"And the reason that she loved him was the reason I loved him too.
And he never wondered what was right or wrong. He just knew."
—David Crosby and Phil Collins, "Hero"
Bob is a hero.
Scratch that. Bob is the
He fights with honor — he never kicks opponents while they're down or uses dirty tricks to win a confrontation. If he takes to the battlefield, he fights with appropriate force and despairs having to see any bloodshed. His goodness is genuine, not some con, and he will always make the right choice even when people would never know he made the wrong one
. He looks out for the little guy, stands up for what's morally correct, and serves as the role model for heroes — being their standard-bearer, in many ways — and as a beacon of character for villians — even prompting villains to give up their immoral ways
The Ideal Hero is seen quite often in children's media, to the point where you could call it common. Oftentimes, the Ideal Hero in such stories will get rewarded, and plentifully so, for being a good guy through and through. What's more, he never struggles with himself
, being The Hero
from sunrise to sunset.
In stories for adult audiences, things are not that simple. Usually, the Ideal Hero does what he does because it's the right way to live. He gets rewarded for it less often
less often) than not. What's more, he may even struggle with himself to make the right choice — but always (or almost always) makes the right choice in the end.
Done wrong, Bob can exemplify any of an array of the worst of good guy tropes, like Stupid Good
, Lawful Stupid
, and — in the worst cases — even a Knight Templar
who refuses to allow any deviation from his strict moral code.
At one time, probably a Dead Horse Trope
, but the Ideal Hero has been subverted
to the point that it's experiencing a quiet resurgence of popularity
, mostly as a reconstruction
, but sometimes simply played straight.
to The Cape
, Knight in Shining Armor
, Captain Patriotic
, and The Messiah
. While The Hero
is often an Ideal Hero, the former is the role a character occupies in a group while the latter is a character personality. See also Standardized Leader
. Contrast Anti-Hero
and Classic Villain
. Can overlap to some degree with one of either Martial Pacifist
, Technical Pacifist
, or Actual Pacifist
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Anime & Manga
- Akira Toriyama seemed to be unable to decide if Goku was this or a (thoroughly benign and heroic) Blood Knight Man Child.
- Specifically, Goku himself fulfills the trope by being the best man you'll ever meet or hear of, but will focus on his training to the exclusion of everything else, sometimes including family. This is justified by Earth coming under regular attack by superbeings both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and the fact that Goku is, in practice, the Big Good of the universe at the end of the series (he's kinda busy sometimes).
- The title character of Kimba the White Lion.
- Definitely Fudou Yuusei from Yugioh 5 Ds. He wins every duel, is level-headed, always plays by the rules, always looks out for those in trouble, and generally ends up being liked by any non-villain who holds more than three minutes of conversation with him.
- Digimon Xros Wars: Taiki Kudo would count. He lives to help anyone in need, and refuses to "turn his back on anyone", and strongly believes in the good of people and digimon.
- Superman, consistently, but given an especially provocative portrayal in Kingdom Come, where Superman plays this trope straight, subverts it, and reconstructs all over the course of the story.
- In fact that ends up being the way they challenge the Invincible Hero in many of his better stories, putting things in front of him that could legitimately compel him to break this character type or putting him up against less ideal sort of hero (frequently Batman) to make a case for being an ideal hero versus being a more "pragmatic" hero. Some of his most crippling defeats were victorious battles that could only be won by breaking one of his rules.
- DC Comics' Captain Marvel is even more ideal than Superman is (at least until the New 52).
- Captain America is Marvel Comics' equivalent to Superman.
- Tintin, a teenage detective/reporter. He'd risk his life to save yours, even if you just tried to kill him not five minutes prior; he's just that noble and uncompromising on his principles. In spite of being that forgiving towards his enemies, he's also a textbook case of Good Is Not Dumb.
- Michael, a Knight of the Cross, in The Dresden Files.
- R. A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms character Drizzt Do'Urden, the heroic dark elf ranger who rebelled against the evil of his people and fled to the surface world, where he had to overcome a huge amount of prejucide, but always remained unquestioningly true to the ideal in his heart that made him rebel in the first place.
- Although not the main character, Carrot Ironfounderson from the Discworld series is a walking paragon of an Ideal Hero
- The Odyssey features Odysseus, who may well be the Trope Maker, making it Older than Dirt. However, in The Iliad he's not so admirable. And in ancient times Odysseus had detractors, who thought that an Ideal Hero shouldn't rely so much on guile.
- Although Solomon Kane is typically classified as a Anti-Hero, he could arguably fall under this instead. He never compromises his princples, nor does he question what the proper course of action is when he encounters someone who needs help (or, if they are beyond help, someone who deserves to be avenged). In The Blue Flame of Vengeance, he even tries to talk one of the villains into giving up the fight and walking away from the evil men said villain has entangled himself with; when the villain refuses to accept his offer and subsequently dies, Solomon becomes visibly grieved.
Live Action TV
- Most incarnations of the Doctor. Fourth and Fifth are probably the most obvious ones.
- Dino Attack RPG had quite a few such agents, especially early on. Zenna, Rex (at least, prior to the Adventurers' Island arc), Andrew, Zachary (pre-Stromling), and David being good examples- and that's just among primary characters. Pierce could also be considered an example, although justified by the fact that he's a doctor.
- Mario in Super Mario Bros
- Link in The Legend of Zelda.
- Sora of Kingdom Hearts.
- After a parade of anti heroes and blood thirsty warriors in video games of all genres, almost a reconstruction, really, can be found in choosing to be a Paragon with Shepard in Mass Effect.
- However, Paragon Shepard does enter Good Is Not Soft often (especially in Mass Effect 2) and every now and then breaks the law. But s/he only does so when s/he has no other choice.
- Really, alternate titles for Paragon and Renegade could be Nice and Jackass. They both always get the job done, no matter what.
- Eliwood of Fire Emblem.
- Hilbert in Last Scenario really, really wants to be this kind of hero, but he rapidly finds that he's in the wrong genre. He still manages to be much more heroic than is typical for the setting, and of five characters who Jumped at the Call, he's the only one who doesn't become a Fallen Hero.
- Fate/stay night: No matter what the route, Emiya Shirou tries to be an Ideal Hero. However, the story challenges the idea of the ideal hero and whether it's really an attainable goal for any psychologically normal person. The answer it comes to is no, not really, and it won't make you happy to be one either. It's still an admirable goal even if you can't do it, though, and even the bitter Archer still finds the dream beautiful.
- Ferwin and Pyan Pau in The Spirit Engine 2. Charlotte seems to be this at first, but is actually a subversion.
- Ramza, from Final Fantasy Tactics is one of these. Problem is, he's in Ivalice, and is trying to stop a massive conspiracy of manipulative bastards who start a war resulting in over a million dead as a distraction. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, as the ending of the game shows, though the epilogue gives some hope that eventually the truth was discovered, centuries later.
- Skyhawk, one of the superheroes of Boston in the Whateley Universe. He always tries to do the right thing, and stands for morality and righteousness. Most of Team Kimba views him as a big dork, and his determination to do things the right way very nearly got Generator and Bladedancer killed by supervillains.