"It is only proper that the world be set to rights. However, if we were to unite the entire world the ignorant masses would be unable to keep pace. Therefore, we will start here. And just to be extra prudent and avoid pushing ourselves too hard, we will go one step further and focus here. Conquering one city is a reasonable plan that allows for some leeway for setbacks, don't you think?"
are, as a rule, ambitious
. From your typical Evil Overlord
to a Mad Scientist
to a pair of lab mice
, any bad guy worth their Spikes of Villainy
will have a grand plan to Take Over the World
Then there's this brand of villain. Either they set their sights low out of practicality, or it just doesn't occur to them to aim higher. Whatever the reason, they focus their plans in one specific location - usually the City of Adventure
where the heroes happen to also live. Typically, there's nothing actually special about that particular town or city. No hidden source of power, no Weirdness Magnet
attracting trouble, nor any particular personal reason for the bad guy to target the place at all. In some cases, however, the city itself is large and influential enough to control the surrounding area or the country at large. In others that particular location could be Step One in an ultimate take over the world scheme.
There is nothing wrong with such a goal as an one-off scheme. However, when the action is serialized in a Monster of the Week
format, the villain's persistence in trying to take over one specific location can break the Suspension of Disbelief
, although there are ways to amend that, assuming the writers care. The villain can be bound by sentimentality (the city in question is the villain's hometown), grudge (the villain specifically seeks to confront the city's protectors) or simply inability to relocate themselves or the resources they need anywhere else.
In some cases, however, it just seems to never occur to the villain in question to simply move their operations someplace less troublesome. This situation is primarily used for comedy and children shows due to looking like a case of Poke the Poodle
If someone succeeds in this, it may lead to them declaring "I Own This Town
Not to be confused with Taking Over the Town
, which involves isolating a town from the outside world so you can loot it.
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Anime & Manga
- Florsheim's Evil Plan in Astro Fighter Sunred is, in order: 1) Defeat Sunred. 2) Take Over the World. They're still sort of stuck at step 1 and refuse to move on to step 2 until it is finished. Which is sort of good, since they probably wouldn't know what to do for step 2 even if they did get to that point.
- Tekkon Kinkreet - the central district of "Treasure Town" is controlled by the Cats, orphans with attitude. They are locked in a tug-of-war with the Yakuza, and later a mob-funded developer who has an eye on converting TT into a gaudy theme park.
- Excel Saga's Il Palazzo believes in pacing oneself, so he starts out by conquering the city, then Japan, then the world.
- Soon after its foundation, the World Domination Club in Twinkle Saber Nova realizes that they cannot Take Over the World with their current strength, so they decide to Take Over the City first. But the city is too large for them, too, so they start with their school.
- Kurt Grendel of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force states this as his goal when he first appears. Thoma promptly makes a Lampshade Hanging on how surprisingly small said goal is since Lyrical Nanoha villains (including the other ones in Force) tend to operate on a much bigger scale.
- In the Black Lagoon fanfiction Sweet Attack by unkeptsecret, Rock Okajima becomes the de facto crime lord of Roanapur at the end of the story. This is accomplished by blackmailing Mister Chang's triads and Balalaika's Hotel Moscow. Rock eliminates the forces suppressing the city's free press, which threatens to bring international attention to the city.
- Many villains of Discworld set their sights on ruling Anhk-Morpork
- The protagonists of The Secret History develop an effective plan to take over Hampden town, the bucolic locale of Hampden College — but it's all just a chilling intellectual exercise.
- Despite the fact that God created the entire Universe, Satan only ever seems to concentrate his efforts on the Planet Earth.
- None of the villains in Septimus Heap seems to have ambitions that go past the Castle walls.
- In The Girl Who Would Be King, Lola declares herself King of Los Angeles.
Live Action TV
- Los Angeles was the first to fall following Jasmine's birth on Angel. Since anyone who gazes upon her immediately becomes her devoted servant, it didn't take long for her to realize the enormous potential of live television. L.A. is later declared the "First Citadel of Jasmine". This particular example is an Inverted Trope, since life under Jasmine's iron fist isn't so bad. (Angelinos are seen wearing pink, listening to "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys, and even rich pricks in BMWs are happily giving pedestrians the right of way.)
- While after world domination and despite the fact they were on a moonbase capable of transporting their monsters anyplace they wanted, the first Big Bads of the Power Rangers series always and without exception attacked Angel Grove.
- Justified: This is the objective of Villain Protagonist Boyd Crowder, and of a succession of antagonists, all of whom wish to bring Harlan County under their own control.
- Wily in the works of The Protomen doesn't even start out looking to conquer a city - it's basically a glorified mining camp at first, and only becomes a city when his robots rebuild it. Everyone treats his rule over "the city" as being synonymous with total conquest of the entire world.
- Final Fight is one of the earliest arcade examples. The Mad Gear gang has the stones to kidnap the Mayor's daughter.
- Ditto with the Genesis counterpart, Streets of Rage, where the criminal mastermind Mr. X repeatedly tries to take over the same city to the point of repeatedly coming Back from the Dead.
- Solidus Snake tried to seize Manhattan island in Metal Gear Solid 2, pulling it "offline" with a high-altitude nuclear strike and frying its electrical grid. This is another of Metal Gear's homages to Escape from New York.
- In the prologue of Nightshade, the costumed gangs of Metro City descend into all-out warfare when the city's superhero is murdered. Out of the chaos arises Sutekh, an Egyptian-themed supervillain, who unites the gangs into a single, powerful force.
- Many Wide Open Sandbox games feature this when you're limited to a single city.
- The Grand Theft Auto series had you conquering either Liberty City or Vice City. Though Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas upped the ante and gave you three cities to conquer. Interestingly, this is only true of the PS2 trilogy; earlier titles (and the ones to follow) focus on just scraping by in the criminal underworld, usually resulting in fleeing town altogether.
- The first two Saints Row games has you taking over Stillwater not once, but twice. Saints Row: The Third focuses on a new city, Steelport.
- Fed up with Kirkwall's corruption, the qunari attempt this trope during Act 2 of Dragon Age II.
- Ink City has to deal with this, primarily from Trevor Goodchild, who wishes to turn it into New Bregna. Several other villains have also planned to do so, while many of the regular residents are Genre Savvy enough to respond to any public threats of this with eye rolling and sarcastic commentary.
- Coil from Worm has this as his long term goal-he intends to take over the city of Brockton Bay, not only the underworld but also every aspect of the local government from the police to the mayor himself. To do this, he bankrolls two teams of supervillains to do jobs and eventually openly take parts of the city, all the while using his control of the media to run a smear campaign against the local heroes for their apparent inability to stop his proxies. Then, he fakes his own death in an attempted coup that discredits the heroes and their local government superior, before replacing said superior with his own secret identity. At that point, he was effectively Running Both Sides and could control the conflict at his leisure, and if Skitter hadn't shot him in the head, he would have steadily phased out the supervillain control over the city in order to spread his influence through them to other nearby cities, leaving him in total control with none the wiser.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron had one Mad Scientist who tried that.
- In Disney's Aladdin, most villains really only want to take over (or destroy) Agrabah. Even Jafar, though he definitely cared about having a lot of magical power, never seemed to extend his political reach beyond Agrabah.
- Agrabah's borders are never specified. For all we know, it could be as large as the real life Persian empire, and whoever controls it controls the largest, most powerful empire in the world.
- It could also be a city-state, and a country in its own right.
- Lampshaded in an episode of Johnny Test when Mr. White & Mr. Black ask why the show's villains always seem to attack Porkbelly.
- The title character of Megamind showed little interest in conquering anything beyond
Metrocity Metro City.
- Phineas and Ferb villain Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz concocts plan after plan with which to conquer "the entire Tri-State Area!" The episode "What Do It Do?" has a flashback to a date he went in in high school with Linda, and when he tells her he plans to take over the world, she suggests he start small.
- Mojo Jojo from The Powerpuff Girls generally concentrated his efforts on taking over Townsville though this was his first step to taking over the world.
- ReBoot has Megabyte mostly focus on taking over the city of Mainframe. He would rather go after the Supercomputer but he'll settle for the city he's stuck in. When he succeeds he tries to leave for the Supercomputer as soon as possible.
- The Spectacular Spider Man only has one villain try to take over the world in one episode; the rest war over New York City.
- Miss Mister from Super Duper Sumos wanted to destroy the world but start with Generic City. In some episodes. In others she wanted to take over the city, then the world. To add to the confusion, in one episode she says "All I ever wanted to do was destroy Generic City and take over the known world, is that too much to ask for?"
- In a Superman TV special faux documentary, Evil Genius Mad Scientist Brainwave recommends beginning villains start small, for example, taking over their next door neighbor.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Magic Duel", Trixie takes over Ponyville and banishes Twilight Sparkle with the aid of an amulet that makes her crazy. When Twilight defeats her using an even more powerful amulet and Trixie steals it, she vows to take over all of Equestria. Seeing as how the new amulet is a useless prop, this does not happen.
- In Teen Titans, Slade's plot seems to extend solely to the borders of Jump City, and not beyond it. In "Aftershock, Part 2", upon apparently completing his plan, he doesn't seem to have much desire to move beyond that.