A Subtrope of ArcVillain, the Starter Villain ranks the lowest on the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil (the heroes have to start off fighting ''someone''). They are the first true threat to the heroes, not just some common {{Mook}} who's there to let them show how badass they are. Expect even the weakest member of the heroic team to eventually become more powerful than them (that is, if they survive). The Starter Villain is not always associated with the intended BigBad of the whole series, usually having a whole story arc to themself. If the overall {{antagonist}} is TheEmpire (possibly in a setting with some degree of GreyAndGrayMorality), the Starter Villain might be some [[EvilIsPetty petty]] bureaucrat who, in getting TheHero to oppose them; makes TheEmpire oppose them (and vice-versa) on principle.

As writers can't always have the Starter Villain fighting the whole team at once, they'll sometimes have {{Mook}}s who are [[SortingAlgorithmOfMortality nearly always doomed to die]]. They may have a sliver of a chance to survive, [[WhatMeasureIsAMook but none of their henchmen will make it]].

If the series is not based on a pre-existing work, and the writers are making it up as they go along, a Starter Villain can end up turning into a BreakoutVillain if the fans and[=/=]or the writers end up liking them enough.

See also: WakeUpCallBoss. Sometimes, these may be the DiscOneFinalBoss. It's not uncommon for Starter Villains to be {{Token Motivational Nemes|is}}es as well. If they're in a Video Game, they may be the WarmUpBoss.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall'': Emperor Pilaf was the first real villain that Goku and gang faced, who sought to use the Dragon Balls to take over the world.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'':
** Raditz. When he first shows up, he's the most dangerous threat the heroes had faced at that point, forcing an alliance between Goku and Piccolo. Then he dies after a handful of episodes, but not before revealing there are two more Saiyans out there who make him look like a pushover. And that's ''before'' we learn about Frieza, who is more powerful than the both of them combined.
** Creator/TeamFourStar made fun of this by measuring PowerLevels in Raditzes. They take it even further by using "Raditzes" as ''currency''. As in, "He owes me twenty Raditzes!" [[note]]This becomes even funnier in a HilariousInHindsight fashion as one of the ways to translate the title of the second Japanese ''Dragon Ball Z'' anime episode is "History's Greatest Warrior Is Goku's Older Brother". Considering Raditz could easily outfight both Goku and Piccolo, who had been established to be stronger than GOD (or rather A God, but the hierarchy would not be introduced until later) at this point, the ridiculous [[PowerCreepPowerSeep power creep]] of the series becomes even more apparent without any need for meta-jokes.[[/note]]
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'': Gouki, Kurama, and Hiei are a group of these. While Gouki plays this straight and Kurama was already planned to be a part of the main team, Hiei's status was ultimately supposed to fall victim to this trope, but his role was rewritten once he was discovered to be an EnsembleDarkhorse.
* ''Manga/YuGiOh'': Seto Kaiba was Yugi's first opponent (unless you count the one-shots who appeared in the previous chapters, but he's definitely the starter villain of the Duel Monsters anime) and the first confrontation between them started the biggest rivalry in the history of the franchise.
** Kaiba may have been Yugi's greatest rival, but Ushio, Yugi's first foe in the original manga and Toei anime, may have had an even bigger impact. He may have been little more than a thug (at least then), but after Yugi stood up to him after he was bullying Jonouchi and Honda, their opinion towards Yugi changed towards the better, leading to them becoming lifelong companions, and more importantly, Yugi completing the Millennium Puzzle and starting the chain of events that started the whole franchise.
* Jadeite from the 1990's ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' anime, the only of four subvillians who didn't have an obvious visual gimmick or theme, with his character's shtick instead being that he was, well, the Starter Villain. The [[Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon live action adaptation]], however, actually kept him around past the start, and thus tossed him "excessive toadying" as his theme (which was admittedly somewhat present in the anime too).
* Devimon in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure''. Toward the end of the show, his status is lampshaded, with Leomon pointing out that Devimon was nothing compared to the threats that the heroes have faced since.
* Viral in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''.
* [[DarkActionGirl Rider]], and to a lesser extent her summoner [[SmugSnake Shinji]], in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. In the second route, as part of [[CompressedAdaptation getting the early stages of the first route over with quickly]], Rider is even killed offscreen. [[spoiler: This doesn't apply in Heavens Feel, where Rider [[DarkIsNotEvil survives to be a major heroic character.]]]]
** [[EnfantTerrible Illyasviel]] and [[UsefulNotes/GreekMythology Berserker Hercules]] as well. It takes half of the first route to beat them, yet they are far from the main antagonists.
** Likewise, [[SerialKiller Ryunousuke]] and Caster Bluebeard in ''LightNovel/FateZero''. [[spoiler:Though they aren't defeated for good until about the halfway point.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Grand Fisher -- The Hollow who ate Ichigo's mom and significantly more powerful than any of the other hollows Ichigo fights in the first arc. Unlike most starter villains, he actually isn't killed right away, and actually comes back later [[CurbStompBattle only for Isshin to completely destroy him]].
** A case could also be made for Renji and Byakuya, the first enemies to kick Ichigo's ass and also the first antagonists beyond garden variety hollows.
* ''Franchise/OnePiece'': Alvida and Ax-Hand Morgan both apply, as they were said to be extremely strong villains, but are nothing compared to just a few guys down the road.
** They were barely better than thugs, and taken down with no trouble at all. The true example is Buggy the Clown immediately afterwards, the first person introduced, other than Luffy himself, to have eaten a Devil Fruit, and the first to give him any run for his money.
** After the TimeSkip and thus Part Two of the series, we have Hody Jones. Sure, he's ''ages'' above Morgan and Alvida- they don't even come close to Hody - and he would have probably been a challenge before the timeskip, but after, he's absolutely no threat to Luffy at all and only manages to get in one hit ''even after going OneWingedAngel'', whilst Luffy spends the whole span of their fight beating down on him, showing off his new moves. Even Zoro TheLancer manages to One-Shot Hody's pre OneWingedAngel form.
*** This is emphasized further by the fact that both of these fights take place largely underwater. Which should be a huge advantage for for a fishman like Hody and a huge disadvantage for a human, especially a Devil Fruit user like Luffy.
* Udo Jine from ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' is the first villain in the series that Kenshin has trouble defeating, and is the first opponent that forces Kenshin to revert back to Hitokiri Battosai.
** An earlier example is the Hiruma brothers. Hiruma Kihei tries to sell the land around the Kamiya Dojo, and has his brother Gohei impersonate the Hitokiri Battousai while claiming to use the Kamiya Kasshin Ryu style of swordsmanship to ruin the reputation of Kaoru's dojo. In the anime, Gohei is made into a [[CompositeCharacter composite]] of himself and his brother with a different motivation (vengeful former student of Kaoru's father), but the same means of carrying out his plans.
* Father Cornello in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''.
** Huskisson in the 2005 film ''Conqueror of Shambala''.
** Isaac [=McDougal=], the Freezing Alchemist, in ''Brotherhood''.
* The Baron of Koka Castle from the Black Swordsman arc of ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' is the first major bad guy Guts faces in the manga. His first encounter with demons period is with none other than Nosferatu Zodd, who has gone on to be a recurring rival and occasional ally of the Black Swordsman. Chronologically, however, the first major bad guy Guts faces is the warrior Bazuso, whose defeat is what alerts the Band of the Hawk to Guts's talent.
* Shin from ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'', who doubles as a TokenMotivationalNemesis, is the first rival martial artist that Kenshiro faces in the story. Shin was the one who defeated Ken, stole his beloved Yuria away from him, and engraved the seven scars on Ken's chest as a reminder of the humiliation. In the first story arc of the manga, Ken must fight against Shin's four playing card-themed lieutenants, each progressively more skilled than the last, before challenging his old rival.
* Nrvnqsr Chaos in the Near Side routes of ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}''. Once he is dispatched, Arcueid can concentrate on her main task of finding and defeating Roa.
** Similarly, [[spoiler: [[TragicMonster Yumiduka Satsuki]]]] in the Far Side routes, though she's an unusual example, since [[GenreShift most of the plot is]] PsychologicalHorror - she's mainly there to ensure that we don't forget the series is UrbanFantasy, and aren't offended when the plot ends with stabbing.
* Daimonji from ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple''. Kenichi first got involved in martial arts in part to defend himself against bullies like him. Kenichi's defeat of him is what sets him on his path toward ever greater foes. When Daimonji later comes after him for revenge, Kenichi utterly trounces him, showing how far his training has progressed.
* ''Manga/BambooBlade'': Toyama and Iwasa, who were tormenting Dan in the first episode, prompting Tamaki to come to his defense and join the Kendo Club.
** This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] at a later point, when the main group is well-established. [[KendoTeamCaptain Team captain]] Kirino Chiba has to come up with training regimens for the other members. Her realization that she forgot to make ones for them is quickly brushed off, since Toyama only came to practice to pick on the newbies and [[WouldHitAGirl girls]], and never showed up again after Tamaki taught him a lesson.
*** And [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] later still when Toyama gets into a fight in an arcade. The fact that he hadn't turned in a formal resignation meant that he was technically still a member, resulting in the entire team nearly being shut down over the incident.
* Tekkaman Dagger in ''Anime/TekkamanBlade'', albeit he was a bit more resilient and annoying than average. He still was far weaker than the rest of villains, who even formed a proper FiveBadBand.
* Papillion is the first major villain of ''Manga/BusouRenkin'', eventually succeeded by [[spoiler: the LXE, the Alchemist Army, and finally Victor]]. Funnily enough, though, he manages to stay in the game as [[EnemyMine a major asset against all of these]] without ever explicitly making a HeelFaceTurn.
* Bora the Prominence in ''Manga/FairyTail''.
* While not a villain, Akune from ''Manga/MedakaBox'' is the first opponent who gives Zenkichi a challenge in a fight (specifically a judo match), and comes close to beating him. The more proper version, however, would have to be Unzen Myori as he was the first antagonist that actually forced the protagonist to use physical force.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Mizuki, a treacherous shinobi who attempts to use Naruto to steal Konoha's scroll containing their forbidden arts and then kill him, only for it to backfire on him when Naruto ''uses'' one of the arts within the scroll against him (though he later becomes an ArcVillain in the anime). A case might also be made for the antagonists from the "Land of Waves" arc: Zabuza and Haku are employed by [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Gato]] as a deadly fighting force and provide dangerous adversaries for the heroes at this point (Zabuza almost kills [[TheMentor Kakashi]] in their first fight, while Naruto and Sasuke together are unable to defeat Haku until Naruto draws on the power of the Kyuubi); compared, however, to succeeding villains such as Orochimaru and the Akatsuki, they're small fry.
** Akatsuki members Deidara and Sasori serve this role in ''Shippuden''. They're dangerous enough to capture Gaara and give the heroes a good fight, but still ultimately warm-ups compared to future villains.
* Haruka Suzushiro and the rest of the Ori-Hime unit in the ''Manga/MaiHime'' manga, who are trying to get their rivals Mai, Natsuki and Yuuichi expelled.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'': Jamaican Danigan's entire role in the storyline is to chase Kamille and the ''Argama'' until Scirocco, Yazan, Haman and the rest of the actual main villains have arrived. Once that happens he's unceremoniously killed off by one of his own men. Kamille's rival, Jerid Messa subverts this, starting out as a [[TheBully bullying]] JerkJock, but graduating to AcePilot status and remaining a credible threat until the finale.
** Michelo-Chariot from ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'', much like Jerid above, starts out as a loud mouthed gang leader who happens to be the representative of Neo Italy before he is effortlessly decimated in Domon's first fight. He reappears twenty-three episodes later now apart of Master Asia's crew along with Gentle Chapman, Neo Britain's representative. He's not a very good fighter and only manages to become a threat because he's infected with DG Cells and pilots a too-powerful-for-its-own-good Gundam.
* Tatewaki Kuno in ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'' starts as the first real rival for Ranma, but after his first true duel, he becomes almost completely ineffectual against him.
* Phoenix Ikki from ''Manga/SaintSeiya'' is the first major villain the Bronze Saints have to deal with before the [[BigBad Pope]] and his [[RankInflation Silver Saints]] start their full-force strike against them.
* In ''Manga/HaruhiChan'', Ryoko claims to be the first and weakest member of the Radical Four, who answer to three even more powerful superiors, none of which are seen.
* Fate Testarossa of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''. In contrast to later opponents of Nanoha who are various kinds of living super-weapons made from the LostTechnology of [[{{Precursors}} Ancient Belka and beyond]] and are threats to TheFederation, Fate's just a more skilled and experienced mage equal to Nanoha in strength [[spoiler:in addition to being a [[CloningBlues failed clone]]]]. Of course, thanks to a HeelFaceTurn and becoming a [[BreakoutCharacter co-lead afterwards]], she managed to avoid the fate of most Starter Villains and gets to grow stronger together with Nanoha.
* Descartes and Loose Ruth in the ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' anime and Dr. Nebraska in the manga (he has to wait until the fifth episode of the anime).
* The ''Stone Ocean'' arc of ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure'' has Jongalli, the man responsible for Jolyne's incarceration. After Jolyne and Jotaro outsmart his Stand early on in the story, he is killed by [[spoiler:Whitesnake]].
** [[spoiler: Straits]] in the ''Battle Tendency'' arc, from whom Joseph learns Speedwagon's whereabouts; and Santana, the first Pillar Man separated from the others.
** Noriaki Kakyoin in ''Stardust Crusaders'' serves as the first enemy Stand user to attack the Joestar group and the first indication that DIO is actively targeting them.
** Gray Fly from the same part also counts, being the first truly antagonistic stand user that isn't simply under mind control. He's also the one who turns a simple flight to Cairo into a journey spanning multiple countries.
** ''Diamond is Unbreakable'' has escaped convict and serial killer Anjuro "Angelo" Katagiri; Jotaro is partly motivated to travel to Morioh after Joseph's Hermit Purple produces pictures of Angelo and his Stand, Aqua Necklace.
* ''Anime/KantaiCollection'' has the Anchorage Princess, who is introduced and defeated in the first episode.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'': Asimov Solensan is a rogue Syndicate member who Spike and Jet go after in the first episode. He's taken down in that same episode, but [[spoiler:the Bebop crew don't get the bounty money because he winds up dead]].
* ''Anime/PsychoPass'': Kobuo Ogura is a {{Salaryman}} who snaps after getting a bad Psycho-Pass and kidnaps a woman. He doesn't survive the first episode.
* The first antagonist of ''Manga/BlackButler'' is Azzurro Vener, an enforcer of the [[TheMafia Ferro family]]. His appearance is foreshadowed in the first chapter, he appears in the third, and is dead by the end of the fourth. This brief run exists only for two purposes -- first, to expose Ciel's role as the royal watchdog of the criminal underworld, and second, to give [[BattleButler Sebastian]] a chance to demonstrate that he is [[OurDemonsAreDifferent far more]] than the mere BadassNormal he was initially portrayed as.
* After the low-stakes but very personal TokenMotivationalNemesis, ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'' has Riser Phenex, the first foe with a goal that affects everyone on Rias's team, and a squad of his own that can keep up with them in a fight. Since that goal is an ArrangedMarriage with Rias and that squad is his [[ChessMotifs Peerage]], though, all of them survive - he might be the plot's first real challenge, but he's still just a garden-variety selfish asshole and everything he did was technically above-board. [[spoiler:After falling from grace when he loses an EngagementChallenge to Issei, Riser undergoes some off-screen CharacterDevelopment and becomes a huffy but sincere supporter in his future appearances.]]
* ''Manga/GetterRobo'': The anime has Saki, the first Mechasaurus [[BigBad Emperor Gore]] sends after the Getter team. He's decapitated in his sole appearance, despite being outfitted with anti-Getter energy defenses.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In the original ''[[Comicbook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesMirage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' comics, ''The Shredder'' himself was a starter villain, getting himself killed rather humiliatingly at the end of the very first issue. A colony of intelligent worms would later assume the mantle of the Shredder (it's a long story), but even they only appeared in a few issues and played a fairly minor role in the comics' plot. However, due to his status as the first villain the Turtles fought and his ItsPersonal ties to their backstory, all subsequent versions (namely all three cartoon series and the first two movies) went and made him the long-running BigBad.
** [[CatsAreMean Old Hob]] and his gang serve this role in the [[ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesIDW IDW TMNT]] series. A cat mutated in the same incident that created the protagonists, he serves as a [[ItsPersonal personal]] menace to the Turtles for their early days, but was little more than an aggressive thug hired by a significantly more dangerous villain. At least, [[TookALevelInBadass he was at first...]]
* ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'': Matthew Patel is the first Evil Ex-Boyfriend of Ramona that Scott encounters. He's mostly the equivalent of a WarmUpBoss, which he is in the video game. In the [[Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld movie]], he has the lowest point value of any opponent short of out-and-out mooks.
* In Creator/GrantMorrison's ''Comicbook/NewXMen'', John Sublime fits this, despite being the ''second'' ArcVillain rather than the first. He's the least-powerful (a non-powered CorruptCorporateExecutive), has the least far-reaching scheme (selling mutant organs on the black market) and is defeated in the shortest amount of time (three issues) of all the major villains in the series, and he and his henchmen pretty much exist for the main characters to demonstrate their powers on. As well, the first ArcVillain, Cassandra Nova, actually ''wins'' in that arc (though neither the readers nor the characters know it at the time) and has to be brought down in a later one. [[spoiler:This, of course, makes is a particularly effective twist when the final arc reveals Sublime to have been the BigBad behind everything, and possibly, with a bit of AlternateCharacterInterpretation, the GreaterScopeVillain behind ''everything bad that had ever happened in any X-Men comic ever'']].
* Franchise/{{Batman}} usually starts in adaptations and reboots by butting heads with the Gotham mob bosses or the corrupt police force which is ([[TokenGoodTeammate minus Jim Gordon]]) more than happy to blame all of the city's troubles on him. As Batman takes them down, maniacal super villains like the Joker then step up to the plate.
** The actual first villain Batman faced in [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks his very first issue]] was [[CorruptCorporateExecutive crooked chemical baron]] Alfred Stryker, who fits this trope as he is non-powered, out of shape, and dead by the end of the issue. His first ''super''villain arrived a few issues later, in the form of [[MadScientist Doctor Death]].
* In ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's first [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] appearance, he battled Heinz Kruger, the Nazi spy who had murdered the scientist who gave him his powers. In a later story in the same issue, he faced his first supervillain in the form of Allied traitor George Maxon, alias the Red Skull, who would, of course, be revealed in time to be merely a decoy for [[ArchEnemy the REAL Skull, top-ranked Nazi Johann Schmidt]].
* Similarly, TheIncredibleHulk's starter villain was The Gargoyle, the spy who arranged the sabotage of the gamma bomb test that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk.
* Comicbook/IronMan's starter villain was the Vietnamese warlord Wong-Chu, who captured Tony and attempted to force him to develop weapons for him. [[LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard It backfired.]]
* {{Tintin}} has many, depending on the adventure. A few that come to mind are the fakir in the Indian portion of ''Cigars of the Pharaoh'', Mitsuhirato in ''The Blue Lotus'', Puschov in ''The Black Island'', or Bab el-Ehr in ''Land of Black Gold'' and ''The Red Sea Sharks''.
* The Comicbook/FantasticFour get one in the Mole Man, who they fight in the first issue before encountering their [[BigBad Big Bads]] Namor and Doctor Doom. Naturally, due to the nature of comic books, they proceeded to encounter Mole Man many times afterwards.
** Subverted in the stand-alone ''Fantastic Four: Season One'' graphic novel, wherein Mole Man shows up as a threat- and is then promptly, almost immediately defused by Sue Storm's gentle reassurance that he doesn't have to live the way he does. After that point, he becomes the team's ally, eager to use his scientific genius in ''helpful'' ways and in a special darkened lab.
* {{Comicbook/Daredevil}} starts off battling the Fixer, the gangster responsible for the death of his father. He doesn't survive the issue.
* The starter villain for ComicBook/TheFlash in UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks was the Turtle Man, "the slowest man on Earth" (he even ''talks'' slowly) whose gimmick was using the Flash's speed against him.
* {{Franchise/Superman}}: The Man of Steel's first foe was Bea Carroll, a murderess who framed one of her rivals. She's taken care of less than halfway through Supes's debut.
* ''Comicbook/OneHundredBullets'': The first antagonists to appear are Officers Swirski and Morgan, a pair of {{Dirty Cop}}s who wanted in on a Latino gang's heroin racket. When the gang leader refused, as he had been trying to go straight to support his son, the pair murdered him [[WouldHurtAChild and his son too]]. Their luck runs out at the hands of Isabelle "Dizzy" Cordova, the dead man's vengeful widow, with a little help from [[TheChessmaster Agent Graves]] and the titular hundred untraceable bullets; the two officers' ultimate role in the plot is to introduce this element and these two characters.
* [[ComicBook/SpiderMan Spider-Man's]] starter villain was Uncle Ben's killer, and TheReveal that he's the same robber who Spidey let off earlier ties into the [[AnAesop moral]] of the story. His first supervillain threat is the Chameleon, a character who would go on to be a regular member of his rogues gallery.
** His [[ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan Ultimate counterpart]] starts off fighting the Enforcers and Electro, all of whom are working for Wilson Fisk.
* Back in his solo days at Quality Comics, DC speedster Max Mercury (then called "Quicksilver")'s first one was von Lohfer, a MadScientist who mind controlled the local police department to destroy an industrialist who [[TheyCalledMeMad called him a fake]] in a NoodleIncident. Given his [[DepravedDwarf diminutive stature]] and NonActionGuy status, Max made short work of him.
* We first see ComicBook/TheInvisibleTerror battling De Pix, an international criminal out to get the formula that gives the Terror his powers. He's arrested at the end, and taken to serve a life sentence.
* ''ComicBook/KismetManOfFate'': The first foe we see is Colonel Freydrich, a Nazi official so cruel he's called "the Headsman." He doesn't even survive halfway through the issue.
* ''ComicBook/PatPatriotAmericasJoanOfArc'': We first see Pat fighting an unnamed factory foreman who fired her for protesting harsh working conditions and is running a smuggling operation for the Nazis. He's taken down first issue and presumably never leaves prison.
* The first BigBadDuumvirate in ''ComicBook/KBarKate'' are Shorne and Hinson, who are plotting to divert water away from the Slocum ranch to Shorne's.
* Obscure DC hero Air Wave had as his first foe Snake Scalotti, a local crome boss whom the DA was having difficulty gathering evidence on. He's taken to prison at the end of the first issue and never seen again.
* The Al Pratt version of ComicBook/TheAtom had an unnamed crime boss who held his girlfriend as ransom against her rich father. He's clobbered and arrested at the end of his first appearance.
* The Wesley Dodds version of ComicBook/TheSandman had Boris Leland, a spy who stole plans for a device Wesley was planning to show at the New York World's Fair. He's taken to prison by the end of the first issue.
* Golden Age DC hero the Gay Ghost's first foe was the unnamed leader of a group of footpads who tried to rob the Ghost in life. He manages to kill [[DeadToBeginWith our hero]], and is defeated by a minor character.
* The first foe of ComicBook/{{Gunsmoke}} we see is Ringo Moody, a cattle rustler and gambler trying to force a rancher to give him his property. He's gunned down within eight pages of his introduction.
* The first foe of the ComicBook/{{Yellowjacket}} we see is Jake Mallon, a jewel thief who chased a girl into Vince's house.
* ''ComicBook/{{Typhon}}'': The first foe we see is an unnamed ruler of an undersea kingdom who's fond of doing a BalefulPolymorph to anybody who opposes him. He's rendered into a LivingStatue by the end of the issue.
* ''ComicBook/TheWraith'' has Silky Weaver, the gang leader who killed the Kennedy brothers and is killed halfway through the first story.
* The first foe of ''ComicBook/TheGreenKnight'' was an unnamed vampire whom Knight saved Lance from, and who's burned alive by issue's end.
* ''ComicBook/TheSteelFist'' had Ludlow, the Nazi saboteur who mutilated Tim's hand and is arrested by issue's end.
* ''ComicBook/TheBlueStreak'' had Scarface, the criminal who killed Jim's brother and is taken out in the first issue.
* ''ComicBook/TheWaspLevGleason'': The Wasp is first seen fighting B-8, a foreign spy trying to steal the military's plans for a stealth plane. He's arrested by issue's end.
* ''ComicBook/TheEyeSees'': We first encounter the Eye fighting Islam Herat, a CorruptCorporateExecutive who stole a giant Middle Eastern trade empire and is arrested by issue's end.
* ''ComicBook/TheLoneWarrior'': Herr Kampf, a Nazi spy sent to sabotage the Army base Stan has been stationed in. He causes some damage, but is clearly subordinate to spymaster the Dictator's Shadow and is imprisoned by issue's end, never to be heard from again.
* ''ComicBook/MotherHubbard'': An unnamed Nazi agent who's sent to torture the formula for a flame gun from its inventor. He's blown up at the end of the first issue.
* ''ComicBook/TheCrusader'': [[spoiler:Carl Meyer]], a Nazi spy masquerading as a ghost to hide his experiments and secure ownership of his base of operations. He's arrested, presumed to be executed later, by the end of the issue.
* ''ComicBook/AceMcCoy'': Captain von Hartmann, the leader of a Nazi shipwrecking operation. He's a formidable threat, but is killed in a U-boat crash at the end of the first issue.
* ''ComicBook/AcePowers'': Heat Devron, a gangster who robbed a payroll and was working on betraying his gang in order to take all the money for himself. He's arrested at the end of the issue, and never returns.
* ''ComicBook/AceOfSpace'': The Slogons, a group of aliens who killed Ace's predecessor and are invading Earth co conquer it. Their fleet is destroyed and they are killed by the end of the first issue.

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/MegamiNoHanabira'': Kaiwan is the first genuine threat the girls encounter, killing a Flock member right in front of Sara and one more offscreen earlier in the story. He even manages to take down one of their demons for the first time, and they ultimately defeat him through treachery rather than sheer force.
* ''Fanfic/{{Luminosity}}'': James and Victoria are the first intentional threat to Bella's life[[spoiler:, and are killed fairly quickly via SummonBiggerFish on the biggest vampires around]].
%%* Orochimaru in ''Naruto Veangance Revelaitons'', before Madara and later the Council come into the story.
* [[Anime/SailorMoon Jadetite]] in ''Fanfic/WhiteDevilOfTheMoon'', whose attack on Kyouya's wedding is the first battle between the heroes and the villains.
* In the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' side story "Gaiden: 7 Dreams/Nightmares", [[FromNobodyToNightmare Film Critique (aka the Pegasus Despot)]] is this to [[ActionGirl Patch]]. He's the first antagonist in her quest for the Rainbow of Light shards, but while he manages to trick her into a defeat in their first fight, he goes down easily the second time, and compared to [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Basil]] and Grogar, isn't much of a threat. It's implied that the next villain she fought would have been more of a BigBad, but sadly, [[Series/DoctorWho the Doctor]] negated that adventure.
* ''[[FanFic/AzulaTrilogy Heart of Fire]]'' sets up [[WellIntentionedExtremist General Azun]] as the BigBad, but by the end of the story it's clear that his visions ''aren't'' hallucinations, and he really is being [[TheManBehindTheMan manipulated by a spirit]] [[spoiler: (Zhan Zheng, the Spirit of War, actually)]], who abandons him at the end of the story, and moves on to use other pawns for the rest of the trilogy.
* ''FanFic/FriendshipIsAura'' has the dragon Razorfang, the self-proclaimed King of the Everfree, who challenges and is defeated by Lucario early on. He doesn't provide ''nearly'' as much of a threat as [[spoiler: [[DiscOneFinalBoss Chrysalis]]]] or [[TheManBehindTheMan Lord Tartarus]].
* ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'' has a few.
** [[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Grover]], Clarisse's rational study group and Annabeth in "The Evil Gods Part 1"
** Wawa the Titan in "The Titans Strike Back".
** Horus for the "Attack of the Sphinx" story, as the first of the Egyptian Gods William faces.
* In ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', Hitomi is the first [[ParodySue SUE]] the [[Anime/MaiHime Himes]] fight against, although Mariko had been inadvertently killed by Miyu defeating Akane, and their memories had been wiped of her. The Himes fight against Hitomi unaware of her true nature or that there are others like her, which only becomes apparent after her defeat.
* In ''FanFic/TheCaptainOfTheVirtualConsole'', offshoots of the Thoughtless are fought in Chapter 2, and a fully-grown one in chapter 4.
* The first Shadowkind seen in the original ''Fanfic/{{Shadowchasers}}'' is the [[SnakePeople ophidian]] Hebi-Na, and while her role in that fic isn't all ''too'' big, she plays a much bigger role in ''Fanfic/ShadowchasersPowerPrimordial'', where Ember starts to regard her as an ArchEnemy. [[spoiler:(However, she makes a HeelFaceTurn in a later work.)]]
* Moloch the Death Raptor in Fanfic/EnterKenFinlayson. He shows up half-way and is killed off in the second to last chapter in the first story in a series of fan fictions.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars''
** Grand Moff Tarkin for ''Film/ANewHope''
** Jabba the Hutt for ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''
** The Prequel Trilogy (and thus the entire saga) has Viceroy Nute Gunray, who, in contrast to the galaxy-spanning ambitions of the Sith, is simply a [[DirtyCoward cowardly]] CorruptCorporateExecutive blockading a single planet over a trade dispute. We know he's a basically a puppet for the aforementioned Sith from fairly early on, though, and unlike a lot of Starter Villains actually sticks around for a while and continues being a valuable pawn until he finally [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlives his usefulness]].
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'' kicks off with Indy battling Lao Che.
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'' begins with Dr. Jones spending decades trying to recover a jeweled cross belonging to Coronado from a mysterious antique collector.
* ''Film/JamesBond''
** In ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'', Bond has to kill SPECTRE agent Jacques Bouvar before even the opening credits roll.
** And in ''Film/{{Goldeneye}}'' he battles Soviet Colonel Arkady Ourumov.
** Bond fights the Cigar Girl during the first scenes in ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough''.
** An unnamed character (who bears a [[LawyerFriendlyCameo suspicious resemblance]] to [[ExiledFromContinuity former]] BigBad Ernst Stavro Blofeld) in the prologue of ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'', who tries to kill Bond.
** Dryden is the starter villain in ''Film/CasinoRoyale2006''. Bond spends the rest of the film climbing the villain food chain, going from a hired gun, to Dimitrios, then Le Chiffre, and finally confronting [[SequelHook Mr. White]].
** ''Film/{{Spectre}}'' opens with Bond assassinating terrorist-for-hire Marco Sciarra following an eventful chase through Mexico City that climaxes in a fight aboard a moving helicopter. Sciarra has a good deal more plot influence than the average starter villain, however, as a signet ring taken from his body and testimony from his abused TrophyWife lead Bond to [[EurekaMoment the realization]] that all his previous enemies - [[Film/CasinoRoyale2006 Le Chiffre, Mr. White]], [[Film/QuantumOfSolace Dominic Greene]], [[Film/{{Skyfall}} Raoul Silva]], and the Quantum organization as a whole - had served [[TheManBehindTheMan the same master]]: [[spoiler: Ernst Stavro Blofeld]].*
** In something of change for Bond films, the Soviet hit team at the beginning of ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe'' actually has an impact on the main plot. The team leader of the team was the lover of Major Amasova, the Russian agent Bond works with during the film. She's not happy to find out James killed him.
* The Janitor in ''Film/{{Unbreakable}}'' is the first real threat David faces, and proves almost too tough to defeat, exploiting David's KryptoniteFactor. Killing him and saving a family is the first time he is hailed as a hero, and his mentor Elijah later points out that defeating him is just the first step in David's burgeoning career as a real life hero.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse: The series has a knack for these:
** Heinz Kruger, the Hydra spy [[spoiler:who kills Dr. Erskine]], in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger''.
** Georges Batroc in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
** Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron''.
** Crossbones in ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar''.
* ''Film/{{Pulgasari}}'' has the Governor, the one who is directly oppressing the inhabitants of the village who form the bulk of the good characters. In fact, the very moment after he is killed is when the film first introduces the true BigBad, the King.
* ''Franchise/SpiderMan'':
** Uncle Ben's killer is this in both ''Film/SpiderMan1'' and ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan''
** Aleksei Systevich in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2''.
* The leopard from ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' is an odd example, as it never encounters the main hero of the story. It does, however, act as this to ''humanity''; while not evil, it's the main threat to the tribe of apes destined to become humans at the start of the film. Then the Monolith teaches the apes how to make tools, and their next confrontation [[CurbStompBattle goes a lot differently.]]
* ''Film/TheGodfather'':
** Sollozzo in ''Part I''. Michael killing him marks the beginning of his ProtagonistJourneyToVillain.
** Don Fanucci plays a similar role to Don Vito in ''Part II'', though their confrontation happened prior to the events of the first film.
* ''Film/{{Taken}}'' has the stalker that Bryan saves singer Sheerah from. He has a minute of screentime, but it's enough to demonstrate Bryan's all-around badassery before the real plot kicks off.
* The nameless flamethrower-toting man rocking out to Music/VanHalen who Riggs and Murtaugh confront in the prologue to ''[[Film/LethalWeapon Lethal Weapon 4]]''.
* Matthew Patel from ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' is the first of the evil exes that Scott has to fight, and the only one whom Scott requires no special tricks to defeat.

* Vonotar the Traitor in ''Literature/LoneWolf'' is the first named enemy that the fledgling Kai Lord Lone Wolf faces. ItsPersonal since Vonotar provided the information to the Darklords that made the massacre of the Kai possible. He is name-dropped in the first book, encountered in the second book where his only purpose is to fail against the Sommerswerd, and thrown into a prison dimension at the end of the third book after Lone Wolf hunts him down and captures him. Vonotar is never heard from again as Lone Wolf focuses on the Darklords [[spoiler:until Book 11 when Lone Wolf is thrown into the same prison dimension. While Vonotar is more formidable than he was in the past, he still turns out to be little more than a speedbump to the mighty hero Lone Wolf has become.]]

* ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}''
** The thuggish, cowardly hobgoblin Lord Toede, a mid-ranking minion of the Dragon Overlords. Though never a serious threat, he proved popular enough to get his own spin-off novel.
** Also applies to his master, Lord Verminaard who served as the Big Bad for the first book.
* ''Literature/CodexAlera'': Atsurak the leader of a Marat barbarian horde. The novice spy races against time and an ex-mentor to BringNewsBack to the local Legion's garrison before Atsurak can invade a valley in a rural part of Alera. The FarmBoy gets used as a pawn by another barbarian, an enemy of Atsurak. Five books later, Atsurak is an afterthought, all the Marat are allies to the Alerans and actually the least important faction in that alliance (well, apart from the fact that one of them is [[TheHighKing the First Lord]]'s lover) and it's not just the valley that's at stake but all intelligent life in the world. If not for the fact that some {{Chessmaster}}s from the first book are still around, the first book could be considered separate from the rest of the series.
* ''Literature/{{Matilda}}'': Mr Wormwood serves as the antagonist for the first few chapters before the Trunchbull is introduced.
* ''Literature/NewJediOrder'': Somewhat similar to the above, the first book introduces Prefect Da'Gara and his Praetorite Vong forces, terrifying aliens from beyond the Rim bent on galactic conquest and possessing powers and weapons far beyond anything the galaxy has ever seen. They live precisely one book- it turns out the Praetorite Vong are only one (largely unimportant) political faction among the Yuuzhan Vong Empire and Da'Gara was just kickstarting the invasion to grab some glory for himself. His troops weren't even particularly well-trained by Vong standards, and the nightmarish EldritchAbomination he had on a leash as his secret weapon was ''defective'' compared to others of its kind. Da'Gara's main purpose was to give the Galaxy a taste of its new threat before being killed off to make way for the ''real'' bad guys.
** However, the same book also introduces Da'Gara's political ally Nom Anor, who not only survived, but would go on to continue making trouble for the Jedi and the New Republic all the way until the final book in the series. He outlives both the BigBad ''and'' TheManBehindTheMan (though not by long).
* Chamdar, alias Asharak, from ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' is an EvilSorcerer and high-ranked priest in a ReligionOfEvil who [[spoiler: killed TheHero's parents]] and follows him around for a while in the early part of the series making a general nuisance of himself [[spoiler: but is killed spectacularly midway through the second of five books after goading TheHero into unlocking his powers. It is, however, eventually revealed that he was at least partially possessed by the BigBad]].
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'': EvilSorcerer Victor Sells is the first bad guy to give Harry Dresden a serious challenge on-page, but doesn't make it past the first book (and there are ''much'' more dangerous things than him out there, anyway). From Harry's perspective his real Starter Villain was EvilMentor Justin [=DuMorne=], but as Justin's been dead for years by the beginning of the first book, the reader doesn't really experience him that way.
** Unlike most Starter Villains, it turns out that Victor Sells was connected with the series' BigBad (or at least, one of the {{Big Bad}}s) the Black Council, or at least with the Red Court. [[spoiler: Someone had to teach him that heart-exploding spell, after all....]]
* Principal Chapman from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' is the first named Human-Controller the kids encounter and the first five books focus on him rather closely. After that, though, he fades into the background as real threats such as [[GreaterScopeVillain Visser One]] and [[BastardUnderstudy Tom]] make themselves known.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** Draco Malfoy is one of the first wizards Harry meets (and the first one his own age), and his general unpleasantness shows how wizards can be be as big of jerks as muggles. Dealing with him is a large part of the early books, but even though he repeatedly tries to TakeALevelInBadass, he never manages to be anywhere nearly as powerful or evil as the true villains of the piece.
** In a way, [[spoiler: Quirrell]] in the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone first book]]. Despite [[spoiler: being possessed by Voldemort himself]], he is fairly easy to defeat with ThePowerOfLove, and it's even implied that Dumbledore set up their confrontation as a test for Harry and a warmup for what lay ahead of him.
* Ishamael in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''[[spoiler: is a subversion]]. He's the main villain of the first three books, calling himself "Ba'alzamon" and presenting himself as [[GodOfEvil the Dark One]], only to be killed off at the end of book three. [[spoiler: Several books later, a guy called Moridin who has several of the same quirks shows up, and is gradually revealed to indeed be Ishamael reincarnated. Turns out he's the local version of TheAntichrist and [[TheChosenOne Rand]]'s opposite number; it's implied that they're destined to eternally be reborn and fight each other across history. Moridin is actually one of the ''last'' villains to go down]].
* Darken Rahl in ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth''.
* Durza in ''[[Literature/InheritanceCycle Eragon]]''.
* Brokenstar in ''Literature/WarriorCats''. Although some of his underlings do make it...
* Ebenezer Rat in ''Literature/TheBookOfTheDunCow'' is vicious and not afraid to kill, but the later {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that Chauntecleer faces make him look positively tame. Ebenezer himself is killed by one of them.
* ''[[Literature/AMagesPower A Mage's Power]]'': The Cecri the main novices fight on their first mission is their first challenge as a team. On the monster ranking scale, these are C class monsters. The novices are clumsy, sloppy and come close to death. Basilard uses it as a learning experience to demonstrate what skills they need to develop to survive real battles. By the middle of the book, the novices are killing C+ class monsters ''by themselves''.
* Ms. Dodds and the Minotaur in ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' are the first monsters Percy fights as his introduction into the world of mythology, both coming in before the introduction of the series' main villains, Kronos and [[spoiler:Luke Castellan]].
* In ''Literature/TheBalancedSword'' trilogy, Kyri Vantage sets out to get justice for the murder of her parents, and ends up thwarting a much larger scheme of which that was only a part. The ringleader of the group who murdered her parents, and also personally murders her older brother when his own investigation gets too close, is the main villain of the first book, and is defeated as its climax.
* Badrang the Tyrant, BigBad of ''Martin the Warrior'', is this for Martin's story as a whole, with the revolt against him serving as a warm up for Martin's eventual war with Tsarmina in ''Mossflower''.

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Season 1 featured the [[SpacePirates Raiders]] and the [[FantasticRacism Home Guard]] as the primary recurring villains. The Raiders got almost completely wiped out as part of TheReveal of The Shadows, the show's ''primary'' villains. The Home Guard dropped off the radar and became irrelevant after President Clark came into power (since they had essentially ''won''), and never turned up again.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** The show had one-shot villains for the first episode of each season; an enemy who was reasonably threatening, but who was ultimately defeated by Buffy before the credits roll: Luke in season 1, Absalom in season 2, Ken in season 3, Sunday in season 4, Dracula in season 5, and Razor in season 6. The Season 7 opener is a somewhat confusing beast, with Buffy fighting a group of malevolent spirits who are indeed defeated by the end but [[TheManBehindTheMan the true mastermind who summoned them]]...[[TheUnreveal is never actually identified]] (although the episode's tag scene does set up new Big Bad the First so possibly it can be deduced that way).
** Lothos, the main villain from the [[Film/BuffyTheVampireSlayer movie]] and ''The Origin'', although the Buffyverse backstory establishes that he is a menace on the same level as season one big bad TheMaster.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has Russell Winters in its pilot, who in turn is a client of the overall main villains of the series.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' had Bialar Crais, a [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Peacekeeper]] captain whose brother accidentally died in the pilot episode when his ship ricocheted off Crichton's, which had accidentally gone through a wormhole and emerged in the middle of a space battle. Crais went into [[ItsPersonal Captain Ahab mode]] and spent the rest of the first season chasing Crichton and his new friends. At the end of the season, Crais is replaced as by [[MagnificentBastard Scorpius]], a Peacekeeper scientist intent on getting information about [[WeaponOfMassDestruction wormhole technology]] that had been implanted in Crichton's brain. Scorpius went on to be the show's BigBad, while Crais underwent a HeelFaceTurn.
** And then Scorpius is also replaced by an even bigger baddie in the form of Grayza and the Scarrans (led by the Scarran Emperor).
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' had an undercover Alliance agent as the villain of the pilot episode. Although he seems to be built up as a potentially recurring villain, the ending of the episode subverts multiple tropes when, during a PutDownYourGunAndStepAway / WeWillMeetAgain moment, Mal simply walks up and shoots him in the head. WordOfGod is that had the show continued past the first season, he would have turned out to have survived the shooting and would have come back (with a cybernetic eye!) to seek revenge on the crew. In fact, this is exactly what happens in "Those Left Behind," a comic book set between the series and the movie.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': David Robert Jones from the first season.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'' has a number of them, more commonly in shows made after 2010. [[Series/KamenRiderW Nazca]], [[Series/KamenRiderFourze Scorpio]], [[Series/KamenRiderWizard Phoenix]], [[Series/KamenRiderGaim Kamen Rider Bravo]], [[Series/KamenRiderGhost Javert]], [[Series/KamenRiderExAid Graphite]], and [[Series/KamenRiderBuild Night Rogue]] all qualify, with each being beaten either to showcase the power of the main Rider's first MidSeasonUpgrade or before they've acquired any at all.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': Victor Dubenich who assembles the team to do a job for him, before betraying them and becoming TheMark of the pilot. [[spoiler:He later returns to be the BigBad of Season 4.]]
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'': Nimueh, the titular character's main adversary in the first season, before she's KilledOffForReal in that same season's finale.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'':
** Captain, later Major, Tom Neville of the Monroe Republic is the first militia threat the protagonists go up against ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E1Pilot Pilot]]"). Neville turns out to be subordinate to Big Bad General Sebastian "Bass" Monroe. [[spoiler: Neville ends up leaving Monroe in "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E13TheSongRemainsTheSame The Song Remains the Same]]", joins up with the Georgia Federation to fight Monroe ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E15Home Home]]"), and then takes Bass's place as the Big Bad in the first season finale ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower The Dark Tower]]")]].
** [[spoiler: The real BigBad appears to be a rump U.S. government operating out of Cuba, for which Randall was working when he launched nukes on Philadelphia and Atlanta. It's hinted that the heroes may end up teaming with Neville in an EnemyMine situation to prevent ''everyone'' from being conquered.]]
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'': The Suliban, genetically augmented Gecko-Men, initially filled this role. A lukewarm reception had them soon replaced with the much more credible Xindi as the series' main enemy race.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'':
** The parasites in the episode "Conspiracy" were intended to return, but weren't for budget reasons. They were "replaced" by the Borg as the BigBad. The Borg proved to be "too powerful" to write many episodes about... indeed, after the events of ''Best of Both Worlds'', the only Borg encountered are small splinter groups and individuals separated from the Collective. The writers eventually settled on the Romulans and Cardassians as the preferred bad guys.
** More to the point, the Ferengi were initially conceived as TNG's BigBad, getting a NameDrop in the pilot as a race with a terrifying reputation (complete with the suggestion that they eat the people they conquer). Then they showed up and turned out to fall far short of the hype. So they were abandoned as the archnemesis of the series, eventually resurfacing as occasional comic antagonists, and getting a more sympathetic portrayal on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. The rumors referenced in the pilot were later retconned as having been planted by the Ferengi leader, who having heard about the Federation and its economic policies concluded they must be ''utterly insane'' and hoped to intimidate them.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' itself opened up with the Cardassians, Klingons, Romulans, and even some Bajorans (especially Kai Winn) switching off as the "bad" of the week, in keeping with the series' GrayAndGreyMorality. Then the Dominion comes knocking...
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', in an inversion to ''The Next Generation'', started with a new race called the Kazon, who were essentially slightly modified Klingon [[{{Expy}} expies]], but eventually replaced them with the Borg... although the Borg eventually suffered from the VillainDecay that the ''Next Generation'' writers hoped to avoid. Again, several episodes focused on individual Borg separated from the Collective, for the same reasons as above.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' has the Woman in White, a spirit Sam and Dean encounter before they even begin their hunt for the Yellow Eyed Demon.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' has [[AxCrazy Tuco]], the first ''real'' threat after Krazy-8's WarmUpBoss, but still not quite on the same threat level as [[MagnificentBastard Gustavo "Gus" Fring]].
* Al Capone serves as this in the early-'60s series ''Series/TheUntouchables'', as the pilot movie was about his arrest. The face of his organization in the series proper was his enforcer, Frank Nitti, and the organization was involved in only about a quarter of the episodes.
* Series/{{MacGyver}}: [[spoiler:Carl Steubens]] is responsible for the explosion that drives the pilot's plot.
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'' The first metahuman is some guy who eludes the police by making fog. He seems imposing at the time, but isn't even cool enough to get a codename, and once Flash gets going he has no trouble taking him down, after which he's gunned down by the police and is only ever mentioned again in relation to his brother Weather Wizard, a [[HeroKiller more serious]] and recurring villain.
* Slab is the main villain of the pilot of ''Series/MrYoung'', whom Adam "tames" at the end. The series doesn't really have a BigBad, though the closest thing is Principal Tater.
* ''Series/TheWire'' does it in season 2 with Frank Sobotka. Major Valchek, who has a feud with Sobotka over a stained glass window, designates Sobotka as the primary target and wants a police detail to dig up dirt on him specifically. But as the case progresses, real criminals who are guilty of much worse crimes are discovered and Frank's importance in the investigation is diminished. This is even shown graphically: his picture ends trimmed down and put in a corner of the corkboard. In the end his criminal acts are so mild that even the FBI (who were specifically brought into the case by Valchek to bust Sobotka and his union) thinks he's just a small fish and want to go after bigger targets.
* ''Series/{{Witchblade}}'': Tommy Gallo, a legendary mafia hitman, was the first true villain that Sara Pezzini faced, being responsible for both the murder of her partner Danny and as he later reveals, [[YouKilledMyFather the murder of her father many years ago]]. He's caught and locked up at the end of the two-episode pilot, with Pezzini facing a number of other threats from thereon out. Due to a ResetButton as a result of time travel at the end of the season, Sara doesn't face down Gallo and basically ignores him since she has bigger enemies to deal with.
* ''Series/TheUnusuals'': Leon Wu, a juvenile drug dealer-turned-CopKiller out of a misplaced sense of revenge. He's killed by the end of the first episode.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' generally begins each Doctor's era with a minor threat or C-list member of the RoguesGallery. The exceptions are the Second and Fifth Doctors who need to deal with the Daleks and the Master respectively.
* ''Series/TwentyOneJumpStreet'': Tyrell "Waxer" Thompson, a drug dealer harassing a client to pay overdue fees. He never returns after his arrest, but his {{Dragon}} Reggie does.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'': Timothy "Tim" Vogel AKA the Seattle Strangler. A prison guard turned serial killer and rapist, he's the first criminal the BAU team had to deal with and ends up shot to death by Elle after he tried and failed to kill Gideon at the end of the episode.
* ''Series/TheAdventuresOfSinbad'': Eblus, a Djinn prince who manipulates kingdoms into outlawing magic and descending into decadence so he can rule. He also assisted Turok, who doesn't qualify due to returning in the season 1 finale, in his scheme to kidnap a princess and take over a kingdom. He's killed with a spear to the face soon after the reveal of his true nature.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* ARSION gave Ayako Hamada one hell of a starter villain in [[AuthorAvatar head booker]] Wrestling/AjaKong. In fact, the only reason she was likely the "starter villain" was because of the conflict of interest that came with being the head booker. Kong really started as Hamada's [[TagTeam partner]] though, and it took Hamada a good two years before she could finally beat Kong, so you could call The Apache Sisters Mary and Faby, Rei Tamada and Hiromi Yagi a series of starter villains until Hamada [[LevelGrinding was ready]] while Mariko Yoshida was for Arsion as a whole, being billed [[TheAce as the greatest female wrestler in Japan]] only to suffer TheWorfEffect and set up Kong as the undisputed queen.
* After The Natural Born Sinners broke up due to an injury, Steve Corino became the first major opponent for Homicide during his Wrestling/RingOfHonor singles run. Corino later returned and became the first threat to Homicide following his acquisition of the World Title from [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson American Dragon]]. (starter villain twice over? Ouch!)
* Wrestling/{{ECW}} had a heel stable called Da Baldies[[note]]Tony DeVito, Spanish Angel, PN Neuz, Grimes, Redd Dogg[[/note]] that often played this role. Da Baldies main purpose was to provide Wrestling/{{New Jack}} with bodies to hit with weapons, but they also often jobbed to face teams in tag matches to set up the faces for a showdown with a more important heel stable.

[[folder:Tabletop Games ]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': Any single enemy with a challenge rating of two or three. Anything less would need a group to present a serious threat to even a level one party (assuming four players).
** The introductory adventure in the D&D Basic set in the 1980's (which would likely be a Player's first experience with the game) featured a villain named Bargle the Infamous. While he was rather tame as far as villains go overall, and he did not appear in any other published work, his crime in the adventure - murdering the beautiful female cleric Aleena - left quite an impression and had the potential to make him the Player Characters' hated enemy. (Depending on just how far the DM was willing to expand the character.)
* The award-winning Rune Lords adventure path series published by Paizo starts the first-level players out defending a village against goblins. Goblins have a challenge rating of ⅓ and can be taken out by pets and zero-level commoners. The players will need to reach level 20 to finish the adventure.
* Baron Blade plays this role in ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'', serving as the initial impetus for Legacy to unite Bunker, Absolute Zero, Tachyon and the Wraith to form the Freedom Five...while still being low-difficulty. In the digital version, he's the villain in the tutorial. Akash'bhuta plays a similar role for the Prime Wardens.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** Garland from the original ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'', [[spoiler:who turns into the BigBad, Chaos, at the end.]]
** Kefka from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is a notable aversion, in that he's definitely Starter Villain material for most of the game, only to evolve into the game's true BigBad.
** President Shinra from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', the main villain for the first five hours or so of the game before he's killed off by the ''real'' BigBad, Sephiroth.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' begins properly with the newly-appointed [=SeeDs=] given orders to assassinate the fascist president of a powerful nation, and his top adviser. [[spoiler: Things quickly go south when said adviser turns out to be one of the strongest beings on the planet and both executes the president herself and marks the [=SeeDs=] for death.]]
** The Three Black Waltzes from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''.
** Judge Ghis from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', the first noteworthy villain the party confronts directly.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' has Yakra, who kidnaps Queen Leene in 600 AD and stashes her in the back of a cathedral full of mooks, only to promptly get slain by the party as the first boss. In an amusing inverse ButForMeItWasTuesday bit, his descendants plot against the party and the kingdom for 400 years and nearly the entire game, long after the player even remembers that Yakra was a thing, only for one of them to surface in one of the endgame subquests as basically the same boss fight, which usually ends in under a minute thanks to the now end-of-game party.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series: Initially, it seems like Saren is the BigBad of the first game since his assault on Eden Prime is what kickstarts the plot of the game. Later on, Sovereign is revealed to be TheManBehindTheMan, and Saren turns out to be just an indoctrinated servant.
** Fist from the first game is also counts. A notorious crime lord who's been bribed by Saren to kill Tali and suppress all evidence of Saren's crimes, he acts as the main antagonist for the first mission chain following the prologue (which revolves around proving Saren's guilt), with three of the five most prominent series squadmates (Tali, Garrus, and Wrex) being recruited in the process of taking him down. Overall, he's the first real villain Shepard's team successfully takes down. Tali lampshades his starter villain nature (compared to the world-ending threats the team faces on a weekly basis from then on) in the second game.
-->'''Tali:''' Fist and his men seemed so dangerous. We've come a long way. Don't know if that's a ''good'' thing, but... it's definitely more interesting.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''
** [[{{Disney/Tarzan}} Clayton]] is the first Disney villain you fight, and the first enemy who isn't just MadeOfEvil or a vicious animal (Sabor). In a game where the villains include gods and evil sorcerers, he's just a stuck-up guy with a gun who needs a Heartless ally to put up a good fight.
** [[{{Disney/Mulan}} Shan Yu]] in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' is very likely to be the first Disney villain you fight. Although being a skilled and powerful swordsman puts him slightly above Clayton's level, he still ranks the lowest in comparison to the more supernatural Disney/original villains you fight in the other worlds.
** For the series as a whole, Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness, the final boss of the first game. Following games gave more focus on the villainous group Organization XIII, and through ArcWelding gave way to [[BigBad Master Xehanort]], with Ansem merely serving as the EnemyWithin for Riku. [[spoiler:However, as of ''3D'' Ansem is back as one of Xehanort's CoDragons and just as dangerous as ever.]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'': Two of the origins have the player character face off with a Starter Villain. In the Dwarf Commoner origin, the character will have to take down the crime boss [[SmugSnake Beraht]]. In the City Elf origin, the PC will come up against Bann Vaughan in a "[[DroitDuSeigneur right of the lord]]" scenario. In an aversion, the latter may survive the story if the hero [[WhatTheHellHero takes his bribe.]]
* Lord Crump in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' takes on Mario almost as soon as the game begins. He tries to defeat Mario a few times later on, but he becomes increasingly outmatched even as Lord Crump himself continues to improve.
** Hooktail from the same game could also count, being the ArcVillain of the first Chapter and the first serious threat, who is actually quite a challenge unless you have [[WeaksauceWeakness a specific badge.]]
** Speaking of Mario, Bowser has a tendency to be the starter villain in {{RPG}}s.
** In ''Mario'' games in general, the first villains you encounter are usually [[TheGoomba Goombas or Koopa Troopas who go down in one hit]].
* Most ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' games tend to have one, usually of the [[MightyGlacier General]] class and also tends to be a DiscOneFinalBoss or a ClimaxBoss as well. They may or may not be affiliated with one of the main antagonists, but they will typically be the most visible threat during the early game chapters, up to the point where you fight them. [[EvilOldFolks Lundgren]] from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBlazingBlade'', Lyn's [[EvilUncle great uncle]], is probably one of the best examples. His plot to take over Caelin has nothing to do with the overarching Black Fang plotline, but he's the [[DiscOneFinalBoss final boss]] of Lyn's Story, the first ten chapters of the game, and a dangerous villain and schemer in his own right.
* The Beast in ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars: Days of Ruin'', who is your main antagonist for the first ''ten'' missions (that is, roughly a third of the game) before succumbing to TheVirus secretly planted in him by [[MadScientist Caulder]], the game's actual BigBad.
** Olaf in the first game could also count, being the main threat of the tutorial missions and the first few missions of the story.
* This is actually pretty commonplace in a couple ''VideoGame/TalesSeries'' games; but it's most prevalent with Barbos in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', and Cedric/[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Celdic]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces''.
* The Al-Samaad group in ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''. Almost exclusively found in the first area, they're mostly poorly-trained and equipped.
* Zeke Sanders and his anti-augmentation terrorist group, Purity First, in ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution''. Being ordinary, untrained street thugs with crappy weapons in a game where you end up mostly fighting transhuman spec-ops [[PrivateMilitaryContractors PMCs]] does that to you.
* The Kuraselache (Shark) Leader in ''VideoGame/EVOSearchForEden''. One or two major plot points haven't been introduced yet and he's the only boss in Era 1. You can run into sharks that are exactly the same as he is in Era 5. As a DegradedBoss, he's pretty easy.
* [[SmallNameBigEgo Vlad Glebov]] in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' talks a big talk and Roman is scared of him and his Albanian thugs, making it look like Roman's debt to Vlad will play a major part in the game (or at least the Broker/Dukes chapter) but it takes very little time for him to push Niko's buttons too much and get his brains blown out. Killing him and getting made to work for Mikhail Faustin is what REALLY sets the plot in motion, as it [[spoiler: lets Dimitri find Niko for [[GreaterScopeVillain Ray Bulgarin]].]]
* Benny, the man who shot [[PlayerCharacter The Courier]] in the beginning of ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' plays this role. The first act of the game is all about tracking him down, getting revenge, and retrieving your stolen package, [[MacGuffin a platinum chip]], to finish your delivery job. As it quickly turns out, this is when the real game starts.
* ''Videogame/{{Fallout 4}}'' has Kellogg, the man who killed your spouse and took your son. Like Benny, tracking him down is the first act of the game. After you deal with him, the Brotherhood of Steel arrive and the game really begins to escalate.
* Captain Blackstar in the Qwark vid comics in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal''. The only villain in the comics who has nothing to do with [[BigBad Dr. Nefarious]]. And he's still TheUnfought !
* Banthus is the first major antagonist in ''VideoGame/{{Elsword}}''. He's not a one-level wonder boss and his theft of the El Shard actually kicks the whole plot into motion. The heroes encounter him three times before he's finally dispatched and other, more dangerous recurring villains take his place.
* ''Franchise/BreathOfFire'':
** Balio and Sunder in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIII'' are the first real threat for Ryu and the gang, and do so for a good third of the Childhood Chapter.
** General Rasso in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'', though [[TheUnfought never fought directly]], just keeps attacking the party for most of the first half of the game, his actions eventually releasing [[PhysicalGod Ryu's true powers]] and sending the plot into its main course. For [[GodEmperor Fou-Lu]]'s side of the history, it'd be [[MiniatureSeniorCitizen Yohm]], the only enemy that poses any danger to the weakened dragon god.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}} 2'', neighbouring warlord Toda Yoshisaga sets the story into motion with his attempted invasion of [[BigGood Lord Gohda]]'s Realm, but only last 3 chapters before being replaced by [[DragonWithAnAgenda his own subordinate]].
* Brady Culture in the first episode of ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice''. He's the antagonist of the first episode, but is almost completely unconnected to the bigger threat of the season.
* ''Videogame/{{Borderlands}}'' has Nine-Toes as the first major bandit that you deal with before you move on to other areas.
** [[Videogame/{{Borderlands 2}} The sequel]] has Captain Flynt, a bandit leader stranded in the middle of nowhere as your first obstacle before the plot actually gets started.
** [[Videogame/BorderlandsThePreSequel The Pre-Sequel]] has Deadlift, a bandit you deal with in order to get to the HubCity.
** TalesFromTheBorderlands has Bossanova, a bandit king who serves as the main antagonist of the first episode, before the main plot gets rolling.
* Mirmulnir, the very first dragon you kill in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', serves as this for the main storyline of the game.
* The ''Franchise/SlyCooper'' series has one in each game. Sir Raleigh in the [[VideoGame/SlyCooperAndTheThieviusRaccoonus first game]], Dimitri in the [[VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves second]], Don Octavio in the [[VideoGame/Sly3HonorAmongThieves third]], and El Jefe in the [[VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime fourth]].
* In ''Call of Duty 4: Videogame/ModernWarfare'', the [[DecoyProtagonist U.S. Marines]] are tasked with overthrowing revolutionary {{Qurac}} dictator Khaled Al-Assad. After [[spoiler: the Marines get nuked]], Al-Assad is found to be harbored by his Russian backers by the SAS, and dies rather anti-climatically at the hands of the PlayerCharacter's commanding officer. TheDragon's cell phone then rings - it's Russian ultranationalist leader [[BigBad Imran Zakhaev]].
** Zakhaev himself ultimately turns out to be this in the sequels, to his ruthless DragonAscendant [[BreakoutVillain Vladamir Makarov]].
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'':
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' has Ambassador Thorman and Gotou, the two major figures in the invasion of Japan. Your choice of who to side with marks the first major alignment decision and boss fight(s), and when it's all over, Thorman (actually Thor) nukes Japan.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiII'' has Haneda, the coach of Red Bear, as the initial "villain", for lack of a better word. After Red Bear is killed, actual villains such as Hanada, Basilisk, King Frost, and Betelgeuse come into play, though the first few are small fries. The most notable, however, is the last one, Daleth, who manages to win over most of Millenium and kill the love interest off. It's with his initial defeat that the plot gets serious and, suitably enough, Daleth becomes a joke soon after.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIIINocturne'' has Forneus, who terrorizes the Shinjuku Medical Center after the Conception and refuses to let anyone leave. After his defeat, the Vortex World is explorable.
** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'' comes close to it with Navarre, who, unlike fellow Luxurors Isabeau and Jonathan, is a bigot who believes Luxurors are superior to Casualries such as Flynn and Walter. [[spoiler:He takes the position fully when he attempts to either humiliate or kill Flynn and Walter, only for the incident to break him completely]].
** ''VideoGame/DigitalDevilSaga'' has Harley, the leader of the Vanguards. Despite being the rival of the protagonists, the Atma powers turn him into practically a scared child terrified of the Embryon, and he is killed in the first dungeon. With his defeat, the main plot is fully revealed.
** ''VideoGame/Persona5'' has the gym teacher, Kamoshida, take on this role. He's the lowest of the low when it comes to someone considering themselves above the law and has a personal connection to the first two friends the protagonist makes, fueling the desire to knock him down a peg.
* Metal Face serves as this for roughly the first half of ''[[VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}} Xenoblade Chronicles]]''. While he's the responsible for the inciting incident of the game's plot, and he works for a greater villain, he really couldn't care less about the ultimate plan. He just wants to kill as much as possible.
* In ''Videogame/FromTheDepths'', the Deepwater Guard pirates serve as the first enemy faction as you seek vengeance for their betrayal. The DWG are the game's weakest faction, using ships made largely of wood with [[PointDefenseless a designed weakness to missiles]], and have few top-tier units. Taking on the other factions results in a DifficultySpike, such as the Onyx Watch's all-metal hulls.
* Fruegel from ''Videogame/TheLegendOfDragoon'' is the one responsible for [[DoomedHometown destroying the main protagonist's hometown]] and capturing his childhood friend, but is largely inconsequential in the grand scheme of the game's plot.
* Nearsighted Jeego the hitman from ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' is the primary threat in the first chapter, as it focuses on preventing him from murdering Lynne. He gets killed off near the end of the chapter, immediately after which a different hitman takes his place, once that one is taken care of neither one is mentioned again, [[spoiler:Not even in the end credits sequence, which shows every other character!]]
* The [[SpacePirates Turanic Raiders]] in ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'', the first enemies you encounter. They're fairly easy to beat, and Fleet Intelligence even says that their craft are inferior to your own... which is impressive, considering your race has been (re-)introduced to space travel only half a century ago, while the Turanic Raiders have been, presumably, at this for far longer. They're quickly shoved aside before the true threat of the game - the [[TheEmpire Taiidan Empire]] (canonically).

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' is about looking for information, and comparing that information to what people in court say and pointing out contradictions. Contradictions tend to not be easily found and may require plenty of guesswork and pressing for information. Unless the person's name in question is Frank Sahwit. Then he'll be more than happy to talk about things he should not know if he wasn't the killer, as well as blatantly obvious contradictions. To hammer this home, pressing someone in court is not an option that is suggested until the next case. Even the other first case villains aren't as obvious as this guy is. The next game's first villain, Richard Wellington, is just as bad. Interestingly, however, the trope gets subverted later in the series - [[spoiler:Dahlia Hawthorne is a central antagonist in the third game, Kristoph Gavin is the Big Bad of the fourth, Jacques Portsman's true motives aren't revealed until the end of the first ''Investigations'' game, and Horace Knightley/Mannosuke Naito becomes the second case's victim and was the Big Bad's supposed best friend]]. This trope is further played with in ''Dual Destinies'' - [[spoiler:Ted Tonate was the murderer of Candice Arme, but the courtroom bomber was someone else entirely]], and later in ''Spirit of Justice'', with [[spoiler:Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin being not only Pat Rohl's real murderer, but both being the one that actually got the Founder's Orb to the government, as well as showing just how messed up the Khura'inese legal system is]].

[[folder: Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Roman Torchwick was designed to be this. He first appeared as a simple lowly crook who gives Ruby Rose a hard time after she wipes the floor with his minions. Glynda Goodwitch would come in, drive him off and end up setting Ruby on her way to Beacon Academy. Fans, however, loved Roman and his role got expanded greatly. So much so that, to show that they were moving on, they had to kill him off at the end of Volume 3.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': The main villain of the two-part premiere episode of was CanonForeigner Red Claw, a terrorist leader. The villain of the pilot "On Leather Wings" was Man-Bat, a lesser member of the RoguesGallery.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'': Doctor Animo was the first proper villain Ben took on. He doesn't ''die'', but in subsequent appearances, it's pretty clear that he's nowhere near as dangerous as other threats Ben has faced.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'': Baxter Stockman and his mouser robots. This has the effect of immediately setting the tone of the series, as in the original cartoon Baxter was a goofier mad scientist best known for being mutated into a fly, whereas now he's a legitimate threat even at the ''bottom'' of the villain hierarchy.
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'': The Pirate Clans in the FiveEpisodePilot, before the Neosapien wars break out. They eventually become the reluctant allies of the fleet.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'':
** Admiral Zhao. While Zuko showed up first, he is initially [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain ineffective]] against the Gaang, while Zhao is a consistent threat to both the Gaang ''and'' Zuko for the entire first season. He's still too [[SmugSnake confident in his abilities,]] and is ultimately replaced by the ''far'' [[MagnificentBastard worse]] [[HeroKiller Princess]] [[TheDragon Azula.]]
** Prince Zuko is probably a better example. He was the first villain in the series and was often a threat in early book one episodes, however he only met the Gaang a few times by the end of the season and acted as more of a mini-boss during the finale. Zhao on the other hand doesn't meet the Gaang until a third of the way through season one, and was much more of a threat than Zuko.
* [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Mr. Wink and Mr. Fibb]] in ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'', the first villains Sector V ever faced. They later appear in the series as hired thugs, but they spend most of their time minding their own business otherwise and only attack if provoked.
* ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeRenegades'' starts with the Joes tangling against Dr. Mindbender, a COBRA mad scientist with crazed mutants at his beck and call, but little in the way of power in the actual organization.
* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'', Spidey takes on The Vulture and the Enforcers who, while upgraded from their original comic gimmick of lasso-wielding guy (Montana), short martial artist (Fancy Dan), and strong guy (Ox), weren't exactly going to make it into the Sinister Six as was.
** Furthermore, the show was made up of a series of short (3-4 episode) arcs which each had their own plot and villain, while also advancing ongoing storylines. The BigBad of the first mini-arc was the Lizard (who as noted under comics often gets this treatment).
* Both ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' and ''WesternAnimation/WolverineAndTheXMen'' start with the team infiltrating a Mutant Response Division base, as a prelude to taking on The Sentinels. ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' starts with Toad infiltrating the Xavier Academy.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' depicts the team coming together to face the decidedly C-List Graviton, a departure from both the comics and movie version, where they start with a battle against Loki. Graviton is an AdaptationalBadass who proves to be an immense threat in the first episode... but definitely never again, as the Avengers go on to face ''multiple'' bad Asgardians, cosmic level threats, and ''coalitions'' of A-list villains.
* Nightmare Moon from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', although ([[InformedAbility supposedly]]) powerful, really only tries to mess with the ponies and slow them down rather than directly attack them. She basically exists as a training wheel villain for the [[TrueCompanions Mane Six]] to [[FireForgedFriends forge a friendship over while fighting her]]. The episode ends with her cured and turned back into [[DarkIsNotEvil Princess Luna]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SheZow'' has the Pushy Pirate Posse, the first threat Guy Hamdon had to contend with as [=SheZow=].
* The Lunch Lady in ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom''. She is Danny's first major opponent, forcing him to reach the limits of his powers, and is the first to be sucked into the Fenton Thermos.
* Kremenski in ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' was a [[TheMole mole]] for the KGB who was lethally shot by Archer at the end of the first episode before Nikolai Jakov, the show's first true BigBad, even appeared.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': The first half of season one is spent fighting standard MonsterOfTheWeek fare, with the premiere episode having the team face-off against an giant centipede-like creature. The episode is the first time Steven got involved with Gem activity, though it was be another few episodes before he was actually taken on missions alongside them. As the show goes on, these monsters take a backseat to character drama, intergalactic threats, and the overall MythArc to the point where over thirty episodes can go by without a plot involving them to any degree.
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooWhereAreYou'': The Black Knight, a suit of AnimatedArmor who kidnapped a historian, and was actually [[spoiler:museum curator Mr. Rickles seeking to cover up his forgery scheme]].
+ ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'': The first threat Superman takes on are a group of terrorists hired by Lex Luthor to stage the theft of his latest invention, a robotic battle suit. What's especially noteworthy is that one of the terrorists, James Corben, would go on to become the supervillain Metallo.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales2017'', the first actual antagonist in the pilot episode is a GhostPirate named Captain Peghook that the triplets accidentally release, who seeks Scrooge [=McDuck=]'s head. Scrooge defeats the ghost within minutes [[LoopholeAbuse by giving him the head of a statue of him]].