He'll grow up to destroy the world. Or just become Pope.
Anti-Christ: Condemn them, Mother, for they know exactly what they do! Stan: Uh, I'm-I'm sorry, what does that mean? Anti-Christ: You know, it's the opposite of, 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.' Hello? I'm the Anti-Christ! I'm the opposite of Jesus in every way!"
Unlike the Dark Messiah, who may claim to be the Messiah/Saviour, the Antichrist is the real deal, but for the Legions of Hell. He is not dark but misunderstood. What he wants is to bring about The End of the World as We Know It so that the evil can inherit the Earth. By force. Prefers to Kick the Dog and Burn The Orphanage, For the Evulz.
This is a guy so far up the Sorting Algorithm of Evil that there's not likely to be a Deus ex Machinacapable of stopping him (or her), so the heroes likely have to race to stop him from either being released, being born, coming of age, or demonically possessing someone. Often, the consideration is that the vessel and the messiah are different entities, and killing the bad also kills the innocent. If they do catch him before he starts putting his storyboards to film, they still have to kill an innocent.
If the writer likes irony, the Antichrist will take after Dad and rebel against his Dad, ditching the whole "destroy the Earth" shtick to become an Anti-Antichrist.
Expect a lot of 666 motifs. This trope is an integral part of Religious Horror. If the Antichrist is unaware of or resistant to their fate as the Destroyer of All, s/he is the Apocalypse Maiden. Chances are that the antichrist will pose as The Übermensch, and will almost certainly be a Dark Messiah.
Note that while an actual description of the antichrist in Christianity is not very well defined, it doesn't follow this trope very much. Mostly, the Antichrist is a false prophet who is attempting to undermine the faith of Christians and slowly pervert their teaching. While he appears before the beast of the sea, he is more like the chief of propaganda and does not direct or even participate in the end of the world. In fact, Jesus Christ himself defines antichrist as anyone who believes that Christ is incorrect, with "anti-" being used in the same way as "anti-Semite." The man of lawlessness, described by Paul in a chapter entitled "Antichrist" is where this trope comes from.
For the movie, see Antichrist. As for the book by Friedrich Nietzsche... erm, give us some more time to get back to you on that.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
Punie from Dai Mahou Touge. This becomes increasingly obvious as the series progresses. Her mom was basically this for Magical Land, and she succeeded.
Yuji Sakai from Shakugan no Shana after merging with the Snake of the Festival, but subverts it because his motive is to Save The World by means of creating a duplicate world where the Denizens can live without consuming humans to survive so he can live with Shana in peace.
Griffith from Berserk is more of a Dark Messiah, but still counts as he is a demon god who has come back to the physical plane so that he can become a king, and is prophesied to bring about an Age of Darkness which, following the Millennium Falcon arc, he's recently fulfilled. Guts also technically counts, as he's vowed to kill Griffith, who has been acknowledged by the equivalent of the Pope as The Messiah - but this is actually a good thing, due to the flipped perspective.
Millions Knives from Trigun probably counts. He wants to wipe out the human race and replace it all with his "plant" kin.
Creed Diskenth from Black Cat uses nanomachines to become immortal and, as he says it, a "God". His goal? To wipe out all the humans who don't have superpowers and create a society where he and Train Heartnet can rule the "worthy". Too bad Train wants nothing to do with this goal.
Johan Liebert from Monster is compared with the Antichrist. Repeatedly. And appears to enjoy the comparison. One character, a drunk, even once sees him as a giant multi-headed dragon monster, much like the Biblical Dragon of Revelation.
In Beelzebub, the Delinquent main character, Oga Tatsumi, is forced to raise baby Be'el, the Son of Satan, into a powerful demon lord whose destiny is to destroy the world. A side effect of the bond they now share is that the more Oga fights, the more demonic he becomes. Incredibly enough, this is (mostly) Played for Laughs.
Rave Master's Lucia, who was primed by the universe itself to destroy the world.
The "Son of Man" storyline in Hellblazer has a demon that John used in a faux-resurrection (then promptly got the fuck away from, as the corpse's father was one of the most dangerous mobsters in London) plot to bring about the birth of a messiah for Hell (because, as he reasons, Heaven is so popular on Earth because they proved it).
Marvel Comics' Son of Satan, Damon Hellstrom, AKA Damien Hellstorm... yeah, you can imagine. He's an extremely conflicted individual and he's got some serious daddy issues. And you wouldn't believe what a bitch his sister is, don't get this guy started. All in all, a force for good in spite of his heritage, but he's still painfully aware that if he doesn't remain constantly vigilant, he will raise the infernal horde and bring ruin to the earth. Nice guy, though.
The Antichrist, also known as the Moonchild, is the main threat in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen's Century arc. In Century: 2009, he finally appears in a monstrous form that's covered with eyes and spurting magical power from every orifice. He's also Harry Potter. Turns out all the exploits were arranged, to hide what Hogwarts was preparing him for. He is extremely pissed off about this.
And while the League puts up a good fight, the Antichrist is ultimately defeated by Mary Poppins, who is strongly implied to be God herself.
Although it might've been made only to pre-empt the Left Behind movie, the movie The Omega Code offers a rare, somewhat sympathetic portrayal of the Antichrist. A rich philanthropist who's trying to exploit Biblical prophecy in a bid to rule the world, he actually does believe that he's doing what's best for the world, and intends to stop following the prophecies before things can go sour. Unfortunately, since the Biblical exegesis of Left Behind's Tim LaHaye says that the Antichrist suffers a fatal head wound and is resurrected as a soullessavatar of evil, he loses all say in the matter after getting shot in the head.
Palpatine from Star Wars is basically the antichrist of that setting (especially if you take the expanded universe into account). He's an incredibly powerful Sith Lord (even Yoda was no match for him) who, through years of plotting and manipulation, managed to exterminate the Jedi and set himself up as the ruler of the galaxy. In the expanded universe he even manages to come back to life multiple times using clone bodies, becoming more insane with each resurrection. Finally he is defeated for good when a Jedi master heroically sacrifices himself and, along with the spirits of other departed Jedi, drags Palpatine's spirit into the netherworld of the force (the Star Wars universe equivalent of Hell).
It's even more obvious in the novel Darth Plagueis. In the prologue, Palpatine admires the constellations that dot Coruscant's eastern sky just before the sun rises, i.e. the morning stars. If that's not Revelation-y enough for you, he refers to the Dark Side in his thoughts as the "beast" that will bring about the "end times".
This is the job description of the Child of Dark in the Belgariad and Malloreon by David Eddings. It starts the first series in the body of Torak, God of Darkness, as it has since the beginning of the backstory. When Torak ends up on the wrong end of Iron-Grip's Sword, it changes hosts and picks up Zandramas for the second series before finally settling on Garion's son, Geran.
He winds up replaced by Roland's half-son, Mordred Deschain. While he's built up as a super-powerful half-God that will destroy Roland and bring about the end of the multiverse for three and a half books, when he finally arrives, he is shown to a be a pitiful, hateful child who can barely survive in the wilderness and winds up being weakened enough by food poisoning for Roland (and Oy!) to bring him down. Regardless, he does get points for killing and eating Flagg when the old and arrogant (key word: ARROGANT) wizard decides to try and use him to further his own ends.
Iscarius Alchemy, a resurrected Judas Iscariot in Matthew Dickens' Magnus.
Averted in, of all things, The Bible. According to 1 John 2, "antichrist" refers to individuals who either (a) denies that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, or both (v. 22); or (b) abandons Christian teachings and becomes an apostate (v. 19). (Verse 18 says "even now many antichrists have come.") Other texts note that an antichrist (c) actively persecutes and attacks followers of Christ (John 15:20, 21); or (d) claims to be the Messiah (the Christ) but isn't Jesus (Matthew 24:24). Groups engaged in the actions described above can also be considered antichrists. The charismatic world-ruler who is anointed by Satan to bring about the end of the world is nowhere to be found.
Such a character does appear in Revelation but is never referred to as the antichrist - only as the Beast (or the First Beast or the Beast from the Sea, in contrast to the Second Beast or the Beast from the Land, aka the False Prophet). In fact a key feature of this beast is that it does not use any name found in the Bible when it claims its divinity! Rather than being a prediction of some specific future ruler, however, many mainstream Christian scholars see the two Beasts as representing either one of the Roman emperors (probably Nero or Caligula) and the religious-political establishment that supported him, or tyranny in general. Also popular is the view that the Beast isn't a particular Roman emperor, but the Roman Empire itself.
Plus, there are more than two Beasts with important parts to play in Revelation. The First Beast and Second Beast are just a set that appear together.
There is, however, a character in 2. Thessalonians, the Man of Lawlessness, who fits the description rather well. Evangelical Christians identify him, along with the Revelation Beast and another character referred to in the Book of Daniel, with John's Antichrist. (That is, "the" Antichrist of verse 18, who the other "many [lesser] antichrists" are compared to.)
In Sergey Lukyanenko's Seekers of the Sky, several characters wonder if Marcus really is the second coming of the Redeemer or the Tempter, who is to come before the Redeemer and lead the world astray. However, one of the characters is a bishop who points out that the Church does not officially recognize the existence of the Tempter, as he is only mentioned in a non-canonical gospel. Privately, however, even the head of the Church is wondering the same thing.
In The Adversary Cycle, Rasalom is actually much worse than this, but religious people often mistake him for it. Also, in Reborn, a group of religious people think Jim is the Antichrist after learning that he's a clone.
In Nick Perumov's Keeper of the Swords series, this character is known as the Destroyer (the local Crystal Dragon Jesus is known as the Saviour). Then it gets interesting. First, the main character, Fess, and two of the series' villains, are assessed as potential Destroyer candidates. Then it becomes obvious that the Saviour is pretty nasty but the Destroyer is the real saviour ( and it's Fess after all.)
Angel: The Shanshu Prophecy was not explicit on which side Angel would be fighting on during the end times. At the start of Angel, the idea of Angel willingly cooperating with the Senor Partners seems unthinkable. By the end of Season Four, Angel has darkned enough and his circumstances have gotten hazy to the point where he does join them. According to the comics, the jury's still out on whether the Shanshu prophecy spells doom for mankind in general. Wesley's father, Roger Wyndam-Pryce (or at least a close facsimile thereof) warned that Angel is "more dangerous than you realize."
Sam was called this by Gordon early in the series. At the time, Gordon was written off as a fanatical murderer, but the Strawman Has a Point.
In Only Fools And Horses, Rodney suspects that Del Boy's son, Damien, is this, reading sinister undertones into everything he does. There is, of course, no indication that he's anything but an ordinary child.
Which lasted only about five months thanks to his most infamous screw-up to date and resulted in a Redemption Quest upon his return after another five months.
The Vistani of Ravenloft have their own equivalent of the Antichrist, known as the Dukkar. A Vistani-blooded male born with the Sight, the Dukkar is foretold to destroy the Vistani people while freeing the darklords from their domains: a feat that may or may not cause the Land of Mists to collapse entirely, unleashing its trapped evils upon the multiverse.
It's actually a bit more complicated than that: there have been at least two Dukkar already, each threatening the Land of Mists' status quo and the Vistani in his own way. The first wrote a series of Self Fulfilling Prophecies meant to sunder Ravenloft (which almost came to pass, and would have if not for the meddling of some Darklords who caused two of the prophecies to happen out of order... Just As Planned) and the second one is currently doing his damnedest to torture to death any and all Vistani he can lay his hands on, even if it means sending his mooks to hunt them across the borders of other domains—which means the south-central Core is currently a political powderkeg. And since "stability" in the Core tends to be based on all the Darklords (pretty much all of them sociopaths) not paying much attention to anything outside of their own affairs...
The Horus Heresy series reveals that Lorgar fits the trope much better. He's touched by the powers of Chaos during his creation much more than his brothers, is raised on a world ruled by a church that worships Chaos, and is the first to fall to the Ruinous Powers. His Dragon Erebus is directly responsible for turning Horus into the monster he becomes. It's the sheer infamy of Horus's deeds that causes the Imperium to think of him as the Antichrist instead of Lorgar.
Horus's Dragon and possible clone son Abaddon the Despoiler has assumed Horus's mantle for most citizens of the Imperium. Really, only the Chaos Legions who knew him before he got famous think of him as anything less than the universe's Antichrist.
At this point, Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII has finally morphed into the definitive video game icon of this. Being the Son of Jenova (a false alien God), being able to herald the Apocalypse (Meteor), and, finally, having armies of Devout Worshippers (the Reunion). Just for a kicker, he also comes back to life twice. The sequel film is even called Advent Children because Sephiroth does a Second Coming in it.
Played with in Devil Survivor. The main character obtains the potential to become an antichrist and a demon king partway through the game. Depending on the ending you gun for, you may become it or choose to use that potential for other ends.
Castlevania puts Dracula here. You spend every game stomping him before he reaches full strength.
Even some human characters believe him to be some sort of monster, as dialogue in the comics and Halo 4 suggests.
Gig from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, who was created from the dead soul of Vigilance by Drazil for the explicit purpose of killing everything in Haephnes, leaving Drazil as the only remaining world.
In inFAMOUS, it turns out that the villain is actually the protagonist from a Bad Future, coming back in time to better prepare him for the actual world-ending villain, who is called, of course, "the Beast."
Omega in Mega Man Zero, Ax-Crazy yet loyal Dragon to Dr. Weil. Caused the demise of 75% of all sentient life (combined total of humans and reploids). Making things even more horrifying is that Omega is exactly what Dr. Wily intended Zero to be. Sprinkle a little extra Fridge Horror on there when the reveal is made that Omega is Zero's original body, meaning that Wily succeeded.
Street Fighter III has Gill, in a surprisingly closer form to the Biblical version than most. He says that he wants to take mankind to a promised land where they'll be protected from The End of the World as We Know It, but considering how his oddly smallcult engages in a lot of brainwashing, deception, genetic experimenting, forcing people's hand, and whatnot, and the fact that they're called The Illuminati of all things, well…
Adachi from Persona 4 is a bit of an Antichrist. He is a terrible person who hates the world and wants to end the age of man, masterminding the events of the game since the real mastermind didn't do anything other than give the means. Even gets the Shadows on his side towards the end of the game.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword puts longtime series antagonist Ganondorf as this. As he is the incarnation of the hatred of Demon King Demise who has evil designs on the world and is forever destined to fight against all Links and Zeldas for eternity.
Walter Sullivan in Silent Hill 4: The Room appears to be this. He is committing serial murder as part of the 21 Sacraments to resurrect the cult's evil God and be reunited with his mother, burned the orphanage he was raised in in the process of killing one of his victims, rose from the dead after committing suicide, and you find his crucified original body in the secret room behind Henry's apartment.
Spatch and Spatch II from Rice Boy are clear antichrists. The terms in their own world are false "fulfillers" — but they have the role. They manage to be pretty darn scary for simply drawn anthropomorphic frogs.
In part, the problem with the Spatches was that The One Electronic essentially created his own Antichrists; somewhere between Order of Tales and Rice Boy, he started searching for some prophesied messiah, and each time he thought he'd found the one, he'd groom them to be this messiah he's seeking; unfortunately, Spatch started leveraging it for his own benefit and became corrupted by the cushy gig messiahdom had become. Spatch II inherited the title and his dad's attitude.
Played with in Sluggy Freelance: Apparently, Satan is intent on fathering someone who would become the Antichrist, but offspring from human mothers just don't seem to be good enough. So, albeit on a drunken dare, he fathers a litter of 18 (6+6+6) Satanic kittens. They don't qualify as the Antichrist either, though, so they just become killer slasher kittens of doom.
Sara Waite (aka Carmilla) of the Whateley Universe. The child of the demon lord Gothmog and a woman who is descended from the Deep Ones, she is prophesied to become The Kellith, which will wipe out humanity and replace it with her spawn. She's also one of the protagonists.
The Onion's coverage of the royal baby in 2013 depicts Kate Middleton's child as a full out demon.
Zorak: Space Ghost! I am the Lone Mantis of the Apocalypse. Think of me when you look to the night sky!
The American Dad! episode "Rapture's Delight" depicts the Antichrist as a Large Ham akin to the Riddler from the 1960's Batman live-action series. He claims to be the opposite of Jesus in every way (when the Death Trap he places Stan, Francine, and Jesus in breaks down, he claims that it's because Jesus is a master carpenter, thus making him "handy at nothing").
The Transformers Prime incarnation of Megatron has this going for him. He has necromancer-like abilities thanks to Dark Energon, made Cybertron unsuitable for life, caused mass murder on Cybertron, plans to do the same thing on Earth, and just when everyone thought he died when he was in a space bridge explosion, he recovered. He gets progressively worse as the series goes on; he proves just how much of a Manipulative Bastard he is with Orion Pax and Ratchet, tries to corrupt Jack in the collapsed mine, and outright offers his service to Unicron, the Satan of the franchise. In season two, when Optimus acquires the Star Saber, Megatron counters it by ripping off the limb of a dead Prime, grafts it to himself to wield a sword made of the blood of Unicron, giving a big middle finger to his creator, Primus, and the lineage of the Primes. Optimus is appropriately horrified by this.
He even thinks he's the Anti-Primus, as he believed that a vision of coming darkness and the destruction of Earth was All About Him.
On Ugly Americans, Callie is the half-human daughter of the current Devil. She is currently taking part in his plan to cause the Apocalypse, and it's sometimes been hinted that she could have a larger role (she once had recurring dreams of the world ending if she slept with Twayne). She's not particularly enthused by this, though, and seems unsure if she wants to be this or the Anti Anti Christ.