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Knight Of Cerebus / Web Original

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     Rooster Teeth 
Due to Rooster Teeth's habit of starting out a series fairly light hearted, before adding a dose of Cerebus Syndrome, they've unsurprisingly had quite a few of these.
  • Nomad of Nowhere:
    • Episode five introduces us to The Undertaker. Before then, all the villains after the Nomad have either been incompetent (Red Manuel), silly (Don Paragon), or decent people that just happened to be loyal to bad people (Captain Toth and Skout), but The Undertaker is just a completely creepy and sociopathic grave digger with a rather morbid sense of humor, who puts on phony friendly demeanor to abduct and imprison the Nomad, so he can satisfy his his scientific curiosities about dark magic. During the episode he kills/destroys two of the objects the Nomad brought to life and at one point even tries to dissect the Nomad alive. Tellingly, after he destroys the second object the Nomad brought to life, the normally pacifistic Nomad comes close to killing The Undertaker before he manages stop himself at the last moment.
    • In the very next episode, we finally get a glimpse at the series' Greater-Scope Villain, King El Rey, when the Nomad starts getting flashes of the kings past and we learn that El Rey used to be The Good King who used his magical crown to bestow gifts onto his subjects. But when his crown started to run out of power, he refueled it by devouring magical beings and became increasingly tyrannical as time went on, revealing that he is the reason The Nomad is the last known magical being in the world.
  • Red vs. Blue started as a more comedic series than anything, but towards Out of Mind and Recovery One, it took a turn into dramedy territory, all thanks to the characters below.
    • Recovery One onwards gives us both The Meta and Agent Washington. The former is an Ax-Crazy Genius Bruiser controlled by a psychopathic AI unit that is first introduced by wiping out several members of a Redshirt Army (in the process making the Laughably Evil Omega a Not-So-Harmless Villain), the latter is a ruthless Anti-Hero that will willingly turn on someone without remorse if they betray him. The pair caused the series to dip into dramedy territory, rather than straight up comedy. Wash has a villainous stint from the end of Recreation up till the end of Recollection in which he and Meta team up, causing the show to dip into drama again.
    • Season 11 brings us Locus, a One-Man Army mercenary. Unlike the other two, who were at least given one or two vaguely funny moments, Locus has never been played for laughs, and to date is the only bad guy to cause The Bad Guy Wins and play it completely straight in the entire series.
    • Locus' partner, Felix, who reveals that not only have the two been playing both sides of the civil war to wipe out Chorus' entire population, but that he used the heroes to help him perpetuate the hate the two sides have for each other. Unlike Locus, Felix is completely sociopathic and enjoys twisting the knife whenever he feels it would be most devastating, seemingly taking joy from genocide. What makes him stand out is the fact that before The Reveal, he was funny, but then immediately dropped all pretense of humor afterwards.

    Other 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall starts off as a silly show lighter than many other Channel Awesome productions, but the emphasis of more story-based elements into the series also introduced one character who took the series into a whole new direction: Linkara's robotic counterpart, Mechakara, who was completely devoid of humor and introduced a serious Cerebus Retcon about the true origin of Linkara's Magic Gun. Further appearances don't diminish his threat either and the darker tone established with his presence sticks around through the rest of the series with the introduction of nastier arc villains like Lord Vyce and the Entity.
  • Reflets d'Acide starts out as a light-hearted Heroic Fantasy parody with no villains beside monsters met by the heroes. Then, we get Alia-Aenor, who double-subverts this trope; when first seen, she appears as an intelligent, humongous black dragon. A few minutes later, she turns out to be a female, whose human form, much to the narrator's dismay, is a beautiful girl with a sweet, girly attitude... then she kills a bunch of thieves trying to rob her with a single spell.
  • Geronimon in Godzilla and His Amazing Friends. While previous enemy monsters weren't exactly lighthearted, he's the first one to be depicted as explicitly out to kill the group and have planned to do so (previous monsters were primarily predators or space monsters the group happened to come in conflict with). Word of God has stated that Geronimon's goal is to kill Godzilla's friends one by one, then kill Godzilla himself, and that he's done something in the past that Godzilla will never forgive. He also has the dangerous ability to resurrect other monsters. Not only do he and his monster army nearly beat Gomora and Godzilla to death, it takes the entirety of Monster Island's inhabitants to stop them. And on top of that, he manages to brutally kill Gomora, a recurring ally, by stabbing him to death with his feathers and escape before Godzilla can take his revenge.
  • The Ask Princess Molestia blog is typically about the wacky and lighthearted hijinks of a Memetic Molester and an Adorkable Gamer Chick. However, whenever Fausticorn swings by for a visit, it careens into a rather dark and depressing drama that shows Molestia has some serious issues. Give it a few posts and it's back to normal, but after that first visit, things never quite made it back to the original silliness.
  • Similar to Atop the Fourth Wall, The Spoony Experiment has managed to pull this trope off. The first was with Black Lantern Spoony, who tries to kill the clone Spoony and take the show over. Unlike Spoony's other would be murderers who are dealt with in comedic ways, there is nothing humorous about him. His current arc has Sephiroth. While his exact goals are unknown, he has no comedic traits to him, and the hints we have of his plans are pure Nightmare Fuel. The Guardian, the Big Bad of the Ultima story arc, in fact states he had no plans of conquering Earth because Sephiroth's (though he doesn't refer to him by name) Evil Plan, he feels has already doomed the planet.
  • The Frollo Show has Wilford Brimley who overshadows every previous villain in the show in threat level, who traumatizes Madotsuki and manipulates the other members of Los no Frollos (Batiatus included) to gain limitless power for himself. He succeeds, as he absorbs Madotsuki's sorrows and takes Panty hostage to create an army of perfect soldiers.
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries starts off as mostly a regular rom-com, with short flashes into more serious things such as the Bennet family's finances and the disputes between Lizzie and both Charlotte and Lydia. The story gets exponentially darker when George Wickham enters their lives, ends up dating Lydia, is psychologically abusive and manipulative, almost publishes a sex tape of himself and Lydia for money without her permission, and denies the entire thing later on when Gigi, Lizzie's friend (and sister of Lizzie's love interest Darcy), confronts him about it. (Keep in mind that Gigi dated Wickham once herself, and it ultimately ended up that he was only interested in her because of her money.) He seems to completely get away with it, even though the tape is never released thanks to Darcy's intervention. The worst part about it is that it is heavily implied that Wickham did it just to get back at Lizzie for siding with Darcy instead of him over a dispute between the men that was ages ago and didn't even involve her.
  • The Yogscast Minecraft Series tends to be mostly amusing, focusing on the Yogscast and their somewhat bizarre antics in Minecraft, but throughout the years there have always been some darker villains that cause the humour level to drop:
    • Shadow of Israphel primarily has the titular antagonist, who changed Lewis Brindley and Simon Lane's lighthearted Let's Play into a somewhat more serious show. Initially just a player that harassed them and caused the two frustration, his more horrifying traits have been highlighted more, with his funny ones being phased out of anything canon. He was also revealed to have murdered Knight_Peculier's mother in an outright terrifying flashback, also turning KP's life into something hellish and nearly driving him to suicide.
    • Feed the World was a series revolving around Sjin building a farm and a compound, but episode 25 introduced Strawfingers, a scarecrow that kidnapped Kim Richards, took her to the Nether, fed her chicken and stole Sjin's textures. This was initially a somewhat humorous setup, but later reveals about Strawfingers, namely his murdering Abel's parents and planning to nuke the Sjindig, rendered him in a much darker light.
    • Yoglabs has a downplayed example with Gozencratz and Rildernstern. Compared to all the above examples, they are downright comical, but Yoglabs typically stuck with a Lighter and Softer theme, with most episodes revolving around a minor accident. The duo planned to Take Over the World and their actions have long-lasting consequences that impact the next series, with the implication that something worse is inbound. On a more worrying note, Israphel briefly appears during an episode, and while not there for long the episode loses all humour when he's onscreen.
  • The Cult of Apophis in Yu-Gi-Oh! East Academy presents a very real and significant danger to the heroes; their appearance marks the darkening tone of the RP.
  • Doc Scratch somehow got the players of Destroy the Godmodder interested in actually roleplaying. The more he did, the more people began roleplaying.
  • Noob is set in a MMORPG, so the early villains, while annoying and sometimes genuine threats in-game, were no longer a problem once characters logged off. Then enter Master Zen, who has a deep resentment against the protagonists and is willing to go after them in real life. A plot present in all three incarnations of the franchise included him breaking into one of the protagonist's apartment, while the webseries had him resort to kidnapping and the comic showed outright (but fortunately failed) murder attempts. Even this wasn't enough for Stupid Good Sparadrap who still thinks of Master Zen as his former Guild Master, so his own storyline has Roxana: she become the first player he genuinely hates after she kills his pets and he eventually gets her to break out of her But for Me, It Was Tuesday attitude towards the incident, which causes her to hate him back.
  • Worm was never anything close to light and soft, being about a severely bullied girl finding an escape in her life as a supervillain. The character who shows just how dark the setting is, though, is Leviathan, a gigantic, immensely powerful thing that does literally nothing but try to sink cities and countries into the ocean every year or so. More characters die in the first paragraph of his rampage than in the entire series up until that point. The sheer devastation his attack causes to Brockton Bay leaves the city a gang-ruled ruin that's vulnerable to various other superpowered threats. Prior to this, the only antagonists in the story were local heroes and street gangs.
  • The Smirvlak Trilogy: The series, starting from Smirvlak's Stone normally borders on a Cerebus Rollercoaster, with the worst villain being the Vile Villain, Saccharine Show of Lorko Maeliss — who dies before the climax and never introduces any major lasting effect on the setting. The reveal of Gnekvizz as the villain, however, completely and permanently swings the moon around, causing a complete Downer Ending with the apparent protagonist killed and the tone for the rest of the series set up with him taking the seat as Big Bad.
  • Llamas with Hats: The show switches from being a surreal Black Comedy about a Laughably Evil mass murderer to a Dramedy about a legitimately disturbing (and disturbed) Omnicidal Maniac right around the time the Paul Mask shows up.
  • Vinesauce Tomodachi Life had the Jahns and Vlinny. The streams started out like any other stream from Vinesauce, but then, it goes full on Alien Invasion when these weird guys show up.
  • The Monster from Rainbow Dash Presents: The Haunting. While The Abridged Series My Little Pony: The Mentally Advanced Series, has always been chalk full dark and even depressing elements, as you would be expected in a Crapsaccharine World version of Equestria, ruled by an insane Evil God, with a secret war being fought by Eldritch Abominations and a cynical atmosphere, they had always been Played for Laughs. Until this guy showed up and Mind Raped Twilight into helping it try to devour a couple of the characters, while singing its surprisingly menacing Villain Song "Bones and Skin".
  • Shuffle Quest was a generally light-hearted RPG podcast, until a Mad Max-style tyrant named The Ginormous decapitated fan favorite Terok Nor.
  • The Adventure Zone has Kravitz, the Grim Reaper, who informs the party that they have all died multiple times. He's rather annoyed about this, but they're incredibly confused, because they absolutely do not remember the incidents he's talking about. It's the first sign that the party aren't being told something very important about the quest that they're on.
  • The Heaven Cycle starts out its first two installments as relatively lighthearted and optimistic, with plenty of comedy and snark to balance out the ventures into dark moments, with neither Chayne or Ash ever managing to dampen the setting in a way that lasted bar the reveal of Ash's rape of Tango in the backstory. Then Alice enters the scene halfway through The Touch of Heaven after having previously been introduced in Before Heaven as a creepy but mostly low-scale antagonist, and utterly destroys the lighthearted nature of the series by initiating the attack on Haven, with named characters killed in a contrast to the nature of the previous installments and a permanent change to the status quo resulting from the aftermath. After this point in the series, Cerebus Syndrome sets in, and Alice is all to blame for it.

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