"I'm going to save my people, Sothe. If the rest of the world paints me as a beast to be reviled and hated, so be it."These guys are loved and celebrated by their people, whether they deserve to be or not, but have a hard time getting admiration from anyone else. It could be that the outside world simply does not know of their good deeds, but it's more likely they did something to make the outside world very upset. Their comrades may not know the details, they may not care about what makes other people angry, or they may not believe the accusations of the outsiders. Another case is that people are not impressed with a so-called hero, seeing him as a big fish in a small pond. Whatever reasons these heroes be unheard of, hated, or disrespected, they can rest assured knowing they are heroes to their hometowns. Related To Realpolitik, compare also: Values Dissonance, Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters, Villain with Good Publicity, Hero with Bad Publicity. An Affably Evil or Well-Intentioned villain is especially likely to be this. May be a consequence of the hero's Moral Myopia (as well as the community's, if they both know he's doing horrible things to other people and support him despite it... or because of it). Contrast: Never Accepted in His Hometown, No Hero to His Valet, 100% Heroism Rating. Despite the name, it has little to do with HomeTown Hero, which is a story about someone from the area it is told in.
— Micaiah, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
open/close all folders
- One Geico commercial features a squirrel that intentionally causes car accidents and is admired by the other squirrels because of it.
Anime and Manga
- Itachi from Naruto is an interesting example; only a handful of people in his village knew the truth of his life, but those that did respected him as a hero.
- Dragon Ball: Vegeta Sr. (not to be confused with his son, the antagonist-turned-protagonist rival to Son Goku) was the head exterminator of the Tuffle species. His people loved him so much they made him King and renamed the planet after him. He and his people had a low reputation among the rest of the Dragon Ball universe for their mass murder, naturally.
- The protagonist of Tiger Mask was one when he first started fighting in Japan: in America, he was the most hated Foreign Wrestling Heel, but in Japan, he was initially admired by the fans because he was Japanese and fought the American heels. It didn't work for long, as his beatings were terribly savage, and even after his Heel–Face Turn remained hated for a while.
- Doctor Doom is viewed as deceptive, violent, and megalomaniacal, and he does his best to live up to his reputation. Even people who would admire the way he rules his country Latveria don't like him because he will not stop betraying them, breaking their laws, or trying to steal their powers. The people of his country really do like him, though, because Doom is better than the leaders they had before and better than the guys trying to usurp him.
- Another Fantastic Four villain, Mole Man, is at least respected by his constituents in Monster Island and Subterranea. They willingly follow him in his attacks against the outside world, which they believe he leads for their own benefit, though part of it is to fuel his unfounded revenge.
- Darkseid, not that he's done much good for his people, but they accept his rule anyway. It's everyone else refusing to follow him willingly that makes him search for an anti life equation.
Darkseid: I am many things, Kal-El, but here, I am god.
- There was one Superman story where Lex Luthor took over a planet and became a hero to the population living there. He was still considered a super villain to the rest of the universe.
- The Warbound of Sakaar were no longer this on a technicality. The United States destroyed their hometown, but they were heroes there before then and their invasion makes sense.
- The Gladiator of Marvel is considered an idiot, psychopath, or both by the universe at large, but a few characters note that he does everything for his empire and its people do appreciate him for it.
- Team America: World Police: If the title of the film and its presence on this page weren't enough to tell you, Team America is an example. Some of the antagonists are trying to undermine their popularity at home too.
- From Long John Silver's Villain Song in Muppet Treasure Island:
Take Sir Francis Drake; The Spanish all despise him,but to the British he's a hero and they idolize him.It's how you look at buccaneers that makes them bad or good,and I see us as members of a noble brotherhood.
- All the British Naval officers from Pirates of the Caribbean, the series being set in a time where piracy and all other sorts of things we frown on today were considered okay if you did them in the service of your country. How heroic the films presented them as to the audience varied from individual to individual.
- Padme Amidala from Star Wars prequels is an example that's also presented as unambiguously heroic to the audience as well as viewed that way by her people on Naboo. There are plenty of people in the galaxy who hold the opposite view of her, though; the Trade Federation are the most notable, and assassination attempts come even from the wider republic she works for.
- In The Three Worlds Cycle, Rulke is a genocidal nutcase hated by everyone on Santhenar, including his old allies the Zain (who he betrayed). The race known as the Whelm, who flocked to him as their leader, still cherish the memory of him as their strongest leader, even after the mantle of their ruler is taken by someone else.
- Noted as a trope to be wary of in the Discworld books, since the laws of the planet follow narrative and The Good Guy Wins (even if he isn't really good) in most narratives.
- Aral Vorkosigan in Vorkosigan Saga is considered a war criminal by many offworlders because it is believed that he was responsible for an atrocity on Komarr. On Barrayar, he is respected enough to be regent without getting assassinated. It would have been extremely out-of-character (unless he's massively changed by the time of the books), but the narrator doesn't actually say he's blameless, and he did fail to control his subordinate (not that he got to choose him).
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Darth Vader is revered as a hero by the Noghri people, after he and The Empire saved their planet from an ecological disaster (never mind the fact that the disaster was, of course, also caused by The Empire).
- Well, not exactly: it was originally the result of an accident during the Clone Wars, but as it turns out, the cleaning up the Empire did was not so much cleaning up as making it appear they were doing that to keep the Noghri perpetually under control.
Live Action TV
- The Great Devourer from Angel had to rely on a lot of deceptions to get by everywhere, except for its first home, where everyone loved it despite knowing exactly what it was and still did long after it had abandoned them.
Mythology, Religion, Folklore
- Goliath to the Philistines. He was simply trying to turn a hopeless battle around through Combat by Champion, but since he and his people were insistent on defying God, failure was inevitable.
- Hector of Troy, to the Trojans naturally, even though the Greeks are supposed to be the heroes since they were out to get their abducted lady back from his brother. Never mind what she wanted.
- Jerry Lawler was God in Memphis. When he went to the WWF and began feuding with Bret Hart, he was a heel, one of the most hated men in the company. When the two faced each other in Memphis (for USWA, not WWF), Lawler was the hero and Bret the villain.
- Bull Nakano has been booked as a villain and booed in all her appearances outside of Japan. WWE planned to change that when she worked for them before she got herself fired over, uh, mental stimulants.
- The WWF also booked Hakushi as a heel but made him a hometown hero for the Japanese shows. The only time they weren't completely behind him is when he wrestled The Undertaker.
- Speaking of Bret, during his last year in the WWF, he was an anti-American heel, but fans in Canada LOVED him, especially in his hometown of Calgary.
- Similarly, during WCW's last year, Lance Storm played a pro-Canada, anti-American heel. When WCW toured Canada, fans cheered for him and he was booked as a face.
- The premier American example is Kurt Angle, who goes through the Heel–Face Revolving Door... outside of his hometown of Pittsburgh, where five minutes of heel heat is about the best he's ever done. They usually don't boo at all, no matter how much Cheap Heat he tries to invoke.
- Edge would sometimes claim to still be popular in Toronto when he got especially searing heat from the crowds of other cities. He would then claim this made Toronto better than wherever he currently was, which made the booing even louder.
- In general, any Foreign Wrestling Heel will be popular in their own country if their only negative traits are calling their homeland superior to whatever nation they happen to be wrestling in. Even with a full on gimmick in addition to being foreign, there is still a decent chance that this trope may apply anyway.
- It's practically a law that no heel will get booed in their hometown, unless A: they insult their hometown (and even then, the next time they come around, they'll still get cheered) or B: they're going against a face from the same hometown. For example, even at his worst CM Punk was downright worshiped in Chicago — at his best, you'd think they thought the sun shined out of his ass. Even after he had left the company, they continued to cheer for him and probably will do so for a good long time.
- Canada's positive reception of wrestlers booked as heels is mirrored in the UK, where local grapplers are frequently guaranteed a positive reaction, regardless of their face/heel alignment. At the most recent UK Raw, William Regal and Wade Barrett both got pops rivaling the biggest faces on the card, despite Barrett being booked as a heel consistently through his WWE run thus far.
- LuFisto in Canada, especially Quebec, after she fought a ban on women's wrestling. (or rather, fought a ban on men wrestling women, which at the time was pretty much the same thing). For example, she got cheered against Mercedes Martinez at nCw Femme Fatales even after it was acknowledged she had sided with Martinez's attempted murderers in WSU. And those she sided with, The Midwest Militia? They still got booed.
- The three top contenders to be the first holder of the World Wrestling League's Americas Title, Laredo Kid, Joe Bravo and Phenomenal BJ were each baby face based on whether the show was in Mexico, The Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, respectively.
- Inverted by Mexican Sexy Star being a face in Lucha Under Ground against Puerto Rican Ivelisse Vélez being a face in AAA while feuding with each other in both.
- John Cena plays with this. At the zenith of his X-Pac Heat he got booed straight out of the building by his de facto hometown of Boston, but after it died down, they, while not entirely adverse to doing the infamous "Let's Go Cena!/Cena Sucks!" chants, usually go easier on him than other cities, especially the smarkier ones like Philadelphia. Hell, if Cena is showing a bit of edge and not being all kiddy-pandering like he usually is, they aren't above turning against The Rock for him.
- Kharn The Betrayer from Warhammer 40,000 is viewed as a traitorous betrayer by most Chaos Space Marines after he killed a bunch of world eaters and emperor's children because they took a break from killing each other to seek shelter from a storm that would have killed them all anyway. He remains popular among the Khorne Berserkers though, just for being so dedicated to shedding blood.
- The so called Demon Lord of the Tales Of series is considered to be a wise and just ruler by his subjects and is willing to do anything to ensure their survival, including destroying your player character's world.
- Nascour is set up to take all the heat for the criminal organization Cipher in Pokémon Colosseum. Since you fight him in an arena filled with members of Cipher, though, everyone cheers for him.
- In Metroid Prime: Hunters, it's stated the only way citizens of the Kriken empire can earn respect is by discovering revolutionary technology or by helping to conquer a planet, and most choose the latter. It's also stated the Krikens are one of the most hated factions because of this, so the successful Krikens aren't getting much respect from anyone but other Krikens.
- One fan theory is that Super Mario Bros. enemy Bowser only leads invasions into the Mushroom Kingdom and tries to force a marriage with Peach because his land is barren and he wants better property for his people. What supports this is that in the Super Mario RPG and The Mario and Luigi games, it is shown that his subjects continue to follow him out of genuine respect despite his failures, and he does come across as a reasonable (if incompetent) authority figure when dealing with them.
- Hawke in Dragon Age II. After becoming Champion of Kirkwall, he/she is respected and even idolized by the general public, while various powerful factions and foreign powers see him/her as a destabilizing influence after the whole mage rebellion thing at the end.
- Micaiah in Part III of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. She's despised by the Laguz Alliance for trying to trap their army between hers and Begnion's without warning, and later crippling the Apostle's Army by ambushing them in a canyon and almost burning them alive, yet the people of Daien, due to her role as the spearhead of Daien's liberation, revere her to the point of fanaticism.
- The Legend of Zelda: In Ocarina of Time Ganondorf starts out as King of the Gerudo, and by all accounts enjoys more than a 0% Approval Rating among them despite Nabooru's opposing faction. In The Wind Waker he states that his original motivation for conquering the green and fertile land of Hyrule was that his people lived in a desert and knew only death and hardship.
- Amos in Dragon Quest VI protects the town of Scrimsley from monsters, and the townspeople adore him for all he does for them. Even after he develops an Involuntary Shapeshifting problem, the townspeople are still extremely protective of him, as he doesn't cause too much damage in his nightly rampages.
- In Worm, The Undersiders (and Skitter in particular) become this for Brockton Bay when they risk their lives fighting threats like the Merchants and the Slaughterhouse Nine, and do it better than the superheroes.
- The City of Townsville is repeatedly attacked without provocation by giant monsters. A large number of these come from monster island, where those who manage to survive a fight with The Powerpuff Girls are celebrated as heroes, and just see attacking the city as a way to draw them out.
- The Sewer Urchin on The Tick is, on the surface, a milquetoast punchline. Underground, he's in his element, superbly competent, and feared and respected by sewer dwellers.
- In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Vilgax is well known as a ruthless alien warlord. In his own planet (where the people renamed the world after him), he is considered their leader and world champion. He is a genuinely good leader and when his world was attacked under Ghostfreak, he was willing to beg his archfoe Ben for help.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender the group visit a town called Chin Village that hates the Avatar, and his previous incarnations, and arrest Aang for killing their founder Chin the Great. In reality Chin was a tyrant who conquered half of the Earth Kingdom, and Avatar Kyoshi simply avoided fighting him while he fell to his death.
- Vlad Tepes is a perennial Rumanian hero, mostly celebrated for fighting off the Turks and enforcing strict morality at home. Sometimes to make an omelet, you've gotta impale a few thousand people...
- In Hungary, Attila the Hun is a folk hero and "Attila" is a popular first name.
- Pablo Escobar is considered a hero in Colombia or at least to his hometown. The further away from his home you get, the lower opinions of him drop.
- Whilst the rest of the country has warmed up to him relatively recently, John Brown has always been a hero in Kansas.
- General William Tecumseh Sherman. In the South, he's viewed as a General Ripper of the highest order who committed countless war crimes in his mad attempt to break Dixie's spirit, and seen as proof that the Union soldiers of the The American Civil War had no honor. In the North, he's usually portrayed as someone who did what he had to do to help win the war, albeit with excessive force, and with very few casualties.
- General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are lionized in the South as great generals and soldiers and for a long time, as a result of the Lost Cause and Dunning Thesis, this view was adopted by the North until the Civil Rights Movement and scholarly research into the Civil War. Today Robert E. Lee is seen very critically in the North as a competent general, better at tactics than strategy, and his reputation as being opposed to slavery in principle but supporting the South out of state loyalty was demolished by later historians who reveal that Lee's contigent sold captured Union Freedman conscripts at Gettysburg back into slavery rather than treat them as POWs.
- Genghis Khan is a national hero in Mongolia.
- Mao Zedong in the PRC; his face is still embedded all over China and even if officially the Chinese government has criticized the Cultural Revolution as Maoist excess he's still deified and officially respected as Our Founder and anti-Mao or critical views are taboo.
- Josef Stalin is seen differently within Russia than he is the Anglophone. Despite suffering under his regime via collectivization/purges/The Gulag, for many his defense of the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War makes him a national hero. Outside Russia he's seen as a tyrant no better than Hitler.
- The Kim Dynasty are revered as royalty, or even divine beings in North Korea, and this is mandatory.
- In the United States, Pancho Villa is considered a terrorist who attacked civilians unprovoked. In Mexico, he is considered a hero of the revolution on the same level as Emiliano Zapata or Francisco I. Madero. Discussions of him cause Flame Wars, so this is all that will be said about that.
- Hezbollah are celebrated as heroes in Lebanon, even by the Christians and Druze. During the July War, one Lebanese farmer pointed out to the international press: "Hezbollah is the people of this land. They are not from Mars."
- In Great Britain, Oliver Cromwell is considered to be one of the greatest British military and political leaders in history. In Ireland, he is considered a tyrant who almost destroyed the Irish people by taking their land from them and killing thousands of citizens.
- Saddam Hussein was so popular among the people of his hometown of Tikrit that it became a political liability. He abolished surnames to disguise the fact that so many of his supporters bore the name al-Tikriti.
- The Provisional IRA are considered heroes fighting British colonialism by Northern Irish Catholics, while the rest of the world, even the Republic of Ireland they want to rejoin, considers them to be terrorists.
- Adolf Hitler was highly popular among the German people during The Thirties, and appreciated by the German people for, seemingly, having fixed the economy and ending the polarized political atmosphere of the Weimar Republic, which according to them was a fair exchange for the curtailment of civil liberties, and the deaths and imprisonment of the few who opposed him. As for the Jews and Communists, well too bad for them. Internationally, Hitler was variously seen as a clown, a neutral statesman, a monster-in-the-making and among the Vocal Minority of right-wingers, a visionary saviour who will rescue Europe from Communism. This illusion finally ended when Hitler killed himself in his Bunker, with the army fiercely loyal and fighting bitterly to the end, opposing the incoming Red Army to the last. Today the situation has happily changed, with everyone in Germany regarding Hitler and the Nazi Germany with utter hatred while sentiments downplaying Hitler are found in the fringe in other nations.
- Piet Hein is viewed by foreigners as one of the world's most ruthless pirates, having been able to capture 10 Spanish ships filled with gold. In The Netherlands he is almost a national hero and the Dutch still sing about him to this day.
- The 2016 Vermont presidential primary - Democratic voters went for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton 86%/13% and in some towns Bernie got more votes than her and all the Republicans combined.