Evil Reactionary

Ah, nostalgia. The thing that drives salmon to go back to the river where they were born (yeah, it's not nostalgia, but bear with me), drives people to walk 20 miles in snow to get a slice of pizza of a beloved pizzeria that's about to close down for good, and drives salmon-people to remember the good old days when the snow pizza in the river was... You get the idea.

Now. Some people take this a bit too far. Still, they are benign, right? I mean, they are ridiculous and all, but they don't harm anyone in their quest to relive their youths, childhoods, or more innocent times. So, harmless. Right? Riiiight?


Enter this guy. He loves that time/place. A lot. Enough, indeed, that he will do his very best to recreate it. Whether the society around him wants it recreated or not. Usually it doesn't, if only because, if it did, it would recreate said times itself.

Sometimes, this guy will also be fixated on some other place, as well, and will try to recreate it on the world around him (so that, say, instead of going to Italy and trying to recreate the Roman times, they will try to recreate the Roman times in New York).

The Evil Reactionary will usually think of himself as the good guy who's trying to prevent the decay of society. In reality, he's trying to bring back the past through any means possible in order to ensure that he never has to set foot outside of his narrow comfort zone ever again. Their efforts are almost always for naught, since the past Utopia they imagine never existed in the first place.

Sometimes the Evil Reactionary is an outright villain. They know that things are better for people as a whole right now, but want to revert things back because the changes didn't benefit themselves or even reduced their standing.

Compare Evil Luddite, who resents technological changes rather than societal changes. Though considering they go hand in hand, an overlap is possible. This trope may appear unintentionally in a Reactionary Fantasy where the protagonist comes across as a Designated Hero.


Anime and Manga
  • The world of One Piece is strongly hinted at to be one where such forces, now known as the World Government, had become victorious. The "Void Century" refers to a hundred years of the world's history that has seemingly gone missing. Bits and pieces of what happened during this time have popped up as the series has gone on, including the existence of robot armies, space travel, and technological superweapons. (By contrast, One Piece's modern day weaponry is restricted to cannons, swords, and flintlock pistols, and strongly resembles the 17th and 18th century days of high seas piracy.) The World Government actively hunts down and kills anyone with knowledge of the Void Century.
    • Of course, it's very possible that the World Government kept some of this technology for their own use. (It would likely be impossible to build structures like Impel Down with 21st Century equipment, much less 18th; how it was done was never explained.) If this is true, it would make whoever enacted the change a Straw Hypocrite at best.

Comic Books
  • Turner D. Century, who wanted to change society back to that of the 1890s.
  • There was a Batman issue where a Mad Bomber was demolishing newer skyscrapers in order to restore Gotham's '30s-era skyline.
  • In the Marvel Universe, the Royalist Forces of America are a terrorist organisation (whose leaders are descended Revolutionary War loyalists) who wish to dissolve America's democracy and reinstitute a class sytem.

  • In the Young Bond novel Blood Fever, Bond fights a secret society dedicated to recreating the Roman Empire.
  • In Men at Arms, Edward D'Eath wants to bring Ankh-Morpork back to the days of aristocracy.
    • Another Discworld example is the villain in "The Fifth Elephant", who tries to force the new king of the dwarves of Überwald into civil war because they view him as too sympathetic to modern mores.

Tabletop Games
  • This is the shtick (overlapping with Evil Luddite) of the villain Retrograde in the Champions sourcebook High Tech Enemies. His power allows him to transform high-tech items into low-tech, non-functioning equivalents, such as transforming a suit of powered armour into a suit of medieval knight's armour.
  • The Guiding Hand of Feng Shui are this at their absolute worst. They want to return China to an era of "enlightenment", and utterly despise modern technology and thinking.

Western Animation
  • Mad Mod, from Teen Titans, wants to impose England on everyone else. Specifically, a historical, romanticized England. He also wants to reclaim America for England. As of this writing, there's been no word from Lizzie on whether or not they will accept it.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, The Royal Magisters want the UK to revert back to some vaguely Victorian time via magic and alchemy.
  • There was a New Orleans ghost like this in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon.
  • The Pastmaster from SWAT Kats really misses the Dark Ages. So much so that in his debut he tried to bring them back in the present day. The Swat Kats foiled him. In another episode, he decided to just go back in time to the Dark Ages and take over. The Swat Kats foiled him. Eventually, he suffered Motive Decay and messed with the originally happy future of Megakat City and turned it into a Bad Future just to spite the Swat Kats. The Swat Kats foiled him.