Token Heroic Orc

A subtrope of Token Nonhuman and Token Enemy Minority. This trope is to Token Enemy Minority as Token Nonhuman is to Token Minority. It's about a member of the Villain or Mook race who joins the main cast and their good (mostly human or The Federation) organization.

There are many shades of this trope which may appear:

See also My Species Doth Protest Too Much, Monster Allies and Pet Monstrosity.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball
    • Most members of the Saiyan race are vicious monsters. Some exceptions include Goku (who lost his memories of being a Saiyan), his and Vegeta's offspring (although they are part human), Vegeta's younger brother Tarble, and Goku's mother Gine. Vegeta starts off as a genocidical villain, but becomes an Anti-Hero through character development. Bardock, Goku's father, also starts off as a villain, but ends up pulling a full Heel–Face Turn in a spin-off manga. In Minus, he becomes more mellow after meeting Gine, although he's still a mass-murderer.
    • Frost, Frieza's counterpart from Universe 6, is the only member of Frieza's race not to be evil. Justified, as we didn't see other members. Eventually it's revealed he is just as evil as Frieza, but he's a lot more clever about it.
  • Greed of Fullmetal Alchemist is a homunculus like most of the main villains, but rather than blindly obeying his creator, his greedy nature got the better of him, and he'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He's Affably Evil and treats his gang of human followers well, rather than as pawns to be sacrificed. After Father kills him and uses his essence to turn Ling into a new Greed, the combination of getting his old memories back and Ling continually Fighting from the Inside eventually leads him to join the heroes.
  • Grasshop of Spider Riders, once he stops faking his Heel–Face Turn.
  • GaoGaiGar has played with it with Soldat J alien cyborg created on Red Planet to fight Primevals and their mechanization virus. He was turned into Zonderian Pizza after Red Planet was conquered and participated in the invasion on Earth. Later, after his Heel–Face Turn Heroic Sacrifice he was restored by Arma to his original form. While fighting Primevals along the heroes, he has to tell them more than a few times that he is no longer Pizza, and Gai correcting himself after calling him "Pizza" has almost become a Running Gag.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had Viral, who's a Beastman, caught and imprisoned after the Time Skip. When Simon is put in the next cell, the two are initially on bad terms... until Yoko busts them out and Simon asks Viral to pilot Gurren (the mecha of Viral's ex-Foil, Kamina) on the grounds that if they fail, the Beastmen will be destroyed as well, not just the humans. He accepts and permanently becomes the Gurren Lagann's co-pilot despite the fact that as a Beastman, he can't use Spiral Power (though the penultimate episode suggests otherwise).
    • Downplayed in that post-Time Skip, crowd scenes show various types of beastmen living and working peacefully alongside humans.
  • In Soul Eater it's revealed that Kim Diehl is a Token Heroic Witch, who lacks their normal affinity (and love of) destruction because her magic's healing based. Her partner being able to transform into a broomstick is just a coincidence.
  • Macross:
    • Millia, Konda, Warera and Loli all eventually qualify as Token Heroic Zentraedi in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Before Space War One is over, they are joined by Exsedol and Britai; in fact, heroic Zentraedi become fairly commonplace in later Macross series, as large numbers of them have successfully integrated into human society, to the point where several characters are of mixed human-Zentraedi origin.
    • In Macross Delta, Freyja Wion is the Token Heroic Windermerian.

    Comics 
  • Bartleby from Bone is a young rat creature who runs away because he doesn't like the harsh life of his fellow rat creatures. Fone and Smiley Bone help Bartleby rejoin his kind, but he likes the Bones better and eventually runs away again to permanently join them.
    • Arguably, the two stupid, stupid rat creatures that the Bones keep encountering. They are quick to surrender to human forces during a fight, are even quicker to avoid a fight in the first place, and in the end work out a tenative truce with the villagers that allows them to live in the woods on the condition that they don't eat anyone with a name.
  • Miss Martian from Teen Titans comics, through she is White Martian hiding as Green Martian who suppressed her nature and turned it into Superpowered Evil Side.
  • The Grand Finale of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men includes a notable Deconstruction of this trope, where we learn that the character who's set up as the Token Heroic Orc is actually the arc's true Big Bad. It turns out that the prophecy that kick-started the story's events (that one of the X-Men would destroy the home planet of that story's "Orcs") was actually planted by said character, who wanted it to come true because she thought that living under her Emperor's barbaric rule was a Fate Worse Than Death. The story points out that, even in an alien culture that seems evil to us, a person willing to completely reject every underlying value of their species' culture probably wouldn't be a paragon of mental health.
  • Several years before Worf, DC Comics' movie-era Star Trek spinoff comic series introduced Konom, a Klingon defector who joins Kirk's crew.
  • Orion, son of Darkseid, raised by the New Gods of New Genesis. Also Big Barda, a former fury of Granny Goodness who helped Scott Free escape and eventually married him.
  • Hulkling is a half Skrull who joins the Young Avengers.
  • Blade is a half vampire who hunts vampires.
  • Raven is the daughter of the demon Trigon but has long been an ally of the Teen Titans, not counting the occasional Face–Heel Turn.
  • Purity Brown in Nemesis the Warlock is a prominent member of the pro-Nemesis faction on Termight, and one of Nemesis' closest confidants; due to being a human, she is often mistrusted by the Cabal. Notably, when Nemesis flies into a rage after hearing that his wife and son have been murdered, she along with Hammerstein calls out Nemesis on his intention to kill every human, citing herself as an example of a human who isn't evil.
  • Superman Unchained: Wraith is an alien that was raised by the U.S. military and has helped protect Earth since 1938. He serves as a Hero Antagonist to Superman due to their ideological differences. In the finale, Wraith sacrifices his life to save Earth from his own people.

    Film — Animated 

    Fan Fic 
  • Played with the Dungeon Keeper Ami universe as part of the A Lighter Shade of Grey theme. Ami's employees are predominantly amoral, evil, sadistic, stupid, or some combination thereof. However, Ami herself, as an unquestionably heroic heroine, enforces laws in her domain that generally discourage the aforementioned tendencies in her minions. As such, her goblins begin to show pride in their work- even in work that includes mopping floors and being clean. The dark mistresses show restraint (after one insists on Ami torturing her). And the youma have shown signs of genuine loyalty to Ami their first decent employer in centuries.

    Literature 
  • Adam from I Am Number Four is a heroic Mogadorian.
  • From The Thousand Orcs into The Orc King King Obould Many-Arrows starts out as a homicidal warlord bent on domonating everything like most Orc warrior leaders are prone to but after becoming the Avatar of Gruumsh One Eye chief deity of the Orcs he calms down considerably. Considering that the blessings bestowed upon him have apparently calmed him somewhat, he has become able to see things in a far broader perspective than any orc before him. This has already led to some speculations as to a pending change in orcish society under his leadership. In the prologue The Orc King, a hundred years have passed and the kingdom which Obould created, The Kingdom of Many Arrows, has survived the years, establishing trade agreements and treaties with the surrounding cities of the "goodly races". At the current time a descendant of Obould, Obould VI, is in control, but is being contested fiercely by shamans of Gruumsh who believe in the old ways of being self dependent and not being peaceful with the good races. The situation as it is in The Orc King also furthers the growing desire for peace within Obould; this, of course, is only strengthened by the story of the prologue (which takes place over a century past The Hunter's Blades Trilogy), which obviously shows Obould's vision of the future as an inevitability.
  • In Space Captain Smith, Suruk the Slayer is one of these, and as the series is "The British Empire Recycled In Space", he has some inspiration from examples like the Kipling one below. Suruk is a Morlock (which in this case seems to be a Space Orc), and is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who loves a chance to use his ancestral weapons.
  • Yuuzhan Vong warrior Vua Rapuung takes this role in the New Jedi Order book Conquest. He's almost (but not quite) a Defector from Decadence- he has a very specific bone to pick with his people, and he's more than willing to help the Jedi to get his revenge, though he doesn't object to their ways on the whole. He does soften up some across the book, and finally gets Redemption Equals Death.
  • In The Edge Chronicles, Hekkle is a shryke, a member of a usually antagonistic race. He actively serves as a respected, trusted and resourceful spy for the heroes. Another, female, shryke, Mother Bluegizzard, is also benevolent and kindly, in contrast to the other female shrykes met in the series, who are for the most part bloodthirsty warriors.
  • Vampire Lucilla working for the vampire-hunter private agency known as the Raven Corporation in Ravencraft series.
  • Cara the ex Mord-Sith in The Sword of Truth series.
  • Rlain in The Stormlight Archive was the only Parshendi to defect to the side of the humans, and is quite possibly the only one left who hasn't evolved into a Voidbringer.
  • Slanter the gnome in The Wishsong of Shannara. He befriends Jair Ohmsford and helps him on his quest to destroy the Ildatch. He is the only heroic gnome in the entire series. Otherwise, the gnomes are almost always faceless cannon fodder for the Big Bad.

    Live Action TV 
  • Andromeda
    • The show has two in one cast; Rev Bem (Reverend Behemiel Fartraveler), a member of a Horde of Alien Locusts converted by peaceful religion, and Tyr Anasazi, a member of the Nietzschean race of genetically-enhanced humans who are screwing the galaxy (Pride wiped out by the dominant Drago-Kazov Pride), but he never claimed to be on the Hunt side.
    • In the later seasons Tyr switches sides and is replaced on the crew by Telemachus Rhade, another Nietzschean who is somewhat ashamed of his species.
    • In a one-episode alternate timeline that may or may not have been the original one, another Nietzschean, Gaheris Rhade, was part (actually leading) the crew, and unlike Tyr and Telemachus he was firmly committed to the goal of restoring the Commonwealth... as he had had a hand in helping it fall, and was really angry with what the Nietzscheans had become instead of what he'd dreamt of. So firmly committed, in fact, that once genuinely convinced that it would be better if the protagonist of the rest of the series was the one to survive in the past and end up leading the effort he barely even hesitates to go back in time, take his old self's place and ensure that's precisely what happens, despite knowing it'll ensure he'll forever be remembered only as a traitor to his captain and to the Commonwealth.
  • Grimm Adalind is the most obvious example, as a former Hexenbeist (one of the most agressive of the Wesen). Also Renard who is a Zauberbiest (male version of the Hexenbiest) although is unknown if they are normally as mean as the female.
    • To some extend also Monroe, granted, the series shows that many Blutbaden live normal lives not harming humans, but also is hinted that he, in the past, was as wild as many others.
    • In general the relationship of Nick with several Wesens (Monroe, Rosalee and Renard) is something that his mother, a more traditional Grimm, can't understand.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Teal'c rebels against the Goa'uld and joins the SGC in the first episode, becoming a Shol'vah (Traitor) in the eyes of the other Jaffa for most of the series. His reasons for rebelling were because he realised that despite their claims, the Goa'uld are not all-powerful Gods and despite acting as their enforcers and slave-masters, the Jaffa are just as much slaves as the Humans on their worlds.
    • Master Bra'tac, Teal'c's mentor and predecessor as First Prime, who spent over a hundred years working as a Noble Top Enforcer for Apophis, before finally telling his "God" where he can shove it at the beginning of the second season. He goes onto found the Jaffa Rebellion, which grows in strength over the course of the rest of the series and becomes a major faction responsible for ensuring the eventual downfall of the System Lords.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has Worf, a Klingon (the primary antagonists from The Original Series), raised by humans (and belonging to a former enemy race now allied with the Federation) and the Enterprise's head of security. Captain Kirk would be shocked.note  Seven of Nine of Voyager was a Borg drone, and she doesn't fully become human again. (Again, having a Borg on the crew would be unthinkable for Picard.) The Cardassians were bad guys in TNG and remained so in Deep Space Nine, but DS9 had a resident friendly Cardassian in the tailor Garak, though he was often suspicious and had a murky background in Intelligence. Head of security Odo, originally thought to be be the Last of His Kind, retroactively became this after the second season, when his people became the Big Bad.
    • And Nog, a Ferengi who joins Starfleet and serves on the Defiant. To a lesser extent, his father Rom who becomes a non Starfleet station engineer, and Quark who is a Jerkass With A Heart Of Gold but is on the side of the heroes when it really counts.
  • V has Willie who was a Visitor, but played on the humans' team, as did Ryan from the new series. It turns out, though, that there is an entire underground of Visitors who resists the leaders from within.
  • Hawk in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a variation of this. He is the Last of His Kind because his people were persecuted by Evil humans. However he sides with the heroes because they are Good humans.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Angel and then Spike both act as the token vampires on the show, only serving this role at the same time in the series finale. In Angel's case this is due to soul curse, in Spike's because of a control chip that stops him hurting people. And then because of getting a soul.
  • While the spin-off Angel has Lorne, a friendly demon working for Angel Investigations, an agency of demon hunter for most of the seasons.
    • Although Lorne is far from token, since demons are shown to be no more evil or violent than humans. Angel's first sidekick Doyle is a half-demon, and he dies in the process of them saving a group of demons. Indeed, Angel spends nearly as much time helping innocent demons as he does humans.
  • In Kamen Rider, there's often a 'monsters are people too' subplot when the villain race is an entire species. Faiz has three Orphenochs living together Being Human-style (before Being Human!) and then reveals that the main Rider is also one. Kiva from the same series has a trio of monsters from other monster races that were all but wiped out by the series' villains, the Fangire, with Jiro/Garulu being the one who really holds the role in the cast. There are several non-evil Fangire, but mostly one-shot civilians - the one that's a main character is again, our hero. Or at least he's half Fangire. Kabuto has the Native Worms, though they're not on the level, in the end. This time, more than one character turns out to be one and is genuinely good. No, it isn't Kabuto himself this time. There's the -taros quartet of Imagin in Den-O (as well as Sieg, Deneb, Teddy, and a few more), Ankh in OOO, Chase in Drive, and more. Also, several series have Rider tech being refined versions of the tech that created the monsters, making heroes and Orcs the same thing. (See Fourze, Double, and several of the older ones.)
    • In both Rider and Super Sentai this is a fairly common Monster of the Week, normally with either a reveal that they're just faking it or the monster dying somehow. Especially notable is Kamen Rider Ghost as the Gazai Ganma actually survives and becomes a regular (if background) member of the team, renamed Cubi.
  • Cara the ex Mord-Sith in Legend of the Seeker.
  • In Farscape Aeryn Sun is a Rebel Mook (former Peacekeeper, the main villains) although later characters like Craiss and Scorpius have similar roles.
  • In Doctor Who, Strax could be considered this. His species, the Sontarans, are usually antagonists, but Strax serves as both this trope and Comic Relief in several episodes of new Series Seven.
  • in Supernatural, angels are "monsters with good publicity", as Dean puts it, but Castiel is a regular (if not the most reliable) ally, and counts as a Defector from Decadence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Space 1889 Red Sands' version of the game allows you to play a High Martian who, unlike the vast majority of his race, is not brutal, filthy and bestial.
  • In the classic Paranoia adventure Orcbusters, the Troubleshooters get stuck with Randy the Wonder Lizard when the evil wizards abandon him. "Heroic" may be an overstatement, but he does try to help ...
  • Sylvan Treefender Oark in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. Despite his monstrous appearance, he is quite faithful to his fellow Sylvan. Also, he doesn't have the Dark attribute.
  • Gary Gygax once related a tale of his original Dungeons & Dragons group, where one of the players (Lord Robilar, played by Rob Kuntz) decided to try recruiting a lone orc named Quij. Fast forward a few sessions of play and some amazingly good rolls on Quij's behalf, and he was promoted to a full-on Sidekick follower in the party who started advancing in class levels, a pretty significant thing for the "monster races" at the time.

    Video Games 
  • Subverted in the game Dragon Rage with the Orc Galthran Etruk.
  • The Fallout series:
    • Fallout 2 Marcus the Super Mutant. A former solder from the Master Army, who with a Brotherhood Paladin creates a town where humans, mutants and ghouls can live together. He later joins your party, if you're good.
    • Fallout 3 has Fawkes, who is simply more intelligent, better natured (and more cultured, thanks to him studying the records in a cell he was trapped in) than his "peers". He helps you retrieve a MacGuffin, helps you escape when you're captured with it and joins you as an ally if you have high enough karma. There's also Uncle Leo, who appears as a Random Encounter and will give you random stuff simply by talking to him, lamenting that he cannot give you more.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Lily, a Nightkin. Unlike most Nightkin, she's fairly sane (and you can make her even more sane if you wish) and friendly, to the point she regards the Courier as a surrogate grandchild. There's also Mean Sonofabitch, a friendly supermutant who protects the community of Westside from raiders. Marcus returns, now the leader of a small isolated community of Supermutants who simply want to be left alone.
    • Strong of Fallout 4 is something of a mixed bag. While he is comparatively heroic for a Super Mutant and approves of acts of benevolence and selflessness, he's also the most brutish and savage of the companions and loves acts of violence and killing. The Far Harbor DLC has Erickson, a friendly Supermutant dog trainer who was altered by the radioactive fog to realize how pointless the lifestyle of a typical Supermutant was and lives a quiet secluded life.
    • Also, files of the first game feature Re - a rebellious supermutant. If we have enough speech skills, we'll be able to talk him to helping us killing The Master. Sadly, he isn't present in the game, though there are mods fixing it.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Canderous Ordo is human, but also member of Mandalorian Clan. Mandalorians are treated as a different race, he is a defeated enemy. He falls under the Defector category, as many of the defeated Mandalorians have become brigands who prey on farmers and weaker opponents. As far as Canderous is concerned, they've forfeited the honor of wearing the armor.
    • This might not seem to count at first, given that he's working as a mercenary who recruited him, but the player character is actually Revan, the one who previously defeated the Mandalorians in war.
  • Qyzen Fess, the Consular's first companion in Star Warsthe Old Republic is a Trandoshan. In the Star Wars universe, Trandoshans are depicted as mercenaries, bounty hunters, and mooks for various unsavory factions. Their long-standing war with the Wookiees (and their taking of Wookiee pelts as a trophy) doesn't help matters. A Trandoshan allied with a Jedi is practically unheard of. Qyzen is indifferent to his people's overall loyalties, and follows the consular as he sees them as a prophet of his Goddess.
    • Lord Scourge of the Jedi Knight storyline is a Sith Pureblood, meaning that his race were the original masters of the Dark Side and as such sticks out like a sore thumb among the Knight's crew. He joins the protagonist because he believes them to be the one to finally bring down the Sith Emperor and makes it clear that he considers it purely Enemy Mine.
  • After spending the first Mass Effect game fighting a machine race called the geth, you can recruit a geth teammate, Legion, in the second. Instead of a Defector from Decadence, they turn out to represent the majority of their species - the ones you've been fighting are fanatical "heretics."
    • Sort of Urdnot Wrex. A definite believer that His Species Doth Protest Too Much and one of the few friendly krogan in Mass Effect (where most of them were criminals, pirates or agents of Saren). If he survives the first game, he returns to the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka and retakes his position as leader of Clan Urdnot in order to drag his species back to something resembling the time when they were respected and glorified for saving the galaxy during the Rachni Wars, before the Krogan Rebellion lead to their defeat and disgrace.
    • If you decide to save her in Mass Effect 1 and again in Mass Effect 3, the last surviving rachni queen becomes this, although she is an ally rather than a party member.
  • Deekin the kobold bard from the Neverwinter Nights expansions. In Hordes of the Underdark, your other potential companions include a non-evil tiefling (a less-than-half-fiend) and a drow who judging from her actual behaviour is only called Lawful Evil because it's required for her to have the assassin class.
  • Wing Commander: Hobbes who mostly was a defector from the evil Kilrathi Empire until it was revealed to be a Memory Gambit.
  • Gooey from the Kirby games is implied to be a piece of usually Always Chaotic Evil Dark Matter that turned good and became one of Kirby's friends.
  • The Architect from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is a Mook Rebel, being a self-aware Darkspawn who's attempting to try and sever their connection to the Old Gods, thus preventing the outbreak of further Blights. He suffers from a lot of Blue and Orange Morality though so is not really a straight hero. There are hints that he's far more than a simple mook.
    • The Messenger, a member of the Architect's faction, seems to be the only Disciple who is a totally straight example of this. During the Darkspawn assault on Amaranthine he warns the Warden that the Mother is also attacking Vigil's Keep. He can be persuaded to join in the defense of the city and if set free afterwards, becomes a mysterious cloaked hero protecting travellers from bandits, although responsible for accidentally spreading the Blight to a few of them.
  • Arcanum has Gar, "the world's smartest orc". Subverted because he is pure human who has some sort of genetic mutation (orcs, humans and elves in this setting are so close genetically humans can produce fertile offspring with both orcs and elves). He has the mind, education and manners of Quintessential British Gentleman, but the appearance, strength and vitality of an orc.
  • In Persona 4, it turns out Teddie is actually just another one of the Shadows that the Investigation Team has been fighting off for the majority of the game, but he represents mankind's desire to be loved and as such is not malicious at all. He kept telling himself he wasn't a Shadow so he could appeal to regular people, though this denial resulted in his own Shadow.
  • Literally in Divine Divinity with Kroxy, the orc warrior you need to recruit for the Council. He's the only orc in the game who isn't an enemy. Predictably, you find him locked up by his brethren and awaiting execution for disagreeing with their warlike ways.
  • Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear has a goblin party member, for the first time in the Baldur's Gate series that a goblin has been on your side. (Of course, whether "your side" counts as "heroic" is ultimately up to you.)

    Webcomics 
  • Hawk from City of Reality may count as this: in his original society he was a low-ranking drone in a vast army; on his new team, he is considered special.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars: Dinobot and later Blackarachnia.
  • Exo Squad: Neosapien Marsala. Still loyal to his people, he led the first rebellion but opposed the second, because he doesn't want Neosapiens to become the ones who enslave others.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer, a ghost that helps hunting other ghosts.
  • The Citadel story arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars features a squad of Separatist Battle Droids that have been captured and reprogrammed by the Republic to serve under R2-D2's command as infiltrators for a rescue mission behind enemy lines.
  • As in the example in the film section, in the animated series Fievel's American Tails base on Don Bluth's film, Tyger is a friendly cat that is one of Fievels (a mouse) best friends in a town full of mean cats, this becomes even polemic at some point as Fievel's parents do not fully approve the friendship.
  • Similar to Tyger, the cat Fencer in Foofur is a cat that belong to a gang of stray dogs, and is Foofur's (the eponymous dog protagonist) best friend. Fencer's loyalty is never questioned even when most cats shown in the series are antagonistic, and even when Fencer decides to live among cats he is unable to adapt. Nevertheless the series does show that Fencer is not the only nice cat, as Cleo (Fencer's Love Interest) seems to be too.

Alternative Title(s): Token Enemy Nonhuman

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TokenHeroicOrc