aka: Evil Is Not Mean
"Homer, I'm disappointed you have to go, but I think you have to do what's best for your family. But on your way out, if you wanna kill somebody, it would help me a lot."Usually, villains have a personality or manner that underscores how evil they are. They may kick puppies for giggles, be particularly insensitive, or might just be too unknowable to be anything but evil. Then there are villains who are Affably Evil. There is absolutely nothing separating them from being normal, polite people except for the fact that they want to Take Over the World or use human souls to power their Artifact of Doom. They're not the Stepford Smiler — their affability is a genuine part of their personality, not a mask. If they have underlings, expect them to be a Benevolent Boss. In one way, they're the opposite of an Anti-Hero. They may Pet the Dog on occasion, but won't hesitate to kick it with steel-toed boots the next second if it helps them accomplish their Evil Plan. They may well be a Villain with Good Publicity because, after all, being evil doesn't mean you have to be anti-social. This villain will invite the hero out to tea, offer them a favorite dish, talk friendly, try to appeal to the hero's better nature, and convince the heroes that the villain's plan isn't worth getting involved in. Of course, if the hero still won't change their mind, the villain will remind them that they are, after all, still a villain. It may or may not involve a Death Trap, depending on how nice the villain really is when crossed. Of course, inviting the hero's mom out to tea might send a stronger message. The friendliness of said villains can serve to humanize these guys. Usually a Wicked Cultured, charismatic Magnificent Bastard. He is sometimes comedic or a Well-Intentioned Extremist who really believes that they are right. Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor is not true for them, and their affability even makes them easy to "compliment" with an Insult Backfire. Captives of an affably evil villain won't be kept in dungeons, but in a Gilded Cage. In the event an Affably Evil villain does undergo a Villainous Breakdown, the very traits that make them so pleasant often serve to make their breakdown extremely creepy or outright scary. A kind, friendly man suddenly going into a psychotic rage is made all the more scary by the simple fact that he was previously so nice and kind. If they keep their inviting personality while going Ax-Crazy, they may cross into Faux Affably Evil territory. Compare:
- Anti-Villain: A villainous character that is morally in a grey area, sometimes overlaps with this trope.
- Friendly Enemy: When the main villain of the work is legitimately friends with the protagonist.
- A Hero to His Hometown can sometimes be seen as this by other characters in-story, even if they're not actually a villain.
- Noble Demon: A villain with standards who never goes the extra mile to be truly monstrous.
- Obliviously Evil: A villain that doesn't realize that he or she is a villain. It should probably be obvious as to why this trope applies to this type of character.
- Punch Clock Villain, who, depending on what their villainous duties are, may not be exactly evil — they simply have a job to do, and their employer just happens to be evil. Of course, if that job involves something like brutally slaughtering innocents, their apathetic detachment makes them not much better.
- Pragmatic Villain: A villain who may be affable for his own reasons. Some definitely overlap with this trope.
- Villains Out Shopping for Affably Evil behavior in otherwise normal villains. Often a trait of a Card-Carrying Villain, especially in the more ironic portrayals.
- Villain with Good Publicity. This trope may be the reason why he is so popular with common people.
- Villain Respect: They may hate the main hero in every bone of their body, but they respect them regardlessly.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, where the character hides a more sinister side behind a nice facade — unlike them, Affably Evil characters are genuinely nice.
- Complete Monster: The most heinous characters played seriously with no redeeming or altruistic qualities. They are 0% nice (though may be Faux Affably Evil).
- Faux Affably Evil, which is a villain who adopts an affable demeanor that isn't genuine, basically mocking Affably Evil. They'll chat pleasantly with their victims while engaging in Cold-Blooded Torture, or hum cheerfully to themselves while setting an orphanage on fire. Unlike Affably Evil characters, they're genuinely mean, and often do things For the Evulz, but it might not be obvious just by talking to them.
- Good Is Not Nice: The opposite of this trope. the guy's a hero, but is rude, and crude and sometimes, sometimes even outright cruel.
- Good Is Not Soft, where a hero is genuinely nice but ruthless to their enemies. Essentially the good version of this trope which could be interpreted as "(very) affably Anti Heroic".
- Harmless Villain, when the villain is not necessarily affable, just no one to be scared of.
- Laughably Evil, where the villain derives humor from their crimes. There's nothing necessarily nice about them, and usually just serves to showcase that Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor.
- Animated Films
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- New Media
- Pro Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Animation
- Web Comics
- Western Animation
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- Old Harry's Game:
- Satan zigzags this trope and Faux Affably Evil. To most people, he's faux affably evil, often utilizing Exact Words or even outright lying to make them think he's about to give them what they want right before torturing them. To other supernatural beings, and the handful of humans he genuinely respects, he's this; he'll still torture them if they become annoying, but when he's not doing so he's fairly friendly and can sometimes even act as a caring presence.
- Thomas is introduced as a Faux Affably Evil Corrupt Corporate Executive. However, over the course of the series, the Prof and Scumspawn manage to reform him somewhat; he's still evil, but he's closer to this trope.
- Gary, Satan's initial top demon, is quite polite despite his love of cruelty.
- God is respectful of those he speaks to, generally willing to listen to reason (provided you don't question whether there are other gods), wishes his angels were more able to lighten up and have a laugh, and frequently sends people to Hell for little to no reason.