through her wicked deeds, she's always bringing tragedy upon herself and ruining her own life.  Demona, however, will never admit to this and will always look for a scapegoat: the humans, Elisa, Goliath and his clan, anyone but herself.  She'll always be in denial and have a justification for her own self destruction, which is what makes her a tragic villain of Shakespearean levels. This is GregX's favorite villain and I think he said more about her that I could here, so shall we move on?

  3. David Xanatos  ("Gargoyles"): Yeah, I know I'm cheating here.  I shouldn't have two villains from the same show on this list and right next to each other, too.  But I can't help it: they're both such great, richly developed antagonists that they needed to both be here.  Between Demona and Xanatos, though, I tend to find Xanatos the more enjoyable of the two.  Demona's technically the greater evil, but Xanatos stands out more for me. He's a great, three dimensional character whose roles in the show's plots and interactions with other characters was always entertaining.  An insanely wealthy industrialist and CEO of his own company, he is truly a man of wealth and taste.  He's charming, civilized, and serious minded but with a wicked sense of humor about him as well.  And if there was ever a villain deserving of the Magnificent Bastard title, it would be him.  He's always manipulative, always cunning, always thinking fast and making complex plans that he pulls off brilliantly.  He knows how to think outside the box: his plans are layered with many aspects or possible outcomes.  There's always a plan B, C, D, E, or F embedded within his schemes.  He has styled himself after all the great mythical tricksters and man, does it show.  Nearly everything he sets out to do, he succeeds at and even when he fails, his layered plotting ensures that he gets something out of the end result regardless.  It's a chance he's always willing to take and he usually wins, hence the Xanatos Gambit.  And though he is Goliath's arch enemy (David vs Goliath, get it?), Goliath and his clan are rarely ever the focus of his plans.  He just does his own thing and knows when and how to use the gargoyles to suit his plans whenever it's required.  In that respect, Xanatos is truly the ultimate chessmaster. He's not a very evil man at all, at least not as evil as Goliath may make him out to be, but he is defenitely a man of few morals.  Whether he be doing good or bad deeds, he's always an untrustworthy, self serving bastard. His character developed over the series and he learned to love, to raise a family, and to make peace and be on good terms with his enemies.  But he always keeps that villainous edge to him (except in "The Goliath Chronicles" which made him boring. David Xanatos is many things but boring should never be one of them!)  What's really great is that he has no excuse for it, either.  Nothing made him the way he is, no childhood trauma or event in his life.  Hell, his father's a good working class man who disapproves of what he's become!  Xanatos is (quite literally in certain areas that involve time travel) a self-made man; he is what he is and he is so confident and proud of what he is that you just have to love him for it.  And I must give praise to Johnathan Frakes.  As well written as Xanatos is, he wouldn't have come off nearly as endearing if not for brilliant voice acting.  Xanatos often gets the best and funniest lines in the show and Frakes' witty delivery of them is always perfect.  It rounds out Xanatos perfectly, and ensures that he remains one of THE most badass villains in the history of animated television.

  2. Princess Azula  ("Avatar: The Last Airbender"):  And who could possibly rival Xanatos for position of most badass villains in animation?  A 15 year old girl, that's who.  Azula, crown princess of the Fire Nation, was the main antagonist of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" for two seasons and played her role to brilliant perfection.  The daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and Lady Ursa, sister of Prince Zuko, and niece of Uncle Iroh, she actually comes off the lovechild of Xanatos and...someone else (Carmen Sandiego? Demona? Narissa from "W.I.T.C.H?") in that not only is she a firebending prodigy, but she's an evil genius who makes several calculated plans, takes risks, and usually succeeds at what she does.  We see that the Fire Lord makes his plans by building off of the ideas of others in his council, so he's very fortunate that his daughter is an honest to goodness Chessmaster who can strategize great plans of her own. This girl is charismatic, manipulative, and devious, always telling lies and half-truths or making frightening threats that always come off as very convincing.  Not only is Azula insanely smart but she's an insanely powerful fire bender too. Trained well in the art of casting and redirecting lightning, she's leagues ahead of her older brother in terms of strength.  She is among the most deadly enemies you could possibly go up against in this world.  And not only is she strong, but she is also always pure, unashamedly, uncompromisingly evil.  This is a villain that you just love to hate: she's been brought up to be just like her dear daddy and she likes it that way.  Even if she does have a secret soft spot for her friends or even her brother, she's still a wicked, unsympathetic little monster. There is no one she won't use, and she wants to control everyone through fear and manipulation. She has no room in her black heart for emotions such as love. A defenite Magnificent Bitch, Azula was always amazing me by pulling off brilliant evil deeds that always screwed the heroes over. And then in the end, we actually see her get deconstructed.  The life and character that she's built up for herself comes crashing down on her and all of her pains and insecurities come to light. After she loses her hold on her brother and her friends turn on her, she spirals downward into an unhinged berserker, a paranoid tyrant, an out-of-her-mind psychopath, and finally breaks down into what she always was deep down; a warped, frusterated, and sad child who desperately wanted attention and self-worth. It would seem incredibly difficult to make such a deep, layered, three dimensional tragic character out of such an evil villain but Azula pulled it off.  She was an interesting and dangerous person to her very end.  ...Or is it?

  1. The Joker ("Batman: The Animated Series"): And here is my ultimate all-time favorite animated villain ever; Bruce Timm and Paul Dini's rendition of Batman's arch enemy, the clown prince of crime himself...THE JOKER!  Really, what can be said that hasn't already been said about this guy? He is the perfect supervillain and the perfect adaptation of the character. Yes, there are many great versions of Joker but the thing is...none of them quite achieve the perfect balance between the criminal clown and the psychopathic killer that this one does. As he is written, this Joker is a very looney, eccentric, whimsical, and hilarious individual who loves to commit his crimes in his signature zany and utterly unpredictable style.  But he's also a deranged, self-centered, diabolical nutjob who means to cause Gotham City and possibly the rest of the world great harm soelly because it amuses him. Batman is always on his trail whenever he's up to no good, and is always there to stop his crimes from reaching success.  He's thrown back into Arkham Asylum until he breaks out again for his next twisted gag.  And he wouldn't have it any other way; he loves the "games" he plays with Batman and will eternally be a thorn in the Caped Crusader's side through the rest of his crime fighting career.  Like Xanatos, a well written villain like Joker needs a perfect voice to bring him to life, and Mark Hamill is that perfect voice.  His performance has defined the Joker for many, especially his signature insane laughter, which Mark accordingly "played like an instrument".  He hits all the right notes and his delievery is always spot on.  It's hard not to imagine this voice when you're reading the Joker in comic books. His relationship with Batman, as well as his relationship with Harley Quinn, was very well showcased and developed over the show.  While comedic in personality most of the time, instances like "Mask of the Phantasm" shows how dangerous he truly is. Best of all is that it wasn't just limited to one show. With great writing and Mark Hamill's voice, Joker was consistently entertaining in all the other shows he appeared in ("The New Batman Adventures", "Batman Beyond", "Static Shock", and "Justice League"), even when his character design sucked ass in that first sequel series.  And if the presence of the Jokerz gang in future Gotham City of "Batman Beyond" shows anything, it shows that out of all the villains that plagued Gotham in the past, the Joker is the one who left the biggest legacy.  A testiment to what a magnificent villain he is and why I consider him to be byfar the best cartoon villain of all time.

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