Monsters are, well, monsters. They're uncouth, messy, dirty, disgusting, barbaric creatures with no sense of honor. The only times they do work together will more than likely resemble something akin to a horde than anything like a professional army. But, that's a bit too Cliché for most writers, so it's not that surprising to see many monsters that aren't mindless brutes. Monsters that are trained, with a thought for technique, tactics, strategy, valour, and (perhaps) a sense of honor that would make them seem almost respectable. A monster that's also a true warrior. This kind of character is often a Cultured Blood Knight, although they don't have to be. They're also more likely to be a Noble Demon, and thanks to the resonance the hero may have for this character, they may be found on any place on the Character Alignment scale in contrast to the usual Always Chaotic Evil treatment the characters race may receive in other works. They're often more humanoid looking as a result. Their possibly supernatural nature gives them a higher chance of being a Magic Knight, although the magic they practice is often more of a destructive and dark nature than average. If you have an entire army of Monster Knights, they're almost guaranteed to be a Badass Army as well. Compare the Black Knight, Dragon Knight and Wrestling Monster.
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Anime and Manga
- Nosferatu Zodd combines this with a heaping helping of Blood Knight; he's a giant, monstrous brute even in his more human-looking form and something like a horned, winged minotaur in his monstrous one, and there's nothing he loves so much as a good fight with a Worthy Opponent. He has a sense of honor and grudging respect, and he is up for the occasional Enemy Mine when the situation warrants.
- The New Band of the Hawk is filled with these guys (making it a pretty Badass Army ). Grunbeld, Irvine, and Locus in particular demonstrate a strong sense of fair play, refrain from Kick the Dog moments, and genuinely believe themselves to be the heroes. Their leader, Griffith, tries to invoke this, but is an utter monster beneath his angelic appearance.
- The Skull Knight is an example insofar as he is no longer human, and has more knightly trappings (barded warhorse, sword, shield, and plate mail) than most. Unlike many examples, he does not appear to actually be evil, and since the death of Flora may be the closest thing the series has to a Big Good.
- This is very common in mons media, especially that which has an overarching narrative beyond simply trying to be a game, since the monsters usually have to be smart enough to understand human commands.
- The trainer hating Bulbasaur from the Pokémon show, whom later decides to challenge main character Ash to a battle to see if he capable of capturing it, after Ash shows it there are honorable trainers.
- The wolf-like Tiger bandits from Monster Rancher, though the decayed state Moo's influence has brought on the world caused them to become less honorable (bandits), they avoid simply killing who they steal from even when it would be easy to do and under the right circumstance will accept duels in which they will not interfere on the behalf of their clan member until concluded. In addition there are also Centaur's band, who only joined Moo's cause because they were defeated by one of his big bad four and still reign justly in their realm otherwise, the martial artist Kato, the resurrecting guardian of the Jill village, Cinder-bird who willingly gave himself up to feed another monster who invaded due to starvation and the enlightenment seeker turned prized fighting champion, Most, who wishes to use what he learned to inspire the next generation.
- Tiger's expy Dorulumon from Digimon Xros Wars turns back on the Bagra Army precisely because they are not loyal to their own troops, putting them in harm's way just to preserve the general's "perfect" record. He is even more so in the the comic adaptation, where it is revealed Dorulumon was the best warrior in a warrior society of other wolf monsters before taking their combat skill to the Bagra Army (he leaves the army for similar reasons and has even more guilt about his membership here, since he felt he disgraced his clan).
- The manga even gives Dorulumon a knight-like evolved form called JagerDorulumon.
- Too many Digimon to name individually, though Leomon is a recurring example (especially in the anime) and some species literally have "Knight" in their name!
- Pick a character from the Royal Knights or the Olympus XII, chances are he/she is one of these.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gives us Viral: A Beast Man with shark and cat genetics, he's got More Teeth than the Osmond Family and a vicious Slasher Smile to go with them. He also happens to be the most honorable character in the series.
- Garyuu of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, a mute, multi-eyed humanoid insect that acts as Lutecia's knight much like Erio acts as one for Caro. He ends up being one of the first villains in the season to pull a Heel–Face Turn, saving Erio and Caro before helping them protect Mid-Childa from Lutecia's out of control insect summons.
- The Armored Titan from Attack on Titan turns out to be one of these.
- In Marvel Comics, the Knights of Wundagore are an entire Tribe Of Hats who have this as their hat. They're all animals evolved into humanoid creatures by the High Evolutionary.
- No-Name, The Gladiator brood from Planet Hulk. The brood were considered an evil swarming hive who while having a parasitoid method of reproduction, took the enslavement and torture of other species way too far. No-name, however, was captured and trained as a gladiator. Then "she" teamed up with the Hulk to liberate Sakaar from the Red-king with the rest of the war bound. So No-name was not a product of her own culture but proved Brood could be honorable under the right circumstances.
Live Action TV
Religion, Mythology and Folklore
- Most members of the Asura class worth mentioning. The Rakshasas were among the most monstrous, being multi-headed, fanged or tusked giants who preyed on mankind and were expelled from Brama's realm after he created them on accident and was nearly devoured by them in his sleep. Yet they also studied vigorously, meditated, grew gardens and developed a sophisticated society during the time they ruled on Earth called Lanka. Ravana, possibly the biggest bad guy in Hinduism, was honored for his respectable points after Rama, the avatar of the god of the universe, killed him.
- Also featured in the same work as Ravana are creatures such as MahaBali, an Asura who aimed to conquer all of the worlds but had a respect for the arts, philosophy and holy men such that Vishnu was able to make him give up all that he conquered without resorting to violence. Jatayu the giant eagle is an example on Rama's side and used as an example when the giant monkey king Vali argues that Rama should not judge him by human morals, saying that creatures such as Vali and Jatayu display the same level of intelligence and appreciation for society and thus should be held to the same standards of fidelity and conduct.
- There is also a passing mention to Tripurasura, a monster accidentally created by the sage Gritsamad and destroyed by Shiva. Despite his unnatural conception, Gritsamad raised Tripura as his own son and Tripura's diligent work gained him blessings from the deva Ganesh. Unfortunately this blessing caused him to grow proud and wreak havoc across various worlds, so Ganesh relented and helped Shiva, who was finding him particularly hard to get rid of. Still, his meditation on Ganesh's mantra and others qualified Tripura for salvation after death, unfortunately he returned as the demon Mahamada on Bali's order and started a religion based around himself and corrupting the established religions (luckily for all non demons, Shiva will be around to destroy him again)
- Legion Devils in Dungeons & Dragons
- Levistus, the Lord of The Fifth, who bills himself as the finest swordsman in the multiverse - when he's not encased in an Iceberg anyway.
- Bel, Lord of The First, who was a general in the Blood Wars.
- Death Knights. Duh.
- Every once in a while the game produces a warrior troll◊.
- Some of the typical 'monstrous' races are also playable races, and makes good knights. Orcs and minotaurs are common examples.
- For all their Good-ness, some Celestial races are quite terrifying in appearance, but they can be knight either in spirit or as actual classes.
- The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has a lot of these. One example is "Zure, Knight of Dark World," a demon knight. The Flavor Text indicates he's a Noble Demon. There's also the "Beast of Talwar", who may not be as noble, but is certainly disciplined, as his Flavor Text notes that only a Master Swordsman among fiends is allowed use of the Talwar, and his art shows him Dual Wielding.
- In Dragon's Wake the Black Knight is actually an undead horror.
- Nelo Angelo, whom Dante comes to respect out of all the bosses in the first Devil May Cry game. Makes sense, considering Nelo Angelo is quite clearly his brother Vergil.
- The Knight enemies in Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale.
- In later games in The Legend of Zelda franchise the evil Darknuts are jackal-headed monsters under their armor.
- King Bulblin from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess also qualifies.
- The Dremora from The Elder Scrolls, who are a type of Daedra who fight in armor with weapons and often magic. They refer to themselves in their own language as "the people" as opposed to the other Daedra, whom they see as mindless animals.
- Khajiit and Argonian players who chose to use heavy armor capture the visual aspect of this trope, and given both races tendency towards thievery and assassination, can end up playing the entire thing straight if they stick to the more honorable path.
- Dark Souls has the Capra Demon, a demon that is also a dual wielding warrior.
- Gogandantess (THE GREATEST SWORDSMAN OF ALL DEMONS) from the second Onimusha game. Despite being a pompous windbag he's also chivalrous and a Noble Demon to the point that the player character reacts with visible sadness when Gogandantess is mortally wounded in their final duel.
- While exactly what Maximus in Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic isn't really explained, he (or they, rather, since there, like so many others, appears to be multiple incarnations of him) is a green-skinned (except his X incarnation, who is brown-orange on account of explicitly being an Ashan-type orc), has tusks, and is a Knight.
- Might & Magic: Heores VI gives the backstory of his Ashan incarnation: When war-chief Kunyak led the rest of the orcs in a slave uprising and exodus, Maximus' ancestor chose to remain living in the human lands. Maximus earned his position of knighthood through tournament combat.
- While not encountered in Pokémon Red and Blue, the Pokdex describes Victreebel, essentially a mobile pitcher plants with eyes, as forming secret societies and executing those who trespass. In Pokémon Black and White players can come across the Musketeer trio (plus Keldeo through downloadable content), whom ended a war between humans when Pokemon were getting caught up in it and whom become indignant (and more powerful) if you employ underhanded (or evil) moves against them.
- Undyne from Undertale, the spear-swinging, human-hating fish Lady of War in command of the royal guard. Also too honorable to attack you while you're on the phone or when you're in her house.
- The Expansion Pack for Bloodborne, The Old Hunters, features the boss fight against Ludwig. A hunter transformed into a giant zombie centaur thing, he spends the first half of the fight screeching and trampling you like the feral beast he's become. But in the second half, he pulls out his signature weapon, the Holy Moonlight Sword. He regains some of his sanity, starts talking with a calm and silky voice, and changes his fighting style from a wild animal to a Master Swordsman. When he dies you can have one last talk with him, and if circumstances are right he passes on with his mind intact, saying he's grateful he didn't suffer such degeneration for nothing.
- Dragon Quest IX features the Wight Knight, a formerly heroic knight of a dead kingdom who has been trapped by the spell of a Succubus. Until defeated by the player, he doesn't realize that he has been dead for ages and the kingdom that he fought for has long since passed into history.
- The skull-headed guy in this video.