Villainous Crush

The downside to being the Ms. Fanservice is, occasionally, you get the wrong attention from the wrong sources.

Just fear me. Love me. Do as I say, and I shall be your slave.
Jareth the Goblin King to Sarah, Labyrinth

This trope applies whenever a villainous character has romantic and/or sexual feelings for a heroic one.

If this crush takes a turn for the perverse, this can lead to tropes like I Have You Now, My Pretty, Forceful Kiss, Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me, And Now You Must Marry Me, Scarpia Ultimatum, and Go-Go Enslavement, although none of those require a Villainous Crush. Additionally, the villain may become a Stalker with a Crush. If the crush itself is a motivating factor in their Start of Darkness, then it's Love Makes You Evil.

This trope isn't always negative, though. This trope can conversely be a very humanising trait for an Anti-Villain. The heroic character may become a Morality Pet, and can be fairly certain that their villainous admirer will never harm them or allow harm to come to them, barring certain exceptions. They may even step in to protect them from other villains who have fewer compunctions. Taken all the way, it may become Love Redeems.

If the feelings are mutual or an actual relationship develops, then it's Dating Catwoman instead. When this is purely subtextual, see Foe Romance Subtext. The specific variant when the Evil Empress captures the hero to seduce him is Villainesses Want Heroes. Not to be confused with Foe Yay, which are purely audience reactions.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Esdeath of Akame ga Kill! sees the main protagonist Tatsumi as her perfect ideal man and is blindly in love with him. The problem is she is a sadistic Social Darwinist who massacres and tortures people with glee and Tatsumi is a member of a group trying to topple the country she is a leader of.
  • In episode 4 of Sherlock Hound, Professor Moriarty kidnaps Mrs. Hudson to get to Holmes, but she's so kind that he soon develops a serious crush on her himself. When the plan eventually fails, he releases her and promises never to involve her in one of his schemes again.
  • InuYasha:
    • The ENTIRE story wouldn't even exist if the thief Onigumo didn't fall in love with Kikyou, then made a Deal with the Devil that transformed him into none other than Naraku so he could have her...
    • Jakotsu towards InuYasha himself, and Mukotsu towards Kagome.
  • In Sailor Moon, Usagi and Mamoru are practically magnets for this.
    • Usagi attracts the attention of Prince Diamond and Ail/Seijuuro. And because Ail was part of an anime-only filler arc written for S2, both crushes happened in the same season.
    • Queen Beryl, An/Natsumi, Dark Lady (manga only), Fish Eye (anime only), and Nehelenia (anime only) all develope crushes on Mamoru.
  • Vampire Hunter D. Vampire lord Count Magnus Lee desires the human girl Doris Lang, but she only has eyes for the title hero.
  • Everybody's got a crush on Elie in Rave Master — even the psycho Lucia, who stole her first kiss, leaving her in tears.
  • Rido from Vampire Knight was obsessed with his sister Juri and then subsequently with her daughter, Yuuki.
  • In GoLion, Prince Sincline is obsessed with Princess Fala from the first time he sees her. This carries over to Voltron, where they are Prince Lotor and Princess Allura.
  • Outlaw Star: Ron had only ordered Harry to kidnap Melfina, since she's the navigation system of the XGP. Instead, he fell in love with her — by which we mean, went full-blown stalker/yandere; especially when she rejected him. Harry spends the remainder of the series shifting from trying to coax her with heartfelt pleas, to trying to murder Gene for being too close to her.
  • Lupin III: As the series' resident Ms. Fanservice and Femme Fatale, Fujiko's used to people wanting her; including villains.
    • The Columbus Files: Nazalov was only supposed to abduct Fujiko and make her divulge the secret of the Columbus File. But as the film progresses, he becomes increasingly infatuated with her instead, to the point of literally fighting Lupin over her.
    • In Voyage to Danger, it was Todd, who was so taken with her that he was willing to forget both the times she betrayed him, so long as she agreed to be his. By which he meant, as his pet. Naturally, Fujiko wasn't about to let that happen.
    • And in Albatross: Wings of Death, she gets abducted by Professor Lumbach for stealing the plans for his remote nuclear detonator. But while she's in his custody, he takes a romantic interest in her and proposes they get married, since she was having a lover's quarrel with Lupin at the time. She refuses.
    • In Lupin III: Dead or Alive, it's Girl of the Week Oleander who's the target of this, from general Headhunter's Dragon, Crisis. Given that her actual Love Interest was seemingly killed in Headhunter's coup d'état, she's understandably less than thrilled.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Haman Khan seems to have one of these on Judau Ashta, while Glemmy Toto has one on Roux. In each case the "relationship" is deeply messed up and the heroic individual ends up being responsible in some way for their admirer's death.
  • Creed from Black Cat owns this trope. His crazy rampaging crush on Train is so obvious that everyone notices it... except Train.
  • This is what Neil Regan actually feels for Candy White Andree in Candy Candy. Near the end of the series we're briefly fooled into thinking this will lead to Love Redeems... but he tries to pull a Scarpia Ultimatum instead.
    • Also, Neil's sister Elisa has a brief one on Candy's second love interest Terry during the Boarding School arc. He couldn't care less and humiliates her for being mean to Candy.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, Homura retains her feelings for Madoka even after she goes insane. And by "retains" we mean that she literally reshaped the universe for the sole purpose of making Madoka safe and happy. And by "insane" we mean that she wiped everyone's memories and depowered the goddess of hope.
  • Black Butler
    • Aleister Chamber engages in black magic and sells girls as sex slaves. When Ciel was Disguised in Drag Aleister demonstrated attraction towards him. And when Ciel was dressed as usual Aleister still hit on him.
    • In addition to Aleister, another person who rates high on Ciel's No Yay scale is Baron Kelvin, a fat old ugly psycho who fell for Ciel when he was just a child.
  • Tokyo Ghoul
    • Tsukiyama has something for Kaneki that toes the line between romantic and murderous intentions. He wants to eat Kaneki, seeing as how he's a cannibal gourmet ghoul and Kaneki is a rare one eyed ghoul.
    • Rize hunts men she finds attractive and when she first saw Kaneki she released heart marks and blushed at his good looks. She later took him on a date, got close to whisper seductively in his ear "I'm interested in you" before taking a bite from his shoulder.
    • Romo wants to kill Sasaki because she wants him to become the tragic and beautiful Kaneki she adores once again.
  • During the Final Battle in Fushigi Yuugi, Nakago admits to having one of these on Tamahome.

    Comicbooks 

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 
  • Pictured above: Frollo to Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Villain Song "Hellfire" is about his conflict over him lusting after her when she's a gypsy and he's a "righteous" man of the church.
  • Gaston to Belle from Beauty and the Beast, developing from a simple Jerkass Prince Charming Wannabe to a Yandere out to Murder the Hypotenuse and throw her father in the asylum if she won't submit to him.
  • Eris to Sinbad in Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
  • Megamind:
    • The title character towards Roxanne since before the events of the film, as confirmed by the filmmakers' commentary. Neither of them realize until he starts dating her as his alter-ego Bernard and everybody had assumed she and Metroman were an item (turns out they were Just Friends).
    • Hal/Titan, who only wanted to be a superhero to get Roxanne's attention. When she rejects him, he turns into a villain.
  • Maynott for Lucille in A Monster in Paris. It's obvious he's eager to have her as a Trophy Wife.
  • In Strange Magic Roland wants fairy princess Marianne as it would make him king. She nearly fell for it until he cheated on her on their wedding day. Now, he's still pursuing her despite her aversion to him.
    • To a lesser extent, the Bog King is painted as evil and takes pride in his villainous title, and is obviously impressed by Marianne from their first meeting. Unlike with Roland, however, Marianne realizes Bog's feelings are genuine, and ends up returning them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Jareth to Sarah in Labyrinth. Foreshadowed in Sarah's story to Toby at the beginning: "But the Goblin King had fallen in love with the girl..." He sends her into a dreamlike state featuring a Dance of Romance between them, and at the end, he (albeit slightly ambiguously) offers her the chance to stay with him and be loved by him if she gives up her quest.
  • Ming the Merciless seemed pretty hung up on Dale Arden in Flash Gordon.
  • Mr. Barnaby (the Crooked Little Man) for Contrary Mary (or Mary Contrary, in the Disney version) in Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland and the analogous Little Bo-Peep in March Of The Wooden Soldiers, the Laurel and Hardy version.
  • Subverted in The Princess Bride. It appears that Prince Humperdinck is in love with Buttercup, but it turns out that he just wants to marry her so he can arrange for her to be killed and then use her death to justify a war with the scapegoats.
  • Dark Helmet for Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, from what you can tell in the scene where he plays with his action figures.
  • Rippner to Lisa in Red Eye.
  • Joker for Vicki Vale in Batman.
    • While we're at it, the Riddler seems to have a bit of one on Chase Meridian in Batman Forever - when he's not crushing on Bruce Wayne, that is.
  • Blue for Baby Doll in Sucker Punch.
  • Tod to Marge in Mom and Dad Save the World.
  • J.D. in Heathers. After Veronica breaks up with him after he starts murdering other teenagers for fun, J.D. is still very much in love with her.
  • Schindler's List. Nazi Camp Kommandant Amon Goeth has one on Helen Hirsch, his Jewish maid. This leaves him conflicted because he believes her to be inferior to him.
  • Aldrich Killian for Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3.
  • In 12 Years a Slave, slave owner Edwin Epps has one on his slave Patsey. Word of God says he's deeply in love with her but he has an odd and very abusive way of showing it.
  • Cal has one on Rose in Titanic (1997).
  • Ned to Julie in The Next Karate Kid. He punishes her if she rejects his advances.
  • In Cabin by the Lake, Villain Protagonist Stanley seems to develop some sort of odd fixation on his victim Mallory for standing up to him and escaping him once before. There's a Window Love scene with a two-way mirror which she punches when she realizes what he's doing, and when he tries to drown her once again near the end he also starts to lean in for a kiss as she's terrified out of her mind.
  • In the film version of Gone Girl, it's open to interpretation, but the relationship between Nick and Amy could be considered this, as could the relationship between Amy and Desi.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this trope down to a tee. When he first (canonically) falls for Buffy, he's still in total opposition to her and the Scoobies' goals, and yet is blatantly head over heels for her. Buffy's mom asks if she might have lead him on unintentionally, to which Buffy replies that she beats him up a lot. Which for Spike is pretty much the same thing.
  • Unfortunately for Kurt on Glee, David Karofsky, his main homophobic bully, has one on him, and he only finds out when he's given a Forceful Kiss.
    • Yet again to Kurt's misfortune, Season 3 introduces Sebastian Smythe, who is adamant on taking Blaine, Kurt's boyfriend, for himself.
  • On Heroes, even though he'd already taken her power, Sylar appears to have a creepy thing for Claire.
  • On Luther the eponymous detective has to deal with the uncomfortable fact that his closest friend and confidante, and most reliable source of help is Nietzsche Wannabe Manipulative Bastard and thorough psychopath Alice Morgan. That alone would be bad enough, but as many of Alice's lines suggest, she may well have a thing for Luther.
  • There were indications in Season Two that how Lord Zedd felt about Kimberly in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was not just Foe Yay subtext, especially with the episode he tried to make her his queen.
    • A filler episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm suggests comic relief villain Choobo had one on Tori, the only female ranger on that team.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: It's implied that the young psychopath James Gillies is attracted to Detective William Murdoch after the former kisses the latter on the mouth for a full three seconds in "Midnight Train to Kingston." It has been hinted throughout the series that Gillies is gay, and it seems natural that he would be drawn to a handsome, intelligent man like Murdoch. Robert Perry, who was presumably James' boyfriend in an earlier episode, is somewhat similar to the detective in that he was also dark-haired, comely, mild-mannered and smart.
  • Smallville
    • Meteor freaks on Lana. Oh so many times. Even lampshaded once.
    Random student: Lana Lang. How original.
    • Davis Bloome on Chloe in Season 8 although it is later revealed to be part of Brainiac's programming.
    • Sometimes Tess Mercer seems to have one on Clark. It is a lot more explicit in some deleted scenes.
    Tess: You have to stop thinking me as just your boss.
    • And then there was the whole Lex / Lana mess in Seasons 5 & 6.
      • Not to mention his noticable obsession with Kara.
    • Lionel's unrequited crush on Martha which ran for most of the show.
  • Appears to be the case with Michael in Stargate Atlantis. Since Teyla was the only person to treat him nicely during his introductory episode, Michael becomes attached to her and, even after she has betrayed him repeatedly (in his own words), he still hopes he can convince her to come away with him.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Klaus Mikaelson has one on Caroline Forbes.
    • Damon for Elena.
    • Katherine for Stefan and also Matt, although she never does more than talk about how hot he is.
  • Ares has it bad for Xena: Warrior Princess, to the point where his motivation throughout the show is to win her love.
  • Doctor Who: Fans had long speculated about the Unresolved Sexual Tension between the Doctor and his arch-enemy, the Master. Over the years, the writers decided more and more often to have a bit of fun with it, eventually developing the storyline into a narrative full of Foe Yay. It took a couple of decades, but the Master (now a woman) eventually pushed the Doctor up against the nearest wall and got in a nice long proper snog.
  • Grant Ward from Agents Of Shield has a pretty obsessive one on Skye, especially in season 2.
  • Meg from Supernatural has one for Castiel, which is also an Interspecies Romance.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In Ring of Honor, Jimmy Jacobs has it bad for good guy Adam Cole. He's open-mouthed kissed Cole on at least one occasion, and taking this to an unusually meta level, has propositioned Cole for sex on Twitter.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun adventure Harlequin's Back. In the backstory, a Horror fell in love with Queen Thayla and refused to leave her, even though his presence was destroying her land. She eventually decided to leave with him to save her people from destruction.

    Theater 
  • Judge Turpin of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street developed two of these. The first was on Sweeney's wife, Lucy Barker, which ultimately led him to kick off the plot by having Sweeney transported for life, followed by luring her to a masked ball and raping her. The second was on Sweeney and Lucy's daughter Johanna, who he adopted out of remorse for what he did to Lucy but came to desire as more than a daughter as she grew older.
    • Mrs. Lovett has one for Sweeney Todd himself, though they're both more Villain Protagonist than heroes.
  • Jud for Laurey in Oklahoma!, though how much one considers Jud to be a villain is up for debate.
  • Count Gregor for Sophia in Fools.
  • Abigail Williams has one on John Proctor in The Crucible.
  • J.D. and Veronica of Heathers are actually dating for the majority of the show, and are nearly in Unholy Matrimony territory (Veronica being manipulated into participating in J.D.'s murders rather than doing it of her own free will is what stops it from being a straight example of the trope). After Veronica finally gets tired of his shit and dumps him, J.D. still remains very much in love with her, which makes it this trope.

    Videogames 
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser has been shown to have one on Princess Peach in several games, starting with the first Paper Mario. In that game, he frequently hits on her and even writes in his diary (which Peach ends up reading at one point) that he hopes that she'll like him. This trait is inconsistent, though, especially since in games where Peach has a playable role, such as Super Princess Peach and Super Mario 3D World, he has no qualms with attempting to kill her when she aims to foil his plans.
  • Darth Sion of Knights of the Old Republic II developed an interest in the female Exile immediately after seeing her; his crush was so intense, it was threatening his connection to the Dark Side, and therefore his life.
  • Skies of Arcadia: Legends invokes it in the form of Black Comedy, by having Admiral Vigoro attempt to rape Aika in her prison cell, when he first lays eyes on her. Despite being foiled by Vyse and Gilder, he remains persistent and convices himself that he can win her over by defeating Vysenote . You'll have to fight him over her in three separate boss battles (including one ship battle), though he finally relents after being defeated for the third time.
    Vigoro: "You win, Vyse. The strongest man has the right to be with the finest woman."
  • Combined with Les Yay in Shantae. Big Bad Risky keeps oscillating between threatening our heroine and trying to flirt with her.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Kain is jealous of his best friend Cecil for winning the heart of Rosa, the apple of his eye. Does he Murder the Hypotenuse? Thankfully, no. Kain is ultimately accepting of his status as the Unlucky Childhood Friend and hides his feelings for Rosa out of respect for the trio's deep friendship. Unfortunately, Dark Kain does not value his better half's reservations, even going as far as to pull an I Have You Now, My Pretty moment when he captures Rosa in The After Years.
  • Final Fantasy VII: When you have an encounter with the Turks outside of Gongaga on the second continent, you bump into them gossiping like schoolgirls about who likes who. Turns out Rude has a crush on Tifa (which can be exploited to the player's advantage - he holds back against her in boss battles), and Tseng likes Aerith.
  • Final Fantasy X: Seymour Guado has one on Yuna, resulting in a Forceful Kiss. Made squickier by the fact that Yuna shares a voice actress with Seymour's mother.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: It's clearer in the Japanese version, but the Final Boss and overall Bigger Bad, Bhunivelze, has some very suggestive dialogue towards Lightning. When you take into account his possession of Hope, the implication is that he was influenced by Hope's own feelings to be obsessed with her.
  • In Final Fight Revenge, Mad Gears member Poison develops a crush on Cody, and visits him in jail (despite the fact it's her fault he's there because she framed him). Note that this was before the official confirmation that Poison was a post-op transsexual, but it was still rather bizarre (She acts very feminine in this particular game).
  • Fire Emblem Jugdral: Apparently, King Travant had some feelings for Sigurd's younger sister Ethlyn. Too bad she was already Happily Married to Duke Quan. And even worse: Travant later killed them both in the war and took their daughter Altenna into his household so she would use Quan's signature weapon, the Gae Bolg, for him.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Lezard is fascinated by Lenneth and would do anything to get her for himself. The fans don't mind though.
  • In Immortal Souls, the crazy vampire the Black Witch is very much into the hero John, openly flirting with him every time they meet. It's implied the attraction is why she turned him into a vampire, and Isis Corporation also "recruited" John mainly so they could use her attraction to their advantage. John is pretty squicked out by the whole deal (mostly understandably pissed off she turned him), but does take (non-sexual) advantage of the matter sometimes.
  • Ghosts are typically the most common antagonist in Pac-Man but that doesn't stop Pinky from having a crush on Pac.
  • Cia of Hyrule Warriors is driven by her obsession with Link and jealousy towards Zelda for being the one that he'll always save. Most notably, her personal Temple of Souls is essentially a Stalker Shrine covered with portraits and sculptures of various incarnations of Link, with her personal room being completely covered with portraits of him.
  • Eliza of Skull Girls is very keen on the Parasite Samson. Her pre-battle opening dialogue is marked by disdain for his current host Filia and asking him to join her or else. In her story path, she ultimately seals up Filia and Samson with blood to keep Samson alive until she can find another host for him. The feeling is not reciprocated.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon 2: Project Origin has one of the most utterly horrific examples of this trope you'll ever see. Over the course of the second game, Alma winds up falling madly in love with Sergeant Beckett, which is bad because Alma is an Ax-Crazy ghost girl who appears as a stark naked zombie-like corpse, spends most of her free time Mind Raping and liquefying people, and is far too psychologically damaged to fully understand her feelings. You know all those times you have to fend her off in hand-to-hand throughout the game? She's not trying to hurt Beckett, she's trying to rape him. It gets worse in the ending, where he's strapped down to a chair and Alma walks over with this smug "I've finally got you right where I want you" body language and slowly leans in for a kiss...

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ty Lee's one-sided crush on Sokka was an amicable example, since he was flattered by it in "The Drill" episode. Though he later tells her that he was already seeing Suki, in "The Crossroads of Destiny".
  • In the "Super Powers Team" incarnation of Superfriends, Darkseid had a crush on Wonder Woman and constantly tried to make her his bride.
  • One time on The Simpsons Marge got a job at the nuclear plant and Mr. Burns developed a thing for her.
  • A 1935 Merrie Melodies short, "The Little Dutch Plate'', where it is rather creepily subverted.
  • Played for Laughs on WordGirl, with Tobey McCallister's crush on the titular character. She almost always rebuffs him, but there are some cases of legitimate Ship Tease between them.
  • Martian Queen towards Duck Dodgers. Seriously, the woman veers between wanting to destroy him and wanting to marry him.
  • Princess Attea towards Ben in his Inkursian form Bullfrag in Ben 10: Omniverse. To Ben's chagrin, the feeling is mutual as Bullfrag.
  • Agent Bishop is very affectionate towards Karai when he has her captured in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, spending half the episode kicking the asses of Hun and the Turtles, and the other half admiring Karai and going on about how lovely she is.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, Red X flirted with Starfire after pinning her to the wall with one of his gadgets, calling her "cutie" and remarking that the "only crime" between them was that they hadn't gone on a date. (Her only response was to blast him with her starbolts through her eyes.)
  • This happened to Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls twice, the first being Norman/Jeff which turned out to actually be a colony of gnomes that want her to be their queen by marrying all 1,000 of them and the creepy 8 year old Phony Psychic mystery shack rival Gideon (who tends to lean more towards a Stalker with a Crush).
    • Giffany might also count, but Soos did return her affection. That is, until she became a total Yandere.