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Bloodbath Villain Origin

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Kakashi: Without pause or hesitation, a young boy who was not even seen a ninja had killed over a hundred of the students.
Zabuza: [smiling] That sure was... fun.

When a villain's origin involves the character (previously outwardly normal) suddenly flipping out and killing a large number of people in a single incident. Bonus points if any of these circumstances apply:

  1. The villain was just a kid at the time.
  2. The people killed included the villain's family.
  3. The villain had no real reason to do this.
  4. The villain killed off his entire people or clan in doing this.

See also Where I Was Born and Razed. If the villain's origin involves a literal bath in blood, see Blood Bath.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk sees to it what is arguably one of the most infamous examples in all of manga with Griffith ascending to becoming a demon during the once-every-216-years even called The Eclipse. Over a gradual descent from nothing into the monster he is now, he betrayed everyone he ever lead and cared for after wounding up broken in mind and body from a year of torture, rejecting his humanity to ascend to godhood and brutally sacrifice his entire army for a second chance at life. To make a very long story short: it does NOT end well for anyone not Griffith, the God Hand, or the Apostles. The end result was so devastating that there were only two survivors from the massacre (who only lived thanks to The Skull Knight's timely intervention in an event that going by the God Hand's reaction had never happened before), one of which was driven to insanity from being raped by the newly-reborn Griffith and the other losing an arm, eye, and getting a factory reset into becoming a textbook Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in his demon gore-soaked trail for revenge.
  • Villain Protagonist Light Yagami of Death Note takes his first step into corruption and madness when he goes on a massive killing spree after receiving the Death Note. Of course, he is not a little kid at the time (he's seventeen), he doesn't kill his family (at least, not then), and he has a number of reasons for doing so (mostly because he's bored, disillusioned, and insane). That first week racked up a body count of five hundred.
  • Sometimes the bloodbath happens because the person in question got pushed too far and snapped out. Just take a look at Lucy from Elfen Lied and what she did to the cruel kids in her backstory for beating the puppy that she'd started caring for to death.
  • In Fairy Tail, the Dragon King Festival of 400 years ago was this for Acnologia, during which he Jumped Off The Slippery Slope and completely fell prey to his magic's darker influences. The end result was him indiscriminately killing friend and foe, human and dragon alike until he more or less wiped out the dragon race and turned into a dragon, crowning himself the "Dragon King".
  • An extreme example occurs in From the New World. The anime deals with a new age of mankind in which humans have developed telekinetic abilities. Unlike most anime of this genre, this anime explores the more realistic possiblities that could happen if even just one person develops such powers. Boy K (no real name given) seemed to just be a quiet child, but psychological exams revealed disturbing sociopathic tendencies. No one knew what to do with him, but they waited too long. Eventually, in the middle of class, Boy K let go of his humanity and tore his teacher apart limb from limb. He didn't stop there. He went on a full out rampage. Boy K slaughtered over 1,000 people on the first day alone.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Scar began his serial-killing career by killing any and all available Amestrians after waking up in a hospital to find that his entire family has been killed by Kimblee and that his brother's arm has been grafted onto his body in the place of his own severed arm. He flipped out and started his rampage with the Rockbells, two Amestrian doctors who saved his life. While the slaughter is indeed his Start of Darkness and he becomes an unrepentant murderer afterwards, he does actually regret this particular action even before his Heel–Face Turn and acknowledges that the two doctors did not meet even his warped definition of guilty.
  • My Hero Academia: While Tomura Shigaraki Used to Be a Sweet Kid, this came to an abrupt end when his Quirk activates for the first time following a beating from his abusive father. He accidentally kills most of his family, before becoming a Self-Made Orphan by deliberately murdering his father. All For One finds him soon after this and decides to groom him to become the leader of the League of Villains, triggering his Start of Darkness in earnest.
  • Naruto has several examples.
    • Zabuza is the earliest, having killed over a hundred potential graduates of his village despite not having any shinobi training himself. He was made a shinobi as a result and still remembers that event fondly. He's not quite a straight example, though; his actions brought needed reforms to the Shinobi education system of the Hidden Mist Village, by singlehandedly forcing them to end their Social Darwinist approach, and was also the last antagonist to comport themselves as professionals rather than screwed up psychopaths. One gets the feeling he cultivated his reputation as a Devil of the Hidden Mist for the sake of psychological warfare against targets.
    • Itachi and Sasuke have a shared example in the destruction of the Uchiha clan. Despite being a young teen, Itachi single-handedly wiped out his entire clan aside from Sasuke before going on the run. He stated the purpose was to test his own skill but it was actually to prevent them launching a coup. The trauma of this would later lead to Sasuke turning villain.
    • Hidan was annoyed that his village converted to a peacetime economy so he slaughtered his neighbors, potentially including his family, and went missing-nin. His partner Kakuzu was originally a loyal shinobi but after he was punished and imprisoned for failing in a near-impossible task he turned on them, slaughtering a large number of his comrades before becoming a bounty hunter.
    • After seeing his teammate and love interest Rin killed by Kakashi, Obito Uchiha loses it in a violent and brutal display of primal fury and goes about slaughtering the enemy ninja who drove the two into that position in the first place. Thus opening the path to his career as Tobi.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: While the extent of her evil is very debatable, the infamous criminal mage Evangeline McDowell is implied but not outright stated to have killed her family when she had just turned into a vampire at 10 years old. Though it is heavily implied she was either not in control of herself when it happened or she wasn't conscious of it and only realized what she had done after she saw the corpses and the blood on her hands and mouth.
  • Rob Lucci of One Piece is a perfect example. His first mission as a CP9 agent was given to him when he was only a kid; to save some hostages from pirates... he killed not only the pirates, but all the hostages as well, because they were getting in the way/didn't deserve to live. And he got a nasty-looking scar on his back in the process, which coincidentally looks like the World Government flag.
  • There's quite a few sympathetic starts of darkness in Rurouni Kenshin, but the one closest to this trope is when Seta Soujirou murders his abusive relatives after they pushed him one time too many and ended up as The Dragon for a Social Darwinist.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Sensui's Start of Darkness was like this: he flipped out upon learning Humans Are the Real Monsters, and killed everyone in the Black Black Club's villa. Coincidentally, the people he murdered were themselves enjoying a demon blood bath.

    Comic Books 
  • The Plutonian from Irredeemable kicked off his reign of terror by leveling his patron city and massacring the inhabitants.
  • He's actually the protagonist (one hesitates to say "hero") rather than the antagonist a lot of the time, but Lobo's origin story involves him killing off his entire race except for himself, because he was dissatisfied with the grade he received on a school project. Played for Laughs, since Lobo was originally a Deconstructive Parody of the '90s Anti-Hero.
  • Purgatori: The titular character was just a beautiful and young slave girl named Sakkara that was taken as a concubine by Queen Ostraca, until her generals forced her to put her entire harem to the sword to ensure the kingdom's stability. Sakkara managed to evade the massacre and found an ancient vampire lord who offered her immortality and a chance for revenge. She accepted and his bite turned her into a half-vampire, half-demonic woman, whose first act was to crash Ostraca's wedding and kill everyone inside, except for her former lover and her groom whom she inflicted A Fate Worse Than Death by turning them into vampires and locking inside their tombs.
  • Ultimate Avengers: Up until his sixteenth birthday, the Red Skull seemed like a nice, relatively normal kid, being cheerful and intelligent to all the soldiers on the secret US military base he was raised on. Then, the day he turned sixteen, he massacred every living person on the base, cut his face off and ran out into the world to commit mayhem for the giggles.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: As revealed in a later story, the first thing Jei did upon coming into existence was to slaughter everyone in the temple he happened to be in.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores and Boomsticks: Ruby's account of Grendel's origin tells that it was once a normal Beowolf Alpha before losing its paw to a huntsman. It then organized the slaughter of everyone at a party except said huntsman, choped off his hand, chased him to a village, and left only one survivor in the village to tell the story.
  • With the last character imaginable in Creation and Destruction; Mt. Lady got turned into the Hero Killer Sinner, taking up Stain's abandoned ideals and a fire axe... which she promptly used on Death Arms and her own production crew, live, on camera.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles has an example that combines Types 1, 2, and 4. Shadow Corrupter was originally a kind unicorn by the name of "Gleaming Path", but on his thirteenth birthday he discovered that his parents and most of the villagers of Weeping Wood Hallow are part of a cult that worships the Corrupted Shadow, and plan to use him in a sacrificial ritual to revive it, since his birthday was on the day that the Corrupted Shadow was killed. He ends up being put through the ritual against his will, which included being cut multiple times by daggers. Ultimately, the ritual was a success and he was revived, now granted with his powers, but he immediately took his revenge on the cult, destroying the entire village and everyone in it for what they did to him, and not just the members of the cult but the entire village, including all his friends.
  • In The Jaded Eyes Series Harry snaps and murders the Dursleys when he's six years old.
  • Snivy from La Sangre de Mi Sangre is another one of those rare characters who manage to fulfill every condition for it. To elaborate, she was an Empty Shell Creepy Child who one day found a lost Garchomp, so she keeps him company, as time passes the Garchomp falls in love with her, she pretends to go along until she ends up Becoming the Mask. When her sister finds out and she kills him. Snivy, having watched this in secret, decides to go the Best Served Cold route, preparing a trap for her sister and after she was done killing her, went back home and killed all her remaining family and friends for no real reason, even admitting as such.
  • In Pony POV Series, this happened with Lord Tirek (who's a Composite Character of the G1 and G4 Tireks). The Prince of the Centaur Empire, Tirek was power hungry and fiercely feared losing his claim to the throne. Eventually, he ended up intentionally absorbing an ungodly amount of dark magic from one of Pandora's Boxes that Morning Star released into the mortal world and after spending some time mastering it, brutally annihilated his own kind.
  • Where Was My Hero...? shows a truly chilling types 1 and 4 example with none other than Tails, set in an alternate universe where he never meets Sonic, his life gets worse and worse until he becomes an Ax-Crazy Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds with Omnicidal Maniac tendencies.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Deborah, the villain in The Addams Family Values, is murderous Gold Digger who's first murder is her own parents. The reason she burned their house down is that they gave her the wrong Barbie doll.
  • Dracula Untold, Vlad himself, twice; first when he first gains his vampire power and proceeds to Curb-Stomp Battle an invading army, then when he loses his wife and hits his Despair Event Horizon, he proceeds to do so again, but not until after turning what's left of his people into vampires.
  • The original Halloween is one of the greatest, most notorious examples of this trope across all media, playing it entirely straight and fulfilling all three conditions. Michael suddenly flipped and, for no good reason, killed his older sister. Eventually, Dr. Loomis concludes that there's nothing to him, except evil.
  • Spider-Man 2: Arguably Otto Octavius' villain origin is his arrogant refusal to shut down his unstable fusion generator, which results in the death of his wife. But the very much sentient actuators fused to him have their first go when they viciously slaughter an entire room full of surgeons that were preparing to operate on the unconscious Octavius, in one of the most horrifying scenes of the trilogy. Octavius' horrified Big "NO!" when he wakes up to a room full of dead bodies shows that he knows there's no going back for him from that.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the prequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker's Start of Darkness (murdering a camp of Sand People) and later his attack on the Jedi Temple. The slaughter of the Tusken Raiders was because they tortured and killed his mother, and no bones are made about it—both of these massacres involved him slaughtering women and children, too.
    • In the sequel, Kylo Ren's backstory involves him and the Knights of Ren killing all of his fellow padawans in his uncle Luke's New Jedi Order. Like grandfather, like grandson....

  • Harry Potter: Sirius Black killing a bunch of innocent bystanders is a subversion, as it was Peter Pettigrew who did so and for whom this trope does apply.
  • Heimskringla: Harald Fairhair gives his favorite son Eirik command of 5 longships (which would amount to at least 150 men) at the tender age of 12 to go on a viking expedition. When he come home, he quickly gets the moniker Bloodaxe.
  • Mistborn has a rare Anti-Hero example in Kelsier, who Snapped (i.e. became able to use his superpowers) after seeing his wife beaten to death by her overseers when they were slaves. "Many men had died that night."
  • In the Star Wars Legends, the origin story of Palpatine/Darth Sidious involves him throttling his family and their bodyguards to death, and intending to at the very least kill his father since he was born due to hatred of him, and for no reason other than his family forbidding his contact with Plagueis, as revealed in Darth Plagueis.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have a Nemesis: Penny plays the game Little Reaper Girl, about the hero Psychopomp's early life. It's a stealth game that involves killing hundreds of people while trapped in some sort of dome. Penny assumes that's just the game upping the kill count like normal, but she reads up on what actually happened and is shocked to discover it's actually accurate.

    Live-Action TV 
  • When Angel first became the vampire Angelus, he proceeded to kill every single living person in his village in Galway, Ireland, starting with his own family.
  • Arrow: In "Promises Kept", we discover Slade Wilson's Back Story before he became Deathstroke. After getting off the island of Lian Yu, he decided to get out of active service for ASIS, working as a trainer instead. However seeing the news report that Oliver Queen was alive triggered his Mirakuru-madness. When he snaps out of it, he realises he's slaughtered his fellow ASIS operatives with a katana.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Haunted" begins with a man having a psychotic break at a pharmacy and killing a number of the other customers.
  • Ben Linus on Lost got his Start of Darkness by assisting the Others in poison-gassing all forty of the DHARMA Initiative settlers. He gets 2 1/2 bonus points: he killed his father, making himself an orphan; he was a member of the community he destroyed; and he gets half a point for being barely out of his teens.
  • Rumpelstiltskin in Once Upon a Time goes on a killing spree after suddenly acquiring awesome powers. Justified by the fact that they were all soldiers trying to conscript his barely 14 year old son, and he was trying to protect the kid - but he was still evil, since the power was dark and corrupted him.
    Rumple: (Slasher Smile) You're safe, Bae. Do you feel safe, son?
    Baelfire: (horrified) No...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase includes "The Lost Generation", an attempt at accelerated maturation Gone Horribly Wrong that are all assumed to be this. Several of the survivors of the program ARE this, but not nearly all of them.
  • Forgotten Realms: Sammaster's fall started in somehow similar way - he blasted slavers with spells, but in the process also caused the deaths of the very people he tried to rescue. Not that he was the shining example of mental stability before this.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • Played straight with Citizen Dawn, whose first real experience with her powers killed a bunch of people and destroyed a library, and she was mostly concerned with...the books.
    • The first sign that Dark Visionary was taking over the Visionary was when she murdered a bunch of scientists who were too close to discovering her secret.
    • Spite's turn from a petty nuisance to a serious threat was cemented when he murdered two of the Wraith's best friends out of revenge.
    • Inverted with Ambuscade, who began his Heel–Face Turn by teaming up with the more heroic Mainstay by wiping out most of a Mexican drug cartel - at the end of a villainous career where he risked plenty of lives, but basically never managed to actually take any.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters. He was once a gladiator slave who along his fellow gladiators fought their way out to freedom against their Nucerian slavers. The Emperor sought him to join his crusade, but Angron refused, choosing to stay and die along side his brethren who are about to be cornered by the Nucerian armies. The Emperor then teleported Angron alone into his ship, leaving his fellow warriors to be slaughtered by the Nucerians. Angron never forgave the Emperor for what he did, when he became Primarch of the World Eaters his legion became the most brutal of them all, when Horus turned to Chaos he was one of the first Primarchs to join him, and soon became a Daemon Prince of Khorne. Indeed, when Angron was found by the slave traders who eventually sold him to the gladiatorial arena, he was naked, drenched in gore, and surrounded by the corpses of the Eldar assassination squad he'd butchered in self-defense when they attempted to murder him to pre-empt his falling to Chaos. He was just a little boy at the time.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battles:
    • Vilitch the Curseling used to be a shaman's apprentice, the weaker of two twins, constantly bullied and ridiculed for his weakness. When his prayers attracted attention of Chaos god Tzeentch, he was granted powerful magic as well as a powerful body to match (he was magically grafted on top of his brother's shoulders) His first act was to turn his power against the tribe, making the village "run with molten flesh".
    • One rendition of Archaon's backstory relates that after having been driven insane by what he read in the Book of Necrodormu, he then slaughtered his family in cold blood before fleeing to Norsca.
  • Very common angst-oriented origin story for both good and evil Werecreatures in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. A tradition continued in Werewolf: The Forsaken, which, if anything, enforces the "don't forget that you're playing a monster" thing more harshly than its predecessor. The books make it quite clear that, if you're a Rahu (warriors who changed under the full moon), your First Change most likely involved someone dying horribly.

    Video Games 
  • In Fable II, if the player feels so inclined, after getting a sword they can slaughter the gypsies who raised them as a nice little warm-up before carving a bloody swath across Albion.
  • Fatal Frame: Kirie Himuro and Lord Himuro from Fatal Frame, Sae Kurosawa from Fatal Frame II, and Reika Kuze from Fatal Frame III. Except for Lord Himuro, all resulted directly from a botched sacrifice, and Himuro got the curse second-hand. They all suddenly engaged in mass-slaughter, and their victims became enraged, vengeful ghosts themselves who continued to claim victims decades or even centuries after.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroth begins his Face–Heel Turn with the infamous massacre at Nibelheim.
  • The Death Knight from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, or as he's more commonly known, Jeritza Von Hrym, though his real name is Emile Von Bartels. His childhood as Emile wasn’t exactly nice, with his father using Mercedes' mother as a Baby Factory to create children that bear her Crest. When Mercedes and her mother escaped, an 11-year-old Emile chose to stay to protect them from their father’s wrath. Years later, when his father found where they were hiding, Emile was driven to murder his father and the entire House Bartels in a blind rage when his father learned Mercedes’ mother was too old to have children, choosing to use Emile’s sister Mercedes instead, who was still a teenager. While he feels no regret for these actions, the event was so traumatising that he began to become a full-on Blood Knight that would even kill his big sister.
  • In First Encounter Assault Recon, Paxton Fettel fell into this trope as a kid during the so called "synchronicity event", during which he was possessed by Alma and killed several scientists using his psychic powers.
  • So how does Soul Nomad & the World Eaters infamous Demon Path begin? By killing everyone in your village, of course.
  • Suikoden IV has Graham Cray, who is considered responsible for the destruction of his hometown in a Type 2. In reality, it was his son who fatally unleashed the full power of the Rune of Punishment against soldiers running a False Flag Operation. Becoming The Scapegoat on top of everything else just drove him into villany.
  • Trauma Team's CR-S01 unleashed a bioterrorist attack that killed everyone in Cumberland College, but with a twist - he has no memory of how or why he did it. It turns out that he was actually framed by his adoptive father Albert Sartre.
  • A No Mercy run in Undertale starts out like this, with the player being required to track down every Random Encounter in the stage and kill them.
  • In Valis II (Japanese computer version), the origin story of Cruel King Megas is that, after being exiled by his kingly father, he returned to slaughter his entire family, tearing his brothers to pieces and eating his mother. Only his father's Heroic Sacrifice, turning him into a Sealed Evil in a Can, prevented further bloodshed... until the seal was broken.

    Visual Novels 

  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has a relatively sympathetic example in Regina Darkblood, who accidentally kills an innocent civilian and then kills several adventurers because of a tragic case of the universe's equivalent of Mistaken for Pedophile.
  • They aren't all necessarily villains in the normal sense, but most times the first notice the world has of a new "Spark" (mad scientist) in Girl Genius is the total depopulation of some village, usually that of the Spark.
  • Helen Narbon in Narbonic... insofar as she can be considered a villain. And it wasn't as much blood as tomato sauce and pesto. With tentacles. Apparently all mad scientists try to cause as much carnage as possible when they go mad and get mad science abilities. Some of them were already evil before they were mad.

     Web Original 
  • Mandragora in The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids is established in his first appearance to have been banished from the Homeworld when one of his experiments blew up the Department of Alchemy, taking several of its members with it. How intentional it was is unclear.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Dark Danny. In an alternate timeline, Danny's friends and family were killed in an accident that Danny was partially responsible for. In his grief, Danny had his Arch-Enemy Vlad Masters remove his ghost half... which then did the same to Vlad, merged with Vlad's ghost half, murdered the human Danny and went on a rampage for ten years. Dark Danny then tries to go back in time to ensure his own creation for no reason besides the fact he's an unrepentant monster, meaning this instance of the trope fulfills all four conditions of the trope.
  • Revealed by Word of God to be true of Gravity Falls's Big Bad, the interdimensional, omnicidal all-powerful whackjob Bill Cipher. He originally lived in a parody of Flatland, but somehow gained phenomenal cosmic power, went nuts as a result and literally set his entire dimension on fire, his own family included. With his homeworld reduced to a void, Cipher then hopped through other dimensions, secretly planning to destroy each and every one in the same way.