One of the greatest things to see in most anime is when the villain turns over a new leaf and gets their rightful redemption. I guess there’s something we all love about a character who starts off as bad, realizes the error of their ways, and makes up for it in the end. Sometimes, we even end up liking these characters more than the protagonist. Regardless of how long these redemption arcs lasted, here are some of the best anime redemption storylines to grace our screens.
Endeavor Agency Arc (My Hero Academia)
As the anime’s hero and Shoto Todoroki’s unlikeable father, Endeavor seemed like he was beyond redemption. He’s not exactly a villain, but he’s also not your ideal hero. He’s not perfect. In fact, he’s done a lot of bad things in his past, but his journey clearly shows he’s learned his lesson and regrets sacrificing his family in the pursuit of glory.
Isabella Loves the Kids (The Promised Neverland)
Isabella, also known as Mama, was the caretaker of the Grace Field House and was the only mother the kids ever knew. However, her character was controversial because fans could never understand her true nature. She was abusive and violent, but she also took care of the kids. She was season one’s antagonist, but ultimately, she did help the kids escape.
Majin Buu Saga (Dragon Ball Z)
Vegeta’s redemption arc is one of anime’s best. The elite Saiyan Prince started as one of the villains, even killing when he got to Earth. However, since those days, he’s grown into a character we could all sympathize with. He ended up going against Frieza who molded him into the ruthless and heartless warrior that he was. His love-hate relationship with Goku is still pretty debatable, but in the end, Vegeta is one anti-hero we can all upon.
Raditz Saga (Dragon Ball Z)
Serving as the reincarnation of the evil King Piccolo, Piccolo Jr.’s slow road to redemption began when Goku spared his life at the end of the 23rd Budokai. He and Goku even join forces to save Gohan when was abducted by Raditz. Upon Goku’s death, Piccolo eventually mentors Gohan and starts being a father figure to him, even aiding the Z Fighters in many battles.
Franky’s Journey From Robber to Friend (One Piece)
Luffy initially did not like Franky due to the latter’s involvement in the robbery of Usopp. However, he proves to be one of the most reliable of the gang with his protective attitude. Eventually, the two develop a sense of mutual respect.
Hendrickson (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Hendrickson was the second most evil character in The Seven Deadly Sins. He manipulated the holy knights, knowing it would send them to their deaths. But this was only because he was possessed by the demon Fraudrin. When he finally came back to being himself, he committed to restoring the kingdom. He even went up against his best friend, who was also possessed by the demon.
Reiko Tamura’s Love For Her Son (Parasyte)
Reiko Tamura was a parasite who had no remorse over taking the life of Ryouko Tamiya. However, everything changed when she gave birth to a human child. I guess being a mom can help a villain turn over a new leaf. She even ends up sacrificing her life to save her son.
Speedwagon (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood)
Robert Speedwagon started out as the season’s minor antagonist when he and a group of thugs cornered Jonathan Joestar. Impressed with Jonathan’s bravery and fighting spirit, Speedwagon immediately switched sides. He then became Jonathan’s most loyal friend.
Meruem Finds Love (Hunter x Hunter)
Meruem is a chimera who constantly struggles between his animal and human side. To be fair, he is the king of the first mutated generation, so he definitely struggles with human emotions. So when he falls in love with Komugi, he doesn’t immediately know it’s love. Of course, in the end, he completely surrenders to his feelings for her.
Shoya Ishida (A Silent Voice)
Shoya Ishida’s story is something a lot of people can relate to. He’s gone through bullying (as a result of his own bullying) and mental health issues which is why at the start of A Silent Voice, we see him planning his suicide. However, he does try to make up for everything when he attempts to be friends with Nishimiya.
Greed Stops Being Greedy (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Greed is one of the seven deadly Homunculi. While the rest of the deadly sins died an ironic death, Greed’s death meant something more. He died fighting for others which is a much-deserved redemption story.
Itachi Uchiha (Naruto)
As a major antagonist in Naruto, Itachi Uchiha’s intentions were revealed after his death, redeeming himself. He wanted to die at Sasuke’s hand because he thought Sasuke was the only one who had the right to punish him after he killed off his family.