English translated light novels with a villain or an anti-hero protagonist


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    After spending +100 hours or so on a western-style RPG and thoroughly enjoying the ability to decide between being a hero or an awful villain, I'm now craving to read a light novel series with either a villain or an anti-hero protagonist (preferably the former). Out of the top of my head, the only one I''ve read/am reading so far is Saga of Tanya the Evil (where I consider Tanya being an anti-hero). Could anyone give some other recommendations as well please?


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    Not a JNC title, but... The Dirty Way to Destroy the Goddess's Heroes. The main character is hired to deal with the Demon Lord's problem with the church's immortal heroes disturbing his daughter's quest for better food.


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    • Overlord - Villain for sure.
    • Her Majesty's Swarm - Similar vein as overlord anti-hero, strongly leaning on villain.
    • Death Mages Doesn't Want a 4th Time - I would say he is considered the villain to most of the inhabitants of the world he lives due to his race.(This series is only fan translated, however I noted it still anyways.)
    • The Eminence of Shadows - Anti-Hero - Releases in Dec/Jan of this year.
    • Arifureta - (MC is an edgelord anti-hero)

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    Honnestly the only place where you can find true vilain as MC is probably porn LN, but most are garbage.
    In regular LN you will find a number of LN claiming to have vilain for MC but at best they will be anti-hero.

    For work licensed in english:

    • "So I'm a spider so what": MC is an anti-hero, but that anti-hero side only really show in later parts of the novel.
    • "Last and First idole": it's a collection of 3 short stories, none of the 3 MC is a hero, but the one from the third story is probably the only true vilain I have seen in a LN so far.
    • Maybe Grimgar, the MC do qualify has anti hero to some extend for most of the story but as the victims aren't humans until later volumes it's not really visible.

    If you don't mind unlicensed work there's also:

    • "The girl who ate a death god" And "The girl who bore the flame ring" Which are both fully translated, in both case the MC is an anti-hero: they won't go out of their way to hurt someone but they won't shy away from doing so if it can help them.
    • Fate zero, also fully translated, where one of the MC is an anti hero, at least his method are.
    • "Summon Slaughter", the MC is definitely an anti-hero but it's really tame compare to what you could expect from the title.

  • Premium Member

    In JNC's Record of Wortenia War the MC is a survivor and sometimes quite brutal about it, but he's neither hero nor villain.



  • I would consider wortenia closer to hero.
    Sure he can be brutal but only to those in the wrong or who are after his life so far.
    I also think Arifureta also closer to hero, if more reluctant hero than anything else.


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    I think one example would be Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index. Its true that he's not the main protagonist but the author has referred to him as one of the stories 3 protagonists and their are novels where he shows up and Touma, the original main character, doesn't.


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    Thank you for the recommendations all. For now, I'm going to buy the first volume of Overlord, which seems mostly like what I'm looking for. Though it doesn't have an official translation, I'm also very interested in Death Mage Doesn't Want a 4th Time, so I'll check that out too. The Dirty Way to Destroy the Goddess's Heroes seems rather lighthearted, but it seems like a fun read so I'll get the first volume of it as well. I've been planning to read Arifureta at some point as well so might as well check that out too, but for now, that should be enough reading for me.


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    The other ones that come to mind (if you have a reasonably loose definition of villain) are:

    • Lazy Dungeon Master (J-Novel Club)
    • Demon King Daimaou (J-Novel Club)
    • There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF! (J-Novel Club)
    • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord (J-Novel Club)
    • Combatants Will Be Dispatched! (Yen Press)
    • The Devil Is a Part-Timer! (Yen Press)

    When it comes to The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria (Yen Press) I'm not quite sure who the villains are, but it is a great series. Outside of LNs, but with a very LN feel, is Super Sales on Super Heroes by William D. Arand (available on Kindle Unlimited).


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    @shiny said in English translated light novels with a villain or an anti-hero protagonist:

    Lazy Dungeon Master (J-Novel Club)

    Good one -- after all, our MC's job is to endanger and sometimes kill what are supposed to be the good guys. Though in this world the dungeon challengers are most often doing it as a job not a grand quest to fight evil.