There are countless heroes in animated series, but not all have a sterling reputation. Sometimes, the day is saved by a story’s anti-hero, whether better or worse. These characters come along to help the series’ protagonist, but their methods and means aren’t always well-aligned or morally correct.
These questionable characters serve the story in the most interesting ways because they can impact their world in unpredictable ways. As they lack the conventional traits known of most heroes, they may cut underhanded deals, take dangerous risks, or turn against their allies in an attempt to further their plans. With so many appealing components to their character, an audience is always left on the edge of their seat when an anti-hero is on the screen.
10/10 Huntress Almost Fell Victim To Revenge
Justice League Unlimited
Justice League Unlimited manages to expand the DC animated universe by including a plethora of new characters. One of these characters is Helena Bertinelli, otherwise known as Huntress. Although she is aligned with the heroes, her time as a League member is brief due to her attempting to murder the man responsible for her parent’s death, Steven Mandragora.
Although Huntress is prepared to enact revenge on the criminal, she is convinced to let Mandragora live. This act of mercy is mainly due to Mandragora’s son being present, and it shows her unwillingness to put another person through what she went through.
9/10 Double Trouble Acts Based On Success
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Formally introduced in Season 4 of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Double Trouble is a shape-shifting mercenary working for the Horde. Their ability to change their appearance makes them an excellent spy, and they manage to infiltrate the rebellion under a persona named Flutterina.
When Double Trouble is outed as a spy, they do not attempt to flee to the Horde; they instead join the rebellion because their odds of winning the war seem higher. Although they decide to join the heroes in the end, their motivation is solely driven by their potential success and ending up on the side with the upper hand.
8/10 Eda Breaks Her World’s Laws For The Greater Good
The Owl House
The Owl House is full of questionable characters, but no character enjoys their life on the run more than Eda Clawthorne. The infamous Owl Lady is a main protagonist in the series, but she does so while being a wanted criminal in the Boiling Isles. She refuses to join a coven like every witch is meant to and antagonizes the Emperor’s Coven at every opportunity.
Although Eda spends the majority of the series being hunted by her sister, coven scouts, and various other enemies, she still chooses to prioritize the wellbeing of her fellow main character, Luz, and the Demon Realm. Her methods may be full of unorthodox chaos, but she continues to have the best intentions.
7/10 Lotor Once Had The Best Intentions
Voltron: Legendary Defender
There are few stories with characters more tragic than Lotor in Voltron: Legendary Defender. The son of Emperor Zarkon, Lotor grows up with a lot of pressure placed upon him in the Galra Empire. His relationship with his father and his means of leadership is strained, so he attempts to preserve his mother’s Altean culture.
In the series, Altea is presumably destroyed by Zarkon, but it is later revealed that Lotor saved the last living Alteans and relocated them to a new Colony. As Lotor pursues his alliance with Voltron, he is outed for harvesting the Quintessence, the life force of the Alteans, to further his experiments. The twist is one many fans didn’t see coming, and it shows how desperation can change the best of intentions.
6/10 Cheshire Struggles To Let Go Of Her Past
Young Justice is a series full of complex characters and compelling stories. Jade Nguyen’s inability to let go of her life as Cheshire is just one example. An assassin and antagonist since the first season, Jade gradually shows her ability to lead a better life through heroic actions. She often meets her sister, Artemis, in battle and chooses to let her go.
Jade continues to show this care for her loved ones as she is instrumental in helping her partner, Will, find the missing Roy Harper. She also attempts to settle down with Will more than once, but she struggles to adapt to mundane life and returns to her work as Cheshire. Her inability to let go of her past keeps her distant from other characters, but she always comes when her family calls.
5/10 Chloé Bourgeois Prioritizes Her Self Image
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir
Chloé Bourgeois is a main character in Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir and one of the holders of the bee miraculous. This allows her to take on the persona of Queen Bee, as she has helped her fellow heroes save Paris more than once. Her desire to be a hero stems from her admiration of Ladybug, but her self-image often overshadows her positive ambitions.
Chloé often acts out to be perceived as a hero, even going so far as to reveal her secret identity. She desires to be acknowledged for her effort, which can often cloud her judgment and impact how she helps her fellow heroes when necessary.
4/10 Zuko Struggles With Trusting His Allies
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Prince Zuko goes through major character development in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but one trait he struggles to let go of is his trust issues. In the fourth season of the series, Zuko completely abandons his allegiance to the Fire Nation and joins forces with the Avatar.
While Zuko has been gradually leaning toward the role of a hero for several seasons, he struggles to connect with Aang and the others. At the beginning of their time together, the group shared many awkward conversations and clear distrust. In the end, it takes several missions and moments of bonding for him to fully integrate into the team.
3/10 Catwoman Helps Heroes For Personal Gain
Batman: The Animated Series
There are many important people in the life of Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Animated Series, and one of them is the elusive Selina Kyle. In the series, Selina works as a vigilante and occasional thief known as Catwoman. Her escapades often put her into trouble with Gotham’s law enforcement, but she doesn’t stay away from her suite for long.
Despite Selina’s inability to stay out of trouble, she will help the heroes save the day if it benefits her. She helps Batgirl take down Roland Daggett in one instance, but it’s only to clear her name. She often helps Batman in times of danger, but that is likely due to their relationship and the feelings she has for him.
2/10 Marceline Has Dangerous Tendencies
Although Marceline grows to be a friend to the protagonists in Adventure Time, she wasn’t always perceived as a good person. When she first encounters Finn and Jake, she evicts them from their home and then later uses Finn as a new henchman. It is later revealed that her actions during this time have good intentions and results, but she continues to clash with the series’ other main characters at the time.
Marceline also has a darker side, as she’s attributed to having killed the previous Vampire King and wiping out the Vampire race. Although these actions are violent, she committed them to protect the otherwise endangered humans.
1/10 Viktor Commits Dangerous Experiments, Despite Desiring To Help His World
A witty inventor who desires to improve lives, Viktor proves to be the perfect partner to Jayce in Arcane. Together, the two manage to create a scientific and economic boom in the city of Piltover. This progress for Viktor is impacted by his terminal illness, and in an attempt to suppress his failing health, Viktor commits dangerous experiments.
In desperation, Viktor uses his knowledge of Hextech to heal his ailing body, but the experiment turns dark when a fellow scientist named Sky attempts to help him and ends up losing her life instead. These events devastate Viktor, but he chooses to continue his work.
NEXT: 10 Most Destructive Anime Heroes