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Defends Against Their Own Kind

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A Super-Trope. This trope occurs when two or more people who have a given defining quality in common (let's call it X) are polarized on opposite ends of the good vs. evil spectrum, and the good X must defend a person or group that does not have that quality against the evil X.

Sub Tropes:

Comes with the implication that people with X trait are more powerful, as well as the implication that people without it are more "like us" or conversely, Closer to Earth than us.

This trope is often lampshaded by Fantastic Racists, who will argue to the one defending that the group they seek to protect isn't worth harming their own kind for. The smaller and more fantastical of a group X is, the more likely this sort of argument is to work. It can lead to accusations that the protector is a Category Traitor. A man who refuses to defend a woman against another man, for instance, is a He-Man Woman Hater, but a vampire who kills other vampires will certainly have at least a moment's pause about killing vampires to save humans. On the other hand, the protector can fire back by pointing out to the Fantastic Racists that their behavior is no justification to harm, bully, or kill the group they are protecting, especially if said racist continues endorsing things like genocide and cruelty hence the justification for protection and rights groups to exist in the first place.

Related to Takes One to Kill One and My Species Doth Protest Too Much for one reason why X would bother to defend non-X. May also lead to Enemy Mine or Restricted Rescue Operation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arpeggio of Blue Steel. The Crapsack World status quo is humanity having been confined to landmasses, totally at mercy of the Fleet of Fog, the mysterious alienish extremely-sophisticated armed and non-negotiating naval vessels. The protagonists' team agenda may be not about obliteration of the Fog, but its initial voyages are made possible only due to having Iona, functionally a Fog submarine, on their side.
  • Berserk. The Apostle Nosferatu Zodd does this several times in the series.
    • After fighting Guts and Griffith (impressed by Guts' ability and Griffith having a Behelit) and sparing them, he later shows up to indirectly save a disarmed Guts' life by throwing him a sword from miles away.
    • After barely surviving an attack by an Apostle-form Wyald, the Band of the Hawk continues on their way... only to be stopped by the still-living but badly wounded Wyald. He grabs Griffith, demanding that he use his Behelit to save him... and then Zodd shows up to kill Wyald once and for all since the time for the Eclipse wasn't right.
    • Guts and Zodd team up to defend against an Apostle-form Emperor Ganishka. The two part without fighting each other, since Guts' first priority is to get Casca healed and Zodd doesn't want to kill the only human who he enjoys fighting so much.
  • Omamori Himari starts with Ordinary High-School Student protagonist running into a weird sultry girl (speaking an old dialect and then optionally sprouting cat tail and ears). The girl explains his most recent heritage issues. He's a descendant of Demon Slayer family, and his power starts to stir now that he's 16. A family keepsake, actually an obfuscation charm, has depleted, and now he's a target for all kinds of spirits who may fear or otherwise oppose Demon Slayers. Finally, his ancestor has subdued a feline demon long ago, sparing it in return for servitude of protection, so the girl is here to make good on that promise, and she is a supernatural being herself. She drives off a first assailant even before actual chance to explain all this.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Coordinator Kira Yamato defends the Naturals on Archangel against other Coordinators.
  • Fairy Tail: A big part of the backstory reveals that roughly 400 years ago, the Dragons were split between those who saw humans as allies and friends and those who saw them as food and entertainment. When these tensions eventually boiled over into a civil war, the outnumbered pro-human side chose to bolster their numbers by enchanting and teaching their specific magic to humans, creating the first Dragon Slayers. Unfortunately for everyone involved, what nobody expected was how human bodies would react to the magic of Dragons, with many of those Slayers being overwhelmed by their enhanced senses, going insane, and in the worst-case scenarios becoming dragons themselves. This last fate in particular befell the strongest and most bloodthirsty Dragon Slayer Acnologia, who promptly started slaughtering every dragon and Dragon Slayer he could find and crowned himself the "Dragon King" of a nearly extinct race.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins:
    • Ban was (and is) a thief who tried to steal the Fountain of Youth. Along the way, he met a fairy who explained to him that the Fountain was vital to keeping her home forest alive, and he left the Wretched Hive where he had to steal to survive, and so when the next guy trying to steal the Fountain came along, Ban fought to protect it. Eventually he became one of the forest's foremost protectors.
    • Meliodas was a demon unfortunate enough to live in a world where God and Satan Are Both Jerks. Growing tired of the pointless war between demons and goddesses/angels, he (and the goddess Elizabeth) fled to the human realm to live a peaceful life, fending off the demons that are preying on humans and trying to force him back into the fold. This is why Meliodas' non-demon companions are horrified when they realize his true heritage.

    Asian Animation 
  • Mechamato: MechaBot aids Amato in stopping bad alien robots from attacking the town, although he was originally one of them before crash-landing on Earth and meeting Amato.

    Comic Books 
  • Blade is a dhampir who defends the innocent against other vampires.
  • Hawkman and Hawkwoman helped Adam Strange defend Planet Rann from Thanagarians. Because of this, they were branded as traitors and exiled from Thanagar. Which is fine with them since they regard Earth as their home. They also defend humans against their own people during The Shadow War and Invasion.
  • Superman and Supergirl are the ones to fight and stop Kryptonian criminals and outlaws who manage to escape from the Phantom Zone. Their unwillingness to let anybody invade Earth and turn it into a New Krypton has gotten them labeled as traitors to their kin by people like Zod or Faora.
  • The X-Men are mutants who defend normal humans (and weaker mutants) from those mutants that want supremacy, although they're also fighting against Absolute Xenophobe humans themselves.
  • Lady Death in the Avatar Press continuity ended up in the Labyrinth after making a deal with specters to survive being burned at the stake. Her arch-enemy in that version was the undead wizard Sagos who made a deal with the same specters for ultimate power and sought to sacrifice the Labyrinth's population just to gain his own dark domain in the afterlife.
  • Vampirella is a vampire who protects humans from other vampires and monsters, some of which are members of her own family.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Force of Four, Power Girl is the only one who can fight three Kryptonian criminals who attack Earth-Two.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, the ''Legion of Super-Heroes figure out they're dealing with a Kryptonian clone so they call Supergirl and send her, Dev-Em -another Kryptonian- and Laurel Kent -Superman's descendant- out.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Buffy and the Gang call Supergirl to help them out when a Kryptonian criminal gets turned into a vampire.
  • The Defender faction in The Bridge are a group of kaiju who protect Terra and in some cases, humans directly, against other kaiju. When four of their number are transported to Equestria and need the ponies' help to get home, they agree to help safeguard Equestria from any other kaiju who might end up there as well.
  • In the Underworld AU fic "The Vampire Leader", after the vampire Sonja escapes the fortress while her lycan lover Lucian dies, she becomes the lycans’ leader against the vampires due to her tactical expertise and training as a Death Dealer, although she tends to rely on Raze to act as her 'public face' with only a few other lycans aware of her existence.
  • Frozen Turtles: During Frozen Turtles in Space, the heroes make contact with a group of Triceratrons who oppose their peoples' more ruthless methods, and convince the 'renegade' Triceratrons to help them against their fellows.

    Films — Animation 
  • The resourceful young Viking Hiccup captures a Night Fury dragon in Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon (2010), and learns firsthand that dragons are not mindless hostile antagonists, negating everything he'd been taught about them. However, when Hiccup's father Stoick learns that his son has gotten friendly with a dragon, he disowns Hiccup and seizes the Night Fury with the intent of using him to locate the hidden stronghold of all dragons.
  • Battle for Terra has ace pilot Stewart Stanton lead a recon force against the inhabitants of an alien world. When his craft is downed, an inquisitive alien girl rescues him from certain doom, giving Stanton a chance to see how decent and noble the natives are. Later, when the General Ripper unleashes a genocide machine against the aliens, Stanton decides to save the aliens by attacking the deadly device.
  • Blue Sky Studio's Ice Age has Diego the saber-tooth tiger working as a double agent, leading Manfred the woolly mammoth, Sid the sloth, and Bonebag the human infant to Glacier Pass. However, after being rescued from fiery doom by his companions, Diego undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, and actively defends Manfred from Soto, the ruthless leader of the tigers.
  • Disney's Brother Bear has an inverted example. Kenai, the boy turned bear, sometimes finds himself protecting his friends (particularly Koda) from other human hunters.
  • Small kitten Oliver from Disney's Oliver & Company makes an insane leap between speeding vehicles in order to compel the villain to loosen his grip on young Jenny Foxworth. Sykes seizes Oliver and flings him into the back seat, where his vicious Dobermans bare their teeth at the hopeless kitten. Suddenly, the mutt Dodger makes the leap into the villain's sedan, willing to tussle with two Dobermans to save this plucky kitten.
  • Disney's Pocahontas has European explorer John Smith poised for execution by Chief Powhatan. Smith is believed responsible for the death of the Chief's best warrior, Kocoum. The chief's daughter, Pocahontas, arrives in the nick of time to block the execution. This move is witnessed by Smith's fellow settlers, who note the natives are capable of both mercy and reason.
  • Monsters Jimmy Sullivan and Mike Wazowski from Pixar's Monsters, Inc. go to extraordinary lengths to hide the human toddler Boo from the authorities. It bodes ill when one monster returns from the human world with a mere sock stuck to his fur: a code 23-19 is called which treats the sock like a contaminated bomb. Further, Mike and Sully rescue Boo from the clutches of The Dragon in his Mad Scientist Laboratory.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Avatar, Jake Sully and several other members of Avatar Program defect to Na'vi side to protect Pandora from the RDA and its Sec-Ops forces. Colonel Quaritch lampshades this by essentially calling Sully a Category Traitor.
  • In Man of Steel, Clark has to protect Smallville from invading Kryptonians.
  • The Steven Spielberg film Schindler's List chronicles how Nazi industrialist Oskar Schindler picked about 1100 Jews marked for relocation to work in his factory. This started out as mere slave labor, but over time he Took a Level in Kindness and risked his own life to protect them from his countrymen.
  • Similar to the above, in The Pianist, the Polish Jew Wadyslaw finds an unlikely protector in Wehrmacht Captain Wilm Hosenfeld, who helps him hide during the last weeks of the occupation.
  • Star Wars ran with an inversion, at least in Legends canon. The Sith Order (not the species) were fallen Jedi who saw themselves as superior to the Muggles the old Jedi dedicated themselves to helping, and broke off in a civil war, meeting up with the Sith species who had a similar social Darwinist outlook. Intermarriage and power struggles led to the formation of the longest incarnation of The Empire.
  • TRON:
    • The title character is a Program who fought malicious Programs in defense of Users. He was successful against Master Control and Sark, but not so much when it came to Clu's forces, though his sacrifices did help Flynn. There were others who sided with Tron in the struggle; Yori, Ram, and Dumont in the first film. Beck and Anon in the Legacy canon.
    • In the Alternate Continuity of TRON 2.0, Jet Bradley is uploaded in desperation by Benevolent A.I. Ma3a to fight a corrupted User unleashing Zombie Apocalypse all over Cyberspace. This uncovers a plot that the people behind said User plan to upload an entire army to conquer the Program world. As Ma3a is Lora Baines-Bradley's Virtual Ghost, Alan is forcibly uploaded, and Jet has to battle the invasion while his parents act as Mission Control, this makes the Bradleys Users who fight for the Programs. Fitting, as Tron was Alan Bradley's Program to begin with.

  • In Congo, Amy the domesticated gorilla defends the expedition from hordes of wild Killer Gorillas, though she doesn't physically fight them. Instead, she deciphers the wild gorillas' language and helps record an audio message instructing them to leave the humans alone. This message winds up being a more effective deterrent than guns or electric fences.
  • Discworld:
    • trolls and dwarfs who join the Ankh-Morpork City Watch tend to find themselves in this position due to the ancestral hatred between the two species, and the fact that as Watchmen they have to intervene.
      Lance-Constable Detritus: Hah, I been a man only hardly any time, and already I fed up with you stupid trolls!
    • In Snuff, Vimes must solve a goblin girl's murder and save the remnants of her tribe from the bigotry and exploitation of his fellow humans.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it's mentioned that several wizards have cast protective charms over nearby Muggles' houses to help protect them from Death Eaters.
  • In The Zombie Knight, the Vanguard is composed of reaper servants who defend the world against the murderous Abolish servants, as well as aberrations and whatever other horrors Abolish comes up with.
  • In Sunshine, Con is a good vampire helping the titular character against bad vampires who want to kill them both.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Andromeda we see a Nietzschean captain on the bridge of a High Guard ship during the Commonwealth-Nietzschean war. He disagrees with the Nietzschean politics and decisions which led to them declaring war on Commonwealth, stating that the Nietzscheans need the Commonwealth in order to survive as a species.
  • Angel:
    • Angel defends civilians against other vampires, among other things.
    • Former vampire hunter Gunn finds himself in the uncomfortable position of standing between his former friends and the demons they've taken to hunting for sport, some of whom are harmless and nonviolent.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Tenth Doctor's final episode revealed that he basically became this in the final days of the Time War, choosing to destroy his own people along with the Daleks because the Time Lord's plan to end the War would have also destroyed the rest of the universe.
    • Rusty, the damaged Dalek from Into the Dalek is this trope mixed with Predator Turned Protector. Being repaired by the Twelfth Doctor, he also shown him life itself and he finally decided to choose life and goes against his own race and being the protector of life, being more known as a "good" Dalek.
  • In Babylon 5 Vir smuggles 2000 Narns to safety from his own government.
  • The Flash features the eponymous metahuman hero protecting the city against other metahumans.
  • A major motif in the Kamen Rider franchise is that the Hero often draws his powers from the Big Bad or the same source that the Big Bad uses. In a few cases, the Hero might be the villain's failed attempt at a Monster of the Week.
  • Monroe and Rosalee help Nick carry out his Grimm duties and protect the city against rogue wessen.
  • The Orville sees Isaac become this after the Union learn that his people, the Kaylon, were seeking to destroy all organic life; despite the insistence of the Kaylon Primary that organics will inevitably betray and enslave machines, Isaac speaks up against killing the human crew and finally turns on the Primary when ordered to kill Ty Finn, who has come to see Isaac as a father figure.
    • Bortus turns on the Moclans when his daughter is kidnapped, and renounces his Moclan citizenship when Moclus is expelled from the Union.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Odo and Garak basically take on this role for the most part, helping the Federation's efforts to defeat the Founders and the Cardassians during the Dominion War in particular. Though, in Garak's case, he still sees himself as a patriotic Cardassian, fighting against the occupiers who are using his home as a Puppet State.
    • Also applies to Worf during the show's fourth season, as he was brought to DS9 as a strategic advisor after the Klingons ended their prior treaty with the Federation, although this treaty was eventually restored mid-way through the fifth season and Worf's own status in the Empire restored towards the end of the same season.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Elnor is the Token Heroic Orc of the series, so he protects Picard, Hugh, and Soji from his fellow Romulans, who are the Big Bad in Season 1.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Teal'c's goal in defecting to Earth may have been to take steps to liberate his fellow Jaffa from the Goa'uld, but he is also their best candidate to oppose the Jaffa in battle due to his greater-than-human strength and knowledge of their tactics.
    • The Tok'ra may operate covertly rather than waging a more active war, but they still work to bring down the Goa'uld despite the two being essentially the same species.
    • In contrast to the complete non-interference policy of their fellow Ascended, Orlin and Oma Desala were more willing to offer assistance to the SGC, and Merlin and Morgan Le Fay take a particularly active role in helping SG-1 defeat the Ori, who are essentially the Evil Counterpart of the other Ascended.
  • In Supergirl (2015), the titular heroine and Martian Manhunter routinely have to protect National City from villains like rogue Kryptonians and other species of Martian.
  • Supernatural regularly has the brothers allied with rogue members of particular species. Ruby kills demons to protect Sam (although it is later revealed that she was actually manipulating Sam to break the final Seal on Lucifer's cage), Benny kills vampires and other monsters to protect Dean, and Jack and Castiel routinely kill angels to protect both Winchesters.
  • While Super Sentai and Power Rangers has its share of Evil Sixth Ranger arcs that are resolved by a Heel–Face Turn, special mention has to go to Akira Nijino from Ressa Sentai Toqger, who was effectively a monster of the week who became a Defector from Decadence from the Shadow Line prior to the series start and worked as a maintenance worker for the Rainbow Line prior to becoming the Sixth Ranger. This is the first time that someone who willingly worked for the bad guys became a Ranger (all other cases were either misinformed or brainwashed).

    Myths & Religion 
  • In the myths about the Trojan War, we often see some of the gods trying to protect the mortals from the actions of other gods.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tends to happen in Warhammer 40,000 due to every faction being at war with the other. One Ciaphas Cain novel has the summoning of a Slaaneshi daemon interrupted by Khornate Space Marines (since both Chaos gods hate each other), and Cain is all too happy to let the superhuman butchers take out the cultists since he has his own (much squishier) secret weapon against daemons.


    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry has half-demon Dante not only defending humans against demons but also against his own brother. In the past, their father Sparda was a high-ranking and powerful demon, but he came to care about humanity so he sided with them, fought off numerous demons, and separated the human world from the demon one.
  • Mega Man X: The Maverick Hunters are a Reploid military agency that is tasked with defending humanity against renegade/"Maverick" Reploids.
  • Mass Effect has several members who have to turn against their own species for the good of the galaxy.
    • Jacob, Miranda, and Shepard all turn against Cerberus when it becomes clear they're brainwashed extremists who kill in the name of humanity but are actually carrying out the will of the Reapers.
    • Legion helps Tali and Shepard make headway in their battle against the feared Geth.

    Western Animation 
  • Spike the rat from The Animals of Farthing Wood. After he does a Heel–Face Turn, Spike decides to join the Animals of Farthing Wood and defend the White Deer Park from other rats. While one rat can't do much against the others, he does assist Weasel in teaching Cleo and Fido how to hunt rats by serving as their pretend prey.

    Real Life 
  • Forest officers defend the wildlife against illegal lumberjacks and hunters.
  • The normal justification of soldiers is to defend civilians against other soldiers.
  • As well as a good cop defending citizens against a dirty cop.