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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Chuckg: Took out the Redcloak entry. Anybody whose plan involves allying with one of the most sadistically evil beings on the planet for the purpose of threatening to unleash the universe-destroying primal chaos so as to blackmail the gods into recreating the universe into a racial-supremacist paradise where his species rules and all others are their slaves... well, there's many trope entries that Redcloak would qualify for, epically, but 'Anti Villain' is not one of them.
  • The Wanderer: Technically, all Redcloak has stated that he wants is an equal footing. Considering that at least according to the version of the story of the origin of the world that he heard, (directly from his god)is that his race was created to be inferior and existed to be murdered by other races a fair amount of his actions is understandable. (And yes, I know that he has run a tyrannical state since the conquest of Azure City, but that's not to say that if the goblins got their own lands he would do the same, and he's never voiced the intention to have his species as the superior one and the others as his slaves).

  • The Wanderer: You know what, the fact is that Redcloak matches the description in the article exactly. Of course he still has villainous goals! He's a villain! Anti-Villain still has the V word on the end of it. But even Word of God says that Redcloak may be one of those people who does evil things because life has pushed him to it, something we see in detail in Start of Darkness and the main comic itself. Until someone can convince me how he doesn't fit on here using material from the article itself to disprove the point rather than their personal opinion, he stays.


Lale: No offense, but it seems to me that all the examples that are getting Anti-Villain references are really examples of Anti-Hero.

Earnest: None taken, I made sure that most if not all of those were already listed in the Villains category before adding them. The linked examples are all more antagonist than protagonist, which ought to put them on the villain half of the Anti-Villain / Anti-Hero divide.

Scrounge: I think a few more, like Dinobot, may have popped up since you last checked, Earnest.. This page will need to be kept an eye on.

Puck: Likewise, the two Discworld examples (Lord Vetinari and Granny Weatherwax) do seem to fit the trope, except that Pratchett never actually casts them as antagonists. Vetinari is pretty much an Evil Overlord who happens to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. (I might add that to the page).
Seth: I think this trope solves all the issues we had over what the hell do we call Zuko.

Lale: Isn't Snape The Atoner and now a genuine good guy who just happens to be a jerk? He changed sides for real and was working for Dumbledore for real all along, he's just... plain mean anyway.

Seven Seals: Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. When all is said and done, Snape may be the most genuine hero of the series, even more likeable than Harry, because Snape did everything knowing that he not only wouldn't reap any benefits, but people would actively dislike him for what he did.
Lale: Sasuke of Naruto?

Seth: That's sorta reaching. Seems like a plain Face-Heel Turn to me.
Pteryx: I wish this site had existed back in 2000 and that I'd known about it. Being able to point the people of a particular MUSH I was in to this page could potentially have solved all kinds of problems, because I was playing a character as an Anti-Villain but most of the admins didn't get it — and those who did insisted that the characterization had to go anyway because the playerbase wouldn't get it either and would use my getting away with playing an Anti-Villain as justification to pursue the forbidden Heel-Face Turn. Not to mention that the character was perceived as an assault on the frankly-nonexistent black-and-white morality of the MUSH.

That MUSH sucked. </rant>


That Other 1 Dude: Hank Scorpio is a Punch Clock Villain.


Allandrel: Sriously, some people find pre-Heel-Face Turn Zuko more sympathetic than the Gaang? They're trying to save the world and help pretty much everybody they run across, while Zuko is motivated purely by personal gain, is consistently a douchebag to the one person who loves him unconditionally, when helped by someone who has suffered as a result of the war that he has helped prosecute, he thanks her for her aid by stealing a valuable riding animal from her, and turns his uncle (branded as a traitor, mind you) over to his psychotic father because his liar sister said Daddy would accept him now?

I'm not saying Zuko isn't a sympathetic character. He is definitely deserving of the anti-villain label, but regarding him as more sympathetic than the Gaang is just bizarre.

Charred Knight: I pointed out that it was a clear case of Draco in Leather Pants, its quite obvious from the begenning that the Fire Nation is evil, and Zuko is completely blind to it due to his selfish quest for honor.


Charred Knight: For some reason the page won't let me change the page so until it does, I am just going to say that Jefferson Pinkard killed black people for being black. He set up new and better ways to kill black people, and was apparently unreptent. That's not Anti-Villain thats a Villain with a Start of Darkness. I kept in Potter with a rewrite empasizing that his actions are for the good of the Condfederacy. Please note that an Anti-villain is not a villain with some good traits, its a villain whose goals are usually heroic or has substaintal heroic qualities. In the case of Potter his goals was the revitalize the confederacy, Pinkard was a staunch supporter of the Freedom Party, and killed Black people, not exactly heroic.


Why is affably evil a subtrope of anti-villainy? The two are not synonomous, neither are many of these other so-called subtropes with Anti-Villainy. An anti-villain is either someone who is a villain by circumstance, or by coincidence. Affably Evil at least, is merely being affable, likeable. Hitler was an affable guy, Johan from Monster is an affable guy, Dr freaking No was affable, none of them are considered Anti-Villains. I suggest moving that one at least to the villains index, rather than having it part of this index.
Rogue 7: Norm the Genie? I don't think I saw more than 3 minutes worth of his screentime, but from what I remember, he was just a plain old asshole (like everyone on that goddamn show).

The Tambourine Man: He's a huge Draco in Leather Pants. Objectively, he's still an irritating jackass without any real redeeming features. He wants to destroy Canada, for crying out loud.
reinoeI moved Tai Lung here. It looks like some things need to be discussed but not on the main page...
  • Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda is a classic example of this trope, and probably one of the most successful judging by how many people were actually rooting for him to beat Po in the end. (Though that could also be a function of finding Jack Black annoying.) To run down the checklist, the snow leopard is shown, through his Start of Darkness, to be a loyal, brave kung fu fighter, rather akin to a Proud Warrior Race Guy—and upon being denied what he'd been raised his whole life to believe would be his, goes into a completely justifiable (if rather excessive) rage, becoming something of a Blood Knight. He's got a Freudian Excuse through Shifu's betrayal, the heroic goal of simply wanting to attain what he had always been promised which pretty much makes him a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and after twenty years in prison with nothing to do but brood about what he has suffered, you can't deny he's had it rough.
    • Interestingly enough, there are also intriguing parallels between him and Po—they're both adopted, both slated to be the Dragon Warrior (or at least Tai Lung thought he was), and both wanted to be great kung fu warriors. This suggests a Not So Different scenario, or at least an Evil Counterpart. Tai Lung is also quite literally a Fallen Hero, and as such believes quite strongly he is in the right and only doing what is necessary.
      • Apart from the bit where he destroyed most of the valley and presumably killed a lot of people because he didn't get the scroll he thought was his.
    • Hence why we never see him actually kill anyone—at the bridge he acts more like a Friendly Enemy toward the Furious Five, he does not deliberately make Tigress fall when she grabs onto his paw, and he paralyzes them rather than killing them; he does not attack Shifu until the panda says there is no other course left for them, and only tries to kill him when enraged and it seems the scroll is beyond his reach; and even when facing Po seems more focused on attaining the scroll than killing him. All of this suggests he is, surprisingly, an honorable fighter.
      • Yet for all his humanizing, he is indeed still quite deadly and dangerous. Assuming he survived the final battle, he's a very good candidate for Defeat Means Friendship and a Heel-Face Turn. Here's hoping if it happens, he doesn't suffer from Badass Decay.
      • This troper would like to point out that leaving the Furious Five alive seemed more of an example of Not Worth Killing, as well as sending a message, just as he did immediately after his escape when he sent the messenger back with the warning that he was coming. Also, right at the end, when he had achieved the scroll and knew there was no reason to fight, and with Po willing to end the battle and pointing out there was no reason to fight, he still turned and attacked. He has a sympathetic backstory, but while his situation may have made him a monster, he chose to continue being one.
      • That seemed less him continuing to be a monster and more of a What an Idiot moment. Because basically, Po had explained to him the scroll did nothing, yet Tai Lung attacked him anyway because he was still convinced the scroll must have given him great power, for him to be able to defeat him. In other words, he kept fighting...because he couldn't accept he'd been beaten by a big, fat panda. But that just makes him stubborn and stupid, not evil.
    • That said, Tai Lung shows too much ambition and aggression both in the flashbacks and in the movie itself to be trusted with such a powerful technique — even it it were exactly what he expected. It's unlikely he would have figured it out anyway.
    • Tai Lung still tosses something like sixty different rhinos off of cliffs, including Wilheim Screams, all on-screen. He's certainly a Sympathetic Murderer, and one this troper thinks is worthy of redemption, but he is a murderer, and it's made quite clear to the audience in his first Crowning Moment Of Awesome.

Swamp Adder:

  • The Brain of Pinky and the Brain may have global domination as his goal, but he seems to genuinely believe that the world would be better off under him. Also, in spite of his often harsh treatment of Pinky, on several occasions he is revealed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Isn't Brain more of an Anti-Hero? I mean, he is the show's protagonist, and his only recurring nemesis is clearly evil. Even Villain Protagonist seems a bit awkward a label for him; in many instances, he'd be an outright (if cranky) hero if he wasn't trying to take over the world.

I was kind of uncertain about that myself. On the one hand, Brain is the protagonist; on the other, he's obviously based on the villain archetype. Is it possible for the protagonist to be an Anti-Villain, or does protagonist = hero automatically? I note that Dr. Horrible is listed as an Anti-Villain even though he's the protagonist. Thoughts, anyone?

Anonymous Mc Cartneyfan: There is such a thing as a Villain Protagonist. Some Villain Protagonists are AntiVillains - including Dr. Horrible. The Brain is also a Villain Protagonist, but I doubt he's an Anti-Villain; he's not nice enough. (Pinky might be, though.)

Swamp Adder: Okay, so we've got one person saying that Brain's too nice to be an Anti-Villain and one person saying he's not nice enough. Interesting. I didn't think he was any eviller than Dr. Horrible, myself.

Fire Walk: I'd argue it's not so much about being "nice" as being sympathetic. Dr. Horrible seems to have been put up on, has personal romance issues, has a moderate respect for other human beings and a well-intentioned (if very skewed) motive. Brain just wants to take over the world for no readily apparent reason and is as evil as you can get away with in a comedy kid's cartoon show.

Taelor: I think this case is demonstrative of the difference between Anti Villainy and Affable Evilness. Namely, that Affably evil characters, while they may be "nice", are still evil. Anti Villains, on the other hand, aren't evil (or at least, aren't any more evil than anyone else in the setting).

Swamp Adder: Okay — enough people disagreed with me that I removed the example.


SSJ Dk Crew: I'm not convinced that one can call Baron Klaus Wulfenbach of the webcomic Girl Genius an Anti-Villain in any objective sense. True, he's up against something of a wall, and he did at least try to prevent the mads from running rampant over the globe, but he seems to do it by suppressing and oppressing, effectively nullifying the true potential of each spark-endowed person by making them a part of his organization (or dead) whether they like it or not.

That's the same kind of micromanagement that modern corporations are reviled for, and it's no more tasteful when he does it, from a certain point of view, especially considering that he could easily have settled for doing "patch work" at cleaning up the big menaces, like Batman does.

Then there's the fact that his ultimate aim seems to be finding a way to keep people from developing the spark. Effectively, he's looking for medicine to make people stupid. If looked at a certain way, it might actually make everyone happier and safer, but from another point of view, it could easily be viewed in the same light as book-burning. Hasn't every oppressive dictator insisted on limiting the flow of information to the public out of fear?

The character is inherently complicated because of that, of course. Depending on what kind of person you are and what you value, he might be a great savior, or he might be seen as a cruel despot who basically makes it a habit to abduct people from their lives and families, no matter how he may try to disguise it. Either way, it would be hard to see him as a sympathetic villain, like Victor Fries. If he's a villain, it's because he's not sympathetic. It's not like he has a dead wife/cousin/dog back story to make him seem likable otherwise. At best, the character is like Superman from Kingdom Come. At worst, he's like Bastion from the X-men, but there's virtually nothing in between those two, neither of which really qualify as Anti-Villains. The closest thing to an anti-villain that he seems to show some similarities to is Smallville's Lionel Luthor, who was really more villain that anti as well.

Removed this:

  • Carl in Fargo starts out as an Harmless Villain, and then becomes more and more sympathetic throughout the movie even as his actions become more villainish (and less ineffectual) because we understand completely why he's doing it. By the end, we've almost completely forgotten about our original protagonist and it plays out more like a tragic hero story.
    • Huh? He became more sympathetic? Just because you have a reason to kill an innocent parking garage worker doesn't mean that you are sympathetic. The man's a sociopath. He's sane only next to the absolute psycho that is Grimsrud.

This character interpretation is way too outlandish. Carl is given almost no backstory and has no other motivation beyond greed. I have no idea how anyone could read him as a tragic hero. Perhaps the original author mistook William H. Macy's character's name for Carl and is referring to Frances McDormand's character as the "original protagonist." I would call Macy's character a Villain Protagonist and McDormand a Hero Antagonist instead. Carl is just a villain.
The Tambourine Man: Pulling Killer and Lady as an example. Lady caused way too much trouble and killed too many people for no reason, and Killer's love for her didn't make him any less of a psychopath.