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Break out the holy night-lights.

"From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment."
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Darkness is associated with evil, ugliness, scary monsters, and super creeps. This is the reason for the naming of The Dark Side and why Evil Counterpart characters and certain Underground Monkeys often have 'dark' in front of their names. Like all Colour-Coded for Your Convenience/Good Colors, Evil Colors examples, this is common, but not universal, and will vary from culture to culture.

The logic behind the trope is as follows: most humans fear the dark, at least to some degree; our sight is the sense we depend on the most, and we cannot see well in darkness, therefore a lack of light makes us feel very vulnerable to danger.note  Furthermore, the fact that it's so hard to see in darkness (well, for humans, anyways) has caused some of us to associate darkness with deception. Evil is associated with deception as well, so, from Star Wars to cowboy movies, a lot of bad guys wear black hats. If you want to be even more obvious about it, give the bad guy a name that has something to do with darkness.

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The Western genre tradition of having the bad guys wear the black hat was not as common as later writers would think. However, some certainly held to it, such as Once Upon a Time in the West and Shane, and you'd probably never imagine Lee Van Cleef without one.

Enforced in many movies because all those CGI monsters need to look real. It's easier to cheat realistic CGI in a dark scene where you're not able to scrutinize every single pixel of the creature.

If a character has darkness-based powers, see Casting a Shadow.

Stories where Dark Is Evil and Light Is Not Good are commonplace to show that the light can be just as foul as darkness, if not eviller.

Why Evil Is Not Well-Lit, and why having the sun vanish is a bad sign. See also Light Is Good, Light/Darkness Juxtaposition, Bad Powers, Bad People, Obviously Evil, Darkness Equals Death, and Nice Day, Deadly Night.

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A Super-Trope to Evil Wears Black. Black is the favorite color of the Card-Carrying Villain, as it is associated with the color of death in the western world. Vampires, witches and necromancers are also traditionally seen in black garb.

Dark Is Not Evil is the inversion and the good counterpart of this trope. Another one is The Sacred Darkness, where Dark may or may not be evil, but is just as important as Light.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Berserk:
    • The Godhand are the Big Bads of the series. All of them are Black Angels (or Demons).
    • The white-haired and morally ambiguous Griffith turns into the black-winged demon Femto when he gives himself completely to evil. Although he appears in his old human body as Griffith, with various connections with the light, Femto is his true form underneath this mask.
    • The Beast of Darkness, the entity that constantly pressures Guts towards acts of inhuman butchery, is a monstrous hound made out of black shadows that lives in the darkest part of Guts subconscious.
  • In Fairy Tail, there are villainous characters that use the Black Arts and dark related magic for evil.
    • Zeref is the biggest example here, not called "Black Wizard" for nothing; along with other, more common dark magics, he could create his own demons and magical objects that were designed to kill people. He himself wasn't that bad of a guy, though; the evil part came much later.
    • Acnologia is a black dragon and no friend to humans. He's also indiscriminately destructive, seeing both humans and demons to be beneath him. He also seeks to destroy every living this in the world and will not rest until everything and everyone is killed in his wake.
    • Brain/Zero is another, his spells are depicted with a Sickly Green Glow, and most of them even begin with the word "dark".
    • Hades/Precht the Guild Master of Grimoire Heart is the self proclaimed master of the Black Arts developed and preformed by Zeref himself, he has many spells that are part of the Black Arts and even created his own spell called the Grimoire Law and behind his eye patch is the Devils Eye which increases his already immense magic power.
    • Basically everyone in the Taraoros guild is this since they are demons created by Zeref and they use curse power instead of magic power.
    • Bloodman of the Spriggan 12 dresses entirely in blood red and black, and is one of the most ruthless villains in the series.
  • The homunculi from Fullmetal Alchemist all wear black and have dark hair, and are sociopaths to boot.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam's Devil Gundam was renamed "Dark Gundam" in an edited English dub.
  • In Hellsing Alucard the vampire has darkness powers. He's also COUNT DRACULA himself.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's:
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00's Johan Trinity pilots The Dark Based Eins Gundam.
  • My-Otome: the main antagonists use dark-themed GEMs. Nina Wang has an Ultimate Black Diamond, which is said to be representative of her "extreme and mostly selfish" bonds with Sergay and Arika, which is the opposite of the selfless bond between Master and Otome exemplified by the original Pure White Diamond. Tomoe and the rest of the Valkyries use Cursed Obsidians of the Darkness, and Schwartz, named after the German word for black, is evil.
  • Onegai My Melody: the Big Bad is simply called "The Spirit of Dark Power", and anyone possessed by it will say the word "dark" as a Verbal Tic.
  • One Piece: both men who have Dark-related Devil's Fruit powers, Blackbeard (Darkness ala Black Hole) and Gecko Moria (Shadows) are, indeed, not pleasant people.
  • In My Hero Academia, most villains are this:
    • All For One is one example, he wears dark clothes, has a black helmet, has dark colored Quirks, and is the most powerful villain in the series.
    • Shigaraki’s preferred attire color is black, which serves to emphasize his malice. After the Paranormal Liberation War, Nana's hand, the sole remaining Creepy Souvenir from his family, is scorched black by Endevour's flames when he's trying to overtax Tomura's Healing Factor, and placing it on his face awakens Toura's instinctual Unstoppable Rage when the villains are backed into a corner... and facilitates All for One starting to possess him as the stronger Tomura's anger, the more All For One's grip on his mind and body grows, fulfilling the trope even more.
    • Kurogiri is an obvious one since it’s understandable that a walking mass of dark fog would be one of the villains, in addition he can create dark colored portals for him and the other villains to go through.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Dark-type Pokémon are common with antagonists and a rarity amongst the protagonists, though Ash does own a Scraggy and a Greninja (both part Dark-types).
    • Played straight with the Iron-Masked Marauder's Dark Balls in Pokémon 4Ever.
  • Sailor Moon has The Dark Kingdom and the Black Moon Clan both of whom are Obviously Evil.
    • there’s also the Malefic Black Crystal which is outright said to be Malefic.
  • Saint Seiya has the Black Saints, plus Hades and his Specters.
  • Death Note: Unlike the Villain Protagonist Light Yagami, Misa Amane fits this trope. So do most of the Shinigami, especially Ryuk.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Invoked by Darkness/Nightshroud. Since darkness in the Yu-Gi-Oh universe is stated to be a form of raw potential that is molded by human hearts, Darkness/Nightshroud is implied to be created from The Sacred Darkness specifically because humanity thinks that Dark Is Evil.
  • Naruto:
    • A cursebite that Orochimaru leaves on Sasuke during the Chunin exams is black, and the expanded marks when he wakes up are also black.
    • The Akatsuki members, for that matter, wear black garbs.
    • Black Zetsu is a pitch-black shadow thing responsible for all of the suffering throughout ninja history.
    • In general, darkness is used as a metaphor for villainy and strong negative emotions, such as hatred, nihilism, and despair. As a result it's strongly associated with villains such as Sasuke, Tobi (by Konan), and Madara.
  • Bleach:
    • Fourth Espada Ulquiorra Cifer is highly associated with darkness and the color black. His hair is black, and when he transforms into his Ressureccion, he gains a pair of black wings and his Reiatsu turns from dark green to jet black with a green outline. He can fire a jet black colored Cero called Cero Oscruras, though Ulquiorra implies that any Espada can use it when in Resurreccion. In his Ressurection: Segunda Etapa, his lower body is covered in dark fur, his arms are colored black, and a dark substance pours down from his Hollow hole.
    • Kugo Ginjo dresses in all black, has black hair, is manipulative, rude and brutal and freely admits he makes a cliched villain. He is eventually revealed to be the true Arc Villain and that Tsukishima is following his orders. His true personality shows him as a malicious and sadistic individual. During the climax of the arc, he becomes clad in black and white skeletal armor.
    • The Quincy have a preference towards cladding themselves in all white. The Big Bad, Yhwach stands out among his men due to being the only Quincy that wears dark clothing; in particular, a dark maroon cloak which he wears over his white uniform. It makes him look like he's permanently enclosed in shadow. It is also very fitting with his dark, ruthless nature as a being who thrives on violence and death to prolong his own life. He commits a brutal slaughter on Seireitei with many Soul Reapers, including Captain-Commander Yamamoto, losing their lives. He cares for his men not as people, but rather as fuel sources to extend his life when their use innevitably expires. It's strongly implied that the reason the Quincies' war with the Shinigami is solely his doing, rather than it being a natural thing for the two sides to do. After absorbing Mimihagi and the Soul King, his body becomes shrouded in darkness that oozes around him, and he forgoes all of the Quincy's "holy" attacks in favor of mauling his opponents with globs of dark energy. In the final battle of the series, he is bisected by Ichigo, but uses The Almighty to revive himself as a living mass of darkness that attempts to swallow all of Seireitei in dark Reiatsu.
  • Space Patrol Luluco: Taken Up to Eleven with the Blackholians, a race with black holes for heads (quite literally as dark as you can get) that set the entire series in motion so that they could break Luluco's heart For the Evulz.
  • Pretty Cure: In each season, the Big Bad always has a darkness motif that puts Ansem, Seeker of Darkness! to shame; to the point that the first Big Bad was often put in Fansubs and even the short-lived English dub as the Dark King. note . Though that does not rule out some Dark Is Not Evil allies (mostly those through Heel–Face Turn), like Cure Passion and Cure Beat. A few Big Bads have different motifs, however, though some are still dark based. Dune has motifs based off deserts and sand, for example.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Dark magic is actually a state secret because of how bad it can be. You can't use it unless you perform a human sacrifice and it allows you to alter the emotions or memories of anyone you're in physical contact with. It can do significantly more dangerous things than this as well. That being said, neither of the dark magic users we see are 100% evil.
  • Black Clover:
    • The devils are malicious beings from the underworld who desire to sow destruction and suffering wherever they go. They appear as black, horned beings and serve as the Greater Scope Villains after the elves.
    • The Spade Kingdom's Dark Triad and their Dark Disciples are this. They are all dressed in black and use the powers of devils, with higher percentage use manifesting horns and dark demonic wings.

    Art 
  • The Last Supper: Judas, the traitor Jesus is alluding to, is framed in shadow to distinguish him from the just apostles in the light.
  • It's easy to find where Judas is in the Sistine Chapel's version of the Last Supper, you just need to pick out the apostle with the black beard, dark clothes, and shadow-framed face.
  • The Obviously Evil snake in The Sin is black and dark-grey that blends into the darkness of Eve's hair and the shadow she is hiding in.

    Asian Animation 

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Black follows traditional "evil" aspects, like death, necromancy, demons, betrayal, poison, plague, etc. However, the staff puts a lot of effort stating that Black itself isn't evil, and many of the things it embodies are, context depending, neutral (decay to make way for new growth, shadows) or actively desirable (free will, as opposed to Green's surrender to fate and White's conformity). It's just that 90% of the things associated with it and a lot of Black-aligned characters are kinda awful, though in recent years things are getting more nuanced. Perhaps as a consequence to this, many recent Magic villains have had other mana-alignments, including "good" colors like Green and White.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Darkseid (pronounced "dark side") is one of the most utterly and wholeheartedly evil and dangerous beings in the setting.
    • One of Doctor Fate's villains is a man named Ian Karkull who can control shadow magic.
    • Among the various differently colored forces in Green Lantern, there are several who tend to favor evil methods, such the Sinestro Corps, the Red Lantern Corps, and Agent Orange. However, the worst by far is the Black Lantern Corps, an army of Zombie Mooks who can all regenerate From a Single Cell. Their ultimate goal is The End of the World as We Know It, with "the world" in this case being every living thing in the universe. They are so evil that every other color, good and bad, teamed-up to stop them. It must be noted, though, Geoff Johns has described the Black Lanterns as being Above Good and Evil. To them, they're simply fighting off the light, which they see as intruding in the universe.
  • 2000 AD:
    • In the Strontium Dog "Max Bubba" story, Bubba's Vikings all wear black armor. The (somewhat) more good Vikings that side with Johnny have rather paler armor and weapons.
    • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges are undead lawmen from an Alternate Universe who are obsessed with destroying all life. When they took over Mega City One during the "Necropolis" arc, their allies the Sisters of Death blacked out all sunlight in the city to make it as cold and dark as their black hearts.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Doctor Strange: Dormammu and Umar, rulers of the Dark Dimension. It's been implied that the Dark Dimension is something of a Fisher Kingdom, however, and millennia of Dormammu's rule has made it into the nasty place it is today. Despite the name, the Dark Dimension is a colorful Acid-Trip Dimension.
    • The Incredible Hercules: Amatsu-Mikaboshi's true form is a mass of infinite darkness, specifically the Primordial Chaos kind that preceeded all of reality, and is an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Blackheart, the "son" of Mephisto. He's a monstrous jet-black abomination spawned from the collected evil of a Wretched Hive.
  • Astro City: Aubrey Jason was already evil to begin with, but later acquires dark energy powers to become Lord Sovereign.
  • The Smurfs: In "The Smurf Menace", the Gray Smurfs wear darker clothes to show that they are Evil Twin versions of the original Smurfs.
  • In Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Eclipso's strength and powers only work in the dark, and he is a cruel villain who generally operates by taking over their opponents.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction; the underground and darkness are associated with the antagonists. When the Many and Keizer Ghidorah do come to the surface, they darken the skies with their Ghidorah-derived Weather Manipulation. Inverted by Monster X: they have dark gray skin from their second form onwards (in contrast to Ghidorah's and its other "children's" gold) and are very much heroic.
  • The Black Stallion: Black ponies hold a heavy stigma in a culture where most come in shades of the rainbow. Their lack of color is seen as a lack of a soul:
    In the ponies' culture, black foals were despised. The color black was the absence of color, a sign that the Rainbow was not with the child. To have a black body was crime enough, but to have no shred of color on your person like the black stallion was unspeakable. Such an equine was labeled a demon-foal. Most did not survive past foalhood. When they did, they were outcasts. So went the ways of the herds.
  • Subverted in A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script: Although Morgoth is called the Dark One by other Ainur, he is able to manipulate darkness, and his servants wear black, darkness isn't evil per se. The same as Light, Darkness was created by the Children of Eru's pleasure before being usurped by Morgoth, which is because Luthien declares she isn't afraid of reclaim their birthright.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    • Thunderstorm, one of the most competent villains in the series' largely-harmless Rogues Gallery, wears a black lab coat and has jet-black hair. It's even lampshaded:
      Socrates: Wow, this guy is obsessed with black.
    • Ironically, the negative figment of Socrates (faced inside his mind) also fits this trope.
  • Dark Amphithere Total Pokemon Series: Parodied to the max with Mega Gengar. When Gengar Mega Evolves during a challenge, Mega Gengar becomes something like a hammy Saturday morning cartoon villain. Gengar is very embarrassed by it, being a Ghost-type Pokémon moving past the stereotype that Ghost types are scary, and he says that he's gotten that from roleplaying back when he was a Haunter. It's played straighter, however, with Trevenant, a Ghost-type tree Pokémon with a violent streak.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl wears black clothes, in contrast with her blue-clothed and heroic genetic template, and is a murderous, remorseless psychopath. Also, when the Legion of Super-Heroes travels to Hell to stop Mordru, the Essence of Evil is depicted as an endless mass of jet-black energy.
  • Lux-Umbra Magna Auguratricis is more or less all about this: The main antagonists are Shadows, they come from cores of Darkness, There's a creature similar to Gemini named Divisu who's basically a black Gemini with golden eyes, The Lux Auras have evil counterparts in the Umbra Auras, who also have black uniforms and golden eyes, and so on.
  • The Night Unfurls:
  • Ojamajo Doremi: Rise of the Shadows: The Shadows are dark in nature and come from a realm hidden in the darkness. They are portrayed as evil and self-serving.
  • PMD: Another Perspective: The Rocket grunt becomes the Dark-type Purrloin during her mission to the world of Pokemon, and she retains her mindset that Pokemon exist primarily for Team Rocket to profit off of.
  • In Pokemon Strangled Red, Steven's face turns jet black after he tries to bring Miki back from the dead.

    Films — Animation 
  • Howl's Moving Castle: Howl's night-black bird-monster form is said to be wrecking his soul, even when he does have a good reason to fight.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Fantasia: Pictured above is Chernabog. Appropriately enough, his name means "Black God".
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Queen Grimhilde initially has only a black cape, then she wears a black cloak in her old hag disguise. One of her potion's ingredients is also the black of night.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent, who wears a black wardrobe and turns into a black dragon for her One-Winged Angel.
    • The bear from The Fox and the Hound has black fur.
    • The Black Cauldron: The Horned King, a skeletal figure who lives in a dark and foreboding castle.
    • The Great Mouse Detective: Professor Ratigan has a black suit, which contrasts with Basil's brighter outfit.
    • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ursula has black tentacles of an octopus.
    • Aladdin: Jafar is dressed in black and red, the latter of which is another typically evil color. He also turns into a black and red cobra.
    • Scar from The Lion King. He has a black mane, and dark fur.
    • Hercules: Hades is a stereotypical demonic figure, dressing in black, possessing a sallow grey complexion and living in a gloomy underworld.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo is an odd case, wearing all black, but otherwise representing Light Is Not Good.
    • Dr. Facilier/The Shadow Man from The Princess and the Frog has a primarily black outfit.
    • Mother Gothel of Tangled has dark hair, dark grey eyes, a deep red dress and a black cloak (which is even more noticeable in contrast to Rapunzel, with her blonde locks, bright green eyes and bright purple dress). She's even shown blocking out the tower's natural light sources and snuffing out candles Rapunzel had lit during her Villain Song.
    • Yokai from Big Hero 6, who dresses up in black and uses dark-colored robotic swarms, that make him look as if he controls darkness itself.
  • Likewise, some of Don Bluth's villains (at least those that don't go extravagant): Jenner is the only ostensibly black furred rat and wears purple clothes (though strangely other characters embody Dark Is Not Evil), Sharptooth is of a very dark green/bluish hue and spends most of the movie in poorly lit conditions, the owls from Rock-A-Doodle want to snuff out the Sun, Gnorga wears black and purple and has evil purple magic, Rasputin blatantly claims to use dark magic, et cetera. Even the Drej, beings made of pure light, have a very dark blue colour.
  • Brave: The main villain, Mor'du, is a large, coal black bear who mercilessly hunts the protagonist, princess Merida.
  • Epic (2013): The Boggans are dark coloured and associated with death, as opposed to the light-associated protagonists.
  • The Secret of Kells: The Vikings are presented as nothing more than black silhouettes with eyes, and are vicious, murderous raiders sacking and devastating their way through Ireland.
  • While Princess Mononoke thrives on Grey-and-Gray Morality, darkness is still representative of the gods' worst side. Gods who fall to fear or hatred become demonic creatures covered in purple or black worms (who can infect humans and manifest as dark energy on them), the apes are black with red eyes, and the Shishigami becomes a creature made of darkness once his head is ripped off. There are no positive spiritual aspects of darkness seen on screen.
  • Pitch Black a.k.a. the Boogeyman of Rise of the Guardians has power over darkness and fear, wears black, it's even in his name, and he is the Big Bad who gives children nightmares, gives Breaking Speeches like candy, wants to take the Guardians' power, kills one of them, and tries to murder a child during the climax.
  • In the first segment of Allegro non Troppo, all the animals are brightly colored and cartoony, except for those jerk-face apes with red eyes and black sclera who wreck the planet as they become human but remain vicious animals on the inside. Averted in the beginning with the black proto-blob, unless evolving out of human trash counts as evil.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: The Xenomorphs are predatory aliens that have black exoskelotons and hide in the shadows to attack the crew of the Nostromo.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Attack the Block, in which the ferocious alien creatures have near-vantablack fur. If not for their glowing blue teeth, it'd be impossible to even tell which way they're facing.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy: Surely, a group called the League of Shadows will do nothing but good deeds, right? Right...?
  • Dracula (1931): Dracula himself wears clothing that is as dark as he is diabolical, namely, a black cape, a tailcoat with matching pants, and black shoes. The only articles he wears which are not black are his white shirt, and white bow-tie.
  • In Erik the Viking, Halfdan the Black got his nickname from being evil.
  • In How to Murder Your Wife, Jack Lemmon's Italian bride stays up late watching American movies on TV and keeps asking "Which are the good guys, the white hats or the black hats?"
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:The Indoraptor is a black hybrid dinosaur with gold strips down its sides, that more closely resembles a Veliociraptor, and in contrast to the Indominus, shows a sadistic pleasure in playing with its prey before killing it.
  • Legend (1985): The demonic villain Darkness is a personification of the concept and wants to extinguish all life so he can subsist in the dead icebound world.
  • Little Dead Rotting Hood: The wolves in the movie have pitch black fur, and are responsible for the deaths of numerous townsfolk. Out of their wolf forms, the werewolves wear black clothes.
  • Malcolm X: Deconstructed. In the prison library scene, Charles Dutton's character gives a monologue about the implicit association of darkness with evil and lightness with good in the English language, which has a profound effect on the man who would later name himself X.
  • Maleficent: The eponymous character initially plays the trope straight, but simultaneously fluctuates between it and Dark Is Not Evil. She ultimately pulls a Heel–Face Turn and goes with the latter.
  • Mandy (2018): The Black Skulls are a gang of extremely sadistic bikers high on a really nasty drug, and there are implications that they may not even be human anymore. They wear almost completely black uniforms and are always in shadow or silhouette against a blue, blinding red or fiery background.
  • In Man of Steel, all of Zod's technology is a metallic black.
  • MonsterVerse: The Stinger of Kong: Skull Island uses this trope when images of ancient cave paintings of the next movie's four main Kaiju are shown: whereas the benevolent Godzilla and Mothra's paintings are light-colored, Rodan and Ghidorah's paintings are black, signifying their malevolent nature (Ghidorah especially).
  • Nosferatu has a pale villain, but he wears a dark coat and needs darkness to survive. It's from this film that all modern legends of vampires and daylight not going together stem. In the original novel, Dracula was able to walk around in human form in the daylight.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West: Frank is the Trope Codifier for classic westerns, along with Angel Eyes. Frank always wears a black hat, and sometimes a black coat, something very typical for villains in western movies.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
    • The bad guys' starship, the Vengeance, has a jet black hull.
    • The villainous Harrison dresses in black clothing.
  • Star Wars: The Dark Side, the Force's generally corrupting and destructive aspect. Darth Vader wears a dark costume in the original trilogy and Darth Sideous wears a cloak so his face is in shadow. Word of God is that Luke wears a light costume and it gets progressively darker as he goes from innocence to accepting the dark side as something that exists and overcoming it as opposed to avoiding or destroying it. In the prequels, Anakin favors darker clothing than the rest of the Jedi Order, even before his turn to the Dark Side.
  • Unbreakable: Deconstructed. Elijah Price (played by Samuel L. Jackson) lectures a buyer in his comic art gallery on the appearance of a supervillain as opposed to a superhero, including the Dark Is Evil trope. After The Reveal where Elijah turns out to be a mass murderer, the implication is that Elijah convinced himself he was a supervillain because of how he resembled this and other Villain Tropes.
  • Under the Skin: Played with in the (very Mind Screw) movie adaptation. The aliens (who kidnap humans and remove their insides, leaving only the skins) are throughly associated with darkness: the room to which the men are lured is black, the liquid that traps and processes them is a black oil, most of their illumination comes from red lights, and their real forms are black skinned humanoids with yellow eyes. However, it's also subverted, as not only does the protagonist seem to develop a conscience, but she also only reveals her real form at the very end, well past her ostensible Heel–Face Turn.
  • Upside Down: The Up Top Transworld employees tend to wear darker colors. Subverted by Bob Boruchowitz.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom, the Big Bad, is dressed in black: black cape, black suit, black hat, and black cane. Pretty on-the-nose, but Toons aren't exactly known for subtlety...
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: The black background of the "Destroy" poster (which promotes the villains) signifies this.

    Literature 
  • Pops up often in An Outcast in Another World. Rob has a very literal fear of the dark due to being traumatized by his passage through the void, and as such he despises complete darkness. Additionally, the skies above the Blighted lands are unnaturally dark and signify that you really, really shouldn’t go there.
  • The Bad Unicorn Trilogy: The Maelshadow, and most of the characters who work for it. Even the place where the Maelshadow is from, a world called the Shadrus, is this.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: Among the many avatars of the evil god Nyarlathotep are the Black Man and the Black Pharaoh. No, not someone with an African appearance. His skin is described as literally looking pitch black, like the light was sucked out of it.
  • The Divine Comedy: The final circle of Hell, the most fundamental representation of evil, is first referenced as the "più oscuro" (darkest) circle just before Dante has to have his eyes closed to survive Medusa's glare. When he actually reaches the Ninth Circle, he describes himself shivering in that "l’etterno rezzo," a term meaning "eternal shadow."
  • Thud!!: Discworld Dwarfs, spending so much time underground, have a whole mythology around spirits of darkness, some of which are evil and some of which aren't — and the Big Bad of the story is the Summoning Dark.
  • An Ember in the Ashes: Is it any coincidence that the Nightbringer is the greatest threat to the Scholar nation?
  • Forest Kingdom: The Darkwood, a demon-infested blot of absolute darkness. Later in book 1 (Blue Moon Rising), it expands to cover everything.
  • The Genesis Code: Umbra Domini (Latin for "The Shadow of the Lord"), a right-wing reactionary Catholic group whose members are the main antagonists.
  • Gone: The Big Bad is sometimes called "the Darkness".
  • Harry Potter: Voldemort is referred to as the Dark Lord, and the in-universe category of dark creatures or "demons" (as explained in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) consists of any creature that can use magic and mainly uses said magic for malicious intent. Dementors are the most promenent members in the books.
  • John Carter of Mars: The First-Born, who can only be described as drow ON MARS, are a dark-skinned race of pirates and raiders that regularly enslave outsiders and also practice cannibalism. Interestingly, their archenemies are the White Martians (who represent Light Is Not Good) and both factions are introduced as antagonists but once John Carter dethrones the First-Born's mad tyrant, they become friendlier.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, the Dark Lord Sauron is the most powerful and evil entity in the Third Age of the world, casting a shadow over all the lands his armies corrupt and raze.
      One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    • The Silmarillion: Before him was his own master, Morgoth. Some of Tolkien's unpublished writings imply that dark is associated with evil because Morgoth's ultimate goal is to tear down the world until it is reduced to the original primordial void.
    • Averted with Tolkien's Dark Elves, the Moriquendi. While "Dark Elf" has come to mean evil in nearly every subsequent High Fantasy, the Moriquendi are simply Elves that never went to Aman and never saw the light of the Two Trees of Valinor. They're no worse than any other group of Elves.
  • Last Mage: Some of Rhianna's minions are black otherworldly things, others are shadows, and her own black dresses are described lovingly.
  • Madeleine L'Engle uses this trope in several of her books, starting with A Wrinkle in Time where the Black Thing covers the world of Camazotz and threatens the planet Earth. In later books, the Echthroi (repeatedly refered to as "the powers of darkness") also gain an association with a horrible sound and a disgusting smell.
  • The Old Kingdom series is an example of both Dark Is Evil and Dark Is Not Evil, as necromancers and the Sealed Evil in a Can that they represent are the main antagonists, but then again, the protagonists also use Free Magic (which tends to be pretty nasty) to fight it.
  • Paradise Lost: The primary imagery for Satan and other demons is unadulterated darkness.
    No light, but rather darkness visible
  • Conan the Barbarian: In "The Phoenix on the Sword", the high priest, having deduced the story of a demon is not All Just a Dream, calls on Mitra to guard them against the powers of darkness.
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned, Darkness is one of the two "supra-elements", surrounding and infusing the four elemental magics. The dark aspect of each mage's power tempts him or her to abuse it, and must be mastered with training and meditation. On top of that, it is possible to become a hoshek, a mage aligned with Darkness itself. This grants access to all four elements, but With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • In The Rape of the Lock, Umbriel (whose name means "Shadowy") goes to the Underworld (the pit of Ill-Humor) to bring up a bag of temper tantrums to create even more chaos.
  • Shaman Blues: The villain has all the walls in her house painted black, and no windows to shine light into. And that's not to mention all this dried blood from the sacrifices.
  • Shattered Twilight: Played with; in the backstory (before the Shattering), the god of night was a benevolent and powerful ally in holding evil at bay. In the current age, however, his total disappearance during or after the Shattering has made night incredibly dangerous. The setting also has a strong association between darkness and demons, which are portrayed as writhing, moving darkness.
  • In Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, the vampires. Their influence on their prey is even called the dark.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact, the presence of the blood wolf causes the street lights to go out as it races by.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • When villains die, they go to a forest of pure darkness. And when they fight the Clans, there is a prophecy that describes the Dark Forest/Place of No Stars as "the darkness that lasts forever".
    • Also, most of the main villains have been dark brown tabby toms, for some reason. Even Thistleclaw, a gray and white cat, accidetally got described as dark brown a couple times. Once fans pointed this out, villains began to have different pelt colors: Sol and Mapleshade are torties and Dark Forest cat Snowtuft is white.
    • Also seen with the characters' names: Darkstripe is evil, Darktail is evil, Blackstar starts out as evil, and Blackclaw isn't a particularly nice cat and tends to support Hawkfrost. ShadowClan cats have the worst record for having evil cats, and Secrets of the Clans made their founder Shadow the aggressive and unpleasant one of the original four leaders, though Warriors Dawn Of The Clans makes it more complicated.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Big Bad is called the Dark One (there are also other names, but Dark One is the most common one) and the evil side, i.e. everyone and everything associated with the Dark One is referred to as Shadow. Human servants of the Shadow are called Darkfriends, one name for the creatures that command the universe's Orc-equivalents is Shadowmen, and...yeah, maybe you get the point by now.
  • Wicked Lovely: The Dark Faery court, although this is possibly a subversion — they are more cruel than evil and need to be to survive. They are essencially emotional parasites, but Irial truly loved Niall and Leslie (although he was very cruel to them, using Leslie as an emotional conduit and stripping her of emotion and free wiil and allowing his servants and guards to both phsically and sexually abuse Niall), and although Gabriel comes into the "abusing Niall" category, although only physical, he was NOT one of the fey who raped Niall - this is a common misunderstanding — and can be incredibly kind to his halfling children. Niall himself comes more under Dark Is Not Evil, although the injustices of the past push him more and more towards the moral grey area Iri and Gabe occupy.
  • Shades of Magic: The Big Bad of the trilogy is the "Shadow King" Osaron, a Living Shadow that consumed one world and has set his sights on another. His name even means "Darkness" in the dead Antari tongue. Best exemplified when he merges with the magical river in Red London, turning it inky black and summoning a dark fog that mind-controls people who breathe it.
  • This is a major element of the setting in Shadow of the Conqueror alongside Light Is Good. The de facto religion of Hamahra, Lightseeking, seems to be based on this.
  • The Black Spider: The titular creature is a big, black demonic monster which rampages through a valley, killing both humans and animals indiscriminately.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • In a TV movie on the making of the Vietnam Memorial in DC, people kept objecting to it because it's black and therefore bad and makes their sacrifice seem bad. A black army officer stands up and reminds him of his years of service and that if anyone makes another comment on how "black is bad" they are going to take it outside.

By Series:

  • It comes with Unfortunate Implications that the dark-skinned Eartha Kitt in Batman (1966) is by far the meanest puddytat of the three actresses.
  • In Babylon 5, the Psi Cops wear all-black uniforms, the Nightwatch wear black armbands, and the Shadows' ships are blacker than the darkest night. Londo's costume also subtly darkens as he becomes more involved with the forces of chaos.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the outfits of many vamps take on this trope. Also, The Bringers, servants of the First Evil, all wear black robes.
  • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk primarily wears all-black suits for the first part of season 1. He later starts wearing an even fancier gray suit after he begins a relationship with Vanessa, who is often wearing a white dress to contrast Fisk. Likewise, Fisk is fond of a painting of a white background which he says embodies his loneliness. This is averted when he embraces his evil and becomes the Kingpin, whereupon he's always shown wearing white.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The White Guardian and the Black Guardian. The White Guardian is the epitome of good and dresses in white clothing, the Black Guardian is the epitome of evil and dresses in black clothing.
    • "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" plays with it: The Vashta Nerada living in the Library kill people by stripping them to skeletons, and outright state that they are "not kind". However, the Doctor points out that the aggressiveness of the swarm in the Library is unusual, as on most worlds they're largely benign and live off roadkill.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • House Bolton members dress themselves in black and grey armor, in contrast to their book counterparts who dress in pink and red. Their sigil is a red flayed man in a black background, rather than pink like in the books.
    • Tywin Lannister favours black leather even though his family colours are red and gold. His daughter, Cersei, adopts his style of dress when she, an already unpleasant person, descends over the Moral Event Horizon and into complete irredeemable evil and kills hundreds of people in the burning of the Sept of Baelor.
    • Drogon has black-and-red scales and is the most aggressive and blood-thirsty of the three dragons. Subverted, in that he serves the heroic-leaning Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Glee, obviously, makes use of this, although with an interesting variation; every single male character who is an asshole wears black. The only exceptions are the jock bullies, who wear typical jock attire, and the occasional Anti-Hero. The (usually) unambiguously heroic Kurt Hummel does wear dark purple, but he does so less and less, so the Dark Is Not Evil factor probably decreased.
  • On Lexx, His Divine Shadow might as well wear a placard around his (black-clad) neck announcing that he is an Evil Overlord. Between the title, the black robe, and the decor of his planet-sized Evil Tower of Ominousness, it's pretty obvious.
  • Lost: An extremely blatant example — Jacob wears white and the Man in Black/smoke monster wears black.
  • Lost Girl: Played with. The two factions of Fae given the series are the Dark Fae and the Light Fae. And while both sides are manipulative show Fantastic Racism towards humans, the Dark Fae have far worse policies when it comes to humans, and an over darker morality. On the other hand, several Dark Fae are shown to be decent people, and don't display any evil characteristics.

    Music 

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Zoroastrianism, the demon Ahriman is often associated with darkness.
  • The Bible:
    • Hell is described as the "outer darkness" in Matthew 8:12.
    • Inverted, of all things, with Satan/Lucifernote , aka the Morning Star. As well as by (the false idol?) Moloch, which is appropriately identified as a solar deity.
    • A borderline example occurs in the synoptic Gospels' (Matthew, Mark and Luke) descriptions of the crucifixion, with the sky darkening as Jesus dies.

    Podcasts 
  • In Kakos Industries, they play this trope as satirically as possible. They regularly hold a Darkest Universe Festival in which they use collective Evil thoughts to lure someone into commiting an atrocious act and apparently everything is made out of a material called Dark Mega.
    Corin Deeth The III:They say there's no use crying over spilled ink because everything you own is black anyway.
  • The Magnus Archives: Shows up, along with most [fears, here, especially where the People's Church of the Divine Host are concerned. Although, to them, Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good. One of the People's Church's followers was a profilic Serial Killer.

    Roleplay 
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Downplayed with Simon, as his black hair and clothes indicate that he's a jerk rather than evil. Played straight with his alter ego, the Dark Dragon, who's fully evil and shows it with an all-black ensemble.
    • Played With in regards to Sebastian. He has an eldritch spirit living inside him that grants him the ability to control shadows. Sebastian is a nice person, but said spirit is always encouraging him to take the most pragmatic course of action, which includes murder, and she believes that he's the cast member most likely to come to terms with having to kill.

    Sports 
  • One study found that National Hockey League teams that wore black were more likely to be penalized for aggressive fouls. The same likely applies to other sports.
  • Canadian figure skater Beres Clements performed to the Angels & Demons soundtrack for his long program during the 2020-2021 competitive season, and the black part of his costume represents the demons in the title.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The drow ("dark elves"), distinguished by their coal-black skin, are the cruelest and most evil of the elven races, living in a society founded on slave labor and rampant treachery and regularly engaging in raids and warfare against other species.
    • Black dragons are far and away the most evil and foul-tempered of the dragons, far more so than even the other habitually evil chromatic dragons.
    • Across the myriad settings are multiple examples of malevolent gods associated with night, darkness or shadow. One of the more well-known examples is Shar, from the Forgotten Realms, who embodies the primordial darkness from before creation began and who calls upon her faithful to snuff out hope, joy, trust and love wherever possible, ultimately seeking to annihilate all that is and bring back the endless darkness of before.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Dark Elves are the High Elves' crueler kin, living in a society founded on slavery and the worship of the god of war and murder and regularly raiding other species for wealth and fresh slaves.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Dark Eldar are cruel, sadistic, murderous raiders and rightly feared throughout the galaxy for their vicious raids and the terrible tortures they inflict on their prisoners.
    • The Black Legion of traitor Space Marines belonged to the Primarch Horus, and was the first to follow him in his fall.
    • Pretty much an Invoked Trope with the Night Lords. Even before they fell to Chaos, their renegade behaviour and shocking psychopathic and sadistic tendencies earned them summary destruction.
  • Exalted: The Ebon Dragon. A fifty-mile-long dragon made of the shadows of everything, he's also the inventor and embodiment of the concept of being a treacherous, sadistic, needlessly cruel scheming asshole. In his case, Dark is so evil that it even predates the codified concept of Evil (which in Exalted is best described as 'acting like the Ebon Dragon'). Before becoming the Ebon Dragon, he existed as an entity referred to as the Dragon's Shadow.
  • VOR The Maelstrom: Inverted in the beliefs of the Zykhee — being evolved from a nocturnal species, their culture believes that that Dark Is Good and Light Is Evil.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade gives us the Lasombra, the clan that leads the Sabbat and has the unique Discipline of Obtenebration. Not only is the darkness most often wielded by wicked people, but it's implied to be wicked itself — the clan's founder, a right bastard himself, is said to have merged with the Abyss that powers Obtenebration, and things can occasionally be called out of it that serve as twisted mirrors of a vampire's sense of morality.
  • Princess: The Hopeful has both this trope and Light Is Good in full effect in its naming schemes. The eponymous Hopeful draw their power from the Light, a Sentient Cosmic Force that embodies virtue, hope, and the desire to make the world a better place, while their chief enemies are the minions of the All-Consuming Darkness, a force that embodies despair and malice and everything that the Light is not. And of course, many of the powers wielded by creatures of the Darkness are tied to or invoke physical darkness and cold.
    • Similarly, the five Courts of Princesses that have fully repented from their former failings are known as the Radiant Courts, while the three Courts whose philosophies still incorporate fundamental moral compromises are referred to as the Twilight Courts.
  • Ars Magica: The infernal aura of Unholy Ground becomes one point stronger while the sun is down, which can be enough to create more overt and dangerous manifestations of evil.

    Theme Parks 

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE plays this straight, but also subverts it: every character in the Matoran Universe has an inner balance of light and shadow. Those characters that tap into their dark side or are drained of their inner light turn evil as a result, gaining shadow-based powers and becoming darker in their coloration. At the same time, thanks to Color-Coded Elements, some element-based good guys also sport dark colors and a handful are almost completely black.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: The Yami Clan. Dark Force, with his all-black design and Dark Force Army composed of pitch black assault ships and harnessing Dark Energy, is a subtle example.
  • Nintendo loves this trope.
    • A few examples from the Super Mario Bros. series: dark enemies in Paper Mario are more evil and powerful, Bowser's Super Mario Bros. 3 castle is located in Dark Land, Super Mario Sunshine's Shadow Mario is evil, etc., etc..
    • Kirby Final Bosses Dark Matter, Dark Mind, and Dark Nebula. Other antagonists Nightmare and Necrodeus are also associated with darkness, particularly the latter.
    • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has Dark Aether. The planet itself is a darkly-lit dimension whose very atmosphere is toxic to things from the light dimension, while its shadowy Ing inhabitants are Always Chaotic Evil. The Metroid Prime Trilogy also has Dark Samus, though ironically, her design from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is noticeably less dark in appearance despite her being even more evil in that game.
    • Dark Link is an evil counterpart of Link in The Legend of Zelda. Ganondorf also spells this trope to full effect in both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.
      • The shadow in Twilight Princess turns Link into his wolf form, which has to be combated by the holiness of the Master Sword when Link gets cursed by Zant.
    • Pokémon:
    • Giygas from EarthBound is a swirling skull looking creature made out of red lines and the background behind It is black.
    • Kid Icarus generally follows this trope, perhaps Anviliciously, with the majority of the villains including the likes of Hades, Medusa and other underworld-associated baddies with often dark color schemes and many appropriately dark-themed abilities. It is subverted and arguably eventually outright averted with Dark Pit in Kid Icarus: Uprising, however: while he starts out antagonistic towards Pit and fights him at different points of the game, he never works for the Big Bad or does much that could really be called evil and describes himself as "Servant to nobody but myself". He's really more of a Chaotic Neutral on his worst days. Later in the game, he even joins the battle against Hades since he finds his actions beyond atrocious, down to fighting alongside Pit directly and becoming playable himself to save Pit's life.
    • While the Fire Emblem series typically goes for Dark Is Not Evil, there are some examples:
      • Nearly every game in the series has at least one Evil Sorcerer who acts as a major antagonist and uses dark magic as their Weapon of Choice. The only exception is Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, which has no such villain.
      • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, dark magic and the people who use it, the Loptous Sect, are very evil, although in Thracia 776 you can recruit an ex-clergyman.
      • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, while there are several sympathetic characters who use dark magic, all five playable characters who wield it have some connection to "those who slither in the dark", the main evil faction. Lysithea and Hapi survived brutal experiments at their hands, Hubert and Jeritza are reluctantly allied with them in order to facilitate their own ambitions, and Edelgard fits both of the previous statements.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has you dealing with Dharkon, who takes over after Galeem is defeated. By this point, you not only have to fight the dark, but also the light.
  • The Dark Elves are the evil guys in ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal, though there is an additional distinction between Darkness and Chaos and The Man Behind the Man is of the Light Is Not Good variety.
  • Opoona follows this quite heavily, to the point that most people can't even enter true darkness without serious damage to their mind and body. Justified in that it's actually The Corruption, created by the ultimate Big Bad of the setting, though not the game itself.
  • All of the Prime Evils and Lesser Evils of Diablo are this. They are all full of evil and that is just a topping.
  • In the Jak and Daxter series, Jak is an Anti-Hero with a Superpowered Evil Side, but that's the extent of any Dark Is Not Evil overtones. The world's magical Psycho Serum is black and purple DARK Eco, Precursors corrupted by it become DARK Makers, Metal Heads live off of it, and the first game's Big Bads turned into Omnicidal Maniacs after being exposed to it for too long. Out of the five people who underwent the Dark Warrior Program, only Jak got out alive... because he's special. Both Jak and Daxter's dark alter-egos are Ax-Crazy.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The Heartless are the manifestations of the darkness in capured hearts.
    • Even after Riku reverses his Face–Heel Turn and uses darkness in heroics, his darkness is, thematically, the "Way to the Dawn".
    • While the series as a whole explains Dark Is Not Evil, Xehanort is a practitioner of dark powers, tempts others to darkness to weaken their hearts, and considers darkness a source of true power and knowledge.
  • Bayonetta:
  • In Alan Wake, the darkness is the main antagonist.
  • The Fatal Frame series almost always involve some failed ritual releasing an evil, corrupting presence known simply as the "Malice" or the "Dark".
  • While Ragna from BlazBlue follows the opposite of this trope, the Black Beast responsible for the Crapsack World and the source of Ragna's power embodies it. In Jubei's own words, it was "evil, the likes of which the world has never seen".
    • In the sequel, it is revealed that Hazama / Terumi Yuuki is this as well by virtue of his nice, black suit. Mu-12, who calls people by expository titles, refer to Hazama as "The True Evil", indicating that he is even worse than the Black Beast itself. (Those who have played the story up until that point probably gloss over this as a Late-Arrival Spoiler, though, because they've already seen what Hazama is capable of first hand.) It's pretty noticeable when Terumi re-assumes his true form after taking back the Susanoo unit in the fourth game, and it's literally pitch black in every area with the only alternate colors being his green highlights.
  • In Minecraft, enemies spawn in any dark areas (whereas non-enemy animals spawn on grass in the light).
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Shadow the Hedgehog. Subverted in that he's more of an Anti-Hero (most of the time).
  • In Warriors of Might and Magic, you can't learn Dark spells, and the few swords imbued with the dark element aren't really strong. Furthermore, Skeletons, Ghouls, Undeads, Wraiths, and Demons have the Dark Element with them.
    • The RPG series notes that Dark magic isn't evil as such - it is how you use it that is important - but it includes spells whose casting can be called evil no matter the circumstances (sacrificing a hireling for a temporary advantage!) and is associated with the Path of Dark, a religion/philosophy that nigh-universally seems to attract cruel people that want to do bad deeds.
    • Also Daria, Alleron's evil sister has dark hair and dark sexy clothes.
  • The Half-Life 2 Game Mod Black Snow takes things to extremes: light, warm areas keep out the thing that's chasing you around the research center. It turns out that the thing is a predatory strain of fungus that can thrive in any environment but well-lit ones.
  • The first Fable has this in spades, with dark clothing giving you evil points and bright clothing giving you good points and evil characters morphing to have darker features. The sequels ease up on it, but it's still present.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Shinnok is a pale skinned fallen Elder God of Death who uses dark energy blasts and necromancy and rules the Netherealm.
    • In the new timeline, Sindel keeps dressing in purple and black outfits that would befit a villainess more, and 11 reveals that she is much more black-hearted that never had the intentions to be good no matter what.
  • The Darkspawn of Dragon Age. The Taint that created them originated from the corrupted Golden City in the Fade, now known as the Black City. Subverted slightly in Awakening with the appearance of intelligent Darkspawn, but even then, the more antagonistic faction of the awakened Darkspawn wear black armor.
  • The Final Fantasy series uses this along with its sister trope.
    • Final Fantasy II has the Emperor of Hell, though the emperor of Heaven isn't any better.
    • Final Fantasy III gives us the Cloud of Darkness, but it's actually a subversion. Part of the game's backstory is how there was a flood of overwhelming light 1,000 years ago, requiring four Warriors of the Dark to save it.
    • Golbez is a Black Knight who serves as the main antagonist in IV. Not really. He's Brainwashed and Crazy and under the control of the true Big Bad, who plays this trope straight.
      • This deserves further clarification—the original IV equates dark-elemental abilities with The Dark Side, even having the dark-elemental protagonist's "Spirit" score drop as he levels up and becomes more hardened. As part of the plotline, he's eventually required to give up his powers and Level Drain with light-elemental abilities. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years goes a more balanced route—having been unable to completely purge his dark side, the hero is ultimately forced to accept and control it. Dissidia Final Fantasy takes this all the way to Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Exdeath has The Power of the Void.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, God!Kefka qualifies. Though depicted as an angel, he has purple skin, and underneath the angel wings are a pair of demonic wings.
    • Sephiroth. He wears black and has a black wing.
      • Also, in Dissidia Final Fantasy, he has dark-based moves, such as Shadow Flare and Octaslash.
      • In a strange subversion, his true form, Safer Sephiroth, is the inverse.
    • While there is talk about maintaining the Balance between Light and Dark in Final Fantasy XIV, the actions taken by the Ascians who worship the god of Darkness Zodiark have caused so much bloodshed and sorrow throughout history that it's hard to see them as anything but evil.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Void is associated with darkness in all its forms. Voidwalkers represent the darkness of space, with Void Lords acting like black holes, while the Old Gods are the darkness of the night sky and the deep places of the world. Y'shaarj is even called the "Darkest Shadow". Those Void creatures that are not just living shadows often resemble subterannean or abyssal animals: the n'raqi look like deepwater squids, and the aqir like insects.
    • Deathwing is another example he’s a Draconic Abomination with black armor that holds himself together due to his body being torn apart by his own power and insanity.
  • League of Legends: Morgana is a fallen angel, in contrast with her sister, Kayle.
  • Zig-Zagged in Dark Souls. The Darkwraiths of Kaathe act as the polar opposite of the helpful Warriors of Sunlight, but the Darkmoon Covenant opposes the wraiths as well. Likewise, the looming apocalypse to be prevented is the Age Of Dark though if Kaathe is believed, it will actually be a Golden Age for human kind, and is being postponed by the dying (former) Lord Of Sunlight. The Abyss and it's connection to humanity/Humanity is generally unclear, though typically inconceivably horrific. The "Artorias of the Abyss" Downloadable Content reveals just how bad things get if humans lose control of their inner darkness aka humanity. As in, Humans Are Cthulhu bad.
    • Dark Souls II doesn't make things any less ambiguous. While the Children of the Dark spawned from the fragments of Manus' soul are horrific abominations that are anathema to all life, players can now wield the power of darkness themselves in the form of Hexes. The Gravewarden Fenito Agadyne claims that humans once lived in peace in the dark, until the gods forced them to live in the light.
    • Meanwhile, Dark Souls III comes in with the boss Aldrich, Devourer of Gods as well as the Ringed City DLC. Aldrich is - in the context of the Dark Souls universe - is both subverting this trope and playing it straight. This is because, unlike other characters introduced so far that were consumed by the dark (including Aldrich's followers), he has been able to maintain his sanity, even after melting into a maggoty pile of sludge and bones. Fortunate for him, but not so for everyone else, considering Aldrich was a psychopathic cannibal that ate even women and children, and is currently eating Gwyndolin by the time we meet him. The Ringed City DLC, on the other hand, also dances around this trope. It shows us the location where the Dark Soul of Man itself was kept contained, and while its newly-introduced lore tells us that dark was originally not evil and that it was only after Gwyn tried to imprison it that things got out of hand, it also ends with a bossfight with Slave Knight Gael, who consumed the Dark Soul knowing that it would drive him insane.
  • The Hel element in Boktai is always evil. Period. While it can be used for good, it's implied to be much weaker (since it is the power of hatred), and there is the constant chance that it will corrupt its user for good which only gets higher each and every time it's used.
    Sabata: The dark gives me power... but it hurts me... eats away at my soul...
  • Fallout 3
    • The Enclave. Unlike the Brotherhood of Steel, who are in grey power armor, most of theirs are black.
    • Zigzagged with the Brotherhood outcasts. While they left the Brotherhood of Steel to form their own group, and painted their armor black and red, they are more on the gray scale.
    • The Talon Mercs that hunt down the player should he/she have good karma as well, they have black clothing.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • From the series' primary Creation Myth comes Padomay, The Anti-God personification of the forces of change, chaos, and darkess. He is the twin brother to Anu, the God of Gods personification of the forces of stasis, order, and light. While not an inherently evil force, Padomay was jealous that Nir (the female personification of "creation" who came to be out of Anu and Padomay's interplay) favored Anu. Padomay killed Nir and shattered the 12 worlds she created. Anu would wound Padomay and then put the pieces of the worlds together to create one world: Nirn. Padomay returned and wounded Anu, so Anu pulled Padomay and himself outside of time to end Padomay's threat to creation.
    • Sithis, referred to as a "great void", is a force representing chaos, change, and limitation. In some religious traditions, Sithis is related to or may even be what is left of Padomay. Sithis is associated with darkness and is described as a "great void", and those who worship him are almost universally seen as evil or at the very least extremely amoral.
    • The Dark Brotherhood is an illegal organization of assassins whose membership mostly takes a sadistic glee in killing and who practice a Religion of Evil in which they worship Sithis. Their their outfits also tend to contain a lot of black and red.
    • As a whole, the Daedric Princes, associated with the darkness of Padomay, are Above Good and Evil, operating within their own spectrum of Blue-and-Orange Morality. Still, they range from being considered "evil" to being considered Jerkass Gods to most civilizations throughout Tamriel. However, a few of the malevolent Daedric Princes fit this reputation, such as Molag Bal (Daedric Prince of Corruption and the closest thing the series has to a true God of Evil) and Vaermina, the Daedric Prince of Nightmares, who may only be second in brutality to Molag Bal himself. For more on the Daedric Princes, see the series' "Daedra" subpage.
    • Mannimarco is an infamous and highly dreaded Lich/Necromancer who appears in several games in the series. He is quite recognizable in each appearance as Obviously Evil - wearing a black Badass Long Robe (often with skull motifs) and leading the Order of the Black Worm, who as the name suggests, dress all in black as well.
    • Alduin the World Eater is a colossal black dragon who it is said will "eat the world" at the end of the current cycle of time. He serves as the Big Bad of Skyrim, returning in an attempt to rule the world rather than eat it.
  • Phantasy Star: A running theme of the quadrilogy: dark is evil and is likely responsible for humanoid races doing irrational things. In Phantasy Star IV, a Guest-Star Party Member who uses wide arrays of dark magic (in a setting where no good guy is capable of doing so) turns out to be more than he seems.
  • Tsioque: The Wizard is actually pitch black and evil, his only features appearing being his eyes and his mouth when he speaks.
  • Street Fighter:
    • M. Bison is the most well known user of Psycho Power and is often described as the dark side of the soul. His power feeds of the evil anger and hatred of others.
    • Akuma uses the power of the Satsui no Hado and is a master of it. He utilizes this power against his opponents and to preform incredible feats of with this dark hado. When Akuma uses this power he loses his humanity and compassion, develops a negative and cold outlook on life as well as a obsessive, dark, murderous desire to battle.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse introduces to the series the concept of Dark Magic, the source of power of the Pirate Master, a Humanoid Abomination who was the Scourge of Sequin Land before the genies sealed him in the past. In addition to being inherent to the Pirate Master, Dark Magic could also be created from Light Magic if the latter was used for evil.
  • The Fire Emblem series uses this often alongside Light Is Good, especially in the earlier games in the series. Dark mages/sorcerers/shamans often serve as the the series' villains, especially so in Fire Emblem Jugdral, where there's an entire cult of evil dark mages, from which the game's Big Bad hails from, bent on resurrecting their dark god in order to bring an era of suffering upon the continent. And in combat, dark mages most often take extra damage from light magic being used against them, and deal less damage to light magic users in return.
  • Agent 47 from the Hitman series is defined by his signature black suit and red tie. Of course it can be changed via disguise, but it's that suit which makes him most iconic. Indeed he's a very dark character, who can kill effortlessly and get away with it without batting an eye.
  • Darkest Dungeon uses this trope extensively, right down to the title. It's even a core gameplay mechanic: the monsters get stronger when your torch is doused (though you also get more rewards). In the lore, The Corruption around the manor is strongly associated with darkness in the Ancestor's dialogue, and the Big Bad Eldritch Abomination is called the "Heart of Darkness".
  • The Simpsons: Hit & Run: Subverted with the black vans in the first level. Burns reveals at the end of the level that they're just pizza delivery vans.
  • Grow Island: The character gets darker if they hurt the environment by cutting down a forest or by leaving their trash in nature.
  • Falskaar: What makes Yngvarr stand out so much as the Big Bad is his unique form of Ebony armour, an all-black metal (in the Scrolls-verse, Ebony is a mined metal, not a form of wood) suit with ominous spikes.
  • Gift: Little Darks and darkness that can kill Gift. Also the non-deadly darkness where Little Clears can live.
  • The Wolf and the Waves: Whenever the player character shapshifts, there's a puff of white smoke. Except when you die and transform into a zombie, the smoke puff is black.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest III: When he's first encountered, Zoma's protected by a shroud of pure darkness, so potent that it renders him Nigh-Invulnerable to all forms of assault. Only the Ball of Light, an artifact that quite literally has the potency to restore vibrancy and vitality to the entire world, can nullify it to even the odds.
    • Dragon Quest VIII: Rhapthorne, the ancient Lord of Darkness. Not only is it evil, but it makes anyone who so much as glances it evil.
    • Dragon Quest IX: Barbarus uses dark energy and even has a dark appearance that fits his appearance with the Gittish Empire.
    • Dragon Quest XI:
      • Mordegon is a demonic sorcerer who calls himself the Lord of Shadows who attempts to take over Erdrea.
      • Jasper. While he dons a white armor, he primarily uses Zam-type spells (Darkness Spells) in both cutscenes and boss fights to highlight his sinister nature.
      • Tyriant uses explicitly Zam-type spells and hates light with undying passion.
      • The Gloomnivore is a dark-purple beast with a demonic voice that tortures his victims.

    Web Animation 
  • Chadam: In addition to living in the shadows, everything about Viceroy is dark: he has dark gray skin, black clothing, black tentacles, and even uses black and purple magic against Chadam.
  • Dreamscape:
    • Unlike Keela, Kaila's demonic look and powers are played straight.
    • The Master of the Dammed, being the one who created Kaila and gave Keela her powers, is an obvious example. He's a living skeleton who rules over the Unworld and can turn people into demons.

    Webcomics 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The main villain from Samurai Jack, Aku, is essentially a giant shadow demon, and things under his control are often artistically depicted as being wrangled by black veins. There's another element to his darkness as well, with robot enemies having black thick oil instead of blood, and his effect on the corrupting effect on the world is a pollution of it in some cases.
    • Aku takes it to the logical extreme in that he is essentially dark and evil itself incarnate. This actually serves as a weakness for him: He's completely incapable of doing anything remotely good, to the point that it makes him predictable and bites him in the behind when doing good would have benefited him more yet he couldn't help but be evil.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Played With. The Horde has the Black Garnet, which controls shadows, and which they use for their magic and world domination plans. On the other hand, it's not that the Runestone itself is evil, just that overuse of one Runestone throws the others out of balance, and the Horde has been abusing its powers heavily. When Adora activates the Runestones in the climax of the first season, it throws off the Horde tech siphoning from it.
    • Also, the Horde's fashion sense (in those that seem to express one) trends towards dark colors. The princesses prefer pastels or bright colors and the two that don't (Entrapta and Scorpia) went Horde.
    • Averted with Horde Prime, whose chief colors are white and bright green, and who is the most evil person in the series. When Adora exorcises him from Hordak, however, he appears as a black mass with various eyes.
  • Zigzagged with Raven from Teen Titans (2003). She's not evil, but she is part demon, and that's the side of the family her powers come from. This means she has to maintain incredibly strict self-control, especially while using said powers, lest she lose control of them or, worse, unleash her Superpowered Evil Side.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this is the first clue Jet (synonym for "black") is not such a good guy.
  • In American Dragon: Jake Long: The Dark Dragon, is listed as the only dragon to have gone bad, and is listed as the #1 threat to the magical world. For comparison, the Huntsman, the Big Bad of most of the show, is listed as #3.
  • Nightmare Moon from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic played this very straight, being a jet black Mad God who usurped Princess Celestia and plunged the world into eternal night. While her true self, Princess Luna, isn't evil, Word of God confirms that the rest of Equestria is still afraid of her partly because of her actions as Nightmare Moon and partly because they still believe in this trope. King Sombra takes this trope even further. He is described as having a "heart as black as night" and was able to subjugate an entire empire on his own with dark magic. Even then, the comics show that he actually Used to Be a Sweet Child, but his constant treatment by the other Crystal Ponies and his discovery of being an Eldritch Abomination eventually made him snap and invoke Then Let Me Be Evil.
    • The Pony of Shadows, a creature of legend and the main antagonist of "Shadow Play", can be marked down as the literal interpretation of the trope. The Pony of Shadows is actually a small unicorn by the name of Stygian but bonded with a mysterious destructive force that is Made of Evil, formed of shadow energy and made powerful by Stygian's anger over being rejected by the ponies he thought were his friends. Stygian himself has no want of being a monster but the dark force that has consumed him forces him to be such and by the end he is saved by Twilight and the other ponies while the shadow is banished to the Limbo realm without him.
  • In The Super Hero Squad Show episode featuring Chthon (a grey, wrinkled, vaguely demonic man with claws, pointy teeth, and glowing eyes)...
    Iron Man: So, what's your prognosis, Doctor?
    [Doctor Strange sizes up Chthon, who is cackling and rubbing his hands]
    Doctor Strange: He's evil...?
  • In ThunderCats (2011), Big Bad Sorcerous Overlord Mumm-Ra is usually a grey, red-eyed, withered little Humanoid Abomination in Shapeshifter Default Form, but his personal tank and the weaponry and armor he possesses in One-Winged Angel form are deep black and chased with Tron Lines.
  • Ben 10:
    • Kevin Levin, who wears dark colored clothing, however after his Heel–Face Turn as a teenager in black, this trope is more like Dark Is Not Evil.
    • Ghostfreak, Ben's scariest alien, turns out to be evil with a mind of his own and becomes an Enemy Without. When it's only Ben in control, however, he's just Creepy Good.
  • In Winx Club, practically every major villain is a dark magic practitioner.
    • The Trix have darker color schemes and use dark magic frequently. It's even Darcy's specialty. They wish to take over the Magic Dimension by using the powerful Dragon Flame.
    • Lord Darkar's body is pure black, and he's encased in dark red armor. He wants to take over the Magic Dimension with the power of the Realix, and is willing to hurt anyone is his way.
    • The Wizards of the Black Circle, in addition to having black in their group name, all wear black or dark grey clothes. They wish to take over Earth and imprison all the Earth fairies.
  • Darkness is a rather large motif in Over the Garden Wall, where its associated with despair, callousness, cruelty, and theshow's Big Bad, a monster framed in shadow called The Beast.
  • Pibby: The Eldritch Abomination terrorizing the multiverse takes the form of a black ink-like blob with glitches. A guideline for the show refers to it as "The Darkness," and it's called "DArkn∊∬" [sic] by the description of the show's YouTube trailer.

 
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The Dark Presence

The Dark Presence is an unambiguously evil entity that is manipulating everyone so that it consumes the world.

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