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** Season 10 reveals [[AIIsACrapshoot Sigma]] as the one behind [[SerialKiller the Meta]]. However, it's [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] due to Sigma dying at the end of season 6.

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** Season 10 reveals [[AIIsACrapshoot Sigma]] as the one behind [[SerialKiller the Meta]]. However, it's [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] due to While Sigma dying at dies in the end Season 6 finale and so isn't technically in charge from then on, his MindRape of season 6.Agent Maine (the physical Meta) was so thorough that Maine continues to identify as the Meta and carry out Sigma's goal to the best of his ability.


%%* ''Anime/CombattlerV'': Halfway through the series it was revealed that BigBad Oreana was working for Empress Janera.



* ''Manga/InuYasha'' has Naraku, the puppeteer behind just about EVERY conflict in the show, past and present, having manipulated Inu Yasha and Kikyou into fighting each other in order to taint the Shikon no Tama further, who only surfaced after a while in the manga. [[spoiler: At the end of the series, Naraku proves to have a man behind ''him'' as well -- the Jewel of Four Souls itself, which actually has a will on his own.]]
* Late in the ''Manga/SoulHunter'' manga, it's revealed that Dakki is working for Jouka, one of the [[{{Precursors}} First People who was sealed away for wanting to wipe out everything on Earth and make it into their old homeworld]]. Dakki agreed to help her in exchange for great power, but planned to take over Jyoka's body and use its power to merge with the Earth like the other First People did. Also in turn, [[spoiler: Jouka's brother Fukki, along with Genshi Tenson, conspired to prepare the Hoshin plan in order to defeat Jouka once and for all and free the world from History's Signal. Fukki was controlling both sides of the conflict by splicing his soul to create Taikoubou and Ohtenkun.]]
%%* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'', who would've thought that Ribbons Almarck was manipulating Alejandro Corner?
%%** Which was a ShoutOut to ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' with Paptimus Scirocco playing Jamitov and Bosque for fools.
%%** The Special Edition of ''00'' revealed that Ribbons is literally this to Alejandro.

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* ''Manga/InuYasha'' has Naraku, the puppeteer behind just about EVERY conflict in the show, past and present, having manipulated Inu Yasha and Kikyou into fighting each other in order to taint the Shikon no Tama further, who only surfaced after a while in the manga. [[spoiler: At [[spoiler:At the end of the series, Naraku proves to have a man behind ''him'' as well -- the Jewel of Four Souls itself, which actually has a will on his own.]]
* Late in the ''Manga/SoulHunter'' manga, it's revealed that Dakki is working for Jouka, one of the [[{{Precursors}} First People who was sealed away for wanting to wipe out everything on Earth and make it into their old homeworld]]. Dakki agreed to help her in exchange for great power, but planned to take over Jyoka's body and use its power to merge with the Earth like the other First People did. Also in turn, [[spoiler: Jouka's [[spoiler:Jouka's brother Fukki, along with Genshi Tenson, conspired to prepare the Hoshin plan in order to defeat Jouka once and for all and free the world from History's Signal. Fukki was controlling both sides of the conflict by splicing his soul to create Taikoubou and Ohtenkun.]]
%%* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'', who would've thought that Ribbons Almarck was manipulating Alejandro Corner?
%%** Which was a ShoutOut to ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'' with Paptimus Scirocco playing Jamitov and Bosque for fools.
%%** The Special Edition of ''00'' revealed that Ribbons is literally this to Alejandro.
]]



* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' does this several times in a row in the manga and the anime. After Raditz is defeated Nappa and Vegeta are revealed to be the Saiyans behind the Saiyan. After they are defeated, Kaio mentions the "root" of the problem, which is shortly afterwards introduced as the Saiyans' (ex-)boss, Frieza. Even later in the series, Frieza's father, King Cold, is introduced and revealed as the secret leader of the Planet Trade Organization, which Frieza supposedly ruled.
%%** Majin Buu had an odd version of this going for him. He was a childish weapon of destruction at first, but ''inside'' him was a psychotic weapon of destruction, and ''inside him'' was a ''Child of mass destruction''.
** ''Anime/DragonBallGT'', the anime-only continuation, has a confusing chain of this. The Para-Para Brothers work for Cardinal Muchy Muchy, who himself is under the command of Dolltaki. Dolltaki is the leader of the worshipping Luud Cult, and Luud turns out to be a robotic sham creation of Dr. Myuu. Dr. Myuu created Baby, the eventual BigBad of the arc, and it's eventually revealed that Baby created him, not not the other way around.

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* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' does this several times in a row in the manga and the anime. After Raditz is defeated Nappa and Vegeta are revealed to be the Saiyans behind the Saiyan. After they are defeated, Kaio King Kai mentions the "root" of the problem, which is shortly afterwards introduced as the Saiyans' (ex-)boss, Frieza. Even later in the series, Frieza's father, King Cold, is introduced and revealed as the secret leader of the Planet Trade Organization, which Frieza supposedly ruled.
%%** Majin Buu had an odd version of this going for him. He was a childish weapon of destruction at first, but ''inside'' him was a psychotic weapon of destruction, and ''inside him'' was a ''Child of mass destruction''.
** ''Anime/DragonBallGT'', the anime-only continuation, has a confusing chain of this. The Para-Para Brothers work for Cardinal Muchy Muchy, who himself is under the command of Dolltaki. Dolltaki is the leader of the worshipping the Luud Cult, and Luud turns out to be a robotic sham creation of Dr. Myuu. Dr. Myuu created Baby, the eventual BigBad of the arc, and it's eventually revealed that Baby created him, not not the other way around.



* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' starts with Genma, leader of the Three-Color Gang, mention a "certain person" who ordered him to find and kill Kyo, and later the mysterious Twelve Heavenly Generals, who appears to work for the same person and with the same objective. Said lord is later revealed to be a revived [[DemonKingNobunaga Oda Nobunaga]], who was killed by Kyo in the past and know wants revenge. Later on, it's revealed that Nobunaga and the Twelve Generals were actually supplied and supported from the shadows by the Mibu clan, a legendary clan of divine-like figures who have secretly controlled Japan from the shadows since ancient times. The Mibu proves to be the origins of the troubles for pretty much every single character: Sasuke (an ArtificialHuman made by them), Yuya ([[spoiler: her missing dead brother was a Mibu Shaman who figured out their secret]]), Benitora (The Mibu want to eradicate the Tokugawa for usurping Nobunaga's place as the Shogun), Kyoshiro ([[spoiler: former Mibu higher up]]) and Kyo himself, [[spoiler: who's actually a true-blooded Mibu.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'', the main forces on the field seems to be the I.G.O. and the Gourmet Corps led by the villainous Midora. However, the Cooking Festival arc finally introduces a third party, NEO, which masterminded the conflict and is shown to have manipulated both parties in the conflict in order to get their hands on the ultimate food GOD, and whose leader is [[spoiler: Dark Chef Joie]]. Later on, during the final arc, [[spoiler: Acacia, the supposed BigGood and Gourmet God, is revealed to be behind NEO and Joie along with the Gourmet Nobles, though the very end reveals that Acacia was GoodAllAlong and teamed up with [[TokenGoodTeammate PAIR]] to concoct an [[TheLongGame extremely long-timed plan]] to free his apocalyptic Appetite Devil Neo and release all the food it ate, which would release countless ingredients and revive the Blue Nitro.]]

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* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' starts with Genma, leader of the Three-Color Gang, mention a "certain person" who ordered him to find and kill Kyo, and later the mysterious Twelve Heavenly Generals, who appears to work for the same person and with the same objective. Said lord is later revealed to be a revived [[DemonKingNobunaga Oda Nobunaga]], who was killed by Kyo in the past and know wants revenge. Later on, it's revealed that Nobunaga and the Twelve Generals were actually supplied and supported from the shadows by the Mibu clan, a legendary clan of divine-like figures who have secretly controlled Japan from the shadows since ancient times. The Mibu proves to be the origins of the troubles for pretty much every single character: Sasuke (an ArtificialHuman made by them), Yuya ([[spoiler: her ([[spoiler:her missing dead brother was a Mibu Shaman who figured out their secret]]), Benitora (The Mibu want to eradicate the Tokugawa for usurping Nobunaga's place as the Shogun), Kyoshiro ([[spoiler: former ([[spoiler:former Mibu higher up]]) and Kyo himself, [[spoiler: who's [[spoiler:who's actually a true-blooded Mibu.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'', the main forces on the field seems to be the I.G.O. and the Gourmet Corps led by the villainous Midora. However, the Cooking Festival arc finally introduces a third party, NEO, which masterminded the conflict and is shown to have manipulated both parties in the conflict in order to get their hands on the ultimate food GOD, and whose leader is [[spoiler: Dark [[spoiler:Dark Chef Joie]]. Later on, during the final arc, [[spoiler: Acacia, [[spoiler:Acacia, the supposed BigGood and Gourmet God, is revealed to be behind NEO and Joie along with the Gourmet Nobles, though the very end reveals that Acacia was GoodAllAlong and teamed up with [[TokenGoodTeammate PAIR]] to concoct an [[TheLongGame extremely long-timed plan]] to free his apocalyptic Appetite Devil Neo and release all the food it ate, which would release countless ingredients and revive the Blue Nitro.]]



%%* ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'': In "The Glorious Dead", it is revealed Cardinal Morningstar is Sato Katsura and he is working for the Master.
%%* ''ComicBook/GodzillaRulersOfEarth'' reveals the Cryog were behind [=SpaceGodzilla=], Gigan, Hedorah and Monster X/Keizer Ghidorah.



** Played with in ''ComicBook/TheNail''. It's implied that ComicBook/LexLuthor (believed by the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica to be the BigBad) is being manipulated by Starro until it's revealed that [[spoiler:[[RedHerring "Starro" is actually]] a [[TheGrotesque mutated]] version of [[Comicbook/KryptoTheSuperdog Krypto]]]]. The ''real'' BigBad is none other than... [[spoiler: ComicBook/JimmyOlsen]].

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** Played with in ''ComicBook/TheNail''. It's implied that ComicBook/LexLuthor (believed by the Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica to be the BigBad) is being manipulated by Starro until it's revealed that [[spoiler:[[RedHerring "Starro" is actually]] a [[TheGrotesque mutated]] version of [[Comicbook/KryptoTheSuperdog Krypto]]]]. The ''real'' BigBad is none other than... [[spoiler: ComicBook/JimmyOlsen]].[[spoiler:ComicBook/JimmyOlsen]].



** The White Walkers turn out to be in service to [[spoiler: [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Alduin]]]].

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** The White Walkers turn out to be in service to [[spoiler: [[OurDragonsAreDifferent [[spoiler:[[OurDragonsAreDifferent Alduin]]]].



* [[spoiler: [[OmnicidalManiac Bagan]]]], the BigBad of ''Fanfic/TheBridge'', is later revealed to be pulling the strings of the [[ApocalypseCult Red Dawn]], main antagonists of the spinoff ''[[Fanfic/TheBridgeHumanitysStand Humanity's Stand]]''. And, in ''A Shimmer in the Dark'' -- a crossover between this universe and ''Fanfic/TheShimmerverse'' -- he also acts via his [[FightingAShadow Aspect]] Mizu as the benefactor for the [[TheRemnant Nightmare Army remnant]] led by that story's BigBad [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Countess Mircalla]].

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* [[spoiler: [[OmnicidalManiac [[spoiler:[[OmnicidalManiac Bagan]]]], the BigBad of ''Fanfic/TheBridge'', is later revealed to be pulling the strings of the [[ApocalypseCult Red Dawn]], main antagonists of the spinoff ''[[Fanfic/TheBridgeHumanitysStand Humanity's Stand]]''. And, in ''A Shimmer in the Dark'' -- a crossover between this universe and ''Fanfic/TheShimmerverse'' -- he also acts via his [[FightingAShadow Aspect]] Mizu as the benefactor for the [[TheRemnant Nightmare Army remnant]] led by that story's BigBad [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Countess Mircalla]].



** Book 2, ''A Crack of Thunder'', reveals that [[spoiler: Renly Baratheon]] was the one who hired the bandits who tried to kill Tony in Book 1, as a means of [[EvilIsPetty petty revenge]]. He's also the one backing Vanko and Asha's campaign against the other nobles of Westeros, hoping to undermine them all enough so that he can come out on top in the war.

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** Book 2, ''A Crack of Thunder'', reveals that [[spoiler: Renly [[spoiler:Renly Baratheon]] was the one who hired the bandits who tried to kill Tony in Book 1, as a means of [[EvilIsPetty petty revenge]]. He's also the one backing Vanko and Asha's campaign against the other nobles of Westeros, hoping to undermine them all enough so that he can come out on top in the war.



%%* ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' had a rare case of the ''hat'' behind the man.



* [[spoiler: Waternoose, the president of Mosnters Inc.]] turns out to be the mastermind of the operation to kidnap children in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', when it appeared to have been Randall.

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* [[spoiler: Waternoose, [[spoiler:Waternoose, the president of Mosnters Inc.]] turns out to be the mastermind of the operation to kidnap children in ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'', when it appeared to have been Randall.



* [[spoiler: EXE]] in ''WebAnimation/TVTomeAdventures'' was the one really in charge of the D-Bug Organization. In ''WebAnimation/{{TOME}}'', [[spoiler: Rubirules]] takes on this role instead, with different motivations (as the D-Bug Organization, now called D-Buggers.org, is [[spoiler: [[AdaptationalHeroism more benevolent as a whole]] this time around]]).

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* [[spoiler: EXE]] [[spoiler:EXE]] in ''WebAnimation/TVTomeAdventures'' was the one really in charge of the D-Bug Organization. In ''WebAnimation/{{TOME}}'', [[spoiler: Rubirules]] [[spoiler:Rubirules]] takes on this role instead, with different motivations (as the D-Bug Organization, now called D-Buggers.org, is [[spoiler: [[AdaptationalHeroism [[spoiler:[[AdaptationalHeroism more benevolent as a whole]] this time around]]).



%%* ''Webcomic/FunnyFarm'' does this at considerable length.



* Complicatedly used in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. The Black Monarchs are the {{Big Bad}}s at first, but their DragonWithAnAgenda, Jack Noir, kills them and assumes the title. Later it's revealed that Vriska manipulated events so that Jack rose to power. And even later, Doc Scratch reveals he manipulated her all as part of his own plan to bring his boss, Lord English, into the universe. It's hinted however that the ultimate BigBad may in fact be Lil' Cal. [[spoiler: So, still Lord English.]]

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* Complicatedly used in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''. The Black Monarchs are the {{Big Bad}}s at first, but their DragonWithAnAgenda, Jack Noir, kills them and assumes the title. Later it's revealed that Vriska manipulated events so that Jack rose to power. And even later, Doc Scratch reveals he manipulated her all as part of his own plan to bring his boss, Lord English, into the universe. It's hinted however that the ultimate BigBad may in fact be Lil' Cal. [[spoiler: So, [[spoiler:So, still Lord English.]]



%%* Metus to the Skrall in ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}''.



* In ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'', the [[TheIlluminati Shadow Council of Ricks]] turns out to have been this for the original Council of Ricks that [[spoiler:Rick C-137 ("our" Rick) killed earlier in the season]]. They plan to be this for the newly elected [[spoiler:President Morty]] as well, but unfortunately for them, [[spoiler: President Morty--a.k.a. Evil Morty--has other plans, and [[BoardToDeath has most of them killed]] and [[ThrownOutTheAirlock their bodies blown out into space]]]].

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* In ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'', the [[TheIlluminati Shadow Council of Ricks]] turns out to have been this for the original Council of Ricks that [[spoiler:Rick C-137 ("our" Rick) killed earlier in the season]]. They plan to be this for the newly elected [[spoiler:President Morty]] as well, but unfortunately for them, [[spoiler: President [[spoiler:President Morty--a.k.a. Evil Morty--has other plans, and [[BoardToDeath has most of them killed]] and [[ThrownOutTheAirlock their bodies blown out into space]]]].



* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'': The climax of the third season drops a rather big bomb on the plot, revealing that [[spoiler: Oropo, leader of the Brotherhood of the Forgotten, is the one who ordered Dathura to trick Ogrest, pretty much kickstarting the Chaos of Ogrest and the entire settings of Wakfu and the current state of the world, including the retreat of the Gods to Inglorium. He also left the Elacube where Nox found it, which would eventually cause him to become a TragicMonster.]]

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'': The climax of the third season drops a rather big bomb on the plot, revealing that [[spoiler: Oropo, [[spoiler:Oropo, leader of the Brotherhood of the Forgotten, is the one who ordered Dathura to trick Ogrest, pretty much kickstarting the Chaos of Ogrest and the entire settings of Wakfu and the current state of the world, including the retreat of the Gods to Inglorium. He also left the Elacube where Nox found it, which would eventually cause him to become a TragicMonster.]]

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* ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'': In ''Avengers vs. New Ultimates'' the Avengers think that Nick Fury is behind a conspiracy, and the New Ultimates that it is Carol Danvers. It is eventually revealed that it was Gregory Stark from the begining, scheming to make both groups fight each other.


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' had a rare case of the ''hat'' behind the man.

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[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* %%* ''Disney/MeetTheRobinsons'' had a rare case of the ''hat'' behind the man.



[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* [=Chancellor/Emperor=] Palpatine is this in the prequel ''Franchise/StarWars'' movies, where his minions are doing his dirty work for him while he remains in the shadows himself, such that for the longest time the Jedi Order is unsure whether the mysterious Sith Lord even exists: he's the benefactor to Nute Gunray and Darth Maul in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', and to Count Dooku in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' and ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', along with General Grievous in the latter. However, in the original trilogy there's no doubt or subterfuge involved about his status; he's clearly and openly the evil ruler of the Galactic Empire, he's just more of an OrcusOnHisThrone than an active BigBad.

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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* [=Chancellor/Emperor=] Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine is this in the prequel ''Franchise/StarWars'' movies, where his minions are doing his dirty work for him while he remains in the shadows himself, such that for the longest time the Jedi Order is unsure whether the mysterious Sith Lord even exists: he's the benefactor to Nute Gunray and Darth Maul in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', and to Count Dooku in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'' and ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', along with General Grievous in the latter. However, in the original trilogy there's no doubt or subterfuge involved about his status; he's clearly and openly the evil ruler of the Galactic Empire, he's just more of an OrcusOnHisThrone than an active BigBad.






[[folder:Pinballs]]

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[[folder:Pinballs]][[folder:Pinball]]



[[folder:Web Comics]]

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[[folder:Web Comics]][[folder:Webcomics]]



* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'': the climax of the third season drops a rather big bomb on the plot, revealing that [[spoiler: Oropo, leader of the Brotherhood of the Forgotten, is the one who ordered Dathura to trick Ogrest, pretty much kickstarting the Chaos of Ogrest and the entire settings of Wakfu and the current state of the world, including the retreat of the Gods to Inglorium. He also left the Elacube where Nox found it, which would eventually cause him to become a TragicMonster.]]

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'': the The climax of the third season drops a rather big bomb on the plot, revealing that [[spoiler: Oropo, leader of the Brotherhood of the Forgotten, is the one who ordered Dathura to trick Ogrest, pretty much kickstarting the Chaos of Ogrest and the entire settings of Wakfu and the current state of the world, including the retreat of the Gods to Inglorium. He also left the Elacube where Nox found it, which would eventually cause him to become a TragicMonster.]]


* ''Film/TheBourneSeries'': In ''The Bourne Identity'', Ward Abbott was the mastermind behind Treadstone, and after [[YouHaveFailedMe eliminating Conklin]], he's seen in a hearing laying down plans for the successor organization Blackbriar. It isn't until ''The Bourne Supremacy'' that he gets his comeuppance by Bourne.

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* ''Film/TheBourneSeries'': In ''The Bourne Identity'', ''Film/TheBourneIdentity'', Ward Abbott was the mastermind behind Treadstone, and after [[YouHaveFailedMe eliminating Conklin]], he's seen in a hearing laying down plans for the successor organization Blackbriar. It isn't until ''The Bourne Supremacy'' ''Film/TheBourneSupremacy'' that he gets his comeuppance by Bourne.Bourne, and until ''Film/TheBourneUltimatum'' that Blackbriar itself is taken down.

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* ''Film/TheGreenHornet'': PlayedForLaughs in that the mastermind ''has no idea'' she's the one coming up with all the plans. Britt (who is the Green Hornet) asks Lenore (his secretary, who makes a hobby of criminology) what she expects the Green Hornet to do next. She tells him, he and Kato do that thing, and she just thinks she's really good at predicting the guy. This backfires because she wasn't telling them what would be ''smartest'', just what she thought they'd do. Right before the climax, she mentions off-hand that they're going to get killed soon because they've pissed off every criminal in the city. After the climax, they finally come clean so that she can give them real advice.
-->'''Britt:''' It's me! It's us! I'm the Green Hornet!\\
'''Lenore:''' Then why did you ask me all those questions about what the Green Hornet would do?\\
'''Britt:''' Are you kidding? We don't have any idea what we're doing!

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** It goes even further than ''that''. Orochimaru was originally set up as the BigBad, but Itachi seemed to be the GreaterScopeVillain. Then it seemed that Danzo was one to Itachi, but then it was revealed that ''he'' was being manipulated by Tobi and so on and so on.


* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', every story arc has this type of villain behind that storyline's recurring villains. The Dark Kingdom has Queen Metallia, the Black Moon has Wise Man (and even earlier, Prince Demand is behind Rubeus and the Ayakashi Sisters), the Death Busters have Master Pharaoh 90, the Dead Moon Circus has Queen Nehellenia, and Shadow Galactica has Chaos. The only time this ''doesn't'' happen is during the Makaiju FillerArc in the [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]], where the aliens and the Makaiju are working entirely alone.

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* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', every story arc has this type of villain behind that storyline's recurring villains. The Queen Beryl of the Dark Kingdom has Queen Metallia, Prince Demande of the Black Moon Clan has Wise Man Wiseman/Death Phantom (and even earlier, Prince Demand Demande is behind Rubeus and the Ayakashi Sisters), Mistress 9 and Professor Tomoe of the Death Busters have Master Pharaoh 90, Zirconia of the Dead Moon Circus has Queen Nehellenia, and Sailor Galaxia of Shadow Galactica has Chaos. The only time this ''doesn't'' happen is during the Makaiju FillerArc in the [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]], where the aliens and the Makaiju are working entirely alone.



** In the [[Theatre/SeraMyu musical adaptation]] of the series, Chaos is downgraded to Galaxia's subordinate/jester, and not even a true dragon. But he still turns out to be [[InvertedTrope The Man in Front of the Woman.]]

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** In the [[Theatre/SeraMyu musical adaptation]] of the series, Chaos is downgraded to Galaxia's subordinate/jester, and not even a true dragon. But he still turns out to be [[InvertedTrope The Man in Front of the Woman.]]TheManInFrontOfTheMan.



* ''Anime/StellviaOfTheUniverse'' does this with [[NoAntagonsit non-sentient antagonists. The supernova, the antagonist for the first half of the series, was caused by the crack in space, which is the antagonist for the second half.

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* ''Anime/StellviaOfTheUniverse'' does this with [[NoAntagonsit [[NoAntagonist non-sentient antagonists.antagonists]]. The supernova, the antagonist for the first half of the series, was caused by the crack in space, which is the antagonist for the second half.


* Dark in ''Manga/SamuraiHaremAsuNoYoichi'' is introduced as a self-aware puppet serving the current Torikago clan leader who is set up to be the apparent BigBad. When the leader is swayed by Yoichi's kind words, Dark reveals her true nature: she is the one who has been keeping the Torikago clan's hatred towards the Karasuma clan alive for generations. Dark turns against her supposed master, stating that she has no right to forgive the Karasuma clan after her ancestors devoted their entire lives to hating them.



* In ''LightNovel/LogHorizon'' Indicus is apparently the maid and representative of Nureha, the leader of guild Plant Hwyaden. In truth Indicus has used [[ManipulativeBastard psychological torment]] and [[BrokenBird Nureha's own self-loathing]] to cripple her, and now controls Nureha, the guild, and Minami as she sees fit.


* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' exaggerates this trope to absurd extremes. It's first revealed that [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad Akatsuki]] is lead by a mysterious figure known as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Pain]]. Some chapters and an important character death later, we find out that "Pain" is actually a [[PeoplePuppets collection of dead bodies controlled]] by a man named Nagato, who [[APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil once studied under the same sensei]] as Naruto. Then Nagato is actually being manipulated by a masked man known by the alias "Tobi" who claims to actually be the [[TheDreaded legendary shinobi known as Madara Uchiha]]. Later on, Tobi [[DeadPersonImpersonation isn't the real Madara Uchiha, but is actually a former leaf shinobi named Obito who used to be a student of Naruto's father and later turned evil.]] Then, it turns out Obito's [[AssimilationPlot "Moon's Eye Plan"]] was actually the real Madara's plan, and Obito was also supposed to bring Madara back to life to he become the jinchuuriki of the Ten Tails. [[GambitPileup But later we learn that Obito never had any intention of reviving Madara and himself using him in order to become the jinchuuriki of the Ten Tails]]. But then, turn out they both was being manipulated the entire time by Black Zetsu, a mysterious member of Akatsuki and a being that Madara thought he himself had created to carry out his will. And Black Zetsu? He's actually carrying out the will of Princess Kaguya, an ancient [[PhysicalGod Physical Goddess]] whom the current shinobi clans are descended from and who created Black Zetsu centuries ago right before she was [[SealedEvilInACan sealed away]] to ensure that she would be revived. And ''then''… [[OverlyLongGag okay, just kidding.]]
* [[Anime/TheBraveExpressMightGaine Might Gaine]]: The series setups up Exeve as the [[BigBad big bad]], being the catalyst of the events to start the brave express but it's eventually revealed he was just a puppet used by Black Noir. [[UpToEleven It's even implied that there was a higher power behind Black Noir's actions.]]

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* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' exaggerates this trope to absurd extremes. It's first revealed that [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad Akatsuki]] is lead by a mysterious figure known as [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Pain]]. Some chapters and an important character death later, we find out that "Pain" is actually a [[PeoplePuppets collection of dead bodies controlled]] by a man named Nagato, who [[APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil once studied under the same sensei]] as Naruto. Then Nagato is actually being manipulated by a masked man known by the alias "Tobi" who claims to actually be the [[TheDreaded legendary shinobi known as Madara Uchiha]]. Later on, Tobi [[DeadPersonImpersonation isn't the real Madara Uchiha, but is actually a former leaf shinobi named Obito who used to be a student of Naruto's father and later turned evil.]] Then, it turns out Obito's [[AssimilationPlot "Moon's Eye Plan"]] was actually the real Madara's plan, and Obito was also supposed to bring Madara back to life to he become the jinchuuriki of the Ten Tails. [[GambitPileup But later we learn that Obito never had any intention of reviving Madara and himself using him in order to become the jinchuuriki of the Ten Tails]]. But then, turn out they both was being manipulated the entire time by Black Zetsu, a mysterious member of Akatsuki and a being that Madara thought he himself had created to carry out his will. And Black Zetsu? He's actually carrying out the will of Princess Kaguya, an ancient [[PhysicalGod Physical Goddess]] whom the current shinobi clans are descended from and who created Black Zetsu centuries ago right before she was [[SealedEvilInACan sealed away]] to ensure that she would be revived. And ''then''… [[OverlyLongGag okay, just kidding.]]
then {{The Movie}}s happened...
* [[Anime/TheBraveExpressMightGaine Might Gaine]]: The series setups up Exeve as the [[BigBad big bad]], BigBad, being the catalyst of the events to start the brave express but it's eventually revealed he was just a puppet used by Black Noir. [[UpToEleven It's even implied that there was a higher power behind Black Noir's actions.]]



%%* ''StellviaOfTheUniverse'' does this very well with non-personified antagonists. The supernova (the BigBad for the first half of the series) was caused by the crack in space, which is the antagonist for the second half.

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%%* ''StellviaOfTheUniverse'' * ''Anime/StellviaOfTheUniverse'' does this very well with non-personified [[NoAntagonsit non-sentient antagonists. The supernova (the BigBad supernova, the antagonist for the first half of the series) series, was caused by the crack in space, which is the antagonist for the second half.



%%* ''Anime/BloodPlus'' does this fairly often. In early episodes, Van Argeno is set up as the BigBad; however, after about ten episodes, he's revealed to be working to Solomon. Later, Solomon is shown to actually be the lowest-ranking of five Chevaliers. Then, for a time, their progenitor Diva is expected to be the mastermind, but she turns out to be too crazy to be the leader. By the end, it's become apparent that Amshel is calling the shots, whereas Argeno -- who was the first supposed BigBad, remember -- is reduced to cowering in fear and begging for his life. As a kind of a last hurrah, the final episode also implies that Nathan had been pulling the strings all along.
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', it looks like it's such a MeleeATrois that there can't possibly be a BigBad. However, it turns out that TheSyndicate, the [[SpyVersusSpy dueling intelligence agencies, the Japanese police force, and PANDORA were all controlled by the same people. ]] Evening Primrose was actually LaResistance, and other than their influence, all the conflict in the series had been due to the higher-ups pitting the Contractors against each other to keep them from finding out their genocidal plans.

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%%* * ''Anime/BloodPlus'' does this fairly often. In early episodes, Van Argeno is set up as the BigBad; however, after about ten episodes, he's revealed to be working to Solomon. Later, Solomon is shown to actually be the lowest-ranking of five Chevaliers. Then, for a time, their progenitor Diva is expected to be the mastermind, but she turns out to be too crazy to be the leader. By the end, it's become apparent that Amshel is calling the shots, whereas Argeno -- who was the first supposed BigBad, remember -- is reduced to cowering in fear and begging for his life. As a kind of a last hurrah, the The final episode also implies that Nathan had been pulling the strings all along.
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', it looks like it's such a MeleeATrois that there can't possibly be a BigBad. However, it turns out that TheSyndicate, the [[SpyVersusSpy dueling intelligence agencies, the Japanese police force, and PANDORA were all controlled by the same people. ]] people]]. Evening Primrose was actually LaResistance, and other than their influence, all the conflict in the series had been due to the higher-ups pitting the Contractors against each other to keep them from finding out their genocidal plans.



* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', [[spoiler:Zeref, who is doing the manipulating to bring himself back to life (although he seems to not ''technically'' be dead). Ultear also plays this role both for Lyon and Jellal.]] Although in reality that was [[spoiler:Ultear pretending to be Zeref. Zeref himself doesn't seem to be aware of any of this stuff happening.]] Also,[[spoiler:Ultear's actions are actually based on Hades' commands.]]

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* In ''Manga/FairyTail'', [[spoiler:Zeref, who Zeref is doing the manipulating to bring himself back to life (although he seems to not ''technically'' be dead). Ultear also plays this role both for Lyon and Jellal.]] Although in reality that was [[spoiler:Ultear pretending to be Zeref. Zeref himself doesn't seem to be aware of any of this stuff happening.]] Also,[[spoiler:Ultear's Also, her actions are actually based done on Hades' commands.]]



* In ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'', [[spoiler:Darkseid]] was pulling the SEELE’s strings behind the scenes to [[spoiler:find the Anti-Life Equation.]]

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* In ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'', [[spoiler:Darkseid]] was pulling the SEELE’s strings behind the scenes to [[spoiler:find the Anti-Life Equation.]]Equation]].



* YodaKenobi, author of the epic ''StarWars'' fanfic series ''Legacy of the Sith'' loves this one. The villain of the first story is set up as [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Vagaari]] leader Goresh Tenziesh, but he turns out to be controlled by [[SmugSnake General Kol Renin]], one of the leaders of the true Sith Empire. ''Then'' it's revealed that Renin is only an apprentice Sith. The real mastermind is his Master, [[MagnificentBastard Darth Malig]]. Now it's being foreshadowed that even Malig isn't the complete answer to the puzzle, though it's unknown if there's another villain controlling him or not.

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* YodaKenobi, [=YodaKenobi=], author of the epic ''StarWars'' fanfic series ''Legacy of the Sith'' loves this one. The villain of the first story is set up as [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Vagaari]] leader Goresh Tenziesh, but he turns out to be controlled by [[SmugSnake General Kol Renin]], one of the leaders of the true Sith Empire. ''Then'' it's revealed that Renin is only an apprentice Sith. The real mastermind is his Master, [[MagnificentBastard Darth Malig]]. Now it's being foreshadowed that even Malig isn't the complete answer to the puzzle, though it's unknown if there's another villain controlling him or not.



* Every single major player in Gensokyo, Luna, and Earth has been nothing but [[FanFic/IcedFairysANewWorld Yukari Yakumo's]] puppet for at least three hundred years and serves to complete her final and most ambitious BatmanGambit. It's a testament to her skill, everyone's predictability, or both, that she's been ''dead'' during that time.

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* ''FanFic/IcedFairysANewWorld'': Every single major player in Gensokyo, Luna, and Earth Earth, including the supposed villain Lord Tenshou, has been nothing but [[FanFic/IcedFairysANewWorld Yukari Yakumo's]] [[TheChessmaster Yukari]] [[MagnificentBitch Yakumo]]'s puppet for at least three hundred years and serves to complete her final and most ambitious BatmanGambit. It's a testament to her skill, everyone's predictability, or both, that she's been ''dead'' during that time.

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* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' of Creator/AAPessimal introduces its take on UsefulNotes/SouthAfrica. At the tail-end of the Annk-Morporkian Empire, an unscrupulous adventurer called Cecil Smith-Rhodes emigrated to the Caarp Colony, as it was then called, and, equipped with a dry academic textbook on geology which he had read assiduously on the way over, figured out where to look for things like gold and diamonds in the unexplored interior. He then equipped a rag-tag private army and conquered a whole new land for the Empire, which, with characteristic modesty, he called [[UsefulNotes/{{Zimbabwe}} Smith-Rhodesia]]. Sir Cecil then became quietly influential, exploiting the [[UsefulNotes/TheSecondBoerWar War of Independence]] by backing both sides at once, whilst remaining publicly neutral. His surviving sons, who had fought on both sides, carried on the family tradition of "we do what works". In the latest iteration of The Family, the senior patriarch is Charles Smith-Rhodes, who had a conventional career in politics before realising his time was more usefully employed by founding and sustaining the minority party, the one that invariably held the balance of power between two major political parties in a deadlocked system. Thus, for minimal effort, in a democracy he ensured he always had the casting vote. Charles keeps a close and largely benevolent eye on his family and reasons that a lot of its younger members attending the Assassins' Guild School in faraway Ankh-Morpork is no bad thing at all. He is pleased, for instance, to charitably support the [[ScholarshipStudent selected pupils]] his nation sends to the School every year. Charles also has lots of friendly professional contacts in, for instance, his nation's armed forces. Lord Vetinari in Ankh-Morpork has even been heard to express approval of a kindred spirit in a former colony.

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'': the climax of the third season drops a rather big bomb on the plot, revealing that [[spoiler: Oropo, leader of the Brotherhood of the Forgotten, is the one who ordered Dathura to trick Ogrest, pretty much kickstarting the Chaos of Ogrest and the entire settings of Wakfu and the current state of the world, including the retreat of the Gods to Inglorium. He also left the Elacube where Nox found it, which would eventually cause him to become a TragicMonster.]]


%%* ''Manga/InuYasha'' has Naraku, the puppeteer behind just about EVERY conflict in the show, past and present. At the end of the series, Naraku proves to have a man behind ''him'' as well -- the Jewel of Four Souls itself.
* Late in the ''Manga/SoulHunter'' manga, it's revealed that Dakki is working for Jyoka, one of the [[{{Precursors}} First People who was sealed away for wanting to wipe out everything on Earth and make it into their old homeworld. Dakki agreed to help her in exchange for great power, but planned to take over Jyoka's body and use its power to rule the Earth.]]

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%%* * ''Manga/InuYasha'' has Naraku, the puppeteer behind just about EVERY conflict in the show, past and present. present, having manipulated Inu Yasha and Kikyou into fighting each other in order to taint the Shikon no Tama further, who only surfaced after a while in the manga. [[spoiler: At the end of the series, Naraku proves to have a man behind ''him'' as well -- the Jewel of Four Souls itself.
itself, which actually has a will on his own.]]
* Late in the ''Manga/SoulHunter'' manga, it's revealed that Dakki is working for Jyoka, Jouka, one of the [[{{Precursors}} First People who was sealed away for wanting to wipe out everything on Earth and make it into their old homeworld. homeworld]]. Dakki agreed to help her in exchange for great power, but planned to take over Jyoka's body and use its power to rule merge with the Earth.Earth like the other First People did. Also in turn, [[spoiler: Jouka's brother Fukki, along with Genshi Tenson, conspired to prepare the Hoshin plan in order to defeat Jouka once and for all and free the world from History's Signal. Fukki was controlling both sides of the conflict by splicing his soul to create Taikoubou and Ohtenkun.]]


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* ''Manga/SamuraiDeeperKyo'' starts with Genma, leader of the Three-Color Gang, mention a "certain person" who ordered him to find and kill Kyo, and later the mysterious Twelve Heavenly Generals, who appears to work for the same person and with the same objective. Said lord is later revealed to be a revived [[DemonKingNobunaga Oda Nobunaga]], who was killed by Kyo in the past and know wants revenge. Later on, it's revealed that Nobunaga and the Twelve Generals were actually supplied and supported from the shadows by the Mibu clan, a legendary clan of divine-like figures who have secretly controlled Japan from the shadows since ancient times. The Mibu proves to be the origins of the troubles for pretty much every single character: Sasuke (an ArtificialHuman made by them), Yuya ([[spoiler: her missing dead brother was a Mibu Shaman who figured out their secret]]), Benitora (The Mibu want to eradicate the Tokugawa for usurping Nobunaga's place as the Shogun), Kyoshiro ([[spoiler: former Mibu higher up]]) and Kyo himself, [[spoiler: who's actually a true-blooded Mibu.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'', the main forces on the field seems to be the I.G.O. and the Gourmet Corps led by the villainous Midora. However, the Cooking Festival arc finally introduces a third party, NEO, which masterminded the conflict and is shown to have manipulated both parties in the conflict in order to get their hands on the ultimate food GOD, and whose leader is [[spoiler: Dark Chef Joie]]. Later on, during the final arc, [[spoiler: Acacia, the supposed BigGood and Gourmet God, is revealed to be behind NEO and Joie along with the Gourmet Nobles, though the very end reveals that Acacia was GoodAllAlong and teamed up with [[TokenGoodTeammate PAIR]] to concoct an [[TheLongGame extremely long-timed plan]] to free his apocalyptic Appetite Devil Neo and release all the food it ate, which would release countless ingredients and revive the Blue Nitro.]]

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* ''Film/TheMysteryOfTheHoodedHorsemen'': While Norton is the apparent leader of the Hooded Riders, he makes references to a 'big boss' who is really issuing the orders.

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