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Evil Hero
"I know what it means to be a hero, Commander. And trust me - you are no hero"
— Robin, to Commander Uehara, Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo

You might be thinking, "What are you talking about?" or "How does that even make sense?", which is very reasonable. It does sound like an oxymoron doesn't it? Everybody knows what a hero is, and everybody loves a hero. In fact, a hero, by definition, is a good guy, the one who saves the innocent from the forces of evil, showing children of all ages what a hero does for them, encouraging them to not live in fear, to one day stand up tall and become the next hero everybody looks up to for protection. All of that is nothing an evil villain would do, right?

Here's the thing. There are others that people almost instantly identify with heroism: police officers, soldiers, park rangers, doctors, presidents and the like, viewing them as the kind of humans that they would want their kids to grow up to be, so they can live successful and promising lives and still be seen as heroes (no powers recommended).

But... as we have seen before, that is not always the case.

Sometimes, the bad guy comes in the form of a familiar friendly face, one that people are meant to see without any worry and think that they are safe, until they get a closer look.

This is what happens when Designated Hero meets Villain with Good Publicity: a definite bad guy works as a cop or even a so called "firefighter", and, despite their actions, whether due to ignorance on The Government's part, or the fact that they simply didn't get fired or resign yet, or haven't been caught yet, still qualify as such. In short, a bad guy with a "good guy" job.

Unfortunately, this allows them to do their evil behind the scenes, disgracing the name of the position they wear, and either people don't notice, or they can't do anything about it. It is during these times that people wait for and cheer when a true hero, of whatever size, comes to the rescue, demonstrating how a hero REALLY does it, the right way.

An extreme example of Fake Ultimate Hero.

May or may not overlap with Pragmatic Villainy or Noble Demon, as they might actually do their job accordingly every now and then, but the reasons for them are less likely because Even Evil Has Standards, and more to just maintain the facade.

Compare Designated Hero, Villain with Good Publicity, Fake Ultimate Hero

Contrast Jerkass Fašade.

Not to be confused with Villain Protagonist.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • One Piece: Many of the Marines note  in the Navy, would, in real life, not be considered good role models for sea lovers and young naval cadets, to say the least, even if their job is to arrest pirates; they sometimes act no better than pirates. The same goes for those who run the superprison Impel Down. But to really but it into perspective, take a look at Admiral Akainu, who's a Blood Knight in a sailor's cap with no regard for anybody's life, including Coby's; then there's the fact that, after a vicious dual with another marine, he is now FLEET ADMIRAL, the "alpha marine", which WILL spell disaster for Luffy, his crew, and whatever "good pirates" there are in the world.
    • You have to admit though, that is only the bottom of the iceberg, you can trace that vileness back to the top, namely the Five Elders, leaders of the World Government, and the World Nobles, who are basically vultures wearing human skin, abusing their power to the point of making piracy look like shattering a stain glass window; who's to say these guys are not telling the Marines to act this way.
      • But don't worry folks, there are definitely some right-minded and generally good marines out there, like Sengoku, and Monkey D. Garp, and even Smoker.
  • A variant occurs in the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode, where the name possibly originates: when Judei/Jaden became Drunk on the Dark Side, the evil that affected him also affected his deck, turning his 'Elemental Heroes' into, literally, "Evil Heroes", basically the same Elemental Heroes, now with darker and deadlier appearances and powers.
  • In Nanatsu No Taizai, while there are a few in the Holy Knights who are heroic and there are those that see the group as a whole as such, many of its members are evil.

    Comic 
  • Most of the superheroes in The Boys are anything but heroes. The most notable are The Seven (who are twisted parodies of the Justice League), who are all a bunch of self-centered hedonistic assholes. The Boys themselves are not actually saints, either.
  • The Upward Path from Runaways were a gang of religious bigots and strike-breakers (as in, people who beat up workers who attempted to go on strike) who professed to be heroes upholding law and order.

    Film 
  • IN Avatar, Colonel Miles Quaritch and the miners are, admittedly, doing their job: whatever the CEO of RDA on Pandora orders them to do, which is protecting prospectors from the hostile wildlife and the occasionally hostile Navi; but, said CEO couldn't care less about a bunch of 'blue monkeys', only using diplomacy to avoid a political controversy, and is clearly more interested in his precious Unobtainium, and the soldiers show a little too much pleasure in gunning down alien wildlife (with Quaritch hinting personal reasons for attacking the Navi).
  • While Alex from A Clockwork Orange is no angel himself, the fact that The Government would be willing to use nausea-enducing Pavlov related torture, basically stripping free will from the brain, on any human being makes you wonder if there are any real heroes left in the future world, as well as give him a small hug.
    • How about the revelation that, in his absence, Alex's own "droogs" have somehow become cops, cops that hold no second thought on nearly drowning a comrade that they abandoned to the authorities in the first place, and getting away with it.
  • The main protagonist of The Crow: Salvation, Alex, was framed for the murder of his girlfriend, and executed for it, by her true killers: a group of cops who apparently rape and murder for kicks on a regular basis.
  • Another Karma Houdini example is Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, who psychologically tortures patients at a mental hospital, who are in no way dangerous, to the point of preventing any opportunity to watch a baseball game, and becoming annoyed when they find a slight way around that, and driving one of her patients to suicide; all while looking like a normal nurse doing her job in public eyes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 The Imperium of Man sure they fight aliens and demonic entities, but many of them tend to be as ruthless and evil as the threats they fight against. Everyday millions of people die from the Imperiums own actions just as much as they get killed by all the other threats out there.

    Video Games 
  • Caim from Drakengard is one. He's heroically fighting to save his Cosmic Keystone sister and defend his country from an evil empire, but he's only doing so because he's a bloodthirsty psychopath who loves killing as many people as he can on the battlefield.

Everyone Gets Their TurnTropes Needing ExamplesFall Guy
Evil GloatingVillainsEviler Than Thou
Everyone Gets Their TurnPages Needing WicksEvolutionary Retcon

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