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Dark Is Not Evil / Animated Films

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  • In Alpha and Omega: The Legend of Saw Tooth Cave, the Ghost Wolf isn't a monster; merely a specter that wanted to help someone. It helps that that someone is her daughter Daria.
  • The Beast from Beauty and the Beast is a complete inversion of the classical giant, hulking and evil monster stereotype. He's instead gentle, nice and brave, but not until after he met Belle.
  • Bartok the Magnificent (an Anastasia spin-off): Baba Yaga is a gruesome-looking witch who lives in a dingy old house with chicken legs, but she isn't evil; just an Heroine with Bad Publicity who's antisocial.
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  • Go Go Tomago from Big Hero 6 wears dark, edgy clothing, but aside from being a Deadpan Snarker is reasonable and mature. She is also the first of the group to follow Hiro's plan out of respect for Tadashi. Subverted later however as the armor she wears in battle is bright yellow with sleek black stipes.
  • The Gods of The Book of Life could count for this.
    • La Muerta is a Death God, a ruler of her own branch of the underworld and her face is paint evocative of that of a frickin' skull, her name translating to the feminine form of "death". Even then, she is displayed as being very benevolent. The realm she rules over - The Land of the Remembered — is a joyous and wonderful place, filled with endless fiestas where the remembered dead enjoy themselves senseless. Her body is made of sugar candy (her face paint resembling sugar skulls), with marigold flowers and lit candles surrounding her clothes.
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    • While not necessarily "good", Xibalba isn't really all that bad either. His body is made of black tar, his physiology resembling that of a cross between a skeleton and a fallen angel, his colors primarily black and green with little red skulls for pupils. He rules over the Land of the Forgotten, an ash-filled wasteland where the forgotten dead stand around doing nothing but be miserable before crumbling to dust. He cheats in a bet with La Muerte (who, by the way, is also his estranged wife) so that he could rule the Land of the Remembered instead. He cheats, he lies, has little faith in humanity... but again, he's not all bad. When Manolo wins his challenge, Xibalba begrudgingly admits his respect for him and gives him back his life like he wagered, and even cheers him on in the battle of San Angel against Chakal. The whole time, Xibalba is shown to still love his wife La Muerte, even when she was still angry will him, literally melting by her touch, and by the end he apologizes to her for his transgressions, earning back her trust as they kiss, letting loose fireworks.
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    • Manolo, The Hero of our story, wears a black suit on skulls on it, but is Joaquin and Maria's best friend.
  • The Boxtrolls might be trolls, but they're heroes nonetheless. Plus, they're all Gadgeteer Geniuses.
  • The Brave Little Toaster: The Elmo St. Peter's parts appliances are broken, tinkered and messed up from whatever bad happened in their life and even have a dark sense of humor (in the same way that comedians use misery in Real Life for their routines). It is also them-who-help-the-appliances-scare-Elmo-to-save-Radio.
  • Rosie from A Bug's Life is possibly the friendliest of the circus bugs despite being a black widow spider.
  • In Cars 2, Lemons are evil, but Otis, the beaten-up car seen in the Book-Ends, is friendly.
  • In The Chipmunk Adventure, it turns out the supposedly Obviously Evil duo and their employer, Jamal, aren't Klaus and Claudia's rivals in crime, but Interpol agents trying to thwart their smuggling ring.
  • In Cinderella II: Dreams Come True, Prudence wears black/gray clothing but in spite of the snubby aspect of her personality, at least her heart's in the right place.
  • Coco:
    • The Land of the Dead is actually a thriving community of skeletons who are actually friendly and even help Miguel during his journey.
    • Then there is Hector, a disheveled skeleton con man who is actually a Nice Guy and Miguel's great-great-grandfather.
    • Let's not forget Dante, a black hairless dog who is a benevolent spirit guide.
  • The main antagonist is dark-themed but so are the cat who helps Coraline Other Wybie while in the Other World and real Wybie who wears a black as pitch coat and a vicious-looking skull-like mask. And plays around with slugs.
  • Corpse Bride:
    • The undead are jovial and friendly both to each other and to mortals, while a lot of the mortals themselves are jerks. However, the dead are also shown inverting it as (literally) bright and colorful whereas the mortals appear in what can only be called 'the Tim Burton palette'. They're only dark on account of well being reanimated corpses.
    • This extends to the sapient animal residents of the Underworld who are Emily's friends and supportive of her: the Maggot who looks like Peter Lorre and is chatty and friendly, if caustic, with the corpses that he inhabits and the Black Widow Spider who is ready to groom Victor for his wedding without being asked.
  • Despicable Me: Gru, post-Heel–Face Turn, wears dark as night clothing, but while he used to be a supervillain, he's become a good father and a Anti-Villain League agent; Edith, the blonde of the girls sports a black catsuit in the sequel. The Minions also count.
  • Gill from Finding Nemo is a sinister-looking Moorish Idol, with a stern and no-nonsense attitude but he actually helps Nemo and the other fish in the fish tank escape back into the ocean. The sharks are friendly as well, as long as they don't smell blood.
  • Fire and Ice: Just because Darkwolf has a terrifying name and a darkness motif does not mean he's not good guy material.
  • Frozen (2013): Kristoff wears black and dark brown clothing with dark grey fur lining and a deep red sash and collar, but he's the Deutergonist and that dark clothing tends to absorb heat better.
  • Goof Troop: In An Extremely Goofy Movie, Beret Girl wears all black but cares for PJ and Max Goof. Bradley Uppercrust... not so much.
  • Horton Hears a Who! - JoJo has a monochrome color scheme and he's the tritagonist.
  • Hotel Transylvania:
    • The two main characters wear black and are vampires (at least Dracula is), but they're the good guys. Same goes for most of the other monsters.
    • In Hotel Transylvania 2, Vlad wears black and is a vampire, just like his son, but is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Toothless the dragon is completely black, uses the cover of night to his advantage, his breed is considered the scariest and most dangerous dragon of all (most of all thanks to being unseen and mysterious), and is on two different occasions referred to as something unholy. The dragon hand-guide describes his breed as an "unholy offspring of lightning and death itself" and Hiccup's father calls him "Devil" in one scene. However, he's also one of the main characters, a good guy, and freakin' adorable.
  • The Gypsies from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is especially noticeable with Esmeralda's design.
  • The lesson of the story of Inside Out is that the emotions thought of as negative (Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear) are as important as the ones thought of as positive, such as Joy.
  • The Iron Giant has Dean, who's on the side of the heroes and the most understanding adult towards Hogarth despite his main color scheme as a Beatnik being black.
  • Isle of Dogs:
    • One of the protagonists is Chief, a black dog who is gruff and pushes the other dogs to survive on Trash Island. Once Chief gets an Important Haircut later in the movie, revealing white fur and black spots under his "black fur", this makes him Light Is Good as he becomes a nobler dog and bonds with Atari.
    • In a more minor case, the black owl seen at the beginning of the movie turns out to be helpful to the dogs, carrying messages from Spots's pack to the other dogs throughout Trash Island.
  • The 1996 live-action/stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach has Miss Spider. Sure, she's solitary and mysterious and has a gothic motif unlike the other bugs (some of them live in fear of her), but she's good-hearted and hospitable to James — spoiler alert — because he saved her life.
  • In The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island, Chomper's parents are carnivores (albeit sentient, reasonable ones).
  • Disney plays with its portrayal of villains in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. Kovu and the other Outlands lions are drawn exactly like Scar (lean build, dark coloring, pointed facial features), but only Zira is actually evil. Especially true for Kovu, who looks like a more muscular version of Scar, and even gets a similar scar after a while, but is a very kind lion.
  • Megamind, post-Heel–Face Turn, as he STILL has his black mamba and blue skin. Also, Minion's a angler-in-a-fish-bowl-attached-to-a-mechanical-gorilla's-body. Suffice to say, he's a Nice Guy.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: The '50s-style monsters (Dr. Cockroach, anyone?) definitely counts as they help the humans from the alien threat.
  • Mulan's steed Khan is a black horse, but he's one of the heroes.
  • In Mune: Guardian of the Moon, the People of Night are as respected as the People of the Day, and being Guardian of the Moon is as important a job as being the Guardian of the Sun.
  • The citizens of Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas, are textbook examples. They even say as much in the opening song (see the quotes page). Even though they're all skeletons, Frankenstein-esque monsters, ghosts, vampires, a Mad Scientist, etc., for the most part are just fun guys who love a good Halloween. The only one who's really evil is Oogie Boogie — and he isn't exactly popular with the others. However, they did kidnap Santa Claus, and Lock, Shock and Barrel memorably sang a song about different ways to kill him. Of course, said children work for Oogie Boogie, and Jack hadn't meant for Santa to come to any harm... . Oogie Boogie is actually from a completely different (and very dead) holiday, so he's not really from Halloween Town anyway, as one of the video games reveals. This is pointed out in Kingdom Hearts, when Sora, Donald, and Goofy wonder why Jack would help them stop the Heartless. Jack explains that while the people of Halloween Town love scaring people, they don't want anyone to actually be hurt, like the Heartless do. Jack actually did tell Lock, Shock, and Barrel not to send Santa to Oogie. To actually trust them to keep their word, however...
    Jack: And one more thing... leave that no account Oogie Boogie OUT OF THIS!
  • ParaNorman: The main character can see the dead, but he's just a normal kid. Really, this is this trope Up to Eleven, as this even applies to a certain extent to the witch's ghost.
  • Ratatouille: Anton Ego looks like he could be a potential villain, but as it turns out, he's just a very harsh critic trying to find a restaurant worth remembering for.
  • Aisling's Wolves in The Secret of Kells
  • The Secret of NIMH: The Great Owl plays with it. He is unspeakably intimidating and likely dangerous towards mice buy he is neutral within the story's context. Nicodemus plays it entirely straight; not only is he scary and ugly (the "ugly" being mostly because of how disturbingly anthropomorphic he is), but also actually quite dark in himself (largely thanks to the fact that the colours in the movie are quite dull and brown, as was the style in fantastic films of the time). And he is a wise mentor who was a great friend to Jonathan and feels indebted to helping his widow. There's also Jeremy, who's a crow, albeit a very silly one and very willing to help Mrs. Frisby.
  • Shrek, a ogre who lives in a swamp and seems to have little regard for hygene, but he is also a Gentle Giant who cares for friends and family. Same goes for the supposed Big Bad Wolf and Puss In Boots, post-Heel–Face Turn, whose cape and boots are as black as pitch, but he is The Smart Guy of Shrek's pals.
  • Strange Magic:
    • The Bog King is a complicated example. He certainly looks evil by being a scowling insect humanoid. While he does kidnap and threaten an innocent Fairy princess, he's doing it to recover a Love Potion which he wants to destroy both because he hates love and that he knows it's incredible dangerous. Once he and Marianne fall in love upon realizing that they are Not So Different, he's able to show a more tender side. By the time he performs a Heroic Sacrifice, its obvious that despite his monstrous appearance he'a good man.
    • This also applies to Marianne herself, who begins to wear darker clothing than most fairies after Roland cheated on her.
  • Sir Bart in The Sword in the Stone. He is a menacing Black Knight, but proves to be a Reasonable Authority Figure by standing up for Wart and allowing him a chance to prove himself.
  • Disney's Tarzan movie uses this along with Light Is Not Good with symbolism with the lighting. Deep shadows represent being hidden and well protected, while sunny areas resemble being vulnerable and out in the open. A character-specific example would be Kerchak: whenever he's seen in daylight, the front of his face is almost always obscured in shadow. Additionally, he has jet-black fur and an imposing stance, but is in fact a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • The Thief and the Cobbler has Tack, a Deliberately Monochrome skinned person who's the main character and who doesn't have anything dark apart from his colour scheme.
  • The Gaoul from Titan A.E. fit this trope nicely... creepy, red-and-black batlike aliens that really turn out to be a helpful mix of Giant Flyer and Red Shirt.
  • In Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry, one of the contestants, Gorthan, is actually pretty nice despite his dark attire.
  • Toy Story:
    • Sid Philip's mutilated toys, despite being some of the creepiest things Pixar has ever rendered, are all pretty nice guys and have a knack for fixing things.
    • The toy version of Emperor Zurg (Buzz Lightyear's archnemesis) in Toy Story 2 would probably count. The real reason he appears evil is because he thinks he's evil, believing that he is the real Zurg, just like how Buzz himself thinks that he is the real Buzz. The toy Zurg is actually very friendly.
  • Rain, eMMM, — the Pasteur and The Cult of the Strange — from We Are the Strange.
  • The film adaptation of Watership Down does this with the Black Rabbit. In the book he is a dark omen of death, pretty much the grim reaper for rabbits. In the film he is merged with El-ahrairah, a rabbit folklore hero. At the end of the film he appears before an old Hazel and invites him to join his Owsla. The two depart peacefully into the afterlife.
  • Wreck-It Ralph looks very scary and is a video game villain... but being the villain of his game is actually his job and when he's not doing his job, he's very friendly. There's also Sergeant Calhoun, who dresses in black armor, but she's also the hero of her own game and one of the main characters.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Spider-Man Noir is a big, Deliberately Monochrome Hard Boiled Detective prone to noir monologues and wearing Scary Shiny Goggles, but when they think someone is going to have to make a Heroic Sacrifice, he's just as ready as the others, and he does like to punch Nazis.


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