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For me its:
1 Masamune (cool personality, excellent story, awesome death seen, tragic, A NINJA DOG WITH A SCARF)
2 Kaibutsu (Tragic victim, pitiful, gives me ambiguous morality vibes, fluffy)
3 Victor (Smart, realistic, like how he and Gin get locked in a battle of wits)
4 Monsoon (I hate his mood swings, but I like the scenes where he plays with Zion and Sirius, and him trying to run away with Sirius)
5 Gaia (Wolf, Kinda like the a version of an evil Ohu army leader, First main dogish main villain)
6 Hougen (His relationship with his brother, he just kinda there other than that)
7 Akakabuto (First villain, meh other than that)
8 Hybrid Bear (I hate this guy, he made no sense, he killed GB)
9 Shogun (Should not exist, makes no sense, worst arc of the whole series, why Yoshi why?)
Hope I din't miss any of the final bosses, please rank them yourself if you like .
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2. Akakabuto (the OG, also he's just cool)
3. Masamune (evil ninja dog hell yeah)
4. Monsoon (kinda just Akakabuto rehashed and less scary, but I did enjoy that he made more sympathetic)
5. Victor (absolutely ruthless)
6. The Shōgun (really creepy and I think interesting as a villain, just wish he was more developed)
7. Hougen (a formidable villain who is responsible for one of the best arcs, but generally I don't care for him as a character)
8. Gaia (I genuinely don't care much for the wolf arc, I think it's tonally very off, and generally I don't care much for any of the characters in it outside of physical designs)
9. Hybrid Bear (underwhelming arc, underwhelming villain)
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EDIT: Got done with the wolf arc, so I'll be listing Gaia.
1.) Masamune – He’s a perfect example of how a good puppy can turn twisted. I feel that he is more of a personal challenge to the youngsters of this arc. Tragic, evil, smart, manipulative, and overall ninja bad-ass with an equally bad-ass suicide (I do not condone suicide)
2.) Monsoon – Monsoon in my opinion is much more developed than his father, Akakabuto. Nearly indestructible, he tests the Ouu army's resolve, just like his father did. We know his backstory, motives, and even has some changes of heart when interacting with Sirius. Like a wild animal, his behavior is unpredictable, and that both helps and hurts his character development.
3.) P4/Kaibutsu – He had a tragic past that has made him resort to killing humans and animals. He is headstrong, and willing to take down anyone who fights along with humans. He is Weed's first challenge, and does not let up on him at all!
4.) Gaia – Despite me thinking the wolf arc was a POS, one of its redeeming factors, in my opinion, is Gaia. Sure, he doesn't have as much character as P4, Hougen or Monsoon, but he has a regal type of personality that is fitting for a ruler of an empire. He is very skillful as he puts the Hakkenshi's skills to the test, and it's quite interesting symbolism as with his defeat comes the defeat of the Empire. He also has a neat design.
5.) Hougen – He’s a rude crude dude willing to do anything to get what he wants. He’s strong and smarter than he looks, proving to the Ouu Army that he's more than just some punk who wants to take control. He's one of the better developed villains in the series. I just wish his arc was a little shorter.
6.) Victor – He’s a ruthless and very intelligent villain who comes up with multiple plans to make sure his ambitions come to fruition. He and his units are proof that it will take more than strength to defeat him. The only downside to this character is that he acts like a coward when it comes to facing bosses head-on, and the battles he does have with them are quite unsatisfying.
7.) Akakabuto – A mere killing machine with the desire to kill anything that moves and claim territory. Kind of an underwhelming character if you think about it. His saving grace is that he was the Ouu Army's first and biggest challenge, making the Ouu Army come together as one to achieve a common goal.
8.) Shougun – A ruthless killing machine. We don’t know much about how he turned out the way he did other than rumors. Probably one of the most underdeveloped villains.
9.) Hybrid Bear – A mere killing machine with the desire to kill anything that moves. Nothing is known about it, and honestly I don’t think anyone cares.
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1. Masamune For a villain I find him rather likable, since I usually don't like ginga villains too much. He's not a particularly big dog but he has a lot of skill, smarts and charisma which makes him a formidable foe. I kinda feel for him given his childhood was not the best and he felt his destiny was taken away from him, and he died in a fitting way still true to his beliefs. I also think his design is pretty cool, with and without the scarf.
He's complicated, and he's got a very good reason for his grudge against dogs, however he is also still a villain because of his truly evil actions. I like how his relationship develops with Sirius too, the fact that he is still very unpredictable but starts to change and become conflicted.
I actually didn't know where to place him, because I love the shepherds arc and the strategies he comes up with, however, like the arc as it continues, I think there's a bit of a stale side to him too. A bit lacking of personality, however great design and very threatening.
Like others said he was a really good villain for a good arc, but personally I didn't care much for his character aside from that. He was quite entertaining though.
The arc was just too short for me to list him higher or think of him as a major villain. I think his former close friendship with Jerome also makes me think of his less as the 'major villain' trope and more of a ''save a friend from darkness' kind of thing haha. Having said that, Jerome and the gang weren't too kind to him.
He just didn't really have any character to him other than to kill all dogs humans, bear etc.
Mean and mysterious, so many unanswered questions.
8. Hybrid Bear
Most boring villain, rehash of Akakabuto but without any of the original story's charm. I kind of like his unique design... but it also looks like a dog.
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it's not like JJBA where there are cool villains in every new story, but DIO is the true stand-out. I guess for me (I can only list from what I've read)
1. Hougen; total sicko, hard to enjoy most of the time, except for his maniacal laughter. I hate his personality- that makes him a good villain
2. Monsoon; really interesting development, actually matters in the story beyond "evil character! bad!"
3. Gaia; he's super trope-y but I love him, even though he's fairly minor
4. Kaibutsu; just as others have said, he has a really sympathetic story, connections to protagonists, his design is cool
like I said, I don't really like any of them? so this list was hard to make even if it's short
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2. Hougen (mainly manga version), while he's generic and over the top sadistic with his enemies he at least was diplomatic toward non-Ohu allied dogs, letting them join on their own instead of by force -which is good strategy actually- and showed his most interesting side when Sniper accepted his capital punishment. He showed a genuine though twisted bond towards Sniper, even before he knew about the robotic legs being useful. And when he lost Genba, he lost all reason. Also the Grim Reaper aura was super cool and when mad he got really scary.
3. Viktor is generic with his lust for power and ruthlessness but he doesn't rely only on numbers and power, but on intelligence and morale. He's not only smarter than Gin and co, but he also is good at psychological warfare. Sure he's a bit cowardly when facing a dog that can turn into a bazooka, but that's just self-preservation. I don't think that's bad, when your main goal is to win wars. But the cliche of the Evil Foreigner Breed coming to ruin Good Japan got boring after having Sniper, Hougen and Shogun as villains. (now that I think of it, didn't they also emphasize that Akakabuto was NOT a Japanese bear?)
4. Akakabuto is just an immortal killing machine but he has enough brains to make other bears defend his fortress and he's by far the coolest and scariest of them all, so fighting him made the fights more risky and more epic than all of the other villain fights combined. None of the other fights against a villain are nearly as memorable to me, so that alone gives him loads of points.
5. Monsoon had the makings for a much better villain and that's why he loses points. His backstory and trauma had loads of potential. But Yoshi made him cruel for cruelty's sake when it came to his relatives and to other bears (why tf did he kill a female bear for not being his relative??) and all the back and forth between him being 100% evil and goodness for endless volumes made it tiresome. The best and riskiest fights were when he had his bear army with him, but after Deus Ex Humans killed every single other bear, the risk factor dropped to zero for me. I simply could not see him as a threat after that knowing that the humans can just kill him any time instead of waiting endlessly for one dog to learn how to use a sharp curly knife. But his bond with Sirius and inner conflict when he faces Gin or has PTSD flashbacks are one of the few redeeming qualities of TLW.
6. Masamune to me loses points to me for being pretty much the fursona of a real life person, which means you don't need to be as creative when you copy most of someone's story and personality. Also I'm not a fan of such a humanoid design, especially when everyone else around is just a dog (at least he's not as bad as Tenka). He does get points for taking his own life in defiance to everyone, for being diplomatic toward valuable potential allies like Genai, but requiting other dogs by force just means that when you're in trouble they'll be the first to run away.
7. Gaia was by far the most boring of the wolves for me. At least he assembled a pack of much more interesting wolves who gave everyone a hell of a fight.
8. Shogun was boring, and a bad excuse for Yukimura to get easily redeemed by just making him worse. Feeding on puppy blood? Really? Also the whole cliche of "evil foreigner invading Japan" got boring after having Sniper and Hougen as villains. But at least he was scary.
9. Hybrid bear was a mistake. Didn't even have Akakabuto's coolness factor.
- Shining Sirius
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Let me take a crack at where my rankings stand:
1. Gaia. I may have already proclaimed my admiration for Gaia in the GNG Favourite/Least Favourite Characters thread, but heck, I'm about to do it again. Yes, a somewhat unorthodox first choice. I just couldn't see around picking Emperor Gaia as my favourite villain. I love his feral design. I love the sheer extent of his unearthly power. And I think I may have a penchant for regal villains who think of themselves as gods. All Hail Emperor Gaia!
2. Monsoon. Call me crazy, but I love Monsoon's design and that he develops to show a sliver of conscience, unlike his dad ever did. It was really interesting to have a villain who's committed some unforgivable deeds bonding with a pure pacifist to the point where he actively refrained from killing him numerous times, instead throwing a hostile tantrum in emotional distress. What Monsoon did to Bob and his family was irredeemable and yet through Sirius and Zion he (subjectively) was on the road to redemption, but just a little too late. Monsoon's definitely not the abhorrent demon his father was, and that made him my favourite bear villain. I can only wish that he and Sirius remain best buds in the afterlife together.
3. Masamune. A villainous example of how, through shitty parenting, monsters are made and not born. Yes, I largely blame Terumune for how Masamune turned out. Also, speaking as someone who had not one, but two, crappy father figures during my childhood, I feel I can relate to Masamune's turmoil. It was honestly heart-breaking to see him defeated by, essentially, another version of his childhood self and refusing to accept it, committing seppuku as a result. His entire existence was nothing but tragic considering how clever, hard-working and skilled he was as a ninja dog. I hope he's found more comfort in death than he ever had in life. R.I.P. Also, is it just me, or does Masamune look very much like Jaryuki?
4. Kaibutsu. Can anybody honestly blame Kaibutsu for going completely insane? Jesus Christ, what on Earth were the humans doing to him in the name of science? Did they drill that chain into his flank to try and prevent escape?! The friendship between him and Jerome was quite possibly the most beautifully tragic in the whole series and it's a shame that it had to end with Jerome attempting to justify what the humans did to him, to his face, followed by a fight to the death. Kaibutsu was one of the few villains who actually deserved to die, not because he was inherently evil, but because it put an end to his misery-inducing pain, traumatic memories and loneliness that it hopefully brought him peace. Those heartless humans in the laboratory got their comeuppance for what they did to cause an animal insurmountable pain in the pursuit of knowledge and nobody can change my mind on that matter.
5. Hougen. Always found Hougen a pretty disgusting character... from his perverted pursuits to taking a shit in front of Ohu's leaders. However, I also can't deny that seeing him turn rotten from spending his life as a prisoner in a rusty old shed having to resort to cannibalism to survive made for a hard watch... and his mercy-execution of Genba is a death that gets me every time. What Hougen did by his brother was very noble. Almost tragic to see Hougen reverting back to his savagery by having a violent meltdown afterwards. Great antagonistic character.
6. Akakabuto. The original baddie; a cunning, super powered, giant demon bear with no tragic backstory, just an ego and bloodlust to match his size. He just takes anything he wants and runs a dictatorship of skilled bear soldiers. What's not to like?
7. Victor. I love Victor's chilling design - he even looks like he's gone totally insane. However, that's about as high as my compliments go for him. The sheer vileness he exhibited in driving all those women and children to commit suicide and later laughing about it... still makes me shudder uncomfortably. That scene was really hard to read without Victor gloating about how 'weak' they all were for refusing to breed with him. Victor is more of a Nazi than Bayern and I don't like him.
8. Shougun. Decently designed and skilled with his axe... and that's about it. I could almost hear Yoshi asking himself; 'How can I make this monkey as evil as possible? ... Have him literally eat babies!' for the setup of the Monkey Arc.
9. Hybrid Bear. Just... meh. Real-life hybrid bears are eye-catchingly unique animals. The Hybrid Bear and her cubs may have looked the part, but in essence, they were just a rehash of Akakabuto's story. Why bears again after the whole Akakabuto arc pretty much wrapped them up until TLW? Couldn't Yoshi have had Joe fight maybe an evil fox, crane, or an escaped wildcat like in Yamato? In fact, the only part of this arc that genuinely stuck with me was GB's death. Easily one of the most emotional deaths in the entire series and it came out of one of the most boring arcs.
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1. Victor - The most threatening, smartest villain in Ginga. It's crazy yet exciting seeing how his plans worked out throughout this arc. It was literally a horrific blast.
2. Masamune - Love his looks, love his power, and knowing that he has a reason for doing all of this (being robbed of his chance as a leader) makes his plans less comically villainous. Also. Badass death.
4. Kaibutsu - I don't like that Kaibutsu had to be a villain... wish he could have been like an anti-hero of some kind. His relationship with Jerome was beautiful ;-;
3. Hougen - He's a jerk and killed one of my favorite characters in the series, but as a villain, he's pretty amusing and his brute power making basically half the dogs in the country join him is pretty incredible, I have to admit. Plus, like you said, his relationship with his brother is nice.
5. Monsoon - He beat his dad! Mostly because of his unique relationship with Sirius.
6. Akakabuto - The main OG baddie will always get seen as just meh cuz theyre the uncreative first, but ... he's a humongous bear that gathered up an army of bears to build a castle and fight an army of dogs. not baaad
7. Gaia - this is where I stop caring about the villains. I never liked Gaia. He felt so over the top evil, using kids as meatshields and stuff. The only majorly cool thing about him was being a wolf and needing the whole freakin' cast of GNG to take him down, which they still didn't because an earthquake had to kill him.
8. Shogun - Soulless strange villain. I only put him above the hybrid bear because he's something different lol
9. Hybrid bear - I have no words of how pointless, boring, and tedious this villain (andarc) is. Just plain 'I've given up' bait character right here.
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2. Akakabuto - He's the one who started it all. He may not be a complex or sympathetic villain, but as an almost Godzilla-like force of destruction that needs every weapon in the cast's arsenal to be taken down, I really do enjoy him. You don't always need a villain to have a crazy backstory or anything to be entertaining, and Akakabuto proves that. The final battle against him will always be one of the greatest moments in Ginga for me, and because of him, the Ohu army was formed and all our favorite dogs got a chance to meet.
3. Hougen - A bit of a let-down for a "final boss" compared to Hougen imo, but I did enjoy Hougen nontheless. I like his breed and general appearance, and something about how ridiculously disgusting and cruel he is was just kind of a joy to watch. Where he fails for me, though, is the attempt to try and make him sympathetic. His backstory, to me, is kinda meh, and while his relationship with his brother is nice, it's kinda hard to feel bad for him considering how he'll happily piss in a dying dog's face or watch someone kill puppies just to prove their loyalty to him. I also don't care much for how he's just invincible, and how characters will just be pathetically knocked aside so that they can be killed or overpowered, or don't even do any damage to him because...I guess his skin his too tough? Idk.
4. Viktor/Masamune/Hybrid Bear/Gaia/Shogun - I've put these guys together since they all mean about the same to me. Sure, they all have their cool looks and gimmicks and stuff, but I just haven't really connected with them the way I've connected with other villains. It also doesn't help that I don't have much knowledge on the arcs that they all show up in, so I can't really form an opinion on them myself.
5. Monsoon - I can't stand Monsoon. I thought his origin story of "the Ohu dogs just decided to randomly murder all bears even after Akakabuto and his soldiers were dead", but a bit too silly. Maybe a few dogs, sure, but I doubt Gin would ever allow that after what happened with the cubs. However, I could've looked past that if Monsoon had been written better with his conflicting personality. If he'd been written in such a way where he knew that not all dogs were bad, but his fear just blinded him, he could've had a cool arc where he learned to trust dogs and ended the war against Ohu and Akakabuto's bloodline. Or, Monsoon could've remained vengeful and evil, and the army would've had no choice but to put him down after he becomes a danger to Ohu and possibly even other bears that Ohu forms an alliance with. I would've even taken another mindless killer rather than the mess we got. In TLW, Monsoon acts unnecessarily cruel to both young dogs who even the most traumatized of people would realize couldn't possibly hurt them, as well as his own kind. He constantly abuses Sirius, and despite my hatred for Sirius, I can't tolerate Monsoon's "I'm sorry I hit you, I promise I won't do it again" attitude. I fear Monsoon is what Kaibutsu would've become if he'd been the main villain of GDW: not a morally grey character who'd been hurt and betrayed by the ones he loved, but a poorly written, abusive jackass who didn't deserve the millions of chances Sirius gave him.
My favorites of the Bearhound Fam: