For Great Justice

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"Iíll be all arouní in the dark. Iíll be everíwhere — wherever you look. Wherever theyís a fight so hungry people can eat, Iíll be there. Wherever theyís a cop beatiní up a guy, Iíll be there."
Tom Joad, The Grapes of Wrath

A stock reason given in the opening/narration of a show. This is why the good guys in some shows (particularly Anime, Kaiju, and Toku) fight against evil. It's for justice, righteousness, principles and values that depend more on what people deserve than on what they enjoy. It's a good reason to launch all your fighters or Humongous Mecha and beat the stuffings out of rubber suit monsters.

This seems like Concepts Are Cheap, but these shows can have fully developed plots. This is just mainly applied to the trailers, narration, and theme songs. Then again, much of the audience is here to watch giant monsters and robots fight, so why worry about deep motives?

This trope has become somewhat anachronistic since the 1990s, with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arguably being one of the last pure examples of it. Most heroes nowadays tend to have more complex motivations than simple, unblemished goodness or altruism, and some aren't necessarily more morally desirable than the villains they fight.

Compare For Science!, Captain Geographic, Captain Patriotic, Captain Space, Defender of Earth!, For Happiness.

The Evil Counterpart is For the Evulz, or Well-Intentioned Extremist if the villains had good intents behind their atrocities. Do NOT confuse with Justice Will Prevail, a more complicated topic to say the least.

This is Older Than Print, with early examples going all the way back to Ðe Faðer of Engelish Lytterature hymselfe, Geoffrey Chaucer.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

    Comic Books 
  • Superman: The line in the page pic is a modified form of the radio intro which was used on the first television series. It might have been the Trope Maker.
    • Superman is actually a subversion of this though. He's mainly concerned with For Happiness, spending most of his time doing random acts of kindness like stopping floods, chasing off supervillains, and plucking kittens out of trees. He doesn't much care what supervillains do as long as they're not hurting anyone (or being Lex Luthor). Writers have him bandy the term "justice" around a lot, but crimefighters like Batman and The Flash are a lot more focused on criminal justice than Superman is.
    • It would be more accurate to say that Superman maintains a balance between For Great Justice and For Happiness, for the most part. Over the years, Superman's motivations to do good have changed. In some stories, he wants people to be happy. In others, he wants to bring evildoers to justice. It's all Depending on the Writer.
  • In PS238, an elementary school for the children of superheroes (and villains), some of the superkids have picked up an odd habit:
    Kid #1: To the cafeteria!
    Rest of the class: FOR JUSTICE!
  • The much criticized Justice League: Cry for Justice has a lot of the characters saying that they "want justice!" despite the fact that they are really just out for revenge.
  • While the X-Men have a somewhat more original concept, and had some of the first antivillains in American comics, the promos for the cartoons would talk about using mutant powers "for the benefit of mankind."
  • Judge Dredd. While he can often come across as an uncompromising jerk, people too often forget that the Judge really does embody the Lawful half of Lawful Neutral, and his primary motivation in doing so, is his conviction that his society will not survive without it.

    Film 
  • The Godfather is all about this.
    • Amerigo Bonasera, at the start of the movie, tells Vito Corleone that great justice is the reason for his visit. Justice, in Bonasera's view, meant killing the two young men who hurt his daughter. The Don agrees to grant a favor of justice (but not to kill) in return for Bonasera's "friendship" and the respectful address of "Godfather."
    Bonasera: ''Then I said to my wife, "For justice, we must go to Don Corleone."
    (...)
    Don Corleone: I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. So you didn't need a friend like me. Now you come and say "Don Corleone, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me "Godfather." You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder - for money.
    Bonasera: I ask you for justice.
    Don Corleone: That is not justice. Your daughter is alive.
    Bonasera: Let them suffer then, as she suffers!
  • In Star Wars, Obi-Wan described the Jedi as "the guardians of peace and justice". Of course, he was talking to a young-for-his-age twenty-ish rube with stars in his eyes.
  • Byzantium: The Brethren's claimed goal is to work for this. We see no evidence of it in the film however.

    Literature 
  • This is the driving force behind the Knights of the Cross in The Dresden Files. No matter what their background, the Knights are driven by the sole purpose of righting wrongs, fighting evil, and protecting the innocent. In a setting that at best runs on Grey and Gray Morality, they are unquestionably the Good Guys.
    • Shifts a little later when it's revealed that they're Heaven's mortal players in preserving free will by redeeming the hosts of the Denarians at swordpoint. Any other good they do is more a result of judicious recruitment than being in the job description.
    • Harry fights bullies. It takes him a little while to figure it out - but in the flashback to his formative duel with He Who Walks Behind, it's violence against the helpless that he wont run from.
    It.
    Wasn't.
    Right.
    No, it wasn't. But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
    So what? So somebody ought to do something about it.
    • Murphy upholds the law. She's not a terribly devout Christian, but she has Faith in the law, and it's more than enough to give her a standing job offer among the Knights of the Cross.
  • Tom Joad's famous speech at the end of The Grapes of Wrath. "Wherever they's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever they's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there..."
  • Don Quixote in a nutshell, especially in Manof La Mancha.

     Live Action TV  
  • Angel. "We live as though the world is as it should be, in order to show it what it can be." Angel initially thinks that he does what he does, in order to gain redemption and avoid going to Hell; but he eventually realizes that he helps people simply because doing the right thing is an inherent part of his identity.
  • Angel's evil alter-ego, Angelus, made light of this trope several years earlier on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    Angelus: Wherever there's injustice in the world, wherever scum like you is out walking— (notices wheelchair) —well, rolling the streets, look over your shoulder. I'll be there.
    • Spike, hilariously, when he discovers his chip only prevents him from hurting humans. Demons are fair game.
      Spike: What’s this? Sitting around watching the telly while thereís evil still afoot. Thatís not very industrious of you. I say we go out there (Rubs his hands together) and kick a little demon ass! What, canít go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Letís find her! She is the Chosen One after all. Ė Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Letís annihilate them. For justice - and for - the safety of puppies Ė and Christmas, right? Letís fight that evil! - Letís kill something!
    • When Faith does a body swap with Buffy, she initially mocks Buffy's sense of morality, telling herself she won't be bad "because it's wrong." After living Buffy's life for a while, however, she comes to appreciate the change, and when towards the end she tells a group of vamps she won't let them kill innocents "because it's wrong," she means it sincerely.
    • Buffy had her moments of this, as at least later in this series she opposed consequential ethics, and this is the trope of deontological opposition to it. Her big moment of rejecting a very persuasive consequential argument was over whether it was acceptable to kill Dawn to prevent Glory from killing all of earth's life, including Dawn, as Giles pointed out was the alternative. She managed to Take a Third Option in the end, but she still preferred to let everyone on Earth die rather than kill one innocent, who would have died anyway.
  • Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was motivated by what he described as an inborn need for justice. Law was a secondary thing. He used to theorize that a need for justice may have been an inborn trait of his unknown species...too bad it turned out not to be the case.
    • Their natural tendency is only to enforce order and obedience. While Odo justifies the need for both with Justice (no pun intended), the rest of the species is only interested in domination (ostensibly to protect themselves from ever being victims again). Odo's experience working as chief of security under the Cardassians, witnessing the atrocities and the oppression of the innocent Bajorans, is implied to have taught him the value of Justice over pure order. He still takes the Lawful part of Lawful Good very seriously though (so long as the Law in question is itself "Good", like when he allowed several Cardassian dissidents to escape because their crimes did not warrant the death penalty they would have received otherwise).
  • Tokusou Robo Janperson: "Janperson fights for justice!"
  • "The Earth calls out! The Heavens call out! The People call out! They are calling on me to defeat evil! Listen well, evildoers! I am the warrior for justice... Kamen Rider Stronger!"

     Professional Wrestling 
  • "Real American", Hulk Hogan's iconic WWE entrance theme:
    I am a real American
    Fight for the rights of every man
    I am a real American
    Fight for what's right
    Fight for your life!

     Tabletop Games  

     Video Games  
  • Named for one of the lines in Zero Wing, which also fits this trope.
  • "For Great Justice" is actually the motto of the Steel Samurai in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.
    • Which is a Shout-Out, given how the series loves those.
    • Then we have Apollo Justice, as in "Justice is literally his last name", and his Catch Phrase is "Here comes Justice!"
    • Dual Destinies gives us Detective Fulbright. His MO is basically this trope, with his own Catch Phrase of "In justice we trust!". Subverted when it is discovered that the Fulbright who the characters meet is actually a murderous, emotionless sociopath (and final villain of the game) impersonating the now-deceased real Fulbright, but the original presumably used the phrase honestly.
  • The end of Mega Man 1.
    FIGHT, MEGA MAN! FOR EVERLASTING PEACE!
    • In Mega Man Powered Up, a remake of the original Mega Man game, this is Fire Man's personality quirk, as he perceives himself as a Hot-Blooded robot hero of justice. He constantly veers into nonsensical non-sequiturs about fire, justice, vanquishing evil, and sometimes all three at once.
    • In Mega Man Battle Network 6, the Joke program causes MegaMan.EXE to lampshade this line during a joke. When that fails, he tries to one-up it into "For Greater Justice?" Lan is not amused.
  • Believe in your own justice!
  • Justice is pretty much what the Suikoden series' Maximillian Knights are all about.
  • Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 actually each have a skill called "For Great Justice!"
    • The skill in question actually has your character shout the line. It sounds hilarious from male norn or pretty much any asura. Female norn and male sylvari manage to sound deadly serious.
  • Baldur's Gate features Minsc the... boisterous ranger with a big sword and a bigger voice. He may also be a little deranged but his heart is definitely in the right place. This leads to some amazing one-liners "Stand back... FOR JUSTICE!"
    • "Feel the backhand of JUSTICE!"
  • One of the companions in Dragon Age: Awakenings is a friendly fade spirit that is literally defined by this concept. Justice is his identity, not his name.
  • A very, very twisted version is Knight Templar Vhailor from Planescape: Torment.
  • Probably the most common character trait found in hero profiles in JRPGs. It isn't unusual to find an entire team of characters with no similarities apart from having "a strong sense of justice."
    • Although in Tales of Symphonia and its sequel it's discussed a lot, in that Lloyd realizes it's a Meaningless Meaningful Word and doesn't resort to just calling it out as a motivator (and gets pissed if someone else does, particularly when used by Well Intentioned Extremists like the Big Bad for both games).
    • And completely inverted in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, when the in the gap between the penultimate and ultimate battle, the Big Bad Luther's world comes crashing around him and he goes rather mad. In a rather Narmy fashion, he screeches at the party that "RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL PREVAIL!" before attacking.
  • "Space Ace, defender of truth, justice and the planet Earth! ...and his girlfriend, Kimberly."
  • Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer: "I AM THE JUSTICE, NOT YOU." "THE JUSTICE ALWAYS WINS. NEVER FORGET IT." "NOTHING WINS THE JUSTICE." "LET'S FIGHT TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE!" All courtesy of Brider, who can only be described as a bastard lovechild of Kamen Rider and Gundam, with the former's passion for fighting evil and defending justice dialed Up to Eleven.
  • League of Legends has a twist with Mordekaiser, a selectable champion who likes to say "For great TORMENT!"
  • Freedom Force's Minuteman lives by this creed.
  • DeathSpank is a self-described Dispenser of Justice.
  • Tsubaki gets in on this in BlazBlue. She's a fan of historical dramas, and in the "Help Me, Professor Kokonoe!" segments, it's shown that it's the source for her battle quotes.
    • Her achievement/trophy is actually named after this trope.
    • This is also Bang Shishigami's schtick.
  • "I FIGHT IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!" ~ Ma Chao of Dynasty Warriors
  • Forms one of the major themes in Tales of Vesperia in which two of the main characters are primarily motivated by ideals of justice but have very different ways of going about doing it, and both run into problems when they take their respective viewpoints too far. Per the trope's "playing with" examples, Yuri toes the line between subversion and double-subversion of this trope (and narrowly avoids Slowly Slipping Into Evil), while Flynn borders Deconstruction and ends up in Reconstruction territory by the end. The game's characteristic genre name is to enforce "justice" (yes, with the word placed in quote marks) playing this trope completely straight while at the same time highlighting that it is a difficult concept to define.
    • Vesperia's successor, Tales of Graces also features a much more minor, less serious version of this. In the childhood arc, Asbel will go into battle shouting "I fight for justice!" for no readily apparent reason. This is probably to highlight that he's still too young and immature to know what he's fighting for at all, and is just saying this because it sounds cool.
  • In Valis III, whenever Yuko is asked what her aims are, says she's fighting for justice.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising the sun god Pyrrhon, who helps you against the Aurum claims that, "Pyrrhon has a delivery, and its return address is JUSTICE!!!
  • Raiden in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a firm believer of this, as long as he use his sword. However, this need not apply when holding somebody else's sword.
  • The description of Twin Justice in Rune Factory 4 reads: "Justice now comes in two. Twice the justice, twice the power. Mete it upon your foes for... Uh...great justice!"
  • Steve in Aero Fighters 2: "I am a punk rocker, and I fight for justice."
  • In Fairy Fencer F, when Pippin rejoins the party after Fang/Eryn's time travel back to the past, he states that "For great justice, the full extent of my power is at your disposal!"
  • Deconstructed by Vhailor in Planescape: Torment. Justice is his literal raison d'etre, it's the reason he's still alive because he's unwilling to die as long as there is justice left to be meted out. He is completely single-minded on punishing evil, has close to no ego and views himself as an implement of an ideal rather than a person, nigh impossible to dissuade or convince, uncompromising, believes in the rightness of his cause, and, in a world full of Grey and Gray Morality, utterly terrifying.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, this is both averted and played straight in two characters: Xander is more Knight in Sour Armor, believing that this trope is a complete sham, as it makes one person not see the whole picture that there's no clear cut good and evil in life. Also played straight on Arthur, who's born and raised into believing justice and doing good overall, with his quotes rife with declarations of Justice Will Prevail. The funny thing is? They're under the same banner (Nohr). Fittingly, however, they cannot support to each other, and Arthur is instead the retainer of the youngest, most childish sibling, Elise, who DOES find such escapades of justice awesome.
  • Several characters in Overwatch, most prominently Pharah ("JUSTICE RAINS FROM ABOVE!") and Reinhardt (who is a literal, if high-tech, Knight in Shining Armor).

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Linkara's review of Justice League: Cry For Justice issues 3 and 4 has him beginning the review with the inevitable joke of, "So, let's review issues 3 and 4 of Justice League: Cry For Justice. For great justice."
  • Harmontown: In the Dungeons and Dragons section of the show, Erin McGathy's character, Dignity Sarsgaard, has the rather baffling catchphrase, "Let's jazz for truth!" The game screeches to a halt when she first unveils it.

    Real Life 
  • "Operation Enduring Freedom", the military response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, was initially planned to be named "Operation Infinite Justice".
  • "No Justice, No Peace" an old rally cry against unfair trials etc.
  • Tomonobu Itakagi, formerly of Tecmo (and Dead or Alive fame) used these words almost exactly in a lawsuit against the suits he used to work for.
  • This is the basis of the ethical theories grouped under Deontology.
  • Many national mottos (official or otherwise) follow a formula that combines shades of "For Great Justice" with Rule of Three. While many of these mottos seem quite vague, they are often popular rallying cries amongst the people, as well as being the basis for the outlook that country usually has on how the society should be run (usually reflected in its laws).
    • The highly unofficial United States motto "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" is probably the most famous example in the English-speaking world.note  Almost directly derived from the works of John Locke (having "pursuit of happiness" stand in for the rather crasser-sounding "property" of Locke's original), it reflects America's "rugged individualism", particularly its rigid stance on individual rights and more laissez-faire attitude towards economics.
      • The Constitution is a bit more verbose: "... to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty ..."
    • A close second in English-speaking countries and probably more famous over all is France's "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). French democracy places a great deal of emphasis on social equality and solidarity, which often together trump the idea of personal freedom; the French have never forgotten the indignities of the ancien régime. This is how France justifies many policies which Americans (and, truth be told, Britons) would find repulsive, such as banning religious clothing and symbols in public places or the heavily-regulated and state-directed French economy.
    • In some parts of The British Empire (notably, the colonies that became the Commonwealth Realms), the motto "Peace, Welfare, and Good Government" (with "Welfare" referring to the general "Greater Good" rather than to it's modern, narrower meaning) was popular amongst the political class of the day, typically being in the long titles or preambles of the various Acts of Parliament creating responsible governments in the colonies/dominions.
      • It eventually morphed into Canada's current unofficial motto "Peace, Order, and Good Government", or POGG (as Canadian wags are liable to call it).note  This is often used in contradistinction to its southern neighbor, emphasizing Canadian deference to law, legitimate authority, and tradition, and Canada's generally more socially-oriented mindset (even in ultraconservative Alberta, universal public healthcare is seen as an unquestioned if problematic good).
    • Germany has "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (Unity and Justice and Liberty).note note  Modern Germany, as one might recall, had a very hard time in getting to where it is now. Its legal system is noted for trying to strike a balance between the extremes of France and Britain in substance (in format, it's all French) and is very concerned with ensuring that the rule of law is applied consistently and fairly.
  • Sadly, not every country with such a motto is also able to follow this motto. The official motto "Justice, Liberty, Prosperity" belongs to the Republic of South Sudan, which is torn in civil wars since sixty years! "Paix, Justice, Travail"is the motto of the Kongo, one of the poorest countries in the world, and a state that has also to deal with civil war. Of course, this is universally true for every nation, the land of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" was built on slavery, and "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" excluded those pesky colonial nations.

Alternative Title(s): The Deontologist, For Justice

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForGreatJustice