->''"As he had all the wickedness against which damnation is denounced and for which hell fire is prepared, so he had virtues which have caused men in all ages to be celebrated."''
-->--'''Edward Hyde''' ([[Literature/TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde no relation]]), on OliverCromwell.

->''"Vladimir was one of those old-time bad guys with honor and morals, which made him almost one of the good guys. [[BlackAndGreyMorality None of us was a saint.]]"''
-->--'''VideoGame/MaxPayne'''


[[SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains Click here for a list of the types of Anti-Villains that exist.]]

The Anti-Villain is a villain with heroic goals, personality traits, and/or virtues. Their desired ends are mostly good, but their means of getting there are evil. Alternatively, their desired ends are ''evil'', but they are far more ethical or moral than most villains and they thus use fairly benign means to achieve it, and can be rather heroic on occasion.

They often reach a kind of critical mass that makes them more good than normal villains but not quite heroes, blurring the line between hero and villain the same way an AntiHero does, but by coming from the opposite direction. Also, they seldom perform a full HeelFaceTurn, or if they do, they continue to struggle with their villainous impulses.

Anti-Villain is an attempt to humanize, to lighten up, a villain as opposed to an AntiHero, which has a tendency to darken the hero. Side by side, it can become very hard to tell them apart. The only reason some would even be considered evil at all is because they're the DesignatedVillain. Despite this humanizing {{character|Development}}ization, they are rarely less dangerous; heroes won't know what to expect when [[AffablyEvil their enemy shows caring]] and then [[ClearMyName attacks their reputation]], without giving them an excuse to [[ThouShaltNotKill rationalize]] killing them.

Most of them are probably well aware that what they're doing is "evil", unlike the blinded KnightTemplar, but strive to maintain a facade of [[SlaveToPR good PR]]. They'll see it as a viable [[IDidWhatIHadToDo means]] to a (possibly) good end.

It's also possible to have a normal villain and turn them into an Anti-Villain over time by detailing their StartOfDarkness, giving them a CynicismCatalyst, a MoralityPet, [[PetTheDog kind episodes]], or otherwise [[RetCon retconning]] them into [[HeelFaceTurn submission.]] A FreudianExcuse may explain their actions, but almost never changes them into an Anti-Villain if there is nothing good about their present motivations.

Villain types particularly prone to Anti-Villain-dom (though each has its share of flat-out villains, too) include:
[[index]]
* AffablyEvil
* ByronicHero
* CryForTheDevil
* DarkMagicalGirl
* DesignatedMonkey
* DesignatedVillain
* DrivenToMadness
* DrivenToVillainy
* FallenHero
* ForcedIntoEvil
* FriendlyEnemy
* GentlemanThief (when they're not the hero)
* HarmlessVillain
* AHeroToHisHometown
* HeWhoFightsMonsters
* HiddenHeartOfGold
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain
* JerkassWoobie
* KnightTemplar
* MyCountryRightOrWrong
* MyMasterRightOrWrong
* MysteriousBacker
* NecessarilyEvil
* NobleDemon
* NobleTopEnforcer
* NonMaliciousMonster
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood
* ObliviouslyEvil
* PokeThePoodle
* PunchClockVillain
* SympatheticCriminal
* SympatheticMurderer
* SympathyForTheDevil
* TokenGoodTeammate
** TokenHeroicOrc
* TragicVillain
* TrappedInVillainy
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans
* WellIntentionedExtremist
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds
* WorthyOpponent
[[/index]]

See also VillainProtagonist, HeroAntagonist, and MinionWithAnFInEvil, as well as NoPlaceForMeThere. Another way for the Anti-Villain to transcend conventional morality is to [[AboveGoodAndEvil completely, utterly set aside limitations]] and achieve a moral fluidity that prevents himself from crossing the MoralEventHorizon, becoming TheUnfettered. For a broad covering of what Anti-Villains can be, see the SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains. Compare SympathyForTheDevil and SatanIsGood. See also EvilVirtues.

Compare and contrast NominalHero, a character who is often essentially a villain working for the heroes because EvenEvilHasStandards. [[IReadThatAs Do not confuse Anti-Villains with members of the]] [[WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2 Anti-Villain League]].

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!!Examples:

[[index]]

* AntiVillain/{{Anime}}
* AntiVillain/ComicBooks
* AntiVillain/{{Fanfiction}}
* AntiVillain/{{Film}}
* AntiVillain/{{Literature}}
* AntiVillain/LiveActionTV
* AntiVillain/{{Music}}
* AntiVillain/NewMedia
* AntiVillain/ProfessionalWrestling
* AntiVillain/TabletopGames
* AntiVillain/{{Theater}}
* AntiVillain/{{Toys}}
* AntiVillain/VideoGames
* AntiVillain/{{Webcomics}}
* AntiVillain/WebOriginals
* AntiVillain/WesternAnimation

[[/index]]

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