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  • Minister Foss from Berserk. Oddly enough the reveal that he wasn't a Magnificent Bastard is something of a Pet the Dog moment as he wasn't willing to sacrifice his daughter to further his plans.
    • A straighter example would be Corkus.
  • Masaya Wadou is this in Witchblade, on top of being a Corrupt Corporate Executive. This is his undoing because he tries so hard to be a Magnificent Bastard, but he keeps fucking up royally because as Badass Normal Reiji Takayama puts it, "He's always looking for shortcuts." This winds up biting him on the ass in an cruelly ironic way.
  • Makoto Isshiki in RahXephon, for whom this trope is partly named after (he's nicknamed "White Snake" because of his albinism and scheming). At first he's a typical Smug Snake, but in the second half of the story turns into a madman.
    • It runs in his family, judging from Babhem.
  • Enrico Maxwell from Hellsing is a massive jackass who enjoys forcing Integra Hellsing to say "please" to hand her over an important file - even when his direct superior -the Pope- ordered him to give her the file in compensation for a massive gaffe one of his men (Alexander Anderson) committed. He later becomes a full Knight Templar and tries to have his army kill all Protestants in London for the sin of not being Catholics.
  • Quattro from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS enjoys manipulating and controlling people, belittles both enemies and allies, and does this all with a sickeningly cutesy appearance. The fact that her role as support means she's usually hiding somewhere safe from her enemies while she's condescending to them doesn't help her case. Her eventual (non-fatal) fate at the business end of the titular character's staff was a very satisfying scene.
    • And now from Force, we have Cypha, who takes this trope Up to Eleven. The few times she doesn't have a smug look on her face, it's almost completely impassive.
    • Most of the Huckebein are like that, really... although Big Bad Cullen is making credible attempts at being a Magnificent Bitch.
  • Arguably, Orochimaru from Naruto. Sure, he's evil and fairly skilled, but he leaves a lot of the planning to his Enigmatic Minion. Also a literal example, what with his theme being snakes.
    • Gato of the Land of Waves arc loudly complains when Zabuza and his followers fail to kill Tazuna, despite them being stronger than him or any of the other men he has in his employ, and tries to kill both Zabuza and Team 7 after their battle in order to save money, showing considerable arrogance, overconfidence and disdain for his allies. Unfortunately, he doesn't count on the injured and Heel Face Turned Zabuza having enough strength and skill to kill him.
  • Prussia is a more humourous version of this trope. He dreams of conquering and enslaving the entire world, but if he comes close he's often cut back down to size. The fans tend to love him for it, though.
  • In the manga of Fullmetal Alchemist, Pride takes this trope and runs with it. He's a condescending little prick with all the ego you'd expect from the living embodiment of arrogance, and almost no redeeming qualities.
    • There's also Father Cornello. Quite arrogant despite being a mere puppet of the homunculi, and not impressive psychically compared to the rest of the cast, it's quite satisfying watching his scam fall apart right before his death.
    • Frank Archer from the first anime is the epitome of a Smug Snake; a ruthless sociopath who orchestrates heinous catastrophes for the sake of bettering his own image and publicity.
      • Dante is no better, being an egotistical, bodysnatching bitch who while quite intelligent, fails to earn the audience's respect or admiration, due to her selfishness, pettiness, willingness to destroy entire countries just so she can live a little longer, and attempts at taking over one of The Hero's two Love Interests (already a huge Woobie due to what she and her baby had gone through).
  • Half the Death Note fandom sees Light Yagami as a Magnificent Bastard. The other half sees him as just a high-functioning Smug Snake. Unlike many on this list, Light is very bright, but his A God Am I complex, infantile Freak Outs ("he got me!"), borderline sociopathy and tendency towards kicking dogs, can and do cost him the sympathy of many, while his sheer ego, and tendency towards underestimating his opponents can sometimes derail his plans and ultimately do get him killed. As in the Beckett example below, Light is incredibly smart, but not nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
    • Kyousuke Higuchi the Third Kira, is a more traditional example, being arrogant without reason, none-too bright, unsympathetic and fully convinced that he is The Big Bad, despite being Light's puppet.
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic. Treating both allies and enemies with disdain? Check. Always speaking in a sarcastic tone, ending it with a smirk? Check. Loves to bug the protagonist and take advantage of his moral insecurity? Check. Overconfident that his plans will go exactly the way he wants? Check.
    • The novels reveal that he did know quite a bit more about what was going on than most people in Amalgam and Mithril thought, and that sort of justified his disdain for their ignorance. Also, his overall plan did go exactly the way he wanted it -- he's the Death Seeker of the series, remember?
    • Leonard Testarossa also qualifies. While his smarts and charisma should, theoretically, allow him to avoid this trope, he's got too much of a superiority complex and kicks a few dogs too many for his own good. (Specially poor Kaname, considering how he beat her up when she and Sosuke aknowledged their feelings for each other)
      • Lampshaded in the later novels by Kaname herself (despite her Damsel in Distress status), who points out that sad and tragic past experiences do not give you an excuse to "play with the fates of other people, and flaunt a smile while you do it."
  • Yuri Killian became one of these toward the end of the first season of Kaleido Star, enacting a complicated revenge plot against Kalos Eido, his former boss, for the death of his father Aaron several years ago. While he succeeds in buying out Kaleido Stage and forcing most of its stars out (all the while taunting them about how they'll never make it big without him), attendance under Yuri's management dwindles rapidly because of people complaining the shows aren't as fun as they used to be. As a final insult, his ex-partner Layla Hamilton sees what he's done, attempts to fight back and finally gives him a hard slap to the face for assuming everything was Kalos' fault even after he learned that Aaron's death was genuinely accidental, and Kalos had been trying to make up for it ever since.
    • Yuri actually is one of the few Snakes who actually has a Heel Face Turn and works hard to become The Atoner. Even if he goes too far in Leon's case...
  • Kazamatsuri Hayato from Gilgamesh, perhaps portrayed as a complete asshole in an attempt to make Evil Matriarch Kageyama Hiroko look more sympathetic in comparison.
  • Akihiko Kurata, the Mad Scientist from Digimon Savers, is incredibly manipulative, condescending, and selfish, and his habit of situating himself well out of harm's way until he's absolutely sure of success makes him even more infuriating. This is somewhat made up for by his extreme cowardice, which makes the times when things actually go against him very satisfying indeed.
  • Tomoe Marguerite from the anime version of Mai-Otome spends a lot of her time plotting against Arika and her friends (and eventually the whole of Garderobe Academy), attempting to bump them all off in an effort to get Shizuru to notice her. Her inability to control her pride and keep her hatred for Arika in check prevent her from succeeding with anything bigger than small-time crimes, though she still winds up as a Karma Houdini in the end, mainly due to her accomplice taking full responsibility for everything Tomoe did in the first half of the series (and nobody keeping close tabs on either of them).
  • The manga incarnations of Nagi in both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome are far less Affably Evil and manipulative than his anime counterparts, though he is much more proactive in opposing the heroines, rather than plotting from the background. In both cases, he gets beaten pretty badly (twice in the former).
    • Nagi from the Mai-Otome manga partially subverts the trope by being the only version of Nagi in the mangas or animes to make a Heel Face Turn and actually reveal himself to be a semi-decent human being. He actually dies in a Heroic Sacrifice defending the main hero! It is, however, only a partial subversion, because for most of the series, he was a complete ass.
  • Millions Knives from Trigun. Missing throughout the entire anime except for a few scenes, we're expected to take him seriously when we see him sitting down in a field sipping a glass of wine? Even though his Dragon had nearly mentally crippled Vash, Knives lost to him in the span of an episode!
  • Job Trunicht from Legend of Galactic Heroes is particularly notorious for throwing an entire interstellar nation under the bus for personal gain, multiple times. In an unusual example, he's actually aware of what a slimy scumbag he is:

 Trunicht: Democracy isn't really all that remarkable. You can just look at me, Fleet Admiral. Someone like me can hold power and make others live and die as he likes. If that isn't a flaw of democracy, then what is?

  • One Piece both plays it straight and subverts it. There are plenty of Smug Snakes who rather satisfyingly get their asses handed to them by the Straw Hats, which makes them lose everything. The subversion comes from the fact that said snakes end up better off from said asskicking. Look no further than Wapol who after he was defeated by the Straw Hats and blown away from Drum island ended up starting a toy company, became a multi-millionaire, and married a model. Also, Helmeppo, who after the defeat of both him and his father, re-evaluated himself decided to seriously pursue the profession of a marine officer with Coby.
    • Some end up better off, but many do not. Kuro ended up forced to be a pirate again, the last thing in the world he wanted to be. Arlong lost his empire and was caught by the Marines. On the other hand, Eneru got exactly what he wanted (his own moon kingdom, meaning he's the only major One Piece villain who actually won,) and then there's the ones who win a little and lose a little, like Moria who lost his ship and his zombies but got to keep his position and had his defeat covered-up by the government ( (at least until he got told "You Have Outlived Your Usefulness" by Doflamingo). It seems that the ultimate fate of a One Piece villain is left up to fate (and the whim of Oda) and being evil is no guarantee of comeuppance.
      • Eneru also wanted to annihilate Skypeia, which he only managed to do partially before he got beaten down. So...3/4 victory?
    • Mr. 3 is probably the best example, primarily because he constantly harps about his tactics, when he's weaker than Mr. 4, chronically overconfident and cowardly, and not even as smart as Crocodile. He'd like to be a Magnificent Bastard, but he's far too arrogant and not as clever as he thinks.
      • Helmeppo's fate isn't particularly grating, though, due to a Heel Face Turn (he's trying to clean up his act, and he wants to restore his family's good name... by recapturing his fugitive dad).
  • Jean Gedoo from Geneshaft has all the ego of being the valedictorian in his class (and Yugi hair), with the "best genes" for leadership. Granted, he wasn't bad tactically, but he was far too obsessed with asserting and proving his worthiness, to the point that he would do very cruel things simply because he felt that someone - anyone - did not acknowledge his perfection...or simply because he was perfect and thus beyond judgment. That he had a problem with Mario Musicanova really grated.
  • All of the Chinese high eunuchs from Code Geass, who possess practically zero merits or skills of any kind and sell out practically everyone in their own country for their own benefit, while planning to either kill or marry off a lonely girl for exactly the same reason. Their deaths in particular are oh-so-satisfying to watch.
    • There's also Mao, who is played as a Smug Snake at first... until you learn what his deal is.
  • Hajime Mizuki from The Prince of Tennis starts this way, being an extremely quirky Strategist who wasn't above of using one of his player's insecurities to his advantage, despite the risks it'd bring to the kid. After a memorable Humiliation Conga dealt to him by said player's overprotective older brother, he gets a slightly more sympathetic role and becomes a sort of Ensemble Darkhorse making him one of the very rare Snakes who's a bit popular in fandom. Mainly since he's the epithome of Always Camp and therefore it's easy to put him in Ho Yay situations.
  • Jonathan Glenn from Brain Powerd probably thinks himself a Magnificent Bastard... and that's just his first failing! A combination of overconfidence, Kick the Dog moments, and the fact his manipulations never really go anywhere (plus, he later allows himself to become Baron Maximillian's pawn) gets him a place in this trope and makes him one of the most unsympathetic characters in the series.
  • Katsuhiko Jinnai from El Hazard certainly counts. Being a brilliant strategist and successful conqueror isn't enough to make up for his monumental ego and Annoying Laugh; traits that make him both hateable and/or hilarious to the audience.
  • Haruo from Historys Strongest Disciple Kenichi, a fair weather friend with an ever-present arrogant smirk on his face who enjoys getting Kenichi into trouble (for example, by spreading the news of his victory over Tsukuba, which made Kenichi a target for Ragnarok). A lot of readers would like nothing better than crossing the pages of the manga and punch his teeth in...
    • And he actually has snake tongue!
    • He really is a Manipulative Bastard, and Kenichi's masters admit that he has genuine strategic talent, and eventually he does become an asset to the team (kind of). He still has no fighting skill and an ego the size of a zeppelin, but still...
    • As the series progresses, Haruo does start to demonstrate some honest dedication to his "minions" -- even going so far as refusing to abandon them even in desperate situations and making decisions with the welfare of his group as a whole, leading even many of the masters of the series to observe that he has some very real leadership qualities. To top it off, he is slowly but surely sliding into Magnificent Bastard territory, even if his sense of style is...unique.
  • Mikoto from Flame of Recca. While her first credentials show her to be a Complete Monster, her fight with Fuuko cements her as a true Smug Snake, starting from the usage of crocodile tears, slow poisoning (while gloating on how she likes seeing life fading away), and finally, scoring a default victory through silencing the referee (who was about to declare KO), knocking Fuuko out and won over a ten count. As Raiha coined, it's not her physical strength that makes her a Jyuushinshu, it's her slyness. Even Joker noted that he is really doubtful about how Mikoto ends up in the Jyuushinshu ranks. While still smuggy, she starts softening up when she got into a relationship with Mokuren. But that ends very pitifully for her.
  • Goryo of Muhyo and Roji prides himself on his tactics, even though his grasp of magical law is inferior to Muhyo's. Despite (technically) winning the contest against Muhyo, Goryo's plan to corner Ark fails miserably, forcing Muhyo to come to his aid. Goryo is also largely unlikable because his business model frequently involves Kick the Dog moments.
  • Kashmir from Overman King Gainer is a pompous ass who uses underhanded tricks to try to defeat the Yapan Exodus. He succeeds once making it so that a Dome that the Exodus stopped at is damaged forcing them to join the Exodus which causes distrust and hatred which is the main source of Kashmir's plans (it also backfires when several of them form a second squad under former Siberian Railroad member Adette). All other plans fails at which point Kashmir who is the worst recurring mecha pilot in the series than gets his ass kicked.
  • The condescending jerk Haraguchi from Genshiken. This is especially displayed in the manga, where he picks up one of the Genshiken's new comic releases, thumbs through it, and gives it back. When he could have gotten it for free.
  • The Gundam franchise has numerous Smug Snakes in it including:
  • Chigusa Tsukikage, the Big Bad during the Kyoto arc of Mahou Sensei Negima. She acted all superior despite the fact that she's a Dirty Coward who hid behind a Human Shield (Konoka, her captive) whenever an enemy got near. In fact, when the inevitable happened and all her plans came crashing down around her in a spectacular manner, Chachazero, the Ax Crazy Perverse Puppet of Evangeline, appeared before her and called her out for all of her cowardly actions before giving her an ignoble defeat: Scaring her so badly that she fainted. And as though emphasizing her "feels a lot more important than she actually is" nature, the three minions she hired and lorded over in the Kyoto arc ( Koutarou, Tsukuyomi, and Fate) all turned out to both be stronger and a lot more plot relevant that Chigusa herself was in the grand scheme of things.
    • Much, much later on, Kurt Godel, Governor General of Ostia seems to be like this. Subverted as he's actually powerful enough to take on Negi, and might actually be (or not) an ally of the Big Bad. It turns out Kurt thinks he's a lot better at manipulation than he actually is, sending him right back into this trope, if only because he underestimated the Nakama's surveillance capabilities and didn't account for their informant from the future, although to be fair, he really had no possible way of knowing about that last one. As such, he pulls a Heel Face Turn and joins Negi's group, and then he re-joins Ala Rubra.
  • Kurotowa in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind fits this trope to the letter. Actor Chris Sarandon, who provided his voice in the English dub, even says he based his whole performance around the character's persistent sneer.
  • In Monster, most of the villains who aren't Johan or in some way redeemable. Kristof, Dr. Heinemann and Blue Sophie are the better examples.
  • Luppi, the replacement sixth Espada in Bleach was a Smug Snake in a big way; convinced of his indisputable superiority to his predecessor (Grimmjow), overestimating his skills in his fight with Hitsugaya, leering on Matsumoto as they fight and threatening to kill Orihime because he was injured in a diversion to cover for her abduction. Eventually, he gets killed in one shot by Grimmjow.
    • Eighth Espada Szayel Aporro Granz considers himself an infallible genius and the "perfect being" despite the fact he only managed to get the advantage he had over Renji and Ishida by studying both of them and setting things up in advance to put the odds drastically in his favor when they fought. His arrogance takes a major blow when Mayuri Kurotsuchi reveals he completely outmaneuvered him scientifically, and Szayel to swearing, stomping, and screaming like a spoiled child when nothing is working. When he tries crossing his final and most heinous Moral Event Horizon ( raping Mayuri's "daughter" and liutenant Nemu to forcibly impregnate her with himself so he can come back to life, which kills her), he winds up suffering a horrific Karmic Death because he underestimated the depth of Mayuri's own preparations ( he gave Nemu a strange poison that took effect when Szayel Aporro used her to revive himself). Rather tellingly, despite Mayuri's own rampant sociopathy, Szayel disgusts him.
    • Gin Ichimaru actually refers to himself as a Smug Snake, and seems to play the part rather well as he is all smiles and screws around with people. As of chapter 416, though, he graduated to a full-blooded Magnificent Bastard, despite having lost his fight against Aizen.
    • Big Bad Aizen himself also qualifies, despite being introduced as a Magnificent Bastard. Despite his impressive introduction, it soon becomes clear that Aizen's smooth talking and Gambit Roulette fetish are covering up his use of a godlike power as a crutch; once he truly takes the stage as Big Bad, instead of manipulating from the shadows, his Evil Plans end up getting his entire army killed for a fleeting to nonexistent tactical advantage, forcing him to do the entire job himself. This results in Yamamoto, Urahara (thrice, and once alongside Isshin and Yoruichi), and Gin all outmaneuvering him, which he only overcomes through having literal Plot Armor saving him from numerous life-ending attacks, including being disintegrated on the molecular level by his own Dragon. Finally, when he's achieved his ultimate form and refuses to shut up about how powerful he is, Ichigo shows up and defeats him easily because Aizen underestimated him. Ironically, he later recovers his Magnificent Bastard creed in the last arc, through his Enemy Mine deals with Soul Society that let him her them checkmate another Magnificent Bastard : the Bigger Bad of the series, Yhwach.
  • Iwamoto and Akashi from Yu Yu Hakusho are what happen when you combine this with Sadist Teacher. They're always cooking up schemes to get Yusuke and Kuwabara expelled, but in the end always get thwarted by Yusuke and Mr. Takanaka.
    • To a greater extent, Gonzou Tarukane, the hideous crimelord who imprisoned and tortured poor Yukina. He thought he had everything under control but in truth, he never even remotely stood a chance against Sakyou's Xanatos Gambit. Gonzou was doomed from the start because he thought the Togoru brothers were working for him when they really worked for Sakyou. The Oh Crap when he realizes he's been Out-Gambitted has this trope all over it.
    • Rishu in the Dark Tournament arc. He thought his match against Kuwabara was in the bag due to the manipulations (read:bribery) his sponsor carried out. Oh how wrong he was.
  • Tenzen in Basilisk sees himself as a Magnificent Bastard but doesn't live up to it, making a number of embarrassing mistakes as well as horrifying atrocities. He gets himself killed several times over.
  • Unsui of the Juppon Gatana from Rurouni Kenshin. During his time in the series, Usui always seemed to have the one-up on his fellow Juppon Gatana members, and most definitely fit the smug part of the Smug Snake, more than willing to mock and belittle his foes by pointing out how he could see through them with his "Mind's Eye". His apparent reason for joining the Juppon Gatana was to be able to kill Shishio if he ever had the chance. But in his fight with Saito, he was faced with the fact that his true reason was to put up the appearance of still trying to defeat Shishio, and hiding his dishonour. Usui became even angrier when Saito pointed out that Shishio knew this and was playing him like an instrument. And then, when Usui tried to hold on to the shred of dignity he had left, Saito mopped the floor with him.
  • Dorchenov from Metal Armor Dragonar is this, combined with The Starscream. A petty, arrogant and cowardly militaristic bully with an It's All About Me attitude who sacrifices his own soldiers without a care in the world, but nevertheless seems to think he's an incredibly Badass Magnificent Bastard. Unfortunately for him, it is pretty clear that he's a simpleton who is only dangerous because he's in a position of power - it is telling that even when his plans go the way he wants, it is only through brute strength or a stroke of dumb luck.
  • Khamen Khamen
  • Ren Sohma from Fruits Basket. She's beautiful, sly, manipulative...and not just despicable, but in the end, very incompetent. She has to manipulate Rin to get her late husband Akira's box (and Rin then fails and is horrifyingly "punished" by its owner, Ren's much hated and abused daughter Akito), is humiliated by Shigure when he tells her he only had sex with her because she looks like an older Akito, and once her plans crumble, she's left as an Empty Shell of her former self.
  • Touga Kiryuu is very handsome, charming and manipulative -- but ultimately, he's a horrendous Jerkass even to his sister Nanami, and he can't hold a candle to the real Magnificent Bastard of the series, Akio Ohtori.
  • Gouda of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is a quite intelligent man, but he has a massive inferiority complex which makes him quite a Smug Snake. He really likes to grate on people and put them down, and the protagonists get an idea of his plan fairly early on precisely because he's the kind of person that wants recognition of his cleverness.
  • Agon of Eyeshield 21, the living embodiment of Jerk Jock and a one-man Opposing Sports Team. Brilliant but Lazy meets It's All About Me meets The Gift meets Really Gets Around and Would Hit a Girl. It isn't pretty.
  • The Tenchi Muyo! franchise has several examples.
  • Jose Porla, the leader of rival guild Phantom Lord in Fairy Tail. Sneeringly arrogant, condescending, self-centered and, above all, incredibly petty, thinks himself a lot smarter than he actually is and is utterly unable to keep his massive ego in check - the whole reason for his attacks on Fairy Tail and the whole mess that ensued was simply the fact that he was jealous of Fairy Tail's popularity. Despite trying to keep up an Affably Evil facade when things go his way, he quickly loses his cool and throws childish temper tantrums as soon as his plans get even slightly derailed. It is telling that, while he's obviously the strongest member of Phantom Lord, his Badass Dragon Gajeel comes across as a much more credible threat. Since Jose is such a lowlife, his Villainous Breakdown cum Humiliation Conga at the hands of Makarov are a wonder to see.
    • From the same arc, we have Monsieur Sol of Jose's Element Four, who was sure he could get the upper hand on Elfman by psychologically torturing him, first by reminding him of his Dead Little Sister Lisanna (okay, she wasn't dead, but nobody knew that...) and then by forcing him to watch as Elfman's other sister Mirajane was getting the life squeezed out of her. Oh, how wrong he was.
  • Goose from Baccano. He's so incredibly arrogant that he goes so far as to say that the police would be stupid to try and stop him from murdering the senator's daughter and leaving her body on the side of the road just to scare him into releasing his boss from prison. Not only that, but he says all of this, right in front of the senator's wife and daughter. Really this (paraphrased) exchange sums it right up.

 Goose: (To Mrs. Beriam) Our plan is to get Master Huey out of jail. The police would be stupid to try and stop the train and arrest us. Once we reach the city border we're going to kill your daughter and leave her body on the side of the tracks. Don't be stupid enough to offer yourself as a sacrifice. This way, Senator Beriam will have no choice but to give in to our demands. I know this isn't going to be much comfort but I'll shoot her myself

    • His "boss", Huey, isn't exactly innocent of this either.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Seto Kaiba was a classic example during his time as the Big Bad. After his Heel Face Turn he becomes a better person, but his Jerkass behaviours and unbelievable arrogance keep him as an Antiheroic take on this trope. His stepbrother, Noah Kaiba, stepfather Gozaburo Kaiba, and former business associates, The Big Five play the trope to the hilt, as do Bandit Keith Howard, Weevil Underwood, Siegfried von Schroeder, and Marik Ishtar. The latter's Super-Powered Evil Side averts the trope, as he's far too psychopathic to really have an opinion of himself
    • Arguably the bigger Smug Snake during Kaiba's time as the Big Bad wasn't even himself--it was Mokuba. He challenges Yugi three times, each time extremely smug, despite him being nowhere near Yugi or Kaiba's skills, and prone to freaking out any time things seemed to go wrong for him. Then again, considering it's implied that he acted like that so his brother would like him again, he might be considered a sympathetic Deconstruction.
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