Main Villain Decay Discussion

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04:28:36 PM Oct 7th 2015
Does Villain Decay really applies to characters who go through Character Development or Heel–Face Turn? While checking the video game entry, I noticed the Zerg entry, and I felt the entry focused more on saying they were less scary rather than less effective, even though technically by this point they have moved from Villain Protagonist to Anti-Hero and are still just as powerful and dangerous, if not more, than before. Shouldn't their entry be changed to fit better?
05:09:08 PM Feb 4th 2015
Think this could apply to Nimrod? The name is current a word meaning "Idiot," but that meaning was popularized by Bugs Bunny after he called Elmer Fudd "Poor little Nimrod." When Bugs used it, "Nimrod" was meant to mean "Hunter." However, before it meant "Hunter," it actually meant "Tyrant," and referred to a king with that name in the Bible. Nimrod's kingdom apparently included Babel, and he had the Tower of Babel built in an attempt to invade Heaven and usurp God. Quite a long way to fall, if you ask me.

At this point, might as well admit that my sole source is Wikipedia:
09:17:37 AM Jan 25th 2013
Don't many more Star Wars villains besides Grievous fall victim to this? The Imperial Stormtroopers win their first firefight in a rout, then quickly become easily-toppled tin soldiers. Boba Fett's imposing introduction in TESB, followed by his embarrassing accidental death in ROTJ. Arguably Jabba, who went from fearsome shadowy crimelord to killed by chick-with-chain.
05:17:32 AM May 7th 2012
Anyone else thinks this fits for YMMV more? I for one think that one person's Villain Decay is another's Character Development, and that there are quite a few moments that it can be interpreted in any number of ways. But that's just me, so I don't know.
06:48:36 PM Mar 26th 2012
The "tricks to reverse or avoid Villain Decay" listing isn't needed. It takes up too much space and has little to do with this trope, instead linking to other tropes. This page should be about explaining and listing Villain Decay, not how to avoid it.
11:59:47 PM Dec 1st 2011
Why is the Dragonball Z entry always getting deleted?
10:18:22 PM Nov 14th 2011
Ok, so this is when a villain starts out being menacing, but then becomes a joke. But what about the other way around, when a villain starts out as a joke and becomes menacing later on?
12:35:19 PM Apr 30th 2012
Depending on the example I would believe tropes such as Took a Level in Badass, Who's Laughing Now?, or Not-So-Harmless Villain. Look at those pages and decide if the example you have belongs on one of them.
12:19:18 PM Apr 1st 2011
Removed this from the page:

  • The main villains in both the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog series (Bowser and Robotnik, respectively) have lost a lot of power and have fallen to the level of comic relief. Bowser has recently taken a back seat to new villains, to his annoyance, but Bowser had always been a more 'storybook' villain by comparison. It also depends on the game; most RPG Mario games have Bowser being only a minor threat, comic relief or even performing a temporary Heel–Face Turn, but in normal Mario games he is almost always the main antagonist. Eggman, on the other hand, is almost always usurped as Big Bad in recent Sonic games by some other, much more powerful threat.
    • Now, Eggman was never meant to be a serious villain in the first place, mind you, at least in terms of personality. His Villain Decay more or less comes from him no longer providing the challenging boss fights he used to, though it could be argued that this would have grown stale had it continued. Your Mileage May Vary.
      • It may also come from the more nightmarish incarnations used in western alternate media to compare the more light hearted games version to. The Sat Am Robotnik for example had a much more sinister demeanor and had already succeeded in taking over the world before the show's story took place (even he however fell to this trope, acting more bumbling and Genre Blind in the second season. The planned third season would have reduced him to a sniveling lackey for new Big Bad Naugus).
      • In Sonic Chronicles Robotnik at first makes his own Villain Decay worse, by yet again helping Sonic and his teammates. However, at the end it's revealed that while Sonic and co. were off gallivanting around the Twilight Cage, Robotnik had spent his time taking over the world. Unfortunately, that's where the game ends.
      • More damage is undone in Sonic Unleashed, where Eggman captures Sonic, then captures Super Sonic, shatters the planet, and then dumps Sonic from space - all in the intro sequence. Much later, Eggman finally succeeds in creating Eggmanland, as he's promised to do for several games now.
    • And then there's Sonic Colors. Not only was he the Big Bad for the entirety of the game, but had it not been for a broken piece of a robot damaging a vital component of his latest weapon, he would've succeeded in his ultimate plan to mind-control the entire population of Earth with Sonic and Tails none the wiser.
    • Bowser's Villain Decay probably reached its peak in Super Mario Sunshine, in which he only appeared at the very end, lying around in a hot tub in a volcano and talking in a ridiculous voice about how Mario ruined his vacation. Thankfully, this sort of "sitcom dad" style Bowser was dropped after that game, and in Super Mario Galaxy he actually seemed pretty intimidating, and had much bigger evil plans too. (He still wasn't smart enough to not let Mario fool him into hurting himself though.)
      • Much more intimidating indeed. His grand scheme essentially involved playing God and creating a new universe to rule over with the power of the Grand Stars.
        • Bowser was considerably toned down in the Super Mario cartoon series, where the badass villain from the games was just a minor nuisance in many episodes.
          • On the other hand the DiC Bowser was far more malicious than the games version and despite his questionable antics was taken more seriously and did come very close to desposing of those plumbers a few odd occasions.
      • Bowser's decay makes his appearance in the "Super Mario 63" fangame all the more unsettling when he plans to cause the apocalypse and make Koopas the master race.
      • Let's not forget his time in Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. He splits the difference in that one: since it's an Enemy Mine situation, he's mostly a comical character, but he's also a badass. The game culminates with him literally punching out an ancient Sealed Evil in a Can.
        • To say nothing of the game's Bonus Boss, Bowser X, which is presumably what we'd get if Bowser decided to bring his "A game" to the Bros. Not only has he gotten a ludicrous power boost to his basic special attacks, becoming strong enough to lay a Bro out with one punch if you're underleveled, but his new tricks included deliberately letting the Bros light him on fire so he can bounce around the screen like a spiky flame-spewing pinball, and turning into Giga Bowser. Oh, and he reacts to Bros Attacks (the only real way to make a chink in his life) by eating the attacks themselves, making them inaccessible for six grueling turns. Good luck.

This entry seriously needs to be trimmed down to something more concise. However, I'd rather discuss it here before I do it. Any thoughts?
09:26:49 PM Apr 6th 2011
I'll make the Bowser one more concise by limiting it to describing how he goes back and forth on this.
08:04:10 AM Jan 31st 2011
Dragonball Z: I added an entry regarding certain villains and how they're no longer threats during their reappearances. My entry was deleted on the grounds that it was just from "filler" episodes. If it's an episode of the anime, then it counts, right? It doesn't have to also conform to the manga in order to warrant an entry.
08:08:09 AM Jan 31st 2011
Yes, this counts. After all they turned less badass in the anime(and not be canon to the manga not means that this is not canon to the anime)
03:31:32 PM Dec 22nd 2010
Any entry that must containd escriptions this long to explain its inclusion proves it is Not an Example but an essay someone wrote about how a certain show amde them think of this trope. Dynamic characters who happen to be villains and dynamic writign regarding villains does not equal Villain Decay (and, no, I am not saying this is Not an Example because of any assumption that such an inclusion is insulting).

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this for Zuko, who in the first few episodes was a credible (if impetuous) threat (though Aang was able to pretty much curb-stomp him), but after which he acquired Team Rocket trio-like incompetence in his attempts to capture the Avatar. Avoided in the second season by having him simply not interact with the heroes, in favor of his much more competent sister.
    • Somewhat ironically, even as it became more and more obvious that failure was Zuko's only option as the first season went on and that he was never going to capture the Avatar, he was becoming better and better at fighting Aang. So even though the audience was yawning and say "Time for Zuko to lose again" the bouts between the two had changed from 30 second curb stomps (said "fight" in the second episode) to several minutes of intense action ("Bato of the Water Tribe").
    • Azula is a notable aversion: she never once stops being a threat and when she goes crazy she's less composed but is much more bold and directly threatening (not to mention really freaking scary).
      • Zuko manages to become much more of a threat during the finale of the 2nd season, during which he could finally match Aang on his own. Azula suffered from this a degree because in her earlier appearances, she was depicted as nearly invincible and required a hero-villain team-up to stop in one instance. But as Aang started learning Earthbending, he could effectively fight her on his own (though he still couldn't beat her). She still displayed a lot of craftiness that made her still a threat even to the point of killing Aang, and by the third season she had regained her battle prowess and was roughly on par with Zuko in combat.
    • The Fire Nation as a whole in the last season, though seeing as the heroes have made it on their soil now and thus they aren't the invading force anymore, it's perhaps reasonable.
12:34:22 AM Oct 4th 2010
Couldn't one argue that another way to handle Villain Decay is to explain it as [[Being Evil Sucks]]? Or, put it another way, evil makes you suck over time - like how Milton's Paradise Lost has Satan devolve over time from a rational semi-heroic being into a complete [[For the Evulz]] [[Smug Snake]].
04:34:02 AM Sep 18th 2010
Long debate on Wheel of Time moved from main page:

  • The writer attempts to subvert the trope by deliberately poking fun at the Forsaken's rep: a modern magic-user halts a Forsaken in combat and is scared that she is being toyed with, until she realises that the Forsaken in question is actually at the limits of her powers and they are stalemated. Other Forsaken later moan about how these 'backward savages' have actually developed forms of magic they are unfamiliar with.
    • Despite these attempts to mitigate the damage, the writer doesn't adequately explain how 13 people who caused hundreds of millions of deaths in a world with instantaneous teleportation, aerial warfare and energy weapons keep getting bested by people who don't know how to make a functional toilet and haven't worked out that gunpowder may have applications beyond pretty fireworks.
      • For the same reason a lawyer, high priest of law in our society that can call for the thermonuclear fire of the sun upon our enemies would probably get his ass kicked by a guy who doesn't know how to make a functional toilet because he has been squatting in the bushes with his boar spear since he was 6. The Forsake draw alot of influence from Nazi germany, and while they ran concentration camps and lead armies, these are not exactly jobs that lead you to be a great warrior. Hence Demandred bitching that he has to run for his life in the woods.
      • Because the destruction of civilization caused the corruption of records. Instead of recording all the evil Aes Sedai (about half of the Aes Sedai were evil) they only recorded the thirteen that were imprisoned. The advantage of the Forsaken is simply that they are above average channelers, and have knowledge that the good guys don't. This is of course mitigated by the fact that they are insane, prone to petty arguments, and too egotistical to work with anyone, especially with people not born thousands of years ago. They also lack the resources they once had and their reputation as far more powerful was a load of nonsense. Plus the dark one was actually free during the war at the end of the Age of Legends; whatever that entailed one has to suspect having the Big Bad actively aiding them with all its power must have had some effect on them.
      • Also, keep in mind that the Forsaken have been used for 3 millenia as bogey men, making them appear far more powerful than they really were, and the heroes are actually surprised when they realise they aren't the demi-god they expected.
  • Also, the Forsaken are never beaten in fair fights until late in the series, by which point the characters have had plenty of training. Before then, they are either beaten by surprise or because the good guys had access to a high power source.
    • In the fourth book of the series, one Forsaken was beaten in a completely fair fight ( Nynaeve distracted Moghedien first, but if that wasn't a fair fight, then nothing is), while another was outwitted ( the actual fight came down to access to high power sources, but it was stupid of him to fight on Rand's terms). The fourth book, before the protagonists in question have learned to use their powers yet, was very early for supposedly badass bosses to be beaten in fair fights.
    • Those two Forsaken were considered by the other to be the least powerful magicians of the bunch, the second especially being a poet/singer who pledged loyalty to the Dark One for immortality only, while the first prefers to avoid face to face confrontation because she's aware of her own limit as she says herself during the big battle at the end of book 9. And about that fair fight, it is fair because Nynaeve is one of the most powerful Aes Sedai of her own Age.
  • Played with, after the capture of Semirhage, Cadsuane has no idea how to break her without torture. She finally figures out that it's because everyone sees Semirhage the legend, and not Semirhage the person. She immediately grabs Semirhage, treats her like a child and spanks her, which finally starts getting her results.
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