Top 10 Sympathetic Villains in Cartoons

Script written by Joey Turner

Sometimes, even the bad guys need a hug. Welcome to Watchmojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Sympathetic Villains in Cartoons.

For this list, we’re taking a look at villains that aren’t evil just to be evil. Some of them have a soft side to their villainous ways, others turned to the dark side because of a traumatic event, and a few aren’t even evil by choice. As a result, we can’t help but feel sorry them.

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Sometimes, even the bad guys need a hug. Welcome to Watchmojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Sympathetic Villains in Cartoons.

For this list, we’re taking a look at villains that aren’t evil just to be evil. Some of them have a soft side to their villainous ways, others turned to the dark side because of a traumatic event, and a few aren’t even evil by choice. As a result, we can’t help but feel sorry for them.

#10: The Toiletnator
“Codename: Kids Next Door” (2002-08)


In a world where kids fight back against the tyranny of adults, the Kids Next Door face off against some of the strangest and most powerful villains around… and then there’s The Toiletnator. Toiletnator is harmless, which isn’t something to be proud of if you’re a villain. He’s enthusiastic and eager to learn from the best, but neither the Kids Next Door nor his fellow villains take him seriously. You really can’t help but feel bad for the poor toilet-themed baddie! Toiletnator may be a soggy villain, but if you push him too far, you just might get flushed.

#9: Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard
“The Spectacular Spider-Man” (2008-09)


Doc Connors isn’t a villain; he’s a brilliant scientist, a loving father and husband, and a mentor to Peter Parker – but the same can’t be said about The Lizard. When Connors experiments with lizard DNA to help grow his missing arm back; he succeeds… sort of. Connors ends up turning himself into a rampaging reptilian monster in the process, but Spidey manages to tame the beast and bring the doctor back. The fact that deep down, this cold-blooded beast is really a good man makes both Spider-Man and the audience feel for him and his struggle, despite all the destruction and mayhem The Lizard causes.

#8: Baxter Stockman
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1987-96)


Stockman didn’t start out as a villain; he was just a scientist trying to sell his Mouser robots to a pest control company. When they rejected him, Shredder took him in to use his inventions in order to defeat Splinter and the Turtles. After too many failures and setbacks, Stockman was sent to Dimension X to be disintegrated… but was instead mutated into a giant fly monster. Once an ordinary and capable scientist just trying to market his inventions, Baxter Stockman became a buzzing mutant stuck in dimensional limbo, hell-bent on returning to his human form.

#7: Zim
“Invader Zim” (2001-06)


Poor Zim can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to his plans to take over the Earth. First, the Irken leaders, known as the Almighty Tallest, try to get rid of him by exiling him to Earth just because he’s a little overzealous… and destructive. He goes out of his way to please the Irken Empire, and how do they thank him? By laughing at his pain and misery! On top of that, he’s stuck on Earth with a bunch of idiot humans, and his plans keep getting foiled by Dib! With even his own kind against him, you can’t help but root for Zim, even though he’s trying to enslave us all.


#6: Mojo Jojo
“The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005; 2016-)


This big-brained monkey must spend a lot of time thinking about how he had a hand in creating his own mortal enemies. Before he was a Mojo menace, Jojo was Professor Utonium’s reckless lab assistant. His monkey business in the lab caused the Professor to accidentally add Chemical X to his experiment. The explosion caused his brain to grow, but it also brought Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup into the world. Feeling abandoned by his father, Jojo decided to try and rule the world! And can you blame him? He’d been replaced by adorable, crime fighting, super powered little girls!

#5: Hexadecimal
“ReBoot” (1994-2001)


In the cyberspace city of Mainframe, Bob and his friends must protect the computer system from the insidious computer virus Megabyte, and his chaotic sister Hexadecimal. Hex isn’t the Queen of Chaos for nothing; while her brother prefers complete control and order, she prefers good old-fashioned mayhem and disruption. However, there is a sympathetic side behind her ever-changing mask – mainly her crush on Bob. When the super virus, Daemon, threatens the safety of Mainframe, the Queen of Chaos will do anything to save Bob… including sacrificing herself to cure the system of a massive infection. In the end, Hex was motivated by love.

#4: Harley Quinn
“Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95); “The New Batman Adventures” (1997-99)



Before she became a widely popular villain in the DC Universe, Harley Quinn made her debut in “Batman: The Animated Series” as The Joker’s right-hand girl. Unfortunately, being a part of Joker’s crew means having to take a hit from both the Bat and the boss; and Harley suffers constant abuse from her precious Mr. J. She was once a perfectly sane psychiatrist at Arkham until she was seduced by the Clown’s “tragic” past. Now she goes out of her way to please her “puddin,” even if it means taking shots for him… and from him.

#3: Ice King
“Adventure Time” (2010-)


Believe it or not, this big nerd wasn’t always a princess-chasing tyrant. Before the Great Mushroom War, Ice King was an ordinary archaeologist named Simon Petrikov with a lovely fiancé named Betty. But all that changed when he put on the strange and magical crown that granted him powers over ice and slowly ate away at his sanity - until it finally and completely transformed him into the icy hermit we know today. The saddest part of all of this is that he’ll never remember his old life, his beloved Betty, or the friendship he had with a young Marceline the Vampire Queen.

#2: Mr. Freeze
“Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95); “The New Batman Adventures” (1997-99)


Series writer Paul Dini decided The Animated Series version of Mr. Freeze deserved an updated backstory: giving him a tragic motivation that has become synonymous with the character ever since. Before becoming an ice-cold super villain, Freeze was a brilliant scientist who cryogenically froze his wife until he could find a cure for her fatal disease. An accident left him unable to survive in temperatures above freezing point, and he began to fund his quest to cure his wife by becoming a cold-blooded criminal. Despite his atrocities and evil deeds, all he ever wanted was to save his beloved Nora, making him as sympathetic as he is dangerous.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz
“Phineas and Ferb” (2007-15)

Plankton
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

Team Rocket
“Pokémon” (1997-)

#1: Zuko
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)


You can’t help but pity the fallen prince of the Fire Nation. Zuko is the son of the Fire Lord, and that doesn’t come without its fair share of problems;
like having to live in the shadows of your sadistic sister, or being literally burned by your dad for disrespecting him. Disgraced and banished by his own father,
Zuko tries to capture the Avatar to regain his honor. He and his uncle are fugitives of their own nation and hated by every other nation as well - but, out of the
ashes of this fallen prince, the Fire Lord that’ll finally bring peace to all the nations shall rise.

Did you agree with our list? What villain do you think needs more love? For more sympathetic top 10’s, be sure to tune into Watchmojo.com every day.
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