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  • D.Gray-Man has Cross Marian who can convert Akuma—to assist the Exorcists, or help with a mission, but programs them to self-destruct should they attempt to kill anyone, thus destroying their souls forever. And a few other instances. Later, he outright asks "Do you always have to sacrifice something to protect something else?" So, contrary to belief, he's not heartless, and doesn't do these things without some form of regret—as the Author states, he's a man with hardships and hides bitter things.
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  • Light tries to use this to justify his murders in the finale of Death Note after Near finally proves he's Kira, claiming that the world had to be fixed and that no one else would have the guts to keep going as long as he did. Neither the SPK nor the Japanese task force buy it, and Near categorically dismisses Light's justifications, claiming that he is just another petty serial killer. This just pushes Light even further into his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Hughes Gouli from Overman King Gainer belief in Exodus is so much that he states that he will do anything so that they can reach Yapan. During an attack that causes people's thoughts to be broadcast he reveals to Sara that he killed Gainer's parents for being against exodus.
  • Neptune and Uranus from Sailor Moon (seasons S, Stars and the SuperS TV special) consistently fail to learn from their mistakes and are willing to sacrifice lives—both innocent civilians and their own fellow soldiers—on the basis that the end (destroying the enemy) automatically justifies the means. Given that in the realm of Sailor Moon, what consistently defeats the villains is the power of unconditional love and not ruthless strategy, their failure to adjust to her strategy (which actually WORKS) marks them out for the Stupid Sacrifice category. Also, see the end of SailorStars for a classic example of this trope dovetailing with Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
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  • Prince Forsyth of Scrapped Princess invokes this when he kills Pacifica, insisting that he has no choice and that it's for the good of the people. Nonetheless, he acknowledges that Pacifica is an innocent girl who has done nothing wrong and commits suicide along with her in atonement, tearfully apologizing to her all the while.
  • Itachi Uchiha from Naruto practically embodies this trope, though it's a long time before this is revealed. He killed his entire clan, save Sasuke, to prevent a civil war that presumably would have resulted in even more death.
    • Then there is the guy who ordered him to do it, Danzo. Who turns out to actually be a badass in his own right, though he is on the "extremist" side of Well-Intentioned Extremist. He does get to lecture Sasuke on betraying Itachi's will.
    • Also Tobirama Senju, the second Hokage, who feels no guilt regarding how he treated the Uchiha clan. Which, to elaborate, was giving them a position of control in the Leaf's police force. Some time later, his suspicions turn out to not have been completely unwarranted.
  • Lelouch from Code Geass when he loses control of his Geass, and makes Euphemia kill the Japanese. He then proceeds to do what he has to do—and says as much—and kills Euphemia. Then later on he pretty much tells Suzaku that as well.
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    • There's also Lelouch and Cornelia killing people, even the Geass-using children, in the Geass Directorate. You don't take chances with those people. Even though what Lelouch and Cornelia do is considered by most, if not all, of the people who have half an idea on what happened as disgusting, you simply don't want to risk that. Cornelia gets away with it, though—Lelouch pays for it.
      • Though, rather ironically, none of those people who think that it was disgusting realize that it was a hive of Geass Users, who are Britannian assassins, who have done terrible things, murdering Shirley and a crucial role stopping the Black Rebellion amongst them. (Though that was entirely Rolo and V.V., the only ones with names). They then attempt to kill Lelouch using the same reasoning.
    • This is Charles zi Britannia's view on exiling Lelouch and Nunnally to Japan in order to protect them from his brother V.V.—somewhat subverted by the fact that, ultimately, he didn't care about whether or not they survived in the end, something Lelouch deftly points out in their final confrontation, and something that Charles doesn't even bother to deny, unlike Marianne.
  • More or less King's justification for having turned Demon Card into a criminal organization in Rave Master
  • There is a lot of this from the villains in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Generally, it turns out that they didn't, although since the Distant Finale stops somewhat before the destruction of the universe, we're not quite sure about the last set.
  • Windaria: Alan's justification for flooding Lunaria to stop the war and save The Valley from being a warzone.
  • In Saint Beast, Zeus considers killing the old gods a regrettable but necessary action.
  • Bleach:
    • When Ichigo tries to confront Ukitake and Byakuya at Rukia's prison, Yoruichi intervenes and stabs her hand into Ichigo's wounds to insert a tranquilliser into his body so she can carry him away from the location as quickly as possible. When Ichigo comes round and demands to know why she did that and why she didn't try to save Rukia, Ganju or Hanatarou, she explains that she had to do it this way because Byakuya was too strong for Ichigo to fight and too fast for Yoruichi to be able to escape if carrying more than one person. She also knew Ukitake would protect the others from any consequences of being associated with Ichigo.
    • Mayuri has a confrontation with Yamamoto over taking a very important decision without first consulting Yamamoto and his response is that he had to do what was necessary because the problem required an immediate response and couldn't afford to be tied up by Celestial Bureaucracy. The decision in question was whether to kill or not, twenty-eight thousand residents of Soul Society to stabilize the cosmic balance of souls that exist to prevent the universe from breaking.
    • Katagiri was asked to keep a secret but felt forced to reveal it because she believed the secret would threaten the Ishida family's future. The secret was that Masaki had saved a Soul Reaper, but Katagiri noticed Masaki received a Hollow-tainted wound. She acted based on Ryuuken's earlier statement to her that the future of the family depended on their bloodline remaining untainted. Katagiri's decision was the correct one, as Masaki's tainted wound would have destroyed her had she not received treatment in time.
  • Ryo Narushima of Shamo uses this to justify killing his own parents (of all things!) in the first chapter of the manga. After that... well, let's just say he gets a little too used to this trope.
  • In Girls und Panzer, when Miho asks Maho about shooting the German flag tank when it went to rescue one of Maho's teammates, she coldly says "...Miho. What I did was Nishizumi-style Panzerkraft. I gave the order to shoot". However, when she first hears about what she did, she seems shocked and almost hurt, and when her mother tells her it was a good decision, she looks displeased.
  • Kycilia Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam uses this to justify killing her older brother and supreme commander of Zeon, Gihren Zabi, in the middle of the final battle. Given that he had just confessed to murdering their father and chief of state with the opening shot of the battle just as he was negotiating an armistice, she's justified.
    "Get rid of the body! Even a supreme commander can't get away with the assassination of his own father. If any of you disagree, then file charges against me after the battle's over!"
  • Erwin Smith is a primary example of how successful commanders think in Attack on Titan, with all the unpleasant implications that come with it. Though he cares about his men, he is perfectly willing to sacrifice them (or himself) if doing so provides a possible victory. He uses this to justify allowing a battle between two Titan Shifters within a major city, causing considerable destruction and loss of life in the process.
    • Bertolt Hoover states it had to be done when confronted about committing mass murder by kicking in the gates at Shiganshina and Trost.
      • Reiner Braun is also of this philosophy, as both of them (and Annie) are part of the Kingdom of Marley's Tyke Bomb Child Soldier training program in which they, along with Marcel, were sent on a mission to Paradis Island in order to retrieve the Founding Titan from within its walls. After Reiner meets up with Eren for the first time in four years, expressing remorse for his actions, Eren uses this trope against Reiner, saying "I'm just like you" and that he's simply playing his role in life just as Reiner, Bertolt and Annie were playing theirs. He then turns into his Titan form and kills Willy Tybur, the true ruler of Marley.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho: In the original, uncut script, Dr. Kamiya taunted Yusuke about the fact that in order to save the people in the hospital made ill by his power, Yusuke would have to kill him: something that would challenge his qualification as a Spirit Detective. KO was not an option since Kamiya had full control of his bodily functions and could keep himself from passing out. Ultimately, Yusuke does deliver one hard punch that sends Kamiya flying out a window and ultimately stops his heart with the trauma. Yusuke mentally justifies himself with the trope, and Genkai later concurs out loud. She also revives Kamiya with a chest compression to further relieve Yusuke's guilt.
  • This was Reinhard's excuse to Kircheis in Legend of Galactic Heroes as to why he didn't save the 2 million civilians from being nuked by the corrupt nobles. Though the real reason was that Oberstein orchestrated that the nobles actually do what they did to boost Reinhard's position. After this event however, he decides never to make any excuses again.
  • Subverted in Bokurano, Youko Machi, the one who led her classmates from the nature school to the cave, and thus getting them caught up in the deadly "game" of piloting Zearth, knowing full well what would happen, since she'd gone through this before, realizes that someone had to fight for the planet, but doesn't use that as an excuse for her actions, which she feels guilty about.
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