In anime, characters with dark powers are often some of the coolest you'll encounter. They may not have traditional elemental attributes, but they can still overpower anyone who goes up against them.
Depending on the story, dark power users can be either heroes or villains. And when they're written well, they can infuse a story with twists and turns as the character grows and develops in unexpected ways, whether that means embracing their darkness or working to overcome it.
From hero characters who are granted hellish powers to villains who pose a grave threat with their sinister magic, here are my picks for the best dark anime characters who have amoral abilities.
17. Orochimaru (Naruto)
Orochimaru's path towards power takes one of the darkest and most gruesome routes in shonen anime. He uses countless people as test subjects for his inhumane experiments, all in pursuit of immortality and the desire to know all of the world's secrets.
Just like his evil and dark personality, he has an array of despicable abilities, like the Living Corpse Reincarnation Technique, which allows him to transfer his soul to another body and take over it.
And then there's the Impure World Reincarnation Technique, which was originally the Second Hokage's but corrupted by Orochimaru. He can effectively bind the souls of the dead to living sacrifices, bringing past ninjas back to life to be his killing machines.
16. Rin Okumura (Blue Exorcist)
In the Blue Exorcist series, Rin Okumura is one of the twin sons of Satan, born from a human mother. His devil powers manifest in the form of blue flames, similar to the powers of his devilish father.
But like most anime protagonists, Rin uses his dark powers to fight evil rather than succumbing to his evil heritage. It's also revealed later on that his twin brother, Yukio, also possesses demonic powers!
15. Hiei (Yu Yu Hakusho)
At first, Hiei relies solely on his swordsmanship and physical agility. But during the Dark Tournament, he ends up using the Dragon of the Darkness Flame, a power that's harnessed from the depths of hell to incinerate everything to nothingness.
He's the only one known to master the technique, given how devastating it is even for its user. While it was uncontrollable at first—causing damage to Hiei with every use—he manages to control it in his later fights, and can even channel the darkness into himself.
14. Baraggan Louisenbairn (Bleach)
In Bleach, Baraggan Louisenbairn is a powerful Espada who was once the king of Hueco Mundo and was only dethroned after Sōsuke Aizen successfully invaded Las Noches.
In his Resurrección form, Baraggan resembles a skeleton king, complete with an ominous purple robe and a crown atop his head. While his Senescencia allows him to control time and slow things down around him, his Respira is instant death.
With this ability, Baraggan releases a mass of dark mist that causes anything it touches to start rotting, like when it disintegrated Soi Fon's arm upon contact. She only survives the effects of Respira by cutting off her affected arm and preventing the rot from spreading.
13. Blackbeard (One Piece)
Marshall D. Teach, known as Blackbeard, is the captain of the Blackbeard Pirates. He has the power of the Yami Yami no Mi Devil Fruit, which allows him to pull and absorb anything into the darkness he creates.
What's troublesome about this ability is that it can also nullify the powers of other Devil Fruit users whom he touches, seemingly absorbing their abilities and rendering them unusable.
Moreover, he can absorb the Devil Fruit powers from other people to use as his own, like when he steals the Gura Gura no Mi from Whitebeard (defying the concept of one Devil Fruit per person).
This makes him one of the strongest adversaries in One Piece for both the Marines and the Straw Hat Pirates.
12. Yami Sukehiro (Black Clover)
Yami Sukehiro, the Squad Captain of the Black Bulls, uses Dark Magic along with his swordsmanship. He creates projectiles of jet black slashes with his sword and even has the power to cut through dimensions.
His Dark Magic, as Zagred states, has the power to cross over the boundaries between realms. That's why Yami's Dark Cloaked Dimension Slash: Equinox so greatly affected and dealt fatal damage to the devil.
11. Nacht Faust (Black Clover)
Nacht Faust, another character from the Black Clover series, is the Vice Captain of the Black Bulls. Like Yami, he also has a strange and rare magic attribute: shadows. With his Shadow Magic, he can travel to places by going into shadows and appearing elsewhere.
Apart from his Shadow Magic, he has another dark ability up his sleeve: the Devil Assimilation. This allows him to channel the devil's power into himself and use it as his own. He made a contract with four devils using the Devil Binding Ritual, and their Unite Mode is immensely cool.
10. Alucard (Hellsing)
The vampire Alucard in Hellsing has multiple dark powers beyond mere immortality. The anime series showed us more of the darkness within him in surprisingly compelling ways.
For example, he has a terrifying eye-covered familiar named Baskerville. He can also turn into an indestructible blood-colored mist. And he has sinister battle prowess that's so powerful that none of his enemies can handle him, resulting in total victory every time.
9. Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul)
With his ghoul eye and kagune, Ken Kaneki of Tokyo Ghoul may seem like a pretty "normal" ghoul on the surface. However, there's something darker and more evil about him and his powers.
He can extend different kinds of ghoul appendages from his body, including his original kagune and the weird centipede-like protrusions of his kakuja. As it turns out, someone can become a kakuja by cannibalizing other ghouls (which he does to avoid eating humans).
Indeed, Ken Kaneki is one of several ghouls to have eaten the flesh of his fellow ghouls. Sure, eating human flesh is evil, but eating your own kind is on another level of evilness, no?
8. Mahito (Jujutsu Kaisen)
In Jujutsu Kaisen, curses and cursed energy can be classified as dark powers because they come from (i.e., manifested by) negative emotions. So, technically, all cursed energy users have dark powers.
But Mahito's ability is one of the most disturbing in the series. It doesn't just affect victims physically, but also distorts and transfigures their souls. He uses it multiple times throughout the story, toying with humans both physically and emotionally without remorse.
At his worst, he has turned innocent people into disfigured creatures and forced them to fight Jujutsu Sorcerers. If that isn't evil, what is?
7. Asta and Liebe (Black Clover)
We're combining Asta and Liebe together on this list, not just because Asta is host to the devil Liebe within him, but also because they share pretty much the same overall experience.
Both are magicless individuals in a world full of magic. Liebe managed to turn his weakness into the power called Anti Magic, which he now channels to Asta through his swords.
Their power turns out to be the most unique and effective against their enemies, as they can nullify and negate magic. Asta, on the other hand, is the perfect host for the Anti Magic power because he isn't just magicless but also incredibly skilled with swords.
6. Meliodas (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Meliodas is the captain of the Seven Deadly Sins and a powerful individual, born the son of the demon king and cursed with eternal life. And because he comes from the demon clan, he possesses demonic powers—but he uses them for good rather than evil.
He's had several different forms throughout The Seven Deadly Sins, from his simple bartender appearance to his form where darkness cloaks his entire body. When he uses his dark powers, a symbol appears on his forehead (one that only appears for high-ranking demons).
5. Millennium Earl (D.Gray-Man)
Millennium Earl stands as the leader and father figure of the Noah family and the Akumas. He has the power to create Akumas using humans, and he controls them by exploiting their weaknesses.
He targets emotionally weak human beings—usually ones who are grieving the loss of a loved one—and offers to bring back the dead. But it's just a trick: he summons the deceased's soul and binds it with the grieving human using Dark Matter.
The souls, after turning into Akumas, experience pain and agony inside while they're trapped. Indeed, Millennium Earl is merely playing around with human sorrow for his own evil plans.
4. Corpse God (Dead Mount Death Play)
Corpse God, as his name suggests, is a master of necromancy. With his ability, he can communicate with the souls of the dead.
Furthermore, his necromantic proficiency allows him to use several other abilities relating to the undead, like his army of skeleton warriors and his command over the souls of the dead.
Corpse God, now reincarnated in the body of a modern-day young man, uses the negative energies around him as the fuel for his magic. Fortunately, he wants to live peacefully in this new world he's in, so he uses his powers not for evil but for "good."
3. Yayoi Hozuki (Dark Gathering)
Yayoi Hozuki isn't an ordinary kid. She looks bizarre, having two pupils in each of her eyes (a condition known as polycoria). But what's even more bizarre is that her eyes can see two different coexisting worlds: the natural world and the supernatural world.
And if that weren't dark enough, she also hunts ghosts and evil spirits with the help of her seemingly cursed eyes. Yayoi collects and tames these ghosts to create an army she can eventually use against the powerful spirit that took her mother's soul away.
And the ghosts don't have it easy. Yayoi stores them in a room where they're punished and tormented by other apparitions, and she even raises them to eat each other so they can emerge as a stronger spirit that she calls a "graduate." How chilling...
2. Enmu (Demon Slayer)
While most demons in Demon Slayer rely on brute force and raw power, Enmu has a unique and disturbing ability that sets him apart. With his Blood Demon Art, he can force a target to sleep, then use the power of dreams to kill them from inside.
He can also manipulate a target by controlling their dreams. For example, he was able to force children and a train conductor do his bidding by promising to provide them with beautiful dreams that would help them escape their nightmarish realities.
The scariest thing is that Enmu's created dreams are based on his targets' innermost desires, so the resulting dreams are often so seductive that his targets want to live in their dreams forever and never wake up.
1. Ai Enma (Hell Girl)
Ai Enma is the protagonist of Hell Girl (also known as Jigoku Shojo), who's charged with bringing souls to Hell. She does this by providing her services through a website called Hell Correspondence.
Of course, she's not just inviting them on a nice boat ride and letting them enjoy their trip to the underworld. She's tormenting them with disturbing and nightmarish images, presences, and illusions.
Her blank and emotionless facade hides her terrifying powers, and if she were to truly exist in real life, no one would ever commit atrocities again.