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Tainted love: top five anime mad scientists

We all love a mad scientist. They’re extraordinary, tormented souls who accomplish the sorts of feats that we could only dream of, if not make us wake up in cold sweats in the dead of night. And so, they snip, calculate and drip-feed their way into a special space in our minds, hearts and various other internal organs. We can think of several examples from anime who have done exactly that, and here we present our favourite five.

5. Souichi Tomoe – Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon - Souichi Tomoe

Who you gonna call? Death Busters! Ahem. My apologies, now to the point. Souichi is an outcast scientist, laid off for carrying out some iffy experiments. Despite his best intentions, building a new lab and starting from scratch, lightning strikes and literally burns his career back down to the ground. He has to save his daughter, Hotaru, from mortal injuries caused by the fire by turning her into a cyber-genetic hybrid, when he’s already lost his wife. Really, it’s no wonder he becomes infatuated by the idea of producing Super Beings and gets wrapped up in the aforementioned, chirpily titled, evil Daimon organisation for the sake of their creation. In the anime he’s possessed by the demon Germatoid, who makes a deal to revive Hotaru in return for Souchi becoming his host. In the manga, he’s just plain nuts.

4. Harumi Kiyama – A Certain Scientific Railgun

Certain Scientific Railgun - Harumi Kiyama

An unfortunate casualty of pushing for a new level of esper – super-powered humans who make use of energy fields and, as you might guess, extra-sensory perception – Harumi becomes obsessed with righting the failed experiment carried out by the institute that employed her. Along the way, she makes a name for herself as an urban legend in Academy City; the Undresstress, who strips off in public without warning. It turns out this is a side effect of her low self-esteem and spending too much time shut off from the world with her research, but the layers of her strangeness keep coming away until you finally see the fragility that fractured into her madness.

3. Naoko Akagi – Evangelion

Evangelion - Naoko Akagi

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that each Evangelion character, in their own beautiful way, is entirely bonkers. Naoko is the mastermind behind the Magi supercomputers that run the operation of the Eva units, and she instilled within their workings certain aspects of herself; the scientist in Melchior, the mother in Balthasar, and the woman in Casper. Although she could be underestimated as bit of a bunny boiler with an unhealthy fixation on NERV commander Gendo Ikari, her depth of intelligence infused with her hatred is not to be taken lightly. Her jealousy of Rei, who she feels she competes with for Gendo’s affection, even puts her in prime position to be the unknown soul in Evangelion Unit-00, which goes berserk when it sees Rei behind the glass during the start-up test in episode five. Creepy, but highly convincing.

2. Rintaro Okabe – Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate - Rintaro Okabe

Unlike a lot of other mad scientists we know, Rintaro is proud to proclaim himself as one, which makes you wonder from the start just what he’s hiding under his front of being a paranoid delusional. He has incredible potential as a scientist (we still haven’t succeeded in turning our microwave into a phone/time travel device), but to begin with he seems to prefer playing secret agent, having phone conversations with himself, and trying to convince others there is an “Organisation” after him. The more you see him bond with his friends, though, the more transparent his façade becomes, and you recognise the loneliness and insecurity behind his Hououin Kyoma, supervillainous mad scientist persona. He, like anyone else, is searching for acceptance, companionship and a place to belong.

1. Franken Stein – Soul Eater

Soul Eater - Franken Stein

To this twisted sadist with a screw in his skull, everything and everyone is a potential experiment, including himself if the stitches trailing across his face are anything to go by. He is an amalgamation of Frankenstein and his monster from Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, and like the good doctor, Stein has committed himself to his vision of a world without God, where humanity commands its own destiny. He still can’t shake his childhood obsession with dissection as a teacher at the Death Weapon Meister Academy, where he has his students carry one out on an endangered bird. But although this is a foil for a much deeper, darker insanity, his compassion suggests his experiments stem from respect for human life and potential.


There we have it, or top five tainted anime scientists. But how about you? Do you agree, or did we miss someone out? We’d love to hear about your favourites from anime and manga alike.

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