There's the age-old battle of good vs evil
, and then there's Order vs. Chaos
, but that doesn't mean there's always a distinction.
Chaos generally means the opposite of order, and order is often associated with peaceful, and therefore, good things like tolerance and cooperation. Chaos is, therefore, often associated with non-peaceful things like war and mindless killing
. [[hottip:Note:The definition of "chaos" as disorder wasn't the original meaning. The original meaning of "chaos" was "void".]]
For this reason, you can often find the theme of chaos associated with villains. Villains fulfill this trope by speaking of chaos or maybe having "chaos" as part of their name.
Don't confuse with Chaotic Evil
Anime and Manga
- Inverted in Yu-Gi-Oh!!, where Chaos tends to denote the power of light and darkness combined. Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL also has the Chaos Numbers, upgraded forms of existing Number monsters.
- In Digimon, the digimons with "Chaos" in their names generally are evil. ChaosDukemon is a corrupted Dukemon, ChaosDramon is a violent and destructive mechanical dragon, the three Chaos Generals(ChaosGreymon, ChaosSeadramon and ChaosPiemon) and the Chaos Lord are villains in Digimon World 2, and Lucemon's mode change was named "Chaos Mode" in the Digimon Frontier dub.
- In PS238 the forces of Chaos and the forces of Order are portrayed as Demons and Angels, respectively. Though neither side is particularly welcome on earth.
Live Action TV
- Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone stories. The forces of Chaos almost always acted in a Chaotic Evil manner, and the adherents of Law were portrayed as Lawful Good (especially when fighting Chaos). It wasn't absolutely stated as being this way - it was noted that absolute Law led to stasis and sterility and a certain amount of Chaos was necessary for creativity and change.
- In The Kane Chronicles, the main conflict is Order vs. Chaos, first with Card-Carrying Villain Set representing chaos for The Red Pyramid, and then with Apophis, Ra's arch-nemesis and the God of Chaos, stepping in as the Bigger Bad for the rest of the trilogy.
- L. E. Modesitt's Recluce series has order magic and chaos magic, with the good guys typically practicing black magic and the bad guys practicing white magic. The colors are based upon the complete absence of light (void, perfect order) or the presence of all kinds of light (making white, and chaos). The series recognized that chaos and order didn't necessarily line up with good and evil, recognizing either extreme was bad, but chaos magic causes lots of harm unless the practitioner is very careful. And being careful means being orderly.
- On Get Smart the bad guys are KAOS,
- Also, the good guys are CONTROL... a synonym for law.
- Inverted in the short-lived Chaos where the title is the nickname of the good guy's litte group in the CIA.
- In the Emerald Sword saga by the Rhapsody of Fire band, the hordes of the evil king Akron are costantly associated with chaos, while the heroes are associated with "wisdom".
- One of the most glaring instances of this trope in fiction is Chaos from Warhammer and Warhammer40000.
- The original version of Dungeons & Dragons had three major alignments: Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic. Since many bad guys (such as orcs, dragons, demons, undead etc.) were on the side of Chaos, it wasn't long before "Chaotic" was equated with "Evil." The nine alignment system that has become associated with D&D was an attempt to mitigate this, as not everyone who is Lawful is necessarily good, and not everyone who's Chaotic is necessarily evil. This of course, brought its own little host of problems.
- 4e changes the nine-alignment grid system with a linear, five-alignment system. In order, the different alignments are Lawful Good, Good, Neutral, Evil, and Chaotic Evil, with the implication that Lawful Good is more "Good" than regular Good, and Chaotic Evil is more "Evil" than regular Evil.
- In the Glorantha setting of Runequest Chaos itself is neutral (being the void outside the universe) but its manifestations within the universe tend strongly towards evil due to their twisting of reality's rules.
- Subverted in the Palladium RPG system, where the "most evil" alignment is "Diabolic", which is similar to D&D's Chaotic Evil, but the "most chaotic" alignment, "Anarchist" is considered selfish in the sense of being a hedonist, but isn't considered evil.
- Zig-Zagged in The Battle For Wesnoth. The game has only one alignment axis (Lawful, Neutral, Liminal, and Chaotic); most of the evil creatures (undead, necromancers, orcs, bandits) are Chaotic. However, Chaotic creatures aren't necessarily bad -- for example, you can recruit thieves while playing as the decidedly good Konrad, and the outlaw campaign (Liberty) features a band of freedom fighters which are all represented in-game as Chaotic units (specifically, Chaotic humans).
- Super Paper Mario has the Five-Bad Band trying to destroy The Multiverse using an Artifact of Doom called the Chaos Heart.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising has an Arc Villain known as the Chaos Kin, which is stated to be a mindless entity who wants a world of eternal conflict.
- The Big Bad of Final Fantasy I is called Chaos.
- AdventureQuest Worlds has Good and Evil joining forces to battle Drakath, the Champion of Chaos, and his 13 Lords of Chaos.
- Fire Emblem Tellius: The goddess of chaos has been imprisoned in Lehran's medallion for centuries, and if she breaks loose, it it prophesied that the world will be destroyed. Subverted, it turns out that the goddess of chaos actually is rather kind, while the opposing goddess of order is a Well-Intentioned Extremist Knight Templar.
- In Sonic Adventure, Eggman takes control of a water god called Chaos, whom Eggman calls the "God of Destruction". Once it becomes Perfect Chaos, it stops obeying Eggman and starts just destroying everything. This trope is later subverted when it's revealed that it was just a Mad God that needed pacifying.
- Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure plays with this, naming the Big Bad of the game Kaos.
- In the webcomic 8-Bit Theatre (a parody of Final Fantasy I), the main characters are told that their task is to defeat chaos, leading Black Mage to go on an angry rant about this trope (before calming down when it's explained that's just the villain's name).
I refuse to take part in an adventure that is metaphysically rooted in the destruction of an abstract and artificial concept like chaos simply because connotatively speaking it's less desirable than the equally artificial term 'order'.
When will you people learn that these are merely patterns that our temporal minds have made for us in a desperate attempt to make sense of an unimaginably immense and impersonal universe?
Order, chaos, these are words for things we don't even understand. Chaos is not something you fight against, order is not something you protect. They have no more power or importance than that which we give them.
And I, for one, will not perpetuate this asinine paradigm that there is something inherently wrong about chaos!
- El Goonish Shive. The character Pandora Chaos Raven is an immortal with a highly chaotic nature (e.g.her cloud form constantly shifts and changes) who says she's going to destroy our world and replace it with another one. She has also tried to have several human beings killed.
- Pandora merely punched Magus away; also, he's the only one who calls her "Chaos". She tried to get Abe killed -- but it's not that she haven't an understandable reason to be very upset.
- Inverted: Last Res0rt has the tagline "Embrace Cha0s", with the implication that the Celeste and the Church of the Endless represent a repressive version of Order.