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Benevolent Monsters

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"Pokémon only do bad things because master bad."
Ekans, Pokémon ("Island of the Giant Pokémon")
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Monsters are born of human fears. Ghoulies, ghosties, long-leggety beasties, and Things That Go "Bump" in the Night, and they all share a common factor — they threaten. Their claws are sharper, their muscles are stronger, their fangs tear faster... you can generally count on monsters to be capable of hurting things, usually you.

And then there are these guys. These monsters aren't after you. They don't want to hurt you. Mostly, they want nothing to do with you in the first place. They might even be kind to you if you encounter them.

Benevolent Monsters are fantastic creatures that are usually no more dangerous than Real Life flora and fauna. Many times, they will even be safer, despite any indication of powers or prowess to the contrary. Any threat they pose to the good guys is often due to Poor Communication Kills (it could be that the Monster Is a Mommy) and may even be a case of Let's You and Him Fight, with the monsters joining forces with the heroes to take on the villains. Settings with Benevolent Monsters are usually the best residence for the Zombie Advocate, though be on the watch for Van Helsing Hate Crimes.

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Note that for Benevolent Monsters to be in effect, non-maliciousness must be the default state of all or most of the monsters, so that malice or villainy becomes the rare exception to the rule. This can also apply to certain species of monster within a work, rather than all the varied types (i.e. the vampires in Setting X are all evil, but the werewolves are all Benevolent Monsters).

Naturally, this is the super-trope of the Friendly Ghost, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, and Friendly Zombie; three types of monsters that are usually depicted as being evil and scary. Also closely related to the Reluctant Monster, which is a monster that may look frightening, but has no actual desire to harm people. Also see Dark Is Not Evil, where characters themed around dark or terrifying things are actually benevolent or at least not malicious. See also Domesticated Dinosaurs, where this trope applies to prehistoric animals.

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Compare this trope with Humans Are the Real Monsters, which is this trope's blood brother; after all, if the monsters aren't evil, then somebody else probably is. Contrast with the Non-Malicious Monster, which is a monster that really is very dangerous, but is not consciously evil or malevolent; it is simply acting out of animalistic instinct (i.e. killing and eating people just to survive). Lastly, there's Not Always Evil, which would be when the monsters in question have other interests besides being villains all the time.

Warning: Since this trope is often the end result of a reveal, expect spoilers.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon. In the anime, this comes up a lot. Check the quote from Team Rocket's Ekans from the anime's first season up top.
    • Most "bad" pokemon have the most justifiable of motives (like stealing food to support themselves or their pack members in desperation). Taken Up to Eleven in the movies, where almost every Pokemon that causes a problem does so completely on accident (Palkia and Dialga would simply be content to fight amongst themselves in Another Dimension except they keep accidentally intersecting the heroes' world), or because a human interfered with them or put them up to it.
    • You can count anime aversions on one hand. There's one particularly mischievous Teddiursa who showed up in the fourth season and a cartoonishly evil Togepi in the twelfth.
    • There was three Malamar in the X and Y series who, rather than having been psychopaths that sought to Take Over the World because of circumstance, were simply just evil. Unlike the former two they were also quite dangerous.
  • The Demons of Galuna Island in Fairy Tail. They look quite freaky, but don't have an evil bone in their bodies. They even started a rumor that Galuna was cursed so people wouldn't come to their Hidden Elf Village and be horrified by their appearance.

    Comic Books 
  • Princeless: The dragons breathe fire and eat knights because it is the cultural expectation of the humans that they will protect the princess until a worthy suitor comes to slay it and rescue the princess. The dragons are intelligent and generally don't realize that they're supposed to just die for the sake of the hero. Adrienne actually befriends her dragon and informs her of this. Sparky is resultingly horrified and happy to change the status quo.

    Films — Animated 
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast starts out more or less as a monster in every measure but under Belle's influence he begins to show such qualities as kindness, thoughtfulness, selflessness and table manners over time.
  • The title characters in The Boxtrolls are kind-hearted creatures that do little more than take trash to their underground lairs to make contraptions. The people above ground, however, fear them because they don't know what they really are, and are goaded along by the film's real Big Bad, who plots to use them to advance his social status.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Chester V draws Flint and crew to the island by warning him of the human-eating Cheespider, with its taste for Live Corp. employees and its plans for global domination, but as the heroes explore the island, it seems that almost no other species on the island poses them any threat. Indeed, Flint's dad's biggest problem is the mischief from the pickle people. It turns out that, in stark contrast to the first film, even the Cheespider is benevolent; the animals all hate Live Corp, which has evil designs for the FLDSMDFR and the unnatural wildlife.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, despite the dragons menacing Berk, stealing their sheep and burning down their homes, it turns out that they do this at the behest of a colossal dragon queen. On their own, they integrate with such ease into Viking life that it boggles the mind. Indeed, as far as the movie is concerned, the Dragon Manual listing the threat of some dragons is a string of Informed Attributes.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, the entire weight of dragon villainy rests on the shoulders of one man, Big Bad Drago. In this movie, dragons only do bad things when made to do so by a bad man.
  • Pixar's Monsters, Inc. features this as the foundational World Building point — monsters scaring children at night is just business. Indeed, monsters would be perfectly content to leave humans alone if they weren't dependent on human children for energy. Same goes for Monsters University, the prequel. Besides the heroes, many of their co-workers and classmates are exceedingly unscary.
  • The monsters in Monsters vs. Aliens have no malicious intent whatsoever, and are merely imprisoned to keep from scaring people with their presence. At least one, the Missing Link, likes to scare people for laughs, but otherwise they're pretty decent.
  • The title character in Shrek is an ogre who, while anti-social, isn't malicious in any way. He mostly plays the part to scare people away so he can live in peace. Once he's friends with you, he's loyal and true, if a bit cranky.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla's various incarnations have fallen under this as have other monsters in the Toho universe.
    • After his Heel–Face Turn, the Showa (1955-1975) incarnation of Godzilla is a more heroic character that protects earth from various evil forces.
    • Both Minilla and Junior are Gentle Giant versions of the Godzilla species who live peacefully alongside humanity. Like the Showa Godzilla, they are protectors of the earth.
    • Mothra is by far the most benevolent of the Toho monsters. She's often portrayed as a guardian deity of the fictional Infant Island and will only attack to defend her Shobijin companions from being captured or to save her larvae from being eaten by predators.
    • Biollante, thanks to the human DNA and spirit as part of her genetic makeup, is also a peaceful creature, except where Godzilla or threatening her father is concerned. She kills and drives off three intruders seeking the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria in self- and home-defense, and in their first encounter she sought to neutralize Godzilla as well as join them together since they had the same DNA. In their second battle after she has evolved into her titanic crocodile-plant form she ruthlessly tries to kill Godzilla but again in order to stop his rampages.
    • The film War of the Gargantuas features the two titular monsters. One of them, Gaira, is a horrific green giant who feeds on human flesh. The other, Sanda, is also a giant, but he's far more peaceful due to being raised by humans rather than eating them. Sanda even performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save mankind from his brother's voracious appetite by fighting him to the death.
    • The 2014 US version of Godzilla is capable of causing tsunamis just by walking out of the water. He doesn't mean to, of course. It's just that he's so huge he ends up causing destruction by accident. For the most part, he prefers to spend his time swimming peacefully in the oceans and feeding on Earth's natural radiation sources. The only reason he even showed up in civilization in the first place was to fight the comparatively more vicious MUTO.
  • Harry in Harry and the Hendersons. A Sasquatch that Mr. Henderson hit with his car and eventually befriends the family.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs: The Hork-bajir are fearsome looking creatures with blades sticking out in almost every direction, but when they are introduced, Elfangor stresses that they are good people when they don't have a Yeerk in their brain. The blades are actually for slicing apart the plants they eat on their homeworld. The Animorphs actually manage to free a few and find out it's true, they're some of the most chilled out characters in the series, if a bit dim.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak features Max, a troublesome child, who is sent by his parents to his room. After a series of escapades, he meets the titular Wild Things. While they frolic quite fiercely, they're not in other ways malicious.
  • Bogeymen in Discworld have the time-honoured role of scaring kids, but there's no record of them actually harming anyone, and the first ever bogeyman started to see itself as a protector, becoming the first tooth fairy.
    • In fact, "monsters" in Discworld mostly have the same moral spectrum as humans so several of them are this. Angua is a vegetarian werewolf and Lawful Good watch member, and it's implied that the werewolf community, in Ankh-Morpork at least, largely police themselves and avoid hurting humans. Margolotta, Otto von Chriek and many others are Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. The first orc to show up in Discworld is a Badass Bookworm who tries to achieve worth by doing good work. The monstrous monsters like Wolfgang (a werewolf), Dragon King of Arms (a vampire) and Mr. Gryle (a banshee) are actually the minority of villains; most books' antagonists are humans.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Demons of the Punjab", the Thijarians used to be the universe's foremost assassins, but after the destruction of their homeworld, the survivors took on a mission of witnessing the deaths of people who died alone and unmourned.
  • In Grimm, most Wesen are harmless law abiding citizens. In fact, some are ridiculously harmless, like Eisbibers and Mauzhertz who tend to be quite docile and quiet. Although, there are some species that lean toward being Always Chaotic Evil.
  • The Muppets: Similar to Sesame Street below, the Muppets have a wide range of monsters, some of which are likely to eat you, but also a lot who are generally friendly, particularly Sweetums, a 7 or 8 foot tall...thing who's usually quite agreeable and helpful.
  • Sesame Street has long made a point of featuring the cuddliest of monsters, from Elmo to the easily-amused Count, to the ever-hungry Cookie Monster. The worst of the lot is usually Oscar, who's just the Grouch. Indeed, some of the nicest monsters are the toughest, scariest-looking, like Herry and Frazzle. In many of Herry's early appearances, he appears to be mean or frightening, but ends up showing his friendly side (often after he unintentionally scared others off).
  • Although most monsters on Supernatural tend toward Always Chaotic Evil with a few exceptions thrown in, season 11 introduces the zanna, a benevolent race of fae-type creatures who act as children's imaginary friends, guiding and helping them to grow up and moving on to a new child when the previous one no longer needs them.
  • A number of Ultra Series feature Gentle Giant Kaiju, either as allies or as Monsters of the Week who are protected, assisted, and/or spared. Some notable examples are:
    • Pygmon/Pigmon from the original Ultraman is actually human-sized, but is a noteworthy mention here because it is friendly with humans and often helps the defense teams against the giant and less friendly monsters.
    • Ultraseven's Capsule Kaiju are a trio of monsters that Seven would call up whenever he needed a helping hand against the Monster of the Week.
    • Ultraman Cosmos featured these by the dozen, alongside many Non Malicious Monsters. Cosmos's duty was not to battle them for humanity like a typical Ultra might, but instead he often had to save them from the corrupting powers of Chaos Header and help them coexist with humans.

    Meta 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Candyland has Gloppy, the friendly Molasses Monster of Molasses Swamp.

    Video Games 
  • Moshi Monsters: All of the monsters who belong to an established species (Zommers, Katsumas etc) are benevolent as are most of the Cartoon Creature's. The exception is C.L.O.N.C (the Criminal League Of Naughty Critters) which is a group consisting of all the villains.
  • Pokémon has gone far, far out of its way to establish this (despite the fact that the mascot is a footlong rat that can shoot lightning from its face), with the inevitable result of Humans Are the Real Monsters; no matter how rational any given Pokemon is, you can generally expect the moral weight of its actions to be assigned to the trainer.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver, Elm's aide waxes depressing about the mon stolen by the Jerkass rival, and mentions that Pokemon turn evil when used by evil trainers.
    • The main conflict in Pokémon Black and White is that people treat Pokemon unfairly by taking them for granted, which would make sense only if the humans assumed they posed no more threat than the average well-kept housepet.
    • Shadow Pokemon are a Double Subversion. The main premise of the games is that these are special Pokemon who will attack humans on command (as though they normally wouldn't), but these Shadow Pokemon are created by subjecting normals to what is suggested to be a kind of Mind Rape. They can be healed by good treatment, companionship, and sometimes even a visit from one of the Olympus Mons.
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has one or two officially evil Pokemon, like the absolute creep of a Gengar from the first installment, but they don't count for much since all the characters are Pokemon. And Gengar reforms in a bonus quest anyway.
  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance has the benevolent Spirit Dream Eaters who eat bad dreams and ally with you as opposed to the hostile Nightmare Dream Eaters who do the opposite.
  • Umaro the Yeti from Final Fantasy VI, who is in fact a party member.
  • Undertale's entire premise is based on this trope. Although in practice, it plays with it, as most of the "main" monsters the player meets do genuinely intend to hurt the player... they just don't quite realize that hurting actually hurts, or don't feel they have a choice, or it's their job, or it's for a good cause, or... you get the idea.
  • Beastmen in Final Fantasy XIV are generally territorial and hostile towards the other races with only a handful being non hostile and willing to work with other people. Every beast tribe also has summoned a primal at least once, which causes damage to the land andtempering people to become the primal's slaves. The Namazu are only beast tribe that's actually friendly (only a few are hostile) and are willing to make trades with other people. They are also the only beast tribe that has never summoned a primal.
  • The Walking Bushie in MOTHER 3 is a random encounter who, rather than attack you, will instead cast Lifeup α and Healing α on your whole party systematically until everyone is at full health, make your whole party feel refreshed with some fresh air, and finally greet them politely and leave. The closest it will come to actually "harming" the party is by solidifying one by becoming friendly and affectionate, unless you go well out of your way to bring Kumatora along who can hit them with Brainshock.

    Webcomics 
  • In Meadowhawk, the dragons still have all the fangs, claws and spikes from the bad old days, but in modern times they're almost invariably pacifists and usually don't even eat meat.
    Tater: If history is to be believed, we were once a species of marauding monsters. Bloodthirsty, airborne, fire-spewing terrors. Look at any Dark Ages story, and there we are: "RAAAAWR!" Now we have food shelves, hospitals, we live in houses... most of out kind would be loath to harm even a fly.

    Western Animation 

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