If you need a bog standard, disposable, faceless legion of villains, then you need thugs. Post apocalyptic wasteland? Mohawk-sporting, over-muscled Mad Max rejects wearing chains, spikes and leather. Neo-Tokyo? Drug fuelled biker gangs. Feudal Japan? Partially armoured, sword-wielding bandits. Thugs are the most basic fallback villain in anime, identikit purveyors of generic, unfocused evil since the days of Fist of the North Star. Unfortunately they are just too damn stupid to get any higher in this list, anyone who picks a fight with the over-sized, stern looking hero with stupid hair and expects to win deserves everything they get.
Those evil leaders who have noticed the bleedin' obvious fact that thugs are basically crap, often decide to look to more supernatural support. Find an old book, do some sacrifices and a bit of chanting and voila - instant demonic assistance! Hordes of demons also roam about randomly in many a fantasy anime, often seemingly just as cannon fodder for the heroes to discover new skills and powers against. Magical powers, psychotic bloodlust and (allegedly) terrifying appearance make demons a powerful ally for a villain, but unfortunately they also far too much hassle to summon and keep, have a habit of pointlessly toying with their prey and are often far too easy to kill. At the end of the day if you can be defeated by a whining girl in a short skirt who's armed only with a tiara and a smartass cat then you aren't as hard as you pretend to be.
3. Private Army
Any villainous despot worth his salt must have their own army. If they are already part of a larger army they must have a psychotically dedicated force of their own within that army. It's law. No megalomaniac will get anywhere without muscle and at the end of the day thugs lack class and demons are too high maintenance. What you need is your own army, all with their own identical uniform that makes them really easy for the good guys to identify and defeat. Where do these people come from? Do the get them at job fairs? 'Wanted, nondescript men to fight for world domination, no training necessary, gun and uniform provided. Must be prepared for pointless death within seconds of facing anyone vaguely heroic, or at the whim of your employer'. All private army soldiers seem to be easily led, but that doesn't excuse them from being bloody useless at fighting...
2. Effeminate Posh Subordinates
Next time you are out on the town and you see a weedy, girly-looking guy with long blonde hair, be sure to leave him well alone. If anime is anything to go by he will be highly skilled in martial arts, a swordmaster and be able to produce a fireball that can take out the city centre. Yes, it is the standard 'effeminate posh subordinate' who are always curiously high up the pecking order of bad guys in anime. While they are not preening themselves they are usually cooking up evil schemes and taking over people with rubbish mental powers rather then doing any actually fighting - they save that for the teenager they will inevitably go up against! Quite why major villains keep on employing these guys is beyond me as they never do anything worthy of said employer's evil. Start employing alpha males I say!
May 8th 1945. The allies have closed
in on Berlin, Hitler is dead and the Nazi party is over. Or maybe not, as they still manage to scrape a living by appearing in anime as the most
standard evil villains ever. These guys are evil with a capital E and
therefore can be used for any evil purpose no matter how outlandish!
Notable appearances include bigger-failure-then-Stalingrad flick Urotsukidoji:
Legend Of The Demon Womb in which the big cheese himself makes an appearance
as the operator of a demon sex rape machine (this is all that went on in the
bunker apparently)! Although career best must go to Lupin III: The
Pursuit Of Harimao's Treasure in which the hero Lupin battles a group of
Neo-nazis in a race to find three statues that are the key to a treasure.
Even better is that the group is called the Neo-Himmel and they are all a bunch
of gay cross-dressers thus combining numbers 1 & 2 of this chart. Genius!