"I think their attitude is more that of the cyclone, which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village, and is not aware, afterward, that it has done that village anything but a favor. ... People who blame a cyclone, do it because they do not reflect that compact masses are not a cyclone's idea of symmetry."One step below Anti-Villain: a creature that could be called monstrous, but can't actually be viewed as evil, since it lacks any actual malice or sapience. This is not to say that they're not a threat; they're usually a literal monster, and if they're not dealt with, many people will die. It's just that, in theory, options besides killing the monster exist. Note the difference between a Reluctant Monster and a Non-Malicious Monster is that the Non-Malicious Monster is always an antagonist; the Reluctant Monster can be a protagonist. In addition, the Reluctant Monster is usually sapient or can sense people's responses to its monstrosity (see, e.g., Casper the Friendly Ghost). The Non-Malicious Monster is more along the lines of a completely instinctive beast with no sapience; in other words, it's just reacting to stimulus in incredibly dangerous ways without bearing malice towards anyone. Imagine a 100 foot tall Rottweiler if you will. If they do have any sapience, it's a case of being Obliviously Evil. Typically True Neutral. Certain portrayals of Eldritch Abominations go out of their way to portray the Abominations as, well, dangerous only because we're in the way. Remember the last time you cared about the bugs you step on when walking in your yard? Sometimes compared to a more normal villainous character, frequently a Corrupt Corporate Executive, to make the distinction between "monster" and "evil" more explicit and obvious (although authors using this particular variation should be warned that said normal bad guy is especially prone to becoming a Designated Villain). Expect early victims to be Assholes for the usual reasons: we don't feel as bad about a giant dick being killed, and it doesn't hurt any sympathy we may have with the monster. For the purposes of Stock Monster Symbolism, a Non-Malicious Monster usually is used to further a "nature vs. civilization" theme, or more rarely a "disaster (man-made or otherwise)" theme. Compare Not Evil, Just Misunderstood. See also Monster is a Mommy, a Sub-Trope of when the monster in question is fully justified or even doing objective good in its monstrous actions, Why Isn't It Attacking? when the non-malicious behavior is noticed, and Benevolent Monsters, which is when a monster is actively kindhearted instead of just neutral.
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Anime and Manga
- Some of the Arrancar in Bleach are like this. It's explained that the process of becoming an Arrancar removes a Hollow's Always Chaotic Evil nature and gives them their sense of reason back. Most of the Arrancar we see are bastards anyway, but there's a few exceptions (Nell and her friends, Starrk and Lilinete, some say Harribel as well).
- Harribel and her Fraccions' actions at the end of the whole Aizen thing — and the backstory as to how and why they came together (while they were still standard Hollows) proves it.
- Android 8 from Dragon Ball. He looks just like Frankenstein's Monster and he was built to be a killing machine, but he's a kind gentle soul who doesn't like to hurt others, but you'd better not ever try to kill his friends.
- Subverted with Androids 17 and 18 in that, while thought to be murderous sociopaths in light of their alter-egos from Trunks' horrible future, not only are they not exactly murderous towards anyone not named Dr. Gero, which would play this trope straight, but they don't even really come off as sociopaths.
- Played straight later on with Super 17 in GT, who's a strange cross between Brainwashed and Crazy Android 17 and his Evil Knockoff, with twice the size and seriousness of either and a very Evil Laugh. While there's far less of a conscience, far more power, and more ego on the surface with Super 17 than the original, he still doesn't really shoot to kill anyone not named Dr. Gero during his Curb-Stomp Battle with the Z-Fighters, and it even takes a while to get there in his ensuing battle with Goku, the guy 17 was originally programmed to kill in the first place, even though his combination of Energy Absorption and Strong as He Needs to Be gives him a clear upper hand.
- Subverted by Berserker in Fate/Zero. He seems at first, like Fate/stay nights Berserker, to be rage personified without actual malice, but is revealed to have a very personal grudge against Saber.
- Some demons in InuYasha, like Jinenji.
- The Mobile Suit Gundam 00 movie, Awakening Of The Trailblazer, has an example. The ELS learn about things through assimilation, and combining their forms together is merely an efficient form of communication. Humans find assimilation to be a very painful way to die. This leads to the unfortunate situation where the ELS are a peaceful race looking to learn about and communicate with humans, and don't understand why humanity is trying to kill them for doing so, while humanity thinks it's defending itself against a hostile invasion.
- It's unclear whether the ELS even recognise themselves threatened, or if they just perceive the violence as a part of human communication, and respond in kind. The whole concept of verbal intercourse is completely incomprehensible to them after all, whereas battles are physical affairs like their assimilation.
- The Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion. As the offspring of Adam, they seek only to unite with their progenitor, and set off The End of the World as We Know It to claim (or rather, reclaim) the planet. The destructive Sachiel aside, only when something stands in their way will they actually attack.
- Most of the citizens of Makai (demon world) in Rave Master fall under this trope.
- Interestingly, the Tailed Beasts from Naruto can be tamed as Jinchuriki. Each has a different personality and can unlock tremendous abilities for the individual. However it seems the more tails the beast has, the increased difficulty it is to fully befriend and tame. The Nine Tails Kurama only just recently became agreeable towards Naruto, and that took several YEARS to accomplish. The lore states that the Ten Tails itself is the absolute worst, to the point that the other nine fear just talking about it.
- Batman villain Humpty Dumpty seems to be mentally retarded, but he has a knack for analyzing mechanical systems and figuring out how to subvert or disable them. After the deaths of his parents and constant abuse from his grandmother, he started trying to fix machines he perceived as broken out of irritation, but since his knowledge only came from library books his repairs often resulted in horrible accidents. He is just trying to do what he believes is a good thing for everyone. Even when he eventually "took apart" his grandmother, he did so in a misguided attempt to find the root of her meanness and fix her.
- The Marvel Comics Captain Ersatz of King Kong, Gorgilla, falls into this category.
- Another Marvel story involved Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch confronting a giant extra-dimensional beast rampaging around the city. The monster seemed almost unbeatable, but then Strange reads its mind. As it turns out, the rampage was just a reaction to being plucked out of its home realm and deposited in a strange world; it was scared, lonely, and simply wanted to go home. Strange complies, ending the threat.
- One possible interpretation of Bizarro — he doesn't mean to do harm, but his simple-mindedness combined with Superman-like powers makes him terribly dangerous.
- In Valhalla, the huge wolf Fenris (who was the most dangerous monster in Norse mythology) turns out to only be a over-sized dog, who was controlled and abused by the evil giant Surtr.
- In Vampirella, the early Pantha. Her one and only response to being threatened, annoyed or being given a parking ticket was instinctively turning into a panther and mauling the nuisance (and mostly, grieving afterwards about what she had done). Later, she got a retcon and an amulet to control herself.
- The embodiment of the Elements of Harmony in Elementals Of Harmony. They range from neutral to friendly, but are breaking the universe by existing. Two actually commit suicide when they learn this.
- The only ones that have to be fought head-on merged with ponies and were twisted. Loyalty merged with Scootaloo and lost it after being rejected by Dash, and Magic merged with Twilight and drove her existing tendency to fix everything with magic and Control Freak issues Up to Eleven by giving her enough power to fight two planeswalkers and Luna.
- The first chapter of Imperfect Metamorphosis ends with Rumia being disintegrated by a Blob Monster, which then takes a twisted version of her as its form and heads straight for Eientei and almost destroys the place in the ensuing battle. Turns out Rumia is still alive after being absorbed, the absorption was the only way said blob could move and communicate, the transformation was entirely involuntary, it went to Eientei to talk, and the battle was in self-defense after being attacked by half a dozen trigger-happy Blood Knights. Naturally, things get much worse from there.
- InThe Infinite Loops, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has the dubious honor of being a Malicious Looping Entity for no other reason than outright lethal stupidity instead of any ill intentions. He has managed to get a number of very old and extremely powerful loopers killed (in Anakin Skywalker's case more than once), and crash three supposedly uncrashable Safe Mode loops, all completely by accident.
- Castlevania: Nocturne of Ruin:
- The tribe of mermen who live in the fountain of Castlevania's garden. While xenophobic and somewhat Jerkasses, they prefer to be left alone and are at worst simply annoyed when Maria inadvertently pollutes their home while washing une slime out of a cloth.
- Catoblepas. While they have petrifying breath and are stated to be dangerous by Alucard, as he also points out, they're not aggressive and don't actively attack people; he even pets one.
- Land Before Time Retold: Strongfang, the brother of Sharptooth. Unlike his brother, he only hunts for food, his father having taught him that herbivores are their equals and only to hunt when hungry.
- While not necessarily presented this way in the source material, Frankenstein's Monster tends to get this treatment in modern media, since he was given a disfigurement, an abnormal brain (in most versions), and then spurned by the person that created him. The only people he befriends are those that can get past his appearance.
- The Ymir of 20 Million Miles to Earth just wants to be left alone. The fact that it's continually growing and is wanted by the government to figure out how it survives on Venus leads to it being poked. The Ymir does not like being poked.
- The Blob (1958): The Blob is a mindless space amoeba who simply consumes as much organic matter as it can find. It's no more malicious than any other predator.
- The Blob (1988): Averted. The Blob is the accidental result of a secret government germ warfare project, and shows several signs of intelligence. It seems to enjoy stalking its food and even lays traps for them.
- Katla from the Swedish fantasy movie Bröderna Lejonhjärta might be a huge dragon. And if she breathes her fire on you, you will soon become paralized. But she was controlled by the evil dictator Tengil, who kept using her to keep his power. And if you only leave her alone, she won't harm anybody.
- According to Word of God, the Cloverfield monster is not only a Non-Malicious Monster, it's also an Enfante Terrible. J.J. Abrams, the producer, said "He's a baby. He's brand-new. He's confused, disoriented and irritable."
- Slimer from Ghostbusters (1984). He's little more than a nuisance who wants to have a good time, but his antics interfere with the human world.
- When Godzilla is portrayed as an Anti-Hero, it's usually as one of these.
- Rodan in the original film. He never directly attacked humans (And in fact ate the monsters who were), all the damage he caused was either the accidental byproduct of the downdraft of his wings as he flew around, or caused by the JSDF's lousy aim.
- Mothra. She's by far the most benevolent monster in the Godzilla films and only attacks when someone either kidnaps her fairy companions or tries to hurt her offspring.
- Minya and Godzilla Junior. Justified in that both are infants.
- Godzilla (2014): Godzilla's not particularly interested in fighting with humans and goes out of his way not to fight them even when they are opening fire on him. Like Gareth Edwards has said, humans are like ants to him. You don't go out of your way to stomp on every ant you see, do you? The M.U.T.O.s aren't really evil either, most of the destruction they cause is just due to them being so large, and through the movie they act like actual animals. There are even sympathetic moments with them, such as the loving moment the couple have sharing a nuke, and the mother crying at the destruction of her nest.
- The Golem from the 1920 silent movie classic The Golem. He is treated as a monster by the humans, but at closer watch, he is only misunderstood (he is mute, after all) and dumb.
- Averted by the basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was beholden to "the heir of Slytherin" and did as it was commanded, but Harry's parselmouth abilities gave him insight into its thought processes, and it was every bit the murderous bastard its master was. The movie demonstrates this when Harry frantically tries to tell it to back off in parseltongue, but to no avail, as it was entirely loyal to the Heir.
"Come... come to me... Let me rip you... Let me tear you... Let me kill you.[...]I smell blood...I SMELL BLOOD!"
- Zigzagged in the Jurassic Park films. The Tyrannosaurus rex, Procompsognathus, and Dilophosaurus are simply carnivorous animals that only eat people because they are easy prey. Additionally, they are mostly shown eating people we're not supposed to sympathize with (in one case, it's even Played for Laughs) and, given the opportunity, the T. rex goes after other dinosaurs instead of the humans. The Pteranodon generally snatch up humans only when they wander into their enclosure, and in Jurassic World, they're motivated by a mix of panic and redirected aggression. The raptors, on the other hand, are shown to be intelligent and capable of sadism, the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III takes Super-Persistent Predator to the point that it seems like it just hates humans, and the Indominus rex from Jurassic World was specifically bred to be a hyper-aggressive killing machine.
- King Kong. As a description of how this trope fits would be akin to a plot synopsis, we recommend reading the page on King Kong instead.
- The mutant from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. As Betty puts it: "I don't think it ever meant to kill. It just didn't know not to."
- Jeff the giant worm from Men in Black II.
- Mighty Joe Young as well.
- In Monsters, it's heavily implied if not downright stated that the aliens aren't the aggressive monsters that they are perceived as. Sure they look scary, especially given they're nocturnal and their appearance. They do hurt and even kill people but this is probably curiosity, self defense and just their sheer size. During the finale, two of the creatures meet up in an awe-inspiring light show and completely ignore the humans nearby. This is made explicitly clear in Monsters Dark Continent, as none of the onscreen deaths are caused by the creatures, and it's obvious that the locals could adapt just fine their presence.
- Subverted in Pacific Rim. The Kaiju are outright being used as biological weapons in a war against humanity.
- The Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean only ever attacks ships when Davy Jones wakes it using a massive hammer. Wouldn't you be a little cranky too?
- Zigzagged in the Terminator franchise.
- Most Terminators, despite their calculating and merciless nature aren't malicious or sadistic. They're machines designed and programmed to carry out specific tasks in the most efficient manner possible and are no more likely to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on anyone than a calculator. In the Directors cut of Terminator 2: Judgment Day it's revealed Skynet ensures its models are designed not to learn too much when sent out alone, as it doesn't want them thinking for itself. So when Arnie's T-800 has this fixed, the Terminator actually learns the value of human life.
- This seems to not be the case with the T-1000 in T2, who carries out his killings with deadly cold sadism. The T-X from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines also displays similar signs of sadism. This implies the more advanced models are either designed to enjoy their "work" or are just naturally inclined toward sadistic tendencies.
- Possibly The Thing (1982). As much as a nightmare inducing assimilatory monstrosity it is, there is no indication that it is doing anything other than acting as any organism does: reproducing and trying to remain alive.
- Mocked at one point in the DVD's commentary.
- This also applies to the original thing, but its intentions are open to interpretation.
- On the other hand the creature seems to have a calculating nature and superior intellect to an animal, so if it can pretend and trick humans perhaps it is not mindless and can understand what it does.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey:
- The leopard in the "Dawn of Man" segment. It's not even a monster, really, just a mundane predator, but as the protagonists are apes, it's the segment's "villain".
- HAL 9000 is another example. While there's some ambiguity as to its sentience, what is clear is that his psychotic behaviour wasn't his fault; his programmers accidentally created a Logic Bomb in his programming, and murdering the crew was the only way to resolve the paradox.
- The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is considerably more vicious than a normal rabbit, but doesn't appear to be any more intelligent.
- Werewolves in the film Uncaged are aggressive and will attack and kill anyone they encounter, regardless of previous relationships, but Brandon believes that a werewolf can't be blamed for its actions because "it's just a monster", that is, just following its nature and thus not intelligent enough to be deliberately malicious.
- The main shock troops of the Yeerks in Animorphs, the Hork-Bajir and Taxxons, only act with malice when controlled by their parasitic masters. The Hork-Bajir, despite having enough blades on their bodies that they have been described as walking Cuisinarts, are actually peaceful herbivores who use all that hardware to strip tree bark, and are actually quite friendly. The Taxxons are more dangerous, but not maliciously so — they are cursed with a permanent all-consuming hunger that makes them desperate for food, and will even eat themselves if necessary. They simply can't help it.
- Also, the Howlers. When Jake morphs into one he's expecting the instincts of some insane killing machine, and is shocked to discover that their minds are more similar to playful dolphins—the only reason they kill is because Crayak has kept them from realizing that their victims are any more sentient than a video game character. The particular band the Animorphs are fighting actually get destroyed as soon as they realize the truth, since Crayak can't let this knowledge spread to the rest of the species' Hive Mind. They get some of it anyway, forcing Crayak to abandon them as shock troops.
- In the Conan the Barbarian short story The Tower of the Elephant our hero fights his way up a tower containing a valuable jewel that is rumored to be guarded be a monster. When Conan finds the monster, it is a harmless alien that has been enslaved by an evil wizard. Even Conan, who is a ruthless barbarian, feels sorry for it.
- In the Japanese novel Another we have two. The first is a curse which kills off students and teachers in a particular classroom and their immediate relatives. The second is an extra member of the class, a different person every year, who is Dead All Along, which is the cause of the curse. Neither could be considered actively malicious. For one thing, the "extras" aren't even aware of their status and mean no harm. Their mere presence, unfortunately, is what triggers the curse. As for the curse itself, it's trying to do the same thing the human characters are, root out the "extra", but simply does not discriminate between targets while trying to get the right one.
- Katla from The Brothers Lionheart might be a huge dragon. And if she breathes her fire on you, you will soon become paralyzed. But she was controlled by the evil dictator Tengil, who kept using her to keep his power. And if you only leave her alone, she won't harm anybody.
- The Great Old Ones and Outer Gods in the Cthulhu Mythos — either they are simply far too powerful to even register humans as worthy of moral consideration, or they have no comprehension of lesser life or, in the extreme cases, anything else at all. Their actions are not malicious in a strict sense, as they scarcely notice us. Azathoth is a pure example, being a blind, deaf god who will destroy all creation, but completely mindless - he does not know what he is doing, and is really more akin to a single cell than a sentient being.
- Subverted by the Outer God Nyarlathotep, who is every bit as powerful, but is fully aware of the relationship between himself, humanity, and the rest of the cosmos, and manipulates mankind.
- In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Doctor Willard accidentally summons a spirit in the secret underground laboratories of Joseph Curwen, which the immortal sorcerer had not yet dared to awaken, not being sure that even with his own experience and power he would be able to keep it obidient. When Willard awakes from his unconsciousness in the house above, all entrances to the underground laboratories and the hundreds of trapped spirits within it have vanished without a trace. Some time later, he learns that the other two immortal sorcerers of Curwens cabal in Europe have been killed in a fire and explosion that completely destroyed their mansions. All that is known about the spirit is that it knew how to write Latin in a script used in England in the 9th century.
- In Dragon Bones, the Basilisk, or stone-dragon, as some call it.. While it is a monster and does eat large mammals, like, for example, humans, it is not more sentient than a dog, and doesn't even kill more than it can eat. Oreg eventually turns it back into stone, saving it from dying in the cold climate, and the humans around it form being eaten. It is also described as looking quite pretty, being the kind of monster that could fascinate even someone who isn't a biologist.
- In the Dresden Files, newly-made Red Court vampires and White Court vampires whose demon has just awoken can be this.
- Many wizards don't have guidance when they come into their power (mid-teenage years). They don't know how not to use their power, or the consequences of misusing their power, and start down the paths to being warlocks (wizards of substantial caliber who violate the laws of magic). Many warlocks are malicious, and Harry has brought a few of those down himself, but he's really disturbed by the White Council's zero-tolerance policy towards this trope. He views Molly as this when he presents her to the White Council, and manages to get her put on probation instead of executed on that count, claiming he can teach her how to use her power for good.
- The titular monster in Julian May's short story "Dune Roller". Long ago, it crashed to Earth, with many small parts of itself (its "children") being widely scattered. It doesn't go out of its way to harm other creatures, but if you get in its way when it tries to reabsorb its children, it will go Mama Bear on you.
- The buggers in Ender's Game only kill humans because they don't realize that individual humans are intelligent, thinking beings, instead seeing them as trivial elements of a Hive Mind, making killing a few thousand of them more like smacking someone to get their attention...
- A group of cannibals in Galaxy of Fear turn out to be this. Even the protagonists go from fearing to pitying them.
- Averted by the basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets It was beholden to "the heir of Slytherin" and did as it was commanded, but Harry's parselmouth abilities gave him insight into its thought processes, and it was every bit the murderous bastard its master was.
"Come... come to me... Let me rip you... Let me tear you... Let me kill you.[...]I smell blood! I SMELL BLOOD!"
- Pretty much every "monster" in The Iron Teeth web serial is a type of animal, and thus non malicious. They may be 500 pound killing machines but they kill to live, not because they are evil. This is true even though many of the animals are both named after and resemble mythological creatures such as: harpies, trolls, ogres, drakes, and giant spiders.
- In the short story "Elegy for a Demon Lover" (part of the The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth), Kyle realizes that even though Ivo is (obliviously) a life-force-draining incubus, "he did love me. To him I was the world."
- In The Stormlight Archive Nergaoul is an embodiment of mindless slaughter that makes war addictive, causing people to continue the battle as their city burns down around them. In Oathbringer when it's rejected by one of its favorite people to influence Dalinar rather than being angry it's confused and sad, like a big friendly dog whose owner doesn't want to play any more. It just doesn't understand people have interests beyond butchering each other, which is why it often influences both sides of a battle.
- Despite the fact that nearly every space-going civilization has demonized it as evil, the Swarm Mother and its "children", from the Wild Cards series is essentially just a mindless, city-sized predatory space-going omnivorous mushroom who destroys whole ecosystems solely because it needs biological material with which to reproduce. It has all the malicious intent for the civilizations it destroys as a car windshield has for a bug.
- A common theme explored extensively in The Witcher, both the novels and the video games based on them. One reason the witchers are running out of work is that humans are simply learning to live with monstrous creatures, such as a mayor in one story who refuses Geralt's offer to kill a troll because it keeps the bridge in good repair without asking for anything in return, even if it does occasionally break someone's leg for refusing to pay the crossing toll. Some larger beasts like wyverns, griffons and drakes are just protecting their territory or their young. Even succubi are largely friendly and mean no one any harm, only killing in self-defense or by accident. Humans, meanwhile, are as capable of evil as any supernatural creature.
- In the Fighting Fantasy book Creature of Havoc, the titular protagonist is a horrific monster who starts as a non-sapient creature of instinct, but gains intelligence and language and ultimately becomes a Horrifying Hero to defeat an evil Sorcerous Overlord. Justified in that the Creature Was Once a Man who fell victim to a Baleful Polymorph.
- Shows up quite a bit in Doctor Who, particularly when Steven Moffat is writing or running the show. Several episodes ("The Empty Child", "The Curse of the Black Spot", "The Girl who Waited") feature medical equipment wreaking havoc by innocently trying to "cure" members of species they are unfamiliar or incompatible with, while the monsters in "The Girl in the Fireplace" are simply part of a spaceship's severely malfunctioning self-repair system. Outright subverted in "Flatline", where the Doctor thinks the aliens might not realize they're hurting anyone, but when he gets through the Starfish Language barrier, the aliens just use it to mock and gloat. Openly discussed in "The Pilot", where the Doctor mentions that just about everything in the universe is dangerous but few things are evil, many things are hungry which is easily confused with evil when you're on the wrong side of it.
- The eponymous dolls in The Haunting Hour episode "Worry Dolls". The way they work is pretty simple: You tell them what you're worried about and they fix it. While well-meaning, they're not particularly selective about how they do it. So if you, say, tell them that you want your parents to spend more time with you instead of always going on the road for work, they'll make your parents obsessed with spending time with you to the point of never leaving you alone and becoming psychotic if you try to spend even a minute by yourself.
- Discussed in Stargate SG-1, on the topic of the Replicators. Teal'c points out that they're simple, self-replicating machines not programmed with any thought beyond self-replication, making them "no more evil than a virus". O'Neill responds "A really evil virus", indicating that he doesn't much care about the Replicators' morality or lack thereof. The Replicators do eventually develop higher intellect, and with it, more varied motivations (some good, mostly evil), though their primary goal remains self-replication above all else.
- The horta from Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Devil in the Dark". Its apparent unprovoked attacks against the mining colony (and two crew members) turn out to be because the colony was destroying its eggs, which they thought were nothing more than worthless silicon spheres. After Spock is able to deduce this by speaking to the creature, peace is made (and the young are actually able to help the colony dig up precious ore).
- The Crystalline Entity from Star Trek: The Next Generation, despite being a fearsome creature with a habit of scouring planets of all life, is never evidenced to be malicious. Captain Picard refuses to destroy it simply for being hungry, except as a last resort to protect other intelligent life.
- Discussed in Star Trek: Voyager "Hope and Fear", about The Borg of all species whom Arturis compares to a force of nature.
"You don't feel anger toward a storm on the horizon; you just avoid it."
- Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron tells John in one episode that, while Terminators are killing machines, they are not programmed to be cruel. Cromartie's actor, Garret Dillahunt, even outright describes his character as a Punch-Clock Villain:
Dillahunt: I like him. They're really not bad guys - they're doing their job. He has no hate in him. He's like: "Look, it's my job, sorry... Gotta snap your neck."
- Almost every entry in the Ultra Series will have a handful of Kaiju of the Week that are portrayed as such. In accordance with What Measure Is a Non-Human?, the defense teams and Ultra heroes will either kill it anyways or try to help/protect it, depending on if they realize the monster is not truly villainous. Ultraman Cosmos is a good example of this, with the title hero often choosing to spare the monsters and instead take them to a new home instead.
- All of the antagonists in Walking with Dinosaurs are just predators trying to survive.
- Generally speaking, if a nature series focusing on animals chooses to present the trials of the species depicted in the form of a story, the antagonists usually will be predators that are just trying to survive as much as the prey/protagonists/side characters are. Not necessarily a bad thing, but may be bothersome to some viewers.
- The original interpretation of the Kraken in Norse mythology served as this. They weren't vicious predators, but their sheer size made them a threat because they would cause whirlpools when they submerged.
- The Mutant Dinos of Dino Attack RPG. Although the Maelstrom drove their urges to destroy, the dinosaurs themselves were not actively malicious and more akin to confused animals acting on instinct.
- A lot of monsters in Dungeons & Dragons have their alignment listed as True Neutral, because they're basically oversized plants or animals which may or may not have supernatural powers. Since they're not sapient, they can't make moral judgments.
- The ultimate example of this may be the Tarrasque - a giant reptilian monster, nearly indestructible and as large as D&D size measurements get (Colossal), which rises from its slumber every few centuries to cause untold havoc as it eats everything in sight. As it digests you and your entire village And Your Little Dog, Too!, you can take comfort in the fact that it bears no ill will towards you. If Spelljammer is taken into account, it's even suggested that ordinarily the Tarrasque would be as harmless as a being larger than many houses can be — it just that it's either (essentially) poisoned or suffering from deprivation, as the air of its native world seems to be different to that of most others.
- The Gray Render stands out as being a two-ton armour-skinned nightmare of claws and teeth... that likes to "adopt" random people, protecting them from harm and bringing them food.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The Tyranids have no malice to them whatsoever. They reduce entire biospheres to bare rock because they need to eat, and are essentially nothing more than a rapidly-evolving swarm of intergalactic locusts. But because they divide the entire universe into "us", "food", and "inorganic matter", there is no way to deal with them other than to kill them or get out of the way...and planets are rather restricted in their movement.
- The Chaos gods in Warhammer and 40K really don't care what happens outside of the warp, and indeed spend the vast majority of their attention on fighting each other (they are Chaos, after all). If a bunch of mortals want to commit unspeakable actions in their name, then why not? "And maybe we'll give these mortals a few "gifts" as well; it might be funny."
- In the New World of Darkness, the Leviathan is an incomprehensibly vast monster in the furthest depths of The Underworld, ruling an infinite black ocean that dissolves the memories and identities of people who enter. While the other Underworld rulers delight in inflicting horrible punishments on those who violate their laws, the Leviathan simply, dispassionately grabs offenders and moves them somewhere they can't continue what they were doing.
- In Bloodborne, both the Beasts and Great Ones qualify as this. The Beasts are mere victims of a plague caused by Blood Ministration, while the Great Ones are implied to be trying to help humanity in their own ways, not meaning nor intending any harm, but humans inevitably bite off more than they can chew and the knowledge drives them crazy. Rom, as a Barrier Maiden of a dreamcatcher, is actually shrouding people from the sinister Mensis Ritual to protect them. Ebrietas chose to co-exist with the Healing Church and granted knowledge to them, which the church would misuse later. However, the greatest example is the Moon Presence, he is actually helping the humans to stop the Great Ones, he created a dream and empowered you to halt a nightmare, yet in return, you turned against him and killed him for good.
- The monsters in Evolve fit the bill. Their goal is to destroy the Patterson Tech, which is an anathema to them. The massive body count they rack up is in response to the human counter attack.
- Most of the alien enemies in Half-Life are just hungry animals that are very disoriented and confused from being abruptly teleported away from their home, including the unspeakably horrible headcrabs. Half-Life 2 introduces the antlions, which are again Big Creepy-Crawlies which just see humans as food.
- The Heartless of Kingdom Hearts are named as such because they act on instinct and nothing else if left to their own devices.
- Elementals from MARDEK don't attack so much as leak energy when disrupted. Not that it doesn't hurt.
- Thresher maws in Mass Effect are giant wormlike creatures that are highly territorial and aggressive, though non intelligent. Standard protocol for dealing with them involves the local equivalent of tanks. Lots of them.
- The Thorian is claimed to be one of these before fighting it, a giant sentient mind controlling plant is going to have to die, especially when it strongly refused any POSSIBILITY of making peace with the others and generally viewed them as expendable thralls.
- Two of the final bosses from Megaman Battle Network qualify. The LifeVirus from the first game only has the brutish intelligence of virus-kind, while Alpha from the third game is basically just a giant amoeba set to "eat".
- Most enemies in Metroid are simply local wildlife with no real beef with Samus. Even the eponymous metroids themselves are this; the Space Pirates have spent years trying to control them for use in battle, but so far they've only gotten as far as "dump a bunch of metroids in a room and run away."
- The entire Monster Hunter series is full of them. Most will attack the hunters, but this is due to their instincts (correctly) perceiving the hunters as threats. This has been part of the series' design philosophy from the start; the developers never wanted to portray the monsters as evil, simply a part of the natural order humanity had to struggle against - in fact, on role of the Hunter's Guild is to prevent any species of monster from becoming endangered due to overhunting.
- The Gore Magala of the fourth entry of the series is the closest thing the games have had to an outright antagonistic monster, and even it falls under this trope. It's actually an Elder Dragon living out its one-in-a-generation maturity cycle. It just happens to turn into a living rabies vector while it does, and it's smart enough to recognize that it keeps getting into scraps with the same Hunter.
- Monster Hunter: World takes this a step further, since even some returning monsters are less aggressive than they once were. There are some species that attack a hunter on sight, but this is noted as being evidence of aggressive or territorial behavior, not malice. Some monsters will now give a warning roar and leave it at that if the player leaves, some will only attack if the hunter dances around like they're trying to get its attention, and a few couldn't care less until the hunter attacks first.
- The Sasquatches from Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. "We eat BERRIES and MUSHROOMS, you fool!
- Many of the Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus, with special mention to Phalanx, the 13th Colossus.
- The Monster from some SimCity games may be destructive, but is noted in the manual as not probably acting in malice. The Monster's just ignorant of the damage it's causing.
- A couple of the antagonists of Star Control.
- The Mycon, a race of sentient fungus, are so alien in their thinking that it's hard to ascribe any malice to their actions, even when said actions involve turning life-bearing planets into volcanic wastelands. Talking to them, it's readily apparent that they are either completely mad, or just so different that doing this is just their nature. It's also implied that they aren't natural creatures, and were created by ancient aliens as a terraforming device before they went haywire.
- The Slylandro Probes. The Slylandro people themselves turn out to be perfectly friendly and peaceful creatures who wouldn't harm a fly — and couldn't; they are sentient pockets of gas and can't interact physically or leave their gas giant planet. So they bought some handy self-replicating probes from the Melnorme to explore the galaxy and meet new friends for them. But they are new to this computer thing and set the priority of the self-replicating behavior much too high. Now the probes hail your ship, give you a cordial greeting, and then try to reduce your ship to raw materials, becoming the game's Goddamned Bats in the process.
- There are a few monsters in Ultima IV that are this. Every monster in the game is described in the manual, and somewhere in that description it will specifically identify it as evil or non-evilnote , which is important to becoming an avatar, as you must let them run if they try and escape you in battle. They also act differently on the main map, wandering more or less aimlessly, while evil monsters will home in on you relentlessly.
- Most of the creatures you fight in Xenoblade and its Spiritual Successor Xenoblade Chronicles X are more or less just wild animals and aren't inherently evil. Elma even lampshades the trope in the latter game, saying that they mostly leave the local fauna alone, only attacking the wildlife that actually poses a threat and/or attacks first.
- Telethia the Endbringer in Chronicles X is a stand-out case: it flat-out will not attack unless attacked first. It saves the protagonists in their first encounter with it (whether intentionally or not is unclear). In a later sidequest, the player is asked to retrieve one of its scales, necessitating a fight with it. The player is extremely unlikely to be anywhere near strong enough to truly challenge Telethia at that point, but if they do so anyway, Telethia basically drops a scale after a few attacks and goes away without further conflict, suggesting it knew why the player attacked it and wasn't offended/threatened by the attack.
- Possibly Lavos from Chrono Trigger, as it is unclear whether it is sentient or not.
- The Ultra Beasts of Pokémon Sun and Moon are initially presented as bizarre lovecraftian creatures with powers and abilities that appear to defy whatever passes for logic when applied to regular Pokémon. It would be easy to think that they're invading and causing havoc on purpose. It turns out that they're they're actually trying to find a way to get back to their own dimension and are disoriented from being flung into one that's just as alien to them.
- The Typhon in Prey (2017) are intelligent (or at least capable of complex problem-solving) and trying to kill everyone on Talos 1, but as Alex notes at one point, they can't be called 'evil' because they lack mirror neurons, and as such are biologically incapable of seeing humans as anything but food. And depending on how you play the game, an experiment in giving a Typhon mirror neurons could result in said Typhon becoming incredibly protective of human life and going out of its way to save others.
- Tuska from Runescape is a boar-like goddess called the World Devourer, who destroys every plane she comes across (including Guthix's native plane). However, she's not a sapient being- she's a regular wild animal who managed to gain godhood, and as such she destroys based solely on instinct.
- The Villain Protagonist of Tasty Planet is a non-sentient bit of nanotechnology that ends up bringing about a Grey Goo scenario due to its uncontrollable instinct to eat anything smaller than itself.
- The Hulking Shyster from A Moment of Peace is an absolutely massive monster who can't hunt or kill anything because he's debilitatingly shy.
- The Reichtangle of Polandball fame, which typically represents Germany's Superpowered Evil Side, is nevertheless often depicted as a creature of instinct rather than malice, driven by an insatiable urge to absorb other countryballs into itself.
- The giant beast in Tower of God in the 21st floor's test. It doesn't do anything, except belly-flop. You don't want that thing do belly-flops!
- The denizens of Bright World in The Hazards Of Love don't seem to be evil per-se, but it doesn't change the fact that they don't see humans as people and have no issues with enslaving or eating them.
- Dreamscape: Keedran looks terrifying, but she's benevolent. In fact, she perfers her monster form over her One-Winged Angel form for this exact reason.
- From Killerbunnies, we have this with Mayze, who is a baby who just so happens to have very sharp teeth. However, like most babies, she is very affectionate and only wants to play, be that roughly, the implications of this would be that she probably shows affection and playfulness by biting. In that vein, we have Mikie who, while created as a test subject, is anything short of harmful, noted to be pleasant, although she is can be a nuisance, as she is prone to tasting, as well as eating things out of curiosity. Apparently, she's eaten livestock.
- Many SCPs qualify, but special mention goes to SCP-053, a little girl whose powers cause anyone that attacks her to instantly drop dead, while at the same time giving anyone in her vicinity an uncontrollable urge to attack her. She has no control over this.
- Aladdin: The Series:
- One episode has a monster that eats magic and almost devours Genie and Carpet, but he's just like any animal who has to eat to survive.
- There was also a sand shark with the treasure of a thousand sultans' vaults stuck to its underbelly. It was a shark, but didn't go out of its way to hunt down humans. It just happened to come across humans every now and then and thought "Oh hey, food!" Later on, said shark was killed and eaten by a group of small humanoid creatures. While fearsome hunters, it turned out that they weren't evil themselves, just the slaves for a powerful evil wizard. Once the wizard was defeated, and a new leader stepped forward, they became a lot nicer.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory featured an underground monster who couldn't get any sleep with all the noise of civilization, so he went up to the surface to ask humanity to quiet down. Naturally, the humans freaked out at the sight of a monster, and one thing led to another...
- In the film version of How to Train Your Dragon, the dragons are raiding the Viking village for food because they're being forced by a larger dragon to feed it or be eaten themselves. Once the larger dragon is killed, the other dragons are more than happy to coexist with the Vikings.
- Megas XLR has a big, grim, dark, evil species of rhino-like monsters...however, that was just because they were being mind-controlled; in reality, they were cultured, gentlemanly creatures.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The second episode has Twilight and friends come face to face with a manticore. They attack the beast, which is acting in a threatening manner, before Fluttershy yells for them to stop. She then cuddles up to it and finds a thorn in its paw, which she removes. Once the thorn — and the pain — is gone, the manticore becomes a lot calmer. Everypony else is amazed by this.
- Fluttershy is a master at dealing with this trope. When a dragon's hundred-year nap threatens to cover Equestria in smoke, she gets it to leave simply by firmly telling it about what will happen to the ponies (after making it burst into tears). When Cerberus starts rampaging through Ponyville, Fluttershy calms him with belly rubs and says he's just a big dog that got out of his yard.
- The Ursa Minor that Snips and Snails lure into town is this as well. Turns out it's just a baby that's ticked that it was pestered in its sleep, and all it needs is some warm milk to calm it right back down.
- The Parasprites, like any Explosive Breeder, are only concerned with food and breeding, and even then they weren't too bad until Twilight's botched spell caused them to eat everything except food.
- In Generation 1, the Smooze was a purple slime creature that washed over Dream Valley and nearly induced a Sugar Apocalypse until stopped. It was fully aware of the effects its actions, and if anything seemed to enjoy doing what it did. In Friendship is Magic, it's an amicable green slime creature that attends the Grand Galloping Gala as Discord's plus-one. The trouble it causes during the event is not so much malicious as a result of an irresistible urge to eat shiny objects and annoyance with its treatment by the one who brought him there.
- The Filmation series The New Adventuresof Superman has several, such an an extraterrestrial creature that devours iron and steel, and the Fire Phantom, which Superman himself describes as "just a fire that wouldn't go out."
- The Hand Cluster from Steven Universe isn't actually violent, despite its terrifying appearance. When it grabs Garnet, it does so less out of aggressiveness and more because the fallen Crystal Gems it's made of seem to recognize her. The actual case is revealed later, with the actual Cluster: it and its prototypes, the human-sized Gem fusion-mutants, are made of forcibly-combined shards of shattered Gems. Their only instinct at this point is to attempt to seek out the rest of their matching shards and properly regenerate.
- The Teen Titans episode "The Beast Within" has Beast Boy turn into the Beast, which plays the part of the Monster of the Week until misunderstandings are cleared out and the real culprit apprehended.
- The Incredibly Stupid Swamp Monster from Garfield and Friends is a prime example of Dumb Is Good, being a Gentle Giant.
- Animals, particularly large mammals, like bears. They're not hostile to humans. Humans, being large primates at the top of the food chain, are typically much more dangerous to other animal species than those animal species are to them. Even so, there is cause for alarm when bears start digging through human trash: if they get used to the idea of dumpsters as a food source, they'll be a dangerous nuisance until they're killed.
- Harmful bacteria and viruses.