Double Subverted in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei with the schoolgirl Mitama Mayo. While she really is as evil as she looks, people end up assuming that she could not possibly be evil because nobody is that obvious anymore. Making it more obvious, her Meaningful Name (which the series is filled with) means "exactly as (she) looks"
Surprisingly, 'Gundam' plays with it.
Zeta Gundam's Yazaan Gable is introduced by Scirocco to be an animal and Blood Knight but then appears with a cute turtle tattooed on his chest.
G Gundam's Big Bad is named Devil Gundam (Dark Gundam) and is shown to be fighting a fighter squadron at its first appearance, but the others...
Dasil Galette from Gundam AGE looks more evil when he is an adult
Played with a bit in an episode of Slayers. Lina is fighting Vrumugun - a creepy-looking, narrow-eyed sorcerer in dark grey robes with a sinisterly glinting red jewel on his forehead. When Amelia tries to join in on Vrumugun's side Lina says Vrumugun is the real villain:
Lina: Amelia, think! Who looks like a bad guy here?
Amelia: <thinks hard for a few moments> Both of you!
Dr. Hell, the Big Bad of Mazinger Z, has pale purple skin and a long white Beard of Evil, also being prone to maniacal laughter. Oh, and his name is Dr. Hell. The bizarre part is that his backstory involves betraying a group of companions in order to get some Phlebotinum, which means that someone, somewhere, was willing to trust him.
The modern remake Shin Mazinger shows him before his Start of Darkness, where he actually looks no more evil than your standard Mad Scientist... but he's still named Dr. Hell and still the Big Bad of the series. This makes it surprising when it turns out he was also trying to keep an even greater evil in check.
Emperor of Darkness, Big Bad from Great Mazinger was a giant being made of flame. He certainly did not seem someone nice.
Given that he's the head of a military dictatorship, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he's not the nicest guy in the world. And he's called the frickin' Fuhrer. His evilness was never the biggest surprise about him anyway; that would be his being a homunculus.
Some of the real nasties in One Piece can be pretty obvious in their appearance. Apart from the hook hand, Crocodile looks like a mob boss. Akainu simply seems more realistically drawn and has a Yakuza tattoo. Blackbeard is a big, fat, ugly guy missing some teeth and a nose that looks like it's been broken a few times. Gecko Moriah is an obese, chalk white demon creature with horns, no chin and a neck about triple the length it should be, with razor sharp teeth and an odd resemblance to a balloon animal. On the other hand, Warden Magellan is probably a subversion since despite his highly demonic appearance, he's practically a hero antagonist: he just wants to keep the world safe from some nasty, nasty pirates.
Professor Cobra in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Aside from the name, he begins forcing students to duel with Des Belts, which drain their energy upon defeat, and laughs evilly while disappearing for long tracts of time to his lair, with no one questioning where he went.
It takes one look at him in the moment of his introduction to tell that Yakushiji Tenzen of Basilisk is the main villain. He's not too over the top, but... just look at him. His anime version is wearing a white cloak, combined with long black hair that looks like a pair of horns and he's got that perpetual rape-face complete with Guyliner. His live action incarnation takes it one step further by making him look like Sephiroth. You can't get more evil that that.
Vento of the Front from To Aru Majutsu no Index invokes this trope, making people hostile towards her since her power, "God's Divine Punishment", activates only when there are people who feel hostile towards her. Those people are then deprived of oxygen, putting them at a comatose state until she deems that the punishment is enough.
Windaria's Lagado. He wears a black cloak with a face mask and calls someone off the road from behind a rock for a suspicious plan.
Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Darkseid of Apokolips and his minion Desaad are trying to find the Anti-Life Equation. The visual doesn't help, either. The nicest guys in Apokolips seem to be torturemistress Granny Goodness and televangelist/propaganda minister Glorious Godfrey, so you know it's bad (and the rest of Darkseid's retinue? Try to guess what kind of people Kalibak, Virmin Vundabar, Lashina, Bernadeth, and Mad Harriet are).
Ceryx, the Big Bad - maybe, this book doesn't reveal much - of Artesia. All his teeth are sharp, chains and hooks hang from his thighs, he is surrounded by perpetual darkness, and he leaves bloody footprints wherever he walks.
Magneto named his group the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Seriously, just drop the "evil" and you'd come across much better. Modern writers noticed this, and retconned the "Evil" part as being a sarcastic comment on how humanity sees mutants in general, and those who want more mutant rights in particular. When the group pops up in modern adaptations, they're usually just the "Brotherhood of Mutants." When Mystic was running the gang herself, ostensibly for the US government, she gets smart about the name and calls the team, "Freedom Force."
Averted by Susan Veraghen of Grendel. Arguably the only truly non-evil Grendel of the entire series (every last one of the others either starts out or ends up as a conscienceless psychopath), she looks like a Sith Lord, complete with huge muscles, spikes and full-body tattoos.
Two-Face, Killer Croc, and the Scarecrow, though the latter is justified (his whole purpose it to scare people to begin with after all).
One of the greatest of the Green Lantern Corps was a man with reddish purple skin, a Snidely Whiplash-style mustache and a clear superiority complex named Sinestro. Go on and guess how his tenure ended.
In Dick Tracy, you would think the cops would just arrest every hideously deformed citizen they spot. Not a single one can say they have no involvement in organized crime.
Then we have Captain America's old enemy the Red Skull. The name alone(coming after what his 'face' looks like) is bleedingly obvious a tip-off and this is without mentioning he sided with the Nazis. Can't get much more Obviously Evil than that.
The Horde from Strikeforce: Morituri are a race of barbarian Planet Looters who deliberately avoid conquering Earth simply for the fun of terrorizing the populace and think nothing of slaughtering helpless slaves and children. An early terror tactic was to eject large numbers of captured humans outside the Earth's atmosphere, allowing them to burn up in re-entry so people on the ground could see the streaks representing their burning forms.
The Mighty Thor (now called Journey into Mystery): Loki was recently reincarnated as a child (without his adult memories), and is facing this in-universe: Everyone other than Thor (and he has reservations) is essentially saying "He's Loki, so he must be evil." Loki is trying very hard to make his reputation work for him, and in dealings with people like Mephisto is desperately trying to channel his evil past self (often making comments to his companions on how fun it is to talk like you're an evil, powerful trickster when you're really just a kid).
Robo: Computers that are evil have all kinds of unnecessary ornamentation. This thing's venting steam! Why's it doing that? It's like nature. Like rattlesnakes or poisonous toads. It wants you to know its dangerous.
Doctor Strange's foes who fit this trope include Dormammu (covered in Spikes of Villainy, with a skull-like head surrounded by flames) and Shuma-Gorath (Starfish Alien with a single staring red eye in the center of his tentacles). Satannish, Mephisto, Chthon, Sligguth, N'Gabthoth...
Another Spidey villain, the Hobgoblin, is actually a bit more obviously evil-looking than his predecessor, the Green Goblin. His original appearances showed him almost always In the Hood with Glowing Eyes of Doom, and when his mask is shown, he looks like... well... a goblin. He also has the Goblin staple weapons of jack-o-lantern pumpkin bombs, bat-shaped throwing blades, and a demon-headed bat-glider. When the Jason Macendale version got possessed by a demon, the obvious evilness of him went Up to Eleven, adding reptilian skin and eyes, sharp fangs, and Hellfire-producing powers.
The Demons from Spawn are hideous deformed beings with fangs, claws and horns. Even their human forms don't help; for example, the Violator takes the form of a Monster Clown when posing as a human. Averted however with God and the Angels, as well as the titular protagonist, who despite being a Humanoid Abomination with a disfigured face, black and red suit and downright creepy powers, is at worst a Anti-Hero.
In X-Men fanfic Mutatis Mutandis by Artemis's Liege, Chapter Ten opens with the Pro-Regs going about their daily routine: Reed Richards is experimenting on Goliath's corpse, condoned by all others, while he and Tony Stark discuss how much of a traitor Spider Man is for not helping them imprison rebel heroes in the Negative Zone with the regular supervillains.
Although to be fair, Sharptooth's actions are strictly predatory.
A great many Walt Disney films do this, even going so far as to base their color and shape schemes around it (as talked about in the Aladdin DVD documentaries). Just take one look at a character sheet for an average Disney film and you can immediately pick out the villains. This is kind of odd when it's done with Animal Stereotypes and say - bears are painted as horrible, deadly, kaiju-like monstrous demons in The Fox and the Hound and as friendly and lovable heroes in The Jungle Book and Brother Bear.
Brother Bear is an interesting case of subversion, actually. When the mother bear first appears, she has beady black eyes and looks bestial, if not outright evil, but when the same bear shows up in the ending after the hero has undergone his character growth, she has wider, Disney-esqe eyes and seems more human and compassionate as a result.
Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers movies. His frickin' name is Evil. He went to evil medical school! Granted, he's mostly humorously ineffectual, but he's trying...
The Car in.. The Car.. is a black low-slung thing with heavily-tinted windows and a grill like a snarl.
The Dudley Do Right Movie lampshades this trope with Snidely Whiplash. As a child explaining what he wants to be when he grows up he declares, "Isn't it obvious? I'm going to be the BAD GUY!" Later in the film, Dudley and the Kumquat Chief are speaking to a politician, who questions whether Snidely is the bad guy. The chief replies, "Just look at the way he dresses, DUH!"
In the first Dungeons & Dragons, the villains Profion and Damodar (though laughably so) are very much Obviously Evil. As if to acknowledge it, Profion is shown wearing an innocuous white robe while addressing the wizard council as some attempt to explain why he's not executed immediately.
William Bludworth, the funeral director who appears in Final Destination, Final Destination 2, and the upcoming Final Destination 5, is Affably Evil in that he deals with death itself and gives the protagonists cryptic clues about how to cheat death (for example, in 2: "Only new life can defeat death.").
Deconstructed in the 2008 Get Smart, when Max deduces that Dalip is a KAOS agent because "...his face looks like an Easter Island head!" After a moment's thought, he chastises himself for profiling and assumes that Daliph is really a good guy. In fact, Dalip is working for the villain, but only because his wife is being held hostage.
Averted in Halloween. Unlike Freddy, Jason and Leatherface, when Michael Myers is (briefly) unmasked in the climax of the first movie, he's revealed to have an almost angelic face. According to Word Of God, Tony Moran's "angelic" appearance is exactly why he was hired for that role. And the scar on Michael's eye wasn't supposed to be as ugly as it turned out to be, but prosthetics got a bit carried away when applying it to the actor's face.
The live action Disney film A Kid in King Arthur's Court gives us Lord Velasco. When a character is first introduced as the king's trusted and loyal adviser, and the very first shot of the movie that he's in shows him as a tall dark man with black robes, a black horse, black hair with white streaks, a sinister smile and ominous background music, it's just insulting to our intelligence. He's like Jafar, except he's not hypnotizing the king, so the king really has no freaking excuse for trusting him.
Nostalgia Critic: Did I mention I'm the villain in this movie? No? Because I don't have to!
Gríma Wormtongue has pale and sweaty skin, greasy black hair, warts, no eyebrows, black clothes and a hunched over posture. Oddly enough, his nickname is actually a backhanded compliment, since "worm" refers to a dragon, meaning he speaks with cunning and persuasion.
Most of the villainous characters, such as the orcs, Nazgűl and particularly Sauron's material form, who are all pretty scary to look at and decked out in blackened Spikes of Villainy.
Played with when it comes to the rogue, self-sufficient Moria goblins. Obviously bad guys and as scary to look at, but they have distorted beliefs that the other peoples of Middle-Earth, especially Elves, Dwarves, and Men, are the Obviously Evil ones and supposedly look that way. They believe that anything not an Orc or goblin is evil and take the "trust no one" belief to homicidal extremes. But they dwelled in Moria on their own account and have nothing to do with Sauron. They wanted revenge for the Battle of Five Armies and the death their ruler, the Great Goblin.
Subverted with the Army of the Dead, a spectral army of decomposing warriors who originally appear as threatening characters and implied villains, but eventually help the heroes during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The motives are, if ultimately selfish, sympathetic and understandable.
What about Gollum? He's incredibly pale and gangrel looking due to being underground five hundred years, his remaining teeth look like small fangs, has a wild look in his eyes and is obsessed with The One Ring and not afraid to try and strangle you. Yeah, that's the guy I want leading me into Mordor.
Played to creepy perfection in Rock And Rule with Mok, the waning rock megastar, who intends to summon a demon in order to enslave the world. Everything about him just oozes EVIL!
Comedy version in Silent Movie: the evil corporation that wants to buy the good film studio is called Engulf & Devour—owned by two Corrupt Corporate Executives by those names. They even pray to a glowing dollar sign. Their name is a parody of the Real Life mega-conglomerate "Gulf+Western", who had a bad rep back then too.
In case calling the Empire "evil" right in the first film's opening crawl wasn't obvious enough, Star Wars makes sure that you understand who the villains are just by looking at them.
Darth Vader wears very large black suit, a menacing cape, and a face-concealing helmet. His name also sounds like "invader," as well as "dark father" in Dutch.
Darth Maul's red and black tattoos, bad teeth, yellow eyes, crown of horns and black outfit make him look positively demonic. The name "Maul" also helps.
Darth Sidious has a hideously withered face, yellow eyes, a scary voice, and black robes. His name also sounds like "insidious." Subverted with his Palpatine identity, who looked like a kind politician before getting a face full of lightning.
General Grievous has a white, skeletal exoskeleton and a stooped posture.
Voldemort of Harry Potter. Red, snake-like eyes, bleach-white skin, and clawed fingernails. Justified as the method of his immortality mutates him gradually and made him this way. Then there's his lackey, Wormtail, who follows Animal Stereotypes. Out of the original generation of wizards, who was it that became a traitor? Yep, the one who turns into a rat. Also justified in that Animagi take the form of the animal which best embodies their personality.
Subverted, however, with Snape, who spends the whole series wearing black, being mean to the heroes and in general acting like a typical villain. He turns out to be a good guy, albeit one who happens not to like the protagonists and has really complicated motives.
On the other hand, the Carrows with their twisted faces, squat and ugly bodies and constant wheezing (and they Crucio anything that moves) makes their alignment painfully obvious.
Inverted with Voldemort's teenage appearance: handsome, slim, well-groomed, polite — in stark contrast to some of his peers, which becomes a plot point.
Sirius Black is a subversion. When we first hear about him, he's described as looking Obviously Evil with a skull-like face, yellow teeth, and matted black hair. He's played by Gary Oldman in the movies. Then we get to The Reveal where we find out he was actually a good guy all along. After this happens, his description in the books becomes more favorable. For the films, they stop making Gary Oldman up to look scary at this point. It's attributed to him recovering from his time in Azkaban, but the result is the same.
Bellatrix Lestrange is an inversion where she is described as being a beautiful woman (pre-Azkaban, at least) when she is actually one of the most evil characters in the series.
We know James of Twilight must be evil, because he's the only one of the vampires who is described as having a nondescript face, rather than being unbelievably beautiful. Also, he and his companions are dirty and dressed in worn clothing, rather than wearing designer labels all the time like the good vampires.
If The Grand Ellipse is any indication, Those Wacky Nazis have created a new version of this trope. The villainous empire of Grewzia is full of tall blond guys, everyone from it is habitually punctual, and its national language consists mostly of hard consonants. This society is not an expy of the Nazis, and beyond appearances has almost nothing in common with them—this stuff's just our cue that they're bad, bad people.
Since most of the villains in The Kingdom Keepers series are Disney Villains, it's natural this trope is in effect. Special mention goes to the new character Jez, who has pale skin, black hair, and her name is short for Jezebel. To Finn's credit, he does begin to suspect her...
The Harkonnen in Dune are sodomites, love wanton slaughter, their leader is an obese glutton who cannot move without technological aids, their homeworld is a cesspool of pollution and so on.
President Snow is described as having Snake-like eyes and the smell of roses and blood.
Zahhak in The Shahnameh is an oppressive ruler with brain-eating snakes coming out of his shoulders.
He only got the brain-eating snakes after he took over, since it was a result of the deal with Ahriman that let him take over. Presumably he was a little less obviously evil beforehand, though since he was an Evil Vizier you never know.
Many villains of the Redwall series. Let's see... An ugly rat with a heavy whip-like tail, scars, a cape made of bat wings and clasped with a mole skull, a war helmet decorated in blackbird feathers and stag beetle mandibles, and an eyepatch: Check. A dark-cloaked rat-weasel creature with dead black eyes, dark fur, and snake-like movement: Check. A gray fox that wears a wolf skull as a helmet and a wolf pelt as a cape, with long iron claws on his arms: Check. A cult of black-robed rats led by a purple-robed rat who wields a mouse-skull scepter and serves a gruesomely deformed polecat who rules a slave-driven underground kingdom: Check. A ferret that wears terrifying warpaint, a necklace of teeth and claws, stains his fangs red, wears a blood-stained cape, and has a six-clawed paw sheathed in a heavy gauntlet: Check. The list goes on.
Averted, however, with several villains that are explicitly described as regal and attractive, such as Vilu Daskar, Vilaya the Sable Quean, Emperor Ublaz, and especially Ferahgo the Assassin, who uses his decidedly un-evil appearance to his advantage.
Played with in Childhoods End where the overlords, Aliens who arrive to govern Earth, make much ado about not showing themselves to Humanity until it is 'ready' because they would and do indeed appear obviously evil. The ultimate analysis of significance of their appearance at the end of the book is somewhat ambiguous.
The Silmarillion has some interesting examples. Morgoth and Sauron were both shape-shifters, and could take any form they chose. Sauron would in fact take on pleasing forms. Morgoth however (once he finally did become a God of Evil) decided he liked having an obviously evil form, and used it so much he got stuck in it. After Sauron destroyed Númenor, he was punishing by being rendered unable to take a pleasing form ever again, so he took an obviously evil form by default.
Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. He appears to be made of exposed muscles partly covered by gleaming metal skeleton-like plating; he wears long metal claws over the ends of his fingers; his face is a skull-like metal mask with a fang-filled Glasgow smile and the two eye sockets merged into a red, Cyclops-like visor; what appears to be his brain is exposed where his scalp should be; he has creepy plastic tubing with... something... flowing through it running up and down his limbs; and he wields a magical staff (that used to be a giant venomous snake) with a giant razor-edged Z on it. He is, in fact, bad.No, really?
While Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't always black and white in terms of morality, you can't get much more Obviously Evil than the First Evil, an entity that is the source of all evil. The Master falls into this category too, like everyone who calls himself The Master.
Played kinda weirdly with the Mayor. Sure, we knew he was evil from the start, but that was only because of the incredibly not-subtle hints that had been dropping as early as the previous season. But even with the hints, he still falls in Affably Evil. So, he's Obviously Affably Evil.
Evil Willow looks very Obviously Evil.
Davros from Doctor Who. Especially in the new series. Nobody who looks like Emperor Palpatine in a wheelchair is possibly going to be a good guy.
A less smack-in-your-face example: LINDA sure let Victor Kennedy push them around for a while.
Even Battlestar Galactica has an obviously evil character: Brother Cavil, AKA Number One. A cynical, perverted old man who dresses in pure black, sometimes with a black hat, and takes pride in hating life.
On the other hand they often are priests. In many religions they have black motives and/or black clothes.
In Merlin, one would think that someone would notice Morgana turning to the camera to give a comically evil grin every time she's on screen in Series 3...
At least with Morgana they have the excuse of not wanting to believe that she's become evil (Gwen appears to be have been in outright denial until it became impossible to ignore). A lot of the other villains, like Knight Valiant, Edwin Muirden and Cedric (especially once he's possessed) are so obviously evil it makes you wonder how Camelot stayed standing before Merlin came along.
A particularly prominent example is Lord Agravaine from series 4, who was soObviously Evil that it greatly pushed the boundaries of suspension of disbelief that the rest of the cast didn't notice what he was up to. This rapidly led to him becoming one of the least popular characters ever to appear on the show.
While not specifically on TV, a Spanish Class video series called "En Busca de la Verdad" (In Search of the Truth) has a man who dresses in a black trenchcoat, wears a dark hat, his face is never shown, and creepy music plays every time he appears. Nonetheless, most students laugh upon seeing him for the simple fact that he is so obvious.
The Borg in Star Trek. Not that they would hide their attitudes anyway...
The Source in Charmed. Wears a black hood, carries a dark sword and revealed to have half a face with tribal markings on it.
A strange case happened in the sixth season finale where the sisters found a parallel universe which was an evil alternative to their one (where the humans/witches were evil and demons were good). Their evil counterparts wore a lot of black leather and sported punk rocker hairstyles. Though they weren't as blatantly evil as most of the villains as they did join forces for the greater good.
Exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness in Lio: everyone who's evil has bad teeth. It's almost a Red Right Hand, except there's nothing in-setting to explain why they would all have bad teeth and why "good" (sorta) characters all have nice teeth.
Played with in Warhammer 40000 - that guy in the black armour with the skull mask screaming out litanies of hatred ("SUFFER NOT THE UNCLEAN TO LIVE!") against everybody else than him and everybody on his side? He's a Space Marine chaplain - and arguably one of the setting's ambiguously 'good' guys. Then there's the Space Marine chapters with names like Flesh Tearers and Soul Drinkers. That scar-faced woman with a cybernetic arm riding into combat against civilians on a tank adorned with spikes, crushing them under her wheels while incinerating them with hi-tec flame throwers? Also arguably relatively good.
The oddities of naming conventions are discussed hilariously here.
The Troperiffic setting has plenty of straight examples as well, such as giant all-consuming psychic insects and invincible undead robotic servants of star-eating Eldritch Abominations. Then there's Chaos Space Marines, the poster boys of this trope. Their armour tends to be covered with skulls (they like trophies) spikes, horns, and the occasional pieces of flayed human skin and they worship dark gods and summon daemons. While some (like the Khorne Berserkers) might leave helpless civilians alone (as they want a Worthy Opponent), most just tend to slaughter everybody in their way in order to raise their standing in the eyes of the Chaos Gods or just because they like to rape and murder.
A Khorne Berserker not killing people? KHORNE DOES NOT CARE FROM WHOM THE BLOOD FLOWS, ONLY THAT IT FLOWS
BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
And then there's the Orks, who are big, green, brutish, warlike, loving-to-fight, lots of horns, guns, horrible to each other (and especially Gretchins)... who just want a good fight and will actually leave a planet if they don't put up a good enough fight, or they've killed everyone who can, so they can come back and fight again. As they say, Orkz wuz made forfoitin' an' winnin'!. One could actually argue that the Orks are the least evil of all of the factions.
There are some heroes — look at Ibram Gaunt, a humane badass. Who dresses in a pseudo-Nazi uniform decorated with skulls.
It is very tricky applying this to the verse because of the sheer level of Alternate Character Interpretation and Unreliable Narrators. The three factions that can in no sense be considered even halfway sympathetic, however, fit this trope like above. Besides the bugs, robots and Super Soldier destroyers and their wiping-planets-completely-free-of-life antics, we have the Dark Eldar, with black, spike-covered equipment and units named after demons. Torture and treachery are their favorite pastimes. They eat souls. Their actions created an Eldritch Abomination of Squick that wiped out most of their race, and they kept on with business as usual.
Most demons in Dungeons & Dragons. Consider Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead, who is a gigantic, bat-winged, goat-headed, grotesquely obese monstrosity who carries a wand with a skull on top. Yeah, trustworthy, that guy.
The Coalition States in Rifts is The Imperium of Man Lite version; a collection of xenophobic humans with aggressive intentions, a hatred of anything non-human or magic-using, which armies of fanatical soldiers, genetically engineered dogmen and robot soldiers for the purpose of reconquering North America. Oh, and all their armors, ships and robots have skull and bones for decoration, earning them the nickname "Deadboys".
Halo: "I? I am a monument to all your sins." Also, his name is Gravemind and he's made of dead bodies. Who do you think he leads?
Mass Effect: Saren Arterius... more cybernetic parts than is necessary? Check. Chalk-white scale plates as opposed to the usual Turian gray? Check. Cold blue glowing cybernetic eyes? Check. More spiky-faced than you usual Turian? Check. Barefaced?*
Most turians have facial tattoos denoting their colony of origin. "Barefaced" turians (those without tattoos) are usually seen as dishonest. "Bareface" is also turian slang for a politician
. Yep... In fact, his one arms is a Geth arm (the enemies of the first game).
According to Word Of God, Saren was intended to have a 'normal' model for most of the game, with the existing model only used after Sovereign implants him with cybernetic devices to reduce his doubts. It's somewhat odd for Shepard to react so strongly to how Saren has changed, when he hasn't visibly changed at all.
Subverted by Nihilus, who had skull-like face paint and a less-than pleasant name. However he serves as The Obi-Wan and a friend of Anderson... For about less than an hour into the game.
The SNES JRPG Eien No Filena (which translates to "Eternal Filena") falls headlong into this. The Evil Empire has no redeeming qualities, and there exists not a single second of any of the bad guys being even Affably Evil.
RuneScape. Lucien is a hunchback with a black robe complete with a face-hiding hood in human form. In real form, he has a skull for a face, flings black magical skulls as attacks and black smoke come off him continuously.
Neverwinter Nights: Examine some of the villains closely. Could you see any of them (except maybe Desther, the actually effective mole or Maugrim, who doesn't really look evil, he is just insane) as good guys? The half-demon elf? The white dragon? The black-skinned white-haired almost nude drow queen? The giant red guy with the trident, goatee, and horns?
Desther, convincing? The same Desther that spends all his screentime up to The Reveal viciously badmouthing you and Aribeth and downplaying the plague's threat? The same Desther whose Helmites give out "blessings" that give an ominous red glow? The same Desther who instantly becomes defensive and dismissive every time you hand Fenthwick evidence of the Cult's existence (which you can point out if your Wisdom is high enough)?
All of the Sith in Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel are pretty disturbing-looking (except for maybe Visas and Darth Bandon). The shot with Malak without his mechanical collar? Darth Nihilus, whose Black Speech is so evil it doesn't get subtitles?
In the sequel, barely anyone reacts to the revelation that Kreia is a Sith, since they never trusted her in the first place.
The MMO spinoff Star Wars The Old Republic generally uses the same aesthetic for the Sith, made even better with the decent chance that the Sith in question is a Pureblood Sith, who have red skin and horned faces.
The Sith Inquisitor storyline has an unusual example in Lord Zash, who is polite, friendly, and helpful to the Player Character, which stands out among the majority of NPCs that enjoy reminding you of your low status. Thing is, this behavior is so out of character for a Sith Lord that everyone and your grandfather thinks she's up to something. As it turns out she intends to kill and posses you, so their fears were justified.
Ashnard, King of Daein. Dark costume? Check. Spikes of Villainy? Check. Evil grin? Check. No redeeming qualities whatsoever? Check. Big black dragon to ride around on? Check and mate. The last one's a subversion though.
His mount Rajaion was a member of the Laguz dragon tribe, a sentient creature that he enslaved and drove mad to use as a weapon, a process that eventually resulted in Rajaion's death... leaving behind a grieving widow and a child he never got to meet. So I guess you could say that Ashnard subverts the trope by appearing extremely evil... and then actually being more evil than he looks. And that's not counting what he did to Almedha and Soren.
The RPG villains before Super Paper Mario (and after, with Mario and Luigi 3) are the same way, boasting about their evilness, trying very obviously evil plans and saying 'I am evil' in every last word. Wario Land and Donkey Kong Country are the same way.
Seymour from Final Fantasy X never hides the fact he's the villain. While not looking particularlyvillain-like, he speaks and acts incredibly creepy making it impossible to believe he's a good character for a second. And it doesn't help that his trademark summon is a gigantic mummified corpse. Interestingly, Tidus catches on to this immediately upon meeting him, while the Yevon-worshiping members of the party are too star-struck by the fact that he's a Maester to notice. This gets referenced during the party's first battle against him.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep comes Master Xehanort. He's bald, has golden eyes, a silver goatee, wears a Black Cloak, walks around hunched over, the only smile he knows how to give is a Psychotic Smirk, and his Keyblade is a frickin' battle axe◊ adorned with Spikes of Villainy, demonic wings and a horned face. And yet all three heroes are absolutely shocked when he's revealed to be the Big Bad. The game itself makes absolutely no attempts to hide this, making it quite clear in the opening cutscenes that he sabotages the Mark of Mastery exam, and his direct statement to The Dragon that he's just putting on an act to fly under the radar for now.
Just watch the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+, a CG trailer for Birth By Sleep that foreshadows Xehanort's battle with the heroes at the end of the game. There is absolutely no dialogue, no subtitles, no context. You just know there's three armored Keyblade warriors fighting a bald old man in a cloak. It's still perfectly obvious who the villain in the confrontation is.
Even if they the characters didn't lampshade it, you would be able to tell that he is obviously evil. I mean, just look at him...
Dr. Betruger in Doom 3. It's not enough that he's a disfigured obviously insane scientist. It's not enough that he has a sinister voice to accompany that. No, he has to have a name that gives it out. "Betrüger" is German for "betrayer", so... guess what he ends up doing in the game?
Dynasty Warriors' Dong Zhuo, who viewed honour as an outdated custom, duty as useless and he only cares about his gold, women, and land. He is fat, has a diabolical Evil Laugh, has a sword that has shark teeth along the blade and is heavily armored and is generally difficult to defeat. In more than a few games, he even says, "If I can fulfill my ambitions, I can burn down a capital city... or two... OR THREE!!" In Real Life, he might just be even worse.
Ghaleon of the Lunar series is an obvious Card-Carrying Villain. He has White Hair, Black Heart and red, slanted, evil-looking eyes. His voice itself should clue you in that he's evil seeing as he speaks in borderline Creepy Monotone. Still, the main character doesn't figure it out until he does an Evil Costume Switch, kills the White Dragon (or in the case of the Saturn / PSX version, captured and used as fuel for the Grindery. Yeah, a worse fate) and kidnaps Luna.
Playing one of these is the point of the Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius games. The former covers the red-and-horns-and-skulls variety; the latter the secret volcano lair with totem-pole sentry guns. It's actually a strong strategy in Evil Genius to keep the piranha tanks and sawblades tucked away as a last resort defence for your most vital rooms, as secret agents entering your base only to find nothing but entirely un-sinister soup kitchens will just wander off bored to seek out something more perilous. (Oddly, the cackling megalomaniac executing unfortunate minions in the corridors is oft ignored entirely.)
Most The Legend of Zelda villains, especially Ganondorf and Vaati. Ganon calls himself the King of Evil and Prince of Thieves, plays the Ominous Pipe Organ and altogether should set off alarm bells for miles around. Vaati is already suspicious in 'human' form, let alone when he's in the standard One-Winged Angel form involving a gigantic eye and bat wings.
Hilariously, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf starts out as a member of the Gerudo who pledges to serve the King. Zelda is the only one before Link shows up who realizes that Ganondorf is evil and tries to tell her father, who doesn't believe her. On the other hand, the series does subvert it in The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess with Zant. While he was desperate to rule the Twili kingdom, the royal family actually did notice the greed and insanity that consumed him (granted it was rather difficult to miss) and passed over him as ruler, instead giving the title to Midna. He just decided to serve Ganondorf and took the throne anyway...
It doesn't help that he had supposedly kidnapped a little girl (who was actually staying at his place overnight because it's dangerous at night), who was screaming at the top of her lungs as you approach his house (playing a "scream as loud as you can game", what else?), and the fact you enter in to find him standing directly above her menacingly (all part of the game).
The game does play it straight however, with it's Big Bad Ghirahim who is a bizarre but none the less Ax Crazy narcissist, and Bigger Bad Demise, whose true form is 10 foot expy of Akuma with flashing hair, pitch black skin, a muscle build that makes steroid abusers look slim, and an evil looking version of the Master Sword.
Raizo Imawano, the principal of Justice High School in Rival Schools, certainly seems like this at first glance. With his huge stature, his evil monocle, and his fingernails sharpened into claws, you'd think he was the Big Bad. But in truth he actually subverts this trope. Any evil acts he commits in the game are a result of brainwashing, rather than anything of his own intention, and while he does have aspirations of changing Japan, he wanted to do so through peaceful methods, such as preparing his students for careers in politics and guiding them toward his world views. By the end of the game, and in the sequel Project Justice, he's actually a pretty decent guy.
The NPCs Yurt the Silent Chief, Miralda the Executioner and Mephistopheles from Demon's Souls. Yurt has his deep, menacing voice, his black, Sauron-like armor and a sickle described to be an assassination weapon. Miralda has a hood that wraps around her skull and a guillotine axe. And Mephistopheles has all-black clothing and what looks like a Guy Fawkes mask. That's not getting into when you actually meet them closer, with Yurt killing people in the Nexus, or Mephistopheles getting you to do it and backstabbing you later. Miralda just attacks you.
Dr. Regal takes this to ridiculous levels in his introduction. Beard of Evil? Check. Monocle? Check. Extremely polite? Check. Smug Grin? Check. Mentioned as being from "Nation Z, the infamous military country"? Check.
Dr Weil anyone? A cyborg with visible metal extensions in his flesh, a Beard of Evil. Oh, and he more or less shows that he's DrWeil.
In Mega Man Star Force, we have Mr. King, who is certainly known around the world as a famous philanthropist, the game wastes absolutely no time revealing that, yes, he is the Big Bad.
The villain of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). He introduces himself as Mephiles The Dark. When asked about himself, he falls silent and changes the subject. He looks like an evil twin of Shadow the Hedgehog (who himself already looks like an evil twin of Sonic the Hedgehog). It's almost mind-boggling that Silver didn't realize Mephiles was a bad guy the very first time they met.
He moves like a puppet, has soulless, feral eyes, and NO MOUTH (yet his face moves when he talks). And that's when he is a Shadow doppelganger, to say nothing of his powered up form, which is crystal-like, emits blue flames, and has red scleras with green glowing cat irises. And is voiced by Dan Green.
There is also Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog. He is gigantic, has nearly godlike powers, is the head of an empire in space, has an ultra deep voice, can detach an eye from himself to observe things in detail and to accompany allies, desires total power and control, has a near infinite army of bloodthirsty monsters, and is named Black Doom. For some reason, Professor Gerald Robotnik, himself a good man at the time he met Black Doom, thought that helping Doom get the Chaos Emeralds was a good idea.
On top of that, if you played Fallout 2 before Fallout 3 then you already have experience with the Enclave and how they really behave.
To be fair Eden himself comes off as something of a sinister Knight Templar who genuinely believes based on the reality that he's been given that what he's doing is ultimately for the greater good. The Enclave itself on the other hand is most definitely this, and possibly Stupid Evil since a lot of what they do doesn't even make all that much sense.
The Orcs and their Horde from War Craft played this trope straight in the first game and more in the second, but eventually subverted it starting with Warcraft III, where it was revealed they had been corrupted by teh Demons (who play this trope very straight), and were actually a decently neutral specie before that. They ends up freeing themselves from the Demons' corruption and helped the Humans' Alliance to defeat the Demons. Ironically, by World of Warcraft, they have come to appear more sympathetic than the humans, due to the Alliance's recent Kick the Dog moments.
Consider the Pit Lord, a neutral (mercenary) hero from the expansion: a huge reptilian centaur-like demon with a giant spear, bat wings and More Teeth Than The Osmond Family, with names like Destromath, Malvengeroth and Brutillus. And lines including "This will please me!"and "To the slaughter" (when told to attack), "I come from the darkness of the pit", "I go to destroy!", "Tremble before me!" and various rumbles and roars.
The buglike Zerg from Star Craft: dark colours, bug-like and monstrous. In a game where almost everything is Grey and Gray Morality, the zerg are clearly far more on the dark end of the spectrum.
Diablo II gives us the Necromancer, who has white skin, dresses in black with skulls movites, uses spells based on corpses, blood and poison... but is at worst an Anti-Hero and one of the playable characters.
King Logan from Fable III is easily the most evil appearing person in the game. It later turns out he's simply being Necessary Evil in order to raise enough money to fund his armies to combat the game's true villain, The Crawler. And as you can probably imagine, that thing fits this trope much better than Logan does.
We also have the even more evil-looking Akuma, who ironically is less evil than Bison, that always looks royally pissed off, wears black and a has blood red symbol for heaven on the back of his shirt and has blood red hair.
Return To Krondor - Bear, for starters. The head scribe for the jail, due to his shrill voice that sounds like a talking weasel. Journeyman Jorath, due to his oily voice, and his politically incorrect, racist attitudes toward Keshians. The necromancer leader Sidi, although he certainly did an impressive job sounding calm and normal at one point.
Mortal Kombat has a number of characters who qualify, but the most prominent example is Evil Overlord Shao Kahn, ruler of the Death World Outworld. Skull helmet, copious Spikes of Villainy and a grim throne to sit upon. He towers over all other characters and verbally abuses anyone, who would dare to challenge him. Noob Saibot is another such type; a being of pure shadow spawned from the depths of hell after years of taint and death corrupted the soul of Elder Sub-Zero/Bi-Han.
Darkrai from the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series games is essentially this: He's an evil Pokemon of pure darkness who loves to trap innocent young Pokemon children in unending nightmares just for the fun of it, and wants to destroy the entire Pokemon universe and plunging their planet into darkness by stopping time and space and corrupting another powerful Pokemon, who rules over both. And he wants to make the hero(ine) (whom he actually turned into a Pokemon him/herself) and his/her partner commit suicide over the course of the games!
Lorithea of Xenoblade Chronicles. "Oh no, dear Shulk, I am not evil. I just dress in red bondage gear and talk entirely in sexual innuendo to give the boys in the Ministry something to dream about, ohoho."
Lautrec of Carim from Dark Souls likes to end his ominously voiced chats with sinister laughter. Also, like his spiritual predecessor Yurt from Demon's Souls, he wields a nasty assassin's weapon. He ends up killing the Firelink Fire Keeper Anastacia requiring you to hunt him down to get her soul back.
Large amount of villains in Dragon Quest series are obviously evil, especially Zenitha trilogy remakes and Dragon Quest VII, where villains are oversized monsters with no resemblance of human. Dhoulmagus from Dragon Quest VIII are very much Kefka clone by appearance.
In Skyrim, the only way Ancano could be any more obvious would be if lightning struck every time you initiated conversation with him. Even in the game, no one trusts him and with good reason, because he's openly a member of the resident nazi-elves, he's a massive jerk and he does everything in a very suspicious manner.
Salvador in Section 8: Prejudice. A bald, ugly blue-skinned giant wearing blood red armour... Who would have guessed?
Inverted with Supreme Commander with the Cybran nation, whose units all have a red and black color scheme similar to Nod and have a spiky insect like appearance or anything done that makes units in an RTS look more menacing, are overall the nice guys of the game's factions compared to the "ends justify the means" UEF and the genocidal Aeon (they're so extreme they make the UEF's extreme actions seem rational).
From Agarest Senki, we have the outstanding example of Giganda. The minute you see him, he displays a lot of evil tropes. Black Eyes of Crazy, the dark armor of a Black Knight, always going on about "the Plan", and generally looking very different than his fellow Larva.
Josef Capek in Shikkoku No Sharnoth. However, he turns out to be more sympathetic than he appears. He's simply not entirely sane anymore and hasn't been sleeping for months. ...Somehow.
Zouken Matou from Fate/stay night. He looks like some sort of deformed little troll man and has jetblack eyes. Plus he manages to talk in a sinister fashion all the time - despite not having any audible clues - even before you realize that he is not the world's friendliest, cheeriest grandfather. The rest of the cast averts (Medea) and subverts (Berserker) this though.
Ace Attorney has Manfred Von Karma, a terrifying guy with a booming voice, who even Miles "Demon Persecutor" Edgeworth considers ruthless. It's quickly made clear that he is not above forging evidence and using underhand tactics to get what he wants (like hiding incriminating evidence, and tasering Phoenix and Maya to steal the evidence they'd acquired), and values a flawless record over putting the truly guilty in prison. It probably doesn't come as a surprise to many when it's revealed that he was the one who killed Gregory Edgeworth, for proving he used false evidence and thus putting a mark on his perfect record.
In Virtue's Last Reward, Dio is so repugnant that the reveal that he's actually a terrorist who has planted bombs all over the warehouse is... actually very surprising since it's so unsurprising.
Dominic Deegan has a bit of Double Subversion going on with this trope. While some villains have always very specifically employed this (e.g., the blind Infernomancer), others start out as more grey entities that, provided they can't be reformed by the main cast, will eventually embrace this trope. To be fair, characters who embrace this trope tend to be in the direct service of Hell or something much worse.
Double Subverted in the case of Nale, who is an Evil Twin complete with goatee, but is initially presented as just one of the good guys. It doesn't last very long, though.
Minister Malack has so many obviously evil traits - albino, lizardfolk, "spiritual adviser" to an evil empire that are contrasted by a friendly and understanding manner that it took some time for people to decide on his alignment. Turns out he's Evil. Very, very evil.
Sirleck of El Goonish Shive is introduced with his speech bubbles having wavy outlines and white on black lettering. Dan lampshades his Obvious Evilness in the commentary
The Private Villa of Corrupted Citizens in Sonichu. Membership is completely voluntary.
Wizard School features a race of villains with spikes, tusks, horns, etc. Even the Genre Blind protagonist can work out that the faculty member who stole the priceless artifact is probably the one with fangs, cackling and muttering "You fools!"
Cho: Gee thanks creepy old lady with a creepy aura! See, Ami? We can totally trust her!
The Necromancer of the Whateley Universe. Nobody has a name like that unless he's Obviously Evil. Then he goes for the evil cloak over the hideous armor that's part cybernetics and part chitinous inhuman organics, plus the obligatory skull facemask. And he has a team that based on monsters: Lycanthros (a super werewolf type), Vamp (a girl with vampiric powers), the Arch-Fiend, Nightgaunt, and Lady Darke. It goes without saying that he is not petting any puppies. Oh, and he's a Nazi.
MSF High Forums has Xadan, who was a Card-Carrying Villain evil AI. Amongst other things, he has the speech mannerisms of Shodan. He's not bad, he's just programmed that way.
Worm's protagonist falls victim to this while attempting to be a hero. She doesn't realise in time that having bug powers and wearing a distinctly evil looking costume is not sending the intended message.
Lampshade, played with and parodied with the Yu Gi Oh The Abridged Series versions of the various villains. One of the most notable example is Paradox, who is actually an Anti-Villain, but, as pointed out by Jaden, dresses and acts so much like he was truly evil that no one can actually believe he is well-intentionned.
Similarly, the trope is invoked by Shunryu during his fight against Deathmask in a french abridged series of Saint Seyia:
Shunryu: You monster! I can't believe someone like you could actually get your Clothes!
Lampshaded in Eliezer Yudkowsky's short story "Failed Utopia #4-2." It's said that the AI "might as well have been wearing a sign saying 'VILLAIN'." It's implied that this is because the AI was programmed to be honest.
The basis of Captain Planet. The producers obviously believed that kids wouldn't be able to tell Exxon apart from Ecover, so they portrayed villain like this. Hoggish Greedly had a pig-face, Verminous Skumm looked like some kind of human/rat hybrid, Sly Sludge was short, fat, greasy, and overall unattractive, and Duke Nukem was made of some kind of glowing yellow bricks.
Averted by Looten Plunder, who is proportionate and in good shape, if not downright good looking. Subverted by Dr. Blight, who other than the scarred half of her face, is a rather attractive woman. Zarm could be obviously evil, an aversion, or a subversion.
Family Guy once had a cigarette company taking over Peter's factory. They were pictured very true to the trope.
South Park had some fun and reversed the standard roles, so the cigarette factory workers were a friendly bunch with no negative ambitions, while Rob Reiner's anti-tobacco activist group was Obviously Evil behind closed doors.
ReBoot manages to play this straight, subvert, invert, andlampshade this trope with the strange tolerance Mainframe and its guardian Bob gives towards viruses. In the world of computers, viruses can't help but obey their evil programming, which is why Bob doesn't like killing them, but wishes to reprogram them. But the two viral strains in Mainframe are far too powerful for Bob to ever capture or control, and he won't call for help, so the city endures two years of chaos before it goes too far (and THAT'S before the series starts).
Played Straight: Megabyte and Hexadecimal are destructive and look the part. Megs is in all secondary colors (and looks suspiciously likeApocalypse), Hex is red and black and both are riddled with Spikes of Villainy, talons and sharp teeth. Bob really hopes to convert these two... Somehow... Both manage Affably Evil moments, but Megabyte's are just moments where there wasn't anything evil to do and Hexadecimal seems to get the excuse that she is mentally unstable and her Heel Face Turn was more Bob really, really wanting to convert her than her deciding to do good.
But taken completely straight with his father. Let's pretend for a moment that we didn't know the Fire Nation was evil. Any person with that voice who sits on a throne surrounded by flames and wearing black and red probably doesn't bring the word GOOD to mind. And as for Zuko's sister, her first line is about killing her captain because he is "disobeying her". Yeah, that family just radiates evil.
Also taken straight with the Fire Nation in general, at least until later in the series. For many fans, it became sort of a running gag to see how long it would be after the Gaang arrived in a new town before the Fire Nation showed up and went on a Kick the Dog rampage.
If someone did say anything, he could just say the accuser was discriminating against him because of his looks.
Overt prejudice isn't really the issue- the Uncanny Valley is. Tombstone is freaky-looking and is every so often outright accused of being the Big Man, but he's invested enough effort into his Villain with Good Publicity campaign that he's still accepted as a beloved pillar of the community, so much so that the police take his word over Spidey's on at least one occasion.
The Simpsons gives an example of this concerning Mr. Burns's bid to buy Santa Little Helper's brood.
Lisa: [whispering] Mom, don't give the puppies to him, he'll be mean to them. Marge: Hmm... she's right, Homer. There's something about his face I don't trust. [Burns stifles an evil chuckle while looking really malevolent]
Or when Homer wants to sell Bart's elephant (Long Story), Lisa again points out that the prospective buyer is not to be trusted:
Lisa: I'm pretty sure this guy is an ivory dealer. His hat is ivory, his boots are ivory, and I'm pretty sure that check is ivory!
"...he's so clearly the odd one out — a brutish hulk amongst his clean-looking fellow knights — that I'm amazed he was even in the running to be a knight at all. I'm not one to the judge by appearances, mind you, but it's obvious this surly guy is bad news."
What's more baffling about Rupert is that at the beginning of the movie, he seems to be putting no effort at all into hiding his evil nature. When he starts acting up against Arthur, the knights' remarks suggest that this is typical behavior for Rupert.
The Critic also noted how Gary Oldman has a tendency to play Obviously Evil characters - in a previous review, the Critic continuously pointed out how clear it was that Oldman's character of Doctor Smith was evil and yet no one seemed to notice.
The Critic also points out a couple of times in his own Quest For Camelot review that Ruber is Obviously Evil. Apart from Ruber's introduction, he also lampshades Ruber's black clothes and horse later in the review.
But it's worth it for that downright hilarious shot at the beginning of the movie in which we get a panning shot of the Knights of the Round Table: a line of identical-looking generic men, and then one with green skin, yellow eyes, and a banana-shaped head.
In general, Jonny Quest villains are really unsubtle in their constant dog kicking, their blatantly selfish, malevolent motives, and their choices of wardrobe and lighting. For instance, Dr. Ashida in "The Dragons of Ashida" is such an arrogantly megalomanical cacklingYellow PerilMad Scientist that he makes the series' Big Bad, Dr. Zin, seem Affably Evil and restrained by comparison.
Also played straight with the villains of the season 2 finale, Queen Chrysalis and the changeling army, which all look like some kind of freaky horse-insect-demon hybrid, complete with monochromatic eyes, sharp fangs, and jet-black bodies. Chrysalis' obviously evil personality can also be seen in her disguise, though it doesn't help that said disguise is supposed to act like the opposite of her.
Both of them are topped by the villain of the season 3 premiere, King Sombra, who is essentially the pony equivalent of Sauron.
Who Killed Who: As a gag, when the detective pushes a button marked 'RING BELL FOR SUSPECTS', the butler, maid, and chauffeur come in, and they all look rather sinister. It then turns out that they're actually pretty cheerful.