Main Nominal Hero Discussion

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09:17:19 PM May 26th 2015
Would Severus Snape from Harry Potter count? It says in the page description that relationships (especially if it's only about one specific person) can be a motivator for a less selfish Nominal Hero. Snape fits that pretty well: he's obsessed with avenging Lily's death, but he doesn't really give a fuck about anyone else, and he treats most people like shit.
12:14:11 PM Oct 18th 2012
edited by lu127

Web Comics

  • Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance. Any time he does something good in the series, Pete Abrams is always careful to give him a completely selfish reason (usually either that the good guys bribed him, or that the villain happened to piss him off). Very rarely, it's implied that he does something solely because he cares about a member of the main cast. This is ... rare.
  • The Light Warriors in 8-Bit Theater, except Fighter, are Designated Heroes who only own the distinction of being protagonists due to showing up at the recruiting station at the right time. In-story and by Word of God, they are far worse than any of the monsters they end up facing. The worst of the lot are Black Mage (a pure Villain Protagonist who wants to deliver the world to Chaos) and Thief (a Jerk Ass Miser Advisor who's only in it to screw over as many people as possible). Red Mage is an amoral Munchkin who's in it for the XP but will happily commit atrocities toward that end. Fighter, on the other hand, is an Idiot Hero who is only going along because he thinks they're actually on the side of good.
  • The only difference between Axel and the villains he fights is that the villains want to destroy all of humanity at once while Axel would prefer to do it one person at a time.
  • It was expected in the Ciem Webcomic Series that as Candi grew up to embrace her role as Ciem, Miriam would be always right by her side. However, Erin's senseless murder by the Soorfelt brothers and the destruction of parts of the girls' hometown left Miriam as an amoral drifter through life, who indulged in all sorts of forbidden pleasures trying to test her limits. As a hacker, she's gained notoriety for pulling pranks on countless random targets who didn't deserve to be pranked. (Though she only actually steals from actual villains.) Steve Mc Laine shows up and reforms her; but she still shows signs of bitter and anti-social tendencies. Her motives are mostly selfish, even when saving the world with Candi's help. It is debatable if becoming a mother truly and completely turned her away from the things that made her the family's Black Sheep.
    • Some people like to give their work that extra personal touch.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf of The Order of the Stick is a poster-boy for Sociopathic Hero, of the no actual redeeming qualities version. Roy openly admits that the main reason they keep him around is because they can direct his violence towards the bad guys. Interestingly, he's gotten some Character Development, which has mainly served to move him from Chaotic Stupid/Stupid Evil to plain old Chaotic Evil. One outcome of this arc was to give him an actual Morality Pet of sorts, his Right-Hand Cat, Mr. Scruffy.
    • There are some wrong points. Roy says that because he is being judged to enter Lawful Good Heaven. He makes it up in the moment, it's not something he had already thought of. Besides, Belkar doesn't get any true Character Development: he starts feigning it after what may or may not be a ghost appearance from Lord Shojo (and has already been rewarded for it).
      • Even if Belkar rationalized it that way in the moment, he has at least been less overtly hostile toward his teammates. As for Roy's statement about keeping Belkar around, although the deva handling his case didn't buy it as a deliberate stratagem on Roy's part, the Heavenly projections showed it to be nonetheless correct. So long as Belkar sees value in having the Order of the Stick on his side, they keep his more destructive tendencies somewhat in check.
    • Although Vaarsuvius is nominally a Type IV, s/he may have strayed into Type V territory during the Soul Splice Arc, where s/he makes a deal with some fiends for ultimate arcane power, and commits one of the greatest evil acts in recent history when s/he kills 1/4 of the Black Dragon population, which is made even more heinous when you find out s'he was not drunk on the dark side; this was something s/he wanted to do. And because his/her family divorced him/her for the faustian deal, the only thing keeping him/her out of Type V after losing to Xykon is the advice of her familiar, Blackwing, providing Vaarsuvius with a much needed conscience, as well as keeping him/her from being destroyed by guilt.
      • Vaarsuvius also murdered Kubota while he was tied up and completely unarmed in a disturbingly calm and matter-of-fact way. S/he then freely admitted that s/he only did it (despite having no idea what was going on) because it seemed like the Genre Savvy thing to do.
  • In Rusty and Co., the Princess smokes, wears revealing clothes, is greedy, loves a wight, and has no qualm at all beating up a bunch of mind-controlled innocent bystanders.

Web Original

Western Animation

12:13:41 PM Oct 18th 2012
edited by lu127

Live-Action TV

  • Tony Soprano is a con artist, a thug, a womanizer, a thief, a murderer, an extortionist, and an adulterer - and yet somehow it's nearly impossible not to sympathize with him. The only things separating him from a Villain Protagonist are his genuine love for his family, kindness to his friends, and occasional pangs of guilt and moments of vulnerability. Oh, and the fact that his friends (and enemies) are even worse than he is.
  • Dexter Morgan is at the far, dark end of this to the point where he could fairly be considered simply a likeable Villain Protagonist, being a Serial Killer who is moral clever enough to restrict his victims to other evildoers.
    • Which, ultimately, just makes him a vigilante rather than much of a serial killer. Though that cuts both ways.
  • Walter White of Breaking Bad, in addition to being a Type III Anti-Villain. He works his way down the sliding scale as the show progresses, until he becomes a definite Type V by the fourth season. What keeps him from being a pure villain is the fact that many of the drug dealers he faces, including Tuco and Gus, are much worse than him. In the fifth season, however, he becomes a full-blown Villain Protagonist.
  • The eponymous biker gang of Sons of Anarchy with the possible exceptions of Jax and Opie who are more Type IV and the definite exceptions of Clay and Gemma who are outright Villain Protgonists, especially in Season 4
  • J.R. Ewing of Dallas could probably be best categorized as this, although he has moments of being both Type IV and just a plain villain.
  • Bernard Black of Black Books.
  • Reese, Francis, and Lois from Malcolm in the Middle.
  • Malcolm Tucker of The Thick of It is a Type V for the most part, treading a fine line and occasionally crossing it during his more Villain Protagonist moments.
  • Edmund Blackadder in his first, second and fourth itierations (although the fourth one could be a Type IV at better moments, being the best of the lot). The third Blackadder is more of an outright Villain Protagonist.
  • Nucky Thompson of Boardwalk Empire, initially, though after his murder of Jimmy Darmody, he jumps solidly to Villain Protagonist territory.
  • Tony Stonem from Skins, at least in the first season.
  • Guerrero of Human Target.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He later transitions to a Type IV.
  • George Sr., GOB, and especially Lucille from Arrested Development all fit here. They are clearly self-centered, show general apathy towards the lower class, and often attempt to maintain their power within the family.
    • Lindsay is either this or a strong Type IV. She's generally self-centered and shallow as well, though she also has her Pet the Dog moments, due to her low self-esteem.
  • Ankh from Kamen Rider OOO. He's only helping Eiji against the other Greeed because it's in his own best interests, and has no qualms about who is hurt so long as he gets what he wants. Gradually becomes Type II in the end.
  • Jade from Victorious.
  • Although in most adaptations and in the original books Sherlock Holmes is, if not a straight hero, at least closer to the top of the Anti-Hero scale, in the 2010 BBC modernization Sherlock is a self-proclaimed Sociopath although he prefaces that moniker with "High-Functioning" as opposed to "Heroic." In fact, in a conversation with Dr. Watson, Sherlock says, "Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist, and if they did, I wouldn't be one of them," showing not only that his motivations are not those of a typical straight hero, but also that he has a very cynical worldview.
  • Father Jack Hackett in Father Ted is a violent, selfish, perverted alcoholic and flashbacks suggest he was once a bullying fire and brimstone preacher and a paedophile. The only thing keeping him from being a villain protagonist is that his alcoholism usually renders him to docile to harm anyone. And sometimes it does the exact opposite.
  • After joining the crew of Moya, Farscape's Scorpius generally straddles the line between Type V and Anti-Villain, possibly rising as high as Type IV Anti-Hero at his best. As always, he's ruthless, calculating and cold-hearted, but he's also fiercely dedicated to protecting Crichton- which usually means that he's also prepared to protect the other members of the crew just to keep the defences stable.
  • Child prostitute Annie in Copper is either this or a Type II Anti-Villain.

Professional Wrestling


  • Pink from The Wall by Pink Floyd, though it's subverted. The whole point of the album seems to be about his achieving of redemption.
  • Eminem's alter ego, Slim Shady, sits pretty solidly here, occasionally shifting to Villain Protagonist territory.

Tabletop Games

  • Voiree Misallo from 8 Bit Gamers moves from Type V to IV to avoid going to hell after a religious experience and a genetic examination revealing her to be born with a semi-sociopathic defect. But the decision mostly has to do with wanting to avoid hell, keep her boyfriend and stay a True Companion with the crew she's joined.

Video Games

  • Kratos, of God of War - to the point that, particularly after the first game, many consider him an outright Villain Protagonist, even worse than the people (or gods) he's trying to kill.
  • Caim from Drakengard is this in the first game.
    • The only thing that made him "heroic" in the first place was the fact that he was fighting against an evil empire that was even worse. Once they're defeated, he defaults back to RIP AND TEAR.
  • Any given player character from the Grand Theft Auto series, though starting with San Andreas some have had Type IV tendencies.
  • Alex Mercer from [PROTOTYPE]. Or at least Blacklight-Mercer. Real Alex was a Complete Monster.
    • Arguably, Alex starts to drift into Type IV by the end, considering he expresses fury and honest regret over having to kill so many Marines to get to Taggart, but it was the only way to stop Manhattan from being nuked. He also very nearly gave up his own life to save Manhattan. In spite of that, though, Alex still won't be completely leaving this territory anytime soon, if ever.
      • Goes to full villain in Prototype2, and dies as such
  • Jack from Mass Effect 2 has always no redeeming qualities. Having been kidnapped as a child to test genetic modifications that enhance her biotic abilities by a human extremist groups, she's as messed up as one would expect. After escaping the research facility in her early teens by slaughtering the guards with her powers, her life became one long crime spree until she ended up in a freezer on one of the galaxies most high security prison stations in outer space, where someone was paying a fortune to keep her locked up. After freed, her first suggestion is to forget about the whole mission she was recruited for and instead use their state of the art stealth warship to become pirates.
    • She gets interesting character development in the third game, where she has taken up a legitimate job as a teacher in a school for teens and young adults with biotic powers to help them not ending up on a wrong track because of their superhuman powers. She still curses like a sailor and yells at everyone half the time, but still seems to be very popular with the students.
    • Zaeed Massani is a ruthless revenge obsessed merc on Commander Shepard's team. During his loyalty mission, he burns a refinery to the ground while callously disregarding the innocent lives trapped inside just to get revenge on another merc who screwed him over 20 years prior.
  • Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness although he maybe a Type III by the end. Etna, on the other hand, could fall into this category. She becomes a type IV after she regains her memories. In her Alternate Continuity extra mode, this plot point does not occur until the end, keeping her as a Type V throughout (or even a Villain Protagonist).
  • Cole from inFAMOUS if you decide to make him go the evil way.
    • To list just some of the things he does: He pumps extra mind control tar into the water system so he doesn't get some in his eyes, he randomly slaughters innocents for the fun of it (if you do it the right way), he lets himself get taken over by the insane woman that made the mind control tar in the first place and does whatever she tells him to willingly, he starts a riot next to some cops so they'll ignore him and focus on the rioters, he steals all the food in a food drop for three people (himself included), he activates the stupid thing that started the entire mess again, killing untold amounts of people for a little over a thousand XP, and, worst of all, he completely ignores the lesson Future Him gives him about the fact that a monster WAY stronger than him is coming so that he can turn the sky red and play around the city being a ruler boy.
  • Kain of the Legacy of Kain series may be the Scion of Balance destined to restore the Pillars and stop Nosgoth's downward spiral into a Crapsack World, but do not mistake him for a nice guy. For starters, he is literally a megalomaniacal Sociopathic Hero, and enjoys killing anyone who gets in the way of his goals. He also doesn't have much of a problem with snacking on helpless prisoners. His intentions are pure, in the end, but his methods are pretty much indistinguishable from those of your average villain.
  • Any character in a game with a Karma Meter will usually be a Type V if played as a straight "evil" character, considering that most of them will have Moral Event Horizon-crossing and Kick the Dog choices which will inevitably lead you to Complete Monster status.
  • In the first three Fallout games an evil player character could be seen as this, since you have the freedom to blow of civilian’s heads with absolutely zero provocation, enslave children and nuke entire cities. However, this is somewhat moderated by the main story pitting you against complete monsters who want to wipe out the vast majority of the remaining human race. With New Vegas Caesar’s Legion gives player the option of falling of the scale into full Villain protagonist territory as the bring the region under the grip of a nation of Complete Monsters who endorse rape, slavery, child molestation and murder for public entertainment.
    • If the player listens to Caesar when invited to his camp, he states the reason why his tribe embodies the fullest extent of the Roman Empire was because of the failing of the NCR in emulating Western Civilization. That his tribe is only as vicious as the wasteland itself. It is also explained that Caesar plans to create Vegas as a capital for the wasteland, and given how traders are more protected in Legion territory and Raiders are non existent it's easy to see why some players would choose a Legionary playthrough.
    • The Legion may protect caravans but the domestic situation they enforce is just as nightmarish as the wasteland. They flatout allow their soldiers to rape women (both Jimmy and Siri, a slave at his fort support this) and though he tries to hide it Caesar loves violence for its own sake. If you refuse to work for him Caesar will threaten to have you cut to pieces for his enjoyment and will scold you for lacking sadism if you try to relase Benny. He also sacked New Cannan, a peaceful community that was trying to help the Wasteland purely to get back at Joshua Graham. He also only wants to take over Vegas to change the Legion's structure from nomands to a centralized empire, and never expresses any desire to improve their morality, something wich his bloodthirst only supports.
  • Demitri Maximoff from Darkstalkers. He only confronts Planet Eater Pyron and Dark Messiah Jedah because they are a threat to his plans in conquering the Makai, and treats everyone who aren't his servants with great disdain. His counterpart rival, Morrigan Aensland, shows more heroic tendencies than him, and she is a Type IV.
  • Although by default Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series is a Level II if not Level III in Metal Gear Solid, it is heavily implied in the same game that he either came very close to crossing the boundary into Level V or was already in that territory in the present; Meryl, Psycho Mantis, and Liquid say that he enjoys combat and killing, with the second character telling him that he's far worse than Liquid, and by extension, himself, are. Mantis wanted to kill everyone he could, and that Liquid intended to invoke a warrior's paradise.
  • Reaver from Fable II and III dances on the line between this and being a Complete Monster. He attempts to double cross the hero at least twice and only helps the hero because the Big Bad proceeds to double cross him when Reaver attempts to turn the hero over to him.
  • Travis Touchdown is this in the first No More Heroes. The only thing that makes him any kind of hero is that the rest of the assassins are sociopaths. In the second, character development made him better.
  • Maleficent becomes one in Kingdom Hearts II, in that she's still evil and not "good" in any sense of the word, but is allied with the heroes in a common goal.
  • Grom Hellscream and Illidan of Warcraft: the first is an amoral Blood Knight and the other is a subject obsessed with demonic power.
  • Wario from the Super Mario Bros. series is willing to take on Evil Overlords and the like, but only if there's treasure at the end of the road. Otherwise, he couldn't care less.
  • Rouge and Omega, Shadow's alleged "friends" from Sonic the Hedgehog, are this when they are at their worst. However, in some games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), they are probably closer to Type IV.
  • Caleb from the Blood series spends the entirety of both games killing everything that moves. The only reason he's the good guy is that, excluding a few mimes and other innocents, everything that moves is part of the world-spanning Cabal.
  • Cipher from Ace Combat Zero on the Mercenary path. As opposed to Soldier, on this path he's willing to take out anything not specifically on his side, be it enemy combatants, disabled enemy units, or even civilians on occasion.
  • Kokonoe from BlazBlue skirts on this and Type 3. She has a few soft spots here and there, but REALLY has no problems in nuking a whole city just so she can claim the frag of Terumi's head... never mind thousands and thousands of innocents who will die along the way.
  • The King of Fighters main character Iori Yagami (introduced in 1995 as the rival of Kyo Kusanagi) plays this role for his series. A loner and a very angry and consumed character, he lives to see the defeat of Kyo and won't stop until that happens. He does do genuinely heroic things (even teaming up with Kyo when the situation warrants it) but only so that he can resume thirsting for Kyo's blood. He has no friends and has attacked his own team members in the past (be it willingly or unwillingly when his Orochi blood goes out of control).
    • Ash Crimson even more so. His first debut seemingly put him straight in Villain Protagonist as while he's considered the protagonist, his crafty but smug disposition as well as his actions to take over some of the Sacred Treasures for his own gain seems to genuinely make him an enemy of the other heroes. It wasn't until XIII that it's revealed that he's planning to use that to stop the ultimate Big Bad, his ancestor Saiki, from his plan, effectively creating a Ret Gone for himself.
  • Alphonse Lohrer in Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis
  • Agent 47 of the Hitman series. For the most part, his targets are scumbags, but he'll strangle the life out of anyone just to make some money.

12:10:34 PM Oct 18th 2012
edited by lu127
Examples moved from the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes here, as that page is too big to acommodate them. Too many Zero Context Examples are here, so they need to explain how the character fits the trope before they can be added.


Anime and Manga

  • Token Evil Teammate Diethard and Rolo of Code Geass.
  • Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z slowly becomes this (and more slowly bypasses this), first starting out as the Big Bad of the Saiyan arc who had committed serial genocide while working for Frieza. Then as a Villain Protagonist seeking to overthrow his former master in the Namek arc. Then as an antihero who helps defend the planet, but only for his own selfish reasons in the Cell and Buu arcs. At the very end of the Buu arc he may have transitioned to a Type III. Noble Demon Bardock is another example.
  • Mello from Death Note. He is solely dedicated to being the one to stop Kira and is more than willing to become a mob boss, kidnap innocent girls, and in the manga, even threaten the President to sabotage his rival so said rival can't catch Kira.
    • Near is initially just as bad, but (particularly in a bonus chapter taking place after the story) starts to develop more toward L's Type IV territory. He's thoroughly sympathetic in L: change the WorLd.
  • Alucard of Hellsing.
  • Guts of Berserk during his phase as the vengeance-obsessed Black Swordsman was very much this. An utterly ruthless warrior who cared about nothing except killing demons, and would not lift a finger to help innocents caught in the crossfire, considering them small fry without the strength to truly live — and in many cases, he could be seen as even more horrifying than the Apostles that he was driven to kill. Only after finding Casca again has he been able to move out of this territory into Type III-IV, though he still has to deal with a particularly nasty Enemy Within that represents who he used to be.
    • Also Griffith prior to the Eclipse.
  • Revy, Dutch and Roberta of Black Lagoon.
  • Mugen of Samurai Champloo is a Blood Knight who will frequently abandon his companions in the name of pursuing a good fight, and cares little for his promise to Fuu, instead trying to fulfill his promise to kill his rival, Jin. That said, he goes through a lot of Character Development by the end. Enough so that he honors his companions as true friends.
  • Hibari Ginza of Speed Grapher. Chaotic, ruthless, selfish and very dedicated to her job as a cop.
  • Kanta from Desert Punk. He has no real redeeming moral qualities and doesn't care about anything except money, boobs and staying alive. However, much of his work ends up being vaguely heroic because of the jobs he's assigned tend to be things like "Take out this gang terrorizing our town." By the end of the series he crosses the Moral Event Horizon and does a Face–Heel Turn.
    • Kanta has elements of a Type I as well, being a short, ugly little perv who is hated by everyone.
      • Other characters in the series also qualify. Junko is Kanta's (physically) attractive female counterpart and is equally amoral and only not a villain because her job is taking out people who tend to be worse and like Kanta, she ultimately pulls a Face–Heel Turn. Rainspider is a heartless enforcer for loan sharks and implied deviant who has a tendency to abandon his teammates when battles are stacked against them. However, he's hilarious, and always follows his fleeing by a Big Damn Heroes moment at the right time. He's kind of more likable than Kanta, if no morally better.
  • Noir: the title characters (or at least Mireille) start off like this. Also, it's open to interpretation but in Noir the position seems to be an attempt by the Soldats to intentionally create type V anti heroes.
  • The main character of Afro Samurai (in the Anime) is something of a tragic example of this; he is not without some humanity in him, but ends up burying it in his all-consuming pursuit of vengeance and adherence to his brutal code of honor.
    • It's actually questionable if Afro counts for even that much, or if he's just a full-out Villain Protagonist. Most Type V anti-heroes are distinguished from villains by the fact that they're marginally better than those they fight. Afro's goals are, effectively, identical to those that he fights, and a strong argument could be made that the audience only sympathizes with him because we saw his back story, and didn't see theirs.
  • Ryoko Asakura in Haruhi Suzumiya, from Book 10 and onward.
  • Bando (in the manga) and Lucy from Elfen Lied and anime versions, respectively.
  • Blood Knight Kyoya Hibari of Katekyō Hitman Reborn!.
  • Thorfinn of Vinland Saga is as clear-cut a Type V Anti Hero there is, what with his uncaring partaking into as much slaughter and destruction he can hope to muster. The only thing that prevents him from being a full-on Villain Protagonist is the fact that he doesn't enjoy it.
  • Mayuri and Kenpachi from Bleach. They start out as full-on antagonists, but even after the Conspiracy Redemption they still remain as Token Evil Teammate and a largely amoral Blood Knight.
  • Yukiteru of Mirai Nikki eventually becomes this, by slaughtering orphans, and getting worse from there.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar starts off the beginning of the series as this trope, going about murdering State Alchemists for their participation in the wholesale slaughter of his ethnic group.
  • Noble Demon Dark Schneider (And his subordinates) from Bastard!! (with moments of Type IV). Although he has some Pet the Dog moments toward his allies and more specifically Yoko, he is a complete egocentric Jerk Ass who destroy his enemies in a huge level of sadism, openly admits that as soon as he takes down the Big Bad of the series, he will subjugate the world through mass-murder and warfare, treats nearly everyone in the rudest manner possible, and gropes girls without any sense of shame.
  • Sasuke Uchiha jumps from Type III to Type V before cannonballing off the slippery slope into being a straight-up Villain Protagonist.
  • Hiei, resident Noble Demon of YuYu Hakusho, though over time he start to mellow out into Type IV.
  • The Rail Tracer (Claire Stenfield) of Baccano!, saves a train and its passengers from being hijacked from two enemy factions, all the while winning the heart of a silent beauty. Nevermind that he's a trained mafia assassin who brutally murders dozens of people from both factions and tortures a little boy.
    • That the little boy is an immortal and, just little bit earlier, was trying to convince the leader of one of the factions to massacre everyone on the train helps takes the sting out of it a little.
  • Kyo of Samurai Deeper Kyo- see the description of Dark Schneider, except in Sengoku Japan and with no interest in world domination.
  • Kuroudo Akabane of Get Backers.
  • Giuse of Gunslinger Girl. As he reveals to Henrietta, he's only nice to her... until things go to hell and Henrietta is "reset to factory settings", leading Giuse to take a very steep dive over the Despair Event Horizon and treat her like he does practically everybody else following the realization that he could do nothing to help her. Later on, though, he thinks his behavior led Henrietta to frag him during the nuclear power plant strike.
  • Gundam 00 has two; Hallelujah Haptism, the Superpowered Evil Side of Reluctant Warrior Allelujah Haptism, and Nena Trinity in the second season by virtue of being against Ali Al-Saachez and Ribbons Almark, who are much, much worse than her.
  • Yuri from Angel Beats!, at first. The OVA (released after the anime was completed) made her out as a Villain Protagonist by having her run toward the Moral Event Horizon... then stopping right at the edge. She matured to Type III following the Naoi incident that nearly ended with her disappearing through false happy memories, and after Kanade's Heel–Face Pirouette she's more of a Type II, especially after her redemption at the end of the Shadows incident with an act that sealed her Heel–Face Turn.
    • In the manga, her tenure as Villain Protagonist lasts from the moment she decides to kill all the students at the Afterlife School to the moment where Hinata convinces her to not follow through with the murders. Other than that, she's a Type V in the manga as well.
  • The Three protagonists, Mataichi, Ogin and Nagamimi of Requiem from the Darkness.
  • Kokujo of Duel Masters.
  • Nougami Neuro from Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
  • Joichiro Nishii and Shion Izumi of Gantz. Though Izumi at the very end of his life falls into type IV as his very last act was a heroic sacrifice to save a girl who was arguably his love
    • Many of the Osaka members on the other hand are type V at best. Several of them are sadists who get off on hurting defenseless aliens who just happen to be their enemies. For the most part they could care less about their own team mates and threaten to kill innocent people who simply irritate them and one is a serial rapist who because its illegal simply rapes female aliens before murdering them. They are complete monsters who just happen to be fighting for the good of mankind.
  • Paul, Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy and Jerkass Badass extraordinaire from Pokémon.
  • Ninjas Anastasia of the Glacier and Kamonosuke Yuri of the Brave10. The former just cares for herself, her master and somewhat reluctantly about her team mates; besides that, she'll do anything to do her job. The latter is an Ax-Crazy sociopath who loves killing and stealing but gets strangely infatuated by the hero of the story after being thoroughly beaten by him.
  • The eponymous Skull Man, at least in Shotaro Ishinomori's original 1970 manga. He carves a bloody swathe of violence through the story, killing both Yakuza and policemen in his quest for Revenge, and does so with an Evil Grin on his face the whole time. When Ishinomori tried to get SkullMan turned into a TV series, Toei rejected it in part because of this, leading him to revamp the concept and produce a much more heroic character: Kamen Rider.
  • All members of the Chronos Organization from Black Cat.
  • Kurei Mori/Hanabishi from Flame of Recca. Even after his Heel–Face Turn, he's still as ruthless as before. Despite separating himself and his loyal followers from the Uruha, and pursuing the same quarry as Recca and his allies, his vicious and ruthless nature remains unchanged, even until the end of the series.
  • Kyoko Sakura from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is this when we first meet her, willing to sacrifice humans to familiars if it means she gets more Grief Seeds. Her bond with Sayaka causes her to move up the ranks, to about a Type II or III. It's also implied that she used to be more of a straight hero, before her father's murder-suicide of her mother and sister broke her.

Comic Books

  • The Goon and Franky of The Goon comic are both tried and true, card-carrying gangsters with all that would imply. However, what prevents them from being Villain Protagonists are the fact that they possess strict honor codes, will always protect those who need it, and only fight those who've done wrong.
  • The Punisher (the original '90s Anti-Hero) generally sits here, especially in the MAX series, but is sometimes played as a type IV. He is a Blood Knight Vigilante Man Serial-Killer Killer who won't hesitate to use mass murder and the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique in his war on crime. He is also extremely diligent in not killing innocents (although there have been a few exceptions), and the guys he fights are usually considerably worse, but not always. Personality-wise he's also an Ungrateful Bastard who will kill you if you're on the "black" side of his Black and White Morality viewpoint regardless of if you saved his life.
  • The last Sin City "hero" to be mentioned here would be Miho, who is at least as bad as Marv, and probably even more extreme. Her true motives are mostly unknown since she is mute. She seems to have loyalty almost exclusively to Old Town. She has assisted Dwight in the past only because he once saved her life but that didn't stop her from essentially threatening to kill him if he interfered while she was torturing a corrupt cop in the middle of a street. This incident was so violent and brutal that Dwight and the Old Town girls showed open disgust with her actions. Otherwise, the best you can say about her is that she doesn't target innocent people.
  • From Watchmen, the Comedian: a laughing thrill-killing Blood Knight torturer, rapist, war criminal and all-around Psycho for Hire.
  • Hyde, Nemo, and Griffin in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A couple of serial rapists and murderers (and a psychopathic pirate in Nemo's case) who are offered an official pardon if they'll turn those qualities against the Empire's enemies.
    • Rather (un)fortunately, the film version could not secure Griffin, so they exchanged him for freshly-created Rodney Skinner, which was a good or a bad change, depending on who you ask.
  • Daimon Hellstrom.
  • Marvel Comics' original Venom, Eddie Brock. And 1990s Ghost Rider sometime "substitute", Vengeance.
  • The Noble Demon Heroic Comedic Sociopath Deadpool is this, and an Anti-Villain Type I. He easily eclipses even the Punisher, as he frequently finds it funny to casually torture, dismember, and murder people.
  • The Secret Six are this, and Antivillains Type I. Even the most sociopathic of the Six are, in some manner, sympathetic characters, who generally fight villains for money or out of personal grudges. Black Alice may or may not be a type IV though.
  • Max. Dear God, Max. He admittedly lacks any form of a conscience, considers it a compliment to be called a grade-A sociopath, and was even dubbed the most terrifyingly dangerous force in the universe by the villain in the video games. The only thing that really seems to keep him in line is his less sociopathic partner.
  • Depending on the Writer, Lobo is sometimes portrayed as one, instead of a Satire/Parody/Pastiche of a Rule of Cool Bad Ass unstoppable villain-full-stop. Considering that he is worse than Hitler, without any hyperbole involved, as he wiped out his own Pillars of Moral Character utopian species for kicks and giggles... when he was a teenager, this reveals a lot about certain media conventions.
  • Fables' Frau Totenkinder.
  • The Superhero team The Authority largely started as types IV under Warren Ellis, extremely violent with great collateral damage, but only against potential world-ending threats that were a sufficient danger to not hold back against, although Warren much later stated that he wrote them as villains aimed at greater evils, so it is definitely arguable. However, they were extremely benevolent in other respects; and overall genuinely attempted to make the world into a better place. On the other hand, from the point Mark Millar got a hold of them and onwards they turned into outright proud extreme psychopath hedonists, who used overkill extremes of inventive torture, mutilation, dehumanisation, and mass-murder against completely outmatched normal human opponents, and casually Mind Raped, permanently transformed/mutilated, or otherwise routinely went to petty Disproportionate Retribution extremes against harmless bystanders, exes, anybody they disagreed with, because they were bored and found it funny, and so onwards based on personal whims, while sprouting flippant arrogant sadistic OneLiners.
  • Garfield. See here.
  • All the Metabarons. Steelhead in particular tends more towards Villain Protagonist in his darker moments.
  • Ares of Dark Avengers and Incredible Hercules fame - during his time as a member of Iron Man's Mighty Avengers he was a Token Evil Teammate - misogynistic, Axe-Crazy, disobeying orders because he wanted to fight Hercules and knocking out his teammate when he tried to talk things out with Herc. Yet in Dark Avengers he was a Token Good Teammate, mostly because the team was full of Villain Protagonists and somebody had to keep them in line. A Father to His Men, loves his son and may jump into a time vortex to finish a fight.

Fan Fic


  • Riddick (Conan in Space).
  • Snake Plissken. Practically counts as type IV and V.
  • Tyler Durden, the nihilistic anarchist of Fight Club.
  • Beetlejuice
  • Takuma "Terry" Tsurugi of The Street Fighter is a brutal and pitiless man. He's especially nasty in the first film, where he sells a girl into slavery and kills her brother when they're not able to pay him for services rendered, and he's not above sacrificing innocents that he's not directly helping. He avoids Villain Protagonist territory by fighting against Yakuza, whom he despises, and working to protect the good guys, even though he does so for his own reasons. He's more of a Type IV in The Street Fighter's Last Revenge.
  • Hugo Stiglitz and Aldo Raine of Inglourious Basterds are either this or at least Type iV.
  • Jules Winnfeld of Pulp Fiction.
    • By the end, Jules shows signs of mellowing out to a Type II or III, as he decides to quit his job as a hitman and take on a spiritual life. He solidifies this in the diner scene where he deals with Honey Bunny and Pumpkin peacefully and acknowledges that he's not a good man but he'll try to do better.
  • Tony Montana from Scarface.
  • Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. What stops him from becoming a full Villain Protagonist are his Pet the Dog moments with his "partner" Blondie and his priest brother (whose scene where they meet is a straight Tear Jerker) and his being less evil than the antagonist of the film, Angel Eyes.
    • This is debatable. While he's no paragon of integrity, Tuco doesn't really do anything outright evil in the movie, which places him at Type IV, but how you fit him depends on whether or not you believe he was actually guilty of the crimes he's wanted for.
  • Royce of Predators.
  • Steven the Irishman of Braveheart. He seems to have only joined the Scots because he'll be able to kill Englishmen, not to help the Scots to get freedom.
  • Ronnie Barnhard of Observe and Report.
  • Captain Barbossa in the third Pirates of the Caribbean film. In the first movie, he was an Anti-Villain.
  • The Heisei incarnation of Godzilla falls under this. He's faaaaaar from being a "good guy", but he does save the world (mostly Japan) from more-dangerous monsters and is absolutely devoted to his son, "Junior".
  • Travis Bickle is somewhere between this and a Type IV. A Sociopathic Hero, he genuinely wishes to save Iris from a life of prostitution, but his methods are... extreme. It also should not be forgotten that, had his whole plan worked out, he would have assassinated a senator and presidential candidate.
  • The Swedish Chef in The Muppets. He roasted innocent talking vegetables to death in the 2011 movie and attempted to kill and eat Big Bird. In a Christmas special.
  • Oilman Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. By the near end of the film he jumps into Villain Protagonist territory.
  • Michael Corleone from The Godfather.
  • Wesley Gibson of Wanted is this type of anti-hero in the movie, but a Villain Protagonist in the comic books.
  • The starring columbiana from Columbiana. She even admits to it.


  • Karsa Orlong from Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen is as anti as a hero can get. Being something of a deconstruction of the Proud Warrior Race Guy, Karsa aims to improve the world... by slaughtering millions of people and smashing civilization back to barbarism.
  • Mike Harmon in John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series is this in Ghost, the first book of the series, and is much of the reason for the famous cry "OH JOHN RINGO NO." He later moves towards Type IV. As he himself puts it, "I'm a very, very bad man who tries to be nice."
  • Thomas Covenant of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a mix of this and Type I in the first trilogy. In the second trilogy he's more of a Type III.
  • Yarol, the Venusian sidekick in C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories, is heavily implied to be a Type V antihero. The narration never specifies his enormities, but hints that his angelic beauty belies his absolutely evil nature. That Northwest Smith himself enjoys Yarol's company does not speak well of his own moral character, either, though he seems to be more of a Type IV character.
  • Maldoror in Isidore Ducasse's Songs of Maldoror.
  • Frank Dominio, the supremely obsessive narrator of Thomas Ligotti's My Work Is Not Yet Done.
  • Senna Wales, the witch of Everworld. She is motivated by her completely selfish goal of overthrowing the powers of Everworld, seizing control over the foundations of reality, and then ruling over the universe as an absolute god. However, she is kept from being a Villain Protagonist because most of the real villains that she opposes (Huizilopocli, Hel, Ka Anor) are complete monsters, she helps the other protagonists more often than she goes against them, and she seems to genuinely think that Everworld and its people would be better off with her ruling them all.
  • Meursault from The Stranger.
  • Lestat of The Vampire Chronicles.
  • Raskolnikov, Byronic Hero of Crime and Punishment.
07:28:45 PM May 1st 2012
Can a Nominal Hero be an Anti-Villain in the sense that the villain they face is far worse than they are? I ask because I rarely see examples of an Affably Evil Anti-Villain protaganist listed as a hero, even if in a certain situation, they would be.
06:58:10 PM May 24th 2012
Yes. dark schneider, Grom hellscream, Guts, Scar (FMA), The Rail tracer, Hiei, Dexter, Deadpool, Tony soprano and Demitri are Noble demons and/or anti villains .
12:11:52 AM Feb 5th 2012
This is a good idea for a trope, I'm glad it got added. I wanted an equivalent to an in-story Designated Hero and this was it.
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