Many anime series love to play with viewer expectations, and that means anime characters are often introduced in misleading ways that make viewers arrive at wrong conclusions about them.
Sometimes a new character may agree with the protagonist, making us think they’ll be on the same side going forward. Other times, we meet a vicious or angry character who seems outwardly evil but ends up being an ally—or at least not as evil as we first thought.
It happens so often, no matter the anime genre, that anime fans like us have grown skeptical of most first-time character introductions. You never know if a good character is bad, or vice versa.
And that makes the viewing experience more exciting, doesn’t it?
Here are some of our favorite anime plot twists involving characters who turned out to be different than what we’re initially led to believe, in good ways and bad.
It should go without saying that any discussion about anime plot twists will inevitably come with spoilers! Proceed at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
1. Blackbeard (One Piece)
In One Piece, Monkey D. Luffy—the captain of the Strawhat Pirates crew—was beaten down by Bellamy in a pub after he insisted on certain things about the Sky Island.
As he’s dragged out by Nami, there sits Marshall D. Teach, who suddenly speaks out that what they’re looking for is true and that he shares the same ideals as Luffy about the Pirate era.
With that scene, many One Piece watchers thought that Teach would be something of an ally… because it isn’t known at the time that he’s actually Blackbeard. And all this happens right after the crew is blown up and the Blackbeard Pirates make their appearance.
2. William Vangeance (Black Clover)
In Black Clover, Captain William Vangeance of the Golden Dawn wears a strange mask—and that’s why anime watchers assume that he’s the traitor among their ranks.
During the Magic Knights meeting, the captain of the Purple Orca was found to be the one helping the villain group—but anime watchers still thought Vangeance was the enemy. And later on, even Yami thought of the captain of the Golden Dawn as the traitor.
It’s only when Licht/Patolli is introduced during his fight with the Magic Emperor that anime watchers finally understand that the traitor wasn’t William Vangeance—it was the other soul residing in his body.
3. Aleistar Crowley III (D.Gray-Man)
In D.Gray-Man, Aleistar Crowley III’s initial introduction has anime watchers thinking he’s the villain behind the disappearance of people in a certain village.
With his pointy ears and nose, along with his pale-colored skin and sinister look, it’d be easy to assume he’s an apprentice of evil. But as the story goes on, Allen Walker’s team finds that Crowley is after the Akumas (devils in human skin).
His Innocence—weapons of an ancient substance that’s able to kill Akumas—is his teeth, which craves demon blood instead of humans. Crowley was hunting villagers… but they were devils in the village who disguised themselves as humans.
At the end of the day, Crowley becomes an Exorcist and leaves his haven to accompany Walker and his team on their mission.
4. Doranbolt (Fairy Tail)
In Fairy Tail, Doranbolt is a member of the Magic Council who infiltrated the Fairy Tail Guild. He deceived the members by altering their memories and making them believe he was part of the guild.
But the truth, as it’s eventually revealed, is that Doranbolt was part of the Fairy Tail team all along under the name Mest Gryder and was tasked to infiltrate the Magic Council. He went as far as erasing his own memories to infiltrate the Magic Council.
5. Yukio Okumura (Blue Exorcist)
Yukio Okumura is one of the two orphaned brothers in the Blue Exorcist anime series. Next to Rin, Yukio is the intelligent one and the more reliable of the two. And unlike Rin, who grew a tail and pointed ears, Yukio shows no signs of being a devil.
Because of this, it’s initially thought that only Rin Okumura is the son of the Devil with the Devil’s blood. No one suspects that Yukio has the Devil’s blood—until he’s possessed and taken over by their father in the episode where they try to destroy the Gehenna Gate.
6. Noir (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)
Noir (also known as Diablo) is one of the stronger characters in That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. He’s one of the officers under Rimuru Tempest in the Jura Tempest Federation, and in the special episode “Black and a Mask,” he’s introduced to the late Shizue.
The episode starts with a couple of knights summoning a greater demon named Noir to avenge them. Later, a call is given to all warriors to defeat a demon that disturbs the kingdom.
At first, anime watchers are led to think that Noir is the one responsible for the turmoil. But as the story goes on, it’s made clear that Noir is the one who actually managed to defeat the troublesome ArchDemon!
7. Sir Julius Novachrono (Black Clover)
In Black Clover, Sir Julius Novachrono is the current Magic Emperor of the Clover Kingdom. With the scene at the base of the Eye of the Midnight Sun, anime watchers would assume he’d be a traitor because of his sinister entrance.
But he then casts spells to save Asta from the hands of the villains, and even manages to capture a few of them. He even encourages the Knights as protectors of the Clover Kingdom, cementing that he’s an ally and not evil as one might’ve initially thought.