Anti-Hero

"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right."
Salvor Hardin, Foundation

An Archetypal Character who is almost as common in modern fiction as the Ideal Hero, an antihero is a protagonist who has the opposite of most of the traditional attributes of a hero. They may be bewildered, ineffectual, deluded, or merely apathetic. More often an antihero is just an amoral misfit. While heroes are typically conventional, anti-heroes, depending on the circumstances, may be preconventional (in a "good" society), postconventional (if the government is "evil") or even unconventional. Not to be confused with the Villain or the Big Bad, who is the opponent of Heroes (and Anti-Heroes, for that matter).

Most are to the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.

There are just as many variations on Anti-Heroes as there are normal heroes. Some common attributes are: rarely speaking, being a loner, either extreme celibacy or extreme promiscuity, father issues, occasional Bad Dreams and flashbacks relating to a Dark and Troubled Past that can take many forms depending on the Anti-Hero in question; and being able to tell the story of their life through any Nick Cave song. Some won't Save the Villain, but they will Shoot the Dog, and they will not hesitate to kill anyone who threatens them.

Other characters may try to impress upon them the value of more traditional heroic values through The Power of Friendship, but these lessons tend to bounce more often than stick.

What amoral antiheroes learn, if they learn anything at all over the course of the story, is that an existence devoid of absolute values offers a lot of isolation. Which may be to their liking. Don't You Dare Pity Me! is common, and gratitude may be repulsed with Think Nothing of It (just to get them to leave him alone.)

Antiheroes often crop up in deconstructions of traditionally heroic genres. As the struggling, imperfect protagonist begins to gain more respect and sympathy than the impressive-but-impossible-to-relate-to invincible superhero, "anti" heroes have come to be admired as a perfectly valid type of hero in their own right.

Sometimes, they are not the "star" (protagonist), but serve as The Rival or Worthy Opponent of the protagonist and are prone to becoming a Ensemble Darkhorse as fans enjoy their interactions with the protagonist. If they are part of a Five-Man Band, they will most certainly be The Lancer. Well liked ones may become a Deuteragonist or at least get a Day in the Limelight to please the fans.

The term is used more loosely today than it used to be, at least on This Wiki. In one definition of the word, the appeal of an antihero is that he or she is often very literally a hero: Namely; he or she does heroic deeds. But whereas Superman, Wonder Woman, Hercules, and many other conventional heroes have both the physical and moral capabilities to do it, an antihero almost never has both.

Antiheroes are spread all over the alignment chart, tending toward Neutral types.

Traditionally, in literary analysis, the meaning of antihero was effectively the opposite of the now common usage, lacking the elements that make a hero "cool" rather than the elements that make them "good". Willy Loman and Shinji Ikari are archetypes of this form.

If you've been sent here by a work referring to someone as a "Type-I" antihero (Or so forth), they are referring to Analysis.Anti Hero, which is a sub-page of this one. Since those numbers are no longer used even on that page, they should be replaced with an appropriate named type.

Character types particularly prone to antihero-dom (though each has its share of straight-up heroes, and villains too) include:

Compare Anti-Villain. A character who is a Wild Card or a Heel-Face Revolving Door can be capable of being both an Anti-Hero and an Anti-Villain depending on whether or not they are acting for or against the protagonist at the time. For an ensemble of these heroes, see Anti-Hero Team.

Not to be confused with the webcomic anti-HEROES.


Examples

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    Fan Works 
  • The DeliverUsFromEvilSeries fic Mortality has Watson as a Good Is Not Soft version. He is sweet, but won't hesitate to torture someone for information on his friend's whereabouts, and has no problem in killing a criminal without remorse if they really piss him off by torturing his friend with an inch of his life, and gloating over his friend while he's dying.
  • In Once Upon A Time Abridged, most characters are this, basically pushing their most unlikable trait in the series Up to Eleven, except the few nice and innocent characters who are vilified by the writers and fandom alike (Broken Bird Deadpan Snarker Princess Abigail, and Disposable Fiancé Nice Guy Gaston, as well as The Cutie Lovable Coward Aurora, to a lesser degree) who are portrayed as Sheep in Sheep's Clothing and straight-up heroes.
  • In Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance, Mao is the brilliant but borderline-insane protagonist who will do whatever it takes to reunite with his lost love C.C. and destroy anyone who gets in his way or endangers her in his estimation, including grand theft, blackmail, and murder. He also intimidates and manipulates innocent Muggles without a care.
  • Futari Wa Pretty Cure Blue Moon has Emiru/Millusion become one at the end of episode 13.
  • Shugo Kino from Pretty Cure Heavy Metal is usually this, but ever since episode 45, she'll become a psychotic yet Well-Intentioned Extremist when confronted by dangerous criminals such as Kuroimetaru.
  • Beren from Russian Tolkien fic Beyond the Dawn. In Tolkien's The Silmarillion and Lay of Leithian he was so good that he even got vegetarian. In Beyond the Dawn he looks much more like a man who fought six years guerrilla alone.
  • Sinestro in the World of Heroes RPG.
  • A Hero, a crossover between Doctor Who and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, gives us a post-Evolution of the Daleks, non-hybrid Dalek Sec. No, really.
  • Secret War, a Warhammer40k fan fic, that follows Attelus Kaltos, a mercenary apprentice assassin, who is so morally grey in his actions, he could even be interpreted as a Villain Protagonist.
  • World of Warcraft fic Children Of The Stars features Keleria, a raging, red-eyed, cackling beserker...with morals and a soft spot for adorable priestesses.
  • The Tamers Forever Series has several examples, such as: Noble Demon; Chaos, Good Is Not Nice; Takeru and Jerkass Woobie; Rika
  • Harry in The Wizard in the Shadows. Slightly mad, a Blood Knight and quite willing to carve a bloody swathe through almost anything he regards as an obstacle... whilst being charming, unfailingly polite to women, having a soft spot for children and caring deeply for his friends.
    • Chivalrous and unfailingly polite to women? Check (unless you insult his girlfriend. The worst you'll get is temporary hives. If you're a man he will hold you at knife point). Total Bad Ass? Check. Total disregard for anything approaching authority? Check. Occasional habit of torturing enemies? Check. Complete disregard for the value of human life when it might constitute a threat to those he cares about? Check. Probable mild insanity which leads to a near Heel-Face Turn on at least one occasion? Check. He generally hovers around Pragmatic Anti-Hero until Ginny turns up. Then he's generally a Disney Anti-Hero, with Unscrupulous tendencies when someone he cares about is hurt.
  • Joachim Hoch from the Uplifted series, on the one hand is a Waffen SS Officer somewhat disenchanted with the war, charming and kind, sympathetic to the Quarians, and has lines he will not cross. He offers to let his Jewish sister in law escape, though that confrontation ends badly in a shocking fashion. On the other hand he is violent and brutal in combat, not shy about his anti-semetic, homophobic viewpoints (though it does get him into trouble with Hanala at times), and fiercely believes in his cause. He is Waffen SS for a reason. His Quarian counterpart and eventual lover, Hanala Jarva, is manipulative, lying, and brutal, and yet more idealistic than Hoch. Even if it usually is Hoch who plays the role of peacekeeper. The fic also includes examples of Good Is Not Nice; Magnificent Bastard (Erwin Rommel); Badass (Jack Churchill); Bloodknight (Jack Churchill, Otto Skorzeny) among others.
    • Though as of the first interlude (taking place in 1999) both Hoch and Hanala seem to have become a Disney Anti Hero in their old age. Each also seem to have taken a level or two of Magnificent Bastard as well.
  • Courier Ethan Sunderland arguably fits this trope to a tee in the Mass Foundations: Redemption in the Stars crossover fic.
  • In Brave New World, we have Team Quantum's Aeon. The rest of Team Quantum still count, but Aeon takes it further when he sucks Team Ebony in his stomach-mouth and puts them through Training from Hell. As a reward, they are now fearless and can use time-themed attacks, but are severely traumatized as a result. Even the rest of Team Quantum didn't like what he did.
    • General Nuken of the Draconian Army is also one, what with his tendency to enjoy killing things and being a sociopath. However, despite this, he is devoted to the Draconian Empire and is well intentioned. His personality is actually due to him taking all the negative personality traits from his brother when they evolved from a Nincada.
  • Tama in The Lion King Adventures. She does a few good things, but mainly for her own needs.
  • Diaries of a Madman has one in Navarone. He'll usually do the right thing when it really matters, but he can act in very unethical and underhanded ways, and can be extremely abrasive. Celestia also dips into this on occasions as well.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, as of episode 11 ProtoMan is this.
  • In Tech 10 Rebooted, Tech fights for what he believes is 'justice', and will straight up ignore the safety of people or the upholding of the law in order to accomplish his goals.
  • The protagonist, Lockbox, of My Little Metro is gradually becoming this as the depravity of the Metro wears down his better natures.
  • Alexandra Harris, the protagonist of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Power Girl crossover-fic Origin Story best showed that she was an Anti-Hero when she fought Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. After she uses her "super-breath" to freeze him in place, thus nullifying his stretching powers, he assumes that she has insured that he'd thaw before suffering permanent damage from frostbite. Alex corrects him, telling Richards that she neither knows nor cares whether or not he'll thaw before being permanently injured.
  • Seamus Finnigan, whose method to defeat the Big Bad in Sluagh is by ritually torturing and murdering his recruits both current and potential.
  • Jason Shepard, aka Lightstorm of Sailor Moon: Legends of Lightstorm is this, though his motivation stems primarily from necessity. Due to legally not existing, his main source of income is money and resources that he takes from the criminals of Tokyo that he kills. Mostly this is so he can buy things like food, clothes, and materials to make his armor and weapons, but he has been shown to have other reasons for going after criminals (in one instance, he seemed to be extremely angry with a drug dealer (so much so that he seemed about to torture the guy to death), and less than a minute later he refers to the session as "training" to Luna over the phone).
  • Swordstorm has Kapral. His motives are unclear, but he is rather sarcastic and pragmatic.
  • Tom in Tom Riddles Schooldays is nice and helpful for selfish reasons.

    Films — Animation 

    Music 
  • Five Iron Frenzy's song 'My Evil Plan to Save the World' illustrates this point to an extent.
  • God Forbid's song "Anti Hero" Explore themes of anti-heroism, with lyrics like "Torn between right and wrong."
  • My Chemical Romance's "Killjoys."
  • Sublime's "Date Rape."
  • Sonata Arctica's "Peacemaker."

    Pro Wrestling  
  • Professional Wrestling thrives on anti-heroes, as the very nature of the show requires even the most idealistic to pound someone into a gooey paste for a living. Plus, if a woman dumps a man and betrays his trust, the audience will often demand physical retribution from the wronged hero.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin raised it to an art form by becoming (in his own words!) a "trash-talking, beer-swilling, backstabbing son of a bitch" who was the hero because he opposed Corrupt Corporate Executive Vince McMahon.
  • During The Rock's heyday, he was cheered by millions (and millions) of fans while showing classic bullying behavior, most notably to Mick Foley.
  • Macho Man Randy Savage, meanwhile, made his name by always being on the edge of a psychotic breakdown and would defend his girlfriend Elizabeth whenever necessary — even though he wasn't always the nicest guy to her.
  • Hulk Hogan's status as superhero and protector of the innocent meant he could get away with a lot of things on camera, such as hogging the spotlight and fighting fire with fire. The deconstruction of his wrestling style helped facilitate his infamous Face-Heel Turn in 1996. Infamously, Hogan was unrepentantly nasty in matches with No Disqualification rules, almost instantly resorting to tactics that were typically only used by heels.
  • Randy Orton in his 2010-2013 face role. What better example of an antihero do you need than a man who told Sheamus to his face that he would RKO his own grandmother if it meant holding on to the WWE title, and then he would RKO Sheamus' grandmother just to see the look on her face. All the while he's one of the most beloved wrestlers in the WWE.
  • CM Punk is this right now. Brash, bold and hilariously entertaining, he gets cheered for doing/saying anything he would normally.
  • The Undertaker was one of the earliest anti-heroes in the WWE. Several examples-including ones listed on this very page-do predate him, though.
  • Jake Roberts was, at his best, a sinister, darkly intelligent schemer. Yet was still wildly popular with the audience.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Misspent Youth by Robert Bohl is a game where you play a group of teenage anarchists out to change the world. The "PCs" are called Youthful Offenders and in every way, the world considers them to be criminals.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Toshiro Umezawa of the setting Kamigawa is a selfish, conniving, snarky bastard. Doesn't keep him from fighting against a war against nigh-omnipresent and incredibly powerful god-spirits wanting to tear the world apart, for obvious reasons.
    • Sorin Markov, despite being in many ways a scheming douche, was also one of the three planeswalkers responsible for locking the Eldrazi away in a Zendikar-shaped can. He also created the most powerful force for human survival on Innistrad, admittedly to prevent the other vampires (and the zombies, and the werewolves...) from wiping out the food supply.
    • Urza is somewhere between this trope and Designated Hero. Over the course of six millenia of existence, Urza fought a brutal war with his own brother, caused The End of the World as We Know It (twice!), destroyed a small universe (one populated by Angels, no less), used and/or betrayed everyone close to him and their families, sacrificed six of his godlike brethren, and, perhaps most tellingly, was only able to make one real friend in all that time (the others merely being allies or his own creations). The flavor text of the card "Recover," puts it most tellingly:
      As Barrin exhumed his daughter's body, he finally realized the full price of his faith in Urza.
    • After being a straight villain in Agents Of Artifice, Tezzeret grabs the Sympathetic P.O.V. after some Character Development and takes an Anti-Hero role in the sequel, Test Of Metal.
    • Venser in both of his appearances, albeit in different ways: in Time Spiral, he's an arrogant, petulant stereotypical nerd who tries so hard to get into Jhoira's pants that he is more invested in scoring than in the end of the world that's happening right around him, while in Quest For Karn he is an arrogant Jerkass who is addicted to blinkmoth serum and constantly berates his teammates (which, to be fair to the man, dragged him there against his will). What's most jarring is that the set the second novel was written for tries to depict him as a straight up protagonist, in spite of his tract reccord and no attempts on Creative to fix it.
  • A relatively rare Lawful Good example would be Ambros Brasmere from Dungeons & Dragons. He is a Gray Guard, a paladin Prestige Class whose goal is to protect the innocent from evil no matter what. They fight dirty, can convert their Lay on Hand ability to a painful interrogation technique among other things. They're basically as cynical and brutal as their alignment allow.

    Theater 
  • John from Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John tracks this trope pretty closely, in his efforts to navigate the murky realpolitik of early-1200s west Europe. Contending with finicky noblemen at home, enterprising relatives with ambitions of coronation and control, foreign armies, and a heavily influential Vatican, John is completely overwhelmed. In spite of arguably having the military advantage over his foes, the events around him cause him to behave with irrational brashness: he orders the execution of his nephew in vague language, later rescinding the order once he realizes that popular support for such an action is nil; takes his army to continental Europe to battle France and Austria for control of a small départment (which he later offers just to give away), leaving England vulnerable to attack from a swift Franco invasion at the behest of the Pope; and he royally pisses off the church in an attempt to levy unfair taxes on the church, on account of which a priest poisons him.
  • Titus from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Titus kills his own son, Mutius, because he disagrees with his decision to force his own daughter, Lavinia, to marry the Emperor, Saturninus (who is already betrothed to Saturninus' brother, Bassianus). Despite this, Titus does show remorse for what he did, and after Lavinia is raped by Chiron and Dimetirius, he avenges her death by killing them and putting them in a pie to feed to their mother, Tamora.
  • Macbeth from Shakespeare's Macbeth, before his descent into Tragic Villain.
  • The Soldier, from Sarah Kane's Blasted.
  • Prince Hippolytus from Sarah Kane's Phaedra's Love.
  • The 2013 stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory takes the Interpretative Character Deuteragonist of Willy Wonka and nudges him into this trope, to the point that he comes off as Ambiguously Evil. On the one hand, all of his confectionery creations stem from a drive to make the world a lovelier place For Happiness, though owing to his eccentric way of thinking and creating his "art" isn't usually recognized as such. And he is capable of incredible kindness and generosity, able to recognize diamonds in the rough as readily as devils in plain sight, to the point that he's the reason poor Charlie Bucket found his Golden Ticket to begin with — it's a long story. BUT. He has a Sugar and Ice Personality; he's fiercely proud of and prone to boasting about his marvelous world, and frosty towards the Golden Ticket tour group, more concerned with punctuality and showing off than getting to know them. And when the bratty kids disobey his warnings and get themselves into trouble, he not only has No Sympathy (in part because he's more concerned with his factory's continued operation), but clearly sees them as getting what's coming to them...even when it proves fatal. Oh, some of them might get an offstage rescue or Disney Death...but we'll never know. David Greig, who wrote the book of this musical, commented in a Twitter chat that while the original novel may have No Antagonist, "I started to wonder about the dark side of Willy and realised he is a goodie AND a baddie." (Coincidentally, this show's director is Sam Mendes, who directed two of the Daniel Craig James Bond films, and actor Douglas Hodge, who originated the role of Wonka, previously played Titus Andronicus at Shakespeare's Globe!)

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night
    • Archer walked this line. He grew up as an idealistic busybody, believing that he could be a 'champion of justice' and turn the world into a better place. In the end, he realized that for everyone he saved, someone else must die. He lost faith in his own ideals, and from then on, he simply killed whoever posed a threat to the rest of humanity, saving millions by killing thousands - "for the greater good".

      This was in no small part thanks to his father, Emiya Kiritsugu, who held the same ideals, and did the same thing - killing people whose work would involve death of others, even if it would've benefited others. After the 4th Grail War, finally believing that he made a difference in the world (ordering Saber to destroying the Grail) he dies. The Grail wasn't really destroyed...
    • Shirou during the "Heaven's Feel" route faces an important choice between two ideals, both leading to Antihero-dom. Choosing to kill Sakura leads him to kill his emotions and become an Archer/Kiritsugu-style "questionable method" antihero (this, incidentally, is a Bad End). On the other hand, choosing to protect Sakura, no matter the cost, leads him to become more of a "questionable motive" antihero (since the one way to save Sakura is to stop the Grail War, something unquestionably heroic).
    • Kotomine gives a lecture at one point of the nature of an Anti Hero. He describes it as someone who is evil (either in action or intent), but whose actions bring about a positive result, therefore they are lauded as a hero afterward. He uses this to explain why some of the summoned Servants (all of whom are legendary heroes) are evil despite being "heroes", and predicts Shirou following that path in the end.
  • M in Shikkoku No Sharnoth is ridding London of monsters, however, he does so in a pretty evil manner and appears to have no emotions resembling empathy.
  • The dragonslayer in Dra Koi is only there to slay the dragon. Collateral damage is not important.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick
    • While there is no obvious Antihero in its main cast (it's usually either Lawful Good or Sociopathic Hero for the most part), Vaarsuvius comes pretty close. Even not counting the events at the end of Don't Split the Party, which could still be explained away by stress and not having rested for six months, the elf is the only truly morally ambiguous protagonist — a decent person and a faithful friend and yet being quick to suggest that the heroes simply execute the captured villains rather than surrendering them to the authorities and not seeming to have a problem with the idea of using evil methods to ensure that they stay dead. (Granted, V WAS representing Belkar's opinion at the time, but still...)
    • Belkar himself is a Chaotic Evil murderous psychopath who happens to be in the good guys' party only because he enjoys the dungeon-crawl killing and because he can't suppress his impulses long enough to cut a proper deal with the forces of evil. His later 'character development' and voluntary commitment to the party comes about when he realises he can exploit the world much more easily if people think he's a good person.
    • Haley Starshine starts out this way, and continues to pretend to the role, due to operating out of Greed rather than altruistic motives. However, as the story goes on, she becomes more and more loyal to the rest of the team and to helping people, and her love of treasure is at least partly justified because she's been storing up money for her father's ransom. Only partly, though.
  • anti-HEROES. The protagonists so far consist of an epic level necromancer, a vampire, a tiefling, and a ghost, all delightfully morally ambiguous. This strip was inspired by The Order of the Stick and has a similar artistic style.
  • Emokid and Chemokid in Head Trip, a Black Comedy webcomic, don't have psychic powers or Mad Science at their disposal. They got their names because one of them cries all the time and the other has cancer.
  • Ironically, Dechs Rashart of Antihero for Hire isn't anti so much as he is dark and edgy. But Crossroad sure is.
  • Not A Villain has Kleya, though she's doing her best to become a regular hero.
  • Looking for Group
    • A recurring theme is doing what must be done. As such, a lot of the main characters tend towards the anti-hero. For at one point, Krunch at one point kills a gnome out of necessity, and then annoyance when the gnome is not quite dead. Benny objects to working for free at one point, claiming that isn't how the world works.
    • Cale has become more like this recently, in the "do what is right rather than what is lawful" sense. His character development has been a transition from Lawful Good to Chaotic Good.
    • Richard is this when he does good instead of wantonly killing things for his own amusement.
  • Ronin Galaxy: Cecil, despite having all the optimism and badassery that ideal heroes ought to, he only keeps that up for as long as it’s convenient (or safe) for him to do. When he’s outmatched he has no problem with kicking his opponent in the crotch.
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance is in many ways a Badass who saves his friends and the world at large from aliens, vampires, and the like. Thing is, thanks to his Mad Scientist experiments and reckless behavior, he's probably endangered the human race more times than he's protected it. What else do you call a hero who's on record saying this?
    Riff: "I literally summon demons to keep myself from buying a shotgun and permanently emptying a Taco Bell!"
  • Abbey from Gnoph.
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , Abel's side story has Devin, who has a tragic past which consisted of his father walking out him and his mother and his mother's last words being how much she wanted to kill him. He now spends his time protecting travelers in the forest whether they want to be or not. He is a Deadpan Snarker and in his own words "an asshole". Pity he was killed off... until he came back as an undead.
  • Ed from Fake Knight.
  • While its difficult to quantify where, precisely, Sixx from Collar 6 falls due to the Blue and Orange Morality of the series, she clearly isn't a traditional hero.
  • A lot of the main characters from Zokusho Comics are anti-heroes to one degree or another. Serge kills a lot of people, without any remorse. Rotting Johnny is a undead hitman who had a lot of moral ambiguity before he "died". Akira's team of Wayward Cross operatives murder a lot of goblins. Raz does it with glee. Though this may be somewhat averted if Goblins are Always Chaotic Evil.
  • In Rusty and Co., the Princess. She smokes, wears revealing clothes, is greedy, loves a wight, and has no qualm at all beating up a bunch of mind-controlled innocent bystanders.
  • Atticus Brent, the chain-smoking, apathetic, possibly sociopathic protagonist of Mokepon.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal presents the Iron Sociopath, who is into hero-ing entirely because it's a form of violence he i commit without going to prison.
  • CK from Commander Kitty, a Jerkass Glory Hound who dreams of being the supreme overlord of the entire Cat System. This might extend to all Spacers, really, with Nin Wah's old crew apparently into some shady business, and even the more heroic Velvet Knight crew really being in it for the fame.
  • Luca Micarelli and Francesca from The Thing That Would Not Leave.
  • Sid from Distillum.
  • Inverloch has two:
    • Varden is the Disney type. While he's grumpy and prejudiced and makes clear that he's not there to be anyone's friend, he's a good guy not-so-deep down and it doesn't take him long to start genuinely caring about Acheron and Lei'ella, becoming more of a Loveable Rogue.
    • Neirenn is Pragmatic. She's a friendly teenager but she's also worryingly interested in dark magic and can act less than noble. In the epilogue, we're told that she sat on the information Raul gave her until she wanted to oust Stonier and take his job. But her desire to learn healing magic is perfectly understandable.

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, the main characters, the Undersiders, are either Anti-Heroes or Anti Villains, as while they're supervillains they spend most of the story protecting people from the really evil villains and monsters of the Crapsack World that they live in.
  • In The Gamers Alliance, Belial works with the heroic Grand Alliance and opposes the evil Totenkopf cult but is also ruthless and does whatever is necessary to make his secret Order of the Black Rose grow more powerful.
  • In The Antithesis, main character Qaira Eltruan is not a hero by any means, and the methods he goes about 'protecting his world' are usually evil, cruel and unjust. While his ultimate goal is to protect his people and rid his world of the angels, Qaira will not hesitate to kill anyone who stands in his way, and this includes his peers. This stems from a lack of moral duty—Qaira is considered a moral nihilist by most readers.
  • The eponymous teams of Red vs. Blue are, for the most part, too incompetent to be anything other than loser 'heroes', but the more prominent Freelancers (Tex, Washington, and Carolina) range from jaded and pragmatic to damn near Ax-Crazy.
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the eponymous character is actually an aspiring supervillain and the good guy, Captain Hammer, is an egomaniac.
  • Gavin Taylore of KateModern is often cowardly, often selfish, and sometimes a bully, and cares not for the civil liberties of webcam users, but somehow it's hard not to root for him.
  • Kit of Omega Guardians falls into this territory. The guy means well, loves his brothers, and forms a strong bond with young Andy, but he also put the entire original team in the hospital when he got manipulated by a villain, put his youngest brother into a year long coma when Ace tried to talk him down, and in season 2 Imprisons Matt just to keep him from stealing Andy back after he left the Guardians to join up with Kit's crew.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, some of the most popular characters are anti heroes. Among the most prominent examples are version two winner Bryan Calvert and version one contestant Hawley Faust. Over the course of version one, Adam Dodd steadily turned into one.
  • Several characters in Tech Infantry qualify. Others flirt with the line between Anti-Hero and Villain Protagonist.
  • Clark of Clark Kallen And His Merry Band.
  • Sami Reese from Little White Lie, plagarizes a classmate by taking advantage of the fact that he's in a coma and that he has a crush on her to win a battle of the bands and to get a record deal. Oh, and she's a total bitch to everyone else in the process.
  • Carmilla of the Whateley Universe. She's a demon, but she has said 'screw you' to fate and is trying to be a demon of lust, instead of prophesied to wipe mankind off the face of the earth. On the other hand, she has eaten some people who tried to kill her. And then there's the things she did to Jobe in order to maintain their vendetta...
  • Black Cat, a street-level hero in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a definite anti-hero. He's dropped people off of roofs (after tying them securely to a line) in order to get them to talk, casually breaks bones, and generally operates with a disregard for civil rights. He's never killed anyone, though, and most Boston cops thank God for that.
  • The Punisher, Wolverine and the majority of the Avengers and New Avengers, just to name a few examples, in Marvels RPG are easily identified as anti-heroes. Most of their solutions to problems, is, well, killing them.
  • Every character in Ather City falls under this, but the degree varies.
  • The Amazing Atheist. He is embittered towards humanity and only hates his fanbase slightly less then the rest of humanity. He has also begged for money from his fanbase despite his contempt for people however he has spoken out against those that have done way worse then him so he is definitely a lighter shade of grey. He has shown that he has a good heart on tumblr and in his atheist marriage video.
  • John Ferrera aka lisanjohn 710 aka what pisses me the fuck off. He is a good person and has good intentions but will curse like a sailor when expressing his opinions and will tell you off if you try to tell him that he can't, he has done more calm review videos and videos with other people talking about wrestling and other topics. He could very easily pass for Pragmatic or Classical most days and Unscrupulous on bad days.
  • The Nostalgia Critic. He's a good guy at heart and easy to sympathise with, but he's still a broken asshole.
  • The Nostalgia Chick is only really still on the "good" side because there are people worse than her (like Dark Nella), but she's still likable, has a few Freudian Excuses and loves her puppy.
  • Retsupurae. They attack, mock and ridicule people just because they don't like their Let's Play's. However as much as they attack, mock and ridicule people they do give them a chance to redeem themselves and have made amends with a few of them. And there are Let's players out there way worse then them. And you can't help but not like them as they are too likeable to hate or despise.
  • Shoutan Himei from Sailor Nothing. Cowardly, weak, selfish, and pessimistic, she couldn't care less about being forced to kill Yamiko just to get back to her normal life, and her attitude has harmed people close to her constantly, even herself. I.e., This Loser Is You.
  • The Gungan Council has many anti-heroes, but Je'gan is most notable for beginning a genocidal crusade against the Galactic Empire and Sith.
  • The main character of the web series Chapel is probably Pragmatic (and getting worse every day). She's cold-bloodedly killed a few people, but they weren't very nice people. If you wrong her, she might not try to kill you, but she also won't try to not kill you either.
  • Nocte Yin was born into a family of Villains, but she tries her best not to be as bad as them. It doesn’t always work.
  • Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In Paragon Tier, Gibnaf is slowly becoming Unscrupulous. To the point that the other players begin tracking up his 'anti-hero points.'
    • Minerelle and Joey were, of course, already Nominal Heroes at this point, one being a psychotic, paranoid murderer and the other being amoral and gold-obsessed.
  • Linkara of Atop the Fourth Wall is usually a good guy, but he's also snarky, whiny, short-tempered, violent and arrogant, and an entire plot arc was devoted to how close he was to doing a Face-Heel Turn.
    • A Dose Of Buckley aka Adam Buckley He is a good guy deep down, but is prone to dealing with topics in less than ideal ways and will call you a "droolie" and swear.
  • Jack Masterson of Chrono Hustle.
  • Fiearius Soliveré of "Caelum Lex" is a smuggler, thief and sometimes assassin, often makes selfish and reckless decisions and yet is depicted as a hero.

     Western Animation 
  • All main characters from South Park verge on anti-heroism on occasion, though Cartman often verges on Villain Protagonist. Usually they learn their lesson at the end, however, and often are shown to be morally superior to the adults in town.
  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is this at her best or straight up Villain Protagonist at her worst. Mostly, it's all about her and follows Pragmatic Villainy.
  • The eponymous character cartoon version of Beetlejuice is rude, gross, mean, a pervert (though, not as much as he is in the movie), and is willing to scam even his own friends out of their money. His redeeming qualities? He cares deeply for Lydia and will do anything to make her happy.
  • Valerie Gray The Hunter on Danny Phantom.
  • Gaz from Invader Zim is an antihero, or even a Sociopathic Hero. Zim might qualify as well, but seems more clearly marked as a Villain Protagonist.
  • The Transformers series Beast Wars had a handful of characters who would arguably qualify, most notably (but by no means limited to)...
    • Dinobot, a Defector from Decadence who never lost his Predacon sense of warrior honour - but had a tendency to push for the more aggressive option.
    • Rattrap, a Jerk With a Spark of Gold, Combat Pragmatist and Loveable Rogue who gleefully insulted, lied, cheated and stole his way through the war (and was one of its few survivors) and yet remained a good guy (and occasional Maximal Commander) throughout.
    • Depth Charge, gritty loner determined to bring Protoform X to justice.
    • And, in season 3, Blackarachnia, who joins the Maximals mainly to save herself, although Silverbolt's constant romantic/chivalric advances may have had something to do with it.
    • Later series have this as well, including Ultra Magnus in Transformers: Robots in Disguise and Starscream in Transformers Armada.
  • One of those rare, completely uncool examples: Batman: The Animated Series, detective Harvey Bullock. He despises Batman, works below the board, lies about his accomplishments, has zero respect for people and their privacy, and in the words of Alfred, "looks like an unmade bed". Yet he's also a startlingly skilled fighter and wholeheartedly dedicated to getting rid of Gotham's "scum". He's essentially the kind of cop who would be a huge supporter of Batman's vigilantism if his own ego would let him.
  • Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time is benevolent ruler who does whatever she has to for the Candy Kingdom, but her devotion to being the best ruler possible makes her distrustful and emotionally cold, and she sometimes makes very morally dubious choices for what she considers the greater good, or engaging in sneaky political manoeuvring. Most recently it's been revealed that she constantly spies on the entire world, including her most loyal allies and servants.
  • The title character of El Tigre is a preteen super deciding between the heroic path of his father and the villainous one of his grandfather. Lampshaded when in one episode he's subjected to a machine designed to tell whether one is a hero or villain and it explodes!
  • Generator Rex, there's... Well, the title character, who, while a great guy in his own right, he's demonstrated reckless, utterly selfish behaviour.
  • Heloise from Jimmy Two-Shoes.
  • By the end of Total Drama World Tour, Heather gradually became more and more of an anti-heroine (especially when compared to Alejandro.)
  • Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender is something of an antihero, albeit he's the secondary character. Dark and misunderstood, Zuko operates under the sole motive of regaining his lost honor, and not always admirably so. Although he turns himself around in the end.
    • Jet too. At first, he seems like a romantic, handsome, vigilante freedom fighter, but he's willing to go to horrifying extremes to defeat the Fire Nation. Later, he goes straight. Unfortunately, the Genre Savvy viewer would know, Redemption Equals Death.
  • Deconstructed with Captain Tunar from the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Ramlak Rising." Presented as a Shadow Archetype to series protagonist Lion-O, Tunar's obsession with killing the monster that destroyed his people's homeland has shaped him into a man that holds his crew in contempt and views them as expendable, where once he hunted the monster on their behalf. Realizing what Tunar has become, Lion-O moves away from imitating Tunar's ruthless and mercenary focus.
  • Bugs Bunny may be the first fully-realized antihero in animation, coming right around the time Ideal Heroes like Mickey Mouse were falling out of favor. He goes from being a Heroic Comedic Sociopath to Karmic Trickster.
  • Doctor Fate in Young Justice. A helmet-based spirit of Order, he has no qualms about forcibly suppressing a host's original mind to stay active, even if the host in question is just a child.
    • Also, M'gann becomes this. Yes, M'gann, the Naïve Newcomer and The Cutie- by the second season, she is willing to Mind Rape practically anyone to get information or revenge.
    • Pretty much all of the main six characters register on the scale somewhere, though Kid Flash is a Classical Anti-Hero at best.
  • Both Tom and Jerry can be classified as anti-heroes; Tom, being a cat, is a natural predator, and he wants to protect his owner's house from being ransacked by Jerry—by tormenting and sometimes trying to eat him. Jerry, on the other hand, wants to survive and live life a little longer—by seriously injuring Tom.
  • According to Word of God, Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has gone from Big Bad to this following his minor Heel-Face Turn. As if he wasn't enough of an Expy of Q.
  • Muttley from Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines is depicted as a Villain Protagonist at times. Other times, he's been known to bite the hand that feeds him—namely, Dick Dastardly. He sees himself as a hero in the Magnificent Muttley segments.