Good Is Not Nice
aka: Jerkass Hero

"Good is not nice, polite, well-mannered, self-righteous, or naive, though good characters may be some of these things."
Dungeons & Dragons, The Book of Exalted Deeds

Affably Evil is when a villain is polite, friendly and genuinely kind, even while plotting evil. Good Is Not Nice is the inverse of that: characters who are morally slanted toward the good side but are rude, unfriendly, and mean.

They never kill anyone if they can help it, nor would they allow people to come to any sort of harm by ignoring them. They are always willing to go out of their ways to save the town and complete strangers. When the call comes, they will answer it, usually with little protest. They often help people in need with little promise of reward. In almost every way, they act like ideal heroes.

Except that they are asocial and sometimes downright abusive toward most people they meet. They may refuse to explain anything. They may also actively rebuke people who express gratitude, friendship, love, and/or offers of support when they are faced with problems.

There are a few reasons these people may act like this:

Here are related tropes which are demonstrations as to how good characters are not as nice as they appear to be:

Note that when handled well, this can create an interesting, complex character. When done poorly, you can end up with serious Moral Dissonance, a Designated Hero and/or even an Unintentionally Unsympathetic character.

Compare Noble Demon, who will likely fall into this if not too morally ambiguous. Often a Knight in Sour Armor, Mr. Vice Guy, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Jerkass Woobie, or sometimes just a Jerkass who does good things. The term Anti-Hero is sometimes used to cover this trope. Sister trope to Creepy Good. Naive newcomers may be surprised to learn they are not the idealized hero everyone thinks they are. The hero's meanness will result with him becoming a Hero with Bad Publicity.

Why Light powers can be the Holy Hand Grenade even when Light Is Good.

Lawful Good versions of this trope may be strict, humorless and serious. In other cases, they will put much emphasis on "Lawful" more than "Good". Very common personality flaw for The Paladin.

See also Hidden Depths. Also see the Knight Templar, who goes beyond merely not being "nice" into darker territory.

Contrast Good Is Not Dumb. If a character acts like this exclusively towards their enemies, you've got a case of Good Is Not Soft.

See also Affably Evil, a trope that could be called "Evil Is Not Mean."


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Levi, the World's Strongest Man, is incredibly rude, coarse and insulting to many people around him and is rumored to be an infamous thug when he was younger. However, he genuinely cares for his men and humanity in general.
    • The Survey Corps is this as a whole, with some of their tactics being less than favorable. They discuss this after having to kill members of the Military Police Brigade.
  • Guts from Berserk. In his backstory, he starts out as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but after the traumatizing events of the Golden Age arc and the Eclipse in particular, becomes a cruel, cold-hearted psychopath who, nonetheless, is intent on avenging the deaths of his comrades and protect his now-insane lover from the demons who are constantly hunting both of them down. He does start to get somewhat better over the course of the series though.
  • Killy from Blame!! since he shoots the Silicon Creatures indiscriminately.
  • In Bleach, all of Soul Society exhibits this trope from time to time. Incidentally, Kaname Tosen defected to Big Bad Sosuke Aizen because of this fact, believing the latter's planned world would be an improvement. Particular examples?
    • They merrily employ Mayuri Kurotsuchi, a truly sadistic Mad Scientist who's caused the deaths of many, killed subordinates, and beat up his daughter For Science!.
    • Yamamoto. Has certain ideas about upholding justice and doing his job as a Soul Reaper. Can be extremely harsh in applying the law. For example, whether the order for Rukia's execution was legitimate or not he did not question the sentence. If anything, when questioned by Ukitake and Kyoraku, he emphatically supported the sentence in principle. His response to those Soul Reapers and humans who tried to save her was to order their deaths as well. He is, generally, not a terribly 'nice' person.
    • Byakuya and Soifon deserve a honorable mention too.
    • As well as Hitsugaiya, in regards to Yui Toyokawa.
  • David of Blood+ also counts. Early on, he beats Kai senseless to teach him a lesson about the kind of world they live in, and forces Saya to fight and work with the Red Shield despite full knowledge that it's tearing her apart.
  • D Grayman:
    • Yuu Kanda , who says often that he doesn't care about other people, but will save them and protect them, often after saying he was using them as bait.
    • General Cross also falls under this one. He's brutal, but effective, and he genuinely does care about Allen when push comes to shove. Awww.
  • Death Note:
    • L is on the trail of dangerous serial killer known as Kira. He's also a sugar junkie with practically No Social Skills and a very low opinion of most other people, who only takes up cases that interest him in order to fend off boredom. A frequently lampshaded fact is that he and Light are Not So Different.
    • And then there's Near, who is even more Raised by Wolves and much less subtle in regards to snarking. There's endless debate over whether or not he used the Death Note to control Mikami's actions, so as to convict Light. Word of God also states that he "cheats".
    • Soichiro, Light's father. Word of God states that he is the only truly good character in the series...notwithstanding holding two people (the first a civilian, the second his own son) at gunpoint, actually firing - even when it's loaded with blanks - at point blank range during the latter occasion, and later still making the trade for Shinigami Eyes and attempting to write Mello's name in the notebook, only failing to write it in full because Mello asks him if he's ever killed a person before, leading to a moment of hesitation which proves his undoing.
  • Played with regarding Takeru from Digimon Adventure 02. While he is normally level-headed, nice, and affable, when something or someone presses his Berserk Button he can be far less pleasant. The most poignant angry moments had him leaving his partner Iori with no explanation to storm off to the enemy, coldly suggesting that they kill Dark Digimon instead of redeeming them, and physically beating up Ken/the Digimon Kaiser. He is also much more irritable and dismissive during such states. However, this is addressed in the series, with Takeru recognizing that these tendencies weren't exactly healthy, and with Iori being pretty conflicted about teaming up with him more than once and specifically, when they realize they're Jogress partners, but Iori doesn't know if they're up to the task, so he's more in control in the latter half of the series.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Piccolo. Even after his Heel–Face Turn, he is generally aloof and distant from the rest of human characters. Some of them consider him be to outright scary but Piccolo saves his softer side for Gohan. Not to mention he is quite ruthless in battle, such as severing Dr Gero's arms (though he had assumed he was an android) and bifurcating Babidi. He loses some of this after merging with Kami, but he still the most ruthless in the group next to Vegeta.
    • Vegeta. After his Heel–Face Turn, he's still an asshole who is very rude to everyone. Howewer he is a little melted in Dragon Ball Super.
    • From Super, Beerus eventually falls into this as he becomes friends with Goku and the others.
    • Jiren is definitely on the side of good; he’s the strongest of the Pride Troopers and has spent most of his life protecting his universe. He goes out of his way to save everyone and follows a strict code of honor. He’s also an aloof Jerkass who rarely shows anyone respect and hurls verbal abuse at anyone who does something to deserve it in his eyes. He also bluntly tells the rest of the Pride Troopers that he doesn’t really like them; he works with them for both the greater good and his own goals, but he doesn’t care about them as friends.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 will always take any chance to grab his endless artillery of guns and shoot his own teammates at any notice. However, he does care for every one of them, and will make sure that none of them get seriously hurt. Of course, his excuse is that because the Devil Bats is just such a small team, there are barely enough competent substitutes if anyone gets hurt.
  • From Fairy Tail, the mages of Sabertooth are mean, arrogant Smug Supers who consider themselves better than everyone else in the Grand Magic Games. They're also a legal guild that hasn't resorted to any dirty tricks, like Raven Tail has, so they're technically good guys.
    • Laxus Dreyar is the title guild's example of this trope after he returns.
  • Much like Inuyasha, Kyo from Fruits Basket is a case of this, especially in the anime, where he doesn't go through the Character Development he goes through in the manga. Kyo is very aggressive and occasionally violent, especially with Momiji, but he still cares for Tohru.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Both of them are generally heroic to a fault, but Edward Elric can be quite an arrogant jerk, in contrast to his more empathetic and polite brother Alphonse.
    • If people are talking about Ed Elric, Roy Mustang shouldn't be exempt by any means either.
    • Even more so Olivia Armstrong who is not only a jerk, but also The Social Darwinist and is still one of the good guys as well as an epic Mama Bear.
    • Izumi Curtis thinks little of verbally and physically thrashing the Elric brothers if it means teaching them important lessons regarding Alchemy or surviving in general. Which pales in comparison to the terror she inflicts upon those who threaten them or her loved ones.
  • Ban Midou from Get Backers. He is the most condescending, arrogant, and insulting character in the entire thing. No one is safe from his snarking. It's even lampshaded in the manga, where the author even says that he makes unnecessary enemies and makes people hate him for his constant taunts and insults. Thankfully, if people stick around him and get to know him long enough, they eventually get used to it and like him. Ginji surely does, huh!
  • Togusa in Ghost in the Shell, as the rookie recruited from the regular police, is the only character who is actively trying to work within the law and respect the rights of criminals. The rest of Section 9 is not above using torture and murder, but the entire country is in such a corrupt state that even Togusa usually accepts that as a necessary part of their work.
  • Gundam:
    • Kamille Bidan from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, an angry young Newtype who frequently has trouble with authority and other people - especially Jerid Messa, but nevertheless holds a genuine empathy toward innocent lives who suffer both the oppression of the tyrannical Earth Federation and the atrocities committed by Zeon.
    • Setsuna F. Seiei from Mobile Suit Gundam 00, before his Character Development. Haunted by the tragedy in his childhood, he wants to prevent the same thing from happening again to other good people by destroying every single soldier with no remorse. During the first season, he's got a bad attitude, too, and has a strong desire for revenge.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Yzak sides with Clyne's faction while insulting Kira, Lacus's fiancé. It got to the point that Dearka had to mute Yzak's comm because the guy was shouting so many insults at his allies that people were confused as to which side he was really on. It really makes sense if you know their common past ( Yzak knows that Kira killed one of his friends and disfigured him due to War Is Hell, and he knows that when Lacus fights against a government, she's usually the on the good side. But he's not forgiving enough to speak nicely to Kira while doing the right thing).
  • Sakurako Sanjou from Hana Yori Dango is a Rich Bitch in Sheep's Clothing as well as very nasty when crossed. After her Heel–Face Turn, despite having a kinder disposition, she still remains spoiled and childish.
  • Integra Hellsing; determined to protect the world from any threat, and perfectly willing to mouth off, insult, and snark at anyone who criticizes her, even the Vatican. And specially the Vatican. Bloody Papists. This trope is also one of the defining moments for her character. When Alucard and Seras are holed up in a hotel in Rio de Janeiro that is being swarmed by the SWAT team, which is under Millennium's control via promising immortality to the corrupt government officials in charge of the police force, there's no way for them to get out without killing innocent humans. Up until this point, Integra has scrupulously avoided this, but her hands are tied. When she receives a call from Alucard and he asks if she is willing to set him on them, she agrees. She even questions her decision after hanging up, asking Walter if she made the right choice.
  • The title character of InuYasha is a prime example; he starts off motivated largely by self-interest, and while Character Development soon brings out his better nature, he remains a short-tempered, foul-mouthed Jerk with a Heart of Gold whose first solution to most problems involves violence.
  • Gen from Kekkaishi could be the posterboy for this trope. Masamori is a less obvious example, as he's outwardly polite, even while he's delivering a thinly veiled threat.
  • Both protagonists of Kill la Kill:
  • Meta Knight in the Kirby anime acts as a Trickster Mentor to Kirby, training him and helping him, but being rather distant. Also notable: in his first appearance he speed-trained Kirby to wield a sword... by beating the crap out of him and pointing out all his mistakes. Other times he's cool and distant and generally only directly helps Kirby when his life is in danger.
  • As his journey progresses, Dr. Kenzo Tenma from Monster becomes more and more unhinged, and less and less interested in following the basic precepts of civility. Evident even in the beginning of the series, where he is not above manhandling people in rather unwarranted rage, this escalates into theft, coercion, and all-too-frequent death threats. Of course, he is up against the title character, a sadistic sociopath with no qualms about breaking every moral law in the book just to get at him, so some of it might be warranted.
  • Tiger of the Wind in Monster Rancher can be ruthless and brutal in battle, often going for the kill in one-to-one fights. He is also arrogant and prideful which can lead him to clash with others.
  • Bakugou Katsuki from My Hero Academia. Yes, he's an arrogant Jerk Ass with a superiority complex, but he still wants to be a hero. When a group of villains mistakes his anger for rebellion and tries to convince him to join their side, he tells them in no uncertain terms to fuck off.
  • This is the entire premise of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. Hikigaya may be a social outcast with a penchant for social suicide and the odd Breaking Speech but he is ultimately a decent and benevolent person.
  • Sakura and Sasuke from Naruto. While Sakura eventually had Character Development, Sasuke underwent a Face–Heel Turn. In the end, he's again this.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Asuka Langley Soryu can be quite arrogant and obnoxious, yet despite claiming to pilot her Eva only to become famous ("prove (herself) to the world"), she risks her life on countless occasions to defeat the Angels/save humanity and is highly honorable (she willingly puts herself in harm's way in episode 11 to square her debt with Shinji).
    • Rei Ayanami also counts. A combination of being a loner, utter devotion to duty no matter how much it might suck and a rather cynical world in general make some of her attempts to be nice fall flat, especially with Asuka or Ritsuko.
  • Zoro from One Piece. His reputation as a "Pirate Hunter" and his devastating skill with the swords has terrified people, including many of his crewmates. When fighting, he often sports a Slasher Smile and delights in the bloodlust of having a good fight. But he is unmistakably a good guy with a soft spot for his crew and has been known to go out of his way to protect/help out strangers, including a little girl and an injured man.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Inner Moka generally fights to protect Tsukune, but is often annoyed when she's called forth to deal with such problems as the other members of Tsukune's Unwanted Harem fighting over him in the human world and nearly breaking the Masquerade in the process. What really sealed her as this trope is her defeat of Kurumu early on in the manga: to make sure she never tried to attack them again, Inner Moka fully intended to rip off Kurumu's wings and tail, and would have done so if Tsukune didn't talk her out of it.
  • Sailor Mars/Rei Hino displays this trope to some degree in each iteration of Sailor Moon, but it is most apparent in the 90s anime. She is just as heroic, self-sacrificing, and steadfastly dedicated to defending the world and Princess Serenity as any other Sailor Senshi, if not moreso. She is also good at giving advice to her fellow Senshi, and listening to their problems. That being said, she is bossy, conceited, hypercritical, enjoys ridiculing Usagi (and sometimes the other Senshi), treats Yuuichirou like crap despite his generosity towards her, and even made a little girl who idolized her cry.
  • Sanzo from Saiyuki is a member of the highest priestly order in Tougenkyo and is on a mission from God... er, Buddha, to save the world. He has a knack for smacking down villains and convincing people to live again. He's also a bitchy, verbally and physically abusive Jerkass. Several main cast can fit under this trope, except Hakkai.
  • Sgt. Frog Natsumi Hinata is Earth's best of line of defense from her freeloading alien house guest. And she makes sure he knows that...a lot. In the most abusive ways she can think of. And even when he's not doing anything deserving a pummeling.
  • Slayers:
  • Possible interpretation of Shinigami in Soul Eater. Some of his methods of enforcing order are decidedly questionable (Asura, the witches (especially Kim and Angela), Mifune) they're just not half as questionable as what his fellow Physical Gods, or more appropriately their associated baddies, get up to.
  • The supposed hero Sunred in Tentai Senshi Sunred. He knows he's supposed to play the role of hero and does beat up villains regularly. Yet he's also a smoking, pachinko-playing jerk who mooches off his girlfriend and becomes (understandably) annoyed at Florshiem's attempts at "world domination".
  • In Toward the Terra, Glaive Murdock is presented as an unsympathetic, arrogant jerk, yet he repeatedly takes a principled stand against orders he feels are immoral, pretending he didn't receive an order to kill retreating civilians and refusing to Colony Drop a colony full of hostages when attacked despite a standing order to do so. And in the end, he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice to take out the last Megiddo cannon before it can destroy Terra.
  • Much to everyone's surprise, Eva turns out to be this in Umineko: When They Cry.
  • Vampire Princess Miyu: She does what she can to aid humans, and occasionally feels regret for those she can't help, but in the end her job is to banish Shinma, not to protect or save people. She's not above using mortals as bait, if necessary.
  • Kaiser Ryo of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is this in seasons 1 and later in season 3. In season 1, he's a loner and not very friendly, but he's willing to risk his life for his friends and brother. Season 3 features a much darker Anti-Hero, but he's essentially one of the "good guys" and ends up sacrificing himself in order to snap Judai out of his Heroic B.S.O.D.
  • The entirety of Team Urameshi in YuYu Hakusho. Hiei is just plain evil For the Evulz (at least at first). Yusuke is an ass towards everyone he knows, but he genuinely cares about all of them, and his power spikes exponentially whenever they're in danger. Kurama is outwardly pleasant, but he's also a Deadpan Snarker of the highest order, incredibly fond of the Stealth Insult towards his less intelligent teammates, and (even by Hiei's admission), the most ruthless fighter on the team, a trait he demonstrates when he mercilessly executes most of his enemies even after they're defeated. By contrast, Kuwabara's a borderline Nice Guy, a Boisterous Bruiser with a soft centre.

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: It can be debated whether Dredd qualifies as good, but he definitely puts the interests of Mega-City One and its citizens before any other concern. However, break the LAW or commit offenses against the city and you sign your death sentence. He's killed BILLIONS of people for this. Mind you, most of those casualties were either outright criminals, or deaths caused by the Apocalypse War against East-Meg, but still...
  • Batman is sometimes portrayed as this, Depending on the Writer. Often described with roleplaying terms as "Lawful Good doesn't mean Lawful Nice."
  • Reggie Mantle from Archie Comics sometimes falls into this category. Some stories portray him as hating the holiday season because the Christmas spirit interferes with his natural desire to be rotten, while others portray him as actively taking precautions to make sure the victims of his pranks are only humiliated, without actually being hurt.
  • Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan is usually very fitting of this trope. He can be perfectly nice to those he considers innocent however.
    • There is an intentional tension between this and Affably Evil in Transmet. Warren Ellis makes some pretty clear parallels between the casually horrific behavior of Spider and the sheer corruption of Callahan. Spider's clear sense of vengeance drives his behavior as much as anything else.
  • Wolverine. He's a grump and very snarly to gentle or friendly approaches from his friends. But he has also a protective streak bigger than Canada: threaten those he cares for, and the offending party will be shredded three ways from Sunday, especially if they push it.
  • The British-published Sonic the Comic by Fleetway paints the eponymous hedgehog as such. He's a hero and saves the day constantly, but if you're one of his allies? Expect to be belittled, verbally abused, and made to cater to his ego.
  • The Golden Age Superman had no trouble with threatening crooks to get them to confess. He didn't kill people, but if criminals suffered Karmic Death (which happened a lot) he'd usually comment that they got what they deserved. In one comic he grabbed a doctor, ignored his protests, and flew him through a hurricane and two hundred miles cross-country so he could save a dying kid. This era was later referenced and deconstructed by Grant Morrison. Young Superman tries to beat a confession out of a corrupt media mogul; he succeeds in scaring the guy but what he gets is no way admissible in court.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Guy Gardner is a pretty good example of this trope. He's rude, crude, slightly sexist, and can be downright mean to certain heroes, but when the chips are down, you can count on Guy Gardner to fight with his all.
    • Jack T. Chance is Lobo with a Green Power Ring— with all that implies. Because of that, he's been ordered to only patrol and protect his native planet, "Hellhole" (every other Lantern gets a whole sector). While he's crude, brutal and very much the '90s Anti-Hero, he did genuinely want to clean up the Wretched Hive that was his world.
  • And lately, the Guardians of the Universe have had this in spades.
  • The female Dr. Light: Helping fellow heroes while looking down on them since 1985.
  • Grimjack aka John Gaunt. His code of "Always Seek The Truth" can (and often does) hurt his friends, family, clients, random people on the street, etc.
  • Gemini Storm. The heroine helps keep down the plague of monsters by viciously killing them and enjoying every minute of it.
  • The Spectre is the Angel of Vengeance, tasked by God with punishing those murders, molesters, and miscellaneous malefactors that escape the justice of human hands. He is also one of the creepiest, most unsettling, and cruelest beings in the DC universe. Putting this into perspective: the Spectre needs a human host to do his job, and while the Spectre does dish out horrifically poetic justice to those who think they can escape the consequences of their actions, he doesn't do this to every Karma Houdini out there... which leads us to Crispus Allen, the Spectre's current host. Crispus was murdered, and the Spectre took no steps against the murderer... but Allen's son kills the man, leading the Spectre to punish the boy, with Allen helpless to stop him.
  • Jack Knight from the '90s Starman. He becomes a better person - outside of being a superhero - as the series goes on but he's still a Jerk Ass Anti-Hero for a good portion of the early issues. Even at the end, he still shows signs of being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Pick a Hardboiled Detective from early Detective Comics, and you'll get this. Slam Bradley comes to mind best.
  • In Minimonsters, Victor is definitely this.
  • King Faraday is gruff, cynical, and jaded. He's also just as determined to help the common good as much as the Heroes in Spandex are, and shows this famously in New Frontier. ... by trying to arrest the Spandex Clad Heroes. But it's definitely supposed to be for a good cause.
  • All Sin City heroes with the exception of Wallace, who was very polite.
  • Spider-Man: Spidey had his moments in his early teenage days. He would often act very cocky and could be a bit of a jerk towards fellow heroes at times. He mellowed out a lot more once he came into adulthood.
    • This is even how the Uncle Ben incident happened originally. Several retellings (such as The Movie) try to make it more sympathetic, but really, he just let the thief go because it wasn't his problem. He learned the "with great power..." thing from what happened later, but it didn't instantly transform him into a perfect human being.
    • He's still a much lighter example, relentlessly insulting and taunting the criminals he fights and at times even the people he saves.
  • Prowl gets this treatment a lot in the IDW version of Transformers. He's an arrogant prick, a Manipulative Bastard, comes off as cold and unfeeling, seems to treat even people he professes to like as tools more than as comrades or friends, and sometimes does some morally-questionable things in the name of getting things done... but in the end of it all he's without a doubt a loyal Autobot dedicated to defeating the Decepticons, protecting the innocent, and reaching for the greater good overall.
    • Several Autobots come off this way in the course of the IDW run of comics. Repugnus is underhanded, ruthless, argumentative, and more than willing to resort to violence, but he's an Autobot all the same - just one who does jobs that those with more delicate morals could barely consider.
    • The Wreckers by and large consist of violent diehards, mental jobs, or trouble cases with an appallingly high body count and casualty count, but they go after the most dangerous of foes that no normal Autobot team could hope to match. In particular, Wreckers leader Impactor coldly executes the entirety of Squadron X after their capture on a neutral world on the basis that the threat posed by a crack team of ten Decepticons outweighed the political technicalities that required the Wreckers to release their foes.
  • The original Marvel run of The Transformers has Ratchet finally lose his cool at Starscream. Good is no longer nice when the hard-working doctor who turns into an ambulance throws "First Do No Harm" out the window and drops Starscream with a single rage-fueled punch, then crashes the starship he's on into Earth to try and kill four of the most dangerous Decepticons in the galaxy (Megatron, Galvatron, Shockwave, and Starscream) at the same time.
    • The Dinobots. They're a rag-tag bunch of jerks who don't really like anyone, and occasionally go off to do their own thing. None of them like Optimus. But they like Megatron and his lot even less.
    • The Wreckers probably count. Their first appearance involves them planning to lure several prominent Decepticons into a trap and kill them in any way they can, including harpoons or hammers to the head.
  • Deconstructed (along with everything else) in Watchmen.
  • When the Fantastic Four trespassed into Heaven in a bid to resurrect Ben Grimm, Johnny was struck by an archangel's Flaming Sword and noted that it hurt even worse than Hellfire.
  • Depending on the Writer, the Incredible Hulk can be this; he causes a lot of collateral damage and can be an out and out Jerkass at times, but he'll go out of his way to save innocent lives and make sure no one dies during his rampages, and he's got one of the higher "save the world" count among the Marvel heroes.
  • Justice League Elite:
    • Naif Al-Sheikh is a sexist, elitist asshole, but he's also usually honest and works to hold his team to high standards.
    • Manitou Raven dedicates almost every waking moment to the team, but he also alienates his wife to the point where she hooks up with Green Arrow just to try and get a reaction out of him.
  • In Holy Terror, the Fixer shows no compassion at all to any of the terrorists, shooting them, breaking their spines and blowing them up.
  • During the events of Axis, Sabretooth underwent a Heel–Face Turn due to a spell-gone-wrong cast by Scarlet Witch, and at the end of the event he remained "inverted." This turned the gleefully bloodthirsty and psychopathic Blood Knight Creed into someone genuinely ashamed of and trying to atone for his violent past. However, even though Creed is now a hero, he's still a colossal dick.
  • Arkham Asylum: Living Hell has this has part of its plot. Warren White, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who committed stock fraud, tries an Insanity Defense—and the jury actually bought it. However, because the city his trial was held in is Gotham City, the judge, who was disgusted with the jury buying it, decides to throw White into Arkham Asylum indefinitely. While he was never nice to begin with, Jeremiah Arkham's behavior towards Warren is implied to be because Jeremiah was among White's victims and likewise, it's also implied the Asylum suffered cutbacks because of White.
  • Emphasized with the White Entity in Brightest Day. It's genuinely out to preserve life- but it's out to preserve life en masse, and couldn't give less of a crap about individuals. The fact that its actions actually seem fairly necessary by the end doesn't make its callous attitude much more comforting.
  • Red Sonja is (usually, depending on the writer) known in-universe for kicking ass first and asking questions never. Anyone who offends her or violates her code gets a Badass Boast and one chance to apologize and leave. Those who fail to do so are almost universally killed. Corrupt leaders often don't even get that chance because Sonja knows their crimes by the time she's in their presence.

    Fan Works 
  • Kage, this applies to the Guardians, Elyon and Caleb, at least in their interactions with Jade.
  • In Kage's fellow Project Dark Jade fic, Queen of All Oni, this applies to Agent Wisker (who views Jade as just another criminal) and one Ramirez.
  • In the Uplifted series all of the protagonists have a brutal streak a mile long, even Erwin Rommel, who coldly guns down Adolf Eichmann at Malta. The Allies are no better, as Joachim and Hanala discover when captured by the SAS.
  • Harry Johnson (ne Potter) of Top Dog is this, so much so that you have to look rather hard to find the Good (though it is there). He openly expresses contempt for conventional morality, and in fact is a highly-priced mercenary who will kill anyone he's paid to kill—but he's also working on a long scale to make the universe more fair, and it's noted that he's "the kind of person who would get Jews out of Nazi Germany just because he can". This is also a trait of the Kenti empire; they're Good, but very paranoid, and very militaristic, and they've several times espoused a policy of preemptively killing things that might in the future become a threat.
  • Major Firebird de Coverley of The Conversion Bureau: Conquer the Stars zigzags through this trope. On one hand, she's quite nice most of the time. On the other hand, its implied that she loves her job a bit too much, and a longtime friend of hers is terrified when she sees her in action.
  • The dwarven noble protagonist in Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns does usually maintain an affable manner, but he doesn't bother being overly amiable to people who press his buttons like Lady Isolde, King Cailan and the Orzammar Assembly, to name a few.
    • Gwenith 'Gwen' Cousland is the more straight example. She has a tendency of getting into bar fights and is overall quite Hot-Blooded, getting angry easily and yelling often. She also seems to take people for granted. Nonetheless, she does mean well, proven particularly accurately by how she, though not without help from some of the other Wardens, spent some time holding off the darkspawn attacking Redcliffe in order to help the remaining refugees flee.
  • In The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth, Elrond. Assigns a crap-load of homework, and prone to temper-tantrums when someone gets their facts wrong.
  • Mr.Evil's Original Character Fredi "Frediano" Heat is described as a borderline sociopath, isn't afraid of practically crippling or killing anyone in his path, and ultimately hates being referred to as a "good guy". Despite all of this, he is extremely loyal and gets the job done. The police are just happy that he is on their side.
    Fredi: “Whoever said I had to be a ‘good guy’ to do my job?”
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo crossover and its sequel Origins, any "good" person who isn't Good Is Not Soft tends to end up here.
    • The Republic Intelligence Service is introduced here in stark opposition to other Obstructive Bureaucrats in the rest of the Trans-Galactic Republic. They lend aid to the heroes in the form of banned (but very powerful) disruptor weapons, invisibility devices, and information which given the stakes seem justified in rule-bending. Subverted later since they're drifting into State Sec territory.
    • Garrus Vakarian is unafraid to use the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique when lives are at stake (like dealing with a plot to build a cloaked superlaser platform).
    • For a given value of "good", Aria T'Loak falls here (being a Noble Demon in canon anyway). She will use whatever means necessary to combat the Alien Invasion that's threatening to kick her off her station though she ultimately fails as the Flood is harder to contain than she thought. If that means burning civilians alive in their homes, she will do it. This also means she fits in Anti-Villain as well.
    • Jack fits easily into this category—she's rude, cuss-prone, encourages students to break each other's bones (thanks to bacta this isn't as crippling as it would be otherwise), and threatens to kill anyone who might mess with her students. Nevertheless, such anger is generally driven by actually caring about them and thus not wanting them to get into trouble.
    • Most of the Borderlands cast ends up here, being a bunch of Heroic Comedic Sociopaths in their own canon.
      • Maya in both forms doesn't hesitate to use excessive force.
      • Patricia Tannis has a huge intellectual superiority complex, but her case is more "Good is Not Sociable" though she ends up on the receiving end of "smarter than you" from Cortana.
      • Jackie Jakobs, post-reform allows an innocent soldier to be vaporized since his presence would otherwise trip a system trapping everyone inside her family's vaults. Information in those vaults is more valuable than one life, considering the stakes.
    • After some unfortunate circumstances, Sarah becomes this after a Heel–Face Turn. Immensely powerful, and willing to now use those powers to fight the Flood while (mostly) following the notions of morality held out by Shepard & Co.
  • Tatl Beryllia in The Blue Blur of Termina. Though she generally means well, she can be quite a jerk at times.
  • In Rorschach In Equestria, when Twilight Sparkle confronts Rorschach for the first time after he saves Applejack and the Cutie-Mark Crusaders from some Timber Wolves, his rather blunt answers to her questions frustrate her, when he points out he's "not a nice person" and Twilight points out the above incident as a counter-example, Rorschach replies “Doing the right thing, and being nice, is two different things. I do the right thing, doesn’t mean I’m nice.” Given the setting, Twilight probably hadn't even considered the possibility beforehand.
  • In What About Witch Queen?, baron/general/Royal Spymaster Hakan Madsen is certainly on Arendelle side, but it's implied that he's not above assassination or Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique (if not outright torture) if he believes it to be for the good of his realm. His fellows on the Royal Council are somewhat unsettled when they hear about the latter, but none actually protests.
  • The Five-Man Band of Swing123 and garfieldodie's Calvinverse may not be evil, but they are definitely not nice.
  • As Light points out in A Cure for Love L's plan to blow him up in the middle of the night isn't very polite.
  • Takeru in the Tamers Forever Series, especially when he criticizes the other Digidestined.
  • In Point of Succession Team L cares more about solving the case than for the victims/casualties of it-that is unless it is someone they know. Beyond calls them on it.
  • In Remorse L only cares about solving the Kira case. He does not care about Light at all.
  • My Little Castlevania: Even though Roaring Yawn and Shatterstorm are on the good guys’ side, they are hardly the nicest ponies you’d ever meet.
  • Pinkamina from Seeing the Pattern is grouchy, sarcastic and anti-social. She’s also waging a secret one-mare war against Death.
  • None of the three main protagonists from Tech 10 Rebooted could be considered nice people, though their unpleasantness tends to vary.
  • Latios from A New Chance Series is extremely loyal to Ash and ready to fight against evil. He is also cold and withdrawn, especially around other humans, his need to protect his younger sister Latias can grate on her, and in battle he can be vicious toward the antagonists, to the point of scaring Ash. Highlights include putting a bunch of poachers in a permanent coma, nearly killing a defeated band of Team Magma agents and and crushing to death the poacher Rico for selling Larvitar's mother.
    • Bianca herself is far less nice. She smashed Brock into the ground for trying to flirt with her. Her concern for Latios and Latias means she can give Ash a lot of crap for using them in battle, and she had zero sympathy for Team Rocket when they begged Ash to save their Pokemon from Rico.
  • Child of the Storm has a number.
    • Loki is a doting uncle, a patient teacher and bitterly remorseful for what he's done. He's also Reformed, but Not Tamed and more than willing to do the dirty work, with the explicit purpose of being Thor's shadow, to do the things Thor never could. Such as methodically murder his way up the Red Room's chain of command, then down again, to make sure that he didn't miss anyone.
    • And Loki learnt it from Odin.
    • Nick Fury has dedicated his life to protecting humanity from the monsters, human and inhuman, who think that they cannot be held to account. He believes in heroes, he cares for Harry, the son of his surrogate sister Lily and he is, ultimately, a good and decent man. He's also a Manipulative Bastard and Magnificent Bastard who is more than comfortable exercising Cruel Mercy and chucking people like the Dursleys in an Oubliette. His ruthlessness leads to dismay from old friends and Villain Respect from his Arch-Enemy Lucius Malfoy who grudgingly admires him. He'll manipulate Albus Dumbledore, an old friend, and press his buttons just to see if the old man still has what it takes (he does). In the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, he also calmly presses the buttons of the Avengers and a recently tortured Harry, just to make sure that he'd judged their reasoning right.
    • Peter Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black, epitomises this trope, even more than his mentor, Nick Fury. Fury wants heroes for people to believe in; Wisdom wants soldiers to fight the war that he sees coming, a war he is singlemindedly dedicated to winning. Accordingly, he has no qualms whatsoever about manipulating genuinely good characters into doing his dirty work. Sometimes this manipulation can be as mild as a speech. Sometimes it takes the form of blackmail when he secures Wanda as his ringer by threatening to tell her daughter, Hermione, the truth about her parentage. And sometimes it takes the form of placing Warren, a relatively innocent young man at a possible target, in order to get him properly blooded in combat by making his first human kill (something Warren had been desperately avoiding for most of his life, being absolutely terrified of hurting someone else with his Razor Wings) and then mould him into a soldier. This, as Sean (Warren's mentor) observes with utter contempt and no little bitterness, is completely successful following chapter 70. He also runs the Oubliette that Fury had the Dursleys dropped into.
      • By Ghosts of the Past, his response to Ministry corruption and ineptitude, and the decapitating strike they suffered at the hands of HYDRA near the end of the previous book is not to help them rebuild and reform. It is take advantage of and encourage their weakness and disarray so that MI13 become primary handlers of the supernatural in Britain, with the intention of taking over the Ministry lock, stock, and barrel. He also makes it very clear to Thor and Sirius that after Harry, now an incipient Apocalypse Maiden, had his Dark Phoenix themed freak out, the only reason he's taking the nice option of allowing him back into Britain - and, indeed, not lobbying governments worldwide to keep him off-planet - is because it is, in the long run, the most practical course... and because a bullet through the skull wouldn't work.
    • As noted on the quotes page, in the words of Warren Worthington III, "No one ever said that being a hero came with the requirement to be nice." He's thoroughly grumpy, tetchy, and generally not very good company at all. However, he's a hero, a textbook Knight in Sour Armor (as Harry accurately notes), and he'll be one if it kills him.
    • Doctor Strange is, subtly, the king of this trope, being the Sorcerer Supreme and thus the magical Big Good for Earth, taking in Wanda as a child, helping her control her powers and saving her from the White Council, playing a key role in defeating Grindelwald (softening the 'god-like' Dark Lord up for Dumbledore) and is generally fairly affable and polite, always having a smile on his face. He is also an arch Manipulative Bastard and Magnificent Bastard with a reputation as an infallible Seer, using everyone as puppets and ruthlessly exploiting the Butterfly Effect. Directly, this means he specifically ordered Wanda (Harry's godmother) not to take him in on the grounds that it would be too dangerous (since Wanda gave up her own daughter for exactly the same reason, he was probably right). His mere involvement is Paranoia Fuel, where Lucius Malfoy, generally a couple of steps ahead of almost everyone else, starts fearing when he's pretty much at the zenith of his power that everything so far is part of Strange's plan, including things as minor as arranging for Nick Fury to be posted as liaison to the Order of the Phoenix years before Harry was born in order to bring about the rise of Director Fury and thereby Director Wisdom. He is, in fact, entirely correct and Strange reveals in chapter 80 that he's working towards The Greater Good which is implied to be readying Earth to take on Thanos. Indirectly, this means that he knew all about Pettigrew's betrayal of the Potters, Sinister's involvement in Harry's being kept at Privet Drive and HYDRA's attack on Hogwarts which killed Luna Lovegood, to name but a few, as well as pretty much every other bad thing that has happened, even Krypton exploding, and he did nothing because he deemed it necessary to shape the scenario and the heroes to his satisfaction. Anyway you slice it, that's cold - though as Remus points out in Ghosts of the Past, he isn't actually obligated to lift a finger to help anyone beyond fulfilling his duties as Sorcerer Supreme.
      • Furthermore, his reputation is sufficient that in Ghosts of the Past, Tony's theory that he let Sinister kidnap Maddie/Rachel, let him teach her and shape her into a Living Weapon for a decade and a half, so she knows all the things that Xavier would never teach either Harry or Jean, then dangle Harry under his nose and let Harry's natural charm do its work, and hey presto, the forces of good have an extremely powerful and deadly new weapon, and Harry has someone to teach him the psychic dark arts is considered disturbingly plausible. In fact, it's disproved not by the fact that Strange wouldn't do it, but the fact that he was visibly caught off-guard when scrambling to prevent Sinister's kidnapping, something he normally never is.
  • In Ryuugi's The Games We Play, Jaune learns to his displeasure that the Wisest decisions aren't always the most morally palatable.
  • In Traveler, Lt. Surge, Blaine, and Agatha all have shades of this.
    • A more direct example is Mew, who compels Ash to provoke Mewtwo, then kills him while Mewtwo is in Ash's head torturing him, all to (successfully) teach Mewtwo empathy. Even though Mew revived Ash, and only took this course after being unable to defeat Mewtwo directly, it's still quite cold.
  • In The Great Disney Adventure Saga, all of the main heroes have this to a degree, with Kelsey and Jack being the standouts for being cynical, mean and pragmatic.
  • In The Sage's Disciple, Crow has done a lot of morally questionable things in the name of surviving the 4th Holy Grail War. Kidnapping, arson, manslaughter, theft, etc. While he has some qualms about manipulating/forcing Kariya into allying with him, he justifies it as being better than letting him run wild. His alignment is Chaotic Neutral for good reason.
  • The Lone Traveler has an alternate name "Marek Ilumian", which was given by goblins in his home universe. It translates as "Fury of the Light".

  • The eponymous ogre of the Shrek films initially just wants to be left alone in his swamp. Then he agrees to rescue a princess in exchange for clearing out the exiles in his swamp, and things spiral from there.
  • Basil of Baker Street, from The Great Mouse Detective, is condescending and rude. Children coming to his office to say their fathers were kidnapped are told "I have no time for lost fathers!" Of course, this turns out to be because he's focused on trying to apprehend a local crime lord named Professor Ratigan, whom ironically happens to be very Faux Affably Evil, the polar opposite of this trope.
  • In Bambi, The Great Prince of the Forest is a abusive parent by being too aloof towards his son. The 2006 sequel gives him Character Development, turning him into a much more loving father.
  • Quite the literal example from Wreck-It Ralph: while the arcade game characters fulfill "good guy" and "bad guy" roles while the game is being played, offscreen their actual personalities greatly vary. Many "bad guys" are nice, gentle people while various "good guys" or "innocent bystanders" are mean, condescending and/or Innocently Insensitive (Felix...). Or in the case of Turbo, who was the main protagonist of his game, psychotic, attention-obsessed, spiteful, murderous and insane.
  • God in The Prince of Egypt. See the Religion and Mythology section.
  • Shifu in Kung Fu Panda is unquestionably on the side of good, but is irritable, harsh to his students and insulting towards Po.
  • Chief Bogo in Zootopia is blunt about his (often negative) opinions, has disdain for niceties, is easily annoyed, appears somewhat prejudiced against small animals at first, and is a stubborn stickler for procedure. Yet, he's one of the most consistently honest characters in the movie, willing to accept he was wrong after being shown proof, and the Token Good Teammate among the city's major authority figures.

  • The Man with No Name from the Dollars Trilogy is a classic example of this trope.
  • Ace Ventura is a send-up of this sort of character, whether intentionally or otherwise. He talks out of his backside, is inherently immature and even sociopathic, but losing someone he was trying to save drives him into seclusion in a monastery. Said someone was a raccoon...
  • Hancock starts off like this. He goes out of his way to help people in need and stop criminals, and he also doesn't commit murder, with one possible exception right near the end of the movie. He's also an alcoholic with a short temper who isn't afraid to use his powers to intimidate people he doesn't like.
  • From the first Prophecy movie, regarding biblically correct angels:
    "Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?"
    "I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on in your existence is never understanding why."
  • Bernie La Plante played by Dustin Hoffman in Accidental Hero. La Plante is an unscrupulous thief who nevertheless can't help but do good deeds like rescuing people from a crashed airliner.
  • A major theme of the Dirty Harry series, where the title character is portrayed as frequently doing cruel but justified things. Summed up with a remark he made after punching someone in the face to make it easier to stop him from committing suicide.
    "Now you know why they call me Dirty Harry. Every dirty job that comes along..."
  • A theme of the Star Wars series. More general examples include the strict Jedi code and the lengths the well-intentioned pro-republic characters are willing to go to in order to keep the galaxy together. (For example, an army of clones whose genetics are modified to make them obedient, as a means of crushing the separatists, was created, and Mace and Yoda didn't object at Palpatine's announcement of this.) In addition, in the novelization for Episode III, Kenobi and Yoda make quite clear they have nothing against sacrificing anyone, including each other, if it would end the war a day earlier.
  • Lean on Me portrays Joe Clark as on several occasions being willing to do the right thing when the right thing isn't exactly nice. He expels hundreds of "troublemakers" at a time to improve the school for the better students, orders the school's doors "chained and locked" on being told that someone from inside the school let an expelled student into the school building, and fires a teacher for picking up trash during the school song for which everyone was told not to move.
    I cried "my God, why has thou forsaken me?" and the Lord said "Joe, you're no damn good. No, I mean this! More than you realize, you're no earthly good at all unless you take this opportunity and do whatever you have to." And he didn't say "Joe, be polite."
  • The titular Batman from the 1989 film definitely qualifies.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers (2012), with only Captain America as the exception. Tony Stark is an arrogant, conceited Jerk Ass with problems with authority, but his goal is to make up for his past failures. The Hulk is a raging monster who cannot tell friend from foe during his temper tantrums, but just because he doesn't like you doesn't mean he won't protect you. Thor still has shades of being a Boisterous Bruiser who smashes first and asks questions later, but he follows his heart and demonstrates Undying Loyalty to his family, friends, and to Earth itself. Hawkeye and Black Widow are agents (and former criminals) who won't hesitate to do what needs to be done. Also, Black Widow is duplicitous and very rarely shows anything real about herself. That doesn't stop the two of them from being loyal to each other and to their comrades. And Nick Fury, who employs every single dirty trick to meet his ends. Fortunately, his ends are preserving worldwide freedom.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy. Their members are Star-Lord (womanising, cocky thief), Rocket (a bad-tempered thug raccoon who spends his spare time making bombs to blow up moons), Gamora (a cold-blooded assassin raised by Thanos, of all people) and Drax the Destroyer (who gets introduced trying to kill someone in prison, and seems genuinely surprised being a hero means you can't kill people for annoying you). What a bunch of a-holes. They do have their own exception, though, in Groot (though even he's perfectly willing to impale bad guys and smile about it). And they do save the galaxy, when they have to.
  • John Rambo. He may be on the good guys side, but the mountain of corpses and Ludicrous Gibs he leaves in his wake proves he's not exactly the nicest guy around.
  • While Thorin in The Hobbit is unmistakably one of the protagonists, he can often be incredibly stubborn, proud, harsh, and quick to criticize, as well as discriminating against all things elvish. Well, he is the stereotypical Dwarf.
  • Gamera: Gamera is the Friend to All Children and a walking, turtle-shaped natural disaster to everyone else.
  • Chuck Hansen in Pacific Rim. The Australian may be doing everything in his power to protect and save humanity from the Kaiju, but don't expect him not to insult or sneer at the people around him, especially if he believes they're incompetent or just not worth his time. The only person he's truly nice to is his English bulldog, Max.
  • Action Hero Snow in Lockout is snide, sarcastic, and deeply cynical throughout the movie. He's also constantly rude to the woman he's trying to save, including cutting her hair against her will and punching her to make her pass for a male prisoner.
  • Non-Stop: Air Marshal Marks is definitely the good guy, but he has no qualms about roughing up suspects, which does little to endear him to anyone. The crew can barely tolerate him and the passengers think he's borderline psychotic.
  • Larry Garfield from Other People's Money is almost the Trope Namer:
    Since when do you have to be nice to be right?
  • Merlin from Kingsman: The Secret Service. He comes across like a Jerkass to his students, but he is doing so to keep them in reality and to test them to see if they truly are Kingsmen material.
  • The Axe and Cross of The Last Witch Hunter has been mankind's bulwark against witches for centuries, but it didn't make them nice. They sentence witches without giving them a chance to speak, they are merciless in their prosecution of magic, they keep dark secrets from Kaulder to keep him working for them and they treat their top hunter as little more than a tool.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Mystique is brisker and stricter with the young X-Men than Professor X.

  • Conan the Barbarian. He's a barbarian, reaver, slayer, pirate, and a dozen other "distasteful" things, has nothing but contempt for the ways of civilized men (to the point of slaughtering a courtroom full of people when they asked him to name an accomplice, although he was defending himself, not attacking them, and would not have killed them if they did not rush him with swords drawn), and has lain with almost as many women as he's killed men. But all the women were willing, he takes a firm stand against black magic, destroys cosmic horrors on an almost-daily basis, and eventually becomes arguably the finest king Aquilonia ever had. He is loyal to his friends and accomplices and does not betray them, ever( and you had best not betray him, if you want to live.) He is also open minded, and stands up against prejudice, such as when he is king of Aquilonia, he defends the worshippers of Astura from the more common religion of Mitra worship, despite the worshippers of Astura having a bad reputation(because they tended to be outsiders, sneaky and secretive. Not because they did anything bad.)
  • The Bible: God is not always nice. He knows things humans don't know, and does things that are hard to understand, like killing all the firstborn in Egypt, and killing all of Job's servants. Turning people into pillars of salt when they look back. Then there's that forty day flood.
  • A Brother's Price has the Whistler family. Those in charge are Good Parents, but taking away all privileges (which includes private property) from a disobedient child is decidedly not nice.
  • Arlen Bales, otherwise known as the Warded Man from The Warded Man and sequels.
  • Discworld:
    • Granny Weatherwax is practically the poster girl for this. In fact, it's her catchphrase. She was supposed to be an evil witch, until her "good" sister turned evil in her place. She resents her for that.
    "I'm not saying she's not basically a nice person—" Magrat began.
    "Hah! I am. You'd have to go a long day's journey to find someone basically nastier than Esme," said Nanny Ogg, "and this is me sayin' it. She knows exactly what she is. She was born to be good and she don't like it."
    • It is mentioned that she feels that the distinction between "Right" and "Wrong" is more important than merely "Good" and "Evil". On one occasion in Maskerade she takes some pleasure in stitching up the wounds of a gang of would-be muggers using a handy sewing kit. The experience appears to be have been rather distressing for the patients.
      "Let's do some good."
    • To a degree, many other Discworld witches. Miss Treason intentionally dresses up the evil witch appearance even though most of it is Boffo novelty items, and can only really do her job because people fear her.
    • There's also Sam "This is how you play Lawful Good you morons!" Vimes.
    • Vimes is a pretty definitive one, but what about Vetinari? He's the archetypal Magnificent Bastard, ascended his position with the help of 'a few mysterious murders' and in some of the books comes this close to being an antagonist...but on the other hand, he's turned Ankh-Morpork into a smoothly-running machine with a large and efficient police force and a thriving economy. Nice? Hell, no. Good? Hmm... He also arranged things so when he dies, everything goes to hell. It makes sure he won't be assassinated, but all men are mortal, and Vetinari is a man. On Discworld.
    • Even Carrot qualifies at times, such as when he kills Dr. Cruces in Men at Arms, and upbraids Colon at the end of The Fifth Elephant.
  • Micah E. F. Martin's The Canticle gives us Jonathan Servitor, a merciless inquisitor serving a Corrupt Church that's all humanity has standing between it and the ravenous legions of the dead. Needless to say, sometimes he gets his hands dirty.
  • To some extent, all good guys in Dora Wilk Series are not nice (except for Joshua), but Baal definitely takes the cake. He is on heroes side, but he has no problem with scare tactics, torture or almost-Mind Rape if he believes the other guy to be bad enough to warrant it. Long story short, there is a reason why he's called the Crimson Prince.
  • Flannery O'Connor spawned a quote that often comes up to describe this trope; it is most commonly repeated through the form in which Walker Percy paraphrased it, when she wrote that, "tenderness leads to the gas chamber". It's a rather shocking way of pointing out that trying to be nice without first being good is a fast road to becoming a very dangerous kind of person.
  • The Sword That Speaks, Kheiko, from Phenomena sometimes forces Alk to kill. Serves as one of many Break the Cutie moments for Alk.
  • Jake from Animorphs grows into this over three years of leading a small force of hardened guerrilla fighters, with a serious case of "I Did What I Had to Do."
  • Harry Potter:
    • Severus Snape, while devoted to Dumbledore's cause and atoning for Lily's death is acerbic, strict, and apparently despises Harry, while trying to protect him all the time.
    • Then there is Harry Potter himself, who spares Peter Pettigrew's life only to condemn him to what might be a Fate Worse Than Death at the end of Book 3. "He can go to Azkaban. If anyone deserves that place, he does." In the later books he performs two out of three ''Unforgivable Curses', the Cruciatus and the Imperius - effectively torturing and mind-controlling people. Of course he only did that to people who really, really deserved it, when they hit his Berserk Button.
    • The exact extent to which the Big Good Dumbledore is a Manipulative Bastard is up to debate, but the fact itself is certain.
    • Then there's Sirius Black, who himself used to be a bully to Snape when they where growing up, gave him the nickname "Snivellus" and even attempted to feed him to Remus Lupin while transformed into a werewolf. Even into his thirties, an age when most adults would put behind their childish grudges, he still is quite rude to Snape and calls him Snivellus a few times. Sirius also never misses the opportunity to yell at or bully Kreacher, his House Elf. In the movie adaption of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Kreacher's screen time was cut quite a bit but we do get to see Sirius' outburst of shouting "Kreacher! That's enough of your bile! Away with you!". Given that Kreacher is a two, perhaps three-foot-tall house servant and Sirius is twice his size and a wizard to boot, this scene is a little disturbing. But despite all his flaws (perhaps exacerbated by his twelve years of mind rape in Azkaban and an abusive upbringing), he is still capable of feeling immense affection and loyalty, acts of great bravery and kindness, and is staunchly on the side of the good.
    • In the books, James and Sirius's arrogant attitude to people they dismiss is used to deconstruct this trope, showing what is likely to happen if a person, who is otherwise good, displays Moral Myopia or Moral Dissonance to a few others. Their condescending treatment of their friend Peter Pettigrew, admittedly a Dirty Coward, led the latter to never feel like a true friend but a toady, making him seek out, what Sirius admits, "the biggest bullies of the playground", making him a perfect traitor to Voldemort. Hermione herself points out that House Elfs show loyalty Because You Were Nice to Me, which means that Sirius' treatment of Kreacher, despite not being prejudiced against house-elves and being sympathetic himself, led to his death.
    • Moody, a paranoid Auror who nonetheless brought in Death Eaters alive whenever he could and never stooped as low as Crouch, as noted by Sirius.
    • Though she is a compassionate character, Hermione demonstrates remarkable depths of cold, calculated spite in the sixth book to get back at Ron for going out with Lavender by announcing that she's going to an exclusive Christmas party with Cormac McLaggen, the guy who would've been Gryffindor's Keeper instead of Ron (if she hadn't put a hex on Cormac, which Ron doesn't know). When Lavender and Parvati comment that she really likes her Quidditch players (having already gone out with Viktor Krum, an event that sparked Ron's interest in Hermione), she twists the knife even further by saying she likes really good players (Ron's a decent Keeper, but has next to no self-confidence and falls apart as soon as he makes a mistake). Hermione walks off in triumph, Lavender and Parvati quickly discuss this new development, Ron just stares at nothing, and Harry...
    Harry was left to ponder in silence the depths to which girls would sink to get revenge.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series, the narrator points out that many who haven't been to Narnia don't believe something can be terrible and wonderful at the same time. They are wrong. We are repeatedly warned that Aslan "is not a tame lion." As the beavers tell us in the first book, he's "good", but not "safe." There is this encounter, from The Silver Chair, in which Jill Pole, a girl from our world, encounters Aslan without knowing anything about him except that he's a very large talking lion:
    "Do you eat girls?" she said.
    "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.
  • Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and Sir Thomas Bertram from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Both are principled and responsible, but also stiff and distant. Darcy goes beyond "stiff" to "plain rude" once: when first seeing Elizabeth, Darcy says within her hearing, "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men." Ouch.
  • Aaron from Pocket in the Sea gives his best friend a roughing up and, it is suggested, a concussion to prevent him from asphyxiating himself.
  • Nicholas van Rijn from Poul Anderson's Polesotechnic League stories is a greedy, sloppy, cynical, womanizing corporate executive. He also constantly saves his employees from death and disaster, often with an elaborate Batman Gambit that involves using evolutionary psychology to psychoanalyze whatever alien race is giving their interstellar trading company trouble. He is also merciful towards his enemies and tries to create win-win situations for them.
  • Sherlock Holmes was often arrogant, self-absorbed, callous, and rude; subject to many theories about Asperger's Syndrome and bipolarism.
  • The Night Watch.
    • The main character Anton embodies this trope to a T. Especially during that section of the first book where all bets are off.
  • Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time has quite a bit of this. Rand al'Thor, and to a lesser degree Perrin Aybara, want to be good and nice, but end up growing more bitter and reclusive as the series progresses. And then there are all the jerkass women, who are "good" only because they oppose the Dark One. There are also the Aiel, who oppose the Dark One, to their last breath, but have a massive superiority complex over all Wetlanders. In later books a few of the characters get annoyed with their attitudes but say nothing because they need them for the Last Battle.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen verse by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont has many good-guy characters who are very disillusioned and grumpy. In fact, most of them are either this or wangsty, or both.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, the angel (or hallucination) that appears to Larkins inspires him to carry out his mission alone, despite his terror, but that includes prying out him the truth of his panic-stricken flight and demanding that he carry it out.
  • Richard of the Sword of Truth books. Pick a book, especially a later book. He is 'good,' but has a nasty habit of killing people who disagree with him
    • The other heroes are worse. Richard will only kill you. Cara will torture you first. As for Kahlan...
    (after Verna orders an assassin who just killed one of their friends to be tortured by Cara)
    assassin: "Mother Confessor! If you're so good as you claim, then show me mercy!"
    Kahlan: "But I have, I am allowing you to suffer the sentence Verna has named, and not the one I would impose."
    general: "The others we captured?"
    Kahlan: "Cut their throats."
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Frodo tells Gollum that he must obey him, because if not, Frodo will put on the Ring, and order Gollum to jump off a cliff or the like. This astounds Sam, who had always assumed that Frodo's goodness made him soft, and reduces Gollum to whimpering terror.
    • Gandalf fits this trope perfectly, enough that it's alluded to be a general stereotype of wizards. He has quite a temper, he hates explaining himself, and he's also something of a Deadpan Snarker. But he's also the Big Good.
    Gandalf: "Dangerous! And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord!"
    • Aragorn fits this trope too, especially when he appears for the first time, berating Frodo and getting him scared. As he puts it himself, 'I look foul and feel fair'.
    • Also Denethor, who is willing to sacrifice anything for Gondor, although this depends on how "good" you consider him to be.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Fingolfin fits the bill and Feanor seemed to. But he went pretty Ax-Crazy there after awhile.
  • Roland from The Dark Tower series. He desires to be kind, and whenever he has an opportunity he demonstrates it. But he always ends up in situations where he must hurt, even sacrifice those he loves for the sake of his mission. It bothers him.
  • Stated fairly well in The Dresden Files, when Charity is dressing Harry's cut even though she dislikes him.
    "I hear they make antiseptics that don't hurt these days. Charity used iodine."
    • And Harry himself, at times.
      Harry: People like you always mistake compassion for weakness. Michael and Sanya aren't weak. Fortunately for you, they are good men. Unfortunately for you, I'm not.
      • Even demonstrated by the Knights themselves in the same scene. When Harry leaves the room, the Knights are standing calmly in the hall, knowing full well what Harry was doing and choosing not to intervene. After all, they aren't out to judge or punish someone for taking a baseball bat to an evil bastard's knees. And they take gleeful delight in the look on the man's face when he realized what Harry was about to do, as well as Harry's parting shot: he left the man a quarter to call for an ambulance, assuming he dragged himself across the parking lot to a payphone.
      Sanya: Payphones cost more than a quarter these days, Harry.
      Harry: I know.
    • Ebenezar McCoy, who once pulled a decommissioned Soviet satellite out of orbit to punish a vampire duke who tried to cheat in a duel against Harry.
    • And in Changes, during the attack on Chichen Itza, Ebenezar kills two hundred enemy gunmen with a few gestures of his staff. He is the Blackstaff, who has an unique license to kill and use Black Magic in defense of the Council, after all.
    • Morgan is not nice, or even going after the right person. However, he's loyal to a fault and his motives are most definitely Lawful Good.
    • Mab, and the Winter Court in general. Normally, with The Fair Folk, Summer (Seelie) fae are seen as the 'good guys' and Winter (Unseelie) are the 'bad guys.' However, Blue and Orange Morality means sometimes nice isn't good. On the other hand, Winter are downright scary, and more likely to make threats and send things to eat your head over some offense. However, most of the fae who are on the hero's side are Winter, and in the most recent book, Mab's Training from Hell makes Harry a lot more badass (yes, there are things out there that require Harry to be even more badass than usual. Run.) and it turns out that Winter protects the human world from The Outsiders.
    • Michael Carpenter is a genuine Nice Guy and devoted family man but whenever his family is threatened he's not afraid to go in a dark place to make whomever threatened his family pay. And it's enough to unnerve even Harry Dresden.
  • In the opening chapter of Charles Williams' Descent Into Hell, one of the amateur actresses remarks that nature is "terribly good". Playwright Peter Stanhope breaks in with "You do mean terribly?", and later notes that "The substantive contains the adjective, not vice versa. The good contains terror, not terror good." This leads into the next chapter where Pauline encounters the doppelganger, which proves to be indeed "terribly good".
  • The main character in Brian Stableford's Hooded Swan novels is practically a pacifist who abhors violence and will almost always step up to do something heroic if he's called upon, including sacrificing his own life if it saves others, but he's abrasive and sarcastic, doesn't get along with anybody and either resents, insults or condescends to people trying to be friends to him, including the alien symbiote inside his mind. He even seems blind to his own heroic nature, the first person narrative is full of rationalizations of why he's no hero.
  • In T.H. White's The Once and Future King, Sir Galahad is detested by most of the knights he comes into contact with, because he is far too good to be merely polite.
  • The Baroness in Thackeray's The Virginians remarks: "...Let me tell you, sir, that angels are sometimes not very commodes à vivre. It may be they are too good to live with us sinners, and the air down below here don't agree with them."
  • Circle of Magic:
    • Tris. It's even lampshaded by her student in Shatterglass, which makes her blush. Aw.
    • Dedicate Initiate Crane. He's a Jerk Ass to everyone, even the people he speaks reasonably politely to. He kicks hard-working, earnest helpers out of his laboratory for so much as having a loose thread on their clothes. (The reasoning was justified, in that they were working with the pure essences of an incredibly virulent and thus far incurable disease. The manner in which he dismisses them, however, was not.) He automatically believes the worst of everyone, even his university friend Rosethorn. And yet he has, on more than one occasion, worked himself almost to the point of collapsing from exhaustion in an effort to find the cure for a plague and save people from dying.
  • In the Tortall Universe (also by Tamora Pierce), this is frequently explored.
  • Bernabus, Drust and later Grubbs from The Demonata series love this trope.
  • After undergoing some major Character Development, Scorpio from the later Revelation Space novels is one of the more altruistic characters, but he's definitely not someone you should piss off.
  • In the Left Behind series, God goes all out with His judgments during the Tribulation in order to bring as many people to salvation as possible before sending Jesus to finish off the hardened moral rebels which comprise the bulk of the Global Community army sided with the Antichrist as well as those who didn't accept Him as savior. However, this is not to say that God enjoyed doing this.
  • Wedge Antilles is said to have cold-space lubricants for blood. He will take aside and verbally tear his subordinates apart if, say, they're too cocky or they've done something wrong. One of them who was called out at length for folding up whenever he's given any responsibility says "Every time I hear one of your 'motivational speeches' I want to beat you to death." Despite that, Wedge is a Reasonable Authority Figure of the highest caliber. Gain his trust, prove that you've learned and changed, and he will back you to hell and back. To people who haven't just screwed up, he can be very kind and understanding - but he can also be very cruel if someone steps out of line and endangers the squadron, the mission, or civilians. And if you diss a late friend and comrade of his out of Fantastic Racism...
  • Ii-chan, the main character of NISIOISIN's Zaregoto novels, fits this trope to a tee.
  • Allanon of Terry Brooks's Shannara series is manipulative, shadowy and secretive. He frequently resorts to threats and bullying, is perhaps the king of Figure It Out Yourself, and uses people like sock puppets. He's also seven feet tall, sports a Black Cloak, and is mistrusted by the vast majority of those who meet him. He's the Big Good.
  • Quite a few characters in Honor Harrington fit this to a T, particularly the title character, a naval officer who is a skilled marskman, expert tactician, and unbelievably dangerous in hand-to-hand combat.
    • Another noteworthy example is the President of Haven in the later books. One of her cabinet members is tampering with the official communications between their government and Manticore, hoping to game the situation so that he can take power when the current leader falls out of favor. He comes to the startling realization that he's been running with the Idiot Ball after she declares war on Manticore instead of bending over backwards to avoid it. He particularly should have seen that coming considering that she started her political career as a cell leader in a violent left-wing revolutionary organization in the Legislaturalist days, and says so in a mental comment to himself when she does blow up.
    • Stated succinctly by Aivars Terekhov when he comes with a task force to the rescue of a planet rebelling against a dictatorial government, combined with a dose of Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. The people he's addressing have several seconds to contemplate his message before the building they're in is vaporized from orbit.
    "Why is it that people like you always think you're more ruthless than people like me?"
  • The good guys (if you can find them) in A Song of Ice and Fire, being feudal lords of a war-torn kingdom, generally fall here. The nicest of the main characters are the various members of the Stark family, who are kind enough to personally execute criminals rather than keep an executioner on staff.
    • Stannis is also an example of this, at least at first.
  • Herald Alberich of Heralds of Valdemar. His successor Kerowyn has a bit of it going on, too.
    • Alberich is more in the mode of Drill Sergeant Nasty (having been an officer in the army of Valdemar's enemy Karse before gaining a Companion), as is Kerowyn (who was a mercenary). They're among the few Heralds who had prior military experience before gaining Companions, and it shows.
  • The In Death series: Eve Dallas is good, but she is not nice. Roarke seems nicer... until you get on his bad side.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The Sisterhood/Vigilantes. Each member did start out as nice, but the minute they form this group is the minute they dive into this trope. Reason 6 is certainly a factor for this, although reason 2 may possibly apply as well. The first 7 books are all about them getting Revenge on the people who wronged them. The last 13 books are all about trying to get back to their normal, everyday lives. Unfortunately, this trope gets cranked Up to 11 so much that some of the villains actually become Unintentionally Sympathetic!
  • From The Laundry Files by Charles Stross, we get Angleton, head of the Counter-Possession branch and protagonist Bob's sometimes-boss (matrix management at work). He takes a personal interest in Bob's career, makes sure he's given the best of care when he needs it, and is inhumanly effective at managing the titular occult intelligence agency to protect civilians from the Cthulhoid horrors lurking around the edges of reality. He's also scary as hell and has been known to very ruthlessly deal with anyone who tries a boardroom coup. Angleton is eventually revealed to be an Eater of Souls who was indoctrinated to pass for human in the 1930s; given the ramshackle nature of the spells that were supposed to hold him in place, Bob is sure that he's here as The Fettered voluntarily, and sides with humanity against other super entities of his own accord.
  • In Derek Robinson's WWII novel Piece of Cake, the Ensemble Dark Horse is Moggy Cattermole, an Ace Pilot who has no qualms about shooting down enemy Red Cross planes, or strafing German air crews in rubber dinghies, or bullying his fellow pilots...But he's still one of the good guys.
  • Made very clear in the Young Wizards series, especially in A Wizard Abroad. The Powers and their tools might be good (except for those like the Lone Power which gets complicated) but that in no way means that they're safe.
  • Discussed by British statesman Lord Chesterfield in Letters to His Son #98, contrasting Cato the younger (who had this reputation) with Affably Evil Julius Caesar.
  • In The Secret of Platform 13, the northern part of the Island is inhabited by harpies, hags, hellhounds and other creatures who, while not evil, are naturally unpleasant to other kinds of people. They actually serve as the Island's police force; apparently they don't need a jail, since spending a bit of time alone with these folks with reform anybody.
    • The narration also notes that Nanny Brown "wasn't a particularly nice woman, but she loved babies," and seems to have done a good job raising Ben.
  • In The Balanced Sword, how Khoros operates. He misdirects and uses everyone mercilessly. Though he usually is courteous.
  • Justin Oliver from Heroics, a teenaged superhero who does legitimately want to help people but is also extremely prejudicial and rude to pretty much everyone.
  • In Piers Anthony's Xanth series, the "Good" Magician Humphrey is usually rude to people who come to him for Answers (his specialty). He sets three challenges to slow down all but the most dedicated ones and then charges a year of service (or an equivalent Magic item) per Answer.
  • Hoyt McCoy from The Prophet of Yonwood.
    Hoyt: I am not particularly neat or clean; I am certainly not what anyone would call normal. But I am as good as anyone else.
  • The Shadow counts. He may fight crime...but don't expect him to win any Citizen of the Year Awards due to his nasty and downright frightening demeanor.
  • Jayfeather from Warrior Cats may be one of the most important heroes in the third and fourth story arcs, but his temper is notoriously short.
    Bumblestripe: [shrugs] He snapped at Hazeltail for getting in the way, hissed at Cherrypaw for trampling on Ferncloud's moss, and ordered Foxleap and Toadstep to fetch comfrey. So I guess he's okay.
  • The Hunger Games: Being on Katniss's side doesn't stop Johanna Mason from being rude, insulting, and harsh.
  • Troll prince Tristan in Malediction Trilogy. He is a decent guy who wants all the best for his subjects and he is willing to stay imprisoned in order to protect the whole humankind from the evil that he perceives other trolls to be - but at the same time he is perfectly willing to kill his father and younger brother, if it is necessary to achieve the said goals.
  • Karyl of The Dinosaur Lords, while certainly willing to help and a good and responsible commander, has no qualms against letting people brutally lynch a knight who's been raiding their towns.
  • Gabriel from the Samaria series, specifically Archangel and Angel-Seeker. You won't find a more honorable or compassionate man on Samaria, and he has a very clear understanding of right and wrong. But he's not a friendly man, and he really doesn't take anyone else's opinions into account; when he gives a command, he expects it to be obeyed, and he expects the god Jovah's commands to be obeyed without question as well. This is why Jovah chooses the indomitable Rachel as his wife, since she won't put up with him ordering her around and can deliver him a much-needed lesson in humility. It's also why Jovah chooses him as Archangel in the first place; no lesser man would be able to force the Jansai to end the practice of slavery on Samaria.
  • Nikita of The Girl from the Miracles District. She's a Hitman with a Heart who cares about her friends and even random strangers at times, but is nonetheless perfectly capable of beating somebody past the point where it's reasonable or crucifying a guy on his wall.
  • In Victoria, protagonist John Rumford is incorruptible and completely loyal to the good cause, but not always the most friendly or socially smooth person in the setting. And he can be more than a little brutal on the bad guys, too.
  • Villains by Necessity: There's Mizzamir, who let's face it, is pretending to be a hero, even if he won't admit it to himself. There's several other "good" characters who indulge in some less savory practices. Among the members of a "good" adventuring party were a woman who quite clearly wouldn't have taken "no" for an answer from Sam, while Fenwick tried to date-rape Kaylana, having dosed her drink with aphrodisiacs.
  • Jules De Grandin is a decorated WWI veteran, police detective and surgeon as well as an occult investigator, who's normally a kind if rascally gentleman. However, when he gets a cold glint in his eye, the forces of evil beware!! In the short story "The Brain-Thief", Jules de Grandin had already chopped off the hand of the East Indian hypnotist (this is justified as the villain was about to shoot a cop). He then grabs the helpless villain and executes him by shoving his face into a hot stove. In the "The Wolf of St.Bonnot", an annoying woman interrupted a dangerous seance that de Grandin had to hold and so Jules threatened to kill her with a knife that he earlier used to kill an ectoplasmic werewolf spirit.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: Jack Bauer only has the security of the United States in mind but he didn't get to name his own trope by cordially asking his captives to reveal their secrets.
  • Captain Dylan Hunt of the Andromeda Ascendant. Perfectly nice and agreeable guy and eternal optimist. He is also a seasoned military officer who has started a war, destroyed thousands of ships in one fell swoop, and if you screw him over, he will drag you down with him and let you experience the results first hand. "Right now, my bad day is your bad day, enjoy the view."
  • Spike in Angel. During a brief stint at Angel's old job of helping the helpless, he stops a vampire from killing a woman. He then proceeds to insult the crap out of her for being dumb enough to be walking down a dark alley dressed the way she is.
    • Hell, Angel himself was this trope from the beginning, especially as he got "older". A Retired Monster who preferred to solve problems with non-violent tactics, he was also accepting of the fact that, sometimes, a lot of people must die before positive change will happen.
    • This has been one of Wesley's defining characteristics since his early days on Buffy, although it becomes even more noticeable after he takes a few levels in badass. When things are quiet, he can be perfectly amiable, but when there's something bigger at stake, he's more interested in getting results than being nice. Long-term solutions are much more important to Wesley than short-term politeness.
      • A prime example is the second season episode "Untouched", where Team Angel is attempting to help Bethany, a young woman who has telepathic powers she can't seem to control. Angel and Cordelia are both very gentle with Bethany, doing their best to help her keep calm and to make sure she feels safe with them. Wesley, on the other hand, after figuring out that her powers were the result of intense psychic trauma from her childhood, intentionally provokes her by mentioning the person who hurt her. She's extremely upset by it, and Angel and Cordelia both berate Wesley for being so harsh, but Angel later admits that it was a useful thing for them to know, because it allowed them to help Bethany in the long run.
    • This Kirk Summation gone bad, from "Conviction":
      Hauser: You, your friends; you're conflicted, you're confused. And that's why you're gonna lose. Because we possess the strongest thing in the world: conviction.
      Angel: There is one thing stronger than conviction. One thing. Mercy. [kicks Hauser's shotgun, making him blow his own head off]
      Mook: What happened to mercy?!
      Angel: You just saw the last of it.
  • And following this pattern, Dr. Reid Oliver from As the World Turns. There's a reason why his Fandom Nickname was Dr. House.
  • Saul Tigh of Battlestar Galactica is an unfriendly, grumpy bastard with an alcohol addiction and is the first to call out for the execution of a Cylon. He's also Lawful Good, fiercely loyal to his best friend and superior Bill Adama and is not afraid to sacrifice himself if necessary.
    • Doc Cottle is a gruff old man who mouths off to people and absolutely refuses to put out his cigarette even when patients request it, but he's a good surgeon who takes his job very seriously regardless of who the patient is. He also has no problem pulling rank over both Admiral Adama and President Roslin when they're doing something needlessly risky that just happens to be a medical issue.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon. He is technically one of the good guys, but is also insufferable, demanding, narcissistic, condescending, and hated by almost everyone who knows him.
  • Temperance Brennan in Bones is brilliant but arrogant and insensitive. She has dedicated herself to catching murderers, and spends her days dissecting and analyzing corpses. She has developed a matter of fact attitude towards death and decay, and often forgets that not everyone shares her calm, professional view. As a result, she thinks nothing of thoughtlessly spewing the graphic details of a murder to grieving loved ones, or showing gory images to a class of young children.
  • Hank Schrader from Breaking Bad. He's a wisecracking jerk, but also an exceptional agent who deals with extremely dangerous criminals.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Cordelia Chase on Buffy (and to a lesser degree on Angel) is selfish, abrasive, and, when not being intentionally rude, is still staggeringly tactless. On the other hand, when it comes to fighting the bad guys, she's as brave as anyone else, loyal, and brutally honest.
    • Also, Giles. Despite how he acted in the first few seasons, he's often one of the most sarcastic and foul-mouthed people on the show (never picked up on by most due to him using mostly British swears). Plus, he'll kill humans if he must, an opinion only shared by him until Season 8, as seen when he smothers Ben, the human host the of the Hellgoddess to death with a handkerchief in order to permanently destroy her.
    • Faith before her Face–Heel Turn.
    • Wishverse Buffy certainly wasn't nice, or even helpful, for that matter, instead expecting people to point her in the direction of what needs killing.
  • Michael Westen of Burn Notice. Always fights for the good guys, the underdog, those with no other place to go — and he and his cohorts have been damned ruthless while doing so, including Sam Axe shooting a pistol into the ground as he listens to a rather hysterical stand-off between two Bad Guys of the Week. The next sounds you hear are some fatal gunshots. In case you felt bad for them, they kidnapped a kid and were going to kill him.
  • Mark Fallon on the Castle episodes "Setup" and "Countdown". He is a Homeland Security agent assigned to help track down a bomb. He is an extremely dour sort but he is dedicated to his job and does it well. His dourness as it turns out comes from the fact that his wife was killed on 9-11.
  • Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson in The Closer will fight for her people and for the victims of crime, but will run rough-shod over anyone and everyone (including her husband the FBI agent) to solve her case. In one notable episode she was after this rich young punk who has fled to Mexico after raping and killing his family's Mexican maid. Brenda threatens to charge his mother with aiding and abetting his escape unless he explained the entire thing to her. He cheerfully does so and then arrogantly tells Brenda she can't touch him. Brenda agrees that this is true, but then she points out that he is in a Mexican police station with two Mexican police officers who understand English standing behind him and he just confessed to raping and murdering a Mexican girl. They promptly arrest him for the rape and murder and drag him away to a life sentence in Mexican prison, stated to be far worse for him than the similar sentence in US prison. Even Brenda acknowledges that she may have gone a little too far to close this case.
    • Several later seasons revolve around one case in which Johnson released a suspect who she could not convict, after making his gangster friends believe that he had sold them out. They murder him. Brenda knew that would happen, and a wrongful death lawsuit nearly cripples her unit over the next season.
  • Det. Scotty Valens from Cold Case would certainly justify. Although he was originally rougher in the earlier episodes, he still had plenty of Jerk Ass tendencies about him, such as having a Hair-Trigger Temper, not being afraid of resorting to violence when called for it, being confrontational with suspects—even the innocent ones—and mocking of some victims and their loved ones (one episode even had him snickering at the mere thought of a dead, overweight cold case victim being involved with a handsome man who had recently committed suicide over her).
    • Det. Nick Vera on occasion, as well. Aside from also not being above using violence towards/bullying suspects and witnesses alike, he also becomes involved with some of the "hotter" female suspects (in spite of how unethical it is), cheats on his wife on numerous (who then leaves him midway through season 3) and comes off for the most part as a boorish, borderline misogynistic Jerk Ass who at one point wrote off a bunch of hearing-impaired students who were using sign language to communicate as "fighting" with each other and gossiping about him. Even the events of "Flashover" in which a man he wrongfully accused of murdering his children is later killed in prison that causes him to go into a downward spiral comes off as Laser-Guided Karma rather then paint him in any sympathetic type of light.
  • Dexter: Sergeant James Doakes is an anti-social Jerk Ass with a penchant for violence, but a damn fine cop and a good person at the end of the day.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor is often sharp and blunt with people, and has been known to rub people the wrong way at times. When the Abzorbaloff in "Love & Monsters" accuses the Doctor of being "sweet" and "passionate", the Doctor agrees. However, he also adds "...don't ever mistake that for nice". (However, this rebuttal was somewhat part of a bluff.) The Doctor doesn't entirely fit this mold all the time, but he has been known to, especially in his first, sixth, ninth and twelfth incarnations.
    • The Fourth Doctor also had some very "alien" moments, like showing no emotion over the death of an Innocent Bystander. (Though by no means the norm for him, there was still a large gap between himself and his previous, more "human" incarnations.) Robert Holmes's primary concept for him was "Olympian detachment", which he contrasted heavily with the villains in his era (most of them being completely overinvested in minutiae, and hopeless at controlling their emotions).
    • The Seventh Doctor and Ace were a Brains and Brawn duo of this. Unlike a lot of the Doctors, who stumbled into trouble without even trying, Seven and Ace actively sought out corrupt governments, power-crazed entities, and other threats to try and topple. Sure, they got the job done and sent the bad guys packing, but Seven could be incredibly tactless and psychologically brutal, playing everyone like pawns in a game of Xanatos Speed Chess while Ace veered into Psycho Sidekick traits like an unhealthy love of explosives, car theft, and clobbering a Dalek to death for calling her "small."
    • Adam, then a new companion of the Ninth Doctor's, winds up in a future news station and gets tempted at the prospect of using future knowledge in his relative present to make money. This indirectly endangers the Doctor, who nonetheless escapes unharmed. The Doctor's punishment? Taking Adam back to the present with a future device in his head that opens panels to his brain whenever someone snaps their fingers. He tells Adam, a child genius who's seen the future first-hand, that if he wants to escape being dissected by the government for his future tech, he has to live a dull life.
    • The Tenth Doctor also fits the bill. Although he's often cheerful, gregarious and friendly, he's equally often arrogant, dismissive and downright ruthless. It wasn't as obvious in his first season, but after the loss of Rose, this trait kept popping up more and more frequently. He showed signs of mellowing out a bit by the time Donna came around, but after having to wipe Donna's memory of their time together, he starts skirting into Moral Event Horizon territory, particularly in "The Waters of Mars". The Family of Blood have a few things to say about him, too. When he tried to run and hide from them, they thought he was a coward to be hunted down. Turns out, he was being kind. What he does to them when he finally decides to fight back is pure And I Must Scream.
    • Eleven: Utterly Adorkable, and possibly the scariest Doctor yet when you hit his Berserk Button.
    Madam Kovarian: The anger of a good man is not a problem: good men have too many rules.
    The Doctor: Good men don't need rules. Today's not the day to find out why I have so many.
    • Twelve is so much this trope crossed with Pragmatic Hero that his character arc in Series 8 has him questioning whether he's actually good at all. The answer is that he's an "idiot" who's always learning and helps out whenever he can. Ultimately, the moral decisions should be left up to the people he's helping. To quote from "Flatline", his companion's A Day in the Limelight episode in which she has to take over his duties and does too good a job, "You were an exceptional Doctor, Clara. Goodness had nothing to do with it." His Arch-Enemy is the Faux Affably Evil Missy, who acts nice but is not good. While he softens over the course of his Myth Arc and comes to an understanding of his inner kindness and nobility, he's always a tough cookie, and his Final Speech before he regenerates, addressed to his next self, advises them to "Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind" — summing up this trope in a nutshell.
    • The Time Lords. Despite being the "most powerful and mighty race in the universe" and ostensibly the Big Good by default, Time Lords encountered over the course of the classic series tended to be rude, condescending, and incredibly corrupt, having been born into a society that had grown so decadent and stagnant over millions of years that the Doctor claimed it was one of the reasons he left. In the revival series, they come to avert this trope as they are regarded by the rest of the universe as no better than the Daleks thanks to their actions in the Last Great Time War; while there are genuinely good people in their ranks, the most powerful ones are shown as being responsible for truly despicable deeds in "The End of Time" and "Heaven Sent" and "Hell Bent".
  • The Fist Team from Double The Fist are here to help. They want the world to be more activate and powerful, and helped save the woodland from loggers once. However, they have also murdered a number of innocent people, destroyed a lot of public property, and eventually conquered the world. Their hearts are in the right place... Well, Mephisto may enjoy his work a bit too much.
  • Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly. If his damn conscience didn't keep dragging him towards good and let him get on with his life as an amoral rogue, he'd have singlehandedly won the War of Alliance Aggression. (At least, that's the way he sees it nowadays.)
  • Game of Thrones:
    • When Sandor Clegane accuses her of being too soft for wanting to spare the peddler they just robbed, Arya beats the recovering man unconscious again.
    • While having very compassionate side, Brienne demonstrates this when she kills a rapist northman with a vindictive Groin Attack.
    • Although Jon Snow is a Nice Guy and compassionate, he has his moments of this. He shows up his lowborn fellow recruits with his superior combat skills until Tyrion sets him straight by pointing out Jon's privileged upbringing to him, which makes Jon realize how rough the other recruits had it, resulting in Jon teaching them how to fight properly and bonding them as friends. In season 3, the wildling warg Orell fights with Jon in a battle to the death after Jon refuses to kill an old man. During this battle to the death, Jon kills Orell while telling Orell that he was right about him all along: he has always been loyal to the Night's Watch. He can also be somewhat brooding.
    • After her attempted hostage exchange fails in an attempt to save her son and her son is murdered in front of her, Catelyn Stark slits her captive's throat as she said she would.
  • As much as Dr. House wants everyone to think he only does it for the puzzle, many episodes show in his behavior that he does genuinely care, and has on several occasions put himself in harm's way to save the patient's life. Sure, he may say he doesn't really care about people, but, well... everybody lies. In spite of his genuine goodness, however, he regards everybody else he meets as an idiot, and tells them as much to their face.
  • The Indian Detective: We first see Devo strong-arming a suspect into telling him about a bank robbery. He comes off as prickly at best to begin with, and resents Doug interfering in his jurisdiction. However, he turns out to be an honest cop, unlike his superior, helping Doug and Priya go after Gopel.
  • DS Barbara Havers of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries is without a doubt a truly good character. She's just... not nice. At all. This is thanks to Stepford Snarker tendencies and a complete inability to believe anything but the worst of anyone until she's paired up with the eponymous Inspector Lynley.
  • Jessica Jones does some pretty unpleasant things to get Kilgrave, and is rather rude, sarcastic, and belligerent towards most people.
  • Keisuke Nago follows this trope to the letter in Kamen Rider Kiva, to the point where all five reasons listed in the opening paragraphs that a person could experience this trope apply to him. He eventually mellows out, but it takes half the series to happen.
    • Tsukasa Kadoya is similarly a massive jerk to everyone he meets, though he swiftly softens because he has at least three Morality Pets: Natsumi, Yuusuke, and eventually an alternate universe version of Tackle. It's implied he's so jerkish because he feels resigned to his fate as the Destroyer of Worlds, something everyone except the aforementioned three keep telling him over and over.
    • Tendou Souji is an Insufferable Genius who has no problem showing people how much better he is than all of them. Like Tsukasa though, he has two Morality Pet in his sisters, Juka and Hiyori. His friendship with Kagami also cause him to soften up a little and by the end of the series, it's pretty clear he cares a lot about the people close to him.
    • Roshuo may be the least evil of the Overlords, but his first full appearance has him gruesomely murder a major character, redirect Kill SATs to USA when they fired upon Zawame, and causing Helheim to invade the world en masse. However, he gave said major character a chance to run, gave humanity a chance when confronted, and found the good in someone that The Quisling left in his care after she reminds him of his own Morality Pet that he lost long ago.
  • Elliot Stabler in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit can be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold- but he enforces the law and is on the side of good. Well, he enforces criminal law, but tends to be a bit more flexible with the constitutional rights of defendants, and has a nasty habit of injuring suspects. A good guy to have fighting for your interests, but not the guy you want investigating you if you're innocent. He'll get to the right answer, but it'll be a bumpy ride.
  • On Leverage, Nate is this in spades, being able to manipulate others at will without concern over their well being apart from helping people. This is also true for the rest of the team in many ways, though all of them are more kind than Nate, who is generally seen as a bastard by most. He also has Intelligence Equals Isolation as well.
  • Jacob on Lost. While he may work to good ends, he doesn't seem to care much about what happens to the people he uses along the way to achieve those ends. So much so that for much of the final season fans frequently speculated online that in the end Jacob would turn out to be the evil one and the Man In Black the good one.
  • In Lost In Oz, Bellaridere's soldiers capture Alex and company, and she's essentially blackmailing them to fight the Witch. On the other hand, she does have the best interests of Oz in mind.
  • Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. He catches killers, thieves, and rapists, but he is not nice, frequently pissing off other law enforcement officials just because he can. He'll also embarrass his teammates and blurt out secrets for no real reason. And he never, ever just comes out and says anything relevant if he can set up an elaborate way to trick it out of someone instead. He does have a soft spot for children, but that's it. It's often mentioned that if he wasn't so damn good at what he does, he'd have been fired or possibly killed by now.
  • Parodied on Monk. Monk is so demanding of his dry cleaners that he is charged extra, and eventually banned from the place. Of course the murderer is a more courteous customer. Even after being informed of his deeds, the dry cleaner still thinks the murderer is a better customer than Monk.
  • Gibbs in NCIS is certainly good, and never would be described as nice. He's rarely really mean, but sometimes he is. Reasons 3 and most of 4 apply (we're never given the impression he actually wants to be a nice guy).
  • Summer Roberts from The O.C. can be bitchy, rude, and inconsiderate, but she also saves Christmas when needed.
  • Merrick in Power Rangers Wild Force starts out this way. He fights alongside the others, but he won't join them on their downtime, hangs out in a bar when at least one team member is underage, and actively pushes them away when his personal demon comes back to claim him. He mellows as the season goes on, and by a few episodes before the end he's describing them as his friends.
  • Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters, which follows fugitive recovery agents as they bring in bail jumpers, certainly don't have much sympathy for the guys they're bringing back to the police. Then again, the ones they're chasing after tend to be hardened criminals with records on them.
  • Dr. Cox of Scrubs is willing to risk his career to save a patient's life, but is not an overwhelmingly friendly person and gladly insults a patient who has different opinions than him. Differing opinions, the woman he loves, his favored protégé, complete strangers... Cox is not a nice person, but see his reactions to losing friends and patients.
  • The title character of Sherlock is this in spades. He helps solve crimes, but only because he'd be bored without cases to keep him occupied. He tends to ignore any sort of human element to his cases and has been self-diagnosed as a high-functioning sociopath.
    "I may be on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them."
  • Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis is about as rude, obnoxious, and anti-social as they come, but, despite his vocal cowardliness, he's one of the first to put his life on the line for the greater good, and is capable of truly awesome heroics whenever his internal "Chance of Impending Doom" gauge redlines.
    • Also, there's Ronon Dex, who can be outright mean, is hard to get to know, and takes a long time for him to warm up to you enough to trust you as a friend. But when that time comes, he's a fierce fighter.
    • To a lesser extent, O'Neill of Stargate SG-1. He's clearly far more comfortable with kicking evildoers' asses than making friends. That's what Daniel was for.
  • Captain Jonathan Archer in season 3 of Star Trek: Enterprise. The entirety of season 3 is an arc in which the crew of the Enterprise must go on a mission to stop aliens who intend to destroy the Earth. Needless to say, Captain Archer takes his responsibility pretty seriously, and goes to some lengths to ensure his mission is a success. This includes torturing an alien to get information out of him by deoxygenating the room he's in, stealing a vital engine component from an innocent ship to ensure that Enterprise can reach a key alien base in time to save the planet, and also creating a fully conscious clone of one of his crew who is badly injured, so that he can harvest its organs to give to the crew member (although in this last case he agreed to the procedure believing that the clone would survive the transplant and be allowed to die a 'natural' death afterwards, only learning that this was impossible after the clone was created).
  • Every one of the good guys on Supernatural, but Castiel, the angel, deserves special mention. He might work for the greater good, but he and all of the other angels are warriors of God. He's a soldier. The angels aren't there to follow anyone around or perch on anyone's shoulders. Seriously, they're about as far away from Roma Downey as you could possibly get.
    • Sam and Dean, in different ways. Sam can be absolutely ruthless for the greater good and has a nasty streak of anger issues. Dean has no compunctions about forcibly stopping people before they screw things up and spent ten years "studying" under Alastair as a torturer in Hell. He's still got the skills he learned there and has put them to "good" use on occasion, even if he doesn't like that part of himself.
  • Derek Hale of Teen Wolf actually devotes himself to protecting others, but is rarely sociable even to those closest to him and does not maintain the pretense of friendship even with people like Scott and Stiles, who he will readily risk his life to protect. There are times when he seems to want to be more neutrally-aligned, but he invariably goes back to helping people despite himself. His past history serves to explain his desire to keep others at a distance.

  • David Eugene Edwards' lyrics for 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand are heavily inspired by The Bible (see the Religion section, below). Thus, the overwhelming majority of fans find Edwards' portrayal of a supremely good God rather frightening, even though Edwards has insisted that he isn't trying to write "dark" lyrics.
  • David Byrne's song "The Gates of Paradise" is either an example of this or of Knight Templar. It's unclear how sincere the song's narrator is when he sings:
    And the laws of Man are not the laws of Heaven
    and the Angels' breath is like the desert wind
    and terrorists are acting out of love, sweet love
    to bring us home again
  • In the same vein as the David Eugene Edwards example above, Sufjan Stevens often applies this trope to God Himself. "Casimir Pulaski Day" (about a friend's death from cancer) is probably his most direct example:
    All the glory when He took our place,
    but He took my shoulders and He shook my face
    and He takes, and He takes, and He takes.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A fair amount of wrestlers who are fan favorites can definitely come across as this, most especially if they made a Heel–Face Turn. Even though they stopped insulting the fans, they still can be found intimidating referees, picking on interviewers and commentators, trash talking their opponents, and even get into fights with other faces. In short, they're faces who act like heels.
  • A study of his matches reveals that even superface Hulk Hogan would often pull out heel moves or tactics to fight and win, even in his original 80's glory days: he was fond of back rakes (a heel move), and more than once defeated his foe by throwing 'bad powder' into their face.
  • Sting is a face, but kind of a jerk.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. A foul mouthed, beer chugging, asshole who hates his boss and fights for the good guys.
  • Cheerleader Melissa is capable of being nice, but usually is not. She'll usually tease and taunt her peers and all but physically dissect her opponents, going well beyond the means to get a three count, and that how she's been known to treat people she likes and or respects. What she reserves for people she really doesn't like often requires them to be lead out on stretchers and yet she's spent a good deal of her career getting audience approval.
  • Randy Orton. His past times include performing his finisher on women, punting a lot of people in the head hard enough to hospitalize them, and trying to kill John Cena with pyrotechnics during a match. These days, his attitude hasn't changed much, but he's just decided to use his violent tactics on Heels. Hell, in 2011 he punted all of the New Nexus, Chris Jericho, RKO-ed R-Truth into a table twice, kicked Christian in the nuts because he spat in his face, and has a street fight with him on the next episode of WWE SmackDown. Let's remember that a street fight is a no holds barred match that can take place anywhere in the arena, and Randy Orton has actually tried to use fireworks to kill an opponent. And he REALLY doesn't like Christian.
  • When the Bella Twins were faces initially, they'd still pull a Twin Switch to beat their opponents, though they abandoned that when they turned back face. Nikki meanwhile would still be very feisty and aggressive towards her opponents, but would still show loyalty to her teammates - making it clear that she also loves her sister dearly. Brie is the nicer twin of the two in the ring.
  • On NXT, Asuka is a shining example of this trope. A ruthless and dangerous competitor in the ring, about the only nice thing about her is that she fights by the rules and only dishes out punishment during matches. She merely wants to win and, once she has, she calms down.
  • Roman Reigns actually pointed out this trope when Kurt Angle called him out for trying to kill Braun Strowman. As he noted, heroic wrestlers did stuff like that all the time during Kurt's era, and since Braun was a bad guy he did what he had to do. Roman often nudges into this in general in fact. While he's never made a formal heel turn, he's smug, overconfident and often disrespectful to other faces, not to mention the mutual antipathy he has with the fans.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible: God is always good, according to Himself and His prophets (His victims always never get a voice in the Bible), but even they have to admit He isn't always nice. This trope also applies to Jesus, despite how He is perceived in modern times. For example, when the temple had been turned into a literal den of thieves, He started overturning tables and drove out the money changers with a whip, and His public debates with the Pharisees frequently utilized scathing (if not also well-deserved) insults that left His opponents the laughingstock of bystanders.
    • On that note, Traditional Christian Sects (Catholicism, Orthodoxy, some Protestant sects) are all over this trope. Telling your coworker when he asks if you think he is going to hell for rejecting God? That's not nice. But being nice would be lying. Paradoxically these Religions also impose social strictures that require you to put a value on personal dignity in social engagements, (particularly relevant to western civilization would be chivalry), so sometimes it is hard to decide where one should stop being nice in order to do good.
    • There are plenty of examples in the Old Testament where God provides some pretty harsh punishments to the wicked and sometimes the innocent. A good, well known example being the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the last of which involves killing thousands of innocent Egyptian children.
    • There are also times where God also gives His followers hardships in life if it is only to test out their faith in Him, much like what He did to Job. Of course, He will make it better in the end since He has sovereign control over everything in the universe.
    • This could also be applied to His use of death as a tool. Assuming that He has the capacity to judge any soul the moment it dies (Christian canon attests to this), He can call up someone's number whenever He wants, as the Book of Job calls to attention. Under this interpretation, "Let God sort them out" isn't wrong then because God 'can't' sort them out, it's wrong because when a person does that without specific judgement, they're presuming the right to non-defensively kill another- something a human doesn't have.
    • Some methods of preaching can be considered this. While some of it may be encouraging and heartwarming, some of it can be very blunt and reprimanding, especially if it deals with humanity being on a low moral scale. With that, preaching is used to scare others straight into the path of righteousness.
    • Just a number of biblical figures in The Bible are this. There's Samuel chastising King Saul for sparing only King Agag of the Amalekites and their animals, and there's the Book of Psalms which a lot of verses involve David praying that the sinners will be mercilessly punished by God.
  • Angels. When God decided that a city shall be visited by an angel and not a prophet, it's because the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants of that city had continuously committed vile actions, in which case the angel brought utter destruction to them. Should have listened to the nice guy who sided with the poor and the downtrodden... (The first thing most angels say is, "Fear not!" That implies that angels are scary.)
  • Odin in Norse Mythology is quite explicitly a lying, manipulative bastard who does very little for humanity as a whole in the short term. He's also doing all he can to avert the end of the world as long as possible and be as prepared for it as possible if he can't stop it, to the extent that he just doesn't have the time or manpowernote  to deal with lesser matters, like being anywhere near nice.
  • The Gods and Heroes in Greek Mythology. Like Heracles who was the symbol of the typical Greek hero, he's also a Boisterous Bruiser uses is super strength to do what ever he feels like doing, and has slain numerous monsters with his own bare hands, plus he had a lot of affairs with plenty of...people in his run. His father Zeus, the Big Good in Greek Mythology, cheats on his wife Hera, and strikes lightning bolts, or cast curses on people he doesn't like, weather they deserve it or not.

     Tabletop Games  
  • High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy. True, they are the most noble faction in the setting and have saved the world many times in history, but this doesn't change the fact that they're a bunch of arrogant, uppity and haughty bastards who patronise humans, shun their Wood Elf cousins and hate pretty much everyone else.
    • As are the human domains, Empire and Bretonnia. And they are supposed to be good guys.
    • Lizardmen combine this with Blue and Orange Morality. They're continuing the Old One's plan before they up and left, which is to reset the world to the way it was. They're the foremost enemies of Chaos, and many of the targets of their genocides are irredeemably evil creatures like the Skaven. Word of God has compared them to Lawful Neutral.
  • Chaos. The main protagonist civilization or empire, the Revs/Union (depending on time period) really don't deny being bad people who kill, conquer, and convert googolplexes and googolplexes of innocent people on a daily basis, they simply point out that their enemies — the Archons and their servants — kill far more than even that, and are working tirelessly to ensure the destruction of ALL life and existence in ALL multiverses. They need an endlessly vast army to combat this, plain and simple, and however they get it, it's justified because of the alternative. The Revs/Union explicitly carry an allegiance to the cause of cosmic Good, but that doesn't spare from their wrath anyone who has to be destroyed in order that many more may survive and be free.
  • In the table-top RPG In Nomine, many of the angels would fall into this category, most notably the Seraphim, who are blunt as a brick to the head (except when they decide to tie the truth in knots), have egos the size of California, and generally find humans annoying, and the Malakim who are serious hardcore Proud Warrior Race Guys. The only groups of angels that could be considered unequivocally "nice" from a human perspective are the Mercurians.
  • Dungeons & Dragons paladins, especially those who veer towards Knight Templar or the Lawful Stupid end of the scale.
    • In 3.5, the Book of Exalted Deeds directly says that good does not mean nice.
    • Complete Scoundrel introduces a Paladin Prestige Class called Gray Guard that is this trope. The illustration even shows a Gray Guard strangling a necromancer. A Gray Guard is a paladin who fights dirty, and can turn his lay on hands ability into a variant on the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique. Imagine Bryan Mills from Taken with a sword and a not-so-shiny armor.
    • The Always Lawful Good metallic dragons are just as egotistical and arrogant as their Always Chaotic Evil chromatic cousins. All dragons, good or evil, in D&D believe they are the most awesome creatures in existence and boy does it show. They're not exactly wrong.
      • Silver Dragons are a possible exception, as they are mentioned to enjoy spending time disguised among humans unusually much.
    • Even good gods are quite apt to find a tough test for their followers — a textbook example is being sent to find a specific flower in Fire and Brimstone Hell and bring it back. Immortals of Mystara are divided only by Sphere of influence and not Character Alignment, so they have even less obligations on this side.
    • Lathander is one of the most benevolent deities in the Forgotten Realms, but God help you if you're a necromancer.
    • The cake goes to Rafiel — he's a caring guy in his own way, but plays with his Shadow Elf (prototype of drow!) followers The End Justifies The Means hard enough to convince everyone else he's the exemplary case of Light Is Not Good (which is a part of his plan too).
    • There is also Ben-hadar, the ruler of Good-aligned water elementals. His gruff demeanor usually causes him to be perceived as an arrogant, selfish boor, so he has few allies, and most say he truly pushes the limit of what can be called "good". This is emphasized by the fact that he feuds with two other good-aligned elemental lords, Chan and Zaaman Rul (who view him as an isolationist with a repugnant personality) and maintains truces with both the yugoloth lord Cerlic and the Slaad Lord Rennbuu. Still, he opposes evils like Bwimb, who sought to pollute the Elemental Plane of Water, and maintains strong alliances with a few good entities, including Queen Morwel or the eldarin, Deep Sashelas, Eadro, Persana, and the enigmatic Water Lion.
  • The Salamanders chapter in Warhammer 40,000. Absolutely relentless in battle, a chapter of Scary Black Men ( their skin becomes "onyx black" as they undergo the Space Marine transformation due to a genetic flaw) with Red Eyes, Take Warning and a Kill It with Fire fighting style. However, the good part here is from how they actually care about the people they protect and find the thought of harming civilians disgusting, even punching out another chapter master for even thinking of it. Amongst this Knight Templar Warrior Race, this respect for innocent lives is only shared by Chapters like The Space Wolves, The Raven Guard and The Ultramarines. The Salamanders and Ultramarines are the closest thing this universe has to Lawful Good and the Space Wolves are the closest thing to Chaotic Good.
    • It's not actually that uncommon. The Celestial Lions are another notably humanitarian chapter, as are the Iron Snakes and presumably many of the other Ultramarines-derived successor chapters (and the majority of successor chapters are of Ultramarines stock). The majority of the first founding chapters at least try to keep civilian casualties to a minimum.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the Black Templars. Definitely the good guys from the Imperium's standpoint, the hardest working and most pious Space Marine chapter. They have fought a crusade against aliens for 10,000 years, but they are willing to do things like sacrifice millions of human lives to kill an alien psyker that stood in the Imperium's way.
    • In one story we see a Black Templar attack from the perspective of a simple human farmer when the battles over his farm is destroyed and he prays that they will never come back because they scared him more than the Orks they had fought. He even pitied the Orks for being in such a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • The Adepta Sororitas are described as "shining examples of all that is good about humanity" by numerous Games Workshop sources. Even what are unequivocally the nicest of the Sisters, the Sisters Hospitaller who are beloved across the Imperium as saints for their tireless (and almost always selfless) medical work, will gladly torture a heretic for information and then kill them in a very painful way.
    • Actually, everyone who you could consider to be "good guys" in the setting are not nice.
    • To simplify things about the setting, the Imperium is the Protagonist Faction, and, Depending on the Writer (or whether it's a novel or background material), its members can range from being genuinely holy crusaders to being truly monstrous. Or both at once.
    • The Eldar as a whole generally fall into this trope if you get past the Values Dissonance. Their race is dying, and they're out to preserve their society and their people; they are the only faction in the setting to which a non-zero number of casualties is an unacceptable number. However, their goal is to preserve Eldar life, and they won't give a rat's ass if it turns out that they need to kill untold numbers of anyone else to save a few of their own.
    • In the fan setting Brighthammer 40,000, this is the defining trait of the Lords of Order, the Mirror Universe counterpart to the Chaos Gods. They're as unarguably good and benevolent as their Canon counterparts are evil and malevolent... but they're still ultimately alien manifestations of raw human emotion that can be truly dangerous if offended or treated carelessly.
  • Magic: The Gathering: White is often stereotyped as the "good" color, representing law, order and the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the community, but even when white-aligned characters legitimately are good, they're rarely nice. Other times, White's tendency towards xenophobia and Black and White Insanity drags it straight into another trope.
    • For example, the Boros Legion of Ravnica are the police and army and use a combination of White and Red mana. They're generally the ones most concerned with justice and keeping the citizens safe from lawbreakers or other such groups (such as the Cult of Rakdos). Their defining quote comes from the card Boros Charm: "Practice compassion and mercy. But know when they must end."
    • Urza. In the process of trying to save his world from an invasion, he causes multiple cataclysmic events and blatantly manipulates everyone he comes into contact with. He is canonically white/blue aligned.
  • The Templars from Deadlands: Hell On Earth slot quite neatly into this trope. Templars will gladly lay down their lives for people who prove themselves willing to do good and spread hope, but not lift a finger for anyone else. The Templars justify it by saying that After the End, resources are scarce, and trained Templars are the scarcest resource of all. As such, Templars need to be used where they, and the unique skills they bring to the table, can do most good in the long run, and not thrown away on short-term "feel-good" missions or spread so thin as to be rendered useless by trying to save everyone. Most Templars agree that this is harsh, but very few find it unnecessarily so.
    • Those Templars that do come at this trope from the other side. Templars get their powers from capital-G God, who sends various Saints to the Templars in visions to make his will known. God in this setting is an Old Testament sort and approves of the Templars' "no respite for the wicked"-attitude. When a Templar turns his back on the Order, God turns His back on the renegade... but their are plenty of less wholesome entities who are quite capable of masquerading as the Saints and fuelling the Anti-Templar's magical abilities. The Anti-Templars, unaware that they are drawing spiritual power and guidance from demons, inevitably grow violent, ruthless and Ax-Crazy as The Corruption sets in. By the time the patron shows its true identity, the Anti-Templar is inevitably too far gone to even care.

  • John Adams in 1776 definitely fits. He's an early promoter of the cause of independence...and so obnoxious, abrasive, rude, arrogant, and snarky that he's detested by most of his friends.
    Benjamin Franklin: [referring to the Declaration of Independence] Why don't you write it yourself, John?
    John Adams: I am obnoxious and disliked.
    Benjamin Franklin: That's true, John.
  • Lampshaded by the Witch in a kind of reverse way in Into the Woods:
    You're so nice
    You're not good
    You're not bad
    You're just nice
    I'm not good
    I'm not nice
    I'm just right
    • This trope is almost directly quoted by Little Red Riding Hood in "I Know Things Now":
    And take extra care with strangers
    Even flowers have their dangers
    And though scary is exciting
    Nice is different than good
  • Elphaba in Wicked could be considered an example of this.
  • Leo Frank in Parade may be the lead protagonist, but he starts out as cold and looking down at the Southerners around him.

  • Slag, from the original G1 Transformers, is incredibly mean and nasty, will even attack his own comrades if they irritate him . . . and an Autobot. No one is even sure why he is even an Autobot at all, though it is implied here and there (memory fails as to specifics) that it is loyalty to his Dinobot teammates that keeps him around.
    • Hell, all the Dinobots with the exception of Swoop and Sludge. None of them really like Optimus Prime for starters. Grimlock himself would gladly pull a Starscream if he could get away with it.
    • Cross-universal consensus on this is that the Dinobots consider Optimus "soft", which usually results in Prime demonstrating this trope on Grimlock's head. That doesn't mean they consider a tyrannical dictatorship under Megatron or wanton murder to be good ideas.
    • Similarly, there's the snobby, blunt, somewhat unhealthily violent Sunstreaker—he means well, being an Autobot, but is unpleasant and kind of a jerk to everyone, even his twin brother Sideswipe.
    • Superion is the Autobot's first Combining Mecha, but most of the time he's shown as a violent, thundering titan, more unleashed than commanded. Yet he still very much aims to protect innocent life, given one of his lines is "No more, Bruticus! No more harm will come to the humans!"
    • As noted on the TF Wiki itself: while he's charming and charismatic, we can't forget that he's a "Liar. Cheater. Compulsive gambler. Meet heroic Autobot Smokescreen, kids!"
    • Primus, God-ancestor of all Cybertronians who is in the background of every subseries and universe, exhibits this quite well. His goal is to ensure that the multiverse is still here tomorrow, and will often make life quite difficult or unpleasant for mortals in the process if it is necessary for the greater good.
      • It should be noted that most continuities, including the first he was created in, Primus essentially created the entire Cybertronian race to serve as nothing more than cannon fodder against Unicron.

    Video Games 
  • Squall from Final Fantasy VIII. He gets better, but still never becomes a paragon of niceness. Another Final Fantasy example is Shadow from VI.
  • Magus of Chrono Trigger is unpleasant even as a young boy and becomes a Disc-One Final Boss as an adult. You can eventually have him join the side of good, which does cause him to mellow a bit and reveal some well-hidden noble traits, but he never fully stops being an asshole.
  • First appearing in Five Nights at Freddy's 2, The Puppet will viciously attack whoever makes the mistake of letting him out of his box. However, it is revealed in the sequel that he was actually the Big Good all along, and was nevertheless a bit cranky from being stopped from trying to save the souls trapped in the Animatronics. Lefty from Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator will also attack the protagonist if allowed into the pizzeria, however Lefty is revealed to be a disguised Puppet, and it's strongly hinted that the reason the Puppet's attacking the protagonist is a case of mistaken identity.
  • Gene from God Hand is a snarky, somewhat childish demon-hunter. His female protectee and love interest also shows traces of this trope.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog series has a number of these kind of characters:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog after his Heel–Face Turn. His heart is in the right place, but he is aloof and apathetic which makes him come off as cold and uncaring towards people. His ego and violent tendencies also rub others the wrong way.
    • Knuckles The Echidna is this. Even if he's on the side of good, his hot-temper and hostile demeanor can make others find him difficult to get along with. Despite this, he can be friendly, at least as long as he's in a good mood.
    • Blaze the Cat started off as a cold and antisocial loner, but it only took Cream's influence for her to accept others, at least slightly.
  • Zero from Mega Man X. He was Good Is Not Soft for the first three games, but after he has to kill Iris, he goes through a Heroic B.S.O.D. and adapts a Jerkass Façade.
  • Baird in Gears of War is a complete Jerk Ass but he's still a loyal member of Delta Squad.
  • Harpuia in Mega Man Zero. He's an honorable, well-intentioned Hero Antagonist, but the only people he's nice to are his siblings.
  • Cody from the Final Fight series, as he appears in the Street Fighter series. After defeating the Mad Gear gang, he went on to pick fights for no good reason until he got himself thrown in prison. Even then, he not only continued to pick fights, but would break out of prison for no reason other than boredom. While his former ally Guy believes he still has a sliver of good in him, Cody will just shrug and continue being a dick.
  • Yuan from Tales of Symphonia is snarky, impatient when the heroes need things explained, apparently changes sides without warning... and is doing everything in his power to save the world from the Big Bad. No matter who's in his way. In fact, it's a little iffy to label him "Good", except that he ends up (somewhat reluctantly) on the party's side, when it becomes clear that they actually might succeed... and that they're the only ones in the world with a chance.
    • Asch from Tales of the Abyss takes this trope Up to 11. He works as a Double Agent in part of helping out the heroes by keeping them in the loop of the Big Bad's plans. The problem is, he is a verbally abusive, ill-tempered Jerkass who prefers to work alone. His fiancé isn't one to be spared from his wrath, either, even if she is the only one who can draw an ounce of anything resembling compassion from this cold individual.
    • Considering he's essentially a sociopath, that he allegedly killed small animals as a child and scavenged corpses from battlefields, and that he's the Mad Doctor who invented fomicry, and that he's the one who suggests Luke kill himself to dissipate the miasma, Jade Curtiss should count too. He also spends the better part of the game mercilessly snarking at people, even in their most mentally tender moments. He's really brutal to Luke after Akzeriuth, and he's not much nicer to Guy after finding out about the circumstances of Mary's death and Guy's condition. He's much more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold than Asch is, though, but you still have to look really hard to find it.
  • Doctor Magnusson from Half-Life 2: Episode Two is temperamental, impatient, and arrogant. He's also capable, in his own way, of showing genuine gratitude.
    • Some players actually find it surprising and a little heartwarming that the guy thanks you, because they know it took an almost superhuman effort for him to admit that he's grateful.
  • The New California Republic is a post-war federation with a democratic government, a strong military, safe territories, and a very high standard of living by post-apocalypse standards. They're dedicated to the ideas of liberty, justice, and rule of law. However, their military can get heavy handed in their efforts to put down their enemies, their government is corrupt, and they do many morally questionable things over the course of the games, including hiring mercenaries to terrorize Vault City (a racist, slavery-based city state), dealing with the Bishop crime family in order to annex New Reno, hunting down Enclave members who never took an active part in the Enclave-NCR War years after it is over, using 'enhanced interrogation' on prisoners, and occasionally shooting surrendering enemies. They're still by far the nicest faction in the series.
    • In the Honest Hearts DLC, we have Joshua Graham, the former Malpais Legate (now a good guy again). While he truly cares for the tribals he's sworn to defend, he is a completely over-the-top Papa Wolf who will (and has) gone to great lengths to prove that fucking with those under his protection will result in the Wrath Of God killing the hell out of you. However, depending on how things play out, you can either encourage him to take this to it's logical, ultraviolent conclusion, or help him temper his ultraviolence for a good cause with a little mercy.
    • The first game gave us Set, leader of the Necropolis ghouls. Set is a massive Jerkass and openly contemptuous of everyone who is not a ghoul. However, as a leader his rule is quite righteous and just. He doesn't take violent action against those who oppose him, provides his town with clean water, allows outsiders to roam freely during daylight hours and refused to hand over the non-ghouls he claims to hate to the Big Bad. All in all, his track record is far better than that of most wasteland leaders.
  • Solid Snake of Metal Gear, especially in the first game, where he's a flirtatious asshole who bluntly tells you he can't be bothered getting to know you. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, he ends up doing some very douchey things for very good reasons.
    • Raiden becomes this as of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. He genuinely wants to protect the innocent, and has a very soft spot for Child Soldiers forced into fighting like he was. But he won't hesitate to dice other cyborgs to bits. He goes into full-on Knight Templar mode when he finds out about the children who's brains were removed and put into VR training to become cyborg soldiers against their will, evoking his Jack The Ripper persona and massacring anyone who stands in his way, including (albeit corrupt) police officers to stop the bad guys and rescue the children's brains.
  • Fate/stay night Archer, Archer, Archer. Almost all of the above examples apply to him. The constant switching of sides really muddies the issue of whether he's 'good' or not for a while. As a matter of fact, he's s Wild Card.
  • Some of your allies in the Suikoden series can come off as complete jerks who you nonetheless respect because they're good at what they do. Shu and Zerase immediately spring to mind.
  • Cenarius from Warcraft III is shown to be rather rude, arrogant, and threatening so the player will be more eager to kill him.
    • The Night Elves' are another example. Rather than informing Grom that he's trespassing on their land (which wouldn't have stopped him), their solution was to launch a series of aggressive raids on the orcs. In fact, night elves' attitude in WC3 was generally "shoot first, ask questions later".
    • Maiev, leader of the Wardens, got an increasingly concentrated dose of this in The Frozen Throne. She was utterly obsessed with capturing Illidan, her efforts gradually becoming more and more fanatical as time passed.
  • Freaking Marietta from the Dept. Heaven series. She's a Jerkass Knight Templar who spends much of Knights in the Nightmare kicking little puppies, killing you, imposing Sadistic Choices, and flat-out denying that Meria has any right to be alive at all. The only way to get her to be even slightly kind to you is to jump when she tells you to, no matter how much it grates. She's also a guardian of order and has extremely strict good intentions, sort of. To the surprise of no one, by the time of Riviera: The Promised Land she's already become a Fallen Hero.
  • Jimmy Hopkins from Bully IS this trope.
  • Baldur's Gate:
    • Jaheira from the sequels, where it otherwise looks like she's not living up (down?) to her obligatory druidic True Neutral alignment, is still a blunt know-it-all with no patience for people who don't happen to see things her way or who happen to annoy her through no fault of their own.
    • Balthazar from Throne of Bhaal may the Token Good Teammate to the Five, who's plotting their downfall, but he still seizes control of a city and rules it with an iron fist to do so, while not lifting a finger to stop the mercenaries he hired from bullying the townsfolk.
  • If You choose to play non-lethal in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Adam is Essentially Batman with cybernetics.
  • Hakumen from BlazBlue: One of the six legendary heroes who stopped the Black Beast. Is a dick. Not a total one, though. He's an alternate timeline version of Jin, listed below. He's better than Jin in some ways and worse in others.
  • Godot in Ace Attorney. He's an outright jerk to Phoenix Wright in court, and the three 'targets' of his prosecuting are a sweet but hapless young woman, a sweet but hapless young man, and a sweet but secretly conspiring with him young woman. However, all of his actions in the final case were either to avenge Mia, take down Dahlia, or protect Mia's sister Maya.
    • Edgeworth post-Justice For All is an even better example, as his commitment to the truth doesn't always manifest itself in the most sympathetic ways. He wants the truth to come out, even if someone is hiding it for sympathetic reasons or if revealing it would have devastating consequences. However, there are hints of Cruel to Be Kind under his darker moments — he himself lived with an Awful Truth for fifteen years, and he didn't get free from it until he finally confessed what (he thought) he'd done.
  • The moral choices in Mass Effect can be either "Paragon" or "Renegade" - and a Renegade Shepard can be a real ass.
    • The sequel shows that Paragon Shepard, while generally fitting the description of The Ultimate Hero, won't put up with your crap either. Paragon Shepard in ME2 better fits Good Is Not Soft in contrast to Renegade Shepard, because Renegade Shepard can do some really downright malevolent things. Grunt sums up the Paragon mentality pretty well when he says "You offer one hand, but arm the other. Wise, Shepard." Paragon Shepard starts off nice, but if s/he has a reason to be pissed at you, s/he'll kick your ass just as hard as Renegade Shepard would.
      • Case in point, during Zaeed's loyalty mission, there's a part where Zaeed goes out of his way to set off a refinery. The paragon option involves punching Zaeed and asking him what the hell he was thinking, and later on when Zaeed gets pinned under a girder because he refused to play as a team, the paragon option involves laying out for Zaeed exactly why acting like a loose cannon isn't going to fly if he wants to stay on the team. You can even leave Zaeed to die there, but only after completing the main storyline quests.
    • Mordin also flits between this and Good Is Not Soft, in that while a doctor driven by a desire to help those in need, he's also quite capable of being incredibly ruthless should the situation warrant it and generally doesn't hesitate in Shooting The Dog.
    • Similarly Samara. As a Justicar, she operates by a very strict code that demands that if any even minor wrongdoing is committed in her presence, she must punish it on the spot regardless of her personal feelings or relationships. This even goes as far as killing her own daughter.
    • Another case in point: on Omega, Shepard encounters a Quarian merchant who got stuck there while on Pilgrimage. He's selling salvage to try to get off the station, but another merchant, an Elcor named Harrot, is forcing him to sell higher than him to maintain market share. Shepard can talk to Harrot with the traditional Paragon/Renegade dialogue options. The renegade approach is to convince him to shut down the Quarian, with the merchant's fate left uncertain. The paragon approach, meanwhile...
      Shepard: What if you and I made a deal? You let him set his own prices, and I won't break your legs.
      Harrot: [with barely-contained terror] You drive a hard bargain, human.
    • Also on Omega, if Shepard buys a drink from the Batarian bartender in Afterlife s/he nearly dies because the bartender poisons it. Afterwards you learn that you're not the first human he poisoned and certainly won't be the last if he continues. The Renegade response is to get the bastard to drink his own poison. The Paragon response is to incite a Turian bystander to shoot him for you—after all, he could easily start poisoning other races too.
    • Lair of the Shadow Broker: "I sacrificed thousands of lives to save the Destiny Ascension! I unleashed the Rachni on the galaxy! So, for your sake, I hope your escape plan doesn't hinge on me hesitating to shoot a damn hostage!" Even more ironic if you went full renegade in the first one only to be a paragon in the sequel: "I let the Destiny Ascension die with ten thousand people on board, including the council! I personally destroyed the last Rachni Queen! So, for your sake, I hope your escape plan doesn't hinge on me hesitating to shoot a damn hostage!"
      • Incidentally, those lines are a successful attempt to intimidate someone taking a hostage into letting their guard down long enough for Liara to free the hostage. Renegade Shepard can also full-on show that this was not a bluff: "Nice move, taking a hostage. A Spectre does whatever it takes. But you're forgetting something: I'm a Spectre, too." And shooting the hostage through the shoulder to wound the hostage taker.
    • Also, in the Overlord DLC, Shepard, no matter Paragon or Renegade, shows absolute disgust and horror at what Gavin Archer did to his brother in the name of Cerberus and the Illusive Man. In the Paragon ending, as Shepard angrily confronts Gavin for trying to shoot him/her, a Paragon Quick Time Event comes up to pistol whip him.
    • And one last one involves Conrad Verner, the Renegade plan is to simply force the weapons dealer to apologize to Conrad. The Paragon one sets her up to be arrested as she foolishly believes that Conrad has the situation under the control.
    • In short, Paragon Shepard, while s/he can be very kind and supportive depending on the circumstances, is also one of the crowning examples of this trope and also a great example of Good Is Not Dumb and the Most Triumphant Example of Good Is Not Soft.
    • If he survives Virmire, Wrex becomes leader of the largest and most powerful Krogan clan in Mass Effect 2. He does everything in his power to make the Krogan people a legitimate part of the galactic community, but in a society where Klingon Promotions are the norm and Blood Knights are plentiful, he has to be pretty damn tough to keep his job.
  • In Dante's Inferno the eponymous character has the choice to either "Absolve" or "Punish" The Legions of Hell he battles as a Finishing Move. The bright and shining Absolve-based finishers aren't all that much less brutal than their scythe-based Punish counterparts.
  • Captain America takes a dose of this in Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
    Arcade: Captain America. I'd salute, but I think my arm is broken.
    Cap: Don't be an idiot. Tell me what Doom is up to, or I really will break your arm.
    Arcade: You wouldn't do that, that'd be torture.
    Cap: After what you did to Jean Grey, it wouldn't be torture, it'd be justice. Now tell me what Doom wants before I do something you'll regret.
  • The Warden in Dragon Age: Origins can be a good example. He or she can always choose the more Lawful Good options and save as many innocent people as possible while still being a Jerkass Deadpan Snarker to everyone they meet.
    • The Grey Wardens in general fit this trope. While they seek to save Thedas from the Blight, they use rather questionable methods to do so. In particular, they refuse to tell their recruits about the risks associated with becoming a Warden until after their induction, when it's too late to back out, and are willing to burn down Blight infected villages to prevent the Blight from spreading.
  • Sam Fisher of Splinter Cell, according to the manual, has a strong belief in justice and freedom, a dark sense of humor, a disturbing amount of knowledge of ways to hurt people, and the scariest voice ever.
  • Touhou has its protagonist Reimu Hakurei, who is generally portrayed in official works as lazy, standoffish, greedy, and comically inept at her job as a shrine maiden. However, she's much better at her other job — preserving Gensokyo's peace by protecting the Great Boundary and resolving any Incidentsnote . Even then, she has a tendency to beat the ever-loving crap out of anyone who gets in her way (including those who didn't have anything to do with what's happening) and has no tolerance for any Incidents, regardless of cause or motive.
  • Miranda of The Legend of Dragoon. She's the First Sacred Sister of Mille Seseau, a combination of princess, general, and priestess for the people of her country. She's also chosen as the White Silver Dragoon, the holiest and gentlest of dragoon spirits. Too bad she's a raging bitch. She gets better as the game goes on, but her cynical business-first attitude puts her in stark contrast to her predecessor, Shana.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Kaelyn the Dove is a just, noble half-celestial that tries to do good whenever she can. However, she is obsessed with destroying the Wall of the Faithless, and is willing to do anything to tear it down.
  • Malo of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess claims that even though he can't be a hero, he seeks to end the corruption and inflation in Hyrule Castle Town by bringing heroic business deals, but often acts blunt towards any unfortunate soul who crosses his path, insulting Link if he doesn't buy anything from his shop.
    • From the same game, there's Midna, at least up until the first half of the game.
  • Golden Sun games love this trope, the biggest example being the twist in The Lost Age that the "bad guys" we hunted down in the first game were trying to save the world. Several subplots involve other characters with good intentions but questionable methods.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Some of the Daedric Princes qualify. As a whole, the Daedric Princes are divine beings Above Good and Evil who operate under Blue and Orange Morality in line with their spheres of influence. However, they can certainly be seen as "good" or "evil" from the point of view of morals, usually depending on whether a certain Prince's actions benefit or harm mortals more often. Specific examples:
      • Azura, Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, also known the Lady of Prophesy, encourages her worshipers to love themselves as much as they love her, and is very benevolent and protective over her greatest servants, as seen in her treatment of the the Nerevarine from Morrowind. However, she has no compunction against expressing her displeasure in very nasty ways, having a cruel and often petty streak toward those who defy her in any way. She is fan of Disproportionate Retribution toward those who wrong her, such as (possibly) cursing the Chimer race to becoming the ashen-skinned, red-eyed Dunmer after their leaders, the Tribunal, defied her. Later, in Morrowind, she guides the Nerevarine into casting down the Tribunal under the guise of guiding him/her in defeating Dagoth Ur, whose source of power just happens to be the same as the Tribunal's. In the years that followed, as an indirect result of these actions, Morrowind is practically destroyed as a result of the Oblivion Crisis, the "Red Year", and the Argonian invasion. The entire Dunmer way of life is disrupted, but Azura becomes even more revered by them as the center of their "New Temple" religion.
      • Meridia, a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals but is associated with Light, Beauty, and the Energy of Living Things, is another example. She is a noted adversary of Molag Bal, Daedric Prince of Domination and Rape, who might be the closest thing to a true God of Evil in the setting and whose actions are never benevolent toward mortals, which definitely makes her a lighter shade of gray in comparison. She also has an extreme hatred of anything undead or involving Necromancy, and wiping these things out is also typically beneficial to most mortals. However, she can very quickly cross into Knight Templar territory regarding these things, is a Narcissistic Proud Beauty, and will go through the Face–Heel Revolving Door with each appearance. In one instant, she'll be acting as the Big Good in defending mortal lives from hostile takeover by supernatural forces. Then in another, she'll be giving aid to beings who seek to overthrow the Nine Divines and enslave the races of Men.
      • Noctural, the Daedric Prince of Night and Darkness, also known as "Lady Luck", is another. Being the patron of thieves automatically makes her a few shades of gray darker, but despite this and her association with darkness, she is usually quite benevolent to her followers. As long as they remain on her good side, they are gifted with "scoundrel's luck" and, for the highest ranking followers, extremely powerful and useful abilities. She is also stated to be a "Well Done, Son!" Guy toward them, offering little praise but pushing them to do better.
    • The Eight (later Nine) Divines, aka the Aedra, pre-creation beings who aided Lorkhan in creating the mortal world, are almost universally seen as a benevolent force of good on Nirn. However, they've been known to cross this with Good Is Not Soft. After learning that aiding Lorkhan had caused them to lose a significant portion of their divine power, they "killed" Lorkhan and tore his "divine center" (heart) from his sundered body. They cast it down into the mortal world he helped to create, forcing his spirit to wander. Later, when the Daedra worshiping Ayleids enslaved the races of men and tormented them with unimaginable cruelty, they allied with the leader of the humans (Alessia) to overthrow the Ayleids, sending her divine reinforcements (Morihaus and Pelinal Whitestrake), as well as aiding in other ways, to ensure a human victory. It may not have been entirely benevolent on their part, however, as Alessia promised to make the Divines the primary religion of her new empire and followed through on this promise after the Ayleids were defeated.
    • Lorkhan himself is in the old Nordic pantheon, where he is known as Shor. Shor is a "bloodthirsty warrior king", though to the Proud Warrior Race Nords, this is a good thing.
    • In Skyrim, the Vigil of Stendarr is a Church Militant order dedicated to hunting down and destroying supernatural threats to mortal life, including Daedra, Daedra worshipers, vampires, lycanthropes, and others. The Vigil formed in the wake of the Oblivion Crisis with the goal of preventing any similar incidents. The Vigilants are very much a force for the greater good, but they have no qualms with brutally killing any worshippers of malicious Daedra. They'll also forcibly confiscate Daedric artifacts and will readily kill anyone who refuses to hand them over, even those artifacts associated with the less malicious Daedric Princes.
  • Jun Kazama from Tekken is generally portrayed as pure, however the second Tag game and the animated movie shows she's Not Good with People. Case in point, Tag 2 allows a trick to select win poses, one being a positive one, a high five, a fist bump, etc. Even with someone who Jun should like she's pretty aloof. It also helps that she's Unknown, who does something most find rather uncomfortable should you lose to her.
  • Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII starts out this way, mainly because since her parents' deaths, she has had to put her emotions aside and thinks of everything like a strategy. She manages to soften up significantly after several events where her attitude causes others pain (mainly when Odin is first summoned, when she has a flashback about her last words with Serah, and when she realizes she has encouraged Hope on his revenge path).
  • Wess from MOTHER 3. Constantly berates his son Duster for everything he does wrong. However, the two of them were the ones whose job it was to retrieve the Hummingbird Egg from Osohe Castle, and he does help Kumatora save Salsa from the even more abusive Fassad.
  • Fable II invokes this by having a Pure/Corrupt alignment scale in addition to the regular Good/Evil scale for player characters. Your character can become corrupt by doing morally reprehensible, but not per se "evil" actions (like drinking too much, having multiple spouses or charging too much rent), while remaining fundamentally good. The title for being both Good and Corrupt at once is "The Decadent". Conversely, a character can also be Pure Evil and obtain the title "The Fanatic" (Pure Evil is not what it sounds like, that would be the Corrupt Evil alignment, which awards the title "The Ghoul").
  • In Telltale's The Walking Dead:
    • You can play Lee Everett as this by picking the more snarky and dickish dialogue options, but picking the more moral actions when they are presented.
    • Kenny genuinely cares about everyone in your group, excepting the members who get on your nerves. However, from Episode 2 onwards, he does a lot of Jerkass things, mostly out of pragmatism, though some out of pure anger.
  • Despite being a prime example of Dark Is Not Evil, Oswald from Odin Sphere can still be cold and ruthless when the need arises. He is feared and hated throughout Erion for being a heartless butcher, after all.
  • Marshall Yatish of Wildstar, good lord. If you are a "baddie" and threaten his people or innocents, be prepared to be horrifically murdered, your comrades butchered, your camp burned to the ground, and your corpses strung up as a warning to any present and future "baddies." Keep in mind he is a 3 foot high alien rabbit armed only with a spear.
  • The player character of Dishonored, Corvo Attano, even when played as a pacifist, will show no mercy to his primary targets. The fates he inflicts on them range from physically branding them as outcasts, to having them sent to work in their own mines for the rest of their lives, to handing them over to a stalker who plans to keep them as his sex prisoner. Mind you, they deserve it, but death almost seems a more merciful act at times.
  • In the Bayonetta series the heroes are the Umbra Witches, snarky crusaders of darkness who use powers gained by making a Deal with the Devil to slaughter evil angels, and however good they are for defending humanity they are not always very nice or polite. In Bayonetta 2 we also get introduced to Loki, who is the pure good half of the former God of Chaos and overseer of humanity, Aesir. Despite being literally made of pure good, he's just as snarky, rude, and having a penchant to curse as Bayonetta, herself.
  • League of Legends: Jayce, hextech inventor extraordinaire, is a hugely arrogant Insufferable Genius who tends to insult and look down upon those he considers less intelligent than him (that is, most people), and in his focus story A Quick Fix, he flat-out refuses to fix the broken toy of a heartbroken little girl because he considers her breaking it "stupid." On the other hand, he spends his time enforcing justice and fighting crime in his hometown of Piltover, armed only with his masterpiece invention, the cannon-hammer hybrid known as the Mercury Hammer. Funny enough, the story notes that the majority of Piltover's citizens see him as an ideal Humble Hero, only to be disappointed by the man's actual mannerisms.
  • Jarek from the Guild Wars Nightfall expansion certainly qualifies. A former Sunspear himself, he's brought out of retirement to lead the Sunspears while Kormir, the real leader, is absent. To call him "arrogant" and "petty" wouldn't be much of a stretch, and he's still bitter that Kormir was chosen to be Spearmarshal instead of him. In fact, the only thing he seems to hate more than you are the bandits who keep attacking the villages. It seems fitting that his name is an anagram of "a jerk".
  • Randal's Monday: Kramer is not a nice cop by any means, but he is absolutely a good cop.

    Web Comics 
  • Keroff's unnamed lieutenant in Crystal Sun refuses to empathize with Keroff, the main protagonists, or anyone really, in the name of doing what appears to immediately benefit the majority.
  • Sidney from Distillum ain't nice. Maybe when she's not overworked... because of the protagonists meddling...
  • Rikk in Fans get a rather epic moment that screams this trope when he is laying the smackdown on Keith Feddyg. It's an interesting moment, as most of the time Rikk is easily the kindest and most level-headed character in the comic.
    Rikk: Your kind always underestimates ours. You mistake good manners for timidity. You mistake self-control for passivity. So self-controlled are we that sometimes we won’t retaliate when you harm us. But if you — ANY of you — harm our loved ones — we will come at you like fanged, slavering beasts from the darkest of LSD nightmares. Believe it.
  • Girl Genius: After Gil delineates how Zola is fairly innocuous and in danger — an idiot, but not malicious — he is questioned about whether her lack of malice is important... which produces an intimidating burst of rage: if he let everyone he thought was an idiot die, there wouldn't be many people left alive.
    • Girl Genius is pretty fond of this trope — practically all of the "good" characters are able to slip into Evil Demented Sparky Genius Mode at a moment's notice. Agatha, Gil, and Klaus would be the best examples—and are at each other's throat half of the time.
      Agatha: I get it. I see where this is going. [...] I'm the big meanie, because I made Princess Psycho cry. I'm the bad guy because, for whatever reason, you didn't tell your nasty little friend who you are, and now she's sad. So you're mad at me — because now she's all sweet and teary and needs rescuing, and I'M the evil madgirl with the death ray and the freakish ancestors — and the town full of minions — and the horde of Jägers — and the homicidal castle full of sycophantic evil geniuses and fun-sized hunter-killer monster clanks and goodness know what else[pause] And you know what? I CAN WORK WITH THAT!
    • As an even earlier example — albeit with a good touch of Beware the Nice Ones — here is the very first time Gil realizes this and achieves a Crowning Speech of Awesome (if such a trope exists):
      Gil: I am sick to death of this! What do I have to do?! I just took down an entire army of war clanks, and still I get treated like a halfwit child! [...] Always, I try to be reasonable. To be fair. I try to talk to people. And no one ever takes it as anything other than weakness. [...] You listen to me try to be civilized, and you think—"Oh, he's nothing." "Him we can ignore." "Him we can push around." "We can do whatever we want—he won't stop us." [...] Because nobody ever takes me seriously — unless I shout and threaten like a cut-rate stage villain. Well, you know what? I can do crazy. I really can. And it looks like I'm going to have to. [...] I'll have to give up all this "being reasonable" garbage — and show you idiots what kind of madboy you're really dealing with! ...Oh. Oh, no. This must be how my father feels — all the time!
  • Raven, from El Goonish Shive, is a strict disciplinarian, quite caustic and doesn't suffer fools gladly. And will fight monsters or wizards to protect his students.
  • Homestuck has a couple of examples:
    • Karkat Vantas is the Alternian equivalent of the descendant of the troll version of Jesus, and Karkat himself is very, very heavily on the good side, being very devoted to his friends to an almost Team Mom-ish level at times. It is almost impossible to have a conversation with him that does not involve him yelling colorful abuse at you.
    • Terezi, who is obsessed with JUST1C3 and who has no pity for evil, considers herself this. However, by Earth standards, the Alternian justice system wouldn't exactly be considered "good". Terezi herself is much closer to human morality, though, and would still qualify.
    • Vriska also at least sees herself this way:
      VRISKA: I only ever wanted to do the right thing no matter how it made people judge me...
      VRISKA: And you don't have to 8e a good person to 8e a hero.
      VRISKA: You just have to know who you are and stay true to that.
      VRISKA: So I'm going to keep fighting for people the only way I ever knew how.
      VRISKA: 8y 8eing me.
  • In Impure Blood, Elnor bluntly tells Roan that Fantastic Racism will continue if he doesn't act civilly.
  • Mike from It's Walky! has this in him. He comes off as a total Jerkass until he sacrifices his life to save Joyce at the end. He also does several other heroic things before then, but that's the kicker.
  • The angels in Maxwell the Demon run a Celestial Bureaucracy and, while working for good, are as dickish as the demons, if not worse.
    Demon: Oh, sorry. Go on through. No hard feelings, ey?
    Angel: [muttering] First against the wall when the Rapture comes.
  • The Order of the Stick: Roy to a certain extent, who, while being Lawful Good, enjoys verbally lambasting his friends and enemies a bit too much and is even berated for it by several other Lawful Good characters.
    • The paladins of Azure City are pragmatic in general, cunning to the point of underhandedness when necessary. (Yes, even Miko.)
    • Miko is socially inept, Lawful Stupid, and eventually jumps off the slippery slope, but she's unfailingly courageous and eager to save innocent bystanders.
    • The deva who evaluates Roy's case rather easily intimidates Eugene from interfering.
    • Haley has her moments, too. Those who read her origin comic may get Mood Whiplash when they see her friends again. She kills most of them without hesitation, and in many cases without them even having the chance to surrender or speak in their own defense. Mind, they're there to kill her, too.
    • The same can be said, albeit in different ways, of Durkon. He's Lawful Good to the core, and weeps tears of joy when he realizes that he'll be going home to his people as a corpse. He also has Charisma as his dump stat, so even when people can understand his accent, he comes off gruff.
  • When Mike shows up in Shortpacked!, some of the horrible things he does end up forcing other characters to confront bad aspects of themselves, making them better people overall.
  • Angels in Slightly Damned canonically tend towards good. What little we've seen of their society could be generously called a hyper-conformist borderline-fascist state.
  • Aeris from VG Cats. She tends to very bluntly berate Leo for his stupidity, but often times it's for his own good. (Here's an especially classic case of this.) She's also implied-but-not-shown to hit Leo from time to time, but it's presumably based on a similar principle.
    • This varies from strip to strip though. Occasionally she will become so enraged by Leo's antics that she will go back in time to erase him from existence completely. He gets better though.
  • Gilgam in The Water Phoenix King is the embodiment of this. Being Really 700 Years Old is only part of the reason; it mostly seems caused by post-war disillusionment and depression, though he was probably always sarcastic and irreverent (he was a lawyer, after all) and being the Only Sane Man (in his mind, at least) doesn't help.
  • Tatsuma from Beyond Bloom may be heroic at heart, but is oftentimes childishly cruel and may come off like a schoolyard bully to even her friends.

    Web Original 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd. He briefly showed some compassion in the Battletoads review by letting Kyle Justin sit on the couch. And in the R.O.B. episode, he single-handedly defeated R.O.B. so that all the games in the world weren't limited to Gyromite and Stack-Up.
  • ARCHON has this in spades. Elves for instance are described as having rebelled against their original creator because they didn't want to harm innocents, yet Arglwydd has little issue with Kill It with Fire tactics and Badass Preacher Offeiriad is content to slaughter a town when they go feral and try to kill him.
  • The Courier in Courier's Mind: Rise of New Vegas is a snarky, cynical, sadist with a Hair-Trigger Temper. But when the people of The Mojave need a hero, he'll always (begrudgingly) step up to save the day, no matter the cost.
  • Demo Reel. Carl Copenhagan and Quinn both have terrorist backstories and little patience for stupidity, but become part of the Lonely Together family by the end of the second episode.
  • Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a Superhero who's apparently saved the city numerous times over. He's also the world's biggest Jerkass; he only even seems to do the hero gig to earn the adulation of others and thus feed his insufferable ego, and, upon discovering the secret identity of his arch-nemesis, decides to gloat and continue dating the girl of the villain's dreams just to make him squirm instead of simply arresting him for his crimes. The first time he's ever actually hurt in the commission of his heroic duties, he runs like a scared child and spends months in therapy.
  • Dreamscape: Jenna is a "good guy", but not a "GOOD guy". And Aseir is just as distant and aloof as she is.
    Dylan: I know she isn't the first person you'd invite to a party, and doesn't exactly spread happiness wherever she goes.
  • Mandana, the Queen of Goodness from Elemental Goddess is the adopted mother of the main characters (all six of them) and was/is a Magical Girl. However, she's a royal bitch who acts rude and bitchy towards everyone she meets without any provocation, even a random person who simply said hello and asked about her day, she opted to skip out of the bill at a restaurant rather negotiate or pay, and she acts more like a thirteen-year-old Alpha Bitch rather than the forty-year-old "embodiment of virtue" that she's supposed to be.
  • In Madness Combat we have Jesus (aka Jebus). His title in episode 5 is "The Savior", he wears a supernatural halo, controls life and death (primarily in the form of zombies), tries to bring justice to the wicked, opposes the satanic Auditor, and only fights against the protagonist Hank on the grounds that Hank is a dangerous criminal guilty of murdering law enforcement officers. However, his method of "Justice" is more or less Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
  • The Nostalgia Critic may be a Psychopathic Manchild with a Dark and Troubled Past, but God help you if you were to hurt a child.
  • Nyx Crossing: The natives help the group in episode 4, but in doing so, they severely injure one, tie them all up, go through their things, and abandon them before helping them.
  • Most of the main cast in Red vs. Blue. They insult each other constantly, bicker over everything, and are generally jerks. But when it comes down to the wire, they'll put their lives on the line for a good cause.
  • Weiss Schnee of RWBY is a metaphorical and literal Ice Queen and Academic Alpha Bitch who has bigoted opinions on Faunas (with a good Freudian Excuse thrown in though) and generally speaks to others with a snarky, derisive tone. She's still one of the good guys, however, and she's not quite nice yet but she's getting there.
  • The RWBY Abridged version of Ruby is an extremely rude smartass, who makes her annoyance at others very well known. But, she also genuinely wants to keep her hometown safe and routinely stops criminals all by herself.
    • Weiss is pretty much just like her canon self, with the added bonus that she's not even training to become a hero by choice. Still, when people are in danger, she will do what she has to, to defend them.
  • In Survival of the Fittest, Adam Dodd circa v3. Whilst he's supposedly the good guy of the series that doesn't stop him acting like a a complete prick to more or less everyone.
    • V4's Aileen Borden seems to fit this trope so far. Being a Deadpan Snarker and somewhat of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold from the beginning, she tends to snark her way through events in the game, and does from time to time get annoyed with her allies. However, despite this, she genuinely wants to get as many people off the island as possible, gets worried about her team mates when they go missing and is relieved when they show up again, and gets upset at Announcement time, especially if someone she knows is named. Shame about her being an Unwitting Pawn to Aaron Hughes...
  • The Silver Order from Tasakeru exemplifies this trope. They feed, clothe, and shelter, and provide aid for vast numbers of Sankami's citizens in their credo to "protect life", but Gods help you if you fall outside their definition of "life"...
  • Corporal Erik Mahren, range officer at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Coarse, angry, and clinically insane after the horrors he experienced in a Black Ops group for the U.S. Defense Department, he acts like a Jerk Ass to the students. Except he'll do anything to keep students from being hurt on his ranges, and he was willing to be brutally ripped to pieces to save a teenage girl from killing herself.
  • Worm applies this trope to almost every hero that we get to know, but usually in a way that emphasizes that they are only flawed humans with incredible abilities and more attention paid to them than normal people. It doesn't help that most people acquire powers by going through an incredibly traumatic event. The heroes who gain powers from Cauldron fall even harder into this trope.
    • Armsmaster/Defiant is probably the most prominent example. He's arrogant, abrasive, non-empathetic, and socially-maladjusted. He's willing to take advantage of a truce to engineer the deaths of villains who are at least temporarily his allies in the name of the greater good. And yet he genuinely cares about helping people and doing the right thing, and he proves willing to at least try and improve on his interpersonal failings despite continuously falling short.

    Western Animation 
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender, post-Heel–Face Turn Prince Zuko has shades of this. He's only slightly friendlier than he was in the first season. There's also Aang (when he gets pissed, he turns into a cold, ruthless Creepy Child with Glowing Eyes of Doom and the Voice of the Legion), Katara (who has shown a nasty, vengeful side when someone wrongs the people she loves), and Toph (a Deadpan Snarker who cons several Fire Nation citizens and sinks a zeppelin full of Fire Nation soldiers in the finale).
    • From the Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, we have Lin Beifong, daughter of Toph and chief of the metalbending police. She can come off as overly harsh at times and appears to be a total hardass. However, she is unquestionably a good person who is trying to keep the peace and protect the innocent. This is made only more clear by her Heroic Sacrifice in episode 10 which cost her her bending.
      • The spirit Raava can also be considered this: whenever Aang went on his rampages in ATLA, Raava was probably 'holding the controls.' This includes annihilating the Fire Navy, as well as her apathy towards Wan in "Beginnings."
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Detective Harvey Bullock, though especially in the episode, "A Bullet For Bullock". He may be an oafish, uncouth, unpleasant cop who doesn't like the dark knight, but he is one of the few decent, completely uncorrupted cops in the Gotham PD.
  • Blinky Bill and his friends are sometimes considered to be worse than the Dingos. Considering that he was "toned down greatly" in the cartoon, compared to his literary incarnation, he must have been a real Jerk Ass in the books...
  • Huey Freeman from The Boondocks. Although he has good intentions in building a greater American society, he is quite cynical, pessimistic, cantankerous, and has been labeled — not unjustifiably — as a "domestic terrorist".
  • Chad Dickson, f.k.a. Numbuh 274 was so devoted to the cause of the Kids Next Door that he willingly turned traitor and smeared his good name in order to serve as a spy. That does not detract from the fact that he became a jerk as his jealousy for Numbuh 1 consumed him. Eventually, he is so driven by his envy that he tries to kill Nigel in his final appearance on the penultimate episode of the show, despite still being loyal to the organization as a whole.
  • Scrooge McDuck of Disney comics (such as ones by Carl Barks and Don Rosa) and adaptations such as DuckTales (1987) will never resort to illegal or underhanded means to make money (The one time he did, he ended up haunted by a zombie for several years - and Donald got chased as well several decades afterward.), but neither will he donate a single penny to charity. He'll give you a (really low-paying) job at the drop of a hat, though.
    • Donald Duck too. Especially when he's put in a blatantly heroic role, such as the Kingdom Hearts series. He might be selfish and temperamental, but when you get right down to it, he's nothing if not loyal to his friends.
  • There was a cutaway gag in Family Guy where Peter encounters Kenneth, the bad-ass mail clerk with a heart of gold. Peter is then told by another employee that said clerk donated half his paycheck to orphans with diseases.
  • On Invader Zim, Dib is the Hero Antagonist who wants to save the human race from an evil alien monster. And he often makes it clear that he will enjoy taking part in that alien's autopsy.
  • In varying degrees, almost any hero on the Justice League except for Wally, J'onn, and in Unlimited, Dove. Especially Hawkgirl.
  • The Legend of Zelda portrays Zelda as considerably unaffectionate; one episode has Link distinguishing between the real Zelda and the fake one by setting up a kissing contest in which Zelda's evil twin eagerly kisses him whereas Zelda herself slaps him in the face. Link assumes the real Zelda to be the one who slapped him.
  • Skipper from The Penguins of Madagascar is supposed to be the main protagonist, but he's pretty coarse and violent even on his comrades.
    Alligator: That looks as if it could be violent.
    Skipper: If done correctly.
  • Major Monogram from Phineas and Ferb. He's dedicated to fighting the forces of evil, but he's not a very nice person, especially to Carl, his unpaid intern.
  • Spinelli from Recess is hot-tempered, cynical, and has a violent streak, but is still a good friend to the rest of the main characters.
  • Benson from Regular Show. He may be constantly angry and constantly threatening to fire Mordecai and Rigby, but all he's really doing is his job. Plus, he's actually pretty friendly when things aren't out of hand.
  • In Samurai Jack, the Scotsman is Jack's closest ally and probably the closest thing he has to a friend in the future world. He's really not nice. In fact, he's downright rude.
  • Hefty as the Smurf Of Christmas Future in The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol leaves Grouchy in the Bad Future where all the Smurfs are captured to be chased after by Gargamel and Azrael.
  • South Park has this in spades. Usually Kyle or Stan fits this, particularly when Cartman is the antagonist.
    • The Big Damn Movie, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, has "Ze Mole." A huge Jerkass to everyone, who spews obscenities about God frequently, and goes on about how childish and naive the other boys are, but he still joins the boys to help Terrence and Phillip in the name of freedom and dies in the process. He does get better thanks to the Reset Button, though he's never had a major appearance since.
    • Reality, which takes the form of a top hat-wearing villain, in "Safe Space". He attacks an incredibly rattled Butters for filtering everybody's negative comments, and verbally attacks everyone for letting their obsessive fear of criticism push Butters into suicide by having him work to maintain their safe spaces. The townspeople, just make third-world children filter comments for them, and, publicly hang Reality.
    • James Cameron is portrayed as an unbelievably arrogant, egotistical, and gullible "hero" in "Raising The Bar", who is so obnoxious he forces his crew to listen to his theme music while he ignores their insistence that the "bar" is a metaphor. In true South Park fashion the bar is real, he saves the whole world from degenerate media by raising it, and he denies accepting any credit or thanks for what he's done because "James Cameron does not do what James Cameron does for James Cameron."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Mr. Krabs can be quite the greedy, selfish jerk, even risking the lives of his fellow employee's just for the sake of making a quick buck, but is still considered a good guy.
    • Squidward is an Anti-Hero who can at times be meaner than necessary. Despite being a villain, he's still on Team Krabs for life.
  • Star Wars Rebels: After his Heel–Face Turn, Kallus qualifies as this, willing to do morally grey actions, including framing another Imperial officer he'd been on good terms with, in order to maintain his cover.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Raphael in all incarnations. He's cool but rude. (As he himself puts it, "I don't do nice!")
    • Casey Jones is like this in roughly half the incarnations. (For the other half, he's more a Knight Templar.)
  • Sentinel Prime from Transformers Animated. He's technically a good guy, but is also a Jerkass who hates organics and is willing to work with Lockdown in order to defeat the Decepticons

Alternative Title(s): Mean Is Not Evil, Good Is Edgy, Jerkass Hero