Obviously Evil


Finn: I can't shake this weird feeling about Ricardio. I think he's... a villain!
Jake: Why? Is it because his face is so foldy and dramatic?
Adventure Time, "Ricardio the Heart Guy"

A lot of fiction out there has a tendency to employ incredibly black and white perspectives to the characters and their actions. Due to the belief that its target demographic (usually children or dumbasses) can't understand subtler shades of evil, many works of fiction create a stark contrast between the heroes and villains. When this happens, the creators will bring in their Obviously Evil® Design Team. (Of course, another reason obvious villains are used in some fiction is simply because everyone loves a badass villain.)

If a work of fiction indulges in Obviously Evil®, every villain will be a Card-Carrying Villain, usually Colour-Coded for Your Convenience in shades of black and red. There won't be any Well Intentioned Extremists, Knights Templar or pretty much anyone that doesn't accept and accentuate their evilness. If you see anybody that might seem to be a shade of grey on the side of the villains, it will usually basically be a hero with a slight bit of behavior modification to work with the villains (and an inevitable Heel–Face Turn coming up during Sweeps). If the villainous group is a governing body, it will always be an Evil Empire with a 0% Approval Rating. There aren't any Punch Clock minions that just accepted the job because it's work, but, instead, Always Chaotic Evil Faceless Goons that act like miniature versions of the main villain and provide no guilt whatsoever, when they get killed by the truckload. The Dragon will always be The Starscream and never have any ulterior motive beyond a lust for more power. There will never be any Worthy Opponents or Tragic Villains or any kind of antagonist presented sympathetically as this doesn't accentuate the author's need to make the bad guys ALL bad.

The goals of the villains and their organization are always incredibly eeeeeevil, with one of five purposes: world domination, world destruction, corruption, genocide, or antagonizing the heroes. Nobody on the side of evil will ever Pet the Dog (except maybe the none-too-subtle Heel–Face Turn candidate). Even their imagery is blatantly made as a contrast to the heroes, with lots of skulls, Spikes of Villainy, and other assorted things. Imagine a villain whose entire body is made of Red Right Hands, stitched together with thread made from the skin of dead puppies and you're beginning to get the idea.

Fiction that relies on this is almost always Anvilicious to a fault, being the most extreme example of Black and White Morality. If the writers don't like X, they can just have someone Obviously Evil doing X.

Note that it's possible to have Obviously Evil figures in a normally more subtle setting; frequently, the justification is that the character is so far gone into his Card Carrying Villainy (or some brutal variation of Blue and Orange Morality) that he doesn't care what other people think of him.

There are actually two aspects to this trope:

The first is Obviously Evil Behavior, where the villains act in extremely vicious and unnecessarily cruel fashion to heighten their evilness may overlap with Stupid Evil. Extremely common in fan fiction were authors use this as a shortcut to establish the "Bad Guy" of the fic and often happens to the author's least favorite character. Prone to Rape as Drama. See Kick the Dog.

The second is Obviously Evil Appearance where the villain merely appears evil. Unlike behavior, the appearance tropes are just stereotypes that have been drilled into our head over the years and as such make for prime subversion fodder when they appear on heroes and anti-heroes. (After all, who would expect Skeletor's skull-faced mug up there to appear on a good guy.) Even when they appear on certain types of villains they can still be used for the subversion aspect as people who have grown up on "Spikey-armor = Irredeemable" can still get thrown for a loop when it appears on a character presented sympathetically. If the villain of the series is a Knight Templar of Villain with Good Publicity then having a hero with an "obviously evil appearance" can create an interesting commentary on the nature of good and evil as the "Evil" looking hero battles the "Heroic" looking villain. See Dark is Not Evil.

Compare Black and White Morality, Black and Gray Morality, and Villainous Fashion Sense. Not to be confused with Devil in Plain Sight or Obliviously Evil, though the former can overlap. Contrast Dark is Not Evil, Grey and Grey Morality, and Morality Kitchen Sink. If the revelation that this guy turns out to be evil is treated as a baffling twist, that's Obvious Judas.

Tropes invoked in the establishment of this style include:


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    Anime & Manga 


    Comic Books 
  • 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 torture mistress 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 Mystique was running the gang herself, ostensibly for the US government, she gets smart about the name and calls the team, "Freedom Force."
  • DC's Brotherhood of Evil is the same way. Then again, seeing as they were founded by a brain in a skull-shaped jar and a bandoleer-wearing gorilla, maybe they just decided good PR wasn't a realistic objective. The Brotherhood of Evil are your typical Card Carrying Villains looking to Take Over the World. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, on the other hand, are Well Intentioned Extremists who, by definition, wouldn't see themselves as evil.
  • 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.
  • Subverted by Batman, whose costume and persona are more akin to that of a traditional villain, and his archenemy the jolly-looking Joker, who is colorful (although in purple and green) and often smiling (albeit in a disturbing way). Then again, clowns aren't generally viewed as all that benevolent....
    • Two-Face, Killer Croc, and the Scarecrow, though the last one is justified (his primary method of operation is to scare people, after all).
    • Many of Batman's villains are actually members of organized crime, some of them not even having powers so much as an intentional theme as a 'gimmick'. This is a Truth in Television thing, as intentionally sinister or evil-sounding nicknames are common in organized crime and were often the name under which mobsters became famous in the era when the comic started in the USA.
  • 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 Anti-Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
  • Mister Sinister. If his name isn't huge enough of a red flag, just look at him. And while we're at it, we can't forget his former boss, Apocalypse.
  • Journey into Mystery: Loki was reincarnated as a child (without his adult memories), and faced this in-universe: Everyone other than Thor (and he had reservations) essentially said "He's Loki, so he must be evil." Loki tried very hard to make his reputation work for him, and in dealings with people like Mephisto desperately tried 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).
  • Lampshaded with the Quantum Decomputer in Atomic Robo:
    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...
  • John Byrne actually played with this nicely when he reintroduced the Toyman into the post-Crisis DCU. A Scotland Yard inspector tells Superman how they've been tracking the murders of board members of a toy company after the axing of Winslow Schott, all of whom were killed by deadly toys of Schott's design. When a baffled Superman asks why Scotland Yard didn't just target Scott first, the embarrassed inspector admits that he and his team have been so used to cases where it's the least obvious person who's the killer that it took a while to realize that, for once, it actually was the most obvious choice.
  • Almost all villains in Les Légendaires. As if their Arch-Enemy being named Darkhell wasn't enough, the guy also is a Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette and a Malevolent Masked Man who lives in a dark castle in the middle of a always dark and hostile wasteland, has a strong taste for Evil Laugh and uses an army he created himself through magic mutations. His generals use the codename "Shadow" as a rank, they include a Lizard Guy, and his most trusted Dragon is his Dark Action Girl daughter Tenebris. And yet, he's such a good Manipulative Bastard that he still gets some people trusting him. Ironically, he turns out to have a slightly softer side in later books.
  • Spider-Man:
    • From Spidey's Rogues Gallery we have Venom, Carnage, and whatever other symbiote villains are in there. Just the gaping, drooling mouths filled with More Teeth than the Osmond Family is enough, but add in the claws, creeping tendrils, and their penchant for red and black colorations, and you have a whole family of obvious evil. Inverted, however, with the few good symbiotes: Toxin and Anti-Venom.
    • 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. This was intentional on Hobgoblin's part (especially Roderick Kingsley) as he's a huge Attention Whore who loves playing the part of villain.
  • 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 Spawn, who despite being a Humanoid Abomination with a disfigured face, black and red suit and downright creepy powers, is at worst a Anti-Hero.
  • Marvel Comics villain Annihilus. If the name isn't a massive hint, he's a giant screaming Omnicidal Maniac bug-monster. Lampshaded to hell and back in Ultimate Fantastic Four by The Thing.
    The Thing: Dude, your (Reed Richards) translator just told us his name was e-vil, or nil-ate or some crap like that. That's a frikken clue train pulled right up to the station!
  • Roark Junior aka That Yellow Bastard from Sin City. An interesting example in that he wasn't always this way. He used to look like a normal enough guy, but after Hartigan basically mutilated him in a gunfight Junior received extreme, experimental reconstructive surgery thanks to his powerful senator father (not out of any actual care for Junior but out of desperation to have a legacy). The surgery had some really nasty, rough effects on Junior's body with the result that he now resembles a yellow, goblin-esque being. Of course Junior was always a scumbag; if anything, the surgery just made he look as awful on the outside as he is on the inside.
  • Judge Dredd: The four Dark Judges are probably the most visually evil out of Judge Dredd's enemies. Their names are Judge Death, Judge Fear, Judge Fire, and Judge Mortis, their uniforms are black and adorned with human bones, they willingly became undead abominations through black magic, and want to kill all life.
  • Exar Kun, the Big Bad of Tales of the Jedi's Great Sith War, starts off as a Jedi—a Jerk Jock Jedi who makes insulting comments about non-humans and a particular eagerness for knowledge about the Sith, along with unseemly ambition for a Jedi. Really, he was already one foot over the line. (Other works set in the same era have various Jedi calling What an Idiot on Kun's master for not predicting his fall sooner.)

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Most of Don Bluth's movies. No one in their right mind would trust a black-furred rat dressed in purple arguing with the other rats, a cigar-smoking, con-artist rat who's actually a cat, a dark green Tyrannosaurus, a dog that smokes, a monocle-wearing giant owl who loves Ominous Pipe Organs and can't stand light, petrifying ugly trolls, and a strong deep-voiced penguin who lives in a frightening lair.
  • A great many 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.
      • This is the same for Brave after Elinor is transformed into a bear, her eyes are very much human and has a gentle face. But as she slowly loses her humanity, her eyes become cold and black and her face becomes more detailed and ferocious.
    • Subverted in The Emperor's New Groove - Yzma is described as "scary beyond all reason" by the protagonist, who still trusts her.
    • Wreck-It Ralph has surprise villain Turbo. Oddly enough, he's the hero of his own game. But he looks like this.
    • Dean Abigail Hardscrabble in Monsters University is a subversion. She's basically a giant red and black centipede/dragon hybrid who makes her first appearance flying in dramatically and darkening the classroom. Later on you realise that, while she is a very strict Sink-or-Swim Mentor, she's not evil in the slightest.
    • Jiminy Cricket lampshaded this in House of Mouse.
    Jiminy Cricket: Avoid anybody with a fiendish cackle, sinister smile, or diabolical glare. Not necessarily in that order.
    • Frozen has the Duke of Weselton who has the obviously evil name (it's wrongly pronounced Weaseltown throughout, as a Running Gag), appearance, and motive. He's even voiced by the villain of the previous Disney movie! Then this trope gets subverted when the true Big Bad turns out to be the handsome, charming prince who has zero Obviously Evil signs attached to him until The Reveal.
      • Elsa is an aversion in the final film, but had this trope played straight in a previous draft of the film. In it Elsa actually was the villain (though how genuine her villainy was differed in production) and so she had pointy hair and a spiky dress, as opposed to the final film where she has a silky dress and long braided hair. In certain designs Elsa had black hair to contrast her with Anna's strawberry blonde however her finalized villain design used the platinum blonde, as does the final product.
  • The Legend of the Titanic takes this trope to the extreme. Where the Big Bad is given an eyepatch and a harsh voice, the sharks are given stripes and prison gear, and the Wicked Stepmother and her sister both have vicious black cats (to top it off, the stepmother's cat is named Lucifer).
  • Played with in The Swan Princess where you would think Derek would recognize Bridget's disguise seeing how he knows Odette only wears white dresses whereas Bridget was wearing an obviously evil red/black dress. It's done as a Shout-Out to the original ballet where Odile wears a black tutu.
  • Strange Magic: The Bog King is an insect humanoid, is introduced in the shadows ranting about how love is dangerous, and threatens his goblin mooks. He openly sings about how evil he is! He even kidnaps a fairy princess. The movie subverts this by revealing that he's mostly just a bitter grump whose actions are correct, if drastic. The real villain turns out to be the handsome former fiancee of the heroine.
  • The BFG: The giants look even more evil in the animated movie than their physical descriptions and illustrations from the book. For instance, Fleshlumpeater is not only a towering brute, but has fanged, rotten teeth, a scarred face, barbaric regalia, and blood-red eyes.
  • Rugrats in Paris: Coco LaBouche: with her dark eye shadow, triangular brows, and devilish outfits. Even the babies are quick to notice how Coco LaBouche means big trouble. Chuckie's dad Chaz on the other hand, somehow doesn't notice this blindingly obvious fact which makes the most of the film portray him as a Horrible Judge of Character, if not an idiot.
    Lil: She's not a very nice lady. She's too "pointy."
    • Heck even Dil notices how obviously evil Coco is, and he promptly whacks her with his rattle upon first meeting her.
  • The Agony Booth's recap of Quest for Camelot has this to say about Lord Ruber, one of Camelot's knights:
    "...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 [sic] 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 47 Ronin was distinctly unsubtle in its costume design. Lord Kira just oozes evil.
  • The Winter Soldier, from the film of the same name, is an interesting use of this trope. Black leather fatigues, hides his lower face in a mask, either Scary Shiny Glasses or dark eyeshadow, a metal arm with an engraved Soviet star, always armed with a BFG... and then he turns out to be, not a villain in his own right, but a Brainwashed and Crazy Bucky Barnes. He ditches everything except the arm in the inevitable Heel–Face Turn. Then in Civil War, he loses the arm too (though this time not by choice).
  • Ramsley the creepy pale butler from Disney's The Haunted Mansion, with Ominous Pipe Organ background music playing in almost every scene he appears in. helps that he's portrayed by Terence Stamp
  • 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 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 Dalip 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.
  • Played with with Timothy Dalton's character in Hot Fuzz. Something about the surname Skinner, the smile, the moustache... and the relentless lampshading!
  • Doctor Heiter from The Human Centipede, good Lord. The Phelous review of the movie lampshades this by playing very fitting dramatic strings whenever he does something.
  • 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!
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • 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, Nazgûl and particularly Sauron's material form, who are all pretty scary to look at and decked out in blackened Spikes of Villainy.
    • 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.
  • Nizam in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time qualifies. Let's see. Beard of Evil? Check. Bald of Evil? Check. Black robes and piercing eyes? Check. Played by Ben Kingsley? Check and Mate. Might as well give him a sign.
  • The Purge: When a gang comes to your door wearing creepy masks, wielding weapons, and makes it clear that they want to kill one guy and they'll kill anybody who gets in the way, you get this trope.
  • The Russians in Red Dawn (1984) — murdering high school students, raping, evil eyes, evil moustaches... evil hats. The Not-China-We-Swear North Koreans from the remake aren't much better.
  • Played to creepy perfection in Rock & 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 Galactic 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. His Vader Breath doesn't help.
    • Stormtroopers are named after Nazis, and their skull-like helmets come with a predesigned grimace.
    • 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.
    • Count Dooku is played by Christopher Lee using the same approach he takes to Saruman, Dracula, Fu Manchu and the rest.
    • For that matter, the Dark Side is called... The Dark Side. Who says only the Sith deal in absolutes? Justified when it comes to the Dark Side: it's a narcotic and delving too much into has the expected devastating effects. But overall, subtlety is not the series' strong point.
      • Also somewhat subverted, as it turns out that Darth Vader has redeeming qualities despite being as dark-side as it gets, many of the emotions associated with falling to darkness are often constructive (notably, love and personal loyalty), and many of Luke's steps into the dark-side are among his most heroic moments and result in the galaxy being saved on more than one occasion, most notably prioritizing his friendship with Han over his actual duty to the Jedi and the Rebellion.
  • Jonas and his team from Twister, who show up in a long line of black SUVs. They also had the nerve to do something as diabolical as get corporate sponsors for their research!
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Judge Doom. The name itself isn't very subtle, because, let's face it, Toons aren't known for their subtlety.
  • Van Damme's character from The Expendables 2, Jean Vilain, is the Big Bad of the movie. The name "Vilain" is basically "villain" with a Francophone accent. And the character is in fact a villain with a Francophone accent. Even Ross seems shocked at the idea. He and the Sangs even use a satanic goat as their symbol!
  • In Anaconda, Paul Sarone is a creepy, suspicious guy from the start and awfully handy with killing things, but no one suspects him of any ulterior motives until he's already put himself in charge. Jon Voight does everything but cackle with an Evil Laugh or twirl a mustache.
  • Thade from Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001). Seriously, his voice, his face.. everything screams 'evil'.
  • Azazel in X-Men: First Class. He's designed pretty much like mainstream depictions of Satan.
  • Mr. Brell from No Holds Barred may be one of the most obvious Corrupt Corporate Executives in movie history. He can barely last a minute pretending to be civil before revealing himself as a screaming lunatic, and he's not even convincing when he's 'playing nice'.
  • The Berserker Predator from Predators. The eyes on his mask glow Hellish-Red, compared to the yellowish glow of all the other Predators. His red-stained dreadlocks don't help much either.
  • Spiders II: Breeding Ground: Dr. Grbac basically screams "Mad Scientist" the minute he enters the screen. He doesn't help his case either by referring to Alexandra and Jason as "perfect specimens" while pretending to be performing a routine inspection.

  • Smasher Sullivan in The Secret River
  • Harry Potter
    • Voldemort. 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.
    • 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 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.
    • Delores Umbridge. The way she dresses screams Most Definitely Not a Villain, her name is a pun on insulting and resentment, she openly speaks out against somebody that saved Hogwarts four times and was prophesized to do it several more times, and uses medieval disciplinary methods. How the Ministry of Magic hasn't caught on to this is a mystery.
  • 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.
  • The Hunger Games President Snow is described as having Snake-like eyes and the smell of roses and blood.
  • The Boltons in A Song of Ice and Fire have a flayed man as their sigil and live in a place called the Dreadfort. They wear armor that has screaming faces and exposed muscles styled onto it.
    • Averted, however, with the Lannisters. Tyrion Lannister is by far the most ethical one (at least at the start of the series) but is hideously deformed, in contrast to his brother and sister, who are evil but very attractive.
  • 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.
  • Played with in Childhood's 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.
  • Trapped on Draconica: Evil Overlord Gothon wears armor that makes him look like a demon.
  • 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.
    • This trope is justified in Tolkien's Middle Earth, where evil has a really noticeable corrupting influence on everything it touches. This is why many of the villains in the Middle Earth stories tend to be so obvious.
  • All of the main villains from the original Shannara trilogy are like this- their names alone are tip-offs. The first book's Warlock Lord is an undead tyrant in a Black Cloak who rules over the Skull Kingdom; the second book's Demons are, well, Demons are and presented as a ravening, hateful horde of Always Chaotic Evil monsters; the third book's Mord Wraiths are basically an entire organization of mini-Warlock Lords, down to sharing his fashion sense.
    • Subverted in the Sequel Series The Heritage of Shannara. The first few Shadowen the protagonists run into are horrible monsters, leading to the impression that all Shadowen are like that. Except it doesn't work that way. The obviously evil Shadowen are actually the weakest ones, who lacked sufficient control of their magic to stop it from mutating them. The most powerful Shadowen- like Rimmer Dall- can pass themselves off as ordinary humans almost flawlessly, until they choose to reveal themselves.
  • Invoked in The Death Gate Cycle. Sinistrad is an Evil Sorcerer who is tall and gaunt, with pale skin, no hair, and a fondness for black robes (the latter, admittedly, because that's what a wizard of his stature wears regardless of their morality). He knows the odds are pretty stacked against anyone mistaking him for a good guy, so he goes the other way and deliberately plays to the stereotype, complete with changing his name to "Sinistrad" in the first place, all so most people end up assuming that this walking cliché can't be for real and he can't possibly be as bad as he makes out. He's worse.
  • Lampshaded by the protagonist in Somewhither:
    And, just on principle, I was not helping any group that called itself The Darkest Tower against places called Great Golden City and Land of Light. That was a no-brainer. I mean, get serious. Suppose you were from another world and came to ours circa 1940 and you saw an SS officer in his black uniform with the silver skulls on his collar, and he said he wanted to exterminate some folks called The Chosen People from some place called The Holy Land, who would you think the bad guy was?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow Season's 4 Big Bad Damien Darhk is so dark that the Green Arrow must learn to use the Light of the Soul to hope to defeat him. Darhk also wears very dark suits.
  • Power Rangers
    • 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?
    • There's an ironic reversal with Koragg/Leanbow from Power Rangers Mystic Force. He's given a form that looks like a more heavily armored Power Ranger when he's brainwashed by the Big Bad. His natural One-Winged Angel form, on the other hand, makes you wonder if Hell has started selling rubber suits. The same applies to Wolzard/Isamu of Mahou Sentai Magiranger.
    • The Psycho Rangers in Power Rangers in Space. They roll-call how much better they are then the rest of the Rangers, and then Psycho Pink comes out with "But we're EVIL!"
      Psycho Black: We're faster than you!
      Psycho Blue: We're smarter than you!
      Psycho Yellow: We're stronger than you!
      Psycho Pink: But we're EVIL!
  • 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.
  • The overwhelming majority of Doctor Who antagonists fit this mould due to a combination of how the moral ambiguities usually focus on the Doctor's actions rather than those of the monsters, and near-universal use of Evil Is Hammy. A few more notable or played with cases:
    • Subverted by "The Sensorites" which uses the ugliness of the Sensorites for the first cliffhanger. They turn out to be much better than the humans. Then double-subverted once an Obviously Evil Sensorite shows up and starts out-hamming everyone else in the room...
    • Maaga in "Galaxy 4" is Obviously Evil from the get-go (despite the whole story subverting Beauty Equals Goodness in a very Anvilicious way), but the Doctor still runs off to commit genocide against the Rills on her word. Vicki and Steven, to their credit, are more skeptical.
    • Exaggerated in "Power of the Daleks". Genre Blind Mad Scientist Lesterson has rescued a bunch of Daleks from a downed space capsule that insist that they are his servants (in exchange for him powering them). The Doctor insists that they are evil, but Lesterson refuses to listen... until he observes them making Nazi salutes with their plungers and chanting "we will get our power! We will get our power!"
    • Most of the Doctor's moments of being cunning are when he's worked out that the man in Nazi-esque clothes who can't get through a sentence without scenery-chewing is obviously going to turn out to be evil, even though he hasn't done anything yet. For instance, the Second Doctor does this in "Power of the Daleks" after noticing one of the characters has undergone an Evil Costume Switch.
    • None of the Atlanteans in "The Underwater Menace" seem to realise that Zaroff, the giggling Large Ham Mad Scientist with a ridiculous German accent who openly admits to wanting to blow up the Earth, is dangerous and totally bonkers, no matter what the Doctor says. In fact, he's so obviously evil that when the Atlantean Chief asks him how he knows Zaroff is bad, the Doctor is shown to struggle to articulate it in the manner of someone being asked to explain a ludicrously basic concept (he's reduced to asking 'have you looked into his eyes?' and pulling Zaroff-like faces).
    • Deconstructed (and this phrase used) in "Robot", when Sarah infiltrates a weapons development institute in order to find a mysterious robot the Doctor thinks is there. When she gets there a creepy and disdainful Mad Scientist makes the robot jump her, claims it was a joke, orders it to kill her, claims this was to prove it wouldn't, and then blackmails her. When Sarah returns to UNIT she tells the Brigadier that the organisation is 'obviously evil' and they need to stop them. The Brigadier says that while he believes her, he needs more to go on than that - he could lose his position if he goes in without due cause, and if they went through the red tape of obtaining the due cause the organisation would get a large advance warning and be able to clear everything up.
    • Davros in "Genesis of the Daleks" onwards. Nobody who looks like Emperor Palpatine in a wheelchair, shouts about extermination, and openly admits he'd destroy every living thing on the planet if he could just For the Evulz, is possibly going to be a good guy. Nevertheless, in "Genesis of the Daleks", both his own native Kaleds and even the racist enemy Thals who view Kaleds as subhumans openly trust him.
    • A less smack-in-your-face example: LINDA sure let Victor Kennedy push them around for a while.
    • Subverted at the end of "Deep Breath" We're introduced to Missy, a woman who dresses like a Gothic Mary Poppins and gleefully says she runs Heaven. Nothing indicated her as being evil, yet most fans knew that there was no way she couldn't be a villain. Turns out she's the Master.
  • 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 so Obviously 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 Turron, 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. This is eventually subverted, however.
  • 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.
  • Glee's Sue Sylvester often fits this trope to a T with her nonchalant and often outrageous declarations of her evil intentions. Occasionally zig-zags only to return to her evil ways in the next episode.
  • Most of the monsters in Supernatural can appear as humans, until they chose to reveal their fangs, demonic eyes, or other Red Right Hand. However, most of the ghosts appear in a frightening form with Motion Blur, Ghostly Chill, and and sporting their ghastly, fatal wounds.
  • The first sketch in That Mitchell and Webb Look has a Nazi officer asking his friend to take a good look at the skull badges on their caps and trying to work out if a skull emblem has ever been used in a non-evil context. (His friend tries for pirates, but while fun, they're still not good.)
    "Hans... are we the baddies?"
  • One of the criticisms of Aidan Gillen's turn as Littlefinger on Game of Thrones is that he's turned the character into someone who's obviously evil - not so much in a way that viewers can notice, but in a way that's so obvious even other characters should notice. Everything he says is coated in such a thick layer of malevolence that it's difficult to imagine other schemers not immediately suspecting him.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness in Liō: 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.

  • In Popeye Saves the Earth, this is invoked by the names of Bluto's polluting companies — Earth Pavers, Never Green Logging, Blutonium Waste, and Spill Oil Co.

  • Dice Funk: The headmaster of the Pickman Academy is so shady that the players wonder aloud if he will turn out to be the final boss somewhere down the road.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Played with in Warhammer 40,000 - 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
    • 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 for foitin' 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 Alternative 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.
    • Black and Gray Morality doesn't help either. Many characters would be Obviously Evil if it weren't for their opponents being Eviler Than Thou.
  • 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, with armies of fanatical soldiers, genetically engineered dog-men and robot soldiers for the purpose of reconquering North America. Oh, and all their armors, ships and robots have a "death's head" skull motif for decoration, earning them the nickname "Deadboys".
  • The Primal Vampires of Bleak World. They have pale white skin, pure black eyes, 3 rows of teeth, and are completely hairless. They are also a band of single minded beasts who only wish to devour more blood. However there is nothing stopping a PC from going against this image though, if they play as a primal vampire.

  • Starship:
    Bug: You're evil!
    Pincer: No duh!
  • William Shakespeare wasn't immune to this trope. In Twelfth Night, the major villain is a lying, deceitful servant named Malvolio—that's Mal, as in "malicious" or "malpractice," from the Latin "mala" for evil—volio.
  • This is an extremely common trope in nineteenth century melodrama, which birthed many of the examples on this list—that genre was among the first to introduce the mustache-twirling villain who loudly declares his plans to steal, lie, cheat, commit crimes, and generally be a total Jerkass.
  • The titular character in Moliere's Tartuffe is clearly a con artist and form of Sinister Minister, preaching about sacrifice while indulging in all sorts of debauchery. In this case it's an Invoked Trope, as it's plain as day to everyone who meets Tartuffe except the family patriarch and that patriarch's mother, who are the only people who have any influence in the matter.

    Video Games 
  • Agarest Senki: There is 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.
  • Baten Kaitos: Wiseman is an almost comically exaggerated example. Let's see... completely inhuman voice, always talks about 'the power of human hearts', and this is his character portrait.
  • Battalion Wars: The Xylvanians.
  • BlazBlue: Yuuki Terumi might not be the most triumphant example of this trope, simply because he comes across as such a snazzy lookin' smooth criminal at first glance, but once you see his Supernatural Gold Eyes or Psychotic Smirk you just know he's up to no good. In the sequel he stops pretending to be one of the good guys and instead throws himself head first into complete immorality and gleefully revels in depravity. It doesn't get the least bit better when you realize that his false name "Hazama" roughly translates to "otherworldly", he has a prominent snake motif and has a shady but gentlemanly demanour. "Hazama" is also merely one of his many nefarious nicknames, the others including such endearing aliases as "Black Susano'o", "The True Evil" and his Phase 1 body is named "Kazuma Kvar". However, his not really true name is fairly safe ("Yuuki" means "courage")... until you realize that before he became known as "Satan", God's right hand angel went under the name "Lucifer", which meant "Lightbringer". And then Central Fiction threw all ambiguity out the window with the reveal of his original form and name: the God Susano'o, the Jerkass God of Japanese mythology...except even worse because this version never made up with Amaterasu and still wants to destroy the world, and his appearance is the Susanooh Unit having undergone an Evil Makeover. So yeah, there you have it folks; Terumi is none other than the BB verse's own take on Evil Incarnate, and quite literally a God of Evil.
  • Blizzard Entertainment:
    • This video game company is known to play a lot with this trope:
    • The Orcs and their Horde from WarCraft 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 the Demons (who play this trope very straight), and were actually a decently neutral species 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 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 StarCraft: 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.
    • In a similar vein, The Undead in Warcraft III, though a small faction ended up joining the Horde and as such became "good" guys... though their clear position remains complicated.
    • While Diablo plays this trope straight with most of the antagonists, who are almost all blood-thirsty, cannibalistic, Always Chaotic Evil demons, it includes some aversions.
      • Zoltan Kulle, who is voiced by Steve Blum at his hammiest, and will pull an Evil Laugh every time he teleports out (which is fairly often).
  • City of Heroes:
  • The Darkness: The Darkness 2 has Brother Victor, a heavily scarred, subhuman-looking Evil Cripple. Lampshaded repeatedly by other characters; one describes him as looking like "Nosferatu on crack".
  • Dark Souls: Lautrec of Carim 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.
  • Demon's Souls: The NPCs Yurt the Silent Chief, Miralda the Executioner and Mephistopheles. 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.
  • Disgaea: Vulcanus. This gets lampshaded like crazy, especially in the remake with the Prinny Commentary on. 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...
  • Doom 3: Dr. Betruger. 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?
  • Dragon Age II: The Lyrium Idol starts glowing red the moment it is picked up and turns out to be an Artifact of Doom that drives people mad and when reforged turns into a BFS that glows and sounds rather like a red lightsaber.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The Darkspawn are Always Chaotic Evil until Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening and look the part. Also, what tipped you off that Loghain was evil? The sinister music that started when he showed up, the Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette appearance, or the black armor with Shoulders of Doom?
  • Almost every Dragon Quest Big Bad is designed to be very obviously evil, especially the ones from the Zenithia trilogy (IV, V, and VI) remakes and Dragon Quest VII, where the villains are oversized monsters with no resemblance of humanity. Dhoulmagus from Dragon Quest VIII could very well be called "Kefka the clown".
  • Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius: Playing one of these is the point of these 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.)
  • 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.
  • Eien no Filena (which translates to "Eternal Filena"): This SNES JRPG 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.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: 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.
  • Mannimarco from The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall is a mysterious hooded figure (All you can see of his face are creepy glowing eyes) who lives in a cavern underneath a crypt, and has undead guards, while making deals for power and is one of the most powerful/intimidating necromancers Tamriel has ever known. Though this is downplayed in Oblivion in which his mortal form note  retains almost none of the intimidation.
  • Fable III: King Logan 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.
  • Fallout 3:
    • "President" John Henry Eden. His accent is suspiciously British (because his voice actor i ALEX THE DROOG). It sounds extremely sinister, and his messages about the Enclave have the undertone of "If you get in our way, you'll be zapped with laser rifles."
    • 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.
  • Final Fantasy:
    Tidus: I knew you were bad news from the start!
    • Even more damning is his Leitmotif (and its remix), which plays in the majority of cutscenes he's featured in before and after he is outed as a villain.
    • However, Anima, the mummy-like Aeon he summons, subverts this. She's actually his mother-turned-Final Aeon and eventually joins Yuna out of atonement for unwittingly causing his Start of Darkness.
    • Vayne Solidor from Final Fantasy XII zig-zags on this trope. He commits numerous atrocities throughout the game, but he's ultimately a Well-Intentioned Extremist dedicated to freeing Ivalice from the Occura.
    • Caius Ballad from Final Fantasy XIII-2 is this almost to the point of parody, what with his black-and-purple getup, deep voice and ultimate goal of destroy the timeline to free Yuel from the cycle of reincarnation.
    • Anyone can pick up straight away that Bhunivelze is the big bad of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. If the creepy, cultlike Corrupt Church didn't make it obvious enough, there's a scene later on in the game where Lightning goes off-script while performing a play, and outright threatens Bhunivelze if he doesn't hold up his end of their bargain.
  • Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryu (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the Updated Re-release of the first game):
    • Garnef/Gharnef. In the original, he was simply a Black Cloak. But in the remake he has a hunchback, Pointy Ears glowing yellow eyes, clawed hands and pale, seemingly rotting skin. His new artwork speaks for itself.
    • 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.
    • Izuka looks like Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings.
    • Awakening: The Grimleal religion as a whole is this. Their leader, Validar is very similar to Gharnef in that he does his best to make sure everyone knows he's a villain. His design includes long black robes, long and pointy nails, unnaturally grey skin, red eyes, an absurdly low neckline, and a goatee. The rest of the members, minus the lone female, Aversa who was made Brainwashed and Crazy with magic, are all ugly thugs who Rape Pillage Andburn, and deformed evil Wizard types. They even refer to their god, Gimli(Grima overseas), as ''evil'' in Japan. Even Grima's english descriptor of fell has very negative connotations.
    • How King Garon, the ruler of Nohr, manages to get anyone to believe he's someone trustworthy is a mystery. Just one look at him should be enough to tell you that he is not a good person, what with his charcoal gray skin, red eyes, dark attire, a penchant for creepy laughter, and abusing his children. This one is admittedly played with. The real Garon has actually been dead since before the story began, and was noted to have been a kind-hearted father and ruler in the past. By this point in the story the Garon seen today is a possessed corpse carrying out the plan of the true Big Bad of the game.
    • In fact, Fire Emblem is full clock of obviously evil. Either they are horrendously ugly bandits, old and fat commanders, maniacs for hire, sinister looking magicians, dudes and gals with a smirkish smile, or overly Bishōnen Magnificent Bastards who intentionally wear either black or white robes and evil make-ups.
  • Halo: "I? I am a monument to all your sins." Also, its name is Gravemind and it's made of thousands upon thousands of dead bodies. Who do you think it leads?
  • From 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 with his hands clasping behind his back, the only smile he knows how to give is a Psychotic Smirk, and his Keyblade is adorned with Spikes of Villainy, demonic wings, and a horned face. Yet the heroes are all shocked when he turns out to be the villain, and one even trusts him as a mentor. This twist is strictly in-universe, the game makes it obvious to the player that he's evil in the opening cutscenes, when he sabotages the Mark of Mastery exam with dark powers and directly says to The Dragon he's just putting on an act to fly under the radar for now. The CG trailer for Birth By Sleep in the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ foreshadows Xehanort's battle with the three heroes. In the trailer there's no dialogue, no subtitles, you've never seen any of these characters before, and there is absolutely no context for this scene at all. It's still perfectly obvious who the villain in the confrontation is.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • All of the Sith in this game 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.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Most 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.
    • Agahnim from A Link to the Past trips pretty much every Untrustworthy Bastard alarm at first glance, yet is trusted enough by the royal family to get into a position where he can mentally dominate the entire palace guard and army and murder the king. In the international versions of the game he's a wizard which he could possibly pass as, while in the Japanese version he's a priest!
    • And Chancellor Cole from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Never trust a villain who looks like a leprechaun, wears two top hats at once, has inverted eye colour and a Slasher Smile with More Teeth than the Osmond Family, of the shark-like variety.
    • 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...
    • Inverted Trope in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Batreaux is a demon and looks evil, but he's actually a nice guy.
      • 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 its Big Bad Ghirahim who is a bizarre but none the less Ax-Crazy narcissist, and Greater Scope Villain 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.
    • Yuga in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is this. After all, he's a creepy magician style character who looks a lot like Ganondorf's Distaff Counterpart, so it shouldn't surprise absolutely anyone that he's one of the main villains of the game except Princess Hilda who thought he was totally trustworthy.
  • LittleBigPlanet: The Negativitron from Little Big Planet 2. Eldritch Abomination? Check. Tons of purple and black? Check. Four Hellish Pupils? Check. Fanged mouth and Devil-style horns? Check. Alternates between an Evil Laugh and Mighty Roar? Double Check.
  • Ghaleon from the Lunar series is an obvious Card-Carrying Villain. Just observe his long white hair and red, slit-pupiled eyes; it's written all over his face. Even his borderline Creepy Monotone introductory speech screams 'I'm up to no good!' Still, the main character doesn't figure it out until he does an Evil Costume Switch, kills (or, depending on the version captures) the White Dragon and kidnaps Luna. It's a Subverted Trope later, when he does a Heel–Face Turn to stop the Big Bad of the second game.
  • 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?note . Yep... In fact, his one arms is a Geth arm (the enemies of the first game). And to top things off, the music that plays when he shows up is the same as the Critical Mission Failure music.
    • 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 Nihlus, who had skull-like face paint and a less-than pleasant name. However he serves as teacher and a friend of Anderson... For about less than an hour into the game.
  • Mega Man Battle Network:
    • In this series, Dark Chips (evil battlechips which slowly corrupt your Navi and sap your hit points if you use them) truly look evil, with glowing purple icons and scary-sounding, robotic descriptions such as "USE LARGE SWORD AND SLICE".
    • 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 D r W e il.
    • 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.
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Grey and Gray Morality makes it difficult to find any truly evil characters in the entire series. But then you get Psycho Mantis and Vamp, who really leave no trace of doubt that they need killing, and soon. Psycho Mantis has almost white skin and always walks around in tight black leather with an SS-Longcoat and a freaking gas mask. Vamp is also extremely pale, but has a Beard of Evil, an eastern European accent, and also wears a Badass Longcoat, but shirtless. His first appearance is slaughtering a Navy SEAL team single handedly with knives and drinking the blood of his victims. And he loves licking blood from his knife (he was the one from the page picture).
  • 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. Also, the Evil Sorcerer responsible for the creation of Noob Saibot, Quan Chi, is a bald, pale Necromancer with distinct red eyes, Facial Markings, and Spikes of Villainy on his costume. Most people probably aren't going to look at any of his pictures and think "Oh, here's our hero."
  • MySims: Morcubus from this series. Aside from having a Name to Run Away From Really Fast, he carries a very prominent Beard of Evil, and in your first case of the Wii version of MySims Agents, he claims that his (it's really Poppy's) dog's name is "Killfang".
  • 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 (though she does get some help on that front by being the villain of an arc where your closest allies, who are mostly good guys, are also black-skinned white-haired drow)? 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)?
  • Overlord: The title character is a Tin Tyrant who usually starts out equipped with a battleaxe and commands a legion of Chaotic Stupid minions (albeit ones that are Ugly Cute).
  • Phantasmagoria 2: Paul Allen Warner, which Spoony takes great pleasure in mocking ("I heard that, Curtis") during his Let's Play of the game.
  • Pokémon Black and White: Ghetsis is extremely obvious. From running a gang (remember, in the Japanese versions of the games they call them 'Gangs' not 'Teams'), to nearly letting slip his true goals in casual conversation, to dressing like well, the guy wears a robe with eye balls on it. Not to mention the red scouter type thing on his right eye (might as well be an eye patch). And yet, people oddly enough, actually listen to him. One of the best parts of the game is when Cheren (one of the main character's rivals and one of the smarter characters in the games) is shocked when Ghetsis turns out to be evil!
    • For Pokémon X and Y, you have Team Flare's Big Bad Lysandre. He's not revealed to be the villain until later. The hair and clothes are Red and Black and Evil All Over, which are Team Flare's colors, the he waxes philosophically about beauty, and his theme song that plays while you and him talk is ominous, to say the least. Later on, it's shown that the cafe that he owns is, in fact, Team Flare's favorite hangout. It's so painfully obvious, the players were surprised to know it was (supposed to be) a secret. If his comment about "replacing old filth with new filth" in his Coumarine Holo Caster message to you doesn't set off alarms, you may be genre blind. Hell, the only reason there's any ambiguity over his status as the Big Bad is that AZ is a MORE sinister looking person who's behavior practically screams that he's some sort of man behind the man, except he's not. AZ is actually an Atoner who is wholly against Team Flare's agenda.
    • Subverted with Darkrai in the main series, a Pokemon which is one of the most evil looking Pokemon you can find, and puts anyone who comes across it into eternal nightmares which can only by cured by Cresselia. The nightmares it gives are an involuntary defense mechanism, and it honestly means no harm.
    • Zig-Zagged in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Lusamine actually does a great job at hiding her true intentions... until Hau makes an offhand remark about her resemblance to his friend Lillie. Upon hearing that name, she makes a creepy grimace and mutters a few ominous remarks about controlling things and obedience, immediately throwing away any of the player's potential surprise when she was revealed as the main villain and as Lillie's mother.
      • The Aether Foundation's villainous role isn't that surprising when the very first cutscene in the game is Aether worker's trying to capture your friend, Lillie. Even less so when you meet Faba, who's so arrogant and condescending that it's impossible for him not to be a bad guy.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon:
    • Zig-Zagging Trope in this series. While some evil-looking Pokemon (Generally Ghost, Poison, and Dark types) do end up being villains, just as many are neutral or good.
    • Rescue Team plays it straight with Gengar, a red eyed, purple, spiky, and perpetually grinning Ghost type. Most would immediately assume that he's no good the moment he makes his first appearance and he proceeds to back it up moments later. He ends up becoming a Jerk with a Heart of Gold after some sobering experiences, though.
    • Explorers has Dusknoir, who looks like a one-eyed Grim Reaper. While he tries to pass himself off as good initially, he makes a very dubious remark shortly after his introduction that will immediately make most players call his true intentions into question, and sure enough, he ends up being a bad guy. He ultimately repents by helping to save the world in Sky, however. Later on, it introduces Darkrai, who looks a living shadow; appropriately evil for the deeds he commits in the story, such as nearly plunging the world into eternal darkness, and trying to convince you and your partner to commit suicide.
      • There's also Team Skull, whose ranks consist of Koffing, Zubat, and Skuntank; all of them purple, and overall not looking like the first bunch of Pokemon you should be trusting (Which of course, some characters do end up doing...). On the other hand, there's Team AWD, consisting of Arbok, Weavile, and Drapion; all black and/or purple and all of them based on animals with rather unsavory reputations. However, despite being made out to be evil on Explorers of Time's boxart, they're neutral at worse, simply providing you with advice in all of the games, and being mistaken for bad guys in Sky due to a lie.
    • Gates To Infinity has Kyurem, whose soulless yellow eyes don't exactly scream "good guy" and while initially not seeming that villainous otherwise, he makes a suspicious remark like Dusknoir that makes it very clear that he's hiding something. Even more evil looking is Hydreigon, who's got plenty of black and red on him along with Black Eyes of Crazy, and he cements the evilness by attacking Munna in the game's opening. Except it later turns out that the scene was an illusion and that it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he's actually the nicest guy in the world. Then there's Cofagrigus, who despite being a red eyed, animated sarcophagus with a sinister smile, is merely a friendly, but creepy collector of gold bars.
  • Resident Evil: Was it really surprising that the man wearing all black, sunglasses indoors, and mysteriously disappears at the beginning of the game would turn out to be the villain? Not to mention his very flawed excuse the only other time you meet him over the course of the game. What's worse is that Jill actually seems to trust Wesker over Barry during the residence meeting. In Chris's story, Wesker does do Barry's job of providing occasional off-screen assistance so you could almost excuse him for trusting Wesker. Almost.
    • Lisa Trevor, is a subversion. While being a hulking mutated berserker, is a tragic victim, who was kidnapped by Umbrella note  and heavily mutated on, with almost every virus known in the series before the fourth game. She kills everything in sight, but that was because the experiments drove her feral, killing any humanity she had left, except for her determination to be reunited with her mother whom she thinks is still alive.
  • Return to Krondor: Bear, for starters. The head scribe for the jail, due to his shrill voice that sounds like a talking weasel and a Villainous Widow's Peak. Journeyman Jorath, due to his oily voice, and his politically incorrect, racist attitudes toward Keshians, and a Villainous Widow's Peak. The necromancer leader Sidi, although he certainly did an impressive job sounding calm and normal at one point.
  • Re VOLUTION: The Corporation has a logo resembling a big, evil-looking winged skull (death's-head). It also has posters saying "Power And Control," as well as "The Corporation Is The Sun Of Your New Life!" plastered all over the place.
  • Ripper: Joey Falconetti first appears to Quinlan in a virtual burning hellscape filled with human corpses, wielding a dozen knives—that he throws at the tied-up Quinlan—and his head occasionally turns transparent to reveal his skull. No, he couldn't possibly be the Ripper.
  • Rival Schools: Raizo Imawano, the principal of Justice High School, has huge stature, anevil monocle, and his fingernails sharpened into claws... but all evil acts he commits are a result of brainwashing.
  • 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.
  • Samurai Warriors:
  • Section 8: Prejudice: Salvador. A bald, ugly blue-skinned giant wearing blood red armour... Who would have guessed?
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006): The villain of this game. 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. On top of that, his name is a corruption of Mephistopheles.
    • 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.
    • The Deadly Six in Sonic Lost World. The name says it all, but their leader, Zavok, is the biggest example as he's a King Koopa Copy with a predominately red and black color scheme.
  • Soul Series (Soul Calibur): Nightmare: full dark blue armor, glowing red eyes, a BFS that stares back and a 'funny' right arm. The third and fourth iterations added in a giant fanged mouth on his chest in case any players were unclear on it.
  • Street Fighter:
    • M. Bison. Let's just say a guy who wears a red Nazi uniform, has a near-constant Slasher Smile and calls his power "Psycho Power" probably isn't going for subtlety.
    • We also have the even more evil-looking Akuma who always looks royally pissed off, wears black and a has blood red symbol for heaven on the back of his shirt, fierce red-colored pupils, and has blood-red hair. However, he's a subversion, at worst being a very antagonistic Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy Blood Knight who fights with a strict, albeit very unforgiving, code of honor. He draws upon a dark fighting force for strength and if he gets too deep into it, we get the legitimately qualifying Kuroshiki Oni, who has blue skin, a mean Battle Aura, and is pretty much an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Seth from Street Fighter IV. Lampshaded by Ken in Project X Zone when he sees KOS-MOS escorting Seth in Chapter 19 of the game: "Sure, why not, he's not RIDICULOUSLY OBVIOUSLY EVIL or anything."
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bowser, at least when not go-karting with his foes. Evil Laugh? Check. Boasting? Check. Plans for world domination? And beyond. He's also a giant monster with red eyes and spikes, which helps.
      • What doesn't help is those times where he's helped his foes fight greater villains for his own personal interests instead of doing what any Obviously Evil type would do like helping likes of Smithy, Cackletta, and Dimentio defeat his foes. And those occasions weren't just go-karting with foes, they actually contradict those said traits.
    • Wario and Waluigi. Their physical features are exaggerations of the Mario Bros´s bodies, and their personalities are also counterparts. Wario is a Fat Bastard who downplays this trope because he is an anti-hero, even if a Sociopathic Hero. Waluigi sports (sometimes) purple glowing eyes and is just as twisted as Wario, but instead of being an sociopathic anti-hero like Wario, he is a tragic anti-villain
    • 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.
    • Antasma from Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. Seriously, just look at his official art. He even looks like a living nightmare!
    • Out of all the ghosts in Luigi's Mansion and its sequel, the two that are most obviously this are Bogmire and King Boo himself. The former doesn't even look remotely humanoid, appearing as a living shadow in the form of some sort of nightmare monster, the latter is well, King Boo, with glowing eyes of doom and an appearance in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon which looks creepy as hell, especially in Treacherous Mansion.
  • Supreme Commander: Inverted Trope 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).
  • Tales of Xillia 2: Redau. He's got black hair, a red and black suit, narrow yellow eyes, and a devious smirk and voice that make it obvious he's a Smug Snake. He proves it a few minutes after you meet him by blackmailing Ludger.
  • World of Mana:
  • Xenoblade:
  • Zettai Hero Project: Really, how evil can you be if your name is Darkdeath Evilman?! Subverted. He's not as evil as he initially seems.
  • In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, it comes as no surprise that Admiral Greyfield is evil to either the player or the characters in-universe. The trouble is that Brenner's men are that desperate to save as many civilians as possible and Greyfield has plenty of food and supplies... and they severely underestimate just how evil and unhinged Greyfield is.
  • The Kirby series has several examples. Dark Meta Knight, while his Anti-Hero normal world counterpart hardly looks nice, is far more blatant. Massive scar over his mask? Check. Thin, hostile-looking eyes? Check. Ragged, tattered cape that turns into demonic bat wings? Check. Even darker and duller colour than normal Meta Knight, usually gray or black? Check. There's also Dark Matter, which is a horrific shapeshifting one-eyed ball of goo led by Zero, whose insatiable will to destroy the universe pretty much fits the name, and Galacta Knight, who has a far hotter and deeper shade of pink than the series protagonist, making him look more intimidating, bright red eyes, and golden horns on the front of his mask. Though the angel wings might throw you off. There's also Nightmare, a mad wizard with a constant Evil Grin, massive starry void and tornado beneath his cloak, golden horns much longer and sharper than Galacta Knight's and silly sunglasses.
  • The drivers in Rides With Strangers may have this aura about them. Currently, the only driver (the Sinister Minister) gives off a dark vibe.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • FromFate/stay night, Zouken Matou. 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 (Casternote ) and subverts (Berserkernote , Ridernote ) this though. The novel also makes it blatantly obvious that Kirei Kotomine is up to no good. Word of God even confirms this trope was what they were going for when they made him.
  • 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 Justice for All, the second case opens with a voice-over accusing a man named Dr. Turner Grey of a murder. When the players meet Grey, he's tense, irritable, and downright nasty; his name implies a moral gray area; he makes a big deal about how innocent he is; and other characters relate stories of an incident in which many patients died under his care. When he becomes the victim in the case, it's plain as day that he really was behind a great many deaths. Except he's not—Grey was actually totally innocent of the incident wherein the patients died. While he might be slightly to blame for putting a young, inexperienced nurse in charge of distributing those patients' medicines, he certainly didn't kill anyone. It's eventually revealed that Grey was getting dangerously close to learning the truth about the fatal incident, prompting the nurse in question to disguise herself as her own twin sister and kill him.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, Pheonix and Maya meet Furio Tigre. Who looks like Phoenix, except his skin is pure orange and he has scars over one eye and much spikier hair. Guess who the murderer was...
  • 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.
  • Despite the fact that Hatoful Boyfriend displays everyone as birds (not counting the few second pseudo-human visual of their human appearance), it's easy to tell that Doctor Shuu is not a good guy. Not because everybody tells the player over and over that he is evil. But Shuu is a partridge bird, definitely a lot more on the chubby side than the rest of the cast.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Subverted and played straight in The Zombie Knight with characters like Gohvis, an eight foot tall black scaled lizard, with a reputation for destroying cities by punching holes in volcanoes, turns out to be a Librarian. Or Koh, the Man Eater, who likes small children, and looks like a cigar smoking dog.
  • Parodied in this Alan Wake Meme.
    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.
  • The AI O'Malley (sometimes Omega) from Red vs. Blue. Everything the guy says or does is to emphasise just have eeeeeevil he is. From calling himself "Doctor Baron von Evil-Satan", to the deep voice he uses when possessing people, to his Evil Laugh... the list goes on.
  • Subverted in this "Marvel What the!?" video where Doctor Strange tries to prove that Mephisto is evil.
  • 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-intentioned.
  • Similarly, the trope is invoked by Shunryu during his fight against Deathmask in Saint Seiya Abridged:
    Shunryu: You monster! I can't believe someone like you could actually get your Cloths!
    Deathmask: Please, no morality lesson...
    Shunryu: No, seriously, why did they give you a gold cloth ? Your name is Deathmask, you decorate your house with corpses and your attack is called the Hades Wave ! Are those who give armors stupid or something ?
  • Parodied in None Piece during Captain Kuro's first appearance.
    Kuro: Well, do you know what I care about?
    Everyone: .......
    Luffy: You're evil, aren't you.
    Kuro (after an immediate cut to the next scene): THEY ARE SO FUCKING ON TO US!
  • 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.
  • When Simon is transformed by the black ink in The Cartoon Man he becomes a Dastardly Whiplash type cartoon villain, complete with a top hat, cape, twirly mustache and Evil Laugh.
  • As it interacts regularly with the rest of the internet and supposedly took over Canada, The Black Legion of the Dark Lord Sketch Melkor counts. The fact that they refer to themselves as a cult devoted to Melkor doesn't exactly make them inconspicuous, either.
  • RWBY:
    • The Grimm are creatures with black, tar-like bodies, glowing red eyes, and sharp, jagged bones jutting from their bodies in various places. They look like soulless, vicious monsters, and they are.
    • Cinder Fall almost always speaks in an extremely ominous, threatening way and is rarely seen without a sadistic grin or menacing scowl. Her minions Emerald and Mercury do most of the talking when the group is operating undercover because they're so much better at hiding the fact that they're the bad guys.
    • Salem, the mysterious new villain introduced in Volume 3, looks like a nightmarish hybrid of a Grimm and a human. It's downplayed a little in that she's actually surprisingly cordial in person to the point she had been serving as narrator from the series from the beginning, but even then her somewhat cynical tone made a lot of people suspicious.
    • The White Fang, a terrorist cell born from a formerly peaceful civil rights group, changed their flag from a white, noble-looking wolf to a snarling, blood red wolf with three huge claw marks framing its face to make sure it was totally clear they weren't playing nice anymore. Their members now wear creepy masks with fangs and four eyeholes, and their leader wears a red and black suit, a customized mask with red markings, and has horns.

    Western Animation 
  • Samurai Jack's enemy Aku, the Shapeshifting Master of Darkness, is about as obviously evil as they come. He's got natural spikes on his shoulders and elbows, an Evil Laugh, he's as hammy as they come, and to top it all off, his eyebrows are made of fire!
  • King Koopa and the Koopa Pack in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, due to its pastiche nature, offered most genres' worth of Obviously Evil design. Because it's a comedic show, though, the lowest mooks are occasionally given Affably Evil moments when they think nobody is looking.
  • 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 is a less-obvious example.
  • 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, and lampshade 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 like Apocalypse), 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.
    • Inverted: The series biggest Big Bad was a French-accented, brightly colored ingenue supervirus who's based off Joan of Arc.
    • Lampshaded: "Maybe it's a benign virus..." The virus is ten feet tall, clawed and red-and-secondary-colored. "Oh, yeah! You can tell by looking at it!"
    • Subverted: When Megabyte's brainwashed mooks go from secondary colors to normal, this is usually the cue that they are no longer evil. Not so, at all.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) Skeletor: The man has a naked skull for a head, people, the color scheme and creepy HQ are flat out redundant.
    • Subverted in the 2002 show with the Speleans, a species of evil looking bat people that are actually quite friendly.
  • In a flashback in the direct-to-DVD movie Barbie & The Diamond Castle, three muses are shown. One is dressed in a simple blue tunic, another in a royal purple tunic, and the third has an elaborate costume in muted shades of purple and red, with dark eyeshadow. Yeah, guess which one turns evil.
    • Averted in the picture book, where Lydia is shown wearing a white tunic in the flashback.
  • Trigon the Terrible from Teen Titans. Not that he can help it, though, as he's a red, four-eyed demon the size of a skyscraper who doesn't care about labels pitiful mortals might give him. The Brotherhood of Evil, on the other hand, has no excuse. At least the Brotherhood of Evil didn't get weird like they do in the comics.
  • Subverted by Tombstone of The Spectacular Spider-Man. He's an Evil Albino Scary Black Man with teeth he's apparently filed to fangs... and he's still a Villain with Good Publicity. That, folks, is the sign of a true Magnificent Bastard. 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 (It's a 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!
      Mr Blackheart: Little girl, I've been many things: Whale hunter, seal clubber, President of the Fox Network... and like most people, yeah, I've dealt a little ivory.
    • There was also the time Reverend Lovejoy preached that "The Devil walks among us!" in one of his sermons. Bart leaps on a guy sitting in front of him who bears a resemblance to several traditional depictions of Satan proclaiming "I got him!"
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes gives us Lucius Henious VII, who is red with horns. Heloise wears a blood red dress and has a scar on her forehead.
  • From ThunderCats (1985), the ghastly wizened mummified warlock Mumm-Ra. Quite scary transformation, also.
  • Most 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 megalomaniacal cackling Yellow Peril Mad Scientist that he makes the series' Big Bad, Dr. Zin, seem Affably Evil and restrained by comparison.
  • Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters. Fittingly, his ghost form looks like Dracula.
  • Lord Darkar, the Big Bad of the second season of Winx Club, is what he says about himself: "Fists of iron, eyes of fire, and wit as sharp as a sword." He's Chaotic Evil, his armor is based off of a skeletal phoenix, and his name suits him well as he is a being of darkness, making it a Name to Run Away From Really Fast. He's got Spikes of Villainy, an Evil Laugh, Black Eyes of Evil, Villainous Cheekbones, and dark magic. He has quite a scary transformation, too. His profile even suggests that his helmet can pull up to reveal his terrible face.
  • Shows up a number of times in Adventure Time. Lampshaded a few times, such as in "Ricardio the Heart Guy" and "Wizard".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays this straight with Nightmare Moon, but averts this with the arguably worse Discord.
    • 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.
    • Lord Tirek in the season 4 finale makes all the above examples look like diabolical masters of subtlety. Red and Black Color Scheme? Check. Black Eyes with glowing yellow pupils? Check. Raspy voice that becomes a deep, growling voice the more powerful he gets? Check. Fire-based Magic? Check. Sees Friendship as a form of slavery? Check. Tirek is so blatantly obvious in his villainy its surprising to know the only thing he's missing is an Evil Laugh.
  • Monsuno has the Eklipse organisation; it's led by Dr Emmanuel Klipse, a Mad Scientist dressed in red and black with a Beard of Evil, a Faux Affably Evil attitude, and the Monsunos he produces and sells are red. He is so obviously evil that even when he shows up and offers a deal to the protagonists, they are immediately aware they shouldn't trust him.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
    • Played with Mayor Jones. Even before being revealed as the Big Bad of season one, he is clearly an amoral Jerkass, fulfilling this trope in hindsight.
    • Played for Laughs in the episode "The Gathering Gloom", where Velma immediately identifies the creepy gravedigger, Count Evallo Von Meanskrieg, as the Graveyard Ghoul that's been terrorizing people, but no one believes her because it seems too obvious. This is a guy whose aptitude test actually shows he's pure evil, and is prone to muttering, "''(mumble mumble) evil and what-not."
    Velma: Guys? Guys! You see that? He's growling at me! Actually growling.
  • Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters seems to have a liking for playing with this trope. The Choten is a blonde, long-haired guy dressed costume, specialized in Water Creatures, with a rather Affably Evil attitude, while his Dragon, Alakshmi, is a dark-skinned, white-haired woman with a strong tendencies to Psychotic Smirks and trained in using Darkness Creatures, her favourite being Razorkinder Puppet. As the show goes on, it's made quite clear that the real Monster is the Choten, while Alakshmi (though not exactly nice herself) is a more sympathetic Anti-Villain.
  • 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.
  • In Adventure Time "The Lich" (Formally The Lich King before fear of being sued by Blizzard) there is nothing subtle at all with his appearance. (Dark hood, horns, skeletal body with flesh still hanging off) even the creator's pre-production notes state in large letters "THE LICH KING ISN'T FUNNY!"
  • Completely lampshaded in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, when Buzz's best friend and closest teammate, Warp Darkmatter goes rogue and joins Emperor Zurg. When asked about his betrayal he says along the lines of 'Wasn't it obvious? My name is "Darkmatter" '
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight features one of its Norman villains Philip de Malvoisin as a pale-skinned, black haired man. There is no one else, Norman or otherwise, with such a look and he looks genuinely sinister.
  • Pound Puppies and the Legend of Big Paw had Marvin McNasty. A cackling, purple suited, sharp toothed man who looks like the lovechild of Renfield and the Penguin? Nah, nothing suspicious about him!
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Chancellor Palpatine secretly being Evil All Along was never that much of a surprise to begin with, but in the film series, he at least kept up the appearance of being a kindly old man when not in his Darth Sidious persona. Here, he's given a much more openly villainous design, with large, dark shadows around his eyes and a tendency to Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive. He frequently plays an Obstructive Bureaucrat and has a fondness for Kicking Dogs even when there is no real benefit to doing so.
  • Played with in Avatar: The Last Airbender in regards to Zuko. He starts out as the heroes' first antagonist who's bald, scarred, and clothed in the red and black colors of the Fire Nation. However, it becomes clear after several episodes that he's actually a rather sympathetic antagonist with an incredibly sad backstory of how he got scarred and he eventually does a Heel–Face Turn.