->"''Harbingers of evil, henchmen of [[GodOfEvil Takhisis]], warriors of corruption, men and women of honor.''"
-->-- '''[[http://www.dlnexus.com/fan/rules/11053.aspx André La Roche]]''' on the [[Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Knights of Takhisis]]

Their goals are evil but their means, not so much.

A Noble Demon is a villainous character with a code of honor. He doesn't care that he has a [[SlaveToPR bad image]] -- he may even [[CardCarryingVillain actively cultivate and embrace it.]] However, every so often a situation presents itself and he's just not willing to go [[MoralEventHorizon the extra mile necessary]] to be ''completely'' evil. He'll topple your castle, but he'll do it [[NeverHurtAnInnocent right after everyone has cleared out first]]. He'll [[WeHaveReserves sacrifice whole armies]] to achieve his goal but he'll also [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice himself]] if he must. He'll conquer your village but he won't cause [[RapePillageAndBurn more destruction than necessary]]. He wants to kill TheHero but he won't stab an enemy InTheBack. His ambition might be to TakeOverTheWorld, or merely to uphold the evil side of the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil.

Some will be obsessed with [[IWasJustPassingThrough explaining this behavior]] so people won't think that [[HarmlessVillain he's gone soft]]. Killing enemies or servants [[YouHaveFailedMe who have failed]] but [[BenevolentBoss are loyal]] is "[[PragmaticVillainy a waste of resources]]" and his inevitable [[DefeatMeansFriendship newfound friends]] are "[[EnemyMine tactically advantageous allies]]." However, this is usually just a front.

A lot of this behavior is sometimes explained as the result of a [[FreudianExcuse complex they acquired when they felt weak and helpless,]] and all they really need is to [[ThePowerOfLove be loved]]. A villainous Noble Demon isn't nice, but [[TheFettered being noble]] and powerful seems to imply they are [[EvenEvilHasStandards above petty and malicious acts]], or at least uninterested in them.

A Noble Demon who's a ProudWarriorRaceGuy often comments that his enemies are (or have become) [[DefectorFromDecadence petty and cowardly and stain the name of their species]].

Sometimes a fanciful version of the [[{{Delinquents}} Delinquent Hero]]. Commonly experiences SympathyForTheDevil from the heroes, and may show SympathyForTheHero right back. If EvilerThanThou comes up, the Noble Demon will likely be on the less evil end. May be the "grayer" character in ALighterShadeOfGrey.

Compare the less villainous versions: JerkWithAHeartOfGold and JerkassFacade.

If a Noble Demon is an AntiVillain then he is a "Type I" or a "Type IV" in the SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains.

Whether AntiVillain or AntiHero beneath the facade, expect a Noble Demon's motives to include getting plenty of VillainCred.

See also NobleTopEnforcer, ChaoticNeutral[=/=]TrueNeutral, and LawfulEvil. Contrast FauxAffablyEvil, whose [[JerkWithTheHeartOfAJerk kind acts only serve to benefit him]] as well as CardCarryingVillain who does not deny he's evil and is willing to do all things evil. Villains lacking this trait will usually be AlwaysChaoticEvil. Compare and contrast NominalHero, a character who does heroic deeds for all the wrong reasons.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Kyouya from ''OuranHighSchoolHostClub'' insists that he is an egotist with nothing in common with ShelteredAristocrat Tamaki. Despite this, his long-suffering of Tamaki's antics, which includes wearing ridiculous costumes on a daily basis (as a female more than once), is noblity in itself. He ''says'' that it's all to keep Tamaki looking like a golden child, to the point where it costs Kyouya favor with his own father. That's a bit too self-sacrificing for the so-called Evil Lord, isn't it?
* ''MahouSenseiNegima'':
** Evangeline A.K. [=McDowell=], the vampire mage, constantly tells the rest of the cast [[CardCarryingVillain how hideously and irredeemably evil she is]], explicitly comparing herself to a video game BigBad. So they'd better not be getting the wrong idea when she's saving their lives, making sure they're okay, giving them proper training, helping the resident ghost girl not be feared, etc. Though, given that she officially wants Asuna and Negi to be her video-game sub-bosses... Also, it might be that she simply took the "evil" name from the "good" mages, who don't necessarily seem all that good, compared to her. She just only cares about herself and the people she has chosen to care about. [[ChaoticNeutral The rest, including the world, may go to scrapper]].
** Wilhelm is a literal Noble Demon, despite the fact that he petrified Negi's [[DoomedHometown hometown]] (because he's forced to do it by the person who summoned him), he drops all sorts of hints that the petrification isn't permanent, and goes out of his way to not hurt any of the girls when he fights Negi, and gives him some useful advice.
** Fate as well. He's [[AffablyEvil a rather pleasant guy to be around]], civilized, and willing to talk things out. Granted, he does have six young girls working for him. However, he justifies this when it is revealed that five of the six of them are each the sole survivors of destroyed villages that he just happened across, whom he'd helped without question. The sixth is just a [[BloodKnight battle loving]], PsychoLesbian girl who's creepy. When one asks how he forced them into it, he states that the girls volunteered of their own free will. He's saved 57 others. What did he do with them? Kill them? Torture them? Perform unspeakable [[FateWorseThanDeath horrors upon them?]] Nope. He gave them applications to prestigious boarding schools so that they could grow up into a successful life.
* Seto Kaiba from ''Franchise/YuGiOh''. The "noble" half is mostly due to his [[MoralityPet little brother]], and the "demon" half is mostly due to his competition with his adopted father growing up.
** Likewise, it took Edo Phoenix, Kaiba's third {{Expy}} in ''[[Anime/YuGiOhGX GX]]'', quite a while to reluctantly admit he had become more "hero" and less "[[AntiHero anti]]."
* [[ThePaladin Father]] [[HolyHitman Alexander Anderson]] from ''{{Hellsing}}'' is more noble than the usual, considering he can hardly be called a villain. Anderson's hatred and wrath is focused exclusively on vampires and heathens, although the latter doesn't appear to include Protestants, despite his earlier claims of revulsion. He's visibly disgusted by the Holy Crusade's and Maxwell's actions, claiming that such arrogance, bloodlust, and genocide is an affront against God.
** [[VillainProtagonist Alucard]] could count as well. Or at least when he's under Integra Hellsing's direct influence. Just like Anderson, he is completely disgusted by Maxwell slaughtering millions of innocent civilians in London and doesn't waste any time in unleashing his familiars on Millennium's Nazi vampires and Maxwell's crusaders. There's a few other points in the series where he expresses disdain for artificial vampires who kill innocents to satisfy their own DrunkWithPower egos or psychotic pleasures. Alucard usually mocks, tortures, and kills them in short order after that.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'', there's Alit, one of the Barians, the only one with any sense of honor and fair play. (The others tend to regard him as "immature" and "childish".) He seems to consider Yuma a FriendlyEnemy (a sentiment shared by Yuma) and has developed a [[VillainousCrush crush of sorts]] on Kotori.
** Durbe of the Barian Emperors might be the original embodiment of this trope. While he showed in the battle of Saragasso that he will use any means to win, even using a dirty trick (which was part of Vector's plan), he only does so because of his noble intention in saving the Barian World, no matter the cost. He is also known to [[VillainRespect praise his opponents]] for their skills as he did with Shark (before knowing his true identity) and Droite (in the final battle on Earth). He puts an end to any unnecessary fights between the emperors, and trusts them and acknowledges their skills. Even his Chaos Number is named after this trope. His noble soul is shown the most during his final duel with Merag against Vector, Where he sacrificed himself to ensure Merag's Victory on the traitor. Might also overlap with WickedCultured and AntiVillain.
* ''{{Dragonball}}'': Piccolo tried to invoke this when he was defeated by the androids, right before going off to fuse with Kami. No-one really fell for it, though...it was kind of half-assed. It had been ''years'' since the trope could actually apply to him, and he'd become an outright hero by the time of the android saga whether he admitted it or not. Which is exactly why Kami was actually willing to fuse with him.
-->'''Krillin:''' Wh-what's that look on your face? Do you have a plan?! C'mon, tell us! We're your friends!
-->'''Piccolo:''' Friends?! Don't press your luck. When do you think I became your friend? I'm a demon! Don't you ever forget that!! I'm merely using you -- to take over the world!! *flies away*
* Zelgadis of ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' is self-serving but ultimately keeps coming back to the protagonists...no matter how much they tarnish his vaunted "cool and mysterious sorcerer-swordsman" image.
** There is also one true [[strike:demon]] Mazoku. "The power of the Monster race flows from... terror, anger, sorrow, despair." And he's still the most friendly and nice character in the series most of the time, despite his penchant for painful and infuriating pranks.
*** The novels make this clearer. [[spoiler:Xellos sets a city on fire, just to convince Lina to take action. He also blames it on an enemy, to make her even MORE active. This is one of the scenes that proves him a MagnificentBastard.]] He definitely appears to be one, though.
* [[ItsAllAboutMe Kyouko]] [[NominalHero Sakura]] of Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica before CharacterDevelopment.
** It is even mentioned at one point that the souls are only borrowed, to be returned later.
* In ''UshioAndTora'', Tora is a tiger-like demon who seems like he'd be eager to eat Ushio if it wasn't for [[KidWithTheLeash the magic spear he wields]]. However, the demon needs so little persuasion to help the boy fight various supernatural threats to humanity, you'd almost think Tora secretly enjoys being a defender of the innocent.
* Manga/BlackJack is a milder example, deliberately cultivating a DrJerk reputation but still managing to be a [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold pretty decent guy]] in the long run.
* Shiki from Anime/KaraNoKyoukai is a BloodKnight with a bit of BlueAndOrangeMorality who happens to take out threats to innocent people.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'''s Hiei fits this trope to a T. Not only is he a demon, but he keeps insisting that he's bad to the bone and cares about nobody, but his actions keep on betraying him. By the end of the series, he's loosened up enough that he actually admits to having friends and [[spoiler:he gets emotionally close to a female demon with a past even more ghastly than his]].
* Anything and everything involving {{Satan}} and his cronies as written by Go Nagai, including the infamous ''{{Devilman}}'' series. On the flip side, God is written as being anywhere from a ManipulativeBastard who [[CosmicPlaything enjoys toying with humanity]] to an [[GodIsEvil unabashedly hate-filled cosmic entity]] [[ItsAllAboutMe who is offended by any life form that fails to prostrate itself before him]], and alternates between mind-wiping the planetary populace or ejecting "sin-waves" over the surface, turning anyone with the slightest amount of impure thoughts into homicidal maniacs (the latter example comes from the latest reworking, ''Demon Lord Dante''). The various Devilmen normally wind up fighting Satan's forces initially because he possesses humans in order to manifest on earth, and they can't get over the teachings they've learned prior. (Amon and Dante must be pretty weak mentally to keep getting overpowered by young boys like that.)
* In ''BambooBlade'''s ShowWithinAShow, ''[[{{Sentai}} Blade Braver]]'', Shinaider fits the classic noble demon archetype. Much as Tama considers [[TheHero Red Braver]] her favorite, her [[TheRival Rival]], Rin, is a fan of Shinaider.
* Saitou Hajime from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' is lawfully oriented and resolutely incorruptible, despite being a very cold-blooded killer.
* ''DarkerThanBlack'' has the Contractor November 11 who frequently references his utter amorality but is unfailingly charming and friendly and protecting towards his co-workers. At the end of the series, [[spoiler:when making a HeroicSacrifice]], his fellow Contractors ironically (or perhaps accurately) attribute his extremely altruistic actions to this same amorality/rationality.
** Come to think of it, the protagonist, Hei, could also count as one of these, given the emphasis in the final episode of the first season on how he pretends to be the amoral, badass Black Reaper, but is actually a sensitive guy who is haunted by all of the killing and dubious acts he has to do.
* Greed from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' is an extremely friendly example, being, by far, the least violent of the homunculi and a BenevolentBoss in contrast to his "siblings'" egregious use of YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness. This quality is seen especially with the second incarnation of Greed. Toward the end of the series, he fights alongside the heroes and rescues people, which he justifies with [[IWasJustPassingThrough having nothing better to do/his desire to take power for himself]].
* A big part of the plot of the manga ''Devil and Devil'' involves the main character Sword desperately trying to avoid falling into this trope...and failing spectacularly. Notably, he ''was'' a powerful and vicious BloodKnight of a devil before being forced to occupy a human vessel to survive.
* Raoh of ''FistOfTheNorthStar'' is mostly this with hints of a UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans TragicVillain. Sure, he'll subjugate the people of the wasteland to his will, but if his men are ruthlessly torturing villagers, then he won't hesitate to trample them to death atop his horse Koko-goh. Additionally, Raoh sheds a river of TenderTears when his weaker, radiation-addled brother, Toki, cannot fulfill his childhood promise to stop Raoh's ambitions. Raoh openly shows respect for the bravery of the heroes who fall in battle, and notably orders his men to give Juza a ''Hero's Funeral'' for putting up an exceptionally valiant fight against him. He sheds further TenderTears when compelled to kill Yuria, the final step in his transformation to godhood, yet could not because even a tyrant like him was deeply moved with respect for her kindness and nobility. The fact that he doesn't even kill Yuria but prolongs her life in spite of her radiation sickness so she can live on with Kenshiro shows his Vader-like redemption from Noble Demon to affectionate older brother.
* Mugen of ''SamuraiChamploo'' is a SociopathicHero who is open about not caring about anyone but himself and liking violence for its own sake. However, those same qualities make him unwilling to join with villains, scorning their self-importance and the idea of him following anyone. Moreover, despite his frequent complaints about her, he will always come to the rescue of Fuu when she is danger.
* Viral from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' is quite honorable, despite always wanting to enact revenge on Kamina for tarnishing his reputation and pride.[[note]]Eventually, [[spoiler:after Simon convinces him to make a HeelFaceTurn, Viral becomes an AntiHero.]][[/note]] Here are several examples:
** Just after the HotSpringsEpisode, he not-so-politely asks the heroes to PleasePutSomeClothesOn and allows them to arm themselves before fighting him.
** When he confronts Simon and Yoko over [[spoiler:Kamina's whereabouts, and eventually accepts Simon as his new rival]], he agrees to a fair one-on-one duel.
** When said duel is interrupted by Cytomander, who takes Yoko hostage and orders Viral to perform a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown on Gurren Lagann, Viral refuses and sheathes his axe, knowing that his honor cannot be regained that way.
* Madara from ''NatsumeYuujinchou'' is a powerful man-eating {{yokai}} who is next in line to inherit the main character's MacGuffin, and has repeatedly stated that he wants nothing more than for said main character to hurry up and die so he can claim it. Nonetheless, he follows Natsume around as a bodyguard and saves his life on numerous occasions. He usually gets very defensive when other yokai point out that he's essentially Natsume's servant, usually deflecting the accusations by claiming that the main character is his pet or his prey ([[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou hence why he'll beat the crap out of anyone else who tries to hurt him]]).
* Most of the [[TheMafia mafiosos and camorristas]] in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}!'' are NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters at most. Luck Gandor, in particular, lives this trope, with both [[IdiotHero Firo]] and [[SociopathicHero Claire]] separately remarking that, deep down, he's too nice to really be cut out for a life at the top of a Mafia family. He pushes himself to act cold and ruthless in order to be able to properly fill the role.
* Papillion from ''BusouRenkin'' is ruthless in his quest to become a homunculus, but this is just because he's sickly and dying, and wants immortality. Once he's become a homunculus, he's content to just observe, provide covert aid for the heroes, wear a disturbingly flamboyant costume, and, in the end, become an urban legend to schoolgirls. It helps that, due to his imperfect metamorphosis, he doesn't need to eat humans like other homunculi do.
** In actuality, while the incomplete transformation is a factor, it is actually because he is a human-type homunculus, combined with a lack of the innate desire to become human, that he has no need nor reason to eat humans.
** He did kill and eat some of his family members upon first transforming, and provided a disturbingly sensual description of how delicious it was. [[RefugeInAudacity And then, since the transformation had blown all his clothes off, Watsuki had him pull his butterfly mask out of his briefs.]] Since he didn't ''know'' his clothes were going to blow off, he had to have been keeping it there...''just because''.
* Ashuraman in ''{{Kinnikuman}}'' is this both literally (he is the prince of the Demon World) and figuratively (the reason for his loss and concurrent HeelFaceTurn in the Tag Tournament arc is because he's touched by the PowerOfFriendship). For that matter, his trainer, [[MeaningfulName Samson Teacher]], qualifies as this as well, planting the seed of friendship into Ashuraman through [[HeroicSacrifice saving his life]].
* ''KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'':
** Haruo Nijima is a very complex character. A "close" friend (of sorts) of Kenichi Shirahama, he is commonly referred to by various characters as an alien due to his likewise features: long pointed ears, sharp hooking nose, glaring eyes, and fanged teeth. He has even been known to be able to protude two arrow-headed antennas from the top of his head. As if that's not bad enough, he openly proclaims himself to be evil, and does nothing to discourage this belief amongst other parties. Worse, he dreams to one day rule the world (albeit not in a conquery sort of way); and to this end, he (somehow) formed a fighter group that he hopes would garner enough media attention to make his dream world conquest a reality. He is an ambitious power-grabber who relishes in bossing everyone around (mostly Kenichi). Despite this, as the key founder of the Shinpaku Alliance (which Kenichi and several other principal characters are part of), he seems to prioritize the well-being of his comrades more than anything else, and is not above resorting to being a living bait to lure danger away.
** On a more serious vein, 90 percent of the antagonist Yami organization's One Shadow Nine Fists seems to consist of master-class fighters who are all Noble Demons in their own way. Special mention should go to Akira Hongo, the resident karate master who's code-named the "God Fist," as he is shown to [[AFatherToHisMen respect the bond that should exist between a master and his disciple]], who [[WouldNotHitAGirl won't fight women]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards or opponents who have injuries from previous recent fights]] [[spoiler:and is even willing to [[EnemyMine team up with Ryozanpaku]] to help rescue the kidnapped Miu, if only because doing so will let him get revenge on "Demon Fist" [[ManipulativeBastard Silcardo Junazard]], the remaining 10 percent of the One Shadow Nine Fists, for [[MoralEventHorizon tricking him into]] ''[[MoralEventHorizon almost]]'' [[MoralEventHorizon killing Kenichi]]]].
** [[spoiler:Saiga Furinji, Yami's One Shadow, may very well be this too, as it's implied that Hongo had to seek audience with him before joining forces with Ryozanpaku, and Saiga himself also joined the group (in disguise) to help in Miu's rescue. It's justified for him, though, since [[PapaWolf Miu is his daughter]]]].
* Mujuro from ''NinjaScroll'', though a bit of a stretch, saves the two protagonists from precariously dangling over a cliff, just so that he can challenge Jubei, the male protagonist, to an honorable duel. He notably [[spoiler: gets the cleanest and quickest death out of all of the villains]].
* Hyper Metal Sonic from ''SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie''.
* Wamuu from ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure''. He will ''not'' break promises or fight someone unable to defend themselves. If he hadn't sworn to obey [[BigBad Kars]], he wouldn't even be a villain.
* Beezle from ''The Fantastic Adventures of {{Unico}}'' is an obnoxious little hellion and a CardCarryingVillain, but he was raised by his father to [[IGaveMyWord keep his promises]], to the point of swimming out into a stormy ocean (which is doubly dangerous for Beezle, as sea water is poison to devils) to save Unico from drowning.
* Hild from ''Manga/AhMyGoddess'' qualifies to a point. She is still evil, as proven by her efforts to make Belldandy into a demon or to break up Belldandy and Keichii just to see if she could piss the former off enough to do something evil, but Hild enforces an existence of somewhat-noble demons, demons that live by making pacts and are bound in an agreement to never kill goddesses (though they can still fight them). She genuinely loves her daughter, Urd (though that won't stop her from beating the crap out of Urd if Urd stands in her way), and is distinctly less evil than many in Niflheim, evidenced when those more evil revolted against her.
** Turns out Hild's FauxAffablyEvil PragmaticVillainy is a lot better than say, an AxCrazy [[VetinariJobSecurity psychopath or ambitious conqueror ruling hell.]] She's also implied to be a [[spoiler: BenevolentBoss; the revolt by her more evil underlings was a desperate gambit to save Hild's life.]]
* In ''ToAruMajutsuNoIndex'' early villain [[spoiler:Accelerator]] becomes this after his character development and HeelFaceTurn to Type IV/V AntiHero near the end of the first season. Although he [[NeverHurtAnInnocent secretly wants to be a hero]], he still thinks of himself as a villain no better than the ones he now kills (and [[CardCarryingVillain proclaims this loudly]] even to those he has rescued) since [[TheAtoner he doesn't believe he can be forgiven]] after [[spoiler:slaughtering 10031 clones]]. Much later in the novels [[spoiler: He ditches this trope and being a CardCarryingVillain entirely and shifts to a [[GoodIsNotNice Type III]] AntiHero, declaring that villainy was just not working out for him and instead moves to VideoGame/BeyondGoodAndEvil]]
* [[DigimonTamers Impmon / Beelzemon]] is a weird example. He's prideful in his abilities, but as such, he's known for not attacking weak Digimon. The likely reason is that he feels it would be a waste of power, making this a subversion. Post-HeelFaceTurn he becomes a ''literal'' noble demon. Still, when compared to the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil other]] [[MoralEventHorizon Demon Lords]]...
* Chrono from ''ChronoCrusade'' may count as a literal example of this, though it's more just SuperpoweredEvilSide.
* [[BadassPrincess Princess Cornelia]] of ''Anime/CodeGeass''. She serves as the primary antagonist in Season 1, and her arrogance, ruthlessness and xenophobia is tempered with valour and courage in battle, a genuine desire to rebuild Area 11 and return stability to it, [[AFatherToHisMen geniune affection and respect for the men under her command, which is returned]], and [[MoralityPet a soft spot for her younger sister Euphemia]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This is the common characterization for {{Thanos}} the Mad Titan of the MarvelUniverse, post-''[[CrisisCrossover The Infinity Gauntlet]]''.
* ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'''s succubus Chantinelle (Ellie) is less noble than extraordinarily unlucky. Having tried to seduce an angel and succeeded, she fell in love with him and bore his child, leading to his demise at the hands of other angels and her exile from Hell. John Constantine notes that she's not a bad sort considering what she actually is, to which she replies, "I don't think so, John...I think I'm just polite."
* DependingOnTheWriter, this is played straight or ocassionaly subverted with SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom. In the latter, he acts like he has a sense of honor, but will do anything to achieve his goals, up to and including sacrificing a woman who loved him to a demon.
** A very pissed-off [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Sue Richards]] once gave Doom a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech in which she [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome called him out on his so-called nobility]], saying that despite all the trappings, Doom is still just a spoiled brat who's wasted his entire life making a hyperbole out of his juvenile grudge against her husband.
** Namor the ComicBook/SubMariner retains his nobility the times he passes the FaceHeelRevolvingDoor between AntiVillain and AntiHero. He's fully smitten with Sue, but respects her choice and seeks to legitimately win her heart.
* A literal example is Spider-Man's enemy Demogoblin, who was created due to a curse placed on the second Hobgoblin, who had previously made a DealWithTheDevil. Through most of his career, the Demogoblin acted like a SinisterMinister, killing people who he believed were sinners, which usually included many InnocentBystanders. ''However'', in a battle with the actual Hobgoblin, he made a HeroicSacrifice to save an innocent child who the Hobgoblin had deliberately put in harm's way, dying in the process. This made Spider-Man more disgusted with the Hobgoblin than he ever had been; in the end, the demon who his wickedness had spawned had been more noble he had.
* Another literal example was the Straw Man, a scarecrow-like demon and one of the Fear Lords: a group of demons who could feed on fear and conspired to conquer and rule the Earth. (The most notorious of them was Nightmare.) The Straw Man eventually double-crossed the others, aiding Comicbook/DoctorStrange to oppose Nightmare. (The reason behind this shift in allegiance isn't known, but it may have been part of its stated goal of taking vengeance upon a group called the Cult of Kalumai.)
* NeilGaiman often writes to this trope. Denizens from Hell can often be bargained with (after all, being a demon is all about lying, backstabbing, betrayal, and personal gain) or reasoned with, and frequently have a code of honor by which they will abide, to the extent of helping out a protagonist. Lucifer in the earlier [[Comicbook/TheSandman Sandman]] arcs is particularly representative of this trope.
* {{Etrigan}}. Despite the fact that he is ''literally'' a demon (and one of the nobility of Hell, no less) he more often than not finds himself on the same side as heroic figures like Superman.
* Lex Nova, a one off character from the ''ComicBook/ThirtyDaysOfNight'' comic, ''Bloodsucker Tales'', fits this trope to a T. A completely batshit insane vampire who thinks he's a private eye and narrates his life out loud, Nova saves the town of Juarez from the various villains and only feeds on goats.
* Princess Lucinda from the reboot of ''WitchGirlsTales'', '''so''' much. She has quite a sadistic side and a reputation as an evil princess...but for all her loudly-proclaimed villainy, she almost ''always'' seems to end up on the side of good, despite her rather NightmareFuel-rific methods -- even by the standards of the setting, which is loaded with BodyHorror transformations and remarkably casual murder. It's actually ''{{Lampshaded}}'' in one side comic, where it's noticed that unicorns will approach her, despite supposedly being amazing judges of character that never approach anyone evil. When someone suggests that this means she's just ''acting'' evil, she turns them into a frog for it.
* In IDW's ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'' comics, Thundercracker has some elements of this, expressing his distaste for the way his fellow Decepticons murder helpless humans because "the Decepticons are forged through combat, not slaughter". [[spoiler:And though he doesn't defect, he eventually disobeys them outright to save humans and Autobots alike from a nuclear bomb, a means of victory he finds dishonorable.]]
** Cyclonus as well, he betrays Galvatron when he blows a hole in Cybertron, and opts to go along the Autobots when the war ends.
** Soundwave is also this as revealed in RID. Unlike most versions of the character, here he's portrayed as a deeply misguided person who, though working with the Decepticons, ultimately wants peace and believes that Megatron will bring equality to the galaxy. His idealism ends up turning against him when [[spoiler: Megatron goes through a HeelRealization, causing a devastated Soundwave to feel betrayed by the one person he looked up to.]]
** Thunderwing in the original comic series. He's most famous as being the only Decepticon leader to gain the position through fair election.
* The SecretSix sometimes fall into this, though it's usually more a case of punishing the evil (with torture) than saving the good. One of the best examples is Deadshot's revenge mission to a North Korean political prison.
* The Sandman, a member of SpiderMan's rogue gallery, is often portrayed as rather heroic despite being a villain. He has a moral code and is not above teaming up with Spider-Man if the situation requires it.
* This could be said of [[TheFlash The Rogues]] because they have a code of "ethics" that they live by and consider themselves above killing women and children. Captain Cold is a particular stand out in this regard.
* [[Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar Julius Caesar]] as depicted in ''{{Asterix}}''; even though he is willing to use deception, tricks and manipulation, he will always keep his word when he makes a promise, and be grateful to his enemies when they help him.
* ''ComicBook/{{Iznogoud}}'': Sultan Pulmankar is mostly known as a ruthless conquerer and a terrifying enemy, but he has a lot of rules (including always sparing his enemy's generals), is very affable to the Caliph when they are allied, and is shown to be a pretty good father.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanFic]]
* In the ''WesternAmination/JackieChanAdventures'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'' crossover fanfic ''Fanfic/{{Kage}}'' (part of ''FanFic/ProjectDarkJade''), Raythor is this, much to Jade's surprise -- among other things, his first reaction to meeting Jade is to refuse to let Nerissa force a child to fight their war. It's only when Jade insists on fighting (due to her own new vendetta against the Guardians and Elyon) and proves she can fight, that he backs down.
-->'''Jade:''' Wow, a bad guy with honor? Now I have seen everything.
* The Franchise/{{Godzilla}} and ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePony:FriendshipIsMagic'' crossover, ''Fanfic/TheBridge'' gives us Monster X and Spacegodzilla. While still being a Xilian war weapon and not batting an eye at killing several Symbiotic Legion, X refuses to harm those who cannot fight back unless commanded too. Spacegodzilla on the other hand isn't above pondering mass property damage and killing those whom annoy him, but keeps the actual killing down to those who are needed to die for his goal.
* ''FanFic/DungeonKeeperAmi'': Jadeite is an interesting case. While how evil he was in [[Anime/SailorMoon his original media]] is debateable, there is a definite trend towards nobility after employment under Keeper Mercury. It helps that, by the standards of [[VideoGame/DungeonKeeper the local dimension]] [[CrapsackWorld he is rather tame]].
** Of further consideration is Keeper Mercury herself, who is veiwed as this by most of the lightworld governments- [[RunningGag and she wishes people would just drop the villain part already]].
* Zuko becomes this in [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/FanFic/TheMasksWeWear The Masks We Wear]].
* In ''FanFic/MegaManDefenderOfTheHumanRace'', [[spoiler:Ballade]] is this, treating Mega Man with dignity while his allies don't.
* The (OC)Changeling Princess Ceymi gets to be this in ''two'' WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fics by ''two'' seperate writers. In [[https://www.fimfiction.net/user/Phoenix_Dragon Phoenix_Dragon]]'s ''Fanfic/WithoutAHive'', the story in which she originally appeared, she is the mentor and mother (though maternity means little to the Changelings) of the protagonist Nictis. In [[https://www.fimfiction.net/user/Jordan179 Jordan179]]'s ''Fanfic/MLPCollateralDamage'', she is one of the three main characters along with Jordan179's OC Falcon Punch and the young Background Pony Cheerilee (age 9), in a story taking place almost two decades before the series and a decade before the start of ''Without A Hive'' (which is a long ComingOfAge novel).
* A literal demon in the case of Baphomet from ''Fanfic/WarriorsOfTheWorldSoldiersOfFortune'', who is more than happy to cultivate his image of being a bad guy, but has standards on wiping out entire races, isn't afraid to give the Normans a leg-up, and keeps to his word.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Long John Silver from ''Disney/TreasurePlanet''. He's a pirate, and he burns down the Benbow inn and commits unknown other crimes, including conspiracy and mutiny. He's afraid as being seen as going soft, but he honestly cares for Jim, and when it comes down to [[spoiler: a choice between his dream of untold riches and saving the boy's life, he saves the boy. Still doesn't stop him running away to escape being imprisoned, though before he leaves he does give Jim the jewels he managed to save so that the Benbow inn can be repaired.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' is a perfect example of this, with more than enough [[AffablyEvil affable evil]] thrown in for good measure. When he manages to [[spoiler:"kill" his arch-nemesis in the first fifteen minutes of the film]], he is honestly shocked and really quite horrified at first. After a brief villainous spree, [[spoiler:he regrets his actions even more and works to make it right.]]
** This trope is also implied earlier on with how Roxanne responds to each of his death traps with little more than an eye roll and a snarky quip. Regardless of [[DesignatedVictim how many times she's seen them before]], there's no way on she would react so calmly to them unless [[GenreSavvy she was absolutely positive that he wouldn't actually use them]].
** His sole motivation for becoming a villain was ''there already was a hero''. Everything he does is in the interest of preserving a balance. [[spoiler:He even creates a new hero after "killing" the original one. Didn't work out quite as well as he hoped, but it's the thought that matters.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Rango}}'', [[spoiler:Rattlesnake Jake]] is considered one in the end and tips his hat to the main character, even calling him a WorthyOpponent.
* Pterano from ''TheLandBeforeTime VII: The Stone of Cold Fire''. He's not above kidnapping, but he does make a point to strike his own henchmen to punish them for [[EvenEvilHasStandards two things he considers intolerable]]: violence and asking redundant questions (though the latter is disproportionate on his part).
-->'''Pterano''': If there's one thing I will not tolerate, it's violence!\\
'''Rinkus''': Then why are you hitting me?\\
'''Pterano''': Right... make that ''two'' things: violence ''and'' stupid questions!
** He then becomes TheAtoner toward the end when he has a flashback to the last time he tried to find the titular Stone due to Ducky coming close to meeting the same fate as did one of the dinosaurs on the earlier expedition.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/ThreeTenToYuma''. Ben Wade.
-->[-'''Wade''': Kid, I wouldn't last five minutes leading an outfit like that if I wasn't as rotten as hell.-]
* Marion Bishop, in ''Film/AssaultOnPrecinct132005''. The show starts with him brutally killing an undercover policeman in a church. He later fights alongside cops who have him under arrest in the interest of "self-preservation". But at the end of the show, he walks away from the downed Good Guy, Sgt. Joe Roenick, despite the Good Guy now being his Sworn Rival.
* Pinhead and the Cenobites from the ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'' franchise, as they were originally depicted as targeting only those who solved the Lament Configuration, along with those who had solved it and tried to elude them. Even so, solving the box in itself isn't sufficient cause for retrieval, as there has to be some sense of ''desire'' behind the act for the Cenobites to take an interest (which was why [[spoiler: Tiffany]] from ''Film/HellboundHellraiserII'' was spared). They are also not averse to occasionally [[DealWithTheDevil bargaining with their targets]], [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor with mixed results]].
* ''MrSmithGoesToWashington'' has Senator Paine, complete with a HeelFaceTurn.
* Creator/QuentinTarantino's films usually have at least one character of this nature in them, seeing as they usually require us to empathize with and support vicious, murderous criminals. Examples include:
** Seth Gecko in ''Film/FromDuskTillDawn'' is a ruthless, violent professional criminal who nevertheless has an inner core of decency and, in fact, comes across as downright heroic compared to his psychotic rapist-murderer brother, Richie (who he vocally expresses disgust against). For bonus points, Richie is played by Tarantino himself.
** Mr. White in ''Film/ReservoirDogs'', who coolly and emotionlessly kills police officers and is willing to kill innocent civilians if it will help him, but expresses disgust at the psychopathic excesses of Mr. Blonde and treats the terminally wounded Mr. Orange with almost paternal care.
* General Miura from ''IpMan'', who is brutal and vicious out of a sense of patriotism, as a contrast with the sadism of SmugSnake Colonel Sato, and is, in his own albeit [[CombatPragmatist Combat-Pragmatic]] way, an honorable, traditional Japanese Warrior.
* Harry from ''Film/InBruges'' is a violent crime boss, but with principles and a clear moral code. He is a caring father and does not tolerate anyone who harms a child, even by accident.
** Although Ray and Ken could both also be seen as examples. Nobody in the film ever comes across as clearly evil.
* Neil [=McCauley=] from ''Film/{{Heat}}'' may be a professional criminal, but he has a sense of decency that clearly outstrips all other criminals and many cops. He doesn't want to kill the security personnel he robs from and is angered when his accomplices do so. And he holds much more anger and malice toward other criminals who engage in duplicitous and inhumane behavior against him and his friends than against the police. He cares for those close to him as much as any hero, and it's impossible to not sympathize with him most of the time when he's shooting someone, as they usually deserve it.
* Bill "The Butcher" Cutting from ''Film/GangsOfNewYork''. He's a ruthless murderous gang leader and a 19th century equivalent of a mafia boss, but he cares for the children and elderly who live in the five points in old New York. He despises lying and deception in all its forms and has a man killed for betraying the film's protagonist who planned to murder Bill: meaning, he killed a man for saving his life because he regarded any form of betrayal to be worse.
** Even before that point, when referring to Amsterdam's father, he says, ''"I killed the last honorable man 15 years ago."'' Bill is a nativist who would like nothing more than to see all Irish-Catholics thrown out of America.
* Creator/BenAffleck's VillainProtagonist in ''TheTown'' is a pretty good example. Despite being a career criminal and ruthlessly efficient bank robber, he is [[AffablyEvil personally a very nice and sensitive guy]], is disgusted by his colleagues beating people or taking hostages, and cares a lot about his community to the point of donating his stolen money to local charities. It's not hard to see how a woman could fall for him even after finding out that he was involved in robbing her bank and taking her hostage, leaving her with PTSD.
* Matsu in the ''Film/JoshuuSasori'' series is a multiple murderess, desperate CombatPragmatist, serial prison escapist, and veteran manipulator of those around her. However, she only kills those who wrong her; she can't bring herself to [[spoiler: kill Yuki's brain-injured brother when Yuki begs her to]], and while some prisoners hate her, she looks out for those who help her, help others, or hold no malice. Really, she's forced by circumstances into becoming a demon and retains her basic nobility. In a way, this is played literally - there's a visual theme of Yuurei symbolism implying a supernatural driving force behind Matsu.
* From the ''Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick'', we have Noble Demon Riddick. He's a villain in almost every way; a savage murderer and psychopath with a ''really'' sick sense of humour, but EvenEvilHasStandards (he dislikes rapists and senseless killing, for instance), [[PetTheDog he is a lot closer to animals than people]], and it seems he WouldntHurtAChild (he seems to like children, and in return he often fascinates them).
* Jef Costello in ''Film/LeSamourai''. Even if he is a hitman, he has a clear set of morals.
* In ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'' Dr. Curt Connors is a WellIntentionedExtremist who gains a dash of AxCrazy when injected with the serum. However, even as the Lizard he only has beef with those who attack him or directly get in the way of his plan. The first time he first transforms, he goes after Ratha who is on his way to [[PlayingWithSyringes play doctor with unwitting war veterans]], and when he finds Gwen [[spoiler:hiding with the Ganali device, he merely takes it from her and lets her live.]]
* In ''Film/TheExpendables'', General Garza is a tyrannical PuppetKing. However, he refuses to harm his daughter even after she betrays him. He is also genuinely sorry for the pain he brought to his people by collaborating with a corrupt ex-CIA official.
* Kowloon Dingsau from ''Film/TheStreetfighter'' may be the most feared Yakuza boss in Hong Kong, but he has a code of honor. He has numerous PetTheDog moments, particularly toward Junjo (himself also a Type I), and he does a HeelFaceTurn when King Stone tags Terry during the climactic deathmatch, becoming the only Yakuza (apart from Junjo, who is himself presumed dead until the second half of the sequel) to live to see the end of the film. That said, you have to be ''really'' stupid to provoke him into killing you (just ask King Stone and Jadot).
* Colonel Quaritch in ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. He and his men serve a morally reproachful cause, by helping a mining corporation drive indegenous population away from their home and demolish said home, all for the sake of the precious mineral deposit underneath. But he takes steps to limit the civilian casualties, and even when the natives gather en masse to oppose them, he devises a plan to destroy their spiritual center, hoping to break their spirit and scatter them, rather than engage them in an all-out combat, which would likely turn into a massacre. He's also a AFatherToHisMen and is sympathetic to the paraplegic protagonist, [[spoiler:until the latter goes native, then the gloves go off]].
* Franchise/{{Godzilla}} generally levels out into one of these. Destructive? Yes. Uncaring? Ayup. But at the end of the day, he hates other kaiju a lot more than he hates people.
* Darvell from ''Film/{{Byzantium}}''. Despite the rather elistist company he surrounds himself with he has always shown Clara kindness and is by far the most likeable member of Brethren. His loyalty to the brotherhood is born out of the fact [[IOweYouMyLife they saved his life]]. He also respects both Clara and her daughter for how they've chosen their victims. [[spoiler: He eventually sides with Clara in the finale.]]
* ''Film/BlackBook'' Müntze, the Hauptsturmführer was something of one as he was at least true to who he was and trying to do something approaching the right thing given his position as head of the Nazi security service. This is contrasted with the [[TheMole traitor inside the resistance.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''.
** Gentleman Johnny Marcone runs a cut-throat criminal empire, but he will not tolerate [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rape,]] and he likes for his business [[NeverHurtAnInnocent to be done cleanly.]] He is renowned for 'disappearing' any gangster who hurts/tries to sell drugs to a child. He is fine with [[EnemyMine Harry]] and works with him when their interests coincide, and, as of ''Literature/GhostStory'' is funding LaResistance as a way of keeping the Fomor off of his territory. He also [[spoiler:steals the Shroud of Turin to heal a victim of a shootout between his gang and another]]
** Subverted in ''Literature/DeathMasks'' by Paolo Ortega, who does a very good job of appearing to be an honourable vampire who only does what he must out of loyalty to his Court, but is in reality as ruthless, pragmatic and evil as any Red Court vampire, and just puts on the act for political advantages.
** Also, Lara Raith. Similar to Marcone, she has her own (albeit, twisted) sense of honor and integrity, as Carlos Ramirez states that her word is good, and will frequently work with Dresden when their goals coincide, to the point where she could easily be mistaken for one of the good guys... Until ''Literature/TurnCoat'', where she thoroughly disabuses Dresden himself of the notion that she's a "good guy."
--->'''Lara''': At what point did you forget that I am a vampire, Dresden? A monster. A habitually neat, polite, civil, and efficient monster.
** Proven earlier in White Knight, where [[spoiler: she's heavily implied to be the one who gave Lady Malvora the plan to target the Ordo.]]
* Crowley of ''Literature/GoodOmens'' is possibly the TropeCodifier: a demon situated on Earth whose assigned mission is to spread sin among humans and, in fact, was the original serpent who tempted Eve. However, six millennia of living with humans influences him to the point where he's become fond of humans and doesn't like the idea of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt them being wiped out in the Apocalypse]] - in fact, he actively tries to ''prevent'' it. There's also the fact that his [[HeterosexualLifePartners best friend]] Aziraphale is an ''angel'' who's supposed to be his sworn enemy. Aziraphale could be considered a mild inversion of the Noble Demon, as while he sincerely believes in and commits himself to goodness, he displays decidedly ''un''-angelic traits such as materialism, pettiness, and going on drinking binges with a demon.
** Aziraphale actively works against Heaven's plan to bring about armageddon just as resolutely as Crowley works against Hell's. The story implies that the actual differences between the two afterlives aren't as big as advertised, and that God isn't actually actively on either side.
** When you've spent 6,000 years on Earth with no other supernatural entities but each other for company, [[GoKartingWithBowser an Agreement]] is inevitable. Crowley is still Evil, but not ''too'' evil; and Aziraphale can be Good, but not ''too'' good. And they should probably thwart each others' plans once in a while for, you know, appearance's sake. And there's nothing wrong with the occasional cup of tea together. And Crowley's car is a much better means of getting around so it's surely OK to ride together once in a while, when necessary (although Aziraphale just cannot come to appreciate Crowley's taste in music).
*** Not even ''Crowley'' can appreciate Crowley's taste in music. Any cassette left in his car for more than two weeks, no matter how soothing or classical, metamorphoses into a Best of Queen album, which was bad enough ''before'' Freddie Mercury starts giving him messages from the demon commanders of Hell.
** And [[WordOfGod living together in cottage somewhere in the South Downs]] just makes it easier to keep an eye on each other's misdeeds/good deeds; it's certainly not fraternizing, nothing friendly about that at all.
** [[HoYay And when Crowley rushes into a burning building without a second thought because he thinks Aziraphale may be inside...]]
** Crowley himself insists that the reason he ended up in the rebellion is simply because he [[CategoryTraitor hung around with wrong crowd]];
--> ''An Angel who did not so much [[FallenAngel Fall]] as [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere Saunter]] [[MinionWithAnFInEvil Vaguely]] [[RebelliousRebel Downwards]]...''
* The demon featured in "The Friar's Tale" from ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'', while declaring himself motivated by purely evil intentions, expresses a willingness to act toward good ends by punishing members of the CorruptChurch of the day. He also avoids the LiteralGenie behavior of other demons, only actually taking what people damn (e.g. saying "Damn you" to a person, animal, or object) when they truly mean it.
* The "demon king" Asmodeus from Jewish folklore is an excellent illustration, being portrayed as a wise and sometimes morally superior WorthyOpponent to King Solomon, as well as observant of Jewish traditions down to attending synagogues.
** This portrayal influenced the presentation of demons in Isaac Singer's short stories. A notable example would be the protagonist and narrator of "The Last Demon", who ends up with this distinction and acts as an AntagonistInMourning after the entire town he tempts is exterminated by the Nazis. He ends up trapped without future victims, as his evil depends upon luring people away from good, making completely evil people of no use to him.
* OlderThanFeudalism: Similarly, in the ''Literature/{{Ramayana}}'', Ravana's brother Vibhishana is one. [[spoiler: He makes a HeelFaceTurn and joins Rama]].
* The ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' books by GeorgeRRMartin have quite a few theoretically villainous or antagonistic characters that act rather decently, at least to some people. These include Jaime Lannister, Sandor Clegane, Jaquen H'Gar, and Petyr Baelish, all of whom have acted decently towards protagonist characters when they didn't have to. Then again, the series tries to show all of its characters as three-dimensional and well-developed.
** Your mileage may ''definitely'' vary on Petyr Baelish; the only character he's kind to is Sansa, and that's only when he's not sexually harrassing her. His nobler moments come off as [[{{Squick}} squicky]] to some. This is the problem with [[TheTrickster Petyr]]... you're never quite sure when he's donning any particular behaviour pattern (including this one) as a mask, even as a reader: heaven help the characters he interacts with.
** Jaime Lannister is probably the best example; his biggest evil act was the murder of King Aerys after swearing to protect him, but what most characters don't know (or conveniently forget) is that Aerys was a crazy son of a bitch, who, if he had lived just half an hour longer, would have ordered his capital city burned to the ground with wildfire, killing hundreds of thousands of civillians as well as the enemy. Jaime himself laments that he's loved by one for a kindness he never did, and reviled by thousands for his finest act--though, despite a sympathetic [=PoV=] and some heavy duty character development, he remained pretty unrepentantly demonic until ''A Storm of Swords''.
*** He also threw the young son of his host out of one of the higher windows of a castle, permanently crippling him. He becomes much more sympathetic when (two books later) we realise that he did it for the great love of his life ([[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen not a nice lady herself]]), that he had intended the child to be killed instantly, and that he is deeply remorseful for it, considering it his own MoralEventHorizon. By the time his [=PoV=] comes up, he has other things to worry about, so it's not looked at in great depth.
* Raistlin Majere of the ''{{Dragonlance}}'' books. An embittered, power-hungry MagnificentBastard with a slew of PetTheDog moments and a love/hate relationship with his twin Caramon.
** Also, the Knights of Takhisis, who modeled themselves after the [[ThePaladin Knights of Solamnia]]. They are [[CardCarryingVillain Card Carrying Villains]] who follow an evil goddess but stress chivalry, respect for their enemies, and loyalty to their comrades in arms. They frown upon the backstabbing, self-serving ways of their predecessors, the dragonlords.
* The title character of ''TheBartimaeusTrilogy'' is a literal Noble Demon (he prefers to be called a "djinni," though; "demon" is rather rude).
* In Mikhail Bulgakov's novel ''Literature/TheMasterAndMargarita'', the Devil himself appears in the guise of a man named Woland, with an entourage of mischievous and ruthless pranksters who wreak havoc upon 1930s Moscow. However, his actions often serve the purpose of exposing the greed and hypocrisy of his victims, and the ordeal he imposes upon Margarita [[spoiler:is designed to bring out her better nature, for which he rewards her and the Master.]] Some interpretations of this novel describe Woland's actions as inspiring good through instigation, rather than through example, as Christ does.
** Well, yeah, that's certainly one view, but Woland's a very complex and deliberately ambiguous character so much so that almost every critic you read is going to have a different take on him. At the end of the day, his motives are always pretty opaque and [[spoilers:Margarita and to some extent the Master excluded]] everyone's a target, with some not-exactly-evil folks getting pretty traumatised by the end. Plus, it doesn't really seem that he's always doing what he wants to - It's both implicit and explicit that Woland has no real dominion over this world. He's more of a catalyst than a force in his own right - he sets up the situation, but ultimately can't force anyone towards anything they don't choose and which isn't in their character - and that he's ultimately answerable to a higher power and its bigger plan. He's pretty powerless and being as opaque and multidimensional as he is, we can't say that a souped up Woland who isn't held in check wouldn't just be a soulless jerk on a rampage. His whole behaviour could be explained as not being able to do anything -but and if he had more power and more free will, well...
* Rob S. Pierre in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series is a ruthless Dolist manager who clawed his way up to become the head of the People's Republic of Haven. He did it mostly to fight off the other factions who would have done it anyways and been worse than him, and he actually has a plan to fix everything. It actually works, and when a democratic revolution after his death establishes a stable and free government, they owe his efforts at fixing the economy.
** Pierre is more of a TragicVillain, who continued the path the Legislaturalists laid out before him [[NecessaryEvil because the Havenite economy would collapse otherwise]] and he could see no way out. Stephen Westman is a more accurate example. He bombs are designed to affect and discredit the Star Kingdom of Manticore, and [[NeverHurtAnInnocent he sends warnings to evacuate]] before his bombs detonate. [[UsefulNotes/TheTroubles It surely couldn't be echoing the original IRA]] in a [[FantasyCounterpartCulture fantasy counterpart war]], could it now?
* Hrathen of ''{{Elantris}}''. He's one of the top priests of the CorruptChurch, has a menacing (and largely accurate) reputation in his own right, and he's every inch the MagnificentBastard, but unlike other leaders of his religion, he really ''does'' care about the spiritual wellbeing of his followers, derives no pleasure from unncessary destruction, [[spoiler:and executes a HeelFaceTurn after his AxCrazy sidekick decides to pole-vault the MoralEventHorizon without Hrathen's consent]].
* Damodara, a Malwa noble from the Literature/BelisariusSeries, starts off as being a ReasonableAuthorityFigure (especially in comparison to his gratuitously evil peers) and insists that not ruthlessly [[YouHaveFailedMe executing subordinates]] for failures is purely a pragmatic thing to do. Later, after having been in command of the highly honourable Rajput army, even he has trouble convincing himself that his actions are those of a purely pragmatic nature.
* Sorceress Arachnia in ''TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms'', before her HeelFaceTurn. Justified in that she was very lonely and was committed to the path of an Evil Sorceress mainly because The Tradition was pushing her along.
* Daemonhost Cheruabael from the {{Literature/Eisenhorn}} series demonstrates some shades of noble behavior, especially towards the end of the story.
* RogerZelazny's Lord Demon had retired for a time before the story opened. Before that, he was known for hacking down armies with his sword.
** And in Zelazny's ''Lord of Light'', the demon king not only helps the hero in his war, but develops (by posessing the Buddha) a sense of shame and remorse. By the end. he's only a demon in form and desire for power.
* Baron Balaz from ''VampireHunterD'' novel ''Pale Fallen Angel''. He's a vampire, but also a protagonist due to his extreme sense of HonorBeforeReason.
* Don Simon Ysidro from the Creator/BarbaraHambly novel ''Literature/ThoseWhoHuntTheNight'' - despite being a vampire - has a distinctive sense of honor due to his nobility (noblesse oblige).
* Zoltan the Magyar from the YoungBond novel ''Blood Fever''.
* General Ashal from ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}''.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'': For a Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis surprisingly fits this trope. For one thing, when Plagueis takes Palpatine under his wing, he makes it very clear that, although he is going to make Palpatine's training a living hell, he will not attempt to continue with Darth Bane's legacy of backstabbing, and intended to share everything he knew to Sidious expecting that he'd do so in return. Unfortunately, Sidious still managed to [[TheStarscream continue the legacy]].
** In his appearance in ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'', Thrawn comes off this way. He's cold and fairly callous and calculating, but he's also ''fair'' - when he thinks another character is responsible for the deaths of some of his men, he tries to find out the facts, and as soon as he's sure they didn't do it, he lets them go. He's also the only character in this series to really acknowledge that the protagonists are ''children'' - when Tash is rude, he crisply informs her that since she's a child, he won't take offense. This time.
** Any bounty hunter who follows [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bounty_Hunters%27_Creed the Bounty Hunters' Creed]].
* Rikash [[spoiler: Moonsword]] of ''Literature/TheImmortals''. He's only [[TheBeastmaster Daine's enemy]] at all in ''Wolf Speaker'', where he's GenreSavvy enough to try to kill small animals venturing indoors, but he doesn't directly attack ''her'', seems vaguely embarrassed when she finds out that he's friends with [[PoorLittleRichGirl lonely Maura]].. Later he's more directly Daine's ally, and she trusts him, though he never lets up on the snark.
* Several characters in ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia'' follow the religion of Tash, who is basically that world's Satan, but are genuinely decent people who follow that religion only because they are brought up in it. Most notable is Emeth, an honorable Calormene soldier who is taken to Aslan's country (Heaven) at the end of ''Literature/TheLastBattle'' despite having spent his life striving to serve Tash as faithfully as he could. Aslan explains that, just as evil done in his own name counts as service to Tash, he considers Emeth's pure-hearted and noble actions in Tash's name to be service to himself.
** There's also Alimash, Aravis' Calormene cousin, who Bree describes as a "worthy nobleman."
* The title character of Barry Eisler's ''John Rain'' series is a freelance assassin. However, he has rules about which jobs he accepts. He will not harm women or children and he will only target "principal actors", meaning he won't hurt a target's friends or family members to "send a message."
* Leto Atreides II from Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune rules the Galaxy as a tyrant for 10000 years to enforce peace.
* Imagine 1,000+ pages of characters constantly doing this, and you have ''Literature/AtlasShrugged''. Whether they're making a HeroicSacrifice when being blackmailed with a SadisticChoice, giving food and shelter and later a job to a homeless man, or devoting their life to (what they see as) recovering stolen wealth and returning it to its rightful owners, with no monetary or material benefit to themselves, they will find a way to rationalize it as being "selfish."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Crowley in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' doesn't want the world to end and helps the Winchesters to find Death (partially because Lucifer would wipe out demons as well, but also because the other demons ate his tailor...it makes sense in context) and gives Bobby back his ability to walk...Although there was a deal (well, pawning) involved in the latter.
** Then [[spoiler:subverted when it's revealed that he can't actually get Sam's soul back and has been getting the Winchesters to do his dirty work, leading to Cas burning his bones and effectively 'killing' him.]]
** And THEN it turns out that [[spoiler:he was working with Cas so they could get the souls out of Purgatory.]]
* Koragg The Wolf Knight in ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' as well as his ''Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger'' counterpart Wolzard for that matter - constantly insisting on honor, and refusing to fight the Rangers as it would be "dishonorable to defeat a weaker opponent" (as a result of which, by the time he ''does'' fight them, they're too powerful for him to beat). It eventually turns out that his honorable side was an artifact of his previous heroic personality, before he was turned evil by a magic spell.
** Before him, there was Diabolico in ''Series/PowerRangersLightspeedRescue'', a very literal example. In fact, [[spoiler:his code of honor is strong enough that it eventually results in a HeelFaceTurn.]]
** And before ''him'', there was Villamax (''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy''). And before Villamax, there was Ecliptor (''Series/PowerRangersInSpace''), the series' original Noble Demon.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Jano in "The Savages" is the chief of a powerful high-tech civilisation that runs its technology through kidnapping and draining people from an undercaste. While he stringently regards them as worse than animals, the Doctor is able to snare him in a BatmanGambit by observing Jano's reasonable treatment of his men and dedication to his role of benevolent leader, getting him to implant a SoulFragment from the Doctor into himself and causing him to have a HeelRealisation as a result of gaining the Doctor's morality.
** The Master is sometimes portrayed as a Noble Demon, often mentioning his friendship with the Doctor, or expressing regret at inconveniencing the companion, between stages of his plan to rule the universe and kill them both.
** The trope is subverted in the episode "Boom Town", in which the villain claims that her sparing of a journalist is evidence that she ''isn't'' evil, and the Doctor completely dismisses the idea, pointing out that it's just a rationale she uses to live with herself.
--->'''Margaret:''' I promise you I've changed since we last met, Doctor. There was this girl, just today, a young thing, something of a danger. She was getting too close. I felt the bloodlust rising, just as the family had taught me, I was going to kill her without a thought...and then, I stopped. She's alive somewhere right now, she's walking around this city because I ''can'' change, I '''did''' change. I know I can't prove it--
--->'''The Doctor:''' I believe you.
--->'''Margaret:''' Then you know I'm capable of better.
--->'''The Doctor:''' It doesn't mean anything.
--->'''Margaret:''' I ''spared her life''!
--->'''The Doctor:''' You let one of them go, but that's nothing new. Every now and then, a little victim is spared. Because she smiled. 'Cause he's got freckles. 'Cause they begged. And that's how you live with yourself. That's how you slaughter millions. Because once in a while, on a whim, if the wind's in the right direction, you ''happen'' to be kind.
*** Margaret then attempts to turn his own argument against him:
---->'''Margaret:''' [[NotSoDifferent Only a killer would know that.]] Isn't that right? From what I've seen, your funny little happy-go-lucky life leaves devastation in its wake. Always moving on, because you dare not look back. Playing with so many people's lives - you might as well be a god. And you're right, Doctor, you're absolutely right. [[IronicEcho Sometimes... you let one go]]. ''({{Beat}})'' Let ''me'' go.
**** So apparently she's never heard of criminology?
* In the transitory stages of his BadassDecay, this accurately describes the normal behaviour of Spike in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', an escalation from his previous instances of Petting the Dog.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Illyria, who is a literal demon king, has a tendency to give self-serving justifications for her helpfulness. Given the above ''Buffy'' example, this might be part of the reason why she gets along with Spike so well.
*** It could also be that he's [[MadeOfIron fairly]] [[TheDeterminator resilient]] even by vampiric standards, so he's the only remotely acceptable toy she has on hand in what is otherwise a World Of Cardboard.
** There's plenty of benign demons in the Buffyverse, but Lorne goes above and beyond the call of duty. His club, Caratas (Latin for "sanctuary") was specifically designed to bring human and demonkind together peacefully.
* The Imagin of ''Series/KamenRiderDenO'' are time-traveling spirits whose goal is to ravage the past in order to change the future, typically pulling cruel LiteralGenie tricks along the way. However, the series introduces several Imagin who don't know their original goal or simply don't care for it; all of these Imagin end up as good guys.
** The singular best example is Kintaros, whose partner wished to become stronger. While most Imagin would beat up anybody stronger than their partner, Kintaros possessed the young man's body and underwent physical training using his extreme strength. Throughout the entire ordeal, Kintaros displays exceptional honor, courage, and compassion, and it's no surprise he ends up partnered with Den-O by the end of the two-parter.
* Franchise/StargateVerse:
** Todd from ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' may be a Wraith, but he's helped the humans out a fair bit with their various crises, [[spoiler: some of which they caused in the first place]]. Todd ''is'' assumed to be killing and feeding from humans as usual when the Atlanteans aren't around (which is a necessity for any Wraith to survive). He did volunteer to be a test subject for an attempt to transform Wraith into beings capable of eating normal food, [[StatusQuoIsGod even if it didn't work out in the end.]] What makes him stand out is that [[PragmaticVillainy he considers Atlantis too useful to destroy]], given how often he's benefited from their [[EnemyMine temporary alliances]] against his real enemy (rival Wraith). The one time he ''did'' act against Atlantis was when he believed (wrongly) that they had betrayed ''him''.
** System Lord Yu from ''Series/StargateSG1''. Unlike the other Goa'uld, Yu is known for keeping his bargains, probably the whole "Asian honor" thing. He also lets Teal'c go after capturing him in "The Warrior". [[spoiler:Unfortunately, Lord Yu ends up going senile, meaning he can no longer be trusted to keep his bargains because ''he doesn't always remember making them''.]]
* Grey from ''Series/ChoujinSentaiJetman''. As opposed to Radiguet, he believes in fair play and strangely has an extra devotion to [[DarkChick Maria]], because he likes her. He even gets pissed at Radiguet's plan to turn Maria into a vampire to become his queen, and pleads with the Jetmen to restore her humanity so she can die human, not as a monster. While he does fight [[TheLancer Gai]] in his end, his reasoning for that boils down to just "I'm a warrior, this is all I can do". He died commending Gai for his victory and muttering Maria's name.
* Mr. Cataliades from ''TheSookieStackhouseMysteries''.
* [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Jade]] from ''{{Victorious}}'' may act like a bitch most of the time, but she [[PetTheDog pets enough dogs]] (or, [[LesYay should we say]], [[IncrediblyLamePun Cats]]) to show us that she's actually one of these.
* ''MadanSenkiRyuKenDo'' had Jack Moon, who while living by an ideology of "The Strong Rule and The Weak Obey" belived in a fair fight, he even refused at one point to revive his boss todestroy everything because it would violate his ethics as a swordsman, although his demonic nature would rear it's ugly head from time to time.
* In ''Series/{{Charmed}}'', the Council of the Cleaners is made up of two Elders and two powerful demons. Either both or one of them agreed with the decisions regarding [[spoiler:at first letting the Charmed ones off free but at the cost of Morris' life (this was reversed before he was killed) and then agreed to punish Phoebe only for her trying to use magic to short-cut her path to finding a husband.]]
* In ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' we have Morgause. When trying to kill the king of Camelot (a dude who drowns children) she puts everyone who might try to fight her immortal soldiers under a sleeping spell. While considered the villain, she actually doesn't do much of anything that is really evil, and has a lower body count than the heroes.
* Mike Ehrmentraut in ''Series/BreakingBad'', a former police officer who works as a bodyguard/hitman for meth kingpin Gustavo Fring. All of his actions are ultimately driven by a desire for his next paycheck, but he also has a strict policy about providing for his family at all costs, and refusing to abandon former allies who have fallen into the hands of the law. Tellingly, his main conflict with Walt in Season 5 comes when [[spoiler: Walt plans to orchestrate the assassinations of all of Gus' incarcerated agents to get out of paying them for their continued loyalty]]. Mike makes it clear that this crosses a serious moral line, and refuses to even ''consider'' going along with it.
* Proposition Joe in ''Series/TheWire'' is a drug dealer, but unlike many of the other dealers in the show, he has no desire to dirty his hands with violence whenever he can avoid it, as it's bad for business. His PragmaticVillainy makes him quite reasonable and sensible: "buy for a dollar, sell for two". He regards himself as a businessman and wants nothing to do with anything else attached to the drug trade.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* For fans of Rhapsody (...of Fire), it's certainly hard to read this trope without a certain Shadowlord of the Black Mountain ''leaping'' to mind. [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=aAC8oo-7Xi8 This is his theme. Listen to the lyrics closely]]. Noble Demon? Dargor's his name!
* The subject of "Black Wings" by TomWaits could be said to be a Noble Demon or an AntiHero. "He broke out of every prison" and "they say he once killed a man with a guitar string", yet "he once saved a baby from drowning" and "there are those who say beneath his coat there are wings".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* Fagin from ''[[Theatre/{{Oliver}} Oliver!]]''. He is a thief, who trains others to be thieves, and works with Bill Sykes, but deep down he doesn't like his life and wishes the things he does weren't necessary, and tries his best not to be too bad. This trope is exemplified in the song "Reviewing the Situation":
-->'''Fagin:''' though I'd be the first one to say that I wasn't a saint, I'm finding it hard to be really as black as they paint. I'm reviewing the situation; can a fellow be a villain all his life? ... I'm a bad 'un and a bad 'un I shall stay. You'll be seeing no transformation, but it's wrong to be a rouge in every way. I don't want nobody hurt for me or made to do the dirt for me, this rotten life is not for me, it's getting far too hot for me, there is no in-between for me, but who will change the scene for me? I think I'd better think it out again!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/RandyOrton's face run in 2010. The lyrics to his entrance music show that its no secret that he's extremly evil-minded. But the more his face gimmick goes on, the more he shows that he has standards regarding respect and earning your victories. Which was shown more than ever during the buildup to Survivor Series 2010, in which Wrestling/JohnCena was the special guest referee in Orton's WWE title match with Wrestling/WadeBarrett. John Cena was a reluctant member of Wade Barrett's group, Wrestling/TheNexus, and Barret said that if Cena awarded Barrett the title, then Cena would be free from the Nexus, but if Randy Orton won, he would have Cena fired for violating Nexus orders. Orton was one of the first to point out that if Cena were to screw him over in the title match, while he would keep his job, it would make him the biggest phony in WWE and would be disrespecting everyone who ever won it by handing it over to a man who cheated to win it.
* This is Wrestling/TheUndertaker when he's a {{Face}}.
** And his brother, Wrestling/{{Kane}}, as a {{Face}}.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Religion]]
* Whenever the devil in a DealWithTheDevil plot is the literal Devil, classic works of fiction often portray him as this; in particular, those that make a deal with him get exactly what they ask for at the quoted price. Though the devil can be a JerkassGenie when he feels like it, the thrust of most stories is the humans trying to wheedle their way out of the contract, not the other way around.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''Heroes Unlimited'' supplement Gramercy Island, there is the story of a demon who is given a human body and sent to the mortal world to redeem himself. He is promptly arrested for shoplifting food (he didn't know the local customs). While sitting in the interrogation room at a police station, he is asked if he's committed any other crimes. Not wanting to lie, he says that yes, he was directly responsible for the deaths of over three thousand people, many of whom he had killed with his bare claws...ed hands. "In fact, sixty of them were here in this city. Why do you ask, officer?" Attempting to arrest him, he defends himself by resuming his demonic form right there in the interrogation room. After the frightened cops drop 30 bullets into him without much effect, he apologizes and resumes his human form. The demon is then sentenced to one thousand years in prison, a sentence set to commensurate with the demon's extraordinary life span.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has the Narzugons, or Hell Knights, which are Noble ''Devils''. Unlike their scheming and manipulative brethren, Narzugons treat their foes with the utmost respect and courtesy, always allowing them the chance to surrender peacefully and always fighting fairly, which is ''far'' more than can be said for most other Devils. 4th Edition takes this even further by revealing that the Narzugons are actually the disgraced servants of the unnamed god Asmodeus slew in his ascension to godhood, and are now forced against their will to serve the Nine Hells. This may actually push them into full blown AntiVillain territory.
* Talos of the [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Night Lords]] has been a thief and a murderer since childhood. He joined his Legion in their treachery during the HorusHeresy and has spent centuries killing and surviving using every underhanded tactic in the book. Yet he treats his useful slaves well, even kindly, and strives to live up to the (admittedly warped) ideals of his Primarch, in [[AxCrazy contrast]] to the [[HumanoidAbomination rest]] of the [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Night Lords]].
** From the same universe and [[WarhammerFantasy its sister series]] several editions earlier, we had the Chaos God Khorne pre-{{Flanderization}}, whose servants generally fought with some degree of honor, and would frequently spare noncombatants on the basis of them not being {{Worthy Opponent}}s. There were even cases of Khorne sending his daemons after servants who had offered him the skulls of noncombatants or other equally "unworthy" opponents. While this is no longer true of the vast majority of his servants, Khorne himself is still usually portrayed as honourable, and he refuses to allow his servants to use psychic abilities as they would be unfair. He is generally suspicious of Tzeentch, the god of sorcery and secrets, for the same reason.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' has Abhorash and his Blood Dragon knights, who are basically a cult of martial vampires who have a code of honour which states that only cowards prey on the weak and defenceless, and so they travel around picking fights with worthy warriors and monsters and feeding on their blood instead. They're still bloodthirsty (metaphorically and literally), sociopathic undead monsters, but if you're a woman or child, they'll leave you alone.
* Many of the demons of ''{{Exalted}}''. The general demonic mindset is [[BlueAndOrangeMorality alien rather than explicitly evil]], so it's possible for them to have agendas that might come across as weird or scary while ultimately being well-meaning or even pleasant. Ligier, the Green Sun, simply wishes for Creation to share in the glories of Hell (and is often drawn into Creation by lowly people with great need, who he will offer his services as a smith to), Amalion only wishes to create beautiful things (even if they are beauties that break mortal hearts), Alveua wants to give everything a sense of order and purpose (albeit through forging their bodies into useful items), and creatures as low in the hierarchy as the neomah somply want to create children, albeit from flesh harvested from multiple donors (and can be summoned by the tears of parents mixed with the afterbirth of stillborn children).
* The Dark World monsters in ''Tabletop/YuGiOh'' are implied to be this by WordOfGod, despite the fact that they're all hideous demons ruled over by a certifiably insane king. Zure, Knight of Dark World is of particular note, referred to by his flavor text as an "illustrious knight" who "never oppresses the commoners." Yep, he's a ''literal'' NobleDemon.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Magus from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''. Everyone thought he was summoning [[EldritchAbomination Lavos]] to win his war in the Middle Ages. [[spoiler:Turns out Lavos destroyed Magus' home and family in the Dark Ages and the whole war was so he'd have an army strong enough to defeat it]]. While in the past it's shown he's always been pretty cold, [[spoiler:he offers your party advice on [[BackFromTheDead how to save Crono]] and his childhood pet cat [[LickedByTheDog follows him around very willingly]]]].
* Played straight in ''VideoGame/{{Darksiders}}'' with Samael, who, on top of being a literal demon, states that the only reason he won't kill War is because he has his own set of moral codes.
* PlanetEater Pyron from ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' started out as a full straight villain in his debut, but then his ending in the third game indicates that he evolved into this as he began to show curiousity and respect toward Earth and its inhabitants, and chose to not destroy it at the end.
* Assassin/Sasaki Kojiro in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' embraces his status as Caster's 'gate guardian' and enjoys warding off the heroes from whatever Caster's planning, but he's incredibly polite and only in it because of the good fight he gets from the heroes, without ill-wills and if they beat him fair and square, he'll congratulate them. Essentially, a NobleDemon.
* Several ''NipponIchi'' protagonists, and storyline party members, are Noble Demons (especially those who are actual demons), which usually comes into full display if you play through the [[RoadCone official endings]] of their respective games. [[Characters/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness Laharl]] from ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea|HourOfDarkness}}'' and Zetta from ''Videogame/MakaiKingdom'' are prime examples.
** [[VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}} Valvatorez]] will have you know that he is ''very'' evil... by his own definition of evil. Which looks suspiciously not much like anyone else's definition evil and more like LawfulNeutral with good leanings and a extra dose of HonorBeforeReason. [[SarcasmMode But still, evil]].
** [[SmallNameBigEgo Axel]] from ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'' fits this trope in it's literal sense. He loses all credibility and fame in the Netherworld because he actually cares for his family.
** Mao from ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'' is probably the most genuinely "evil" of the protagonists, and he limits most of his bad deeds to skipping class (vital for a demon honor student), and performing scientific experiments on ''skirt lifting''. By the end, he has [[spoiler:learned the value of true friendship and made peace with his father]], and is this trope for sure.
* For a short time, Anji Mito from ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear''. Unlike [[VideoGame/BlazBlue Litchi]] below, Anji has no desperation or pressure to make him join That Man and joins out of complete, unpushed free will (and HIGH level of curiosity) rather than being forced. However, despite all that, he's still friendly as ever to even That Man's nemesis (Sol), tried to befriend May at one of her endings, and in any moment he met Baiken, after one fight, [[HeelFaceTurn he calls it quits]].
* Lucifer from the ''ShinMegamiTensei'' series has a strong element of this in his characterization. He at least is very interested in convincing the people sent to deal with TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt that listening to him is certainly better than going the Great Will's way. Guy's got a gift for making himself look good.
* Chai Ka from JadeEmpire (though this is of the more literal persuasion).
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighter'': Sagat before ''Street Fighter Alpha 3'', he willingly became a subordinate of Bison in order to get stronger and embraced his status as one of Shadoloo's Four Devas. But over time, he developed into a NobleDemon who is disgusted by Bison's more underhanded methods of granting strength and eventually ditches him for good to resume a more healthy rivalry with Ryu.
* In ''SummonNight: Swordcraft Story 2'', the player may choose the half-angel, half-devil Dinah as their [[TheKidWithTheLeash Guardian Beast]]. Her devil half ''claims'' to be heartless and evil, and that she's [[TheKidWithTheLeash forced by circumstance]] to work for the main character. Her CatchPhrase whenever Edgar or Aera announces his/her plans to do ''anything'' is, "I guess I don't have a choice."
* Ryudo from ''GrandiaII'' begins the game this way, a cynic who actively embraces the unsavory reputation attached to mercenaries like himself. Conversely, fellow party member Millenia is a subversion ? apparently a literal demon (a fragment, in fact, of the setting's local {{Satan}} figure) who gets offended or pouty when others label her as evil.
* In ''{{Onimusha}} 2'', the protagonist, Jubei, meets a ''literal'' Noble Demon -- '''[[LargeHam GOGANDANTESS!!! THE GREATEST SWORDSMAN OF AAAAAALL THE DEMONS!!]]''' -- several times. While working for the demons by default, he refuses to finish off Jubei after he defeats him during their first encounter, and when you defeat him during your final encounter -- having found a way to nullify his otherwise impenetrable forcefield -- he expresses great respect for Jubei's abilities before he dies. At one point, he even he saves Oyu (Jubei's love interest) from certain death, by grabbing her as she is about to fall into a hole and whisking her to safety. He actually never claims or pretends to be evil in any way -- he was simply born a demon, became an invincible swordsman, and thus got dragged into the Big Bad's plan for world domination and human extinction.
* Magus from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' has the opportunity to kill the main party a number of times, but goes against it on occasion.
** Also, you find out that [[spoiler:Magus, like you, wants to kill Lavos and prevent the apocalypse; the only reason you have to fight him is because of the methods he has been using to gather enough power to accomplish this goal himself]].
* [[spoiler:Asch the Bloody]] from ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss''.
** To the contrary: Asch is not insisting that he's evil while acting good: he's insisting that he's the good [[spoiler:twin]] while acting like the evil one. Asch has a large number of KickTheDog moments, such as probably assisting with the slaughter of the crew of the Tartarus, [[spoiler:possessing Luke's body and forcing it to attack Tear while Luke watches in horror, and, while Luke is trapped in his body, threatening to kill Luke's friends if Luke doesn't stop being concerned about Asch's welfare, in sharp contrast to Asch's behavior.]] Asch even says at one point that his (debatable) HeelFaceTurn is not motivated by disgust with [[spoiler:Van's intention to kill all the people of Auldrant, but the fact that he intends to replace them]] with [[FantasticRacism replicas]]. If it weren't for Asch's backstory and RedemptionEqualsDeath...It's not that Asch is insisting that he's evil, it's that he fails at being a good guy, as shown by [[spoiler:his inability to reconnect with Natalia: even the PowerOfLove can't make him stop being a jerk.]]
** The character who best fits the trope is actually a protagonist, [[ColonelBadass Jade]] [[MadScientist Balfour]]. Despite being described by everyone, including himself, as a monster who [[KickTheDog experimented on]] [[WhatMeasureIsANonCute harmless monsters]], he's one of only two characters in the game who takes responsibility for his actions. While constantly hinting that he's poisoned the party's food and so on, on several occasions, he reveals real concern for Luke, and the culmination of his character development hinges around [[spoiler:Luke's inevitable death and the multitude of potential causes]], demonstrating real concern for another human being.
* In ''TalesOfSymphoniaDawnOfTheNewWorld'', we have Richter Abend. Although he's pretty obviously the BigBad from the beginning of the game, he's also [[MentorArchetype the mentor]] (and not an EvilMentor, but a true guardian to Emil), and while he often yells at his student, he almost immidiately apologizes thereafter. [[spoiler:This only snowballs him into full NecessarilyEvil status when you discover that his ''entire plot'' was to trick TheLegionsOfHell so he could become the guardian of the gate to Niflheim in place of Emil's SuperpoweredEvilSide, which had the slight downside of his having to [[FateWorseThanDeath burn for all eternity]]. [[HeroicSacrifice Villainous Sacrifice]], anyone?]]
* Bowser from ''SuperMarioBros'', partially as the result of VillainDecay. He's done some pretty evil things before in order to win [[DistressedDamsel Peach's]] affection and take over the Mushroom World, including unthinkable things [[CaptainObvious (with obvious evil intentions)]] like nearly bringing about [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the end of the universe]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard and himself with it unintentionally, the latter not part of his plan, but he's unaware of such a possible risk]]. On several occasions, however, he's forced to team up with the Plumbers (and sometimes even Peach herself) to defeat an even greater threat, often because said threat has interfered with ''his'' plans, but he nevertheless unwittingly counters the evil things with good things to an extent. [[WreckItRalph And they count as at least a step going "Turbo."]] One notable example is in ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'', where Bowser and Peach are ''both'' kidnapped, and forcibly married by a third party to bring about the end of the world. Bowser is a fully playable character in this game, and at one point, Peach even calls him "sweet". (The fact that he still believes his marriage to Peach is valid helps as well...)
** This is especially apparent in his interactions with his minions. One would think that after all of his repeated failures, Bowser's subjects would stop listening to him, and the only reason they would still obey him is out of fear. This isn't true at all. Bowser's minions ADORE their ruler, and seeing him in scenarios like his [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming conversation with an AWOL Goomba]] in Videogame/SuperMarioRPG makes it easy to see why.
* Rubicante from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' is one of the four elemental archfiends serving under Golbez. Nevertheless, he apologizes to a protagonist for [[EvenEvilHasStandards his parents getting turned into monstrosities by a subordinate]], heals the party before fighting them to ensure that the fight is a fair one, and when defeated for the second and last time, accepts his defeat with 'Farewell, valiants.'
** Golbez himself gains this characterization in ''DissidiaFinalFantasy'', giving advice to his brother and the other heroes even while fighting them. [[spoiler:It's revealed that he's actually working for Cosmos to end the cycle of battle.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars {{Original Generation}}s'', Axel Almer's personality is [[RetCon changed into this]] (from the sadistic {{Jerkass}} seen in OG); now he is a man devoted to stopping Beowulf (Kyosuke's alternate diminsinon EvilTwin) because he REALLY is dangerous, not out of a personal grudge. Some of his new Noble Demon acts includes:
** When he tears off the Alt Eisen's arm, it's because he wants to check if this is the same Beowulf he fought or not (Beowulf's mech had the abilty to regenerate). Turns out, it's not, and he shows genuine surprise. So he ceases his relentless pursuit of Kyosuke, but still tries to defeat him because there is still the risk that he might become Beowulf. In OG, he did that out of sadistic fun, proving how much of a bastard he was. If it had been proven that Kyosuke was not Beowulf, he still delusionally thought they were the same.
** When Lamia defects from the Shadow Mirror and escapes captivity, instead of cursing about how she could escape, Axel says, "W17, turn yourself back into custody. If you do, I'll forget that you ever tried to betray us." Still refused, but it shows more of his generosity despite being a villain, if you compare that to what he did in the previous incarnation (where he mocked her for being 'a true broken doll').
** When he confronts Raul, the latter is furious because Axel interfered with him in the past, causing his sister Fiona to be caught in a time vortex and go missing. Instead of mocking him for his weakness (which is what he would do if he's still his previous self), Axel instead tells him that it's nothing personal. "It's war, casualties are expected, your sister just happens to be one. Mature up, boy."
** With all those...his eventual fate [[BackFromTheDead becomes]] [[HeelFaceTurn obvious]].
** In the AnimatedAdaptation of the second game: [[spoiler:in the last episode, after realizing that the Shadow Mirror forces have been destroyed and he's the last member left, he fights alongside with the Kyosuke and co. to stop the Einsts and [[BigBad Beowulf]], stating that "The world we sought was denied. But I will not let him [destroy and recreate] this one!"]]
* VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2 has Mephasm, who is quite nice for a demon (though that may be a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" situation more than any actual kindness on his part).
** You can later gain the ability to summon Mephasm in the basement of your home base. Whilst he is courteous and polite, he thoroughly warns you against trying to make a deal with him, telling you that, ultimately, it will not be worth it. However, you can still go ahead and do it.
* In ''LegacyOfKain'', Kain and Raziel certainly qualify. They're a vampire and a soul sucking wraith, respectively, but are both trying, in their own way, to do what's good for the world, a few massacred townspeople notwithstanding. Kain gets some extra points for being an actual nobleman before his death.
* The battle music played when fighting the Devil Lords in ''RomancingSaGa3'' is called "4 Noble Devils".
* Elvis from ''GodHand'' is actually a pretty nice guy, for a demon. At one point, he punishes a pair of mooks for disrespecting one of their dead victims - by ''[[MegatonPunch uppercutting]] them [[ATwinkleInTheSky into the stratosphere]].'' After their third and final bout, Gene himself laments that they couldn't be friends.
* ''PlanescapeTorment'' features a *literal* Noble Demon (almost, since, in that setting, the difference between demons and devils is pretty significant), Fjhull Forked-Tongue. A LawfulEvil and unrepentant devil who (through an unwise contract) is forced to do good.
** Also, the intentional inversion appears in the same arc of the game: Trias the Betrayer, a lying angel with a grudge against Heaven and a willingness to cross the MoralEventHorizon.
* ''VideoGame/StarFox'''s Wolf O'Donnell qualifies, what with also being TheRival and Fox's EnemyMine.
* Sword Man of ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'' [[ApologeticAttacker apologizes before the fight]], saying "I've got orders." He compliments you if you completely avoid his Fire Slash attack, and congratulates you when you defeat him.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** Black Knight Camus from ''FireEmblemAkaneia''[[spoiler:until he HeelFaceTurn-ed as Sirius in the sequel]]
** Lloyd and Linus in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe'' were carried out the deeds of the Black Fang (and [[ManBehindTheMan Nergal]]) but were relatively honourable.
** As a Plegian military commander, Mustafa from chapter 10 of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' is obligated to try to capture or kill Chrom and his Shepherds, but he clearly wishes no harm to them personally, and is only fighting because [[spoiler:Gangrel will punish his wife and child if he doesn't obey]]. When some of his men admit that they don't have the will to fight following [[spoiler:the martyring of Chrom's sister Emmeryn]], he gives them his explicit permission to leave the battle without fear of reprisal. His men think so much of him and are so moved by his care for their well-being that many of them choose to stay in order to fight to protect him, and upon his defeat he asks Chrom to spare his men.
* In ''VideoGame/GraffitiKingdom'', several of the demons actually seem like decent people while still embracing their position as troublemakers, but the one who plays it the straightest is Tablet, who is sneaky, sarcastic, always creepily smirking, and, as the local rival, challenges the protagonists to path-interrupting duels from time to time, and, before the ending, he [[spoiler:kills his own father and takes his place as {{Satan}} and is reluctant to become "good" upon Pixel's suggestion exactly because he's a demon]], yet he helps Pixel out and encourages him from time to time, though it's pretty heavily implied it's out of loneliness rather than morals.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'', despite the fact that [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin you are playing]] an EvilOverlord, you are given the option to choose the lesser of evils, usually involving giving the civilians what they need and saving the elves. [[EvilChancellor Gnarl]], who is CardCarryingVillain incarnate, justifies this as PragmaticVillainy, telling you that you will need living servants for your evil empire and that "Gratitude comes with it's own rewards." The sequel (which apparently does confirm that the previous Overlord was a Noble Demon) does away with this, the Overlad instead opts to just brainwash the populace into slavery.
* Illidan in ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'' qualifies, as do some of his followers.
** The Death Knight Thassarian from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. He is, by far, the most polite of the Death Knights, even showing genuine concern when one of his comrades is captured, causing the other Death Knights to look down on him. When he has the chance, he spares Koltira's brother's life, remembering his own mother's death. In fact, when the Knights of the Ebon Blade [[HeelFaceTurn defect]] from the Scourge, he's the first Death Knight to rejoin the Alliance.
*** Koltira Deathweaver as well. In one breath, he curses Thassarian's foolishness for sending you to rescue him, in the next, he risks his life to help you escape safely by drawing the attention of all the Scarlet knights in the keep. This is fresh off the torture table, too, which is pretty impressive.
*** Thassarian and Koltira managed to become good friends during their time as Scourges, even though they were bound to the will of an OmnicidalManiac who filled them with hatred to make them effective killing machines.
* A variation occurs in ''[[EndlessFrontier Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier]]''. Ezel Granada is extremely civil to his enemies, including both your party and the general whose forces his army decimated in a bloody war ten years ago. He seems like a perfect candidate for this trope, until you learn that [[spoiler:he may actually be the most outright ''heroic'' character in the game, having personally put a stop to the war and spent the last ten years shouldering the burden of protecting the Endless Frontier from the Einst. He still thinks that he deserves to be called a villain, though.]]
* For ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', this is Michael De Santa in a nutshell. Pretty much all of the money he's made has come from a life of crime. But unlike his fellow PlayerCharacter, Trevor, who's basically TheUnfettered, Michael makes a point of avoiding bloodshed if it's at all possible, preferring to use threats and bribes to keep people in line.
* Sabata, the, er, [[DarkMagicalGirl Dark Magical Boy]] in the ''VideoGame/{{Boktai}}'' series is like this after his HeelFaceTurn. He ''really'' believes in Darwinism, really! The Dark is superior to Light, he's just helping out for the ''challenge.'' Helping little girls recover their cats is just the result of the heroes' bad influence.
* Alastor from ''ViewtifulJoe'' is a rather transparent example.
** More obvious in the anime than the games, as he comes off as the Noble Demon from the start. In the games, he seems more like a self-proclaimed rival to Joe, but in Double Trouble!! [[spoiler:seemingly sacrifices himself to save Joe and his sister. [[UnexplainedRecovery He gets better, though]].]]
* Griff from ''{{Recettear}}: An Item Shop's Tale'' has this going on, especially after his DefeatMeansFriendship incident. He plays it to the hilt, too, including such gems as:
-->'''Griff:''' I demand you sell this to me! ...Politely, of course.
* Asmodeus from ''{{Painkiller}}'' is a friendly little demon that helps Daniel in his battle against Satan's generals. [[spoiler: Turns out, he is Satan in disguise and his generals were plotting against him.]]
* This describes [[VillainProtagonist you]] in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' if you are a Sith Empire character who keeps on choosing Light Side options. More than a few [=NPCs=] on said side are either this or AffablyEvil.
** This depends on your specific class; Light sided Imperial characters can run the entire SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains; Inquisitors are type II by default due to their backstory and can go higher, Agents can easily hit type III or even Type IV, and while the Bounty Hunter is a ChaoticNeutral HitmanWithAHeart at best and the Light Sided Sith Warrior is generally a type I, both can come across pretty heroic in certain situations.
** As far as [=NPCs=] go, [[TheSpymaster Keeper]] is the head of Imperial Intelligence while remaining pragmatic at worst. He works for the Sith though it's clear that he dislikes their wanton cruelty but is smart enough not to say anything to their face. His main problem [[SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids with an idealistic Agent]] is that he's concerned that this line of work will leave them traumatized and generally remains a ReasonableAuthorityFigure. In the end, he even states that he's never lost sight of his goal of improving the Empire, a goal that he believes that he's failed at.
* Lord Dearche, the King of Darkness in ''VideoGame/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAsPortable: The Gears of Destiny'' becomes this by the end of the game. After being convinced by her retainers that the times has changed and [[OmnicidalManiac a plan that revolves around destroying everyone and everything]] isn't as meaningful nowadays, she decides that her new plan will involve starting over in a new planet and making the people there accept her as their ruler. This evil, evil plan of hers begins with [[spoiler:saving the [[HumanoidAbomination Unbreakable Darkness]] from her out of control powers and saving TheMultiverse in the process]], and continues with an extensive terra-forming project to save a planet that was on its last legs. Reminding her of what she's doing [[AllergicToLove will make her break out in hives]].
* Dragon halfling Halfas in ''VideoGame/DragonValor'', who doesn't kill the player character when he has the chance. Instead he makes them "stronger" by giving them reason to hate him (either by killing someone or cursing the character), so that he'll be able face you in a fair fight. He even offers healing items to the player character before the said fight.
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Splatterhouse}}'' games portray the Terror Mask as a malicious force, but the remake downgrades him to a sadist with principles. He [[BloodKnight takes great joy in the slaughter of his enemies]], but he's willing to act as a protector, so long as there's something to violently protect against. (On the other hand, [[spoiler:his desire for vengeance against the Corrupted clouds his judgment, leading directly to the game's bad ending]].)
* Thrynn of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'''s ThievesGuild was this when he was a bandit. When his clan's leader, Garthek, told him to kill some women and children... it didn't end well.
-->'''Thrynn:''' [[EvenEvilHasStandards I refused to do it]], and Garthek ordered the clan to kill me as well... I left his head on a pike at the wreckage of the caravan.
* There's an actual demon in ''BaldursGate II: Throne of Bhaal'' in the maze in [[BonusDungeon Watcher's Keep]] who [[AffablyEvil politely]] invites you to a non-rigged game, and gives you his part of the key [[GenreSavvy after he's assured that he and his group can escape]] instead of just leaving you trapped. Noble Demon indeed.
* Sarah Kerrigan from VideoGame/StarCraftIIHeartOfTheSwarm. Yes, ''[[VideoGame/StarCraft that]]'' [[MagnificentBitch Sarah Kerrigan]]. After being brought back to her pre-infestation personnality, she goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge against Mengsk, but also tries to atone for her previous sins by following this trope. [[spoiler:Eventually, this allows her to gradually evolve into an AntiHero]].
* After his ship goes down with her on it, ProfessionalKiller Gaspard in ''DarkChronicle'' can be seen tending ally Monica's wounds. If not for his HeelFaceDoorSlam, he likely would have become an AntiHero, or at least a neutral party.
* [[TheDragon Hawke]] from ''[[Videogame/NintendoWars Advance Wars]]'' wants to TakeOverTheWorld[[note]]Of Course![[/note]], and he's willing to sacrifice [[WeHaveReserves friend]] and foe alike to do it. He's not willing to sacrifice allies or enemies out of revenge, nor is he willing to take over the world if it means destroying it in the process. He even offers to [[spoiler:shoot [[BigBad Von Bolt]] in the end of Dual Strike not for payback, but so Jake (A late teen) [[PetTheDog won't have to do it]].]]
* Sheeva is the closest thing to this among Shao Kahn's minions in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9''; unlike any other villains, she doesn't seem to have anything personal against the Earthrealm Warriors. (In Jax's chapter, she doesn't take offense at all when Sonya insults her and the Shokkan in general, and in Jade's chapter, she claims that Kitana's execution is "the only means of regaining her honor".
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' has a number of these among the Servants: Rider, Assassin, Lancer, and even Saber herself when she's corrupted by the darkness in Heaven's Feel. Tohsaka Rin tries to be this to Shirou when getting him up to speed on the harsh realities of the Grail War, up until she finds herself truly allied with him.
* It could be said that [[spoiler:Senator Armstrong]] of ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' is an ''{{Inver|ted Trope}}sion'' of this trope. Whereas a normal NobleDemon has noble goals and evil means, [[spoiler:Armstrong]] has noble means but ethically questionable goals. [[spoiler:Armstrong wants to bring down US society through force, which he thinks is ruled and manipulated by the powerful and wealthy political and financial elite. Once the crooked politicians and media moguls are gone, he will lead a new, prosperous America where everyone is free to do whatever they want without being told to manipulated by media and corrupt governments; however, he freely admits that this will create an America where [[TheSocialDarwinist the strong survive and the weak die]] and [[MightMakesRight right and wrong are determined entirely by strength]], and Raiden calls him insane, but Armstrong defends his ideals and truly believes he is doing the right thing. The theme song for his boss fight, "It Has To Be This Way", really hammers home the NotSoDifferent nature of the two of them, and the moral ambiguity of his plans for America.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Sandoval from Webcomic/{{Oglaf}} is a wicked nobleman and serves as ambassador for the [[TheFairFolk elvish country of Xoan]]. He'll use, screw, and kill anyone he feels like, typically in flamboyant fashion yet he usually spares innocent, virginal Ivan simply because Ivan is an innocent virgin. Sure, [[{{Troll}} he'll toy with Ivan]], but that's merciful and gentle coming from Sandoval.
* Mosp, of Webcomic/SluggyFreelance, is an extremely literal example, what with being a demon and also very, very noble. Her nobility comes across slowly as a product of Torg's compassion for her, and leads to her epic CrowningMomentofAwesome. [[spoiler:[[DyingMomentOfAwesome It]] [[WhamEpisode doesn't]] [[HeelFaceTurn end]] [[TearJerker well]] [[PLayerPunch for]] [[RedemptionEqualsDeath her]].]]
* Ito, the God of Trust and Betrayal from ''AMomentOfPeace'', [[http://www.amomentofpeace.net/comic.php?num=108 steals dreams and crushes hopes]] for a living, and has prosthetic hands forged from moments of despair by crows that grew hands to strangle people. Despite all this, he seems to be a nice guy when you get to know him.
* [[SinFest Fuschia]] becomes a literal example post character development.
* Garland from ''[[Webcomic/EightBitTheater 8-Bit Theater]]'', although it's debatable whether he's noble or just stupid.
* The Demon from ''FriendlyHostility'' not only works as a nurse, but is also the OnlySaneMan and the NiceGuy. Despite this, he's pretty cool with his family devouring human beings.
* 'Gav', the protagonist of ''[[http://www.nukees.com/ Nukees]]'', is an aspiring dictator-of-the-world, with a passion for gigantic weapons of destruction - [[ILoveNuclearPower and everything nuclear]]. But he's also helped his friends out of any number of tight spots, while constantly trying to cover it up so as not to lose his villainous reputation. The most notable example is probably when he saves a DamselInDistress, but makes it look like he was trying to rape her instead...
* ''ErrantStory'''s Jon Amraphel likes to ''think'' he's a cold-blooded assassin AntiHero ("I kill people for money. I'm officially a not-nice person"), but gets called on it several times for all the times he [[WouldntHitAGirl Wouldn't Shoot A Girl]] and helped them escape, even setting them up with foster families.
* ''DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'' has a fairly obvious example in [[http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_647.php Abel]].
** Abel is pretty unambiguously good, he just tries to push people away. Fa'lina is perhaps a straighter example, running a school that teaches horrible things like torture, yet simultaneously seeming to really care about people (even strangers) and wanting to help protect them. Its not entirely clear whether she is simply crazy, has a deeper agenda, or is actually good and merely allows evil things in her school because otherwise should couldn't [[MamaBear protect more cubi.]]
* [[http://tallcomics.com/?id=41 Spondulio Wealthmonger]] from ''UnwindersTallComics'' is considered "the most charitable person alive" by everyone. But Spondulio would be the first (and only) one to remind you that he's thoroughly selfish to the core, and that his many acts of kindness are actually the side effects of elaborate plans to make himself fabulously wealthy.
* Jerak, who is a demon, from ''PlanescapeSurvivalGuide'' is convinced that he remains evil, even after helping the good guys eats rather significantly into his profit margins. His (also demonic) compatriots, Grull and Winnie, don't seem to mind alignnment shifts as much as he does.
* The cast of SomethingPositive are a cynical, mean, and sometimes violent and sadistic bunch of people who always look out for their friends.
* Malack of ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is [[spoiler:a vampire]], dark cleric, and loyal right-hand man to a brutal warlord. He is also cultured and cordial, and he goes out of his way to offer truces and compromises to fellow cleric Durkon because he doesn't want to have to resort to violence against someone he respects.
** And ultimately, [[spoiler:his last gift to Durkon after turning Durkon into a vampire is to spare Belkar and leave him alive.]]
* Many of the [[AllTrollsAreDifferent trolls]] in ''WebComic/{{Homestuck}}'' are this when they are first introduced, in the "Hivebent" arc. Their [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy culture]] explicitly endorses being a violent psychopath, and most of them have no problem with this ([[ValuesDissonance having been raised with it]]) and wish to grow up to work as soldiers for TheEmpire. However, all but a few of them are fairly kind and compassionate, and the aforementioned few who actually ''are'' violent are clearly treated as wrong by the others.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the WhateleyUniverse, Carmilla is noble and a demon. She's one of the protagonists, and yet she is directly descended from both Cthulhu and Shub-Niggurath, and is supposed to take the mantle of The Kellith, to wipe humanity off the face of the earth and repopulate the planet with the seeds of The Great Old Ones. [[ScrewDestiny She's refusing]] [[AntiAntiChrist to do so.]]
* ''DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' has a textbook example in the from of the title's MadScientist, a generally nice guy who wants to make the world a better place...but he's so cynical that he believes that this can only be accomplished by [[WellIntentionedExtremist taking it over through classic supervillainy and rebuilding it according to his ideals]].
* Played with in ''Literature/TalesOfMU'' with Vice-Chancellor Embries. He's a "noble" dragon, employed by MU as their ace in the hole against the campus being razed to the ground again. He does, however, have an unfortunate habit of eating his secretaries. As Professor Hall says, "Few people mistake a ''noble'' dragon for a ''nice'' one more than once."
* Subverted in ''FanFic/TheReturn'' - while demonic and of nobility, when Dark Star wants to "topple your castle", she'll use artillery, and then go in the ruins and personally kill anyone left.
* Agent Washington from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' qualifies, at least late in Revelations. His brand of villainy is less out of genuine malice, and more out of desperation to get out of prison. As the bad guy, he's quite nice to hapless Doc, at least as nice as his personality allows.
* [[spoiler:The Thing That Shatters The Sky]] from ''Critical Hit: A Major Spoilers Dungeons and Dragons Podcast'' offers to provide the Torqeltones safe harbor on the moon in gratitude of his liberation so they can live in happiness as his plans destroy the World. He seems unphased when they talk of choosing to fight him instead, telling them to weight their options carefully and consider whether the glory of taking down a void god is worth the perils of facing one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ultra-Humanite in ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' is quite morally ambiguous for a villain. While he does a series of serious crimes, like blowing up a modern art museum because he despises Modernism, he also tends to help the heroes in certain occasions. A particular example is in the ChristmasEpisode where he helps the Flash giving a desired toy to a group of orphans.
* Cyclonus in ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'' occasionally had elements of this. Sixshot in ''Anime/TransformersHeadmasters'' suddenly became one towards the end of the series so he could do a HeelFaceTurn.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersArmada,'' Starscream falls into this category, leaving the [[TheStarscream usual betrayal duties]] to the likes of Thrust and Sideways.
** Megatron also did this, although mostly towards [[EnemyMine Optimus Prime]]. On one occasion, he had a beaten, HeroicBSOD Hot Shot in his territory, who was the only one who knew that [[spoiler:Sideways]] had turned to the Decepticons--and instead just shoved him back through the space bridge and sent him home.
*** [[Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise Sky-Byte]] combines this with IneffectualSympatheticVillain; he becomes such a failure at being evil, that the good guys think he's pulled a HeelFaceTurn.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'': Breakdown shows shades of this when Bulkhead saves him from the terrorist group MECH. Starscream and a load of mooks arrive, and Starscream orders Breakdown to turn on him. Breakdown does, but is hesistant and needs prompting from his leader to actually do it. He also seems to be the only Decepticon to not view the [[FacelessGoons vehicons]] as expendable, confiding in one and later stating he doesn't think they get enough respect.
*** Dreadwing has UndyingLoyalty to [[MyMasterRightOrWrong Megatron]] and the Decepticon cause, CombatPragmatist and MadBomber, but shows honor, gratitude and respect to Optimus Prime and the Autobots. [[spoiler:In the end, [[EvenEvilHasStandards Starscream's defilement of Skyquake's body]] almost causes him to [[HeelFaceTurn switch sides]].]]

* Alvin from the ''WesternAnimation/SabrinaTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Planet of the Dogs". He starts off as a normal dog, but when Sabrina neglects him, he gains the ability to speak from the Spooky Jar and becomes the leader of a gang of mistreated dogs. Also, he kidnaps Sabrina's family but never puts them in mortal danger.
* [[AffablyEvil David]] [[MagnificentBastard Xanatos]] of ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' has had his moments where he tried to appear more callous than he really is, usually where his [[WhatIsThisThingYouCallLove feelings for Fox are concerned]]:
-->'''Owen:''' You've never looked more heroic.
-->''[[{{beat}} Pause]]''
-->'''Xanatos:''' A momentary lapse, I assure you.
** Macbeth counts as well. Practically ''all'' of his actions in the show are driven by [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou his petty desire for revenge against Demona]], but he outright refuses to take the easy way out by smashing her to bits when she's in stone form during the day, preferring to beat her in a fair fight. Notably, he only attacked Goliath's clan in his introductory episode because he thought they were Demona's allies. In all subsequent episodes, he refuses to harm anyone outside of his feud with Demona.
* Brain from ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' is a WellIntentionedExtremist EvilGenius, but if the push comes to shove, he'll choose the PowerOfFriendship over [[TakeOverTheWorld taking over the world]].
** Specifically, he ''did'' take over the world in one of the Christmas episodes thanks to toy bears that hypnotized people. When he realized how badly he had alienated Pinky and crossed a line he shouldn't have, [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming his only order was for everyone to just have a happy Christmas and be with people they cared about]].
** Another episode had Pinky sell his soul to Satan to give Brain world domination. Brain eventually decided that if he couldn't rule with Pinky by his side, he wouldn't rule at all.
* [[AntiVillain Prince Zuko]] in the first two seasons of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Multiple times he has a clear opportunity to coerce Aang by threatening either bystanders or captured prisoners, but he never does. During their first fight, he clearly sees that Aang will surrender instantly to protect innocent bystanders, but never exploits this. When he has Katara prisoner, he tries to bargain with her and appeal to her better nature rather than threaten or coerce her, and he forces pirates to help him capture Aang rather than use Katara as bait. Likewise, when he has Katara and Sokka prisoner, he still insists on fighting Aang one on one rather than try to use them. [[spoiler:This eventually turns into a full HeelFaceTurn.]]
* Duncan from ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama''.
* Captain Skyhook from ''The Space Kidettes'' is a pathological Noble Demon. His evil minion, Static, enthusiastically suggests all sorts of gruesome villainy to be done to the Kidettes, only to be chastised by Skyhook, who replies that "They're just itsy bitsy, teeny weeny little kids!", and promptly bashes Static's helmet in.
* Gene from ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures''. Despite technically being the BigBad, he puts himself and his (cough) ''[[TheMafia business]]'' at considerable risk to save a girl when TheHero could not (she's not a LoveInterest, not a MacGuffin, not an ActionGirl that could be useful to him, just a friend).
* Carmen Sandiego from ''Series/WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego''. Sure, she'll steal priceless works of art, monuments, archeological digs, etc. but she won't harm anyone. In fact, if Zach and Ivy are in trouble, she'll rescue them. To her, its just a game to play and she only chose it because catching bad guys as an ACME agent was too easy for her.
* The Monarch from ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' has shown on several occasions that he does not hate Dr. Venture (and his family) as much as he claims to.
* Red X from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', so very, very much. He's a [[GentlemanThief talented thief]] using powered suit that he stole from Robin to commit crimes, and he outright tells Robin that he ''likes'' being a criminal. On the other hand, whenever Red X shows up, he inevitably ends up doing ''something'' good in spite of himself, up to and including making enemies out of nine other supervillains to ensure Robin [[ItMakesSenseInContext wins a race]]. He did consider attacking Raven and Starfire's vehicle too, but changes his mind at the last minute, telling the girls, "Tell Robin we're even... For now" before he left.
* In the [[WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983 He-Man]] and [[WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower She-Ra]] Christmas Special, Skeletor gradually falls under the influence of the Christmas spirit, causing him to become this for a time. He does not enjoy the experience.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is the way his antagonists saw Erwin Rommel. Particularly once he was safely dead.
** He also consistently ignored orders to deport or kill Jewish soldiers and civilians, which made him practically unique among the German command of the time. Under his command, the ''Afrika Korps'' were not accused of any war crimes. His unit treated prisoners of war relatively well and generally fought a clean war, in stark contrast to other units.
** Some interpret Albert Speer as one of these, when he isn't seen as a TokenGoodTeammate within the Nazi Cabinet. He was never directly involved in the dirty Nazi business; he mostly designed impressive buildings to suit Hitler's tastes. The closest he got to inflicting direct damage on anyone was increasing German war production in the last years of the war, but even that was tempered by the fact that when he got the order to [[SaltTheEarth destroy everything]], he refused.
*** On the other hand, he was high enough in the Nazi ranks (as a minister and as a personal friend and confidant of Hitler's) that while he was rather vague on many of the details of the Nazis' horribleness, he knew enough to know what not to ask and where not to look. Still, he was well aware of the use of forced labor--but as it turns out, he never cared for that policy (he preferred to employ German women instead) and when he saw a labor camp he was horrified and insisted that conditions be improved (partly out of a [[PragmaticVillainy desire to increase production]], but partly out of genuine concern), although his orders were overridden. Of course, he still wanted Hitler to conquer the world--or at least Europe--and so he got his 20 years in prison.
** Erich von Manstein and the rest of the regular German military of World War II (the Wehrmacht) might fit this trope. Stories were put about (after the war was over and the western Allies suddenly needed West German support against the Warsaw Pact) that the German army conducted itself honorably and nobly most of the time. Post-Cold War historical research shows that the regular German army and its leaders were, for the most part, neither as moral and noble as they portrayed themselves to be, nor as vile as anti-fascist propaganda had drawn them.
* Another one from WorldWarII was US Air Force General Curtis [=LeMay=]. He was infamous for deliberately bombing civilian targets during the Pacific war, but did it all in an attempt to prompt a quick surrender in order to spare as many American lives as possible. He remarked that once the war was over, he would accept being arrested for war crimes without a fuss if it came to that ([[KarmaHoudini it didn't]]). However, [[EvenEvilHasStandards even Noble Demons have standards]], and [=LeMay=] was known to be disgusted by the even more brutal General Thomas Power (who was the inspiration for the [[DrStrangelove original]] GeneralRipper).
** Ditto his protégé, Robert [=McNamara=]. For him, using total war tactics like carpet-bombing, napalm and agent orange on innocent civilians in Vietnam was acceptable. [[MoralDissonance Not so for seeing people needlessly die almost constantly in gruesome automobile accidents when there was an obvious solution in seatbelts or (debatably) watching millions starve to death of poverty throughout the world]]. Hence his contributions to bettering these circumstances as a "Whiz Kid" at Ford and as head of the World Bank from 1968-1981. Furthered by the fact that he proved to be TheAtoner later in life, expressing remorse for what he perceived as his earlier war crimes and making a documentary called ''TheFogOfWar'' telling future defense heads not to do what he did.
* Christian tradition frequently portrayed Saladin as such, essentially transforming him into an Islamic knight. It's worth noting that when Dante wrote the Inferno he placed Saladin in the circle of Hell that's normally reserved for virtuous men who died before Christ. Coming from a devout Catholic, that's quite the compliment.
* Many Americans view Confederate soldiers from the AmericanCivilWar as Noble Demons. Though they seceded from the United States and fought to preserve the institution of slavery, Confederate soldiers still get a monument at America's Arlington Cemetery. It is traditional for the President to send a wreath to this monument once a year.
* Edward Hyde ([[NamesTheSame not]] [[TheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde that one]]) viewed UsefulNotes/OliverCromwell as this. He provides the quote for the AntiVillain page: "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."
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecumseh Tecumseh]] is viewed as this by many Americans. He fought against the United States in Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812 yet the Americans gave his name to several ships, towns, and people. People named after Tecumseh include two [[AmericanCivilWar Civil War]] generals, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tecumseh_Sherman William Tecumseh Sherman]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_Jackson_Tecumseh_Dana Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana]].
* Spanish Conquistadors saw the Native Americans quite close to the image of "demons" ("savages and idol-worshippers") and fought them just as savagely, yet after fighting the Mapuches led by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lautaro Lautaro]] demonstrated respect for their valour in Alonso de Ercilla's ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Araucana La Araucana]]'', which became the most popular war-story of the Spanish Golden Age.
[[/folder]]

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