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Ideal Hero
"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 hero.

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 villains — 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 (sometimes far 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 and deconstructed to the point that it's experiencing a quiet resurgence of popularity, mostly as a reconstruction, but sometimes simply played straight.

Super Trope to All-Loving Hero, The Cape, Knight in Shining Armor, and Captain Patriotic. 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.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime & Manga 
  • Kenshiro in Fist of the North Star. Incorruptible, protective of all children and women, intolerant of evil and dedicated to bringing hope and joy to a world ravaged by nuclear fire. Anyone who knows his name cries joyful tears when he walks into town.
  • 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.
  • Maka Albarn from Soul Eater eventually becomes this. She starts out a bit short tempered, but over time, becomes a responsible, courageous, strong, caring, kind, honorable, intelligent and selflfless young girl.
  • 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.
  • Jonathan Joestar from Jojos Bizarre Adventure, he is merciful, polite and benevolent, and will always invoke Defeat Equals Friendship to his enemies. This is compared to...most of his descendants who do not share his lofty ideals.
  • Daiya Tsuwubuki of Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu always fights fair, never loses sight of his goal, and always tries to help people in his actions. He never uses deception or trickery, and despises those that do.

     Comic Books 
  • 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' moral equivalent to Superman.
    • Little wonder, then, that the two would be combined into the character Super-Soldier in the Amalgam Universe.
  • Spidey is mostly this in his own series and team ups, aside from doubting himself, being a goofy motor mouth and being generally awkward, he is Marvel's most lovable and warm hearted hero who always does the selfless and right thing for anyone and anything in his career only second or rivaling the Captain himself and in the future is destined to be the greatest hero of all according to Cable.
  • 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.
  • AstÚrix is one of these - kind, does the right thing all the time, won't fight physically unless there are no better options even though he has super strength, always stands up for people who are suffering, and plays by the rules. However, he also has a sneaky side, especially in earlier stories.
  • Power & Glory is all about playing with and subverting this trope. While A-Pex may resemble an all-American superheroic ideal, it's all a media manipulation job by his government creators, and the real person is far from an ideal anything.

    Film 

     Literature 
  • 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.
  • King Arthur and Galahad definitely, and a lot of the other knights of the Round Table come close.
  • Sword of Truth: Kahlan and Richard are this, just keep in mind it's Ayn Rand's ideals
  • Simona Ahrnstedt usually gives her characters some flaws, even if they're not villains. And the only male exception is Johan Stierneskanz from Íverenskommelser. He's basically perfect and flawless, the lily-white Nice Guy in a story with three jet-black villains.

     Live Action TV 
  • Most incarnations of the Doctor. Fourth and Fifth are probably the most obvious ones.
  • Constable Benton Fraser on Due South is the ideal Mountie in every possible way.
  • Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation is the pinnacle of 24th-century enlightened humanity, to the point that he's chosen as their representative when Q puts the species on trial. He favors diplomacy to force whenever possible, respects all forms of life, has no greater desire than to learn and explore, and knows exactly when to disobey the Insane Admiral or violate the Prime Directive.

    The only time this portrayal is played with is in Star Trek: First Contact when he briefly becomes consumed with getting revenge on the Borg even at the expense of his crew. When Lilly confronts him and compares him to Captain Ahab, he realizes his mistakes and regains his nobility.
    • An argument once given in the eternal Kirk vs Picard debate was presented as such: Kirk is the kind of Captain and leader who many people would love to go on an adventure with and have a beer with afterwards, Picard is the kind many would willingly follow right into hell itself.

    Music 
  • The song Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler may possibly be describing one of these:
    Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?
    Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
    Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
    Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need...

    Professional Wrestling 

     Roleplay 
  • 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.

     Video Games 

     Web Original 
  • 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.

     Other 

Honor Before ReasonKnight In Shining TropesIncorruptible Pure Pureness
The HunterArchetypal CharacterThe Idealist
Hurting HeroHeroesIdiot Hero
I Can't Do This by MyselfIdealism TropesThe Idealist
I Coulda Been a ContenderCharacterization TropesIdle Rich

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