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Contrasting Sequel Antagonist

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"You can't go brawler because Tai Lung was brawler. You can't go smarter because Shen was smarter. Where can you go? You have to go supernatural, bigger, and even more intimidating."
Kung Fu Panda 3 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson describing Kai

Just as a sequel needs a contrast of heroes with a Contrasting Sequel Main Character, so do its villains. After all, do we want to see the same battle over again? If the previous villain was a Non-Action Big Bad, make this one a fighter. A Punch-Clock Villain to a personal rival. A man with a troupe to a king in his kingdom. Or an extremist to an opportunist. Even changing genders and upping the Foe Romance Subtext are examples of this trope. At times, it is a case of Avenging the Villain, where the one seeking revenge is more emotional and personal than the cold and calculating original villain.

In cases where the universe becomes more expanded and fleshed out, they may reveal ways in which the previous antagonist's actions affected their lives at times going as far as getting involved into offscreen Evil vs. Evil. This last one is even more likely if there is an ever-present conflict between two different communities/countries/classes and the villains represent rivaling (and perhaps extremistic) factions of the war, unlike the heroes who wish to bring balance and peace to all sides.



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    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Lucius Malfoy as the de facto Big Bad of the first book, a Manipulative Bastard who controls a coalition of villains including HYDRA, Gravemoss, and the Death Eaters (though most of the latter are used as cannon fodder) to conquer the world through intimidation and terror tactics, seeking institutional power rather than personal power-ups (on the grounds that he's wary of making himself a bigger target), and largely ignores Harry in favour of threats like the Avengers - something which turns out to be a key part of his downfall. The sequel has Voldemort as the Big Bad. Unlike Lucius, he largely operates alone, and while he's a competent manipulator, every alliance he forms is transparently temporary with no pretensions otherwise, usually with a more powerful villain while he takes a submissive position as The Dragon, and he's entirely focused on Harry and personal empowerment.
  • In Old West, a continuation fic of Rango, Dufayel is this to Tortoise John. Tortoise John was the mayor of Dirt's desert town who was good at hiding his villainous nature with charisma. Dufayel is a wealthy inhabitant of cities who, despite his politeness, never really hides his motivations or condescending nature in-story. They both intend to wipe out the town of Dirt (renamed as Mud), but for different reasons; Tortoise John was a Visionary Villain who wanted to create a modern city, while Dufayel's entire motivation is to claim from underneath the town the gold he was promised and needs to avoid becoming broke. Tortoise John turned Rango into his pawn by making him Dirt's sheriff and hired the services of Rattlesnake Jake, pitting them against each other until he tried to kill Jake. Dufayel in turn quickly makes himself an enemy to both Rango and Jake who work together against him right from the beginning.
  • Due to the Serial Escalation of how destructive the antagonists of Ruby and Nora get, this trope is to be expected.
    • The Big Bads of Ruby's Birthday and Weiss and Pyrrha are an explicit example of this. Abigail Lemon is a very different antagonist from Admah Keter. He kills for no reason other than his enjoyment, and she does it for the higher purpose of thinking that it makes her a goddess. Keter openly admits that he is a monster, while Abby doesn't even think she is crazy at all. While Keter doesn't put any effort into hiding his true nature, Abby's continued sprees hinged on her hiding who she truly is to avoid suspicion.
    • In following with the Serial Escalation, Father Tiresias Scorch from Field Trip contrasts the first three Arc Villains since he is the first major antagonist to not be working independently. He has the White Fang backing him rather than just being one person carrying out their deeds on their own. Keter was the only one who could be said was a collaborator and he forced Hector into working for him under the threat of killing his family. The other thing is that he's the first Faunus villain. The other three Big Bads were humans. In addition, Scorch is the first successful Hero Killer by killing both Ilia and Ren.
  • Due to Canon Welding, the villains in Halo and Mass Effect become this to each other in The Last Spartan. The Prophet of Truth and Saren both lead armies of religious fanatics against The Master Chief, but Truth was a Non-Action Big Bad who never interacted with the Chief personally, whereas Saren is capable of fighting the Chief as an equal, and both have a grudge against each other. Likewise, both universes have their own Eldritch Abomination with an Assimilation Plot on hand, but The Flood were organic, with a leader, the Gravemind, who was loud, bombastic and spoke floridly, whereas Sovereign and the other Reapers are cybernetic beings who are fairly blunt and plainspoken.
  • The traitor of Where Talent Goes on Vacation is this to the mastermind of Where Talent Goes To Die. Both of them made deals of varying sorts with Talent High School, but for different reasons; the mastermind was blackmailed into attending Talent High School so they could study his talent, while the traitor arranged to have her daughter attend Talent High School in exchange for keeping quiet about Chiyuri being the illegitimate child of the school's chairman's son. While the mastermind cooperated with Junko to get revenge on Talent High School, despite not sharing her beliefs, the traitor was brainwashed into becoming a member of Ultimate Despair. The mastermind kept his identity a secret for the entire killing game, while the traitor was genuinely unaware of her status as such. In the end, the mastermind submitted to execution rather than face justice, while the traitor was arrested, but those responsible held out hope for her being spared and rehabilitated.


  • Starting with Series 3, The Grossery Gang started giving antagonistic teams to pit against the main Grosseries in their lines, with each team having a different personality and motive against the Grosseries:
    • Series 3 had Clean Team, led by Vac Attack. Unlike the gross and organic Grosseries, the Clean Team were sterilized robots focused on keeping Cheap Town clean, to the risk of the Grosseries, who depend on filth to survive.
    • Series 4 had the Bug Strike, led by Gen. Arak Attack. This time, the antagonists actually liked the filth that the Grosseries had created, as it gave the bugs an environment they could live in as well. Unfortunately for the Grosseries, the Bug Strike were there to take the town by force, casting out the Grosseries from their own home.
    • Series 5 had the Rotbots, led by Cyber-Slop Pizza. A twisted version of Putrid Pizza, the leader of the Grosseries, Cyber-Slop Pizza came from a future that was sterilized, too sanitary for the cyborg Grosseries to thrive in. The goal of the Rotbots is to take the filth from the present to help save the future, at the detriment of the current Grosseries.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney likes to mix it up with the prosecutors the defense faces. To start with, in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix goes against prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, who is calm, dignified, and often condescending towards Phoenix.
    • Justice for All has Franziska von Karma, who is younger, female, and more emotional than her adopted half-brother Miles.
    • Trials and Tribulations has Godot, who is older than Edgeworth, as well as significantly more bitter. Unlike prosecuting prodigies Franziska and Miles, Godot is explicitly a rookie prosecutor, albeit one who turns out to be a veteran defense attorney.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney's Klavier Gavin is this to all three of the above, all of whom were tetchy, condescending, and obstructive towards Phoenix, with Franziska and Godot having personal grudges against him. Klavier, on the other hand, is an outgoing, flirtatious rock star who happily partakes in the insanity around him and who, save for a teasing nickname of "Herr Forehead", doesn't treat Apollo badly at all and is fine with getting a not guilty verdict so long as the truth is exposed.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: Simon is this to Klavier, being set up as an irredeemable convict to Klavier's friendly rock star. Design-wise, Klavier is a Bishōnen with a warm color palette while Simon is tall, has a Face of a Thug, and is dressed in black and white to make him look harsher.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Nahyuta is this to Simon, as the holier-than-thou monk to Simon's evil criminal. Design-wise, he's dressed in white and pastels with an ethereal look to contrast Simon.
    • In terms of the Big Bad, the first game's is a terrifying and Obviously Evil prosecutor who gets revenge by proxy by drawing the son of the man he hates into a corrupt version of the legal world. Main villains of later games tend towards being bitches in sheep's clothing.
    • The villains of the Ace Attorney Investigations games. Querus Alba from the first game is a respected ambassador who uses his position to create a massive smuggling ring and has endless resources to achieve his goals. Simon Keyes is a fairly low ranked employee at a circus who manipulates people to bring down a conspiracy generally by appealing to the inner insecurities of others.
  • Zero Escape:
    • In both Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward, one person in the group is the Big Bad actively trying to kill off the rest of the party. In the first game, that person is an old man who puts on a good act as a kindly person who cares about the group and who kills out of his own self-interest, to protect himself. In the second game, the killer is a young man who is...not very good at hiding what a bastard he is and who kills not to protect himself, but to help a group he belongs to so they can achieve their goal. In the third game, the Wild Card is not the Big Bad but The Dragon, the female Mira, and the only one to achieve some measure of redemption by turning herself in.
    • In Zero Time Dilemma, series Big Bad Delta is an old man who reads information about the future from other peoples' minds and owns a dangerous religion; Akane before him is a young woman who witnesses the future from other people's minds and is superstitious. Delta tries to justify his actions as having "complex motives" despite them involving lots of unnecessary murder, something the characters do not buy, while Akane, while also somewhat unnecessary in her plans, still had understandable motivations that the characters accepted more than they did Delta's.
  • Danganronpa:
    • The second game's rival is Nagito, the Ultimate Lucky Student. He's the Evil Counterpart of the previous protagonist Naegi. He genuinely believes that he is doing good, but he does so by forcing the game to keep going for his own plans, since he wants the others to develop into greater amounts of hope. Unlike Togami's jerkass behaviour, Nagito is somewhat affable, but infinitely more deranged.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Oma, the Ultimate Supreme Leader. A short and adorable little boy, he is a Wild Card that takes pleasure in playing the game and goes along with it because it amuses him, having no clear endgame plan, neither his survival nor anyone else's. Unlike Nagito and Togami, he is a complicated case of Good All Along and, although like Nagito he plans his own death, Oma's plan was made with the intent of throwing a monkey wrench in the game by creating a case that not even Monokuma can solve and force the game to end.
      • The fourth chapter has Gonta Gokuhara. He shares traits with Sakura and Gundham, the chapter four killers of the previous games; a Gentle Giant like Sakura and a talent involving animals like Gundham; but the difference between them is that while Sakura and Gundham's deaths could be considered Heroic Sacrifice so the others could live, Gonta instead intended to Mercy Kill the rest of the group by winning the game.

    Web Original 


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