Clayman made the dumbest villain move of all time

Now is the title a bit hyperbolic? Perhaps, after all:

This guy exists. Who’d have thought that turning your city’s protector against you would be a bad idea, especially when she was the strongest in the land. But we aren’t talking about Rung right now, this is all about Clayman. This is what I would call an “emergency editorial” as after watching the “That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime” episode leading up to the Walpurgis meeting, a certain scene happened which took me for a loop. It’s just such a crazy moment that makes Clayman look so bad, especially since he is supposed to be one of the smarter villains. It’s really a tutorial on how to speed run your own demise. Note that this editorial will contain spoilers up through Walpurgis and will reference events from season 1 although not in great detail. If you haven’t watched That Time I was Reincarnated as a Slime up through this point in season 2 then you will want to bypass this editorial.

So before I even play the clip let’s set the stage here. You’re Clayman at the moment. You spent all of season 1 causing disasters for a powerful tribe leader known as Rimuru because you have contempt for the guy and also as a distraction to buy you more time to become a true demon lord. See, the only way to become a demon lord is to murder a bunch of people and absorb their souls. For Rimuru it took murdering 100,000 people and claiming their souls to become a true demon lord.

It’s not easy to get that many people though, especially as there is a truce among all of the demon lords at the moment. You’ve been breaking this truce but doing so subtly in a way where nobody can prove it even if they suspect. Finally you have gathered around 30k-50k people at the ready to be murdered. Additionally you were able to mind control one of the true demon lords and are even blackmailing another one. It’s finally time for Walpurgis, the meeting among all demon lords. You’ve been getting your pieces ready for years at this point.

Now as you’re walking in it is important to remember that you are the weakest guy at the table. You’re barely even any kind of demon lord while the rest or at least most of these guys are “True” Demon Lords. There are 3 ranks to this: Demon Lords, which are quite powerful of course and still above most beings. I am not positive if Clayman is a demon lord or a pseudo demon lord as they keep mentioning he hasn’t achieved a true status yet but I think he has the normal status so he is higher than pseudo.

Then you have the True Demon Lords like Leon, Rimuru, and any other fighter who has completed the genocidal conditions. They have abilities that are leagues above any normal demon lord. Finally, you have the Elder True Demon Lords. While technically there is no extra rank, these are the 3 demon lords who have been around the longest and are at least implied to be far stronger than the rest. Milim is one of these three along with the red haired dragon demon at the front of the table and one other. So now you have the stage set for what is to come. It’s in your best interests not to make enemies of these guys right now while you are vulnerable . I should also mention that your attempt to claim the 50k souls was foiled by a bunch of mages and super powered orcs so you really don’t have an easy fallback option right now. You really just need to lie low and survive this meeting or throw in a lot of subtle burns and insults to pit the demon lords against each other. Okay with the stage set, here is what I consider the dumbest villain move of 2021 and you can probably take it much further than that with ease.

So what exactly happened here? Well, Milim is the demon lord who is being mind controlled which is why she didn’t react to the strike at all. However, everyone clearly noticed this and now know that something is wrong with her. Previously some were under the impression that they may have struck a truce or she was just teaming up as a whim. Not it isn’t easy to deduce that something isn’t quite right here and as quite a few of them get along with Milim, this instantly puts Clayman at a bad position.

Even if you ignore the fact that quite a few of the demon lords like Milim because they find her amusing, there is also a great sense of pride among many powerful fighters. To see the equivalent of a “commoner” striking one of their elites is sure to stir up some bad blood with the rest. As the demon lords may be immortal they also value any entertainment they can get so that’s another reason not to attack Milim. There isn’t a single good reason to immediately make an enemy out of everyone like that.

Now these are demon lords so you won’t expect a friendship moment where they talk this over. If any of them gets sufficiently upset they could just wipe him off the planet like nobody’s business. Keep in mind that some of these guys could potentially take him out in a single blow. He has Milim to protect him but Clayman is surrounded by demon lords so the odds of her stopping several attacks is slim. Additionally, now that they know something is wrong with her, the necklace will be an easy target.

I haven’t seen the next episode yet as I rushed this editorial out as soon as I finished this one but whether he gets away with it or not, it was a really bad move. There’s just no good reason to antagonize these guys when you could be turned into paste in a moment. This guy just can’t see the long game and ruins it all with spur of the moment decisions. Rimuru was already making moves against the guy but it was really a proxy war at the time. Now you have Rimuru promising to murder the guy. All it takes is one true demon lord trying to murder you and that’s it.

Now, Clayman may not have known that Milim and Rimuru were “besties for resties” as they put it, not very many people knew about that. But, he still knew the risks of the others seeing what was going on and turning on him. Now he has infuriated one of the most dangerous guys at the table. Rimuru may not literally be the strongest demon lord in the room but the fact that it is even debatable makes things really bad for Clayman. Rimuru also has the largest army of powerful monsters at his beck and call. If he summons the Tempest Alliance to wage war against Clayman, there is no escape. While Rimuru could solo him 1 on 1, it also means that Rimuru could destroy his castle, reputation, and every trace of him on the planet.

There’s another wrinkle to this as well. Milim has a self defense function which activates if she takes damage or is attacked. Fortunately for Clayman he is so weak that it didn’t activate but he was already warned about this earlier. If he had triggered her defense function it was already made clear that she would destroy him instantly. That’s just another risk to take on top of all the others. Just like that all of his careful planning over the years will have come to naught. It’s also worth mentioning that aside from being one of the weakest demon lords in the room, he is even weaker than one of the attendants who it seems is a demon lord in disguise.

In the end Clayman is extremely lucky that he wasn’t obliterated on the spot. Who knows, maybe he will have some kind of master plan that will make this worth it but much like Athena’s plan in Saint Seiya, I can’t imagine it being anything other than some super convoluted endeavor that ultimately isn’t worth the effort and would have backfired under any circumstances. Clayman really made himself be one of the weaker antagonists in the series with this move. Imagine throwing away every possible advantage you may have had in this situation just to show off a bit. His days may have been numbered anyway but he really went out of his way to guarantee his demise. This is a fairly quick editorial but it was such a shocking moment that I had to write about it.

7 traits that make for a bad villain

I’ve written editorials on what makes for a good hero and what makes for a good villain. Now we’re going to look at what are traits you want your villains to avoid. These can turn you into a bad villain. Now there are really two kinds of villains. Ones who are meant to be taken seriously like Lex Luthor or Frieza and then there are the fun ones like Dr. Cortex or Drakken. The criteria for these villains can be quite different. In this editorial I’m mainly talking about serious villains to consider that in mind as I bring up the following points. Characters are quite layered so just because you may have some of these traits does not mean you are automatically a bad villain. However you do want to typically avoid these.

1. “I want to marry the princess!”

This is a huge one. In general what I’m talking about here is a villain’s motive. It can’t be something so superficial like this. Villains like Jafar from Aladdin or Claude from The Hunchback of Notre Dame come to mind. When a villain’s motive is like this it immediately makes it hard to take them seriously or even find them likable. I’m focusing more on the negative aspect of the motive here as I’ve already spoken at length about what a good motive is on the last editorial. Your motive just can’t be so petty/shallow. Another variation of this would be something like just being super evil for no reason. You can just be evil like wanting to destroy the world or something. That’s pretty legit but if you’re just torturing heroes and stabbing guys for no reason then it comes across as unnecessarily edgy.

2. The villain’s insane for a purpose that isn’t compelling

Insanity in small doses or even large doses can make for interesting villains. Look at Joker, he’s a pretty iconic villain who is insane in all the right ways. His rants actually have a purpose to them and while he is crazy, he still has general goals that you can find pretty interesting like tearing down society to prove that anyone can crack at any time. Now, he’s been through so many writers that this can vary but for the most part it’s good. Then you have a villain like Toga who is insane but not in a cool way. Her fascination with Deku is definitely quite out there and she doesn’t seem to quite understand why it’s so odd. Her origin story shows that she has been like this for a very long time. So to be most accurate, it’s not that being insane is automatically a negative trait but it tends to backfire so you want to be careful about it. Being insanely after another character like this is not the motivation you want for your villain.

3. The villain acts very subserviently to another

This is a big no no. You absolutely can’t grovel to another villain or constantly ask for forgiveness. This is a really easy way to make yourself a joke when it comes to big time villains. Whether you’re the big boss or a henchman you have to conduct yourself with a certain amount of class and decorum. You can’t go around being scared of the others. In some cases a villain might even allow himself to get beaten up by the others. Leo Lionheart is an example of a villain who is constantly pandering to his bosses. He spends his entire screen time being absolutely terrified of Salem and her crew. there’s no way to find a villain like this particularly likable. He’s just not made of the right stuff and this kind of groveling and terror is an immediate turnoff. Should have at least made a break for it.

4. The villain has a grotesque design

Now design is something that’s important for any character so this is a bit of an easy one. Particularly for villains sometimes you want to have a villain who is super deformed or grotesque to add to the fear factor but it’s not a good idea. For one thing, having that many scars means that people have been beating you up for ages or if it’s just too crazy then it’s going to be hard to look at the villain as it is. Freddy Krueger is the perfect example of this. It’s a grotesque design for sure and hurts his chances of being likable. I mean, he’s got a ton going in the wrong way for him so he was never close as it is but this does not help his case in the slightest. Mojo is a character who had more potential. At the very least he has a lot of fun lines and the guy can fight pretty well. It is hard to get past his design and mannerisms at times though. If they tone that down a bit he could become one of the all time greats.

5. The villain is fairly mindless

A villain needs to have an amazing design to make this work. Otherwise if you’re a mindless villain it’s going to really be hard to be likable at all. When you’re just a giant villain who can’t talk or act then are you even a character or just an obstacle? That’s the question you have to ask for someone like the Impure King from Blue Exorcist. It’s hard to find him likable or even that interesting. He just stands around as the heroes slash away at him until he is burned into nothing. He had a great intro but didn’t do anything with it. You can’t have a villain like this or at least you should try to avoid it. The same goes for villains who are usually smart but suddenly turn into a power type and lose all of their intelligence, it’s just not a good idea.

6. The villain throws a lot of pity parties

Whenever a villain starts to try and blame everyone for the mess he’s caused then this really won’t work out well. One big example of this is Reiner from Attack on Titan. Bear in mind that Reiner is directly responsible for murdering countless people during the Titan attacks. He tries to justify this many different ways and one of which is by trying to say that he didn’t even have a choice. He has a crazy speech against Eren to which Eren points out that the whole thing is ludicrous. It was a pretty hype scene but didn’t do anything for Reiner. His character starts to go downhill fast from this point. You absolutely cannot have the villain feeling bad for himself. It’s not going to end well. Villains need confidence and conviction to go through with their plans. Now, Reiner was caught up in a tough situation and he made a choice. It’s better to make a choice than not to do anything but then he’s got to live with it and can’t garner any sympathy from anyone.

7. The villain suddenly decides he doesn’t want to go through with the plan

This is a classic for minions or even big bosses They’ll do all kinds of evil things throughout a series but then suddenly they have second thoughts about the whole thing. “Maybe we’re going too far” or something like that when they’ve been totally on board the whole time. It always seems rather sudden and just out of character. You can also just call it chickening out. It’s different from having an honor code where you have some things that you’ll just never do. Backing out of a plan where you fully knew what it entailed is something else entirely. In this case with Emma from Godzilla, it’s just that she didn’t think things through. It’s almost worse when you think about it because she was so confident in her plan initially. Just listen to her plan. It made no sense and the start and it doesn’t make any sense now.

So these are my top 7 traits to avoid. Naturally there are others like just making sure your villain isn’t a creep like Nobuyuki from Sword Art Online but if you avoid these 7 traits you’re definitely in a really good position to go places. Naturally for there to be great villains you’re bound to run into run of the mill villains or even downright bad ones. It’s just the way things work but the more good villains the better right? It’s always interesting dissecting what makes a character interesting or unlikable like this. I’d say it’s more fun writing about the best ones though but you gotta see both sides of the coin. That means the final editorial in this series will be about what makes for a bad Hero but that’s not til December. In November the monthly editorial will be a simpler one about how I score media. What does a 7/10 mean to me and how do you achieve that? Look forward to that editorial next month!