children. My patience is stretched
miles beyond its threshold. Embrace your wounded; you will be joining them in
In order to add more drama to a series which has been, up until that moment, lighthearted and comedic in nature,
a villain is introduced which is played completely straight, in contrast to the bumbling and comedic villains
the heroes have faced before.
This villain's arrival is usually heralded by a sudden downturn in humor, to show the audience this guy means business. In other words, a catalyst for a drastic change in mood toward the dark and dramatic.
In some depictions, particularly Lighter and Softer
ones, said villain may still have some light-hearted or comical traits
, but still gives a much higher sense of dread and genuine threat to the heroes than previous adversaries. Some cases of the trope may be harder to define by comparison in a particularly ineffective Rogues Gallery
, though a clear cut example at the very least can actually place the protagonist in real danger compared to the Harmless Villain
that poked his poodle
in a previous arc.
A typical symptom of Cerebus Syndrome
A Knight of Cerebus is very likely to be Dangerously Genre Savvy
, but also runs the risk of becoming a Villain Sue
. Arguably a subtrope of Threshold Guardians
. See also Dead Serious
, Not-So-Harmless Villain
. The show may Shoo Out the Clowns
first. Often, this results in a case of Vile Villain, Saccharine Show
. When this kicks off Cerebus Syndrome
, his arrival is a Gut Punch
. Sometimes, this type of character can be a Complete Monster
if they have no redeeming traits and do terrible things by the standards of history in an initially more lighthearted series.
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- Adventures in Odyssey is largely a realistic show about realistic small-town problems, frequently more comedy than drama. It had a few forays into serious territory early on, whether it was an adaptation of a Bible story or a robbery... but when Dr. Blackgaard showed up, things changed.
- The Cult of Apophis in Yu Gi Oh East Academy presents a very real and significant danger to the heroes; their appearance marks the darkening tone of the RP.
- [[Webcomic/Homestuck Doc Scratch]] somehow got the players of Destroy The Godmodder interested in actually roleplaying. The more he did, the more people began roleplaying.
- Makuta from BIONICLE started out menacing enough, but his constant defeats and failures gradually robbed him of his credibility. After the original head of the Story Team left, the character of Makuta underwent a serious retcon, which resulted in him turning into a calculating mastermind who had planned his victory from the start, turned out to be the Bigger Bad behind a lot of former villains, and by the end of the story arc, ended up winning.
- Noob is set in a MMORPG, so the early villains, while annoying and sometimes geunine threarts in-game, were no longer a problem once characters logged off. Then enter Master Zen, who has a deep resentment against the protagonists and is willing to go after them in real life. A plot present in all three incarnations of the franchise included him breaking into one of the protagonist's appartement, while the webseries had him resort to kidnapping and the comic showed outright (but fortunately failed) murder attempts. Even this wasn't enough for Stupid Good Sparadrap who still thinks of Master Zen as his former Guild Master, so his own storyline has Roxana: she become the first player he geuninely hates after she kills his pets and he eventually gets her to break out of her But for Me, It Was Tuesday attitude towards the incident, which causes her to hate him back.