I admit, this is very likely cheating, but I’m choosing to look at it from the perspective of the world rather than the viewer. If you can’t already admit that the Great Ainz Ooal Gown (Momonga) is the villain, you’re lying to yourself. You’d be forgiven if you saw his many mercies and assumed that he’s a benevolent lord, but you’d be lying if you thought that made him the good guy.
His goal is total world domination. He wants to broadcast his power and protect himself and his closest servants. If you won’t get in his way, he will allow you to live and possibly even protect you if it benefits him in some way. But if you resist his might and will, you will be squashed without remorse. He is incapable of emotion thanks to the nature of his character, and that keeps him fixated on his ultimate goal without wavering.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t a fun character to watch. Seeing his ultimate displays of power and authority can be really euphoric, especially when he’s showing his might against one of his own guardians, the only characters (so far) who can come close to matching his might.
Since we get to live in his head, we’re treated to a front seat of his conquest. The man from Japan is still there, doubts and inexperience included. You can see the delicate balance needed to keep the illusion of his omniscience and omnipotence alive in the eyes of his guardians. He is learning from their evil desires just as much as they feel they’re learning from him. It’s a perfect paring of power and evil, making him today’s pick for favorite antagonist.
Who is your favorite anime antagonist?