Cybervillain (also known as: Actionpunk or Sauronpunk) is a type of aesthetic that started in the late '90s, and rose to prominence thru out the '00s. The aesthetic has to do with shared traits amongst villains in cartoons of that era; mainly, their appearances and personalities.
The name "cybervillain" originates from how most villains of this type were based on cybernetic technology (ex. Hexadecimal from ReBoot, Swayzak from Toonami.) "Sauronpunk" is due to how these villains had a similar motif to Sauron from The Lord of the Rings series (no mouth, horns, etc.)
Elements of cybervillain/actionpunk were deviated from Jonny Quest, toy cartoons of the '80s and '90s, and Japanese anime. Some other factors were '50s B-movies and the '90s "X-TREME" movement. ReBoot in 1994 debuted villains Megabyte and Hexadecimal, who were one of the first villains of this aesthetic.
In 1998, Gex: Enter the Gecko was released for the PlayStation, containing Rez, a cybernetic entity with a deep voice and an angular design. Although not as notable as other examples, he could very well count as an early example of this aesthetic.
In 1999, Toy Story 2 was released, featuring Emperor Zurg, a villain from the in-universe Buzz Lightyear series. He practically defined the cybervillain aesthetic, with his sharp, angular edges, his deep voice, his vented mouth, and his thin waist. Zurg later appeared in the Buzz Lightyear of Star Command TV cartoon the following year, with another notable example, NOS-4-A2.
In 2001, Samurai Jack premiered on Cartoon Network, introducing Aku, a villain with an angular design and a thin waist. Following Samurai Jack, many villains of other shows started copying this aesthetic, even CGI cartoons, as Swayzak from Toonami's Trapped in Hyperspace event proved.
Danny Phantom and The Fairly OddParents introduced a switch-up to the design: Vlad Plasimus and Dark Laser were designed with a more traditional curved chest design, as opposed to the previous villains' straight line chests. This was the same with Loki from Cartoon Network's The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, who was one of the last villains to contain this design, as CGI was on the rise and the "Americanime" trend was dying.
"Cybervillain" was defined in 2022 by UnwellDanny on deviantART, who is a notable fan of Swayzak from Toonami and creates characters inspired by the aesthetic.
- ReBoot (1994-2001)
- Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000)
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005)
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (2000-2001)
- The Fairly OddParents (2001-2017)
- Invader Zim (2001-2006)
- Samurai Jack (2001-2017)
- Cyberchase (2002-present)
- Toonami: Trapped in Hyperspace (2002)
- Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005)
- Teen Titans (2003-2007)
- Megas XLR (2004-2005)
- Danny Phantom (2004-2009)
- American Dragon: Jake Long (2005-2007)
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee (2005-2007)
- Sym-Bionic Titan (2010-2011)
- Primal (2019-)