-> ''"There really aren't that many evil men out there. It's mostly just good men working at cross purposes."''
-->-- ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'', by Ursula Vernon

Near the very [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism idealistic]] end of the many ShadesOfConflict (only GoodVersusGood is more), a setting with White and Grey Morality features no truly ''evil'' characters, but ranges through a spectrum of [[TheCape squeaky-clean heroes]], [[KnightInSourArmor slightly more sarcastic heroes]], [[AntiHero borderline heroes]], {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s, and the occasional AntiVillain at worst. Conflict is generated either through misguided ideals or simple misunderstandings, so there is often an undercurrent of "if only people would sit down and talk to one another, they'd find they're NotSoDifferent after all".

Expect a great deal of [[PetTheDog dog-petting]] and {{Heel Face Turn}}ing, from characters only nominally "heels" to begin with. Someone will likely say SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers at some point.

This does not necessarily imply that there is little conflict or that the conflict is lightweight. Two powerful forces working at cross-purposes can cause an amazing amount of destruction and mayhem even though both of them have good reasons for what they're trying to do.

Contrast BlackAndGrayMorality, where an AntiHero is the best you can expect from the good guys; because TrueArtIsAngsty, though, this trope is a lot less common than that one, at least among works intended for older audiences. If the antagonists only became so due to a negative influence from outside, this may overlap with RousseauWasRight. In that case, the occasional villain may pop up, but they will inevitably be shown to be [[FreudianExcuse a victim of horrible circumstances that shaped them into what they became]] (rather than simply expressing a monstrous nature they always possessed).



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/StellviaOfTheUniverse'' is all about this. There isn't even a single negative character in the series -- even the [[spoiler:aliens]] are good. Or at least, [[spoiler:they expressed regret after slaughtering a Keiti wing almost wholesale]].
* The ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' franchise was like this until ''[[BlackAndWhiteMorality Force]]'' (or not):
** The EvilMatriarch Precia Testarossa, whose villainy defined the original series, was, as Alicia reveals in Fate's HappyPlace sequence in ''A's'', has originally been a very kind and gentle person. But exactly because she was so gentle, [[MadScientist her psyche couldn't handle Alicia's sudden death]] and she "[[BrokenBird broke]]". TheMovie expands her character to be even more of a TragicVillain.
** ''A's'' is ''the'' example of this trope in the franchise. The only entity that can be considered villainous is [[spoiler:a self-defense program of an [[GreatBigBookOfEverything ancient artifact]], which was corrupted long ago under unrevealed circumstances]], while the rest of the cast only attempt to do what they believe would be best for everyone and [[TrueArtIsAngsty angst heavily]] about having to hurt others (''"It was such a small wish..."''). Basically, the Team Nanoha vs. Wolkenritter is a GoodVersusGood conflict.
** ''[=StrikerS=]'' seems to feature a straight-up MadScientist villain with Jail Scaglietti until TheReveal that [[spoiler:he was ''made'' that way by a group of old men who spent their youth fighting to stop a senseless, centuries-long war and were desperately seeking a means to prevent such wars from breaking out in the future]]. There is also the fact that the "Doctor" has a very family-like relationship with his [[RobotGirl Numbers]] and not in a PetTheDog way: even after seeing the error of his (and their own) ways, none of the Numbers turns their back on Scaglietti, continuing to see him as a parent figure.
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'':
** In the anime, while the titular character and his gang are criminals, they wouldn't do anything really heinous, so even at their worst, the crew are {{Anti Villain}}s. Their antagonist, Inspector Zenigata, is a HeroAntagonist, and their relationship can be described as an almost friendly rivalry, rather than confrontation between criminals and law-enforcement. Whenever a serious bad guy comes up, Lupin and Zenigata usually ally against him - though they always resume their antics when the alliance is no longer needed.
** Absolutely ''NOT'' the case in the original manga. In the first ten volumes of the manga and at points in ''World's Most Wanted,'' Lupin was an unapologetic and reprehensible rapist, murderer, kidnapper, and arsonist. The very first volume includes scenes of Lupin raping a woman and murdering a police officer. The anime was of significantly lighter tone.
* ''Anime/TowaNoQuon'': Although the group out to capture awakened children [[spoiler:(dead or alive)]] is a ''very'' dark shade of gray, their ultimate goal is to protect the public. [[EvilPlan For now.]]
* A common theme of Creator/HayaoMiyazaki's movies. [[AntiVillain The antagonists are sympathetic and/or have reasonable motivations]].
* ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'': Ashitaka was very much an AllLovingHero, but both Lady Eboshi and San had valid reasons for their actions. The enemy samurais seemed to be bad, but then, you feel if they had been explained then they too would have fair motivations.
* ''Anime/KidouTenshiAngelicLayer'' and ''Manga/{{Chobits}}'' lack any really evil characters. There are lots of less pleasant individuals, like the cheaters in the former and the outright perverts in the later, but the closest things to villains in the storylines are concerned about victory like the protagonist or are interested in protecting other persocoms from the damage Chi could potentially cause.
* In almost any sports manga/anime, there are no villains. The closest to villains are people who toy with or break the rules to achieve victory, as well as people who treat their friends or companions like crap.
* In ''Manga/{{ARIA}}'', the planet Aqua (formerly known as Mars) is populated by nothing but well-meaning, friendly people--or at least [[CityOfCanals Neo-Venezia]] is. Every time someone seems to act in less than 100% positive manner it generally is only a matter of slight misunderstandings, which mostly get resolved quickly.
* ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'' has no villains either; in the first arc, [[MonsterOfTheWeek the Cards]] are portrayed more as mischievous beings than truly evil troublemakers and are all subject to DefeatMeansFriendship, and in the second arc, the "villain" is quickly hinted (and revealed at the end) to be much more of a TricksterMentor. All the intelligent characters are presented as decent people, which underscores the "HumansAreGood" part of the trope.
* ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya''. There are pretty much no villains, aside from maybe, possibly Asakura Ryouko, and even then she's just a really, really, really far [[WellIntentionedExtremist extremist]]. All forces are genuinely trying to create the world they think is ideal, and only very few seem too extremist for rationality. The Data Entity wants to just "observe"; the Organization wants to maintain the world as it is; the Time Travelers want to keep a StableTimeLoop. Haruhi herself isn't evil, just a {{Jerkass}} who wants a little more excitement, and Kyon just wants his peace. Even [[spoiler:the Anti-SOS Brigade has somewhat stinted yet good intentions: Fujiwara wants to keep his race from being "slaves to time travel", Kuyou Suou just wants to communicate in the first place, Tachibana Kyouko just thinks the world is more ideal under Sasaki's influence, and Sasaki wants to figure out the truth behind ''everything''. Not to mention the fact that it might even ''be'' better for Sasaki to become God.]]
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' seems to like this trope, too, at least for most of the main characters. Save for the few like Dekim Barton, most of the characters desire for justice and peace, even if their ways of achieving it are questionable, as pointed out by Relena Peacecraft. Fortunately, EveryoneLives except Treize Kushranada, who willingly dies by his own choice, and the world achieves true peace as Relena sees it. This way, [[RousseauWasRight Gundam Wing]] is a total opposite to the [[CrapsackWorld Universal Century series]].
* ''Anime/MoribitoGuardianOfTheSpirit'' has a total of two human characters in it whose motivations and methods are presented as unsympathetic, and they're both one-shot. The main conflict is entirely caused by a misunderstanding by the traditionalistic/dogmatic {{anti villain}}s, and the fact that their cause manages to come across as understandable when it involves ''child-killing'' speaks volumes for the tone of the series.
* ''Anime/StarDriver'' is full of this. The Glittering Crux want to use the HumongousMecha LostTechnology to achieve world peace ([[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans by force]], but the force part is only implied and never stated outright.) Many of the Crux deplore loss of civilian life and go out of their way to prepare ways to get the innocent out of the way in the event if a crisis (such as keeping a ''luxury ship large enough to carry the population of a small island'' on hand). The only reason they're at odds with the heroes at all is the "force" part. Both parties are ''fully aware'' of this and even ''act as genuine friends'' when off of the battlefield. There are a total of '''two''' named characters who are portrayed as genuinely bad and unlikeable people in the whole of the series, which stands out for its surprisingly large cast.
* ''Anime/AstroBoy'': While minor human crooks and such may be genuinely evil, the BigBad Dr. Tenma and related characters are just Well Intentioned Extremists. If a robot is portrayed as a villain, it's always due to a misunderstanding. This is in contrast to the rest of Creator/OsamuTezuka's work, where pretty much everyone but the main character is always a [[HumansAreBastards bastard]]. Especially [[ChaoticEvil Rock]].
* A lot of SliceOfLife animes have no villains: ''Manga/{{Sketchbook}}'', ''Anime/LuckyStar'', ''Manga/StrawberryMarshmallow'', ''Anime/CandyBoy'', ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', and others.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''. The characters split fairly cleanly into Idealists (Madoka, Sayaka, Mami, [[spoiler:Nagisa]]) and Pragmatists ([[spoiler:Kyubey]], Kyouko, Homura, Walpurgisnacht and the witches). The latter group are the antagonists, but are often ''[[VillainHasAPoint right]]'' (and in fact, Homura turned out to be [[spoiler:[[DecoyProtagonist the real protagonist of the story]]]]).
** The spinoffs carry this theme, since the new villains are often {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s and the occasional person out for {{Revenge}}.
* ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' qualifies. Even the BigBad is eventually revealed as a particularly ruthless WellIntentionedExtremist. The closest any character comes to "evil" is [[TheDragon Dilandau]], but [[spoiler:s/he turns out to be more BrainwashedAndCrazy than anything else.]]
* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', the majority of the major villains have reasonable and sympathetic motives. The first one is trying to release a monster [[spoiler:so he can defeat it, which is the thing his teacher died doing; he merely wants to prove himself by surpassing her.]] Another notable villain was a slavemaster who spent 8 years building a tower to revive the most dangerous dark wizard in history [[spoiler:because he was brainwashed into thinking it would bring about a Utopia]]. Both of these later pulled a HeelFaceTurn. Some later enemies, like the Oración Seis and Grimoire Heart guilds had guild masters and some members truly in the black morality pitch. However, most of the guild members were given sympathetic backstories and reasons for joining these guilds - like how Ultear's entire "evilness" is because of a misunderstanding in her childhood.
* The closest things ''Anime/ALittleSnowFairySugar'' has to a "villain" would be Joe Crow, who is not so much that as [[{{Jerkass}} just a typical bully]]. Ginger is fairly callous, [[ThoseTwoGuys Basil and Cinnamon]] are rather mischevious, Greta is a rich snob and sees Saga as a rival, but everyone else in the show is usually super-nice to one another.
* In ''Popotan'', the most evil thing anyone ever did (in this case, Keith) was attempt to kill someone [[WellIntentionedExtremist in order to prevent the sisters' secrets from leaking out to the general public]] (which he never tried again after Ai calls him out for it). There was also that ghost girl who puts others to sleep, but also for understandable reasons.
* ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}''. Not counting everyone who drove Mai away in the past, the worst we have are the [[EldritchAbomination Demons]], who, despite their destructive behavior, mainly wanted to show Yuichi said past of Mai's and how they came to be, so that he can send a message to her that her constant battle with them can end as soon as she stops fighting. In general, everyone in the show is mostly good, even though a few of them (such as Makoto and Kuze) are {{Jerkass}}es in some way or another.
* ''Anime/DigimonTamers proves'' that, yes, you can have intense conflict without anyone who is properly "bad." Every BigBad is actually trying to prevent threats to their worlds, and you can see why they consider the other side to be bad news. Even the final GreaterScopeVillain is just [[spoiler:a program acting on its orders; see GoneHorriblyRight]].
** It goes even farther back, actually. In ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02'', almost all of the main antagonists (Ken, Oikawa, Blackwargreymon, even Arukenimon and Mummymon) are revealed to possess sympathetic traits or motives. [[spoiler:Most, in fact, turn out to be pawns of the true BigBad, Myotismon, who is a straight-up CardCarryingVillain.]]
* LightNovel/MomoKyunSword features a battle between the Celestial Maidens and the Oni Clan. While the Maidens are on the side of good and their main ally Momoko is the heroine, the Oni Clan is shown to not really be evil but a clan trying to restore their former glory and their main face comes in the form of Onihime, a young oni girl who while strong a strong rival to Momoko is closer to her friend then enemy. Even the oni king is shown to be a pretty cool guy.
* Part 7 of Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure is founded on this. While people like Gyro and Lucy are good people (Johnny eventually comes around as well, though he's much grayer than most heroes), none of the main villains are really ''evil'', per se. Diego wants to win because it's his job, and to fulfill his dream of being wealthy to avenge his mother. Funny Valentine, on the other hand [[spoiler:wants the parts because he feels that they are too dangerous for anyone else, and he wants to use them to further the gain of his country and make his citizens lives better.]] When the main villain is a guy that ''Jesus Christ '''himself''' '' approves of, you know this trope is in full effect.
* ''Anime/LittleWitchAcademia'' goes this way as well. Virtually no character is truly evil or even a complete Jerkass. Doesn't make it any less fun. [[spoiler:Even Croix, the BigBad, winds up undergoing a HeelFaceTurn by the end.]]
* In ''LightNovel/DestructionFlagOtome'' there are no genuinely bad people, at least among characters who actually appear. The closest thing to a 'villain' is a teenager who wants revenge on people who killed his mother, [[spoiler:but only because a ghost is telling him to do it. The ghost itself wasn't a particularly bad guy either, just some dude who was trying to save his family but was killed for knowing too much.]]

* In Season 9 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Drusilla returns, sane, and seeming to have pulled a genuine HeelFaceTurn. So just what is she up to these days? She encountered a demon that feeds on trauma (the reason she is so well), trained it to work only in that regard, and sets up a shelter for those who have been traumatized, willing to have the demon feed on them so the pain they feel goes away if they ask for it. Angel sees the whole thing as an abomination and MindRape, believing people must suffer for what's happened to them and that if they did not feel bad about (in his case, Angelus) there's no reason not to make amends. Faith, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a problem with it since the people are going willingly. After Angel kills the demon, Drusilla goes back to being a vicious Slayer-killing psychotic.
* Most ComicBook/XMen stories where the antagonists are humans or government forces. Barring genocidal maniacs like [[SinisterMinister Reverend Styker]], in most cases their motive is simply the belief that mutants should be accounted for in some way.
* ComicBook/GastonLagaffe. Gaston wants to sleep, have fun, protect the environment, etc., and the people around him want him to get his work done and obey traffic laws. If Gaston thought his actions through at all, there wouldn't be any problems, but of course he doesn't.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity,'' as a whole, runs on this as part of its optimistic reconstruction of UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks. While there are villains and monsters and evildoers, their motives are frequently due to their own [[WellIntentionedExtremist good intentions,]] and they are ultimately defeated by the optimistic heroes regardless. Many a villain has pulled a HeelFaceTurn after realizing how pointless and self-destructive their current paths are.

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* ''Fanfic/TheRiseOfDarthVulcan'': [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic The Mane 6]] vs. Darth Vulcan. Darth Vulcan is undoubtedly a criminal, but underneath he's just a Jerkass who obtained the power of the [[ArtifactOfDoom Alicorn Amulet]], and proves to be a NobleDemon, not killing anypony, keeping one's word, and keeping his Mooks well fed. The fact that he is the VillainProtagonist allows the reader to see things from his perspective. The Mane 6 are clearly defending their town from a dangerous criminal, and actually want to save Vulcan from a dangerous power that may be controlling him, but their mistakes are due to being out of their depth when dealing with someone like him.
* In ''FanFic/TheBridge'', most of the heroines and heroes are fairly selfless, kind, and noble; though some aren't always soft. The villainous forces they are fighting however have their morality all over the spectrum. While some like Legion and King Sombra are undoubtedly evil, there are others. Aria Blaze and Sonata Dusk are not above MindControl and causing HatePlague, but do earnestly care for their group somewhat. On an even more gray example, a group of four sympathetic villains working for the BigBad all have [[VillainousFriendship very]] [[NobleDemon redeeming]] [[BrokenBird qualities]] and goals one might expect a hero to ask for.
* ''FanFic/ChristmasWithACorduroy'': Wendy, a free-spirited teenage girl, vs Lynda Pines, a nasty, overprotective parent.
* ''FanFic/BadFutureCrusaders'' notably had next to no outright evil characters, with even malicious characters like Lightning Dust and The Princess having reasonable and even benevolent (if a bit extreme) intents behind their actions, and tons of {{Mook}}s being shown to be entirely decent folk who are JustFollowingOrders. [[spoiler:The only two debatably evil characters are Merrilay, a psychotic nihilist, and Twilight Sparkle, the BigBad herself, and even ''they'' are examples of a TragicVillain and a FallenHero respectively.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Creator/{{Pixar}}:
** ''WesternAnimation/WallE'', absolutely. The villain of the film was [[spoiler:a robot that was [[PunchClockVillain doing exactly what it was programmed to do]] by programmers who themselves just had incomplete information]], and all the humans soon fell head over heels in love with the world as soon as they were jerked out of their reverie and take responsibility to work to undo their ancestors' mistakes.
** ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'': Dr. Sherman took Nemo because he mistakenly believed he would not be able to survive on his own with a deformed fin, and Darla is a "fish-killer" because she is a child who doesn't know any better. The other antagonists of the film are simply mindless predators. It's worth noting that both ''Finding Nemo'' and ''WALL•E'' were directed by Andrew Stanton.
** The original ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''. Sid is a bit of a JerkAss, but he's mostly just a boy who likes playing in an unorthodox way with his toys. Unfortunately, [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality the protagonists are]] LivingToys. In ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'', Al is also a JerkAss but otherwise is just a bit of a slob. He steals Woody as well, but considering it got him a deal with a museum that could have gotten him hundreds of thousands of dollars, it's hard to not understand why. And in Al's defense, he ''did'' try to buy Woody legitimately. Note that this trope is averted in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' with [[UngratefulBastard Lotso]].
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' might fit for the "[[BearsAreBadNews vicious animals]] are TrueNeutral" rule. Even if it's one hell of an AnimalNemesis. [[spoiler:Which used to be human.]]
** ''WesternAnimation/MonstersUniversity'', as many a college film, is this instead of the BlackAndWhiteMorality of the original. The two protagonists (flawed people themselves) are only trying to prove their value in front of both the DeanBitterman who expelled them from their major, and the JerkJock posse [[OpposingSportsTeam with whom they are competing]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanVsTheElite'': Superman is definitely a good guy, but the Elite, rather than bad guys, are at worst anti-heroes; they do display actually heroic intentions, and hurting Black's team-mates typically is his BerserkButton. In addition, while the film does end on the side of Superman, his black and white views of the world are heavily questioned not just by the Elite, but Lois and the ordinary citizens who suffer every time a villain Superman has spared [[JokerImmunity escapes and kills more people]]. Neither solution is perfect, but White is considered the better choice in the end.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', the main conflict is between Manolo and Xibalba. While the former is unambiguously good, the latter is not truly evil, just lonely. Chakal is the only true villain in the movie, and he gets little screen time.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLandBeforeTime'': The antagonist, Sharptooth, is just acting on its predatory instincts, whereas Littlefoot and his friends are unambiguously good.
* ''WesternAnimation/ParaNorman'' is this as well with the villains only being a scared little girl and a judge who was scared and did what he did cause he thought it had to be done for the greater good.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'' - although Roy Neary's wife and kids might not agree about the film having no villains given their distress resulting from his possession. The [=ETs=] originally come across as if they're auditioning for ''Film/TheExorcist'', scaring Gillian half to death and then ''abducting her infant son'', although he wanted to go, and they do return him later.
* ''Film/ForbiddenPlanet''. Morbius: it implies that even the worst people have good intentions.
* ''Film/ETTheExtraTerrestrial'': E.T., the kids, and later, Keys are in the white, and want to help the alien "phone home". Almost every authority figure other than Keys is in the gray because [[spoiler:they do not want to harm E.T. in any way, but they aren't above bringing out their guns when he and the kids escape]].
* Basically everyone in ''Film/TheTerminal'' has good intentions, [[ToBeLawfulOrGood the conflict stems from Viktor Navorski's pragmatic goodness versus Frank Dixon's adherence to the rules]].
* ''Film/{{Avatar}}''. The Na'Vi are just minding their own business, and the humans just want the planet's resources to ensure their own survival - but unfortunately the diplomacy isn't working. ([[GeneralRipper Quaritch]] [[ArmiesAreEvil and his troops]] are not considered among the Gray, though)
* ''Film/TigerBay'' has a SympatheticMurderer (possibly an [[AccidentalMurder Accidental Murderer]]) being pursued by a SympatheticInspectorAntagonist.
* ''Film/FallingDown'': The movie has an increasingly violent man angry at the world, vs. a cop with his own issues and who can deal with them maturely. There are [[BlackAndGreyMorality some real villains]] in the Latino gangbangers and the Neo-Nazi store owner, but they're secondary characters and aren't part of the film's main conflict between Foster and Prendergast.
* ''Film/ThirteenDays'': Kenny, Bobby and JFK are the most traditional heroes, being inspiring if pragmatic figures. The Soviets don't want a war to start either, but like the Americans find themselves forced into an escalating crisis which they can't stop by themselves. The greys are the [[WarHawk military hardliners]], but even they are {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s who believe they're doing the right thing.
-->'''Ambassador Dobrynin:''' [To RFK] You are a good man. Your brother is a good man. I assure you, [[NotSoDifferent there are other good men]]. Let us hope the will of good men is enough to stop the terrible strength of this thing that was put in motion.
* In ''Film/WarCraft2016'', with the obvious exception of the BigBad Gul'dan, all major orc characters are shown to have some redeemable qualities, and it's made rather clear they are invading Azeroth because their own world is dying, making their motivations sympathetic. Meanwhile, humans are overall portrayed as unambiguously good and just defending themselves against the Horde's assaults.
* ''Film/TheRock'' starts like this. On one side we have marines and FBI chemist who try to save the hostages and prevent a terrorist form killing thousands. Opposing them is NobleDemon WellIntentionedExtremist who wants his men to be honored as they deserve and their families supported and tries to avoid casualties as much as possible. [[spoiler:Later turns into TheGoodTheBadAndTheEvil situation when Hummel's group gets divided and some of them want to launch the missiles for real, when Hummel was just bluffing.]]

* Many Creator/TomClancy novels feature something like this, especially those which deal with full-scale war, like ''Literature/RedStormRising''. Usually, the deal is that good, patriotic souls from different countries will struggle with each other because of the actions of one or two people (usually politicians) who are motivated by pride, fear, or ignorance. Although some villains might be delusional beyond reckoning, ForTheEvulz types are exceedingly rare.
* A lot of Creator/OrsonScottCard's writing, particularly in ''[[Literature/EndersGame Ender's Saga]]'', deals with the idea that no-one is really evil, and it's all a matter of perspective. Usually. For instance, the Formics are discovered to have attacked humanity because [[spoiler:they have a HiveMind and didn't know each human was individually sentient]]. On the other end, the Descoladores of the later books are either seeking outright planetary conquest or are [[StarfishAliens just too alien to comprehend]]. And the BigBad of the ''Literature/EndersShadow'' spinoffs, Achilles, is most definitely evil.
* James White's ''Literature/SectorGeneral'' space hospital series, a deliberate attempt to write ScienceFiction with both tension and a murder deficit. Any aliens who may be trying to kill you have just been misinformed. Subverted with the [[spoiler:Etlan Empire]], who appear to be kind, compassionate people but are in fact deliberately spreading plagues among their own people to raise money for a fraudulent charity appeal. Even then, the ordinary people clearly ''are'' as nice as they seem to be (even if they [[FantasticRacism don't trust aliens]]), and it is only the government who are corrupt - and the story of how what had started out as a genuine charity appeal degenerated first into inefficiency, then misappropriation of funds, and then outright persecution, is all too believable. Considering how many bizarre and alarming-looking alien species have turned out to be just misunderstood, it is [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters striking]] that White made his first real villains [[spoiler:HumanAliens]].
* Creator/IsaacAsimov tended to be this way. He also had no real villains in his books. Asimov and Creator/KurtVonnegut were much alike. In the ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series, the psycho-historians behind the GambitRoulette believe every conflict in human history comes from people not understanding each other. This is no GutFeeling: they have human reactions and brain chemistry [[ScienceMarchesOn down to an exact science]].
* ''Literature/TheMasterAndMargarita'' had this exchange:
-->'''Pontius Pilate:''' And now tell me: why do you always use the expression "good people"? What, do you call everyone that?
-->'''[[UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} Yeshua ha-Nazri]]:''' Yes, everyone. There are no evil people in the world.
* Every character in Creator/BrandonSanderson's works is revealed to have "good" (or at least sympathetic) motivations for their actions, though he does include a handful of genuine villains for contrast. Perhaps the most spectacular example is the [[EvilOverlord Lord Ruler]] of ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'', who in life is portrayed as pure evil [[spoiler:but is gradually revealed after death to be a very human figure who basically had unlimited power dropped in his lap and did the best he could with it while it slowly [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity drove him mad]].]] One of the major themes running throughout all of Sanderson's novels is that "evil" is usually a ''lot'' more complicated than people realize.
* The majority of books written by Creator/TimothyZahn don't have many evil people at all. He doesn't really set up along the good guys and the bad guys. The Empire is not all bad. The New Republic is not all good. Other people have their own allegiances. Plenty of antagonists on any side are doing what they think will be best in the long run. He does have some actually unambiguous villains, but most of them at least have solid reasoning behind what they're doing. No one ever wakes up and decides to be evil.
** In the ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' Duology, after all the bad blood Supreme Commander Pellaeon signed a [[PeaceConference peace treaty]] with President Gavrisom.
** Zahn's non-''StarWars'' fiction tends to have a lot of this as well; ''Literature/TheConquerorsTrilogy'' in particular features a galactic war caused by essentially a misunderstanding. The humans' standard "greet the unknown aliens" transmission is sent via radio, which causes varying degrees of pain for the non-human side of a FirstContact scenario, and thus the aliens understandably interpret the greeting as an unprovoked attack. There are at least four, possibly more, distinct factions involved, none of whom act unjustifiably throughout the course of the brief but intense war that follows.
* ''Literature/TheVampireDiaries'' veers between this and GreyAndGreyMorality. Countless times, characters are introduced and seem [[ObviouslyEvil just so mean]] but often turn out to have genuine motives behind their actions.
* Most of Edgar Pangborn's antagonists are misguided rather than evil, but that doesn't prevent them occasionally causing horrific tragedies. Example: ''Tiger Boy'', in which the semi-[[WildChild wild]] title character and a friend he meets are killed due to the belief that he is a demon.
* The ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' is at different places on the morality scale DependingOnTheWriter.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' certainly ''does'' feature many an irredeemable villain -- and some [[BlackAndWhiteMorality truly, deeply unambiguous conflicts]]-- but it's also at constant pains to point out that this trope is in play ''most'' of the time. In fact, the first part of the series (with the Manticore/Haven war) really only has five or so really evil characters, right at the top of the enemy food chain. The [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters many dozens]] of other Havenite enemies given names and faces all tend toward MyCountryRightOrWrong at worst.
* Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin's work tends to feature this; in fifty years of publishing, only one of her stories (''The Word for World Is Forest'') features any character she described as "purely evil"
* {{Played with}} in the novel ''Literature/MiracleMonday'', where {{Superman}} faced TheDevil's agent on Earth. While the demon ''was'' truly evil (we get to read his thoughts to confirm it) Superman himself holds this belief, and it's ''because'' of it that he ultimately wins.
* Four Literature/SherlockHolmes stories involve this: "A Scandal In Bohemia", "The Man with the Twisted Lip", "The Noble Bachelor", and "The Yellow Face". In each case, it is revealed that there is [[spoiler:[[NoAntagonist no villain]], and the apparent victim turns out to be the morally gray character.]]
* In ''Literature/DoctorZhivago'', most of the characters are treated sympathetically in one way or another, even the ones who come closest to being "villains": Komarovsky has some PetTheDog moments in spite of all his manipulative seediness, and the two main communist characters, Strelnikov and Liberius, are portrayed as {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s swept up in the fervor of the Revolution rather than malicious murderers.
* In ''TheMirrorCrackdFromSideToSide'' by Creator/AgathaChristie, both the victim and the murderer are sympathetic, but both have fatal flaws that collectively bring about the tragedy. [[spoiler:Heather failed to recognize how her actions would destroy Marina's happiness, and Marina poisoned her in a fit of rage without thinking.]]
* D. D. Webb, the author of ''Literature/TheGodsAreBastards'', has repeatedly expressed their dislike for totally evil characters (or, worse, [[UnfortunateImplications totally evil races]]) in fantasy fiction, which is why the Bastardverse doesn't have any.
* Rosemary Sutcliff's ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'' portrays the main antagonists, the tribesmen of the North, in a sympathetic light. This is lampshaded in a conversation between the heroes while staying at the tribesmen's camp.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]

%%* ''Series/{{Kingdom}}''
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' veers between this and GreyAndGreyMorality. Countless times, characters are introduced and seem to be mean but often turn out to have genuine motives behind their actions.
** Anna seemed to be a sinister vampire using Jeremy for her own ends - until we found out about her mother, and her BecomingTheMask.
** Damon seemed to just be trying to make his brother's life a living hell, and then his history with Katherine was revealed, and his gestures of humanity to Elena.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'':
** Most of the antagonistic politicians wanted what was best--they just had different opinions of what was "best" for America. At worst, they tended toward [[StrawmanPolitical stupid corruption, greed, and tendency to stretch the truth]]. There were actual evil people like the WesternTerrorists, but they mostly stayed off-screen and seldom lasted long.
** Even corrupt characters often had redeeming qualities. Russel, for instance, is probably the morally second-worst person on the show who isn't one of those briefly appearing or off-screen terrorists mentioned above, but even he won't let the president bomb the wrong country on the mistaken belief that they'd developed atomic bombs of their own in ''The Warfare of Genghis Khan'' and is disgusted at hearing on the news about a woman in Turkey being executed for adultery in ''King Corn''. The worst non-terrorist character is Robert Ritchie, who even goes so far as to not seem to feel any sympathy when he hears about a secret service agent being killed in the line of duty ("crime...boy, I don't know"). Aside from some terrorists and homophobic activists, Ritchie's the only complete villain on the show. Even the Christian right are portrayed as low and mean, but not pure evil.
** For a discrete moment of RousseauWasRight, see the end of "Evidence of Things Not Seen": [[spoiler:[[ItMakesSenseInContext the egg stands]] [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming on its end.]]]]
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'' starts out as BlackAndWhiteMorality, but as it has continued its run, it has drifted ever closer to White and Grey Morality, giving even its most monstrous characters sympathetic backstories that give them {{Freudian Excuse}}s or sympathetic motivations, and giving CharacterDevelopment to at least one of them that results in her becoming vastly more sympathetic. Now we have many villains who are tragic and heroes that are flawed.
* ''Series/EngineSentaiGoOnger'' has the Gaiark, who, while they are the antagonists and at first may resemble your typical evil empire or something of the sort, are actually intent on polluting the earth to create a place for their world's inhabitants to live, away from the dictator Yogoshimacritein. In the end, the two remaining ministers [[spoiler:sacrifice themselves to save the other Go-Ongers and stop Yogoshimacritein]]. So while it was a horrible way of doing things, they had their mechanical hearts in the right place.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'': The conflict between Dr Cox and Dr Kelso was initially depicted as straight good versus evil, but as Kelso became a more sympathetic character it evolved into a battle between Dr Cox's compassion for the individual patients, and Kelso's cold but pragmatic [[TheNeedsOfTheMany "greater good"]] approach, e.g. giving a spot on an experimental treatment to a rich man rather than a poor one in order to get a donation to fund prenatal care for low-income women.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** Most of the five series heavily favored this trope. The show tended not to have very many truly evil people and the ones that seemed to be would get fleshed out or retconned later to be more sympathetic. Typically most people could be reasoned with and almost everybody was just looking out for their own if they weren't motivated by nobler intentions. ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' skews furthest from this trope with the Federation becoming a bit greyer and the Dominion being darker than is typical of the other series.
** The ''Next Generation''-era Ferengi were universally motivated by greed, embodying the worst of crony-capitalism on a show that tended to favor capitalist utopias. ''Deep Space Nine'', despite being overall darker, pulled the Ferengi into the gray range, even introducing a number of social reforms during their run and having the Alpha Quadrant be saved by a Ferengi.
* The Brazilian fantasy drama ''Series/DeusSalveORei'' revolves around two kingdoms, Montemor and Artena, being at odds with each other after decades of cooperation. Both are ruled by benevolent and good monarchs at the start of the story, and they want what is best for their own kingdoms and neighbors, but a series of events beyond circumstances puts them in conflict to each other.
* ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' cycles through antagonists a lot, and while there are plenty of outright evil characters there are just as many who just have differing ideals and even come to agree with the heroes under the right circumstances. Of course, since ''Gaim'' was helmed by Creator/GenUrobuchi (see ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' above), this should come as no surprise. In any event, TheHero Kouta Kazuraba is always the "White" because he's an idealist and the HopeBringer.
** Takatora Kureshima (Armored Rider Zangetsu) comes off as villainous at first (not in the least because he's the head of the MegaCorp that dominates Zawame City), but eventually it's revealed that he's doing his best to save humanity from an oncoming disaster. Unfortunately it looks like he can only save one billion people at best, so he's prepared for that outcome but is far from happy about it. When Kouta [[TakeAThirdOption discovers a potential way to save everyone]], Takatora gladly joins forces with him on the spot. Too bad he almost immediately gets backstabbed by his inner circle...
** Roshuo, leader of the Overlords, is the king of the dead civilization that was the last subject of [[AlienKudzu Helheim Forest]]'s "test". He's not villainous at all, just heartbroken over the loss of his people and especially his beloved queen, and does nothing to rein in the other Overlords who run rampant over Earth. Roshuo holds onto the [[MacGuffin Golden Fruit]] in order to bring his queen back, but when [[spoiler:DJ Sagara]] calls him out on not giving humanity a fair chance he actually listens. [[spoiler:When he dies, he's [[TogetherInDeath reunited with his wife]] and wishes for humanity to succeed where he failed.]]
** [[spoiler:Mitsuzane Kureshima starts off the series as Kouta's friend and the two are practically brothers; however, Micchy [[LoveMakesYouCrazy goes off the deep end over his crush on Mai]], and decides that he has to kill Kouta. A lot of this is the result of him being manipulated and used by more villainous characters, and even after Kouta finds out he remains convinced that Micchy is a good person deep down and can be redeemed. After Kouta [[HeroicSacrifice gives his life]] (he gets better) to save Micchy from a DeadlyUpgrade, it starts his path to redemption, which is completed in the show's final episode.]]
** Even the final conflict of the series comes down to [[spoiler:Kouta fighting his [[TheRival rival]] and on-and-off ally Kaito Kumon, Armored Rider Baron. Despite them having essentially the same goal, their methods of achieving that goal are completely incompatible: they both want to change the world for the better, but Kaito wants to tear it all down and start over while Kouta thinks the world can be changed without having to go that far.]]

* Dave Mason's "We Just Disagree."
-->''There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys. / There's only you and me and we just disagree.''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Until recent editions, this was the case between the [[GoodIsOldFashioned naive, but swiftly learning Tau Emptire]] and the [[ShootTheDog jaded, hardened Imperium of Man]] from ''[[{{Tabletopgame/Warhammer40000}} Warhammer 40,000]]''. However, the optimistic and idealistic the alien Tau were found by, at least by some members of the fanbase, to be too [[WhiteAndGreyMorality idealistic and utopian]] to fit [[CrapsackWorld into the setting]][[note]]This might be an opinion about 5 or 10 years in the making[[/note]]. The Tau have since been "[[GreyAndGreyMorality greywashed]]", and while they do fit the setting's equivalent of the TheFederation, some recent fluff has stated that they may use concentration camps and "re-education" policies on worlds where the Imperium's xenophobic policies are too ingrained. The relationship between the Tau and the Imperium are further complicated by practices of {{Realpolitik}} and outright alliance by certain planets, though the official position is that the Tau must be exterminated someday.

* An important theme in ''Theater/LadyWindermeresFan''. The woman whom the titular character thought to be irredeemably wicked makes an enormous self-sacrifice for her, forcing her to re-evaluate her worldview. Although evil is a subject discussed numerous times, especially by Lord and Lady Windermere, there turn out to be no wicked characters in the play.
* A number of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's comedies, such as ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'', ''Theatre/LovesLaboursLost'', ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'', ''Theatre/AllsWellThatEndsWell'' and ''Theatre/TheMerryWivesOfWindsor'' involve this. The antagonist, [[NoAntagonist if any]], is an AntiVillain or IneffectualSympatheticVillain.

* Franchise/SylvanianFamilies is generally this trope. Everybody is nice, except the two fox families; the Slydales and the Renards, who like playing pranks on people. If there's any antagonist who does anything more extreme than playing with matches or spraining your ankle, it's probably them playing a harmless trick on somebody.

* VideoGame/BioShock:
** In one of the many endings for ''VideoGame/BioShock2'', the child you have been taking care of grows up to realize that there is no "evil", only "pain." This is the [[EarnYourHappyEnding nicest possible ending]], discussing how your PlayerCharacter strove to protect innocent children caught up in the carnage of [[CrapsaccharineWorld Rapture]], but always forgave and spared those who wronged you in the past or got in your way in the present. Following your example, she saves the last of the children and in the end, forgives her mother for all the terrible things she did to her, telling you that not only can she and the little girls you save live happily now, but they opened the door for her mother to do so as well.
** The [[WasOnceAMan Splicers]]. They're desperately addicted to ADAM, which is basically [[FantasticDrug Fantastic Steroids]], and are usually desperately seeking it. They also have largely joined the so-called [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill Rapture Family]] just to find a way to better their livelihoods -- at this stage, they've pretty much hit rock-bottom anyway so they've nothing else to lose. [[HeroOfAnotherStory Mark Meltzer]] admits flat out that if their leader hadn't had his daughter kidnapped, [[TragicVillain he'd feel sorry for them]].
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' reveals that most of the villains were actually good people whose plan to make the world a better place did [[GoneHorriblyWrong horribly go wrong]]. Most events of the series were actually the villains' attempts to use whatever means neccessary to correct their mistakes.
* ''Franchise/MegaMan'':
** Used tragically in ''VideoGame/MegaManZero''. In the midst of this rebellion, barring the psychopaths (Copy X, Elipzo, Omega, and Weil), no one on either side is truly evil. The Zero series has some of the most sympathetic antagonists (Harpuia being #1) in the whole franchise.
** Even Copy X and Elpizo are simply {{Well Intentioned Extremist}}s, fighting for a goal (protect humans and reploids respectively). Sure, their methods would result in mass death of the other but it's far more sympathetic than Omega (AxCrazy BloodKnight [[TheBerserker Berserker]]) and Weil ([[ItsAllAboutMe Egomaniacal]] CardCarryingVillain).
** Even Weil himself had justifiable intention at the start; given that reploids (especially Mavericks, be they virus-infected or politically-charged) were responsible to many tragedies in history, he was not pleased when the solution to that was to give the reploids anti-virus program (Cyber-Elves) and call it even. His methods to enforce the notion that reploids are by default dangerous if not controlled resulted in the cataclysmic Elf Wars, and the punishment he got for that drove him more and more unhinged.
** In MegaManX4, X and Zero are unquestionably good guys who want to maintain the peace between humans and reploids, but who are both [[ReluctantWarrior willing to fight if necessary]], while General and Colonel are just misguided [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned extremists]] who want to gain their independence from the human world. Of course, they tend to resort to fighting before trying to reason.
* ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire]]'' fits pretty neatly here. All the villains are sympathetic and well-intentioned, and realize the error of their ways in the end. One of the villains, Archie, is [[AffablyEvil incredibly friendly]] even before his HeelFaceTurn, friendlier than even some rivals.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' makes it clear from beginning to end that both sides ultimately want to accomplish the same goal, removing the Score's hold on the world. They just have very different methods on doing so.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfXillia'' falls into this too, with ''all'' the antagonists being either a WellIntentionedExtremist or AntiVillain. Even the worst of them either have [[HeelRealisation Heel Realisations]] or AlasPoorVillain moments, and none of them have zero redeeming qualities.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' [[spoiler:Anyone doing bad things is just proven to be manipulated by a sort of cross between a crazy computer system and GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere.]] The guy seen as the BigBad is actually just misguided rather than truly evil and the hero even forgives him at the end, though he refuses to forgive himself. Another recurring antagonist is a sympathetic character forgiven by the heroes and even comforted by them after his defeat. The two warring nations are shown to be full of mostly good people and make peace. Even the leader of the evil empire is actually on your side for the most part. The entire theme of the game in fact seems to be that the goodness of humanity can triumph even in a CrapsackWorld. The only truely evil character in the game is an artificial human made by the BigBad.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' series:
** There are many {{Designated Villain}}s who are unilaterally revealed to be GoodAllAlong by the time the game ends - in most cases, your character [[DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu has a tea party]] with the FinalBoss following their defeat. BadPowersBadPeople is averted. The only things in the series that could be considered evil at all are the Saigyou Ayakashi, more popularly known as the Cherry Tree of Doom, from Perfect Cherry Blossom (it hypnotizes people into languishing to death under its leaves, and then eats their souls), and the final boss of ''Subterranean Animism'', who flat-out threatens to [[ILoveNuclearPower nuke]] all of [[FantasyKitchenSink Gensokyo]] and even then the latter turns out to be under the influence of a temporary but bad case of [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity power induced crazy]] on top of being much, ''much'' more [[TheDitz stupid]] than evil.
** Downplayed in ''Legacy of Lunatic Kingom'' in which the villains are way more in the darker side. You have the Lunarians attempting to kill humans so as to make a place for them to live while Junko, the game's FinalBoss is attempting to launch a full scale genocide against the Lunarians in her revenge. While the Lunarians are justifiably running away from death, Junko readily gives up her plan upon meeting the player, though this is due to [[PragmaticVillain realizing she would lose if they were to fight]] and in the Extra Stage, she readily puts an end to her own plans... until she can figure out how to destroy Lunarians without interference from the heroes. She is among the really evil characters in the franchise, though she at least has a sympathetic reason, namely, her son was killed by a Lunarian Goddess.
* Unusually for an AlienInvasion game, ''VideoGame/JeffWaynesWarOfTheWorlds'' has a case of white vs grey. The humans are fighting for their home and way of life, and the martians are only fighting because ''their'' home and way of life is dying. This does, however, lead to some rather nasty FridgeLogic in that whichever race you play as, you are dooming the other to extinction.
* ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' generally holds to this in its modern installments with the exceptions of [[TheHedonist Dong Zhuo]], [[BloodKnight Lu Bu]], and [[BlueBlood Yuan Shao]]. Every one of the major factions is comprised of largely sympathetic people attempting to end the chaotic wars of the terminal years of the Han Dynasty and produce a better future for the greater good of all. However, they disagree, frequently in very lethal ways, about what sort of future it should be and how it should be achieved.
* In ''VideoGame/DungeonSiegeIII'', just about every major villain [[spoiler:up to and including the BigBad]] is a [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned extremist]] or has a FreudianExcuse.
* ''VideoGame/DissidiaFinalFantasy'' and its prequel ''Dissidia 012'' at first tell your typical OrderVersusChaos story with the BigBad Chaos summoning some of the most sinister villains of ''Final Fantasy'' to battle their heroes serving the BigGood Cosmos. However, the backstory reveals the conflict to be this trope. [[spoiler:Chaos is a literal DesignatedVillain, as he and Cosmos ''agreed'' to war with each other as part of a pact with Cid and Shinryu, and ''Chaos'' was the one hesitant to participate at first. As for Chaos's forces, they variably have no interest in the war, are fighting for personal reasons, are BrainwashedAndCrazy, or are {{Anti Villain}}s who try to help the heroes win. The only villains who are totally and umambiguously evil are The Emperor, Ultimecia, Kefka and Exdeath, but of them, Ultimecia has a FreudianExcuse, Kefka has the AlternateCharacterInterpretation that he's [[EvilCannotComprehendGood too insane to know any better]], and Exdeath is a MadeOfEvil EldritchAbomination that simply [[ItsWhatIDo does what he does]].]]
* Despite having a dark entity known as Sulphur, ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'' certainly fit into this. Most characters, at worst, act like {{Jerkass}}es who [[UngratefulBastard cheat off]] [[NiceGirl Marona]] [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer and treat her as trash]]. Some of who have selfish motivations does have a particular reason of being so. For example, Walnut, a KillSteal bounty hunter, have a mindset of caring about money [[spoiler:because he is trying to fund medicine for his [[IllGirl sick little sister]]]]. And some who fell into the path of darkness is mostly due to [[TragicHero tragic circumstances]], such as [[DarkIsNotEvil Sprout]], who lost his family to Sulphur. Regardless, everyone is EasilyForgiven by Marona and those who were treating her like trash [[spoiler:came to realize she's the only hope of defeating Sulphur and realize her [[AllLovingHero kindhearted nature]], [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming started treating her an actual human being, and rally to aid her]]]]. In the end, Marona's "treat everyone with kindness" favors her.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' turns out to work this way. The RandomEncounters are just scared, and can all be placated non-lethally. Toriel just wants you to stay in the Ruins where you're safe, and tries her hardest to ''avoid'' killing you in her boss fight. Papyrus really does want to capture you to facilitate his long-delayed entry to the Royal Guard, but he's just too kind-hearted to follow through (which, incidentally, is why his entry to the Royal Guard ''is'' being delayed). Undyne refuses to accept your mercy, because she is either righteously angry over the monsters you've killed or simply determined to take your SOUL so the barrier can be destroyed, but even she can be made to relent. Mettaton genuinely does want to kill you, but only to ''prevent'' the barrier from being shattered, since step 2 in that plan has always been "destroy humanity", and if you overcome him, he decides you're strong enough to prevent it yourself. And Asgore, the creator of that plan, [[spoiler:did it in a fit of grief and ''very obviously'' doesn't want to go through with it now that his head is clearer]]. Even Flowey turns out to be a JerkassWoobie who is only an asshole [[spoiler:because he died long ago, CameBackWrong, and now literally has no SOUL. When he briefly regains one in the GoldenEnding, he shatters the barrier himself and apologizes for everything he did]]. The only unambiguously ''bad'' character is [[spoiler:The Fallen Child]], and even that's not completely certain, since it is implied in the GoldenEnding that they wanted to help the monsters of the Underground, but, through a FreudianExcuse, went about it in a less than merciful way, and it's only ''your'' action in a No Mercy route that drives them to become the GreaterScopeVillain and irredeemably evil.
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'': The Skellige succession crisis. [[WarriorPrince Hjalmar]] and [[WomenAreWiser Cerys]] are both exceptional candidates for the throne of Skellige and the island kingdom prospers under the rule of either, but in the event that neither are helped by Geralt, [[MommasBoy Svanrige]] becomes king through the manipulations of his scheming mother... and he turns out to actually be a decent king himself who ends up uniting the islands, though through considerable force and ruthlessness.
* ''VideoGame/ChroniclesOfTsufanubra'' features some genuinely morally depraved characters, but only in the backstory. Everyone in the present-day conflict is either doing what they think is best in light of what those earlier characters did, or is being manipulated.

* Creator/UrsulaVernon, creator of ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'', has complained that she can't seem to come up with a real villain, since all of them have reasons for what they are doing and believe that they're doing the right thing. Some of them admittedly think it's the right thing because ''they're'' doing it, yes, or that the ends will justify the means, but no one so far is truly evil. Well, no one except [[spoiler:[[BigBad Sweetgrass Voice]].]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'' forgoes villains in favor of lots of geek-tickling tech-talk. Even the {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s tend to be simply narrow-minded and incompetent, rather than willfully malevolent. It's just that they're not smart enough to figure out that AIs have become sentient, and still think that they're just products. It doesn't help that some of the AIs agree.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'':
** One of the things the comic is known for lacking "proper" villains; Coyote is more of a general {{Trickster}}, and Ysengrin is simply insane. And Reynardine is... [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation who knows]]? Tom Siddell confirms this in [[http://www.wizarduniverse.com/082008wcotw.html an interview:]] "There are no outright evil characters, for example, just situations in which a character might act in a way perceived to be evil."
** [[spoiler:Jack was just some variant of [[GoMadFromTheRevelation gone nuts from the whole Zimmyham experience]] or [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity high on his new creepy powers]]. He got better, though.]]
* ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'' has no real villains. The BigBad is a WellIntentionedExtremist who actively avoids civilian casualties and even the Venusian Mafia is mostly just selfish.
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' has no one who does things ForTheEvulz. Save one bad egg[[note]]and even he had been convinced he was a deific saviour and the world needed him[[/note]], there are no really evil characters in the comic; all of them so far have either been misguided or acting off their own sense of what's right rather being downright evil.
* Everyone in ''Webcomic/BrokenTelephone'' is doing what they believe will be best for the greater good. Even the hired assassin, who's there to kill a terrorist.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The overall moral scheme of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', as each of the main antagonists [[VillainHasAPoint has a legitimate point]] and are overall [[WellIntentionedExtremist genuinely well intentioned]], if ruthless about their methods, as well as [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes other]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards human]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds traits]]. One episode has Toph advising Korra to learn from her enemies; as they have good points, they just lack balance. The exceptions are Unalaq, [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Hou-Ting]] and [[EldritchAbomination Vaatu]].
* This used to apply to most American Animated TV series, mainly because the MoralGuardians forced them to. Ironically, [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman non-human villains were allowed to be truly evil- and often destroyed]].
* The first season of ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends''. There were no supervillains (with the possible exception of the Raven, who put Superman on trial), just {{Anti Villain}}s who were all doing the utterly wrong thing for what they felt were the right reasons. In the end, they always Saw the Light, Repented for their Wickedness, and never even went to jail.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': On the "white" side, Phineas and Ferb are short on flaws, as are many of their friends. On the "gray" side, While Candace is often the antagonist, she's neither evil nor truly spiteful - only impulsive and a bit high-strung, and has shown on occasion that she genuinely cares for her brothers. Buford is a card-carrying bully, but is a JerkWithAHeartOfGold who is clearly friends with his "victims". Even the BigBad Doofenshmirtz is quite AffablyEvil, [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes loves his daughter dearly]], and is an absurdly FriendlyEnemy to Perry. His attempts to take over the ENTIRE! TRI-STATE! AREA! come across as more pretending to be evil to get attention than the evil acts of a power-mad lunatic. Suzy Johnson appeared to be a straight {{Jerkass}} in her first appearance, but later episodes revealed that she's a sweet girl whenever Jeremy's not around. The only really unpleasant recurring characters are Doofenshmitz's parents in his tales of his HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood.
* Unsurprisingly present in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** Moments after the climax of the second episode, the goddess of darkness, who is effectively the BigBad of the ponies' entire mythology, runs crying into a hug with her sister and counterpart day goddess. Who [[EasilyForgiven instantly forgives her]]. Indeed, the worst villains in the first season were Gilda from "Griffon the Brush-Off" and the Great and Powerful Trixie from "Boast Busters", who were both realistic {{Jerkass}}es rather than deliberately kid-friendly villains, neither of which learned their lessons in their respective episodes. This changed with the season 2 premiere "The Return of Harmony", which featured as its antagonist Discord, a [[TricksterArchetype trouble-making]] RealityWarper with [[ForTheEvulz a cruel sense of humor]]. [[note]] But even Discord may be an example of this trope, if you interpret his behavior as BlueAndOrangeMorality. He eventually got [[HeelFaceTurn reformed]] in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E11KeepCalmAndFlutterOn Keep Calm and Flutter On]]". [[/note]] Some of the show's conflicts even border on GoodVersusGood, like the Dragon from Dragonshy, who was [[spoiler:just trying to sleep until Dash kicked him in the face]]. Averted by the phenomenally dark [[EvilOverlord King Sombra]], and [[SatanicArchetype Lord Tirek]].
** The episode "[[MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E7Bats Bats!]]" from the same show sets up a conflict between Applejack and Fluttershy. Applejack is the grey morality, wanting to exterminate and/or drive off vampire fruit bats from her farm because it will destroy her crop and her livelihood. Fluttershy is the white morality, wanting to create a reserve on the farm for the fruit bats, arguing that the seeds the bats drop will eventually produce stronger, better apple trees. Applejack initially wins the argument, but events swing it back around to Fluttershy's side anyways.
* WesternAnimation/KimPossible has the recurring villain Senor Senior Senior. He had (quite likely) built his fortune legitimately: he turns to evil as a hobby (subverting EvilIsNotAToy), seeing how closely he can mirror a classic BigBad complete with setting up death traps for the heroes to escape from. In one episode, Sr. Senior Sr.'s fortune is stolen by a swindler, and he tries to get it back by robbing businesses owned by the person who scammed him: meanwhile, Kim attempts to stop him. She is stopped by his son who turns him in, and Kim settles for Senior earning his money back through the reward money that he'll gain for his capture.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'': 80% of the time, Finn and Jake's enemies are less evil and more morally challenged, ObliviouslyEvil or just simple jerks. The Ice King and Lemongrab are good examples of this: the former is [[TheSociopath a sociopath]] who [[DirtyOldMan has an obsession with kidnapping princesses]], however it's out of loneliness and his Jerkass moments come from not realising the social impact (due to an incredibly tragic backstory). The latter is a crazy ControlFreak who [[DisproportionateRetribution puts people in dungeons for little reason]], but it's because he was born [[GoneHorriblyWrong utterly nuts]] instead of being a cruel person. Even [[EldritchAbomination Marceline's Dad]], who's basically ''the Devil'', is semi AffablyEvil and [[EvenEvilHasLovedOnes loves his daughter]]. There are exceptions who [[VileVillainSaccharineShow definitely stand out]], but they're few and far between.
* While ''WesternAnimation/IronManArmoredAdventures'' has its share of villains, the large majority of its antagonists are either various Types of [[AntiVillain Anti-Villains]] (including two of the {{Big Bad}}s) or {{Punch Clock Villain}}s.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MoralOrel'' Orel is a genuinely good kid with IncorruptiblePurePureness. While Moralton has many horrible people (including his own parents), lots of them are sympathetic, most of whom have their own FreudianExcuse. His parents both [[GenerationXerox had issues with their own parents]]. While Miss Censordoll is pretty awful, she has one of her own [[spoiler:(it's hard not to feel bad for her when you learn her mother removed her reproductive system)]]. Reverend Putty is a bit cynical and jaded, but he has his own PetTheDog moments in regards to Orel and [[spoiler:his daughter]] Stephanie. Joe's a brat who bullies Orel and beats up kissing boys but [[spoiler:he's afraid of growing old and didn't know his own mother]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone'' generally portrays things this way narrative wise. While Zordrak is as evil as they get, he is usually too petty and ineffectual to do anything himself, and his Urpney army mostly consist of [[MinionWithAnFInEvil sympathetic minions]] JustFollowingOrders. The Land of Dreams is generally portrayed as a SugarBowl (though their occasional fondness for [[DisproportionateRetribution Disportionate ]]/{{Misplaced Retribution}} may lean them more as ALighterShadeOfGrey).
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Skywhales}}'' the alien tribe just want to have enough to eat and the skywhales are just animals driven by instinct.
* ''WesternAnimation/LegendsOfChima'': On one end you've got the Lions whom are the paragons of good and keep the other tribes in line by distributing Chi, and the Eagles and Gorillas whom are kindly scholars and spiritualists but are quick to ally with the Lions. On the other end you've got the Crocs whom are lead by a prince being manipulated by his sister, the Ravens who are master con men, and the Wolves who are savage and will seize power if deemed necessary. The other tribes fall somewhere in between.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' is stated to be this by the creators, with the heroes generally being [[DysfunctionJunction flawed]] but very moral overall, and the villains generally being either AntiVillains with clear reasoning for their actions, [[WellIntentionedExtremist extremists]] who are opposed because of their methods, or [[TragicMonster unable to control their actions]]. Well, except [[HateSink Kevin and Marty]]; they are jerks.