A hero is only as good as their villain. Would anyone care about Batman if he was stuck fighting street thugs in ever issue of his comic? This rule applies to the saccharine world of the Saturday morning cartoon show. While they might not be able to kill or curse, they can still terrorize their enemies and instill fear into the minds of children across the world.
The Saturday morning cartoon villain can take on many different forms. One example of this is Dr. Robotnik from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. In the first Sonic cartoon, he was originally a bumbling idiot, who was constantly outsmarted and made to look the fool. The following series turned Robotnik into an evil tyrant, who had already taken over the world and wanted to trap all life forms within robotic bodies so that they would serve him forever. He didn't go around shooting people in the face, as he didn't need to. The idea of being stuck inside a robot suit for the rest of your life is a horrifying thought, yet it is clean enough to make its way past the censors.
Almost any kind of creature can become a cartoon villain. Their ranks are made up of skeletons, demons, monkeys, con artists, ninjas, noblemen, mummies, wizards, robots, soldiers, businessmen, gangsters, aliens, Queens, and vampires. All it takes to become a villain is a wicked soul.
If you clicked on this quiz, then you probably think that you know your cartoon villains. We have hundreds of amazing series to pick from, some of which date back to 1933. This gives us lots of antagonists to choose from.
This guy cannot wait to dine on turtle soup
The villain of the Teenage Mutant Ninjas cartoon was inspired by a similar character from the original comic book series. This version of the character did not last long, as he tried to take out the turtles by killing himself with a grenade. This evil ninja was voiced by James Avery, who was best known for playing Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He spent most of his time getting his backside kicked by the Turtles... and threatening to have them cooked into a soup.
This is the evil ruler of Castle Greyskull
The villain of the He-Man cartoon is an evil wizard with a skull for a face. It was never revealed exactly what his deal was. Is this guy an actual undead monster or is it just a clever mask? The He-Man reboot cartoon from the 2000s actually answered this question. This villain originally looked like a handsome man. He had his face burned by acid, which forced him to turn to the demon Hordak for help. Hordak allowed him to survive... as a skeleton-faced monster.
Samurai Jack spent years trying to end this demon
The world of Samurai Jack is terrorized by a demon that has existed for millennia. It was created when the gods Odin, Ra, and Vishnu battled a being of ultimate evil. Odin chopped a piece of the being off and it fell to Earth, where it became a powerful demon. Jack would spend decades hunting this demon down, as he possessed the only weapon that had the power to kill it. This was easier said than done, as his foe could transform into any shape that it wanted.
This slimy serpent wants to destroy G.I. Joe
The G.I. Joe Team battled against a serpent-themed terrorist organization. Their leader never showed his face and spoke with an annoying high-pitched voice. He spent years fighting the G.I. Joe unit, as they were the only thing standing in the way of his plans for world domination. We know for a fact that this guy failed in his mission, as he showed up years later in the Transformers cartoon. He was a washed up terrorist, who was forced to build super weapons for lesser villains in order to make ends meet.
This monkey was the enemy of the Powerpuff Girls
This twisted monkey was the main villain of the Powerpuff Girls cartoon. He was also indirectly responsible for creating the Powerpuff Girls, as he was once the assistant of Professor Utonium. When the Professor had developed Chemical X for the first time, this monkey pushed him into the other ingredients which were necessary for creating the Powerpuff Girls. This super-intelligent monkey was never much of a threat to the Powerpuff Girls. He spent most of his time talking in a very literal manner and having his plans thwarted.
This evil royal wants to end Sailor Moon
One of the main villains of Sailor Moon is a woman scorned. She was a sorceress from Earth, who fell in love with Prince Endymion. When she discovered that he was in love with another, her heart became corrupted. She would go on to oppose Princess Serenity and was killed. All of the characters from the past would be reincarnated in the present, which caused the struggle to begin anew. This evil monarch actually suffered quite a gruesome fate. She was stabbed in the belly by Sailor Venus, which caused her to collapse into dust.
This robot was the original leader of the Decepticons
The villains of the Transformers franchise are a group of robots known as the Decepticons. These can also transform into different vehicles, though they are more sneaky about it. This robot managed to mortally wound Optimus Prime in the Transformers movie. He was also badly wounded himself, which led to him being betrayed by Starscream and getting jettisoned out into space. Luckily for this robot, he was discovered by Unicron, who gave him a new body. This mean that they needed to release some new toys for kids to buy!
Would you trust this guy not to cheat at the Wacky Races?
This scheming racecar driver was created to be the villain of Wacky Races. It seems that the people at Hanna-Barbera productions were fond of him, as he went on to star in his own cartoon series. The car driven by this racer was called the Mean Machine. It was considered to be number #00 and it was filled with traps that were meant to defeat the other racers. This racer also had a dog, named Muttley, who is just as famous as his conniving owner.
This mummy hates cats and thunder
The Thundercats were a race of alien cat people, who drove around in high-tech vehicles and fought with magical weapons. It is only natural then, that their villain is an evil mummy. This evil undead sorcerer serves a pantheon of evil gods, that provide him with his power. It is his goal to wipe out the Thundercats, as they represent a threat to his dominion over the Third Earth. The remake of the Thundercats cartoon established that Lion-O's ancestors actually served this twisted monster.
This evil wizard haunts the world of Dungeons & Dragons
The awesome Dungeons & Dragons cartoon followed a group of kids who were trapped in a fantasy world. They were each given a powerful magical item, that would help them survive against the monsters and the harsh environment of the world they were now residents of. The kids should have maybe dumped the weapons, as it made them the target of a powerful evil wizard, who constantly foiled their escape attempts. This was because he wanted the magical items for himself.
This guy can't wait to eat the Smurfs
You would think that possessing magical powers would mean that you never have to get a job again. You could use a spell to rob a bank and live a life of luxury. Some villains just have to make things awkward, as was the case with this evil wizard. He was the sworn enemy of the Smurfs, as he discovered that he could use them in a potion that would create gold. He would spend the next few decades hunting the little blue jerks down, instead of getting a real job.
Will Riker here loves his complex plans
The villain of the Gargoyles cartoon was also the person responsible for awakening them from their curse. The Gargoyles had been turned to stone, with the promise that they wouldn't awaken until their castle was brought above the clouds. Like a lot of characters in Gargoyles, this villain was voiced by a cast member of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Jonathan Frakes, who is best known for playing Will Riker, was the guy who portrayed this character. The animators made sure to include his luscious and lucky beard.
This undead monster is the leader of the Skeleton Warriors
We have Ronald Reagan to thank for cartoons like He-Man. He restricted the rules on advertising to children, which led to numerous cartoon series that were made explicitly to sell toys. These were usually action series that were made for boys. The last cartoon of this era was Skeleton Warriors. It was set in a fantasy world, where an evil villain possessed the ability to transform people into undead monsters. Only the royal family of Lumincity stood in the way of the skeleton warriors domination.
The creator of Duel Monsters loves to cheat at card games
All of the characters in Yu-Gi-Oh! are infatuated with a card game called Duel Monsters. The creator of this game is a crazed recluse, who owns a private island that he uses for Duel Monsters tournaments. Despite the fact that he created Duel Monsters, this guy cannot help but cheat at the game. He owns his own special group of Toon monsters, which were never distributed to the public. He can also read the mind of his opponent so that he can see what cards they have in their hand.
These idiots have spent thirty years trying to steal one Pikachu
The second episode of the Pokémon anime introduced its three main antagonists to the series. They watched as Ash Ketchum's Pikachu unleashed its powerful electricity at them. This prompted them to catch the Pikachu so that they could present it to their boss. ...It has been thirty years now, and they still haven't caught that Pikachu. You have to admire their tenacity. If they had murdered Ash Ketchum during their first meeting and gave the Pikachu to their boss, then they would have been let out of prison by now.
It took a lot of episodes to take this alien emperor down
Goku faced many different enemies in the early seasons of Dragon Ball. None of them ever quite pushed him so hard as the conqueror of Namek ever did. Goku traveled across the universe in order to seek out the Namek Dragon Balls. He ended up encountering this powerful alien ruler and the two of them battled. The fight between Goku and this evil alien warlord is the longest fight in anime history. Goku spent 22 episodes locked in combat with this monster.
This is the evil opposite of Captain Planet
The Planeteers of Captain Planet always had an ace up their sleeve. When they combined their powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart, they could summon Captain Planet, who was basically Superman with a terrible hairstyle. The villains of Captain Planet decided that they would retaliate and they created their own evil supervillain that they could summon. By combining the powers of Deforestation, Super Radiation, Smog, Toxics, and Hate, they could summon this evil monster. He had the same voice actor as Captain Planet, who decided to give him a surfer accent.
This guy constantly fights for the affections of Olive Oyl
In terms of when he was first published, this brutish sailor might be the oldest character on this list. Popeye the Sailor Man has been competing with this brute for the affections of Olive Oyl since the 30's. Their story was the "Edward/Bella/Jacob" love triangle of its day. There are some cartoons that depict Popeye and his enemy as friends. It only takes the presence of Olive Oyl to cause them to start fighting. The '30s Navy seemed to lack a strict Bros before Hoes code.
This slimy character wants to get rid of the Biker Mice From Mars
Biker Mice From Mars was a bizarre cartoon from the early '90s, which starred three man-sized mice, who drove around on motorcycles. They were actually Martians, who fled their homeworld and sought refuge on Earth. When the being who destroyed Mars came to our planet, the Biker Mice decided to stop him. The villain of the show was an alien who posed as a powerful industrialist. He intended to mine all of the Earth's natural resources and send them back to his home planet.
Inspector Gadget never saw the face of his own enemy
Inspector Gadget was a bumbler. His villain was far smarter than he was and the only reason he survived most episodes was due to the intelligence of his niece and his dog. The Inspector Gadget cartoon series never revealed what this mysterious foe looked like. The action figure line actually did show his face. You could buy an action figure of this villain, with his face blocked out by the box. If you wanted to know what he looked like, then you needed to buy the toy.
This aardvark is an enemy of The Raccoons
In 1985, there was a cartoon series called The Raccoons. It starred a group of animals (mainly raccoons) who lived in the forest. The show had an environmental theme, which often put them at odds with a wealthy industrialist, who was the main villain of the show. For some reason, the creators of The Raccoons decided to make an aardvark the main villain of the show. Really? What's so evil about aardvarks? They mainly just hang out in Africa and look kind of like pigs.
This evil Digimon was the enemy of the DigiDestined
One of the major evil forces in the Digimon franchise is based on a vampire. He can feed upon the data of his enemies, which would later turn into a hunger for human blood. This vampiric Digimon was the original foe of the Digidestined. He did his best to keep them separated, which did not work, as they united and opposed him. The rest of the series would include conflicts with this demon, which did not end until he was destroyed by Angewomon.
Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moon light?
The main antagonist of the Batman cartoon puts the two of them on opposing ends of the conflict between Law and Chaos. This might not be totally accurate, considering that Batman is technically a vigilante and works outside of the law. This evil Harlequin is one of the most iconic villains of all time. He has starred in amazing cartoons, comic books, movies, TV shows, and video games. You would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't think this guy is an awesome villain.
Frasier's voice wants to kill Bart Simpson
Krusty the Clown once had a wild-haired sidekick who was the butt of all of his jokes. This sidekick decided that he wanted to usurp Krusty's position, so he framed him for armed robbery. Bart Simpson revealed the truth on live television, which vindicated Krusty and left his sidekick in jail. Bart Simpson now became the target of the sidekick's enmity. This led to him returning once every season or so, to enact another plan of revenge that is doomed to fail.
This tyrant is the leader of the Darkling Lords
The Visionaries is one of the most underappreciated cartoons of the '80s. It was set in a world where all of the technology stopped working one day. Society returned to the dark ages and a new age of magic began. The villains of this show were known as the Darkling Lords. Their leader could transform into a horrible snail monster. He also possessed a staff that could inflict decay upon anyone it touched, which would forcibly add decades to their age.