Big Bad/Western Animation

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"The ultimate villain of the story, who's causing the problem the heroes must solve."

Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Big Bad is the one who turns out to be behind several other seemingly-independent threats.


  • Disney's Zeke, the Big Bad Wolf from Three Little Pigs (1933) and its sequels, was originally the Big Bad of his forest world -- as befits his name.
  • Joey, Marky & Dee Dee in Oggy and the Cockroaches.
  • Vilgax, from Ben 10, is a textbook example. He's wounded grievously in the pilot, drives the plot of most of season 1 from behind the scenes, and finally shows up in person in the season 1 finale, bigger, meaner, smarter, and tougher than anything Ben's faced before. From there on out, he's usually put somewhere between appearances that keeps him from getting involved... He's also an Implacable Man and a Determinator, so he HAS to be kept out of the picture for other plot arcs to happen but it did and later appears in Alien Force and Ultimate Alien.He Was also the Main Villain in the first movie,He is the series's most reoccurring Big Bad for the franchise. Here are the other Big Bads for the following seasons:
    • Season 2: Kevin 11
    • Season 3: Ghostfreak
    • Season 4: The Forever King
For Ben 10 Alien Force:
    • Seasons 1: The DNAliens
    • Seasons 2: The Highbreed
    • Season 3: Vilgax
Ben 10: Ultimate Alien
    • Season 1: Aggregor and then Kevin
    • Season 2: Diagon but usurped by Vilgax
  • The Big Bad of the Cadmus Arc of Justice League Unlimited was constantly being teased. At first it seemed Amanda Waller was the mastermind, then Lex Luthor, until it was finally revealed in the next-to-last episode as Brainiac.
    • This was far from the only example in the DCAU. Batman Beyond had Derek Powers, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who soon became known as the supervillain Blight, as its Big Bad for the first season.
    • Superman: The Animated Series featured an ongoing arc of Superman's struggle with the Galactic Conqueror Darkseid, and his increasingly daring designs on Earth. (By contrast, Lex Luthor's schemes were almost purely episodic in nature.)
    • Even Ra's al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series arguably qualified, being introduced in the final moments of one episode, and following up on it later with a cataclysmic two-parter.
    • There were several contenders for the title in the final season of JLU. At first it looked like Grodd, until he was deposed by Lex Luthor leading to an apparent Big Bad Duumvirate between Lex and the remnants of Brainiac's consciousness. In the end, though, the real threat turned out to be Darkseid. Again.
  • Legion of Superheroes had a Five-Bad Band led by "The Emerald Empress" as the most common villain in the first season, in the second season the Big Bad was deafinetly Imperiex who was a Galactic Conqueror even though Imperiex was upstaged by Braniac 1.0
  • Teen Titans followed a Big Bad formula similar to Buffy:
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender settled this on Fire Lord Ozai, who usurped the throne from his older brother, manipulated his wife into killing his father, psychologically forced his daughter to become a perfectionist and abandoned her when she served her purpose, viciously disfigured and disowned his thirteen-year old son for speaking out of turn, and is the lead suspect in his wife's mysterious disappearance. A real piece of work, all right, and that's just his personal life in the Backstory. Professionally, he's an Evil Overlord, who gleefully burned half of a continent just to quell a few uprisings.
    • The second half of Book Two had Long Feng as its Big Bad, at least until Ozai's people spectacularly out-gambit and take control of him in the finale.
  • The Legend of Korra, set seventy years after Airbender, shifts this role throughout four seasons:
    • Book One had Amon, Rebel Leader of an anti-bending faction known as Equalists who wanted to Take Over the City and rid the world of bending forever.
    • Book Two had Unalaq, Korra's Evil Uncle whose plan was to merge with the story's Bigger Bad, Vaatu, the spirit of chaos, in order to become the Dark Avatar who could lay waste to the physical realm and rule over the spirits in their own realm.
    • Book Three had Zaheer and his followers in the Red Lotus who hoped to kill the Avatar for good and dissolve the leaderships of the four nations so that natural order could and total freedom be restored to the world.
    • Book Four had Kuvira, female warlord who turned the Earth Kingdom into a fascist empire and sought to dominate the other nations by harnessing energy from the spirit vines to power a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
  • Megatron in almost every incarnation of Transformers, only to usually force an Enemy Mine when Unicron appears.
    • Generation 1: Led the Decepticons on Cybertron and constantly tried all sorts of evil schemes to steal energy from Earth. Since these plans tended to fail, the writers eventually resorted to an Enemy Mine plot every other episode to avoid Villain Decay.
    • In Beast Wars, he was the Big Bad twice. Firstly he's the standard ruler of the Predacons, fighting against the Maximals. During The Reveal, it is shown that the G1 Megatron had orchestrated the plan, ordering the Beast Megatron to go back in time and kill the G1 Autobots while they were in stasis. Only for that plan to be ignored. Beast Wars Megatron only followed this plan as a last ditch effort, in only one plot, which failed. (Thankfully so, or they all would have been killed by Unicron at some point). Other plots include successfully killing both Optimuses (Optimi?), inventing new classes of Transformers (Transmetal 2, Vehicons) and introducing ham to prehistoric Earth.
    • Beast Machines: succeeds in conquering Cybertron and ruling over a planet of mindless, sparkless drones. All the happens before the series begins. During the series, he absorbs every spark on the planet and comes within a millimetre of godhood. Yes, godhood.
    • Armada: Leads the Decepticons and gets his servos on the three most powerful minicons in the universe and would probably have destroyed the Autobots if Unicron hadn't forced them into an alliance.
    • Energon: Rallies the Decepticons into once again fighting against the Autobots, then hijacks Alpha Q's plan to restore his home planet and instead manages to successfully revive and, for a time, control Unicron. Oh, and he reformats Scorponok's and Demolisher's sparks to make them less moral and more loyal to himself.
    • Cybertron: Goes after the Omega Lock and the four Cyber Planet Keys to steal the power of Primus and become a god. He intends to use the Unicron Singularity to destroy the universe and then recreate it as he pleases. Starscream successfully betrays him and nearly usurps this spot, but Galvatron beats him in an epic showdown. Luckily for the universe, he is beaten on the verge of success and is slain by Optimus Prime in another epic battle.
    • Transformers Animated: His body was destroyed in the pilot, leaving him a head in a scientist's lab. Hooked into the lab's computers, and with the right words to Professor Sumdac, he spends the first season working on getting a new body and taking shots at the Autobots through intermediaries. When he gains a new body and comes bursting out of Sumdac Tower in the first season finale, the 'bots know exactly how screwed they are. Circumstances still force him to spend most of his time plotting, but it's still a step up from "Decepticons, RETREAT!"
    • Transformers Prime: Arrives on Earth via space bridge during the Five Episode Pilot, armed with "Dark Energon", which has the power to revive Cybertronian corpses as mindless berserkers. The mini-series ends with him and an undead army disappearing in a space bridge explosion. Starscream promptly becomes the Dragon Ascendant and takes over as Big Bad for the next several episodes, but Megatron is ultimately revived and retakes the top spot. In the last few episodes of Season 1, though, he's overshadowed by Unicron as the premier threat, only to retake the position in Season 2. . This series so far as a pattern of alternating between Megatron and someone else for chunks of episodes, going Megatron-> Starscream-> Megatron-> Unicron-> Megatron.
    • The Japanese series have added some other Big Bads, such as Scorponok, Devil Z, Overlord, Deathsaurus, Violen Jiger, and Dark Nova.
    • The Japanese sequels to Beast Wars also had their own. Beast Wars II had brothers Galvatron and Megastorm, and Beast Wars Neo had Magmatron.
    • The comics also added a few of their own, including Shockwave, Thunderwing, Ratbat, Bludgeon, Straxus, Scrash, Trannis, Clench, and Jhiaxus. The finale of the Generation II comic revealed that ALL of the G1-era Big Bads were unknowingly reporting to Liege Maximo, the very first Decepticon. Unfortunately, the comic was canceled immediately after this revelation, so that storyline never went anywhere.
  • Monster Allergy had Corrupt Corporate Executive Magnacat in season 1, Evil Overlord Moog Magister and Hector Sinestro, a dark Tamer, in season 2.
  • Wakfu has Nox for the first season, and Rushu for the second.
    • Actually Rushu ended up just being used by the real big bad: Qilby
  • Winx Club:
    • Season 1: The Trix
    • Season 2: Lord Darkar
    • Season 3: Baltor
    • Secret Of the Lost Kingdom(First Movie): Mandragora/The Ancient Witches
    • Season 4: The Fairy Hunters
    • Magic Adventure (Second Movie): The Trix and the Ancient Witches
  • WITCH had Evil Overlord Phobos in season 1, who was succeeded by Nerissa, a Chessmaster and former Guardian, in season 2. Nerissa was manipulating from behind the scenes even during season 1. Pretty impressive, considering she was trapped in a coffin for quite a while.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Season 1: Shendu
    • Season 2: The Demon Sorcerers (Shendu's brothers and sisters)
    • Season 3: Daolon Wong, usurped by Shendu in the season finale
    • Season 4: Tarakudo
    • Season 5: Drago
  • The Professor in Huntik Secrets and Seekers.
  • While the The Spectacular Spider-Man had several characters vying for the title of boss of the New York underworld, the title belongs to Tombstone, who serves as the Big Bad for the series until he is deposed by Green Goblin.
    • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Kingpin and Norman Osborn/ Green Goblin took turns vying for this title, though much moreso the Kingpin than Osborn.
  • XANA from Code Lyoko. An artificial intelligence villain who's never seen, but whose influence is certainly felt.
  • Dragon, from Skunk Fu!. Ironically, he is not The Dragon.
  • Danny Phantom
    • Vlad Masters. He's introduced in episode seven, but his influence is felt as early as the opening scenes. Until his Villainous Breakdown, only two people could claim to lay an effective hand on him: Pariah Dark and Jack Fenton, the latter aided with anti-ghost technology. Some have compared him to Slade in deviousness.
    • Pariah Dark himself, despite only appearing twice, one of those being a cameo during a Gondor Calls for Aid situation, probably counts as well. He's essentially Ghost Darkseid, and is one of the strongest characters, if not the strongest seen in the series.
    • Each of the double-length movie episodes has one. First is Pariah, as mentioned above. Next is Dark Danny, who is somewhat less powerful but a more personal (and psychotic) threat. Then is the ordinary Muggle Freakshow, who spends the movie trying to get his hands on an Artifact of Doom that will give him reality warping powers. The final Big Bad is not a person, but rather the ecto-asteroid. As Vlad is still the series-spanning Big Bad, he was active in all of these storylines as well (except for the third).
  • X-Men has Apocalypse.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has Zurg.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles usually has Shredder as the Big Bad, but in the cartoons he is often topped by some alien threat. In the 2003 version of the cartoon, he usually comes out on top, since he took about a hundred levels in badass.
    • In the 2003 cartoon, he cements his position as the Big Bad even further by making plenty of Xanatos Gambits.
    • The Tengu (the demon whose legend inspired the Shredder) for season four and five and Darius Dun in season six. The 'original' Shredder made his triumphant return in season seven as a digital program and in the flesh in the concluding film.
  • Thanks to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, the Big Bad of The Fairly OddParents has changed a few times. In the first three seasons, Crocker was Timmy's worst enemy, appearing as the bad guy in every special that had a true villain. "The Big Superhero Wish" was the first special where he was not the main bad guy, and "Channel Chasers" reduced him to a cameo. After that, Anti-Cosmo of the anti-fairies and HP of the pixies took over for the next three seasons as a Big Bad Duumvirate, especially in season six, where the characters never appear separate. Then The Darkness for the "Wishology" trilogy. With the birth of Foop, he took over for season seven (he's been confirmed as the villain in that season's finale). The Movies are a good example of this.
    • Abaca-tasprohe: Crocker
    • Channel Chasers: Vicky
    • Schools Out The Musical: HP and the Pixies
    • Fairy Idol: Norm the Genie
    • Fairly Oddbaby: Anti-Fairies along with the Pixies
    • Wishology: The Darkness and later Destructinator
There's also the Jimmy/Timmy Power Hour crossovers
    • Part 1: Crocker and a malfunctioning Goddard
    • Part 2: Professor Calamitous and Anti-Cosmo
    • Part 3: The Villain Whose Name Isn't Shirley
  • Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series: The Evil Incarnate summoned by the Box of Balefire, which Venger attempts to welcome, calling it "master", until it accuses him of failure and reduces his (most recent) castle to a lava-filled crater. Then it goes after the main characters.

Bobby: C'mon, Dungeon Master, who is it? Or what is it?
Dungeon Master: His name is not for your ears, Barbarian! He is not life as we know it. He has many identities, on many different worlds! But all know him as... Evil!
(Dungeon Master teleports himself and the children to the other side of the world)
Dungeon Master: The ruler of many universes! But his goal is to rule the entire cosmos with evil.


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