5 Cartoon Villains too Sinister for Children

As some of you may have noticed, I’m particularly interested in villains and antagonists because they’re usually much more complex and interesting than the heroes of film and television.

I’ve said this before: I like a good villain. And kids’ shows are packed with several different breeds of them. Comedic villains, over-the-top villains, lukewarm villains, you name it, and it exists. But sometimes you come across a dark villain. And sometimes that villain is just a little too dark. Maybe even too dark for children.

5. Aku, Samurai Jack


Aku is a shapeshifting, primordial evil that has wrought havoc on earth a number of times. Jack was within moments of slaying the beast when Aku opened up a portal and sent Jack into the future where Aku reigns supreme.

In Samurai Jack, Aku isn’t just an evil being; he is evil. Throughout the series, he toys with Jack. He lies in wait until Jack is weak or injured. Then he springs up in an attempt to finally kill the one who nearly killed him.

It is good to note that Aku does bring some comic relief to the show, and sometimes evil takes a backseat to the humor. But it’s always there. Even in brief funny moments, Jack knows that Aku rules the world and can attack at any moment.

4. The Red Guy, Cow and Chicken

The Red Guy was originally intended to be a devil-like character (who would have guessed?) who would temp others into doing bad things or lure them into hell. But after his first appearance, he became less calculated and more of a bipolar, psychotic destruction machine. He frequently tries to scam, torment, and kill Cow and Chicken.

But he also has strange habits that range from rolling around on the floor to walking on his butt. And even though this guy was intended to be evil from the start, there’s something even more unsettling about his weird mannerisms and his seemingly deteriorating mental state. He has more than one hoof in the loony bin.

3. Maximillion Pegasus, Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise


Maximillion Pegasus, known as Pegasus J. Crawford in the Japanese version, is a successful businessman and a celebrated artist. Pegasus runs the company responsible for the creation and production of Duel Monsters, the game that the majority of the series is based around.

When we first find Pegasus, he is hosting a Duel Monsters tournament in an attempt to collect seven ancient and powerful items known as the Millennium Items. He owns one himself, an eye that allows him to read minds, which is how he wins many of his duels. And when he wins a duel, he uses the eye to capture the soul of the loser.

We find out later that Pegasus is attempting to resurrect his lost love, Cecelia, which drives his madness. To top off the character, we also learn that he enjoys cartoons more than most children do. It’s very creepy.

Later, Pegasus becomes an ally, occasionally helping the heroes. But no one will ever be able to forget his past.

2. Katz, Courage the Cowardly Dog


Katz is the main antagonist in the show, and the most frequent recurring character. He is a tall, red cat who excels in business, sports, and scamming. He is always trying to dupe Courage’s owners Muriel and Eustace.

He has two passions: baking and collecting spiders. He has also used his expertise to manage several businesses, like clubs and hotels, to cover up his schemes.

He loathes dogs, and always posts “No Dogs Allowed” signs on his businesses in unsuccessful attempts to keep Courage out.

It is unknown what drives Katz other than his own greed and self-importance. But he makes for a very unsettling character and a great villain.

1. Him, The Powerpuff Girls


Him is a powerful, clawed, androgynous devil-like creature who wears makeup and traditionally girly clothes and accessories. It is said that he is “so sinister, so evil, so scary, so horribly vile  that his real name can never be said.” He is meant to be the embodiment of pure evil. His conversational voice is an ominous, echoing, high-pitched tone, while his serious and angry voice is deeper and more demonic, but somehow less terrifying than his regular voice.

While most villains in the show aim to destroy, Him prefers torture and psychological terror to destroy his enemies.

He is definitely the most powerful villain in the show, and I’m pretty sure none of the heroes know who they’re really dealing with.

Similar Posts


  1. Him’s (His?) voice is utterly terrifying. Like something out of a nightmare where you dream you’re at school and suddenly you’re naked. and all the other children are made of towers of spiders. And the lights go out.

  2. Apparently Him’s original name was “Satan Claws’ But he wasn’t allowed to be called that due to censorship, sure explains why he’s wearing a santa outfit and has lobster claws though.

  3. Is it weird that I don’t find the Red Guy with no pants terrifying? Yes he is psychotic but I actually find him funny and he’s the only reason I watched cow and chicken.

  4. I loved the list, brought up some good memories. My favorite character would be Katz. In fact, almost every evil/bad character in Courage I loved. But Katz is my fav.

  5. Pegasus wasn’t sinister. He just wanted to bring back his dead wife. Now, his plan to do so was sinister. He could have asked, though, to just borrow what he needed.

  6. Cartoon villains not for children?

    …The #1 cartoon villain of all time would have to be Darkseid from Superman: T%he Animated Series.

    As far as I know, he’s the only villain who has ever not only flat-out murdered somebody on-screen, but got away with it.


  7. Is it just me or are the scariest villains the ones that are so clearly gay? Him is much scarier now than he was when I was a kid, because I now understand more than I used to…

  8. Him and Pegasus?? REALLY? Dude, get a teddy bear and go to bed. I mean, Him was creepy, sure, but not really scary. And I always wondered if Pegasus was gay. *shrug* Just me.

    As for the “Satan Claws” thing, they probably changed it because they didn’t want any kids happening to notice that SATAN can also be SANTA and catch a LOOOOT of heat from parents accusing them of ruining Christmas for their children.

  9. Just me, but growing up, Him was the absolute reason i didn’t talk to strangers, or guys in drag… Though one day, in my later teenage years, I watched silence of the lambs, During Buffalo Bills dance scene, I made a mental connection between him and Bill. Granted this is just a me thing, but perhaps if the creator of the show had the same though, how scary is that?
    Katz is the only one i would consider * remember being unnerving to me in the past, but i think it was his background music more than anything.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.