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MHA vs. JJK: Who Was the First Villain in Shonen-Anime?

Published February 27, 2023

Tanjiro Yuji, Izuku, and Yuji all had to face a starter villain who introduced them to shonen-style combat. But one stands out for its unique reasons.

While the style and lore of some popular shonen anime titles are different, there are many common elements. Most shonen action series and seinen action series introduce viewers to the world’s fighting system. The protagonist is usually introduced to the starter villain in most cases, and these first fights are usually the end of the story.

The original shonen trio featured interesting starter villains. These were the Hollow called Fishbone, Higuma, and the rogue Japanese ninja Mizuki. Jujutsu Kaisen (their spiritual successors), Demon Slayer, and Jujutsu Kaisen (their starter villains) can be compared to see if Tanjiro, Yuji, or Izuku had their best, scariest, most meaningful, and most important first enemy.

RELATED TO: What Original Shonen Big Three Had The Best First Mentor?

The Sludge Villain Nearly Killed Katsukibakugo

My Hero Academia features some of the most powerful villains of modern shonen in terms of character designs, Quirks, and even philosophical views about subjective justice or societal inequality. However, Izuku Midoriya was the first to be attacked by the unnamed villain from the sludge. The sludge antagonist was a common petty criminal who appeared in a bank robbery. He then took Izuku’s childhood pal Katsuki Bakugo to the streets as a hostage. Izuku watched as the villain charged in, proving that he was Quirkless. But All Might had to intervene to save the day. The sludge villain, which was both bizarre and common in the world, served as a metaphor for Izuku’s heroic spirit in the face of mortal danger.

Nezuko kamado turned to her brother

Demon Slayer‘s episode “Cruelty” introduced Muzan Kibutsuji, who murdered the Kamado families off-screen. He also turned Tanjiro’s little brother Nezuko into an evil demon. Tanjiro returned from a coal-selling mission to find Nezuko dead. Then Nezuko turned his back on him. She couldn’t control her demonic hunger so she tried to sink her fangs into her brother until Tanjiro stopped her. Giyu Tomioka was the water Hashira and Tanjiro struggled to save Nezuko. Giyu, impressed, agreed to spare Nezuko. He fortunately calmed and the tragic battle ended before any blood was shed.

Yuji Itadori’s Brutal Introduction for Curses

Jujutsu Kaisenprotagonist Yuji Itadori was like Ichigo Kurosaki, a tough high school student whose life was upended when monstrous, supernatural beings invaded. Yuji and his classmates were left helpless after a powerful curse erupted at school. Megumi Fushiguro, the sorcerer, intervened to save them. When all seemed lost Yuji swallowed Ryomen Sukuna’s severed fingertips and gained enormous curse power. He was able to release the monstrous curse from his grasp. The plot twist allowed Yuji the chance to win the fight in Episode 2, where SatoruGojo was there to witness the end of the battle.

RELATED: MHA, vs. Demon Slayer, vs. Jujutsu Kaisen – Which Had the Best Episode 1 of?

The Curse of The Sludge Villain, & Nezuko kamado: Who’s the Best Starter Villain!

All three of the starter villains were dangerous creatures that threatened the hero and made Tanjiro Izuku and Yuji become fighters overnight, whether they liked it or not. Nezuko kamado is by far the most memorable and engaging villain. The two other villains have no established names. This confirms that the plot devices of the first curse, and the sludge antagonist were plot devices to get the story going, while Nezuko kamado is a true character.

Nezuko is more than a demon. She is Tanjiro’s little brother and the only survivor of Kamado’s massacre. This gave Tanjiro enormous personal stakes during their brief fight. Nezuko didn’t fight her brother Giyu. She also fought her demonic hunger and nature, and ultimately, Nezuko won. Tanjiro, in contrast, was a remarkable example of courage and determination. He refused to let Giyu harm him or give her the death penalty.

Nezuko was both a monster and a victim all in one. Tanjiro began her quest to save her humanity by proving that her demonic status was not a mistake. Tanjiro would need to prove to others such as the wind Hashira Sanemi Nezuko wasn’t a villain nor a monster, which makes her a much more powerful shonen antagonist than either the first curse or the sludge villain.

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