Whether someone is a villain, geek, jerkass
, pervert, etc. — one often finds those things that can only go so far. These characters find that when they're in a situation where they would cross a certain line, they don't do it. Or they get disgusted at those who do cross that line.
A Super Trope
to Even Evil Has Standards
, Even Nerds Have Standards
Compare Conscience Makes You Go Back
, Sudden Principled Stand
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Anime and Manga
- In Magi - Labyrinth of Magic, Ka Koubun's attempt to make King Sinbad marry Princess Kougyoku, by making it look like Sinbad had violated her, fails, because his henchmen can't stand seeing their princess crying and so sad.
- In Gakuen Babysitters, Chairman Morinomiya, who usually demands for Ryuuichi to work hard and to keep a punctual schedule, states this about herself when posed with the option of waking him up while he's sick.
- In Naruto, anyone who has met Uchiha Madara and has spoken to him pretty much hates his guts, barring his brother Izuna, his former best friend Hashirama, and his protege Tobi. Not even Kurama can stand him, and considering the shit he's probably had to put up with over the last few centuries, that says a lot. The people that can stand him? Izuna's dead, and Hashirama became his mortal enemy the moment Madara decided to attack Konoha, the village they built together. Even his long-time accomplice Tobi, aka Obito, reveals that he doesn't care for him all that much either.
- There's also Sasuke himself during the early episodes. Even before he and Naruto actually become friends, he is absolutely furious at Sakura when she confides in him that she believes Naruto is such an undisciplined prankster because he had no parents to teach him how to act and promptly chews her out for it. After all, he knows from personal experience that not having parents bites.
- In Bakuman。, Eiji Niizuma a rival of Muta Ashirogi (a pen name of the main protagonists) will always compete with his rival on whose manga is the greatest, But when the final chapter of Muta Ashirogi’s Reversi is printed he decided to read it anyway with excitement. He follows his rivals' work so regularly that his refusal to read Tanto is treated as an OOC Is Serious Business moment that indicates that he thinks they're not living up to their potential.
- A Show Within a Show case becomes a plot point in and out of that universe. Mashiro and Takagi's Perfect Crime Party, a group of elementary school students who do harmless pranks called "perfect crimes", don't do anything that could cause trouble for others; they suggest that if they broke into a bank vault and left behind a note without stealing anything, the security company's reputation would suffer. In response to someone imitating PCP by breaking into a bank vault and leaving a note behind, Takagi writes a story in which Akechi, The Rival to PCP, tells some copycats that he knew it wasn't PCP because they wouldn't do anything like that, and ends with PCP themselves commenting about how not everyone can do things the way they do.
- In Death Note, L and Near are not paragons of justice, and only take on cases that they're interested in. However, they both disapprove of what Kira is doing and the mindset behind it, with Near having an especially strong hatred of Kira's followers.
- In One Piece, the Straw Hats, for the most part, care about their members and friends more than anyone else, even the entire rest of the world, in Robin's case. However, they're typically shown to be quite upset whenever their enemies callously harm their own minions, from Sanji and Franky's shock at Rob Lucci pulling a You Have Failed Me on Nero, to Chopper saving an Enforcer from Gedatsu's attack.
- Nodoka, in Saki, has repeatedly expressed that she doesn't believe in the existence of superstitions, even when her opponents make improbable draws right in front of her. In a flashback in Saki Achiga Hen, she hears her old friend Kuro telling her that because her Missing Mom told her to value the dora more, she has chosen to draw dora over completing her hand, and believes that as a result, she is more likely to draw dora tiles. Ako asks Nodoka if she's going to say her usual thing about superstitions, and Nodoka says she can't believe what Kuro is saying, but doesn't want to tell her off, either, possibly because she realizes the personal significance of it to Kuro.
- In Nana when porn actress Yuri Kousaka reveals that her real name is Asami Matsumoto, she comments, "I may be a shameless woman, but even I don't make porn flicks under my real name."
- In Is This a Zombie?, Orito is a Casanova Wannabe who's always shamelessly hitting on girls, trying to peep on them, etc. When Ayumu gets possessed by Belphegor, he makes offensive Straw Misogynist remarks. Orito is horrified and quickly declares that he does not believe in that line of thinking.
- True, InuYasha is short-tempered, violent, and overall a bit of a prick, but there are plenty of lines that even he refuses to cross:
- In the "The Tragic Love Song of Destiny" anime special, he refuses to attack Kikyo for the Shikon Jewel when she's badly injured and can't fight back, explaining to her that he doesn't "play dirty"; he even personally saves Kaede from Mistress Centipede while refusing to take her hostage for the jewel as Centipede intended to do.
- When he fights Tōkajin, the latter demands that he eat some of the Ninmenka's fruit before their fight; given the source of the fruit, Inuyasha is quick to turn it down.
- When he meets Shiori, he adamantly refuses to kill a fellow half-demon, let alone a little girl.
- In Kage: While Jade is quite familiar with being a Combat Pragmatist and Guile Heroine, she is disgusted at the Guardians for framing Raythor and getting him banished to the Abyss of Shadows, feeling that there are some things a hero should not do, and that doing that to someone as honor-driven as Raythor is worse than killing him.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: Socrates is noted to have very few standards when it comes to pranks, one of which is serious injury (as in broken bones).
- Ned Stark Lives: Tyrion Lannister has never gotten along well with Joffrey, who he considers an incredibly selfish and violent Royal Brat who would bring the Kingdoms down along with him; even so, he is disgusted and outraged when he hears that Joffrey didn't die from his fall into the Blackwater Bay at the Fall of King's Landing, but that he was slain in single combat by Stannis Baratheon, despite being crippled and half-conscious at the time. It's one of the few things he and Cersei can agree on by that point.
- In the Harry Potter fic Corvine even Mad-Eye Moody is disturbed by Dumbledore's growing delusions and paranoia.
- Molestia is very much the Anything That Moves type, as well doing quite a few that don't move, but she does have a few fetishes she doesn't engage in, such as vore or necrophilia, and won't violate those who are underage.
- The Originals of The Universiad are to a man Combat Pragmatists who cheerfully advocate There Is No Kill Like Overkill, but the results of deploying a Witch during the "Starkiller" Black Star incident were so brutal that even normally The Unfettered Gideon020 was forced to reconsider the morality of doing so.
- In Teenage Jinchuriki Shinobi, Raphael smacks Michelangelo on the head everytime the latter says or does something foolish, but even the former is disgusted by how poorly Neji treats Hinata
- Similarly, Raph gets outraged when Itachi, while fighting Sasuke, when Itachi tries to pull a Not So Different moment.
- In The Little Mermaid, the Mermaid fails to win the prince's love, but can return to mermaid form if she kills him with a magic knife. She refuses (this helps her earn the chance to gain an immortal soul).
- In Sourcery, Evil Vizier Abrim got rejected from Unseen University. They said he was mentally unstable. How do you manage to be too mentally unstable for Unseen University?
- This idea is consistently overlooked by Safehold's Grand Inquisitor Zahspahr Clyntahn. As he piles on atrocity after atrocity in his attempts to crush the schismatic Empire of Charis, it never seems to occur to him that he's alienating the various clergymen and world leaders who should by all rights be his allies. Various characters do things like defect to Charis rather than face his telling them You Have Failed Me, or Mercy Kill enemy soldiers rather than take them alive to face the tortures of Clyntahn's Inqusition.
- A rather dark take on this trope features in the later volumes of Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series. The prison camp guards are perfectly happy to keep African-Americans in a horrific, inhumane concentration camp, but lining them up and machine-gunning them in cold blood is too much; some are Driven to Suicide, others driven to drink and a few end up in asylums. This prompts the Nazi Expys to think up gas vans as an alternative that's easier for the rank and file to cope with. This is in fact based directly on what led the real Nazis to implement the gas chambers.
- Patrick McLanahan from Dale Brown books is a major Military Maverick, but even he finds the National Guard pilots he's scouting out in Battle Born too lax and defiant for anyone's good. At least at first.
- In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, while it should be noted Dweebly is an Only Sane Man compared to the other Fedorks we've seen so far, he takes one look at the shuttle schematics presented to him here and burst out laughing, thinking that it's some kind of joke! Even his species, which flies around the galaxy in structurally flawed (they have something else holding them together) ships fueled by antimatter (which is obsolete in the titular character's civilization), wouldn't rate the shuttle safe for flying above 1,000 feet, let alone space (this is due to the fact that there are no backups or spares of any kind, something that every good engineer includes), even saying that the Fedorks would consider this design suicidally insane! Cue epic Oh Crap when he realizes that it's not a prank, and that the shuttle actually exists!
- Although the cul-de-sac kids despise The Eds (usually Eddy), they are frightened and appalled at the beating that Eddy received from his brother.
- While Glen Quagmire of Family Guy does a lot of perverted things, there are some lines he won't cross, like sleeping with Meg when she's desperate for affection (and underage). Of course, once she's 18, she's fair game. Quagmire also doesn't like when a woman is attacked, especially when he learns his sister, Brenda, was being abused. He goes has far as killing Jeffery Fecalman, Brenda's abusive boyfriend, for this.
- In Phineas and Ferb, Perry the Platypus had thwarted many of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Evil Plans, no matter how silly they would get. But when his scheme was learning whale speak, just so he could insult a whale for stealing his girlfriend, Perry left in disgust.
- "Thwart me, Perry the Platypus. Thwart me."
- Adventure Time
- Ice King is forever trying to kidnap princesses to become his "wife". When Princess Bubblegum is de-aged from 18 to 13, he declares his lack of interest and leaves the room immediately.
- Lemongrab doesn't have a problem with hurting children and attempting to eat people. But he wouldn't dare do anything to (intentionally) harm any of his own children, whom he loves dearly.
- Archer is the biggest man whore you will ever meet, but he refuses the 16-year-old Anke's advances, even though she's legal where they are (in Switzerland.)
- Pinkie Pie in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is a prankster and loves pulling one over on her friends. However, she absolutely will not prank the sensitive Shrinking Violet Fluttershy, acknowledging that even her softest prank could potentially hurt the shy pony's feelings.
- Lots of people in The Simpsons have this attitude towards the titular family, either towards individual members or the whole group. A great example would be in "The Cartridge Family", where Homer joins the NRA, a group notoriously in favor of the right to own guns. After seeing him fire guns in an extremely reckless way and endangering everybody, they kick him out and try taking away his gun.
- In an episode of King of the Hill, Hank loses faith in George W. Bush just because he has a weak handshake. Even Dale thinks he's crazy.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: The KND aren't fans of adults and fight adult tyranny, but what the bullies do to them in "Operation: M.A.T.A.D.O.R." (trapping them, giving them Klatchian Coffee until they fly into a rage, and then fighting them in an arena) is a line they will not cross. Numbuh Four is scolded by his teammates for participating in this demented pastime. Specifically, they acknowledge that for how anti adult they are, the ones they go after are clearly insane super villains. They fully refuse to go after adults that they know are just innocent bystanders.
- Captain Stickybeard hates the KND and has battled them more than once. However, he's willing to aid them sometimes because he thinks that eating vegetables is too cruel.
- In Celebrity Deathmatch murder and torture are totally fine while in the ring (and sometimes even outside), but in Fandemonium II when Ozzy Osbourne enslaves Rob Zombie and makes him give him a pedicure, even Johnny and Nick think he's crossed the line. The referee, Mills Lane, has no such reservations, however.
- Beavis and Butt-Head
- Even David Van Driessen has limits if anyone touches any student, Beavis and Butthead included. This was shown in "Manners Suck" when Beavis calls Mr. Manners/Candy a pervert upon being attacked, causing Van Driessen to take actions that goes against his 'hippie' ways.
- Out of all their actions, Beavis and Butthead themselves have limits. Butthead can’t stand seeing another guy’s privates, especially Beavis. This was demonstrated in "Tainted Meat" when Beavis has a problem with his privates and being told by Butthead not to show him… to the point Butthead gives suggestion like telling him wash it which, rarely happens, cured Beavis's problem. Beavis often has to deal with Butthead’s taunts, but he has his limits. When Butthead pushes to far, like calling him Butt knocker one too many times, Beavis beats him up, such as kicking him in his privates as seen while watching some music video.
- In the special, Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, Linus, normally weak, builds up the bravery to defend Janice, who was sick with leukemia. First, his sister, Lucy, after giving her a drink when she yells at him for having contact with a sick person, Linus, who knows cancer isn’t contagious, yells at her for that. When Janice is a target of a bully because the chemotherapy made her lose all her hair, Linus almost gets into a fight him, forcing the bully to return Janice’s hat and apologize.
- In a Valentine's Day anthology episode of The Simpsons, Marge and Homer play Bonnie and Clyde, while Flanders is their unwitting getaway driver. Upon seeing that they're outlaws, he is shocked, but cuts them some slack. It's the Depression, and people are desperate. However, once Flanders learns they are an unmarried couple, he decides to turn them in.