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MHA vs. JJK, vs. Demon Slayer – Which Shonen Anime had the Best First Villain?

Published February 27, 2023

Tanjiro and Yuji faced starter villains that introduced them to shonen-style fighting, but Izuku stood out because of its unique qualities.

Although the most well-known shonen action anime titles differ in style and lore greatly, they all share some basic elements, such as the need for a “starter villain”. Many shonen and seine action series introduces viewers and the protagonist to the global combat system. These first fights are often a point of no return for the protagonist.

The original shonen “big 3” had some interesting starter villains, such as the Hollow called Fishbone D and Higuma (chronologically), and the rogue Ninja Mizuki. Their spiritual successors, Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer, and My Hero Academia, can now be compared to their starter villains to determine if Tanjiro or Yuji had the most powerful, scariest, and most meaningful first enemy.

RELATED: Who Was the Original Shonen Big 3?

The Sludge Villain Nearly Killed Katsukibakugo

My Hero Academia features some of the modern shonen’s most evil villains. It had to all start somewhere. The unnamed sludge antagonist was protagonist Izuku Mioriya’s first true enemy. The sludge villain was a typical petty criminal that appeared during a bank robbery and took Izuku’s childhood friend Katsuki Bakugo hostage in the streets. Izuku was horrified as he ran to show that he was Quirkless and a true hero. However, All Might intervened to stop the sludge villain. The sludge villain was a symbol of how bizarre and common criminals can be in this world. He allowed Izuku to show All Might that he had a heroic heart when faced with mortal danger.

Nezuko Kamado turned on her brother

Demon Slayer‘s debut episode, “Cruelty”, indirectly introduced Muzan Kibutsuji, the supervillain who killed the Kamado family offscreen, and made Tanjiro’s little sister Nezuko a demon. Tanjiro returns from a coal-selling trip to find Nezuko and his family dead, then Nezuko turned against him. She was unable to control her demonic hunger and tried to eat her brother until Tanjiro defeated her with an ax. Giyu Tomioka, the water Hashira arrived and Tanjiro tried to protect Nezuko despite the danger. Miyu was impressed and agreed to spare Nezuko. Fortunately, he calmed down and ended the tragic fight before any blood was shed.

Yuji Itadori’s Brutal Introduction To Curses

Jujutsu Haisenprotagonist Yuji Itadori resembles a nice Ichigo Kurosaki — an intelligent high school boy who was changed when supernatural, monstrous creatures invaded his life. Yuji was left helpless when a powerful curse struck Yuji’s school. After all, seemed lost, Yuji took one of Ryomen Sukuna’s severed fingers and gained tremendous curse power. This allowed him to free himself from the curse’s grip. This plot twist enabled Yuji and Satoru Gojo to end the fight in Episode 2.

RELATED: MHA Vs. Demon Slayer: Which Episode 1 Was the Best?

The Curse, the Sludge Villain, and Nezuko Kamado: Who is The Best Starter Villain in The Universe?

The three main villains were all dangerous and threatened the hero. They forced Yuji, Izuku, and Tanjiro to become fighters in a matter of hours. Nezuko Kamado, however, is the most memorable and compelling villain among them. The other villains don’t even have names. This reinforces the fact the first curse and sludge villains were just plot devices to get things started. Nezuko Kamado, however, is a real character.

Nezuko, Tanjiro’s little sister and only survivor from the Kamado massacre is not your average demon. This gives Tanjiro a lot of personal stakes in this brief battle. Nezuko was not only fighting her brother Giyu, but she also fought against her demonic nature and hunger. Finally, Nezuko prevailed. Tanjiro, on the other hand, displayed incredible courage and determination by fighting off his demonic brother Giyu while refusing to hurt her or allow Giyu to finish her off.

Nezuko was both a victim and a monster in one package. This was the catalyst for Tanjiro’s quest to save humanity. Tanjiro had to prove to others like the wind Hashira Sanemi that Nezuko was not a villain or monster. This makes her an effective shonen antagonist, far better than any sludge villain, first curse, or even sludge villain.

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