When a villain's origin involves the character (previously outwardly normal) suddenly flipping out and killing a large number of people in a single incident. Bonus points if any of these circumstances apply:
- The villain was just a kid at the time.
- The people killed included the villain's family.
- The villain had no real reason to do this.
See also Where I Was Born and Razed
. If the villain's origin involves a literal
bath in blood, see Blood Bath
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Anime & Manga
- Naruto has Zabuza (1,3), Itachi (1,2, apparently 3 at first), Hidan (3, probably 2), Kakuzu and now Sasuke (1,2).
- After seeing his teammate and love interest Rin brutally stabbed by Kakashi, the very friend he had asked to protect her with what he thought was his dying breath, Obito Uchiha loses it in a violent and brutal display of primal fury and goes about slaughtering the enemy ninja who drove Kakashi into that position in the first place. Thus opening the path to his career as Tobi.
- Fullmetal Alchemist 's Anti-Villain turned Anti-Hero Scar begins his serial-killing career by killing any and all available Amestrians - after waking up in a hospital to find that his entire family has been killed by the State Alchemist Kimblee and that his brother's arm has been grafted onto his body in the place of his own severed arm. He flips out and starts his rampage with the two Amestrian doctors who saved his life. Who are married. And who also happen to have a daughter who'll grow up to become a pretty good automail mechanic. Oh, the Humanity!!
- Sensui's Start of Darkness was like this: he flipped out upon learning Humans Are the Real Monsters, and killed everyone in the Black Black Club's villa.
- Coincidentally, the people he murdered were themselves enjoying a demon blood bath.
- There's quite a few sympathetic starts of darkness in Rurouni Kenshin, but the one closest to this trope is when Seta Soujirou murders his abusive relatives after they pushed him one time too many and ended up as The Dragon for a Social Darwinist.
- Sometimes the bloodbath happens because the person in question got pushed too far and snapped out. Just take a look at Lucy from Elfen Lied and what she did to the cruel kids in her backstory for beating the puppy that she'd started caring for to death.
- Bonus point #1, minus points for having two separate flip-out incidents before it became a habit.
- Alas, poor Yomi... (2, and when she's lost it, 3)
- Rob Lucci of One Piece is a perfect example. His first mission as a CP9 agent was given to him when he was only a kid; to save some hostages from pirates... he killed not only the pirates, but all the hostages as well, because they were getting in the way/didn't deserve to live. And he got a nasty-looking scar on his back in the process, which coincidentally looks like the World Government flag.
- Tongpu, a.k.a. Mad Pierrot from the Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot Le Fou."
- While the extent of her evil is very debatable, Evangeline McDowell from Mahou Sensei Negima! is convinced that she underwent this. Extra credit though for having all three points getting hit. She had just turned 10 when it happened. It is implied but not outright stated that she killed her family, and she had no reason to do so. Though it is heavily implied she was either not in control of herself when it happened or she wasn't conscious of it and only realized it happened after it happened.
- An extreme example occurs in Shin Sekai Yori. The anime deals with a new age of mankind in which humans have developed telekinetic abilities. Unlike most anime of this genre, this anime explores the more realistic possiblities that could happen if even just one person develops such powers. Boy K (no real name given) seemed to just be a quiet child, but psychological exams revealed disturbing sociopathic tendencies. No one knew what to do with him, but they waited too long. Eventually, in the middle of class, Boy K let go of his humanity and tore his teacher apart limb from limb. He didn't stop there. He went on a full out rampage. Boy K slaughtered over 1,000 people on the first day alone.
- Villain Protagonist Light Yagami of Death Note takes his first step into corruption and madness when he goes on a massive killing spree after receiving the Death Note. Of course, he is not a little kid at the time (he's seventeen), he doesn't kill his family ( at least, not then), and he has a number of reasons for doing so (mostly because he's bored, disillusioned, and insane). That first week racked up a body count of five hundred.
- The Plutonian from Irredeemable kicked off his reign of terror by leveling his patron city and massacring the inhabitants.
- He's actually the protagonist (one hesitates to say "hero") rather than the villain a lot of the time, but Lobo's origin story involves him killing off his entire race except for himself, because he was dissatisfied with the grade he received on a school project. Played for laughs, since Lobo was originally intended as a deconstruction of the whole GrimDark Anti-Hero fad of the 1990s.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The original Halloween is one of the greatest, most notorious examples of this trope across all media, playing it entirely straight and fulfilling all three conditions. Michael suddenly flipped and, for no good reason, killed his older sister. Eventually, Dr. Loomis concludes that there's nothing to him, except evil.
- In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker's Start of Darkness (murdering a camp of Sand People) and later his attack on the Jedi Temple. The slaughter of the Tusken Raiders was because they tortured and killed his mother.
- Harry Potter:
- Sirius Black killing a bunch of innocent bystanders is a subversion, as it was Peter Pettigrew who didso and for whom this trope does apply.
- Tom Riddle when he murdered his father and grandparents.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the origin story of Palpatine/Darth Sidious involves him throttling his family and their bodyguards to death, and intending to at the very least kill his father since he was born due to hatred of him, and for no reason other than his family forbidding his contact with Plagueis, as revealed in Darth Plagueis.
- The Criminal Minds episode "Haunted" begins with a man having a psychotic break at a pharmacy and killing a number of the other customers.
- Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time goes on a killing spree after suddenly acquiring awesome powers. Justified by the fact that they were all soldiers trying to conscript his barely 14 year old son, and he was trying to protect the kid - but he was still evil, since the power was dark and corrupted him.
- When Angel first became the vampire Angelus, he proceeded to kill every single living person in his village, including his family.
- Forgotten Realms: Sammaster's fall started in somehow similar way - he blasted slavers with spells, but in process also caused the deaths of the very people he tried to rescue. Not that he was the shining example of mental stability before this.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Battles, one of the named chaos villains used to be a shaman's apprentice, the weaker of two twins, constantly bullied and ridiculed for his weakness. When his prayers attracted attention of Chaos god Tzeentch, he was granted powerful magic as well as a powerful body to match (he was magically grafted on top of his brother's shoulders) His first act was to turn his power against the tribe, making the village "run with molten flesh".
- That's Vilitch the Curseling, in case you're wondering. One rendition of Archaon's backstory relates that after having been driven insane by what he read in the Book of Necrodormu, he then slaughtered his family in cold blood before fleeing to Norsca.
- Warhammer 40,000 has Angron who had tragic story in his descent to evil. He was once a gladiator slave who along his fellow gladiators fought their way out to freedom against their Nucerian slavers. The Emperor sought him to join his crusade, but Angron refused, choosing to stay and die along side his brethren who are about to be cornered by the Nucerian armies. The Emperor then teleported Angron alone into his ship, leaving his fellow warriors to be slaughtered by the Nucerians. Angron never forgave the Emperor for what he did, when he became Primarch of the World Eaters his legion became the most brutal of them all, when Horus turned to Chaos he was one of the first Primarchs to join him, and soon became a Daemon Prince of Khorne.
- Indeed, when Angron was found by the slave traders who eventually sold him to the gladiatorial arena, he was naked, drenched in gore, and surrounded by the corpses of the Eldar assassination squad he'd butchered in self-defense when they attempted to murder him to pre-empt his falling to Chaos. Did we mention he was just a little boy at the time?
- Very common angst-oriented origin story for both good and evil Werecreatures in Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- A tradition continued in Werewolf: The Forsaken, which, if anything, enforces the "don't forget that you're playing a monster" thing more harshly than its predecessor. The books make it quite clear that, if you're a Rahu (warriors who changed under the full moon), your First Change most likely involved someone dying horribly.
- Eclipse Phase includes "The Lost Generation", an attempt at accelerated maturation Gone Horribly Wrong that are all assumed to be this. Several of the survivors of the program ARE this, but not nearly all of them.
- In FEAR, Paxton Fettel fell into this trope as a kid during the so called "synchronicity event", during which he was possessed by Alma and killed several scientists using his psychic powers.
- In Fable II, if the player feels so inclined, after getting a sword they can slaughter the gypsies who raised them as a nice little warm-up before carving a bloody swath across Albion.
- Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth and his infamous massacre at Nibelheim.
- Fatal Frame: Kirie and the Himuro Family Head, Sae and Reika. All save Himuro resulted directly from a botched sacrifice, and Himuro got the curse second-hand. They all suddenly engaged in mass-slaughter, their victims becoming enraged, vengeful ghosts themselves who continued to claim victims decades or even centuries after.
- So how does Soul Nomad & the World Eaters infamous Demon Path begin? By killing everyone in your village, of course.
- In Valis II (Japanese computer version), the origin story of Cruel King Megas is that, after being exiled by his kingly father, he returned to slaughter his entire family, tearing his brothers to pieces and eating his mother. Only his father's Heroic Sacrifice, turning him into a Sealed Evil in a Can, prevented further bloodshed... until the seal was broken.
- Trauma Team's CR-S01 unleashed a bioterrorist attack that killed everyone in Cumberland College, but with a twist - he has no memory of how or why he did it. It turns out that he was actually framed by his adoptive father Albert Sartre.
- Suikoden IV has Graham Cray, who is considered responsible for the destruction of his hometown in a Type 2. In reality, it was his son who fatally unleashed the full power of the Rune of Punishment against soldiers running a False Flag Operation. Becoming The Scapegoat on top of everything else just drove him into villany.
- Most of the cast of Twisted Metal Black has this as their backstory.
- Joe Darke in Ace Attorney, a businessman who panicked after accidentally running over a man with his car and started to kill the witnesses of the accident (and the witnesses of those murders too).
- Helen Narbon in Narbonic... insofar as she can be considered a villain. Apparently all mad scientists try to cause as much carnage as possible when they go mad and get full control over their mad science abilities. Some of them were already evil before they were mad.
- They aren't all necessarily villains in the normal sense, but most times the first notice the world has of a new "Spark" (mad scientist) in Girl Genius is the total depopulation of some village, usually that of the Spark.