Created By: Psi001 on November 13, 2011 Last Edited By: Psi001 on January 11, 2013

Too Pitiful For Villainy

Even the hero feels sorry for the Harmless Villain

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It's a general must that villains need to be punished and heroes for the large part understand this theory. Harmless or sympathetic villains however tend to be handled in a greyer manner.

Harmless Villain characters tend to have a severe problem making anyone fear them. In some cases they may be irritating and vindictive enough to earn a beating in the heroes' eyes. There are those that are so not-evil however that they actually gain pity from those they try (and mostly fail) to victimise.

Can be provoked by a number of things. Maybe another more overzealeous protagonist has taken too extreme measures to despose of the Big Bad or the heroes have started to feel a bit too sorry for that minion that he keeps kicking around all the time. A lot of times the villain's attempts at being "evil" are just that pathetic they gain pity. Either way the heroes don't think fighting this poor schmuk requires THAT harsh measures. Can be badly implemented however if the villain genuinely DOES deserve what's coming to them.

Can be seen as comforting or highly insulting for the villain themselves, especially if they are trying very hard to be seen as the spawn of evil.

Often a starting point for a hero to Go-Karting with Bowser.

  • In particular episodes of The Powerpuff Girls the heroes actually take pity on villain, either due to their harmlessness or due to taking a break from their more malicious activity (in one instance for example, Bubbles and Blossum chastise Buttercup for giving Fuzzy Lumpkins a particularly nasty beatdown, after he already surrendered). This however comes partly from the girls still being young and naive enough to not always comprehend evil.
  • While not an outright evil team per se, Team Dark members Shadow and Rouge gain critism by other teams for how they treat their damaged robotic teammate in Sonic Free Riders. In the previous Sonic Riders Knuckles and Storm are also apologetic to an Eggman robot they accidentally break in their scuffle.
Community Feedback Replies: 5
  • November 13, 2011
    The powerpuffs also tend not to take the Amoeba Boys seriously at all and have helped them commit crimes because they feel sorry for them.
  • November 13, 2011
    I've just realised this may overlap a bit too much with Sympathy For The Devil (the biggest difference I can think of is that the former trope is more often due to realising the villains past or Freudian Excuse while this one usually amounts to a villain being too pathetic to really be wrathful towards). Should I alter the meaning maybe?
  • November 13, 2011
    Needs A Better Title. This trope isn't related to Even Evil Has Standards.

    Also, the word "titular" does not mean what you think it means.
  • November 13, 2011
    Even Good Has Standards may work for a hero who has limits to how they beat a villain (to counteract a Knight Templar or Heroic Sociopath). Do we have a trope for that?

    EDIT: Changed the title and caption slightly. Not quite sure if it has the same meaning I was intending though. Should probably think this trope through a bit more.
  • January 11, 2013
    Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, Harmless Villain, Big Bad Wannabe, and Sympathy For The Devil. This trope is just an example of one or two of those mixed together. I'm deleting it.