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Ape Shall Never Kill Ape

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"Humanoids live to kill. Without a common enemy to fight, they divide. Destroy each other. Insectoids live to survive. No conflicts divide us. We build upon each other. Kin does not kill kin."
— Excerpt from D'Vorah's Tower Ending, Mortal Kombat 11

A race, species, or other group feels morally free to capture, torture, maim, psychologically brutalize, destroy, commit genocide against, and generally toy with the lives of "lesser" species while still feeling morally superior by virtue of the fact that they would never do such horrible things to their own kind. Particularly, they would never kill anyone of their own kind, and look down on other races, who prove their barbarity through killing each other.

They don't necessarily think they're morally superior because they don't kill each other. They just think they're better, and the fact that they don't kill each other is indirect proof of that. If they do start killing each other, don't expect them to suddenly realize they're no better (except perhaps for the Defector from Decadence). They've probably got tons more reasons why they're better, all of them as irrational as that one. They might, for example, call those of their own group who are being killed and/or those who are doing the killing "primitive", "racially inferior", "malformed", "cursed", or even "impostors."

This sometimes appears as an aesop is Humans Kill Wantonly/Humans Are the Real Monsters and the audience is supposed to assume that the group really is morally superior to humans, though in a "they're bad, but not as bad as humans" way.

In reality, this is generally not the rule for life on Earth, as countless species will fight amongst themselves for territory, resources, or mating rights. This includes all known species of apes. And of course, humanity's long history of warfare and murder speaks for itself.

Usually part of Cultural Posturing; also a subtrope of Moral Myopia. See also Thou Shalt Not Kill, What Measure Is a Non-Human?, Even Evil Has Standards. Contrast In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • At one point in After War Gundam X, Tiffa has a psychic chat with some Newtype dolphins, and explains human cruelty to them, since "Dolphins never attack one another". This is utter bollocks, since dolphins are actually well-known in scientific circles for their habit of killing one another for absolutely no reason other than "For the Lulz." Then again, it might be because the anime was made way back in 1996.
  • Appleseed the movie: "Bioroids don't kill other bioroids!" This time they are morally superior to humans, because that's what they were designed to be from the beginning. As a downside they can't feel positive emotions as strongly as humans, either.
  • Attack on Titan: The humans think Titans are like this, since they never attack each other. Until the Rogue Titan shows up anyway. Also gets subverted in other ways: the Titan spies kill their own kind to keep to their disguises and the Female Titan specifically summons a large number of Titans to consume her Titan body and escape in human form. In Chapter 50, we also discover that Eren not only has the power to transform into a Titan, but also direct them to attack certain specific targets, including normal Titans. Ymir then realizes that this is the reason that the Titan Shifters, those who can also transform into Titans, are so hellbent on capturing him alive.
    • By the end of the manga, it has been made very apparent that the precursors to the Titans, the Eldians, did not abide by this trope. Hell, the progenitor of the Titans was hunted for sport by her own (future) husband!
  • In the manga of Chrono Crusade, it is mentioned that a Demon killing another Demon is an unforgivable crime which brands the killer as a Sinner. The law-abiding Demons, the Pursuers, are then obliged to hunt down and kill all Sinners. So it's more 'Ape Shall Never Kill Ape Unless The Ape To Be Killed Is An Outlaw'.
  • Defied in a filler scene from Dragon Ball Z. Some low-level mooks are monitoring SSJ Goku and Freeza's fight from another planet, and one of them expresses hope that Freeza might lose. He's immediately shot by another mook of the same species, who declares that there are no more individual races - just those who obey Freeza and those who disobey.
    • Enforced and justified with the Gods of Destruction. They could fight or kill each other, but they're forbidden from doing so by the Grand Priest. Two Gods of Destruction going at it have the potential to destroy universes in the crossfire, so there's damn good reason for this. The only time they're allowed to fight each other with full strength is when they're in the World of Void, since there's nothing there for them to accidentally destroy.
  • This becomes a problem in the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch anime with Sara, a mermaid villain that appears late in the first season. When the princesses try to use their Magic Music on her, it has absolutely no effect, since it's apparently hard-wired into their powers that they can't hurt other mermaids. This, however, doesn't prevent Sara from sending them into fits of agony with her own Villain Song once it's revealed that she too is a princess. The rule doesn't seem to exist in the manga, and the only reason they can't hurt her is because she's just that strong.
  • In Mission: Yozakura Family, The one and only rule in the Yozakura family is that family members cannot kill each other under any circumstances. This rule is what convinces Taiyo to marry Mutsumi, as it was the only way he could protect her and himself from Kyoichiro's wrath.
  • Arlong of One Piece staunchly sticks to this. While he's outright brutal to humans and won't hesitate to kill them, he reframes from harming his own kind since his cause is to take revenge for his kind for their treatment by abusive humans in the past. When Luffy uses one of his crew as a shield to avoid one of Arlong's attacks, he quickly apologizes to his crewmate and becomes further incensed that Luffy would pull that. Hordy Jones shows he is more vile than Arlong when he doesn't follow this view, and uses one of his own men as a shield.

    Comic Books 
  • Discussed and defied in House of X. During the first meeting of the Quiet Council, the mutants there start to discuss what laws they should take. Mr. Sinister suggests that mutants should never kill other mutants. However, because there's a way to resurrect mutants, they come to realize that this point is really moot. They amend the idea to just mutants not killing humans unless it's self-defense.
  • In the comic Marville it is stated by God that only humans kill their own species. Oh, and the author wasn't making a joke, he fully believes this.
    • In reviewing this comic in his online series Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara calls the author out on this:
      "Sure, humans kill each other. We kill for passion, madness, rage, love, war, and Lord knows other things. And yet, we've got six billion people running around the planet, almost as if people who kill other people are the EXCEPTION rather than the rule! And don't tell me animals never kill their own. Animals are frickin' dicks to each other, whether it's the cuckoo bird that kills off another cuckoo bird's children so that the new one will try to raise them, ant colonies that go to war with one another and enslave other ants into them, or even mountain gorillas who will kill another one if it wanders into their territory. In other words, take your self-righteous, moral-aggrandizing, holier-than-thou attitude, and choke on it, along with this comic!"
  • Mutafukaz: The Macho Aliens think themselves better than humans because, for all their psychotic impulses on ruling humanity, they refuse to kill each other while humans will go to war over a piece of shitty territory. Of course, considering the guy saying this is a Card-Carrying Villain who has no issue with murdering half-breeds...
  • Brutally defied in Star Wars: Legacy: a quarren politician tries to stop the genocidal Sith attack on the Mon Calamari by invoking this at quarren Sith Darth Azard and gets killed for it; Azard sees things like species or ethnicity as irrelevant, identifying as Sith above all else. And even if he didn’t, he certainly wouldn’t ascribe to this trope, given he’s a total sociopath.
  • In Tellos, Hawke at one point manages to get out of trouble by invoking this trope when caught cheating at a betting game. Since it's forbidden for two members of the elven Ulfen race to raise arms against each other, he pretends to want a fight and then happens to remember that this is forbidden.

    Fan Works 
  • In Son of the Desert Scar becomes reluctant to kill Edward when the latter reveals himself to be Ishvalan despite thinking them as Category Traitors otherwise.
  • In the extended Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, the Librarian embodies this theme. He conceded the City Zoo may keep gorillas and chimpanzees and accepts that to them, this is like a lifetime pass to a five-star hotel with their every need attended to. Indeed, he is consultant to the Zoo and advocates for Ape Rights. However, woe betide the Zoo director if she even thinks of exhibiting captured orang-utans. note . The Librarian also regularly visits the City's import-export business in exotic animals just to make sure they aren't dealing in orangs on the sly. He is also known to drop in on All Johnson's Howondalandian Food Emporium (Almost every taste from the continent!) to ensure a very strict ''Absolutely no bushmeat! The Librarian comes and checks!" provision is being rigidly adhered to. it is not known what happens to Howondalandians who try to illegally meet a market for bushmeat. But they tend not to last very long.
  • Star Trek fanfic The Night the Day the War Began by Alara Rogers has Q coming to grips with the horror of Q actually killing other Q in their civil war. It's unthinkable and yet it's all around him and, by this point, inescapable. And qualitatively different from mortals dying, both because of the enormity of the distinction between mortals and Q, and because it's actually possible to bring mortals back to life — but not even Q can return Q to life, or undo the time during which the war happened.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, it's established that the one law which the Lurdens have amongst what passes for their society is that they don't kill their own kind.
  • Summoned animals from the same tribe refuse to fight each other in Son of the Sannin. Should two combatants with the same contract perform a summoning, they'll simply desummon themselves until the fight is over. Anko takes advantage of this during her fight against Orochimaru, since he has access to bigger snakes and it's therefore a bigger disadvantage for him.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): It's mentioned several times that Grimm never kill each other except by accident (such as a little one running under the feet of a big one and getting stomped). This is one of the reasons that the few Grimm intelligent enough to speak consider themselves far superior to humans. Salem herself points out that she's done practically nothing evil for the past twenty-five years, but humanity has still nearly managed to wipe themselves out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien franchise:
    • Aliens: Ripley appeals to this trope when she says, "You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage."
    • Alien: Resurrection:
      • Several Aliens tear apart another to acidically burn through the ship. However, it apparently did this voluntarily, sacrificing itself to allow the others to escape. Even if it wasn't, it wasn't petty "murder" but a necessary step to allow their race to survive. That, and these particular aliens had been spliced with human DNA, so they weren't like normal Xenomorphs...
      • Call also brings this up after Ripley 8, who is also a hybrid (since she was the host that the new Xenomorphs were cloned from), shoots a Xenomorph, asking her why she would basically kill one of "her own kind". Ripley just shrugs it off with a dismissive "It was in my way".
      • Whether it's more human or alien, the Newborn at the end viciously averts this. Its first act after being born is matricide. Its second act is to crush a human soldier's head. The only person it doesn't try to hurt is Ripley.
    • A similar thing in done in AVP: Alien vs. Predator, where aliens tear apart their kin so the acidic blood dissolves the chains holding the Queen.
  • The Skeksis in The Dark Crystal are an Always Chaotic Evil race which delight in insulting, manipulating, humiliating, and even torturing other Skeksis, and will never turn down an opportunity to stab one another in the back, they draw the line at actually killing one another. It's because they are a Dying Race of immortals that fear death so greatly that the idea of any of their own being killed is too terrifying to consider. Even their Trial by Combat consists of hitting a stone pillar until it breaks rather than actual fighting.
  • Planet of the Apes is the Trope Namer, although it ultimately does not play this trope straight.
    • Original series:
      • In the first film, Dr. Cornelius the chimpanzee reads the following excerpt from a foundational text of ape religion: "Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land." However, as the Real Life section shows, non-human apes have also been known to kill each other over territory; in fact, chimps like Cornelius are particularly prevalent to this.
      • The phrase "Ape shall not kill ape" appears in the second movie, Beneath the Planet of the Apes as part of a Sadistic Choice forced upon the apes by the psychic human mutants: the gorilla soldiers are given a vision of their comrades dying in slow agony and begging for a Mercy Kill, even though it would violate this law. Dr. Zaius, however, is able to intuit that the whole thing is an illusion created by the Psychic Powers of their enemies, freeing them from the moral dilemma.
      • In the next movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, the chimpanzee Dr. Milo is killed by a modern day, un-evolved gorilla after travelling back in time to the 20th Century. The other chimpanzee characters seem to refuse to think through the implications of this, apparently reasoning that this "doesn't count".
      • The final film in the original series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, is the one that really emphasizes this trope as one of the prime laws of ape society, and it's a huge plot point when the law is finally, unambiguously broken: General Aldo kills Caesar's son Cornelius, and is then killed in vengeance by Caesar himself. The shock of this realization is what ultimately forces Caesar, the ape leader, to stop his paternalistic Cultural Posturing and accept that apes, like humans, are flawed, and therefore, they must all be equals.
    • Subverted by General Thade in Planet of the Apes (2001). He claims that apes are morally superior to humans because humans are inherently savage compared to their "more cultured" kind, but he has no problem with killing any apes who are opposed to his plans to wipe out mankind. Or even because they've seen too much.
    • The Chernin series has kept this trope in more or less the exact setup as Battle.
      • However, a No True Scotsman invocation helps Caesar get around it in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as Koba (Aldo's equivalent character) had abjectly defied their species. Given that Koba had already attempted to assassinate Caesar and killed other apes, the others don't object too much.
      • It gets brought up again in War for the Planet of the Apes after Caesar accidentally suffocates Winter to death trying to keep him quiet whilst interrogating him in a military camp. Soon after, a vision of Koba appears, taunting him with the phrase whilst blood drips down his face, representing Caesar's fear that he's going down the same path Koba did.
      • About 300 years later in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, Raka is among the only apes (perhaps the only ape) who remember this teaching from Caesar, while the Proximus tribe practices no such teaching from Caesar despite claiming him as their forebearer (the Eagle Clan, meanwhile, has forgotten about Caesar altogether although they want to live peacefully). Though even Raka has to get around it as he clubs a fellow ape off his horse to save Noa and Mae (probably rightfully guessing Caesar wouldn't mind in such a situation).
  • In X-Men: First Class, Sebastian Shaw lightly scolds Emma, after she punts Erik off their yacht, that, "We don't hurt our own kind." Later, however, he kills Darwin, and his team later go all-out to hurt/kill the X-Men; and of course, he beats up Erik on the sub, while trying to convince him to change sides.

  • This is one of the original Seven Commandments of Animal Farm, conveniently discarded when Napoleon became convinced there were traitors in his midst.
  • Roald Dahl's The BFG. Giants is never killing giants; only humans is. In fact, the BFG claims that humans are the only species on the planet that kill their own kind (which is actually not true). In the cartoon, Fleshlumpeater tries to kill the BFG after his plan to imprison the evil giants is exposed, on the basis that he doesn't consider him a true giant anymore, but a "human bean". There is also a moment when the giants try to eat the BFG when they are first imprisoned in the pit, but that is more because they won't have any humans to eat.
  • Discworld:
    Or, as another Discworld character once put it, the point of rules is to think before you break them.
    • The noble dragon in Guards! Guards! is a proud, sadistic creature who demands absolute fealty and the occasional Human Sacrifice ... and is shocked to learn that, if it's presented correctly, humans may not entirely have a problem with this.
      Dragon: You have the effrontery to be squeamish. But we were dragons. We were supposed to be cruel, cunning, heartless and terrible. But this much I can tell you, you ape — we never burned and tortured and ripped one another apart and called it morality.
  • In Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series (part of his Technic History), Flandry is an Agent for the Terran Empire. Kidnapped by an alien race, the alien race asserts that they are far more civilized than the Terran Empire, as they would never betray an oath or otherwise be dishonest (except to other, lesser, races, like humans). He soon has the entire leadership of the planet backstabbing each other, noting that their refusal to admit that they, too, can betray each other if the price is right, is what enabled him to succeed in destroying them.
  • In the Dragonriders of Pern novels, dragonriders consider killing one another to be unthinkable, because the death of a rider means the rider's dragon dies as well. When an Ax-Crazy Oldtimer attacks F'lar, he doesn't dare to fight back with lethal force until it's revealed that the man's dragon just died in a failed attempt to mate with a queen dragon. Once F'lar knows the situation, he kills without hesitation.
  • Ender's Game features an odd kind of aversion when a major difference between the Formics and Humanity is discovered. The Formics are an insect-like hive species with millions of drones controlled by singular Hive Queens. They assumed humans functioned like that in their first encounters and simply disposed of what they presumed to be mere drones with no more remorse than a human would have over clipping their fingernails. The Formics didn't conceptually understand that anything could be "sentient" that wasn't the queen of a hive-mind. When they realized that each individual human was a single sentient creature, their guilt over the number of lives they had taken was enough that they essentially accepted their own near-extinction in retaliation.
  • Inverted in Fablehaven. If you aren't a dragon, killing one is considered an insult to their entire race and marks you for death. Luckily, most dragons are locked away in seven sanctuaries and only leave when The End of the World as We Know It is upon them, hence why Vanessa, Kendra, and Seth are dragon slayers and still alive at the end.
  • In The Four Horsemen Universe it's rare but not unheard-of for human mercenary companies to fight each other on the job (one such instance happens in the Short Story "Hero of Styx"). The Four Horsemennote  have a gentlemen's agreement not to take contracts where they'd possibly fight each other.
  • The gnomes in the appropriately-named Gnomesaga do not have a history of inter-gnome violence. Plotting against each other, frame-up jobs, and smear campaigns are legitimate, though.
  • From the New World: A thorough Deconstruction of this concept. Humans do not kill humans — even the idea is repugnant and incomprehensible. Not only are they socially conditioned to have a very strong aversion to killing or violence, they were also biologically modified with a death feedback response, a "self-destruct mechanism" that kills them with their own PK power should they ever kill another member of their species. The non-human bakenezumi have no such aversion to killing other bakenezumi and even fight wars for territory and slaves (under human supervision, as a controlled outlet for their aggression). This seems to play into the human perception of the bakenezumi as sub-human and potentially dangerous, though it certainly doesn't stop humans from using the bakenezumi in order to kill those humans who show signs of throwing off the social conditioning or who otherwise pose a threat to their social order. Finally, it's revealed in the end that the bakenezumi were originally humans who lacked PK. Without the ability to give them a death feedback response, the same scientists who created the death feedback response instead mutated them into creatures that would no longer be recognized as "human," thus allowing humans to control them through the threat of violence even while creating their ideal pacifist society.
  • The novelization to Gremlins says that Mogwai are incapable of killing each other. Gremlins, however, feel no such limitation.
  • Gulliver's Travels concludes with Gulliver visiting the land of the Houyhnhnms, (a race of intelligent horses) who keep the Yahoos (a race of unintelligent humans) as pack animals, somewhat analogous to how people treat horses. The Houyhnhnms, however, insist that they're better than humans because of how humanely and reasonably they treat each other, whereas we're constantly making wars. They don't treat Yahoos badly — no worse than we treat horses, anyway — but they refuse to try to help human society achieve the level of harmony they claim to have. They don't really have anything to teach Gulliver except that Humans Are the Real Monsters and that Houyhnhnms are great. Considering how ridiculous he makes Gulliver's behaviour after learning this, it's pretty clear that Swift — for all that he was a bit of misanthrope himself — didn't think much of the Houyhnhnms either.
  • The Souls from The Host (2008) would never harm each other...but don't extend the same courtesy to humans (they do seem to want to prevent unnecessarily killing humans, but likely only so they can be used as hosts).
  • Drizzt Do'Urden of The Icewind Dale Trilogy went through this. In The Dark Elf Trilogy, Drizzt takes a personal oath never to kill his own kind even as he is being hunted down by them. This works out fine while he's living on the surface and never actually meets any other drow, but in the Legacy of the Drow Series his family show up and he's forced to realize the hypocrisy of refusing to kill his (generally Chaotic Evil and Ax-Crazy) own kind but freely slaying members of races like humans who are usually less evil. He tosses aside the old vow in favor of a new one, to never kill except in defense of himself or another.
  • The Paris vampires in Interview with the Vampire have only one rule: don't kill another vampire. Breaking that rule is punishable by death.
  • Invisible Man: Pretty much the only thing restraining Ras the Exhorter is that he refuses to kill other black people. At first, anyways.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Non-villain example: The Hobbits are big on not killing each other. To a certain degree this is a result of their unique nature, but there are factors contributing to it and in no Hobbit society is it any more present than in the Shire. During the Scouring of the Shire sequence, Frodo's orders are not to kill the Hobbits working with the evil Men who have taken over the Shire. He says, "No hobbit has ever killed another hobbit on purpose in the Shire and it is not to begin now." However, the Miller Sandyman says that he heard that Frodo's mother pushed Frodo’s father into a river, and he pulled her in after him. So even if it’s only Malicious Slander, the mere idea of killing other hobbits, if just in theory, is not new in the Shire.
    • Then there is the rest of the Hobbit communities including the Fallohide one also known as the river folk where, centuries ago, Sméagol a member of it killed his cousin Déagol due to being susceptible to the corrupting influence of the Ring and transformed into Gollum.
    • The elves have similarly a history of civilised behaviour and strict principles about being good to one another. There have been three major elf-on-elf battles, detailed in The Silmarillion, but they were so notable as to each be historical events (the "Kinslayings"), and were all tied to an illicit oath taken by the Elf-King Fëanor concerning the Silmarils, legendary gems that provided the book's title and the very dishonourable behaviour of his sons.
  • In Lost Voices, the mermaids follow a code of honor called the timahk, the violation of which will get someone expelled from the tribe. The rules state that no mermaid can hurt another, no mermaid who hasn't broken the timahk can be banished from the tribe, any new mermaid must be welcomed into whatever tribe finds her, and any mermaid who sees another mermaid in trouble must do her best to help her, unless interfering is too dangerous. These rules do not extend to humans, and every few weeks the mermaids use their enchanted voices to sink a ship to get revenge on humanity for the traumas that caused them to transform into mermaids.
  • The Magister Trilogy: The titular Magisters have an absolute rule never to make war on, harm, or oppose each other. This is apparently a form of Geas they have placed on themselves to keep their Black Magic from driving them into self-destruction, and becomes a serious issue when one Magister accidentally kills another and threatens to undermine the binding.
  • October Daye: Codified by Oberon's Law. No pureblood of The Fair Folk shall kill another pureblood. Of course, this led to the creation of Elfshot so war could still be waged (it's not killing if your foe sleeps for a hundred years). The Law itself doesn't protect changelings or humans, and many a Fae has found ways around it like Rhys, former King of Silences, who kept the usurped royal family under elfshot and carved pieces of them for alchemical potions.
  • Particularly Anvilicious in The Once and Future King, which claims that ants, termites, and humans are the only animals that make war on each other. This is almost true (chimps also have wars), but just because other animals don't have war doesn't mean they never kill each other.
  • Played with by the Presger in The Imperial Radch Trilogy. The Presger acknowledge two types of life, "Significant" life, and non-Significant life. While treating non-Significant life as entertainment or art projects. Presger will not harm Significant species, nor will they permit Significant species to harm each other. The Presger force any species they recognize as Significant to sign treaties enforcing this, with the understanding that if they break said treaty it will be Very Bad for them. However, the Presger do not understand 'individuality' or 'identity' in any form recognizable for a human, so Significant species are fully allowed to make war on and destroy members of their own species without fear of Presger involvement. The Presger apparently realized the Radch was doing something harmful to the rest of humanity, and armed the Gaarsedai inner council with Presger handguns to teach Anander Mianaai a small lession about the treaty's limits.
  • An aversion of this forms the Twist Ending of the Philip K. Dick story "Second Variety", which takes place during a Robot War between humanity and the human-like "claws". At the end, one of the Second Variety of claws has smuggled itself aboard a spaceship to the last human settlement, there to exterminate humanity. However, as the protagonist notes with a sense of grim satisfaction, what made the Second Variety so convincing as a human is that it was perfectly willing to kill other Varieties of claw, to the point of inventing a weapon that affects other Varieties but not the Second. Humanity might be finished, but the claws are almost certainly going to destroy themselves next.
  • Sector General: Justified with the Cinrusskins: as a race of empaths, no sane Cinrusskin has ever killed another as the pain of death is shared with both the victim and the murderer.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, vampires killing other vampires is strictly taboo.
  • Zig-zagged in A Song of Ice and Fire. In the Iron Islands, it's forbidden for one Ironborn to shed the blood of another, but drowning them or disposing of them in a similarly bloodless manner is perfectly okay.
    • Similarly, the Dothraki are forbidden from spilling blood in Vaes Dothrak... and all the merchants employ very large men with garrottes for security.
  • Chains of Violence: In this Star Trek novel, there are the Tseesk, bird-like creatures who enslaved a human colony. They repeatedly talk about how their society cares for each of them, and how humans in the colony they found were nothing like this — and this somehow gives them the right to make humans into slaves and when humans revolt, the Tseesk declare that humans are too much of a threat to be allowed to exist free, and want to exterminate them. Then it turns out that once Tseesk occupied 14 planets, but then they started a Civil War which rendered 10 planets uninhabitable, one planet was inhabitable but all Tseesk there died (this was a planet humans had their colony on), another turned into ice world where surviving Tseesk degenerated into primitive tribes, and only one planet survived mostly intact, thoug they still have to rely on tech from before the war which they now cannot replicate. Not really friendly to each other, either.
  • Thieves' World: The purpose of the Blue Star Order is to produce very powerful Adepts to fight in the Apocalypse, so they strictly forbid the killing of fellow Adepts. So Adepts (who are not a particularly savory bunch) don't kill each other, because their kind are superior. This probably skirts a subversion, due to the reversal of causality.
    • In some stories focusing on the Adepts, there turns out to be a catch to this. One of the keystones to a Blue Star Adept's power is an individual secret that, if learned by another magician, allows the learner to claim the Adept's power (and if learned by a nonmagician can often render the Adept powerless anyway). A powerless Adept is useless in the final battle and is thus fair game. So Adepts never attack each other, nor do they conspire for anybody else to... but that doesn't mean there aren't ultimately lethal vendettas going on.
  • Isaac Asimov's Caliban: The trope is discussed shortly after the climax of Utopia. When forced to choose between saving the insane New Law robot Prospero and the virulently anti-New Law and anti-No Law Simcor Beddle, Caliban decides that Prospero's willingness to kill humans and Beddle's willingness to kill robots were equivalent acts of evil. But Prospero had destroyed other robots, even other New Law robots to achieve his goals, and Caliban had no evidence that Beddle had or was willing to kill other humans for gain. This made Beddle marginally less loathsome than Prospero, and so Caliban shot his friend and rescued his enemy. So basically, an ape that will not kill ape is a better ape than one that will, but that isn't enough to make the first ape a good ape in absolute terms.
  • Vladimir Vasilyev's Wolfish Nature duology takes place in an alternate world where humans evolved from dogs. One of the defining moments of canus sapiens sapiens history is the Bio-Correction in the 18th century, when the "wolf gene" was bred out of every person on Earth, essentially creating this trope. The mere thought of killing another human is repulsive. Doing it usually means the person goes insane after the act. Only trained agents (and then only if they go through proper mental conditioning) have a chance of coming out of a mission where they are forced to kill with their psyche relatively intact. Even then they still spend weeks or even months in psychological recovery. There have been no wars since the Bio-Correction. The plot of the duology involves the discovery of an enclave of "wolves" - non-corrected humans who can still kill. It's not so much that the whole world is afraid of them. It's the fact that any country with a live specimen can use that to clone a whole army of merciless killers. At the end of the second novel, the protagonist finds out from a geneticist that the Bio-Correction was a lie of the Clap Your Hands If You Believe variety - if people are conditioned to think they're incapable of killing and will go insane if they do, then this is what will happen. Artistic License – Biology here-Any decent geneticist understands that aggression is not a single gene that can be surgically removed. Then again, most non-geneticists will gladly believe in LEGO Genetics, especially in a world where Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke is true. This seems to imply that all geneticists since the 18th century have been in on the secret and have been keeping it from others..
  • In H. P. Lovecraft et al "The Challenge from Beyond" the centipede-like Yekubians exterminated all other life forms of their galaxy but are utterly incapable of even conceiving the idea of killing each other.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Babylon 5, "Minbari do not kill Minbari." Although this tends to be interpreted rather loosely at times or with certain qualifications, it was ultimately what saved humanity from destruction during the Earth-Minbari War, when it was discovered that humans and Minbari share souls, which effectively meant humans were Minbari and thus shouldn't be killed.
    • Midway through the fourth season, this gets tossed out the window after some slippery-slope logic by the Warrior Caste. The Warrior caste bombs Religious caste cities. How do they justify it? They're just destroying infrastructure. If anyone gets hurt, it's their own fault for walking around where they're not supposed to be. When cities do surrender with the promise of being let go, the Warriors do let them go... into the tundra, without any supplies. Most don't survive the long trip on foot to the nearest town. Not long after, the Minbari Federation falls into a full-on civil war.
    • Minbari have a tradition called denn'sha, which is a ritual fight to the death. The meaning of the word means "Denial", and by partaking in it, they deny being Minbari for the duration of the fight. The loser is not considered "killed" by their opponent so much as having committed ritual-assisted suicide.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "Humans don't respect life the way we do," from D'Anna after the Cylons have exterminated billions of humans (and presumably severely damaged the biospheres of their planets, what with the nuclear fallout and such). Caprica-Six clubbing this self-same D'Anna over the head with a rock is later denounced as "the first act of Cylon-on-Cylon violence in our history" (though it's really not) during a discussion on executing human detainees. Hypocritically, a Five shoots Caprica-Six for speaking out against the execution. They later resorted to simply blowing each other and the trope to bits with their Basestars. Moreover, Three's comment is incorrect, as Cavil-One killed all maturing copies of Daniel-Seven, then contaminated the genetic code out of jealousy, then scrubbed the memories of the other Cylons regarding the event.
    • The irony is that in doing so, Caprica-Six prevented D'Anna-Three from unknowingly committing another act of Cylon-on-Cylon violence. Patricide, in fact.
    • The Cylons justify their genocide of humanity with "they would have destroyed themselves anyway". We find that a whole tribe of Cylons actually destroyed themselves. Plus, the modern Cylons mostly destroyed themselves too, eventually.
    • Suffice to say, the Cylons were really big on hypocrisy.
    • Played straight, however, by the semi-sentient Cylon Raiders, who refuse to continue attacking the Fleet after one of them scans Sam Anders and recognizes him as a humanoid Cylon, with the Basestar Hybrid even repeating the mantra, "They will not harm their own." Until Brother Cavil decides to have the Raiders lobotomized so that it won't happen again, which sets off an Enemy Civil War when the Sixes, Leobens and Sharons object.
  • Like True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer carries this aspect, but with all demons. In Season 4, after being implanted with a chip that shocks him whenever he attempts to attack humans, Spike (a vampire) becomes gleeful when he discovers that he still has the capacity to harm other demons and vampires. He's then ostracized by those who show contempt for anyone willing to kill "their kind."
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a single exception to this is presented when the Chamberlain kills the General because the General took his spot as the Emperor's adviser, having plotted out this murder for nearly an entire season, highlighting both how much the Chamberlain despises the General and how far he's willing to go in his quest for power.
  • A somewhat interesting inversion in Dark Shadows. The Leviathan are instead forbidden from using lethal force against humans. Though it's more to avoid even larger problems. Or it's supposed to be, but Real Life Writes the Plot, and the storyline didn't fully make sense in that regard.
  • In Defiance, the Omec refuse to eat other Omec except in special ceremonies with deceased relatives. Despite this, the Omec will quite happily eat other Votan races, which is why when the Votan star went nova, the other Votans sabotaged the Omec ark and left them to die.
  • In the Doctor Who story "The Power of the Daleks", a Dalek asks a human why they kill each other, not understanding it at the time. Of course, in later stories, Daleks started killing each other too, however in those instances the Daleks in question saw the other Daleks as impure, and thus not truly Daleks.
  • The Terrians in Earth 2 are actually incapable of attacking their own kind. A bad guy takes advantage of this by wearing a necklace of Terrian bones, and until it's removed they can't kill him. Of course, when it does finally get taken off, he's dragged underground pretty quickly.
  • The Observers in Fringe. In the fifth season, they subjugate our world and pollute the air to make it more breathable for them, consequently shortening human lifespans. When Windmark finds that Nina has been experimenting on Observers, he is disgusted and declares humans to be "animals".
  • In Earth: Final Conflict it is said on more than one occassion that a Taelon cannot kill another due to the Commonality they are all part of. As time goes by, this link is said to be weakening, and later in the series it becomes weak enough that a Taleon CAN kill another.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In a Santiago-centric TV spot, he teaches Claudia that one of the vampire laws is "No vampire may ever destroy another vampire."
  • In Lost Girl Fae apparently aren't supposed to feed on each other, as that's what humans are for. Despite this Bo, a succubus, regularly feeds on other Fae and no one objects. This may be because succubi (and the like) have a very pleasurable form of feeding so people are willing to allow it. It could also be that while feeding on other Fae is allowed, killing them to feed is illegal. That again is what humans are for.
  • Special Unit 2: A particularly nasty specimen of Gargoyle (a mass murderer of humans) makes this comment in the pilot episode.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The Founders' highest (or even only) law is "no Changeling has ever harmed another" (until Odo does it, and they ain't too happy about that, as you might imagine). Indeed, it's less a law than a simple, unshakable truth. However, as the founders and leaders of the Dominion, a classic example of The Empire, they've harmed pretty much everyone else. Although there are times when they only follow this rule in spirit, as they have allowed harm to come to Odo by not intervening when inflicted by someone else; in "The Die is Cast", the Changeling posing as Lovok does not intervene when Garak tortures Odo, but he does go back and help the two of them escape. Also, in "The Adversary", the Changeling saboteur tries to convince Odo to escape with him, but is willing to leave him to die with the humanoids if he won't come. Then in "Broken Link", they afflict Odo with an infection that will kill him unless he returns to the Great Link for judgment. In this case at least, they admit to internal conflict over the decision (unheard of among the Founders otherwise). They turn him into a solid to punish him for it; and in the following episode a Changeling tries to kill him, indicating that this no longer applies to him. The novels explain that the Changelings are no longer capable of reproducing after the "Progenitor" left, so a dead changeling affects the whole race.
    • The Ferengi follow this to a lesser extent: while murder of individuals and the like happens, in "The Jem'Hadar", Quark gives a big speech to Sisko in which he points out that while Humans look down on the Ferengi for being greedy capitalists, the Ferengi themselves look down on the Humans and think they're "better". Ferengi never engaged in genocide, slavery, or atomic warfare, which Human history is full of. Indeed, the Ferengi have never even fought a large-scale interstellar war, instead peacefully resolving disputes by (ruthlessly) applying economic pressure, subjugating their own women, and selling weapons to other people who commit genocide and engage in atomic warfare. There's also Rule of Acquisition #17: a contract is a contract is a contract... but only between Ferengi.
    • Played with regarding the Bajorans. The planet is on the brink of civil war at the start of the series, the Resistance would attack installations with Bajoran collaborators in them, and one Cardassian resistance member sneeringly says that unlike Bajorans, they would not do the same. However, a second civil war scare is averted right at the moment a rebel faction is ready to ambush the army, because the leaders recognize each other from fighting the Cardassians and can't pull the trigger.
    • Late in the series a Cardassian resistance movement forms against the Dominion. Initially they want to avoid attacking other Cardassian forces, but Kira and Odo tell them that is a mentality they simply cannot afford. The moment the Dominion realizes they won't attack their own people, they'll post Cardassian forces at every base/station preventing them from attacking anything; instead they need to adopt a With Us or Against Us mentality. The leader reluctantly agrees. Later the Female Changeling deliberately puts Cardassian civilians around Dominion bases, hoping that any attacks will turn the Cardassian people against the resistance. It does the exact opposite.
  • Supernatural:
    • The angels have this rule. When angels start turning up dead, Castiel seeks assistance from the Winchesters to help figure out what high ranking demon had figured out a way to kill angels. It literally never occurs to Castiel that an angel could turn on other angels as they are literally siblings. Castiel is shocked and in denial when the highest ranking demon they could find laughs and says demons could only dream of being able to kill angels.
    • The Winchester brothers maintain this rule about other humans. Their motto is literally "Saving people. Hunting things. The family business." They refuse to kill humans, no matter what heinous act they may have committed, because their job is only to hunt and kill the supernatural. Dealing with human scum is a job for law enforcement. The Winchesters sometimes consider crossing lines such as killing vampires who don't drink from humans (although they finally chose to spare the vampires) or learning that their father killed a ghoul who only ate the dead, or being willing to leave incestuous serial killers and spell-casting witches (humans that summon powers from demons) alive. It has been lampshaded by Dean.
      Dean: Demons, I get. People are crazy.
    • There have also been situations where the brothers have killed humans in defense of each other or while under the influence of the supernatural because of a dumb decision they've made. While they acknowledge that these human deaths are a bad thing, it does not having any lasting effect on their perceptions of themselves as good people.
  • The vampires of True Blood have nothing but contempt for humans and will kill them at leisure if they can get away with it. But kill another vampire and you are in for a world of hurt. There are cases of vampires killing other vampires, but the smart ones do it in secret and clean up the mess afterwards. When Bill kills Longshadow (Eric's bartender), who was trying to kill Sookie (who had exposed his embezzlement of Eric's money), Eric (being the vampire sheriff of the county) is required by law to report the crime. When Bill points out that Eric would've killed Longshadow anyway for stealing from him, Eric agrees but claims he would've been more discreet than doing it in front of witnesses. Due to the mitigating circumstances, the Magister decides to impose a lenient punishment on Bill, and sentences him to turning Jessica Hamby into a vampire.
  • Young Dracula's vampires have no reservations about killing humans, but killing other vampires is strictly forbidden.


  • Glassjaw alludes to this trope with their song "Ape Dos Mil"
    Yeah, you're the reason
    I cannot forget this season
    Or the lesson how an ape shall not kill ape
  • Gilby Clarke's "Hunting Dogs":
    "Hunting dogs don't kill their own."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Favored Enemy ability in some editions gives Rangers bonuses while fighting certain races that the player chooses during character creation. However, only an evil Ranger may choose their own race for this ability. (It's okay for good-aligned ones to slay villains of their own race, just not to select them for this ability.) This restriction is regardless of alignment, too, so a Token Heroic Orc Ranger can't select his Always Chaotic Evil race as a favored enemy, but a Chaotic Evil orc Ranger could. This rule was removed in the update to 3.5 Edition, as the Favored Enemy ability was modified that gave it non-combat bonuses to make it more versatile.
    • Ravenloft: The shadow fey have the Law of Arak, which absolutely forbids them from killing one another. This, of course, doesn't stop them from harming one another in non-fatal ways, or from killing and abusing as many non-fey as they want.
    • Spelljammer: The giff are a race of mercenaries who for the right price will work for nearly anyone as soldiers, enforcers, bodyguards, thugs, legbreakers, or basically anything that involves fighting — but they will not accept a job that involves fighting other giff. Period.
    • Githyanki, despite being a cruel and militaristic race with a penchant for slavery, are noted to never war amongst themselves, and that civil war among their people is unheard of. (Well, not counting their hated brethren the githzerai, who they've been at war with about as long as most societies have existed.) Being under the dominion of an immortal, nigh-omnipotent wizard queen with absolute power doesn't tend to forment room for dissent.
  • Feng Shui : In a sidebar titled "Ape Shall Not Kill Ape" in the supplement "Seal of the Wheel," it is noted that the Ascended do not look kindly upon members of the Lodge offing each other because they aren't precisely numerous and the loss of even one of their number is a weighty matter, and thus do not suffer those who make a habit of this to live. Only the Unspoken Name, the leader of the Ascended, can issue a sanction order to kill another Ascended.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Black has many spells that can instantly destroy creatures, but only if they aren't black themselves (or are artifacts). Considering Black's domain is death magic, it makes sense that Black spells doesn't work on creatures that aren't living to begin with. This represents that the situation is in practice rather than idealism as the trope requires, conforming to Black's worldview. By contrast, White features a handful of spells that make a more arbitrary division in not affecting white cards, representing the spirit of the trope much more effectively.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Eldar have an interesting relationship with this trope.
      • For the Craftworld and Exodite factions of the Eldar, killing a fellow Eldar is an unspeakable crime (and not just because they're a Dying Race), which helps fuel that whole Moral Myopia about how a single Eldar life is worth the combined rest of all other sentient life in the galaxy because all the 'lesser' species do horrible stuff to each other.
      • Subverted with the Dark Eldar, however, who only refrain from their Chronic Backstabbing Disorder ways in exactly two situations: The first is the period between the beginning of a realspace slave-raid and until the spoils of the raid are properly divided after their return to Commorragh; the second is when one Dark Eldar Kabal has been dealt a serious defeat by non-Eldar, which always prompts retaliation from the rest of the Kabals against the offenders. This is a matter of purely pragmatic Honor Among Thieves, because in the first case the Dark Eldar's survival is absolutely dependent on a constant and stable supply of slaves to torture and feed upon their agony, while in the second case every Dark Eldar has a vested interest in maintaining their race's image as The Dreaded among "lesser" races. Outside these specific circumstances, the Dark Eldar brook no taboo on killing one another, let alone Eldar from other factions; it helps that they have Uterine Replicator and resurrection tech to maintain a non-negative population growth rate.
    • Depending on which accounts you listen to, the Tau may also be an example of this trope to a lesser degree.note 
    • During the Horus Heresy series it is made pretty clear that prior to the Isstvan V Massacre it was considered taboo for Astartes to kill another Astartes, verging on the unthinkable.
      • It is worth noting, however, the original purpose of the Space Wolves, besides taking part in the Great Crusade, was to be the "Emperor's Executioners". Although the issue has been deliberately kept nebulous, there are hints that the Wolves may have performed this specific duty and combated other marines at least once before the Burning of Prospero. Considering the circumstances, it's implied though never outright stated that the Wolves were used in the dissolution of the Second and Eleventh Legions early in the Great Crusade. These two Legions were erased from all records and their Primarchs Un Personed, though why and the circumstances surrounding which are never revealed to the reader.
      • In fact, when one Ultramarine ran a combat simulation featuring other Astartes as opponents (because he had already run all other possible simulations), he was detained and scheduled to be disciplined. Then the Word Bearers attacked and they put him in charge of the initial defense.
      • Inverted for the Minotaurs, a chapter who specialize in hunting other Astartes chapters. Both renegade and loyal.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem, vampires usually have "We don't kill our own kind" as part of the local law. This leaves a bit of ethical leeway, mind you, since putting a stake into a vampire's heart in this universe sends them into torpor (a coma-like state) instead of killing them, and there usually aren't any rules about staking someone and leaving them for eternity in a pit somewhere. An absolute rule among vampirekind forbids diablerie, devouring another vampire's blood and soul to increase your own power. Elder vampires try to paint it as a heinous crime that even the most depraved of them shouldn't even consider, though the reality is that it's something that most of them would do if they could get away with it. The reality is that the obvious reason that any vampire willing to do diablerize another would probably be willing to do it to you — especially since it's addictive.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken: Not only does the Oath of the Moon say "The People Shall Not Murder the People," but it's a sin against Harmony to kill another werewolf. Which is tricky, as the titular Forsaken are at war with their fanatical cousins, the Pure, who a) outnumber them and b) don't give two shits about the Oath.

    Video Games 
  • Gets deconstructed all the way in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, whose elves claim that they do not kill another elves because if an elf dies "unprepared", his\her soul will never be able to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. (Tarant's elven thugs aren't so polite, though.) Naturally, when Wrath, a dweller of Hidden Elf Village is killed by poison, the first and only suspect is his dwarven apprentice (who also was stupid enough to sign a life-long contract with the elf). It's up to you to prove that Wrath was killed by an elf Sharpe for a woman they almost fought for and whom Sharpe now lives with as husband and wife (almost a perversion in "free-love" elven society) - or dig it even further and discover that "perverted" family idea actually came from Wrath, that Sharpe actually never killed him and that the bastard has committed suicide solely to frame Sharpe.
  • Arknights: The Sankta follow a set of Laws which appear to be supernaturally enforced, and one of said laws forbid them from pointing their patron firearms at another Sankta. Violating the law results in the Sankta becoming "fallen", stripping them of the racial empathy and affinity for firearm Arts. "Guide Ahead" shows that exceptions to the Law exist, as it does not apply with other methods like hand-to-hand combat and explosives or if the Law accepts their actions, as Andoain and the Pope would found out. Members of the Notarial Hall seem to be able to circumvent the Law to prevent themselves from becoming fallen in their job as Laterano's police force, however.
  • And to complete the triumvirate of Blizzard games, Archangel Imperius of the Diablo series gives absolutely zero fucks about fellow Archangel Malthael's slaughter of humanity, but when Malthael's forces attempt to destroy the High Heavens' gate to Pandemonium and its angelic guard, he chooses to aid the nephalem in breaching Pandemonium Fortress so they can put Malthael down. Note that Imperius is also willing to abuse the No True Scotsman loophole due to Tyrael's constant interference in Sanctuary.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Flonne the angel trainee isn't violent by nature, but over the course of the plot she won't hesitate to fight both demons and humans. Later in the game she finds herself going against other angels, which horrifies her as it is strictly forbidden by angelic law. When she meets up with the Seraph, she confesses her crimes and accepts the consequences, getting turned into a flower. However, because she had good reason and the Seraph is a Reasonable Authority Figure, her real punishment is merely to become a Fallen Angel, which means she can stay with her friends.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this is a rule within the Dark Brotherhood, an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil. The Tenets of the Dark Brotherhood forbid any form of betrayal, disobedience, and theft within the Brotherhood, or else incur the Wrath of Sithis. This is obviously relaxed during a Purification.
  • Fallout: Although the Deathclaws, America's genetically-engineered leftovers from the all-destructive great war, are extremely aggressive creatures little better than animals that attack humans on sight, it's implied (from the modified talking Death Claws in the second series) that their basic pack-based society has a rigidly hierarchical, peaceful, ethical pack-based basic society. They were extremely loyal to the pack as a whole, treating it as a family unit rather than having individual families. Fights within a pack are unheard of, and the pack's leader controls many aspects of life, such as choosing and matching female and male deathclaws for reproduction.
    • During the Lonesome Road DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, Ulysses reveals that Caesar has instructed his Frumentarii never to kill any couriers since many of them are in fact working for his Legion, thus courier does not kill courier. Courier Six, the player character, can choose not to follow this creed however.note 
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the dragons in Endgame-3, including the chapter's boss, will not attack your party's dragon characters. Even if they're attacked by your dragons, they won't fight back. This can be abused for Level Grinding.
  • The Roekaar of Mass Effect: Andromeda play with this one. Aksul has it as a standing order that they are not to kill any angara seen interacting with the Milky Way species... for the moment. But as a few quests show, the Roekaar don't always follow this. Eventually Aksul himself nearly breaks the rule by pointing a gun at Jaal. If he fires, the Roekaar watching this abandon him.
  • The Protoss of StarCraft aren't supposed to kill each other, for fear of falling into racial madness. So naturally they engaged in at least three civil wars since the racial madness and didn't go mad. Turns out they were just scared and created propaganda.
    • In his inauguration speech, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk of the Terran Dominion says "From this day forward, let no human make war on any other human." That doesn't end up happening, mainly because the United Earth Directorate sent a taskforce to conquer the sector. The video ironically subverts Mengsk's speech, perhaps intentionally. Even as he declares that no human should make war on any other human, we see one battle-cruiser destroy another, presumably Mengsk's forces spreading his reach in the sector.
    • Initially played straight with the Zerg, as they are unified by an Overmind and generally enslaved to follow its directives and by extension, Amon's. But on Zerus, the Zerg don't have psionic power and the whole planet is a jungle Death World, where tribes of Zerg fight constantly to survive and/or dominate.
  • As the Iconians are fleshed out in Star Trek Online, it comes out that they have an aversion to breaking their Whole by attacking one another. Since there are only twelve Iconians left at this point, and they're all united behind the 'conquer the galaxy' plan, this really doesn't make much of a difference... until Midnight, the final episode of the Iconian War, when it turns out the lost Other the Iconians regard as part of their Whole is in fact none other than the player character, thanks to a predestination paradox involving time-travel to Iconia's last day..
  • The Lunarians in Touhou Project make a pretty big deal about how disgusting it is that the creatures living on Earth have to kill each other to survive. Of course, that won't stop them from killing anyone on Earth who threatens their own survival on the "deathless" moon.
  • The Nathrezim (Dreadlords) in Warcraft, who, out of all the Always Chaotic Evil demons have proven time and time again to be the cruelest, darkest and most corrupt of individuals, are forbidden to kill each other. In fact, disregarding this was the ultimate loyalty test Sylvanas prepared for Varimathras, and even then, it turns out he was faking the kill, as his victim survived and is still in league with him.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, it's implied that to the Homs, the murder of one of their own is a horrific crime. This comes into play at Sword Valley, where having learned earlier that Metal Face, now at the protagonists' mercy, contains his old war ally Mumkhar, Dunban prepares to take his revenge for all the suffering he's caused by killing him. It takes Shulk insisting that killing another Homs is unforgivable for Dunban to restrain himself.

  • In the Dinosaur takeover future arc of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the dinosaurs would never kill each other (it's unclear how the carnivorous kind normally feeds). This is problematic for the Dino leader as the humans are trying to rescue the one dinosaur that can save them, and he wants to get rid of him. He has to create a Batman Gambit that would have the humans negligently kill their savior. It nearly works.
  • In Darths & Droids:
    • The Player Characters not only regard all NPCs as disposable — either they can be killed for XP, or they're just expendable minions to handle the dangerous jobs — but they actually tell them so when speaking in character. Fortunately, Paploo wasn't familiar with role-playing games, so just took offence because he assumed Han was accusing him of being a Non Profit Company — still deeply offensive to a proudly capitalist Ewoc.
    • Pete has an interesting version. He believes you shouldn't kill a fellow PC, or generally allow them to come to harm (even if said PC is okay with taking one for the team). But he's quite satisfied if Ben's character were to die. And if he's given the okay, he's fine with it, as seen when he uses the Peace Moon to blow up a chunk of planet, taking Annie and Jim's characters with it.
  • Hyenas from Digger are a tribe of hunter gatherers who view non-hyenas as Prey instead of People. If a Hyena is killed hunting prey, the dead's honor is not a major issue. But if Hyena Kills Hyena, then vengeance must be taken, and the status of the original victim is dependent on the status of the one who takes revenge. This comes into play in the plot when Digger, a wombat, kills a person who killed a hyena, whereupon the killer is revealed to have been another hyena. A friend of the victim tries to keep her friend's status intact by getting Digger officially inducted into the hyena tribe and making the wombat a Person.
  • In Dreamwalk Journal killing non-sentient species is justified as long as it's in self-defence. When it comes to sentients, you can rob, cheat and fuck them blind, but causing injury or death is unthinkable.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Aylee comes up with this argument in the midst of a loyalty tug-of-war between her friends and her race. Thankfully she came to her senses after seeing how readily her race will sacrifice each other for a meal.
  • In Survival Story of a Sword King in a Fantasy World, this in deliberately inverted and invoked by the gods who gave the Otherwolders their guidelines. Not only do they gain massive experience for easy levelling if they kill the native Ratharians of the fantasy world, but they are also 'rewarded' automatically with an injection of 'Ormphlaus's Joy'- a drug that helps psychoactivly warp their minds to cloud any feelings of guilt whilst also causing them to feel intense joy and pleasure upon killing, to the point that many Otherworlders literally become addicted to killing in order to get their fix. Of course, Otherworlders are never told of this the first time they enter the fantasy world, so when they unknowingly kill a human, be it deliberately or in self-defence, they start to spiral down the path to becoming the Ax-Crazy murderers everybody sees them as. Protagonist Hanbin is warned by an elderly gentleman who is aware of his true origins that he needs to stick to this trope in order to avoid becoming a monster, though it's left unclear if Hanbin's busted guideline would even work properly should he do so. Luckily, humans that have transformed into monsters don't count, so Harbin can kill them without any consequence.
  • An unspoken rule in the villainous underworld of Villain To Kill is that Villains shall not attack other Villains, lest they be declared enemy number one and hunted down for their impertinence. Cassian breaks this rule early on by attacking Blaster, which draws the attention of the local Villains who wonder why this upstart is so willing to violate this with no obvious benefit to himself.

    Web Original 
  • Dream SMP:
    • During the early stages of the First Pet War, Fundy, an anthropomorphic fox, cites this to be the reason he convinces Niki to "pet" Skechersnote  with a stone pickaxe, instead of doing it himself.
      Fundy: Because I can absolutely never fucking kill a fox.
    • Subverted for Ranboo, who is half-Enderman. He will kill Endermen if he has to, but he really doesn't like killing them and tries his best to avoid having to do so.
  • New Life SMP: Discussed and averted. As a Blazeborn in her second life, GeminiTay has no qualms killing other Blazes, but also asks the viewers of her 5th episode if it is morally wrong for a Blazeborn like her to, in theory, make a Blaze farm to obtain resources.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Ape Shall Not Kill Ape, Man Shall Never Kill Man