Token Heroic Orc
aka: Token Enemy Non Human
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
There are many reasons for this.
- Defector from Decadence: He can't abide the evil ways of his people. Often the result of Klingon Scientists Get No Respect.
- Mook Rebel: Sometimes, if his race are mook-slaves for the Big Bad, he may have rebelled and joined the opposition to fight his former evil master and free his people.
- Raised by Humans: The heroes are closer to him than to the rest of his race.
- Former enemy: His race used to be the enemy, but has now become neutral or friendly with humans, so having him join the heroes' crew shows that things have changed, and the two races are getting along now.
- Defeated enemy: His race stops being villainous because they lost. At best now his nation is a Vestigial Empire; at worst he's the Last of His Kind.
- Enemy Mine: He shares a common enemy with the heroes, in some cases a rival faction of his own race.
- Assimilation victims: Someone who was assimilated but later saved, now has free will again but doesn't get restored to his original form.*
- Following the Leader: He's personally loyal to his (human or otherwise not of the mook-race) master who goes through a Heel Face Turn.
- Rogue Drone: He's a member of an evil Hive Mind who developed an independent personality that happened not to be evil.
See also Monster Allies
and Pet Monstrosity
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Anime & Manga
- Greed of Fullmetal Alchemist is introduced as a much more sympathetic character than the other hommunculi and already a Defector from Decadence. He ultimately joins the heroes to fight against them.
- 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 participate in invasion on Earth. Later, after his Heel Face Turn Heroic Sacrifice he was restored by Arma to his original form. While fighting Primevals along heroes, he has few times to tell them he is no longer Pizza and Gai correcting himself after calling him "Pizza" has almost become a Running Gag.
- Gurren Lagann had Viral 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).
- Somewhat subverted 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- Andromeda 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.
- Stargate SG-1: Teal'c of the Jaffa race rebels against the Goa'uld and joins the SGC in the first episode.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation has Worf, a Klingon (the primary antagonists from The Original Series), raised by humans and the Enterprise's head of security. Captain Kirk would be shocked. 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 first season, when his people became the Big Bad.
- Likewise, Dr Bashir is one of the few Augmented Humans in the franchise without any psychological or mental problems, a common side-effect amongst individuals who have undergone extensive genetic modification.
- 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.
- 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, 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 the classic Paranoia adventure Orcbusters, when the player characters get to the fantasy RPG dimension, there is exactly one orc.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 1 (where most of them were criminals, pirates or agents of Saren).
- 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.
- 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.
- The central conflict in Gunnerkrigg Court was initially presented as a cold war between the humans of the Court and the animals and magic creatures of Gillitie Wood. Except that a number of creatures are also allied with the Court as well. Some of them, such as the Suicide Fairies and at least one fish, had to become humans in order to leave the Forest for the Court. Others, such as Shadow 2, Lindsey the Merostomatozon, and Marcia the Dryad, are still in their non-human form. Jones may count as well—no one's quite sure what she is.
- 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.
- Dinobot from Beast Wars. He starts out as Predacon, but joins the Maximals right in the first episode. At first, it was more out desire to get revenge on Megatron, but he becomes more heroic as the story goes on.