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Baddie Flattery
"And by the way... I like your dress."
The Master, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to Buffy, while killing her

A villain who seems glad to see you, comments on your nice outfit, and how you're better at heroism lately than you used to be. They may even salute your proficiency in battle. The disturbing thing is they don't seem sarcastic about it at all.

This creepy politeness is usually just a tactic to throw off the hero and show off how the villain is a looney. Terms of Endangerment are often involved. Occasionally the villain is genuinely attracted to the hero, or has some other reason to relate to them.

The Lovable Traitor is prone to doing this. The hero may retort with Dismissing a Compliment.

Contrast to Affably Evil, while the villain is not necessarily trying to annoy or flatter the hero, but rather that's genuinely what they're like. See also Your Approval Fills Me with Shame.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Doctor Muraki of Descendants of Darkness does this mostly to jerk Tsuzuki's chain.
  • Freeza from Dragon Ball Z was not only very polite and formal (calling even his renegade henchman who has killed just about every member of his fleet "Mr. Vegeta"), but couple this with his voice (which, in Japan, used mostly female modifiers and gender articles as well as the voice of a male seiyuu VERY famous for mad and evil roles, and was voiced by a female in North America and by a quite deep baritone male in Latin America) makes him a very creepy villain indeed.
  • Joker from Read or Die was always polite and formal, never losing his cool once even when he was held hostage. Then again, he had so many proverbial cards up his sleeve that his confidence was legitimate.
  • One Piece
    • Foxy the Silver Fox complimented Luffy's new afro-headed look.
    • Also Blackbeard to Luffy both before and after they knew who each other were. He encourages Luffy after a humiliating beating by some bullying pirates, understanding his motives and his dreams. Later in Impel Down, when he is introduced to Luffy as Blackbeard, the man that killed one of his True Companions and beat up Luffy's brother to turn him in for the title of Warlord of the Sea, he still encourages Luffy and remarks on how strong he's become.
  • Claymore has the character Priscilla who is unfailingly polite and apologetic even when things are not even really her fault. That is until she Awakens and becomes her Superpowered Evil Side.
    • A lot of the villains are like this when they aren't simply Affably Evil. Truth be told in Claymore, if someone is flattering you, it's because they can curbstomp you into pieces and said flattery is when you should be fleeing, if it isn't already too late....which it usually is.
  • Ichimaru Gin from Bleach and his treatment of "Hinamori-chan", whom he taunts gently yet sarcastically to make her (and others) believe he's a criminal and a traitor. Turns out he * was* a betrayer, but not quite as the others imagined. He even takes time to talk to Rukia in her way to be executed and give her the hope that she might have her life spared... and then practically say he was kidding, dashing her last bits of hope before Ichigo fight his way in the execution fields and *does* save her.
  • Jail Scaglietti during the last episodes of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, who, when faced with defeat at the hands of a very angry Fate on Super Mode, breathlessly called Fate and her powers as magnificent. Fate responded by smacking him into the wall hard using the side of her BFS.
  • In Hunter ◊ Hunter the Chimera Ant King expresses admiration for Netero's incredible martial arts prowess and speed even though the latter's attacks can't really hurt him.
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, Dio Brando (pictured above) applauds Polnareff for avenging his sister and for surviving up to that point.
  • In Kill la Kill, when Ryuko and Senketsu first encounter Ragyo Kiryuin, she comments on how she didnít expect Senketsu to be so beautiful (note that Senketsu is an article of living clothing, and Ragyo is both the head of a fashion empire and worshipper of beings like Senketsu). She later adopts a similar attitude to Ryuko upon realising that she is her daughter, and a human infused with Life Fibers, often commenting that what she's doing is beneath her and that it's a pity to have to kill somebody who has such a through merging with Life Fibers.

    Comic Books 
  • The Joker occasionally does this to Batman.
    Joker: I see one of our stars approaching the red carpet! And he's in black, always chic. But here come the fashion disasters. (The rest of the Justice League arrives) I'm surprised their mummies let them out of the house looking like that.
    • This was one of the most memorable traits of the Jack Nicholson Joker.
      "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"
  • Lex Luthor in most media. Funnily enough, rarely to Superman himself. He hates Big Blue.
  • Rotorstorm's "Wreckers, combine!" joke from Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers got a laugh out of Overlord, a 'bot so evil and powerful he makes grizzled veterans go "Oh Crap". Then Rotorstorm gets his brains blown out.
  • Darkseid compliments his estranged son Orion's savagery and prowess almost every time they meet.
  • Back when Lightspeed (formerly of Power Pack) and Karolina Dean (of the Runaways) were on opposing teams (Lightspeed was one of several former teen superheroes hired to shut the Runaways down), they ended up complimenting each other instead of fighting. Years later, they ended up dating.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Harry Potter fic I Don't Want To Die Voldemort is impressed by Harry's power, evasive skills, and the death traps he had laid out for him:
    Voldemort: You have impressed me, and I assure you that is hard to do. That pit full of water and sharks was a nice touch.
  • In Hivefled, the Grand Highblood takes the time to tell Gamzee how impressive the latter's escape attempt was.

    Film 
  • Star Wars: "Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well." Fatherly pride.
  • In the original screenplay of Kill Bill, excised character Yukie Yubari comments on how pretty The Bride is and asks her if she thinks the same of Yukie... then she pulls out the uzi. In the definitive screenplay, Gogo Yubari compliments The Bride on her fame as she goes down the stairs, meteor hammer in hand.
  • One of the common traits of most James Bond villains. Bond parodies such as Get Smart, Austin Powers and Isidoro also have villains acting in such a way.
  • Sort of happens in The Princess Bride. Inigo and the man in black have a duel, and they're both very complimentary of each other the whole time. Neither is a "baddie" however; circumstances being what they are, they must fight!
  • In Kick-Ass, as the Big Bad prepares to deliver a killing blow to Hit Girl, he admits that he wishes she'd been his kid, instead of the Red Mist.
  • In Die Hard, Hans Grubber compliments Mr. Takagi, while helding him hostage.
    Hans Grubber: Nice suit. John Phillips, London. I have two myself. Rumor has it Arafat buys his there.

    Video Games 
  • Goenitz from The King of Fighters '96 uses a quite formal speech when addressing people and even had a "pet name" for the hero (Kusanagi-sinner-san). Also, one of his winning poses involves him bowing politely at the screen as if he was a performer being cheered on for an encore by his fans.
  • In the French version of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, this was a distinctive trait of Agahnim, and, to a lesser extent, Ganon. No other title has ever displayed a villain that polite.
  • Salazar in Resident Evil 4 is rude and snarky for most of his screentime, until you finally impress him enough to start saying things like "I fear I have not paid my respects to your impressive and stubborn will. Mr. Kennedy: WELCOME!"
  • In Mega Man X, Sigma comments on X's fighting potential repeatedly throughout the final battles.
    "Impressive! You're every bit the Hunter I was!"
  • He's especially obsessive about this in the Maverick Hunter X PSP remake:
    "I see a new clarity in your eyes. It looks like you might actually be able to face me."
    "Impressive, X! Looks like you really do have the potential I had seen in you!"
    "Magnificent X! And to think you've been classified as a B-class Hunter!"
    "I should've known you could do it, X..."
  • In Final Fantasy XIII Orphan delivers a pretty epic example by outright praising the strength of humanity which makes them the perfect tools to circumvent the Fal'Cies' own hardwired limitations.
    Orphan: Have you ever paused to consider our reason for making l'Cie of men? We fal'Cie are crafted for a single purpose, and granted finite power to that end. With men it is not so. Men, dream, aspire, and through indomitable force of will achieve the impossible. Your power is beyond measure. We take l'Cie that we might wield such strength. Through you, we obtain freedom from our bondage.
  • In Wild ARMs 3, Big Bad Seigfried respects and envy Maya's power, which, he says, surpasses Demon's. However, that doesn't stop him from using her powers against her, and he obliterates her later on when she tries to solo him. But in the end, Maya got the last laugh.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if the Warden chooses to duel Loghain to decide the fate of Ferelden, the old general will comment that "a man is made by the quality of his enemies," which was a saying of his old friend Maric. He then wonders if that's more of a compliment to him or to you.
  • In Dragon Age II, if Hawke proves him/herself to be upright and respectful in his/her dealings with the Arishok, the Arishok during his attempted takeover of Kirkwall will address him/her as "Basalit-an" — meaning he thinks of Hawke as a person rather than a thing which is standard operating procedure when dealing with anyone outside of the Qun — and then condemn the nobles as "bas" (things). He respects Hawke enough to offer to settle things with a duel.
  • In one of the missions in Spandex Force this middle-aged dude in a homemade costume showed up and started expressing excessive admiration for the main character, claiming that he was a teenage boy and wanted to be their sidekick. This turned out to be a ludicrous and badly-planned attempt to learn their secret identity by a minor villain called the Crossdresser. (When he later claimed he was "the man of a thousand faces," the main character quipped "And they all look the same!")
  • In stark contrast to his Dragon, Demise in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword praises Link and Groose's courage and strength. He remarks that they are very different from the cowardly humans of the past who hid behind their goddess Hylia.
  • In the fourth-gen Pokemon games, Cyrus compliments the player's kindness and compassion after they defeat him at the Galactic Headquarters. Cyrus had, just prior to this battle, denounced kindness and compassion as useless displays of weakness. It's hard to tell if his compliment is sincere or backhanded.

    Web Original 
  • Kaz Valnor from The Gungan Council managed to bed Bethany Kismet with the nicest of words... until he revealed he was a Sith.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batfink, Curly the Cannonball was excessively worshipful of Batfink, apparently due to Batfink being his hero before he turned into a two-bit villain.
  • Taken to a disturbing extent in Teen Titans with Control Freak in "For Real". When questioning the replacement Titans where the originals were, the satirical nerdy villain went into a lengthy montage describing the characteristics of (and dressing as) each and every Titan.
    Aqualad: You sound more like a fanboy than a nemesis.
    • He later went fanboy crazy over the Titans East, so much so that he couldn't resist teleporting himself in front of them after they just survived all his "tests" and attempts to blow up the city.
  • Danny Phantom: Vlad Plasmius often used this tactic in conjunction with Not So Different.
  • From The Incredibles:
    "You sly dog! You got me monologuing! You know, you really are Mr. Incredible!"
    "Hiding from my seeker using the bones of another super?! I can't believe it, man, I'm still geekin' out! Ahhh."
    • The Argentinian dub changed the storyline so it takes place in Argentina in a parallel Earth. There, Syndrome had the personality of a sterotypical Argentinian TV host (such as Marley or Marcelo Tinelli).
  • Shego is known for doing this to Kim Possible (when she's not being condescending), and has a number of pet names for her.
  • A version appears in Jackie Chan Adventures: Jade is in a toppling tree, which falls towards the (Dark-Warriored!) Ratso, who catches it. This ensues:
    Jade: Nice catch.
    Ratso: Thanks. Hey-!
    Jade(jumps off tree and runs): Nyah-nyah.
    • When Jackie's aggressive side, having been split off by the Yin Yang Talisman, is captured by the Enforcers, he spends his time joking around with them. The Enforcers find him hilarious, admit that he's good company and say that it's a shame they will probably have to get rid of him.
  • In The DCAU, Darkseid always compliments his son Orion whenever they cross paths. In "Apokolips Now!" Darkseid expresses his fatherly pride in Orion's savagery and power. During their brief fight in "Twilight", Darkseid has this to say:
    Darkseid: I'm glad growing up with Highfather hasn't made you soft or weak. You make an old man proud. But I won't let you or anyone else stand in my way.
    • Then he breaks his son's spine with a crushing bearhug and leaves him to die on the exploding asteroid with a pithy "spare the rod".
  • In Sym-Bionic Titan, while fighting the Mutraddi Xeexi, it manages to eat some of the fufu from Ilana's school food party. He/it compliments the taste.
  • Transformers Animated: Sunstorm is always complimenting people, be it his enemies or allies. Sometimes it get's him into trouble, like spending too long admiring Omega Supreme and getting bashed out of the way. After watching Prowl's use of Stasis Cuffs, he later ambushes and takes him down with a similar move, thanking him for the brilliant idea. In "Five Servos of Doom" he tries to compliment Sentinal Prime's use of a Bounty Hunter to stop him, but has a mouth piece slapped on.


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