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Evil Mentor

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Ra's Al-Ghul: You were my greatest student. It should be you standing by my side, saving the world.
Bruce Wayne: I'll be standing where I belong — between you and the people of Gotham.

The Hero, or a member of the heroic band, finds a Mentor with new secret techniques to teach. The student eagerly signs on, only to learn later that there's a catch — the mentor is evil, has a hidden agenda of their own, and those new abilities are seriously nasty (though certainly not useless). The student may feel "soiled" by having learned these techniques and might swear off ever using them again, or they might have to wrestle with temptation against using them regularly. Of course, it's only a matter of time until there's a great need, and out will come the evil technique because It's the Only Way. Cue the evil mentor's So Proud of You and the hero's Your Approval Fills Me with Shame.

The Evil Mentor will lead them down the path to The Dark Side. This can involve teaching the character Black Magic, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, how to use a Deadly Upgrade (while downplaying the costs), advanced Psychic Powers like Mind Rape or Brainwashing, and generally introduce them to abilities or substances that are painfully addictive and make Psycho Serum seem safe to use by comparison.

The Evil Mentor's motivation for this are similar to those of an Old Master, but with a Zen Survivor's more elitist air: they're looking for someone to carry on their legacy, warts and all, (and may actually grow to care a bit) usually against the pupil's wishes because only they are "worthy enough" to learn it. This usually entails actively corrupting the hero and netting him a personal Dragon, not just to spread evil and deny good a powerful champion. The Evil Mentor is also patient enough to wait, hoping that if attempts to actively corrupt fail at forcing a Face–Heel Turn, then more passive temptation will do their work for them. Also, people who easily Face–Heel Turn also easily Heel–Face Turn. If you want quality in your minion, do it the long way.

For some Evil Mentors, it's a game of wits to see if their student's philosophy can stand against their own. After all, just beating someone in a flat out fight doesn't necessarily mean that someone is right. A slow battle for a soul can be just as rewarding; and honestly, more entertaining if the student's mind and heart is a Worthy Opponent. A gracious Evil Mentor will give their brand of help just out of curiosity to see how long Heroic Willpower can last.

A variant is the Evil Mentor's Book, which is not evil per se, but contains dark-side-y formulas and things the student might not be ready to learn. Unless, y'know, it's an Artifact of Doom, in which case it's an Evil Mentor in book form.

Compare and contrast Deceptive Disciple, who, representing the other end of the chain, turns "good" or honorable martial arts or powers on their head to achieve evil ends or inverts them into Black Magic. See also Bastard Understudy and the Rule of Two for a villain's voluntary apprentice.

If the mentor pretends to be a good mentor but is actually a villain out to exploit his student, he's a Treacherous Advisor. The step-down of this trope is the Broken Pedestal, who trains the student well, but is eventually revealed to be bad or corrupt, much to the student's chagrin. See also The Svengali, whose purpose is typically to exploit the mentee for his own gain (and possibly the kick of exerting More than Mind Control), rather than to pass on a legacy of evil. The Corrupter will often take on the guise of the Evil Mentor, though he doesn't have to; almost all Evil Mentors are Corruptors, but not all Corruptors are Evil Mentors.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Basilisk: The Big Bad, Tenzen Yakushiji, takes a boy in (Koushirou Chikuma) and trains him as his apprentice and right hand, years before the events of the series start.
  • Black Cat has Zagine, the assassin who killed Train's parents and taught him the art of killing when he was just 10 years old. It's not stated outright, but it's heavily implied the reason he did this is because Zagine Wouldn't Hurt a Child and felt guilt over making Train into an orphan (when Zagine was assigned to kill his parents, the fact that they had a child was kept a secret from him).
  • Bungou Stray Dogs: Osamu Dazai was trained directly under the Port Mafia's current boss to be a coldhearted, manipulative strategist as a teenager. Years after defecting from the Port Mafia, the effects still linger.
  • In The Demon Girl Next Door, Lilith acts as one to Yuko, teaching the latter how to use their familial Dream Walker powers, yet often denigrating her modesty and integrity as unbecoming of a demon.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Dr. STONE: Dr. Xeno Houston Wingfield, a former NASA scientist, was a downplayed example to Senku Ishigame before the Petrification event. Xeno in the past helped Senku design his rocket and gave him numerous scientific lectures. However, even in the 21st century Xeno was a Card-Carrying Villain, openly telling his co-workers how if he was sent to the past he would use science to become a dictator, and told Senku how science can be used to create destructive technologies such as germ warfare (which ends up encouraging Senku to research how science can save people).
  • Fate/Zero: Gilgamesh acts as this in a slightly odd way to Kotomine Kirei. It's not that Gil is evil, he just believes a person should do what brings them the most pleasure, which for Kirei turns out to be causing others pain (which Kirei hates). Gil then spends the series encouraging a reluctant Kirei to embrace his true self, which he eventually does to the rest of the cast's misfortune.
  • Gundam:
    • Paptimus Scirocco of Zeta Gundam ends up serving as a mentor for several other characters. Naturally, his harem of newtype pilots comes to mind most easily, but Scirocco also mentors Jerid Mesa and Yazan Gable throughout the course of the series.
    • Ali Al-Saachez from Gundam 00 served as one to Kurdish Child Soldiers, going as far as to instruct them to become Self Made Orphans in the name of "god". (Ali himself couldn't care less about religion, other than as a tool to motivate the kids he's manipulating.) One of those children, Soran Ibrahim, eventually became Setsuna F. Seiei, The Hero of the series.
    • Master Asia of G Gundam trained Domon since childhood (before he became evil, though), and is revealed to be the Big Bad. He remains so for a good part of the show.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple introduces a whole organization of these in the manga after the arc covered in the anime called Yami. Unlike Kenichi's masters, Yami stresses the value of martial arts as killing methods. One member in particular Isshinsai Ogata aka the Saint Fist has taken an interest in Kenichi...
    • Though despite this, the majority of One Shadow Nine Fists masters appear to have genuine close bonds with their disciples. Only Jenezad and Mikumo have been shown to mistreat their students in any way.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016), it is revealed that Zant used to be Midna’s tutor, although he never managed to bring her under his influence.
  • Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro: Yako learns about the mysteries of humanity from a demon from hell, a sociopath killer, and the Yakuza. By the end of the manga, she takes all that she's learned from monsters and dedicates herself to peaceful conflict resolution regardless of country or creed.
  • My Hero Academia: Tomura Shigaraki's "Sensei" is All For One, All Might's Arch-Enemy, who essentially took him off the streets after the death of his family (which Shigarki's Quirk caused, at least according to All For One), and raised him to be his successor after his and All Might's Final Battle left him crippled. This is later revealed to be because Shigaraki is actually Tenko Shimura, the grandson of Nana Shimura, All Might's beloved mentor. All For One thought it would be entertaining to see All Might's reaction to that. This is presented as a direct Foil to Deku's more traditional student/teacher relationship with All Might.
  • Naruto:
    • Orochimaru seems to collect apprentices, and most of them wind up either evil and/or slavishly devoted to him.
    • Tobi picked Sasuke up a while after he split from Orochimaru and did an even better job at this. The contrast between emo boy and the blank-faced teen who stabbed Naruto on his first appearance after the time skip was impressive, but the contrast between the shinobi who told his two minions 'no unnecessary killing' when they assaulted a whole fortress and the psycho who decided to off a village and threw away three loyal subordinates without blinking is also pretty wow.
      • Tobi had his own evil mentor: Madara Uchiha, who convinced him to help him carry the Moon Eye's plan by making Obito Uchiha lose all hope in the world and creating an ideal, illusionary world. Tobi even used Madara's name as an alias to do so.
    • Shimura Danzou did a version of this, too, though he tended more towards Svengali territory, with the More than Mind Control conditioning and what he did to Uchiha Itachi and all.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • The story plays a lot with this one, with Negi becoming apprentice to Evangeline, who holds a reputation as the most powerful, evil, undead vampire mage alive. Negi is fully aware of this, but trains with her anyway after deciding that she's not really that evil. And he seems to be right, regardless of how evil she claims to be. Her case for villainy is definitely not helped by the fact that, aside from one or two breaking lectures and an attempted seduction, her most evil deeds have been being a Clingy Jealous Girl and Sink or Swim Mentor-ness.
    • Also Evangeline's scroll about Magia Erebea counts as mentor: it contains also a replica of Evangeline as teacher, too.
  • Ranma ½: Played for laughs with Happosai, the Old Master of the Anything-Goes Martial Arts style, and also a selfish, petty, cruel, malicious, obnoxious little jerk whose most defining characteristic is being a Dirty Old Man. He's so lecherous that touching women's breasts and buttocks, as well as playing with stolen women's underwear has become a Fantastic Drug to him, and going too long without being a perv will start killing him through withdrawal. He revels in tormenting others, especially his own ostensible "student", Ranma Saotome, and in the manga has both suffered an agonizing headache whilst trying to think of something good he could do and proudly bragged about never helping anyone ever in his entire life.
  • Rebuild World:
    • The story starts with Akira acquiring Alpha as both his Virtual Sidekick and this. She is a Manipulative Bitch who pulls all kinds of schemes to make him dependent on her and make sure he completes the mission she wants him to. It seems like Akira is a straightforward Unwitting Pawn to her, but it’s later shown that he is fully aware of her manipulative nature, justifying their contract together citing I Gave My Word and I Owe You My Life, evoking something similar to a Dark type Lady and Knight dynamic, with Akira being an Unscrupulous Hero in the first place. What’s not clear, is if Akira knows that Alpha’s been specifically sabotaging his relationships to isolate him.
    • Viola eventually becomes both this, and a rival to Sheryl, after Akira forces Viola to work under Sheryl. While Viola gives plenty of advice and aid, she also plots to make Akira abandon Sheryl, something unforgiveable to Sheryl (as he’s her Living Emotional Crutch and love).
  • Ringing Bell: The wolf becomes this to Chirin near the end. It's a very interesting and unique example because it's Chirin who initiates the relationship in a rather insane plan to surpass and kill him and by the end of it he grows to see Wor as a Parental Substitute.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Makoto Shishio towards Soujirou Seta. He was kinder towards Soujirou than his abusive stepsiblings ever were to him.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, Gozaburo Kaiba was this to Seto Kaiba, at least in his own mind. While he was exceptionally harsh and strict to the young Kaiba — and even abusive at times — he was trying to mold Kaiba into the ruthless tycoon that he was, devoid of emotion and able to continue his military firm. Ironically, this was Gozaburo's undoing. He specifically told Kaiba that to succeed, he could not trust anyone, not even him, and while Kaiba grew to despise Gozaburo, that was a lesson he learned only too well, using it to take over KaibaCorp in a hostile takeover and once in charge proceed to destroy his adoptive father's life's work.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Monkey Saruyama (called Mr. Shroud in the dub) was this to Ryo Marufuji, better known as Kaiba; a seedy duelist manager, he used brutal Fight Clubbing to help get Kaiser back on his feet and back to the top of the Pro Leagues, but in the process, fully transformed Kaiser from the honorable duelist he was to "Hell Kaiser", the selfish one who would win at all costs, no matter who he hurt. Unfortunately for Saruyama, it worked only too well; once Kaiser decided he didn't need him, he fired Saruyama and threw him out of his car like garbage.
    • Divine from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s. As leader of the Arcadia Movement, he told his students (such as Aki) that he was trying to help them control their Psychic Powers. Truthfully, he was purposely making them even more destructive, hoping to mold them into an army of psychic assassins.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS has Otes. He was initially introduced as a benevolent mentor, but it becomes clear by the end of the first season that he has ulterior motives. At the very end of the second season, his true plan is revealed and he becomes the series' final Big Bad.

    Comic Books 
  • Aero: The titular character was once mentored by Madame Huang, before she learned that Huang had sinister ulterior motives.
  • Batman:
    • Many different versions of The Joker have done this, corrupting everyone from Harley Quinn to different versions of Clayface to Tim Drake to Jim Gordon.
    • Although Lady Shiva is generally more of a Neutral Mentor, she can fall into this at times. For example, when Batman went to her for training as part of his post-Bane recovery, she "trained" Batman by disguising herself as him and murdering an Old Master. Those pissed-off students out for revenge? That's the training!
    • In Red Hood: The Lost Days, Talia al Ghul searches these out to teach Jason how to use a gun, and how to effectively maim and kill in a fight. Jason requested Talia be one to him but she's really using the training time to stall as she has no desire to see Jason or Bruce die.
    • The Scarecrow has tried this a couple of times, encouraging young victims of bullying toward bloody revenge. He's had various degrees of success — one of his "students" prevented him from stabbing Batman but kept and used a can of his fear gas.
      • The Heart of Hush storyline revealed that twenty years ago Scarecrow played this to a young Tommy Elliot — better known as Hush.
    • Batman: Beyond the White Knight: Derek Powers convinces Terry McGinnis that Bruce orchestrated his father's murder and tries conditioning him into becoming Batman with the Beyond Suit. He tries encouraging him to act more ruthlessly, and later takes remote control of the suit when Terry learns the truth, even trying to goad him into Mercy Killing him after his mutation into Blight.
  • Black Moon Chronicles: Haazheel to Wismerhill, as he grants him entry to the highest orders of the Black Moon to teach him The Dark Arts and make Wismerhill a dark general in his war against the Empire of Lynn.
  • The Dead Boy Detectives'': In the 2004 miniseries Marquez teaches the boys some tricks on using their ghostly powers for order to aid them in his agenda of killing Hob and stealing his immortality.
  • Deathstroke: Deathstroke does this as a hobby. He once acted as an Evil Mentor to Terra, before he realized too late that she was even more evil than him. He also tried to turn Nightwing evil in the "Renegade" storyline, but Nightwing turned that around by acting as a Good Mentor to Slade's daughter Rose which led to her Heel–Face Turn. He also founded an Evil Counterpart to the Teen Titans twice. Slade in general has a disturbing interest in corrupting the next generation of superbeings.
    • In Outsiders (2003), while fighting Arsenal, he once mentioned that after he killed Roy he would take Lian and raise her to be an assassin.
  • Doctor Strange: Doctor Strange once had to learn dark magic from Kaluu, the rival of his original mentor known as the Ancient One, in order to combat the demon Shuma-Gorath. Deconstruction of the trope soon followed — Kaluu may have been ruthless or pragmatic, but he still did far more good than harm.
  • Green Lantern: Sinestro is not only a mentor turned to evil, but he wanted Hal to join him, and repeatedly offers him a place at his side. Even after he truly performs his Face–Heel Turn, he occasionally still teaches Hal - otherwise his best student and, in a warped way, only friend - lessons about how to use a ring because while Hal's Will is the only one that surpasses his own (not that he'd ever admit it), even after a decade, Sinestro knows tricks with a power ring that leave Hal gaping. Of course, Sinestro being Sinestro, this teaching is usually to put Hal in his place, or otherwise for his own ends.
  • Hawkeye: Clint Barton's mentor Trickshot, the man who taught him archery in the first place, was this at first. He trained young Clint to be a great marksman — so he could have an accomplice watching his back when he committed crimes. After being forced to shoot his own brother, Clint backed out of their arrangement, causing Trickshot to promise he'll live to regret that decision. When they meet again in the present day, Trickshot gradually becomes Hawkeye's ally if not necessarily his friend.
  • Jew Gangster: The mobster Monk Shapiro is this to Reuben Kaplan, teaching him the ways of the gangster life, along with ancillary skills such as driving (and stealing) cars.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • Alien sorcerer Murd the Oppressor from the Judge Child arc is revealed in Judgment Day to have been the zombie-controlling villain Sabbat's old mentor and taught him most of the tricks of necromancy.
    • The series The Fall of Deadworld set in an Alternate Universe features the gruff Judge Fairfax as its protagonist, who just wants to ride out the ensuing apocalypse. It turns out that in Law School he was the favorite protegé of none other than Judge Death, the monster who is destroying that world. Death still wants Fairfax back in his inner circle as his fourth lieutenant.
  • Justice League of America: Prometheus gives this a brief shot when he takes in a young sociopath named Chad Graham. He intends Chad to be his Robin, but the kid turns out to be a huge disappointment. Eventually he sets him on fire for his trouble.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Haazen, secretly a Sith, taught Lucien most of what he knows, and has slowly been working to turn him toward the Dark side of the Force.
  • New Gods: Granny Goodness was a mentor for several villains from Apokolips, but also trained Scott Free (aka Mister Miracle) and Big Barda, both of whom eventually became heroes.
  • Preacher: Jody, the man who killed Jesse's father, served as an Evil Mentor and substitute father figure to the young Jesse. Jesse hates Jody with a fiery passion, but he's man enough to admit that he wouldn't be the man he is without Jody's abusive lessons; he picked up what he knows about horses and engines from watching him, and when he puts every single round from his pistol in the ten-ring of a target and is asked who taught him to shoot, he answers "Sadistic fuckin' madman I used to know. Long story."
  • Red Robin: Following Bruce's "death" when Tim is on his own Ra's al Ghul tried to step in as a mentor figure for Tim, and did for a little while but both of them had ulterior motives and Tim blew up multiple League of Assassins bases while ruing their computer network on his way out the door. He is concerned he may have slipped a little too close to breaking Batman's golden rule while working with Ra's but he doesn't plan on doing so again.
  • Spawn: The Clown/Violator was a demon tasked with training the Hellspawn Al Simmons and making sure that he fulfilled his purpose.
  • Spider-Man: Doctor Octopus was this to Carolyn Trainer (aka Lady Octopus) and Stunner, who was also his lover. (Both were likely the only allies he had who truly had loyalty to him, and even he questioned what he had done to earn it.)
  • Star Wars: Invasion: Master Dray is revealed to be this for Finn, as his lessons are intended to eventually make him embrace his anger and desire for vengeance.
  • Supergirl:
  • Taskmaster is a Marvel villain who does this professionally. Occasionally working for the Red Skull, he hires himself out to train mercenaries and super-villains; while some of his students have become successful super-villains — or even heroes, more or less — in their own right (examples include Crossbones and Cutthroat (also henchmen of the Skull), U.S. Agent, Hauptmann Deutschland, Diamondback, Spymaster, the original Spider-Woman, and Agent X) most of the time he just trains thugs to be low-rent henchmen and cannon fodder. (When working for the Red Skull, he can often cross the line to Treacherous Advisor at times, in one case sending the more disappointing ones to be "sparring partners" for his boss, which was a death sentence. On his own, he's more by the book, in case one hiring other super-villains to form formal academies, like the time Anaconda worked for him as a calisthenics instructor.)
  • Wanted: The entire Fraternity serves as this to Wesley, but Solomon Seltzer and the Fox in particular. Their goal is to make him a powerful and feared supervillain like his father, but in a subversion, they do have his best interests at heart. Wesley's father is a more distant version, as he doesn't reveal himself until the end to complete his son's training.
  • War of Kings: Talon of the Fraternity of Raptors plays with this trope a bit. He he tells Darkhawk the origin of his powers, omitting that the powers are actually for intergalactic espionage and assassination.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in Dilbert when Wally mentors Asok — the presentation is comparable to serious examples of this trope, but the actual content is training in how to avoid having to work while still getting paid. Asok may or may not be becoming more like Wally, but if he is, it's a slow process.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Farmer Weathersky" (here) the boy's master teaches him magic but will keep him forever unless his father can find and recognize him, which he manages only with difficulty. Father Weathersky then tries to get the boy back with trickery.
  • In The Brothers Grimm' "The Thief And His Master" (link), the father only has to pay if he can't recognize his son, but the master uses magic to prevent him. And when the father succeeds, he tries to reclaim the boy.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney), Judge Claude Frollo takes the orphaned Quasimodo in as his ward and trains him for twenty years, hoping to one day make use of him to find the Court of Miracles. Quasimodo does not find out until later that Frollo was responsible for his mother's death.
  • Deconstructed in Megamind when the eponymous villain, bored half to death after defeating his archnemesis Metroman, decides to introduce a new adversary into his life. He trains unassuming cameraman Hal while disguised as Hal's "space dad". When he ambushes Hal later on after Hal becomes Titan and breaks the news that he was the one who trained him incognito, the roles are quickly reversed as Megamind is forced to stop Titan before he wrecks Metro City.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American History X: The white supremacist leader Cameron Alexander manipulates whole scores of youngsters into the Neo-Nazi lifestyle by presenting himself as a wise mentor. Like a true evil mentor, he also has no problems selling out his followers when it suits him.
  • In An American Christmas Carol, Jack Latham taught Slade all he knows, even giving him last-minute advice on his deathbed.
  • Henri Ducard/Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins. He inducts Bruce Wayne into the League of Shadows and teaches him the skills of combat, camouflage, and how to strike fear into the minds of criminals. Their methods are ultimately too extreme for Bruce, as they would prefer to kill all criminals without mercy and even destroy entire cities they deem too corrupt to survive with everyone inside. Even near the end, the real Rha's Al Ghul calls Bruce his greatest student, and voices his regret that Bruce is not "saving" Gotham along with him by destroying it.
  • Black Lightning (2009): On a few occasions, Kuptsov tells Dima to live only for himself. Dima realizes later that Kuptsov is not just a Self-Made Man, but is also The Sociopath.
  • John Milton in The Devil's Advocate. Curiously, he doesn't actively encourage Kevin to become an Amoral Attorney, just indirectly encourages him by surrounding him with the perks of being one, because he wants Kevin to choose that path himself.
  • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Yondu, the grouchy old leader of the Ravagers could be considered this to Quill, if you consider him evil. (Which is sort of a grey area, as is the case with a lot of characters. Yondu is clearly an Anti-Villain, and he's definitely a greedy and selfish mercenary, but he did help defend Nova against Ronan's army, so it's hard to classify him in such terms.)
  • In film centering around Hannibal Lecter, some fans interpret Hannibal as regarding himself as this to Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, but if so, it's entirely one-sided.
  • In Karate a Muerte en Torremolinos, we discover that Orloff had been Malvedades's disciple, even if they are now enemies.
  • The Karate Kid films are well-known for these.
    • The Karate Kid (1984) has John Kreese indoctrinating his students (particularly his champion, Johnny Lawrence) under the "No-Mercy mindset", turning them into outright bullies as a result. It becomes much more personal with Johnny after Kreese nearly chokes him to death, and Johnny himself resenting Kreese 34 years later.
    • The Karate Kid Part II is subverted with Sato Toguchi — while he is Chozen's sensei, along with his hatred for Mr. Miyagi influencing Chozen to pass it down to Daniel LaRusso, he still has a sense of honor and moral code that Chozen lacks. This becomes outright averted when Sato reforms after Mr. Miyagi saves him from the typhoon and Chozen taking over as the film's Big Bad and Final Boss.
    • The Karate Kid Part III has Terry Silver as Daniel's Evil Mentor, slowly training Daniel to become more and more vicious in his fighting tactics (while under the true intention of torturing Daniel on behalf of avenging his war buddy, Kreese, from the 1984 All-Valley loss). This climaxes when Daniel punches another guy in the nose at a dance, which makes him realize what he has done, prior to Silver revealing his true colors to him. He's also this to his champion, Mike Barnes, ordering him to abuse Daniel in the 1985 tournament, and as Cobra Kai Season 5 reveals, having him bully Daniel as part of his contract.
    • The Next Karate Kid has Colonel Dugan, who basically is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Kreese.
  • In Kill Bill Vol 2, there's the Bride's sensei, Pai Mei. He's clearly a cruel man, and according to the film's mythology was responsible for the destruction of the Shaolin Temple because a Shaolin monk that he passed on the road didn't return the slight nod that he gave him. He's been known to snatch out the eyes of those who look on him with defiance and snap the backs and necks of those who give him sass like they were twigs. This eventually gets him killed when he snatches out Elle Driver's right eye for calling him a "miserable old fool," and she retaliates by poisoning his fish heads. He hates Caucasians, despises Americans and has nothing but contempt for women. Despite this, the Bride, an American, white woman, becomes his greatest student, the only one he teaches his Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. She also learns to love him like a father, eventually avenging his death by snatching out Driver's left eye.
  • Star Wars
    • Anakin Skywalker and Chancellor Palpatine: "I can teach you things you need to know in order to save Padmé. Oh, and you'll have to kill a bunch of kids for me too, but never mind that now..."
    • This happens often in the Expanded Universe (Exar Kun to Ulic Qel-Droma, Joruus C'baoth and the reborn Emperor Palpatine to Luke Skywalker, Lumiya to Jacen Solo...). Since aside from a few periods of Sith ascendancy, the Jedi Order is usually a much larger organization with a correspondingly larger talent pool, corrupting a promising Jedi is a common method of producing the next Dark Lord of the Sith. Though it has mixed results for the Sith, when it does work it tends to work very well. Sometimes too well, but a Sith master already knows that's a risk they take when training anyone.
    • Ben Solo had one in Supreme Leader Snoke, who lured him to the Dark Side while he was training to be a Jedi, with much the same results as the Palpatine-Anakin mentorship. He then offered to be one to Rey, but she refused.
  • Training Day: Alonzo tries to groom Jake into becoming a Dirty Cop. When Alonzo fails to corrupt Jake, who's willing to stick to his principles, he ultimately sets him up to be killed by a bunch of gangsters.
  • Gordon Gekko from Wall Street. In this case, it's the student who pushes for the mentor's advice. As soon as Bud Fox makes himself useful to Gekko's financial schemes, Gekko takes him under his wing and gives him the life he always wanted while teaching him to be driven solely by greed and use illegal means if necessary to ensure his profits.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: Mark Hanna, despite only appearing in a couple of scenes, is one of the main influences for Jordan going from a well-intentioned Naïve Newcomer to a ruthless and amoral stockbroker. He's also the one who encourages Jordan to get into drugs.
  • Sebastian Shaw towards Erik in X-Men: First Class, who eventually took up Shaw's mutant supremacy ideology. A truly evil one at that, as Shaw killed his new student's mother in front of him to unleash the boy's powers and performed horrifying medical experiments on Erik.

  • Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus novel Fated the main character is an ex dark-apprentice who was recruited by a Dark mage in his late teens.
  • Parodied and lampshaded at the end of Almost Night with Dumbledalf. As a mentor, he would die or turn evil by the end. He chose the latter.
  • Paolo Bacigalupi:
    • In Ship Breaker, Nailer's insane drug addict father Richard Lopez, is the man who taught him how to swim, how to fight, and how to survive. This doesn't stop Nailer from recognising Richard for the dangerous loose cannon that he is, and while he is grateful to his father ultimately ends up killing him in the climax.
    • In The Drowned Cities, Lieutenant Sayle is an Evil Mentor to Sargeant Ocho and the other soldier boys in his company. While the others look up to the LT, Ocho is fully aware of what Sayle is, and turns on him in the end.
  • The Black Arrow: Sir Daniel Brackley murdered Harry Shelton, heir of Tunstall, and obtained guardianship of his minor son Dick to hijack his inheritance. When Dick discovers Sir Daniel's plot, his mentor attempts to murder him.
  • Teresa Edgerton's The Castle of the Silver Wheel: The dwarf Brangwengwen, a partially trained, elderly witch, knows the castle well enough to get into the Princess Diaspad's old rooms and thus to her old spellbooks (which feature Black Magic), and offers instruction in witchcraft to Gwenlliant (who otherwise has no teacher, and few people to talk to).
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Justin DuMorne, Harry's guardian and first teacher in magic. Later in the series, the fallen angel Lasciel attempts to become an Evil Mentor by teaching Harry how to power his spells with literal hellfire. It doesn't work. If anything, Lasciel's image is "corrupted" by Harry, whose fundamental decency actually bleeds over into her.
    • Also Lea, his faerie godmother who, while she never tries to corrupt Harry, is extremely dangerous and not overburdened with morals, beyond the usual faery sensibilities.
    • In Ghost Story Lea moves onto teaching Molly as well. And in a My God, What Have I Done? moment Harry calls himself one of these by bargaining with Mab for power while officially employed as Molly's role model.
    • Harry wonders if the reason he survived his battle with He Who Walks Behind was that the latter was trying to train Harry, not kill him. The answer, it turns out, is a little of both; the Walker was holding back to give Harry a chance, but by the time it had realized that Harry was actually in a position to harm it, it was already weakened enough that it didn't dare risk another attack and fled.
  • In Sukhinov's Emerald City decalogy, The Wicked Witch of the East (Named Gingema in text) adopts Corina, a little Munchkin girl, and trains her in magic. Needless to say, Corina ends up massively screwed up (though not outright evil).
  • Harry Potter:
  • In In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea, Ryne's mentor Anise turns to the dark side. Ryne doesn't know for sure during her years-long training period with Anise that she's secretly evil but eventually figures out that she must have been bad all along. (You'd think Anise's kinky bedroom antics would have been a clue.) As the person closest to her, Ryne is assigned to be the one who takes Anise down, and she's afraid that she may turn to the dark side as well.
  • In the Knight and Rogue Series the man whose name is not Jack Bannister is a variant of this for Fisk. The skills he was teaching were along the lines of conning and burglary, so it wasn't as though Fisk didn't know he was a bad guy, he just turned out to be a much greater Jerkass than Fisk had first thought. His last lesson to Fisk is that life sucks, and when Fisk finally recovers from the schooling, Jack tries to reinforce the lesson by having Michael tossed off a cliff.
  • Viv Ivins in the Left Behind prequel books serves this role to Marilena Carpathia when she seeks to be pregnant and ends up becoming the mother to the future Antichrist Nicolae Carpathia until she is killed off.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Played with. While Syndil is hinted to be this from his intro and does eventually Face–Heel Turn it's implied that he was driven by despair. He wanted the Mageknight to met his expectations. He did his best to develop his powers and those of the other knights until then.
  • Pythie Frederica from Magical Girl Raising Project trains Snow White to become a strong warrior and ideal Magical Girl when Snow White decides she needs to become stronger so as to not be useless anymore. Pythie is also willing to kill anyone that holds Snow White back from becoming the ideal Magical Girl and forces other Magical Girls to kill each other in death games in order to create more ideal Magical Girls. This leads her to being arrested by her own student, which Pythie is okay with as she believes Snow White has become what she was searching for.
  • The Return of the Home Run Kid by Matt Christopher (sequel to The Kid Who Only Hit Homers) is essentially the G-rated version of this. The mentor is a former baseball player kicked out for betting against his own team, and he teaches the main character tricks like how to fake getting hit by a pitch. (It's not entirely clear how this is worse than cheating through magic in the previous book, but it's pretty clear that we're supposed to see this as a negative development.)
  • Scavenge the Stars: Boon acts as Amaya's benefactor and teaches her all his criminal skills as a way to get revenge on the people who've wronged her.
  • Littlefinger from A Song of Ice and Fire ends up becoming this for Sansa Stark.. He has... paternal feelings for her.
    • Also, the Three-Eyed Crow aka Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers serves as one of these to Bran... maybe. The ambiguity isn't whether or not he's a mentor, because he is training Bran in how to use his greenseer and warg abilities. The ambiguity comes from whether he really can be considered evil. Before he went and merged with a tree, Bloodraven went to truly extreme lengths to destroy House Blackfyre and their rival claim to the Iron Throne, to the point that King Aegon V, the direct beneficiary of his actions, sent him to the Wall in disgust. On the other hand, his extermination of the Blackfyres brought nearly half a century of relative peace to Westeros, so it could well be a case of The Extremist Was Right, and Bloodraven is on record giving I Did What I Had to Do as his reason for his actions. And given the nature of greensight, he may not have had a choice in the matter. Despite his intentions, however, most of Westeros remembers Bloodraven as a villainous sorcerer and Evil Chancellor.
  • Joruus C'baoth in The Thrawn Trilogy calls Luke to him, and for a few days Luke follows him around trying to learn from him but quickly comes to believe that C'baoth was insane and had possibly fallen to the Dark Side. C'baoth believes himself to be the ultimate authority, naturally above those who are not Jedi. This is cinched when Luke tries to leave with Mara Jade and they are attacked, and later when they find that he was working with Thrawn.
    • Interestingly played with in Outbound Flight, with Jorus C'baoth (the original) and his interest in the 14-year-old Anakin Skywalker. The original C'baoth had a superiority complex and beliefs much like his clone's, though slightly less obvious (since C'baoth hasn't actually gone insane yet). Obi-Wan is uneasy about this. Anakin, in some of the most subtle this-kid-isn't-gonna-turn-out-right characterization in or out of the Expanded Universe, thinks that C'baoth is awesome. He solves things so quickly, and he doesn't take nonsense from anyone.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In the Second Age, Sauron taught Celebrimbor and his smiths the art of ring-craft, but never told them that the rings included binding magic (and could be controlled by the One Ring). He was also a full-on Evil Mentor to the last king of Númenor.
    • Morgoth claimed to be this to Feanor in The Silmarillion, but in reality, Feanor couldn't stand him, so he was more the mentor to everyone else. Which didn't help matters.
  • The Morgawr to The Ilse Witch in The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara.
  • Falcone in the Warchild Series plays this role for Yuri. He attempts it with Jos and Cairo, too, but they don't jump at his call and both reject his teachings at once. Only Yuri follows Falcone's training and instruction without protest.
  • Sacrifice acts as one in When the Hunting Party Came

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel has Holland Manners, a senior attorney at Wolfram & Hart who considers Lindsey MacDonald as his protégé. He's actually quite similar to Wilkins from Angel's parent show, though he leans more toward the Ambition Is Evil side of things.
    • Angel himself, or rather Angelus, was this for Spike and Penn. He taught Penn to murder his family and leave a signature cross carved in his victims' cheeks. Spike has said that while Drusilla sired him, Angelus was the one that taught him to be a ruthless, evil killer.
  • It's revealed late in Babylon 5's third season that The Shadows view themselves as essentially this. They spread chaos and war and corrupt people because they are Social Darwinists who want to encourage people towards their version of 'freedom' and help them evolve by cutting loose all fetters and encouraging and aiding those with ambition.
    Morden: It's like knocking over an anthill. Every new generation gets stronger. The anthill gets redesigned, made better.
    Sheridan: So that's what the Shadows do. Come out every few thousand years, and kick over all the anthills, start wars, destroy entire races.
    Justin: A few get lost along the way, yes, and that's unfortunate. I don't think it was ever easy, but you can't let that get in the way of the dream.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Master to the Anointed One.
    • Professor Maggie Walsh to Riley.
    • Mayor Wilkins represents an Evil Mentor / Parental Substitute to Faith, the series' renegade Slayer. While not directly causing her Start of Darkness, he genuinely cares for Faith very deeply. Perversely, Wilkins is the closest thing to a father that Faith has.
    • Also Gwendolyn Post, Faith's treacherous Watcher. Faith really can't catch a break...
  • On Burn Notice, we learn that Larry "Dead Larry" Sizemore, the man who trained Michael Westen in most of what he knows, eventually faked his own death and went freelance. He's now a Psycho for Hire contract killer who enjoys using poisons and knives way too much and thinks that Murder Is the Best Solution to any obstacle. He's also trying to get Michael to be more like him.
    Larry: Well it's nice to see you too, Michael, and Sam! I also see you... seriously, pal, we do twenty missions on three continents and this is how you greet me?
    Michael: Well, that was before you faked your own death and came back without a soul.
    • Michael admits that with hindsight, he can tell how unbalanced Larry always was. They worked together during a crazy time, so he seemed somewhat sane in comparison. It's also implied that Larry faking his death allowed Michael to spend more time with saner people, leading to him recognizing Larry for what he was.
  • Cobra Kai
    • The series explores further how John Kreese is this as a sensei, showing his preference for latching onto students who have messed up homelives or who are lost like Johnny, Hawk, Tory, and eventually Robby, filling the void as a "protective" father figure, and then turning his back on and weeding out "the weak ones", and basically warping whoever is left into vicious and violent thugs that follow his ideology. When Johnny’s high school buddies and Cobra-Kai dojo mates Bobby, Jimmy, and Tommy meet with Johnny they're horrified that he's given Kreese a second chance as they're all unanimous in that, while being the bad guys felt good, all of their lives were worse because of it (the biggest example being their friend Dutch, who has spent much of his life in and out of prison because of his antics and the philosophy he learned from Kreese) and how their lives all improved when they turned their backs on Cobra Kai and straightened out their lives. Johnny eventually becomes deadset on not being an evil mentor, believing that the discipline, toughness, and bad-assery of Cobra Kai can be taught without the mercilessness, thuggery, and outright villainy that Kreese teaches. In one episode he explains that his vision for the dojo is all about becoming a bad-ass, and that a true bad-ass wins without needing to cheat, fighting without honor, or hitting opponents who are down or helpless.
    • And guess who else comes back? Terry Silver, and what really stands out about him not seen in Part III is his emphasis on Combat Pragmatism, discovering opponents' weaknesses, and his belief that unlike Kreese, who is all about forming a strong core and weeding out the "weak ones", anyone can become a champion — which is why he puts further emphasis on enlisting female students and favors unorthodox fighters like Kenny, Piper, and eventually Devon. And that's not counting the fact that he secretly bribes the ref in competitions as an "insurance policy" to give leniency advantage to his fighters. Season 5 has him fully focused on his desire to pass on Kim Sun-Yung's legacy to global levels after he takes over the dojo and uses it as a corporate empire; so that everyone (or at least a good chunk of the world) will embrace his style of "no honor, no mercy."
  • In Daredevil (2015), Matt Murdock has Stick as a mentor. He taught him how to sense when he was a child. When Matt gifted him a bracelet, he destroyed it and abandoned him. He reappeared later in his life to destroy a Black Sky. It turned out that the Black Sky was a child, and he fatally shot the child with an arrow. This turned Matt against him again. They fought before he left again.
  • In The Flash (2014), it is revealed that Harrison Wells, Barry's mentor, is secretly the man in yellow, i.e., the Reverse Flash. The reason for that is Eobard Thawne, the Flash's nemesis from the distant future, went back in time to when Barry was 12 to try to kill him, only to be stopped by Future!Barry. Angry, Thawne killed Barry's mother out of spite but discovered that the time jump robbed him of a stable connection to the Speed Force, stranding him in the past. Killing and taking the face of the real Dr. Wells, Thawne built the particle accelerator several years earlier than intended in order to create the Flash himself in order to eventually use Barry's connection to the Speed Force to get back home. Later, Barry's new mentor Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth 2, turns out to be the same person as Zoom, the evil speedster of Earth 2. As Zoom, he keeps sending enemies to try and kill Barry. As Jay, he trains Barry to be faster. His end goal is to siphon away Barry's speed for himself in order to cure his degenerative condition, caused by his abuse of the Velocity Super Serum. Averted with Harry Wells, Harrison's Earth-2 doppleganger; despite being kind of an ass and frequently advocating ruthlessly pragmatic options, he's ultimately a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Also averted with the real Jay Garrick, the Flash of Earth 3. It helps that Jay is the double of Barry's late father, so Barry is predisposed to trusting him.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show reimagines the character of Dagmer into one of these for Theon Grejoy. He feeds his pupil's ambition and feelings of insecurity, clinging on to feed off his success. When Theon intends to die in a blaze of glory alongside his men, Dagmer knocks him unconscious and sells him to their enemies for a ticket home. Ramsay Snow takes Theon but has Dagmer flayed alive instead when he captures the Ironborn, possibly for his treachery, but more likely because he just thought it'd be fun.
    • Littlefinger seems to have begun coaching Sansa in how to play the game of thrones in Season 4.
    • Roose tries to be to Robb. He definitely is one to Ramsay. His "mentoring" of them is actually the opposite approach to reach the same goal: Roose tries to make Robb become more sadistic and cruel, while he tries the opposite with Ramsay. In the end, it's for the ultimate goal of making them embrace his own pragmatic villainy.
  • In Season 2 of Heroes, Big Bad Adam Monroe takes under his wing resident Idiot Hero Peter Petrelli, successfully manipulating him into furthering his plans to release an apocalyptic virus upon the Earth.
    • In the same season, Sylar acts as a mentor to Maya, teaching her how to control her power without the help of her brother. And in late Season 3, Sylar himself meets up with his father, a Retired Monster who used to be just like him and who convinces him that he needs to stop hunting "small game" and go after real power. This eventually inspires Sylar to try to kill the President and take his place using Voluntary Shapeshifting.
  • Kamen Rider seems to enjoy this trope.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki had the Alternates, who believe that in order to save a thousand lives, they must kill at least one person and have been aiming to kill a central character for her ties to the Mirror World. They taught their student, a participant in the Rider War, the "kill one, save a thousand" motto. What they didn't bank on was that he'd take it to mean that if he killed them, he'd save a thousand.
    • Kamen Rider Double has Shroud, who gave her student his Transformation Trinket after he lost his parents to a Dopant attack. The evil kicks in when it's revealed that she was the one who gave the Dopant his trinket as well and both of them were her attempts at a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Big Bad. She didn't intend for the Dopant to turn out as monstrous as he did, though, and Terui eventually manages to show Shroud the error of her ways.
    • Ankh of Kamen Rider OOO thinks he's this, but his intended puppet turns out to be an exemplar of Obfuscating Stupidity and instead starts the slow process of turning Ankh into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard has its evil mentor double as its Big Bad, as Wiseman and the White Wizard are proven to be one and the same, sending Phantoms to drive the Victim of the Week to despair as Wiseman and having Haruto kill the Phantoms as the White Wizard. His real goal is to find four victims who become new wizards instead of new Phantoms so that he can use them as sacrifices to resurrect his daughter.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim receives frequent advice and gifts from DJ Sagara, who at first appears to be a humble Yggdrasil employee before steadily revealing himself to be the avatar of the Helheim Forest itself, and thus the Eldritch Abomination behind everything, with his gifts pushing Kouta to win the fight for the Golden Fruit. Unusually for the franchise, Sagara gets away with everything, being treated as a force of nature rather than a person.
    • Kamen Rider Drive has the Angel Roidmude, villain of the Kamen Rider Chaser film, who offers the ability to experience human emotions to the android Chase. It works as advertised, but the modification makes him no longer able to become a Kamen Rider, and will eventually cause him to become catatonic from bliss. She intends to do this to everyone, human and Roidmude alike, to produce a World of Silence.
    • Kamen Rider Build repeats Gaim's trick in a more complex manner: all sides of the show's conflict are pushed and prodded along in their Lensman Arms Race by Blood Stalk, who seems oddly unconcerned with gathering any more power of his own. While he favors Sento and Banjou as the main targets of his pushing, he'll just as gladly hand other characters the keys to more power in order to give them a steady stream of appropriate rivals to fight.
  • Liar (2017): When Andrew discovered Oliver was a serial rapist he confronted him, but instead of handing Oliver over he ended up being instructed how to get away with rape.
  • Of a sort on Person of Interest. Kara and Snow act as sort-of mentors for Reese in the CIA, yet they are both series villains.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury: The ancient spirit Dai Shi hijacks Jarrod, hoping to better understand the human experience so he can more easily rid the world of them. The Sky, Sea, and Earth Overlords train Dai Shi to adjust to his new body, and help him suppress Jarrod or being out the most useful parts of Jarrod's personality.
    • Power Rangers Cosmic Fury: Lord Zedd brainwashes Ollie the Blue Ranger, essentially making the boy into The Dragon for the season. Having previously mind-controlled Ollie for one episode last season, Zedd puts in the effort to make sure Ollie stays evil this time, acting as a twisted father figure to him.
  • Romper Stomper: Vic/Cackles is revealed to have inducted Kane into Neo-Nazism.
  • The mentor of Smallville's version of Green Arrow is a cold-blooded murderer and looks down on Ollie for becoming a superhero. In Season 5, Brainiac begins as one for Clark.
  • The Female Changeling from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine serves as this to Odo, with a strong dose of vamp. In "The Search", she teaches him about the history of the Changeling race and helps him hone his shapeshifting abilities. When Odo discovers that she and the other Founders lead the tyrannical Dominion, he leaves her. Later, during the occupation of Deep Space Nine, she teaches him more about his people and links with him.
  • Supernatural: The demons usually take up this role towards the heroes.
    • The Yellow-Eyed Demon, Azazel, fancied himself this and sort of managed it, in a ham-handed way, with the rest of his specials, but Sam has a personal grudge and Heroic Willpower and a big brother, so it never really worked. Ruby's the follow-up.
    • Ruby. She spends a season being mysterious and helpful before Dean dies, and then provides the bereaved Sam with emotional support, and encourages him to develop his Psychic Powers, which are of demonic origin, in order to avenge Dean. Even though he'd promised Dean he wouldn't use them. She gets him hooked on demon blood, a power booster that turns out to be highly addictive as well as revolting, and ultimately uses him to free The Devil. She was Lilith's inside woman all along. Even though he showed a lot of The Dark Side Will Make You Forget markers, he never got further than a rather lukewarm Well-Intentioned Extremist...unless he actually exsanguinated that poor nurse Cindy, but that was a once-off. He trespasses rather badly against his family, but almost all of it is either under siren venom or in the throes of withdrawal. Sam is actually a really good guy, but no one including Sam really believes that even a little for much of Season 5.
    • Alastair to Dean. When Dean was in Hell he tortured Dean for decades until he broke completely, and then taught him the arts of torture so his student could apply his teachings on the new arrivals. Plays up the avuncular thing kind of the way Azazel used to. Thankfully no signs of Stockholm Syndrome, at least not that survived his resurrection.
    • Lucifer toyed with the role as well. These idiots will not leave Sam alone. On the other hand, Soulless Sam in six didn't need Samuel's influence to be a cold sonuvabitch.
    • Season 6 Crowley to Cas, a bit. Not that the latter isn't the more powerful, but the former leads him by the nose with the hope of knowledge he can use to end the war, and his partnership with the devil's replacement drags him down until the Moral Event Horizon makes a faint whooshing sound as it flies by. Somewhere around the time he started killing his friends so they couldn't stop him, maybe? And then he succeeds and goes batshit insane.
    • In the eighth season episode "Freaks and Geeks", Victor Rogers takes in three orphaned teenagers and trains them to hunt the sort of monsters that killed their families. If that was all he did, it would be downright heartwarming by Supernatural's standards. Unfortunately, he's also the one who arranged their families' murders in the first place and had innocent people turned to play the part of the villains for the Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • On The Wire, Chris and Snoop, Marlo Stanfield's top enforcers, tutor Micheal in the ways of the game.
  • Played for laughs in Yes, Minister by Sir Humphrey Appleby, who has this kind of relationship with Bernard, a young and naive civil servant.

  • The Celestial Zone: Xue Wu runs across one of these near the end of the series. Given that his insane competitiveness has been pushing him down the slippery slope, and that a villain recently gave him the If You Kill Me You Will Be Just Like Me speech right before he kebabed her, it doesn't end well.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Ring of Honor decided to officially launch its own women's division in 2015, Kelly Klein signed on as a chance to reinvent herself. BJ Whitmer, who had come to embrace the fact he was an "evil man", jumped on this chance to ensure someone would carry on his evil legacy and turned out to be very proud of the results.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark playbook from Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined works by manipulating other players, and is even specifically referred to as a mirror to The Mystic (whose moves are based on Mentor Archetype tropes).
  • The One Ring: Downplayed as the game is set in Middle-earth before the time of Saruman's fall to the Shadow. Nonetheless, a Player Character can study under him to gain a bonus proficiency in Shadow Lore at the cost of a permanent Shadow point.
  • In Pathfinder, Changelings are the daughters of humans and hags. Their wicked mothers typically leave them among humans to be raised, but at some point, they will feel "the call" to join their mothers and receive training in witchcraft, and eventually have the opportunity to submit to depravity and become hags themselves. Some embrace this, some ignore the call entirely, and some accept some training (not all witches are bad, after all) but leave before taking the final steps.

  • Roy Cohn to Joe Pitt in Angels in America. Despite being a hideously loathsome man, he has a genuine affection for Joe and offers him much in the way of (what he thinks of as) advice, which later leads to problems when Joe refuses to believe his "questionable but good-at-heart" mentor could do the kind of horrible things Roy Cohn really did.
  • Madame Morrible to Glinda and Elphaba in Wicked.

    Video Games 
  • In the video game tie-in to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Kraven the Hunter acts as this to Spider-Man. He teaches Spidey his hunting techniques and how to apply them to crimefighting, but only as a pretense to study the wall-crawler and figure out how best to kill him.
  • The Baron in Amnesia: The Dark Descent is revealed to be this for Daniel towards the very end — though if the player didn't suspect this long beforehand, they might be carrying the Idiot Ball.
  • Al Mualim in Assassin's Creed, who, at the end of the game, uses the Apple Of Eden to turn everyone in Masyaf into his Mind Control slaves who constantly praise him and his every deed.
  • Claws of Furry: Your sensei, as it turned out, was planning on ripping your soul out of your body once you freed him from the chains he was bound by. And you're not the first cat he's done this to either, as he states he's trained cats for hundreds of years, and removed all of their souls in the same way.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The player characters likely resort to this to unlock their Source powers in Act II, as their erstwhile mentor has been De-Powered and their other options include a Soul Eater, the paranoid creator of a heinous Phlebotinum Bomb, an ally of the Big Bad, and a demon. Lampshaded if a PC asks the mentor if she really expects them to get lessons from Evil Sourcerers: she reminds them that the alternative is to let the world end.
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, villains like Captain Ginyu, Frieza, and Cell can become The Hero's mentor. For Ginyu, he wants to train them because he thinks they're candidates to expand the Ginyu Force. For Frieza, he wants the hero to become his minion, having heard so much about them from Ginyu. And Cell? Well, for no reason other than he's bored and wants to make a game of training an imperfect creature to become perfect — but becomes very intrigued by the hero's growing power that he now wants them to become his rival.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, Hagravens, a species of flightless harpy who were once mortal women that traded their humanity for access to powerful magic, serve as these to still-mortal witches. Eventually, these mortal witches undergo the ritual as well, becoming Hagravens themselves.
    • The series' Liches commonly serve as these to still-mortal necromancers, who hope to one day become Liches themselves.
    • A book in Oblivion talks about how Nocturnal's cowl was stolen. A young thief tries to steal from a master thief, who summarily catches her but lets her be his protege. Eventually, they plan a heist to steal the cowl of Nocturnal. The young thief is to wait in a nearby tree, wait for Nocturnal to remove her cowl, then let the elder make a distraction. When the distraction never comes, the young thief attempts to steal the cowl without help. After she is caught, she looks over to realize that Nocturnal's cowl is gone. When asked who she is, she says, "I'm the distraction."
  • In Jade Empire, Sun Li has been training your character in martial arts so that you can kill his brother, Emperor Sun Hai, only for him to assassinate you and claim the imperial throne for himself.
  • Kingdom Hearts series:
    • Riku had this as a recurring problem. The power he learned from Maleficent and Ansem was too useful not to use but gave him serious self-image issues.
    • Terra and Master Xehanort in Birth by Sleep. After Terra's brief use of dark power costs him his Mark of Mastery exam, Xehanort takes advantage of Terra's strained relationship with the mentor (Eraqus) and offers him the validation he craves. While Riku later proves that darkness can be safely channeled, Xehanort's "comfort" is entirely self-serving. It's like Anakin and Palpatine compressed into one story.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    • Kreia is an ex-Jedi extremely disillusioned with the Order and is quickly revealed to be a former Sith Lord as well. Her lessons to you are mostly ones of bitter and at times ruthless pragmatism, encouraging you to only help others if it helps you and to manipulate people to your own ends. She is also the Big Bad, but unlike a Treacherous Advisor she never uses her mentor position to backstab the protagonist, as she actually cares for The Exile — her training was a legitimate attempt to groom a successor. She turns on you only as a means to impart her final, cynical lesson: mentors are Manipulative Bastards and you should forge your own path.
    • Certain elements of the story allow the player character to play this role for the Handmaiden, the Disciple, Bao-dur, Mira, and Atton if you turn them to the Dark Side.
  • The Illusive Man from the Mass Effect series attempts to be this to Commander Shepard in the second installment. It's up to the player whether or not Shepard buys into it or completely rebuffs him.
  • Persona 3: Played for Laughs with Tanaka, the Devil Social Link, who takes the protagonist under his wing to teach him the harsh realities of adult life and how to succeed in business. In order to get the social link you need to let Tanaka scam you out of several thousand yen, and the social link mostly involves Tanaka giving you extremely suspect advice, bragging about how he got so rich, and blackmailing you into not revealing his true nature by threatening you with extremely over-the-top threats. The final event of the Social Link reveals that Tanaka has been inspired by your interactions to donate money to a charity for orphaned children, because talking to you has made him realise that he's already won at life by becoming richer than the people who used to look down on him and by giving away a little bit of all that money he can buy himself a reputation for goodness on top of it.
  • Played With in Persona 5, where Madarame at first appears to be a possibly abusive art tutor who adopts students before driving them away with harsh treatment, but is nonetheless a skilled artist on his own. His inner Shadow Archetype eventually reveals he's The Svengali more than an Evil Mentor, seeing his students as nothing more but producers of art he can appropriate for his own to make money, and none of his artwork — including his most famous piece, "Sayuri" — is his original work.
  • Muttonhead in Popful Mail. Before he became a notorious criminal, he used to be the mentor of Tatto, one of the heroes.
  • Radiant Historia doesn't even bother to hide that Stocke's boss/mentor Heiss is a villain. It does, however, hide the extent of it. Heiss is the Big Bad, and one of his primary goals is to try to train Stocke to take over for him. This fails miserably.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse reveals that the Pirate Master was this for Shantae's Arch-Enemy, Risky Boots. Before the Pirate Master was sealed by the Genies, Risky sailed under his command as his first mate and he taught her everything she knows.
  • Houzuki from Sharin no Kuni is not only an Evil Mentor, but also the Big Bad, and doesn't make any attempt to disguise what he is — his Establishing Character Moment is shooting one of the trainees under his tutelage for being late to an appointment and Kenichi, the protagonist and his protege for the last seven years, is under no illusions as to what sort of person he is.
  • Skullgirls: Valentine has a more adversarial version of this with Painwheel, at least in the former's story mode. She "created" Painwheel in the first place, and wants to see the girl-turned-monster become strong enough to kill the Skullgirl. Even if Valentine has to become a Skullgirl to do so. This relationship is best summed up in her dialogue whenever Painwheel beats her: "Atta girl".
  • Goutetsu in Street Fighter, who taught a form of martial arts that used murderous intent in every move. Two of his students were Gouken and Akuma; Gouken purged the murderous aspects of the martial art and went on to teach this form to his students Ryu and Ken, while Akuma used the form as it was intended. Akuma used it to kill Goutetsu (who died happy, knowing his legacy would carry on through his student) and later tried to pass it on to Ryu.
    • The manga adaptation of Street Fighter Alpha by Masahiko Nakahira deviated from this back-story by making Goutetsu the one who purged the Satsui no Hadou from the art itself.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! video game World Championship 2010: Reverse of Arcadia, the Player Character is in much the same situation that Aki is in, with Divine as his/her mentor. (And plays a big part in defeating him and the Dark Signers; the storyline of the game is similar to that of the Anime but has your character substituting for many key characters in important roles.)

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The first game has Manfred von Karma, to Miles Edgeworth and his daughter Franziska. Any time they say something about a perfect win record being paramount or resorting to shady tactics such as witness coaching, hiding evidence, blocking important lines of inquiry, and updating autopsy reports, it's because that's what he taught them. He has an ulterior motive in mentoring Edgeworth- Manfred hates Miles' father Gregory for giving him a penalty and took Miles under his wing partially so he could teach him to be the sort of Amoral Attorney Gregory despised, and partially so he could manipulate Edgeworth into believing he accidentally killed his father, and frame Edgeworth for murder.
    • Kristoph Gavin is a non-corruptor variant to Apollo Justice. By all accounts he was a good mentor and genuinely taught Apollo to be a conscientious and ethical attorney... which backfired when Apollo took the case for a murder that Kristoph actually committed, and manages to connect the dots with help from Phoenix and formally indict his mentor for it.
  • Psycholonials: The narrator/Riotus/The Successor (all aspects of the same cosmic eldrich being) appears to Z in dreams, giving her the inspiration to write the Jubilite Manifest (the handbook of Monster Clown revolution) and urging her to commit greater acts of violence so that she may spread their gospel and attain cosmic power and immortality.
  • Bernkastel from Umineko: When They Cry serves as a meta example to the player as much of her words are actually useful ways to think of the mystery. She's essentially a MUCH more malicious version of Kreia above. Also a rare non-corruptor example; she's an asshole to be certain, but her pointers are genuine.

    Web Animation 

  • Angel Moxie: Tsutsumu, one of the demon lords, takes the girls in after they have a falling out with Miya. They turn around and defeat him with the skills and professionalism they've learned.
  • Homestuck: Doc Scratch, the host of "a very evil man", considers himself to be a mentor (or "mentor's mentor's mentor") to several characters, some who stay good and some he turned evil.
    • Aggressive, greedy Meenah, a teenage alternate-universe version of The Troll Empress, wants to be a friend and mentor to her Lighter and Softer tween clone/ancestor/descendant Feferi but can't due to a genetic compulsion to kill her over the throne (never mind that by the time they meet they're both dead and their planet/galactic empire/universe no longer exists) and declares "maybe some day ill find an heiress who my genes dont instinctively make me wanna murder on sight then i can teach her the badass ways of being a boss n shit!"
    • In the "present", human girl Jane Crocker is heir to the Betty Crocker baked goods empire, unaware that "Betty" is the Troll Empress.
    • Though the "evil" label threatens a whole can of worms, Vriska mentored John over the course of Act 5-2 in all her Morally Ambiguous glory, and like many other examples started to achieve some measure of redemption via this association, while still committing some of her most heinous crimes ( murdering Tavros, facilitating Jack's ascension, and almost allowing Jack to slaughter the Trolls) in this time span.
  • Incubus from Kill Six Billion Demons. Even though he is one of the seven Demiurges, he willingly helps Allison, the one prophesized to annihilate them all, at unlocking her potential. His motivation seems to be that he wants Allison to start a big war to shake up Creation and doesn't care if he ends up in the corpse pile as long as the other six do too, and he is certainly putting a lot of his own world-view into his lessons. Allison is mostly forced to put up with his lessons because there is no-one else who can teach her how to use her Key.
  • Amical from morphE. Though this is more due to Amical's Blue-and-Orange Morality than having malevolent designs — not that that's any consolation to his victims.
  • Miranda West in The Wotch may qualify for this, given that she's keeping some very big secret from protagonist Anne and that she's willing to destroy the lives of a few people in order to make sure nobody interferes.
  • El Ciervo in The Hazards of Love takes in the protagonist as a servant and seems to be best described as a mentor/antagonist figure.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara meets Hama, a waterbender from their South Pole tribe, who uses her waterbending to take control of other peoples' bodies by "bending" the water inside their blood, and uses this power on innocent people in the Fire Nation town where she lives in revenge for her tribe being imprisoned by the Fire Nation. Katara is horrified and refuses to learn, but in the end must resort to using it on the Evil Mentor in order to save Sokka and Aang. Before being sent away, Hama "congratulates" her for using it and laughs. Katara was understandably upset, feeling that the technique can only be used for evil. She does end up using bloodbending again in the middle of a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for her dead mother, indirectly showing how close she is to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope thanks to Hama.
  • The Awesomes: Dr. Turfenpeltz taught Prock to believe in himself and his intellect, but then went bad and built a giant robot suit to copy the Awesome's superpowers, including Prock's ability to freeze time in 10-second increments. Prock eventually uses this against him by neglecting to mention doing so hurts after the 10 seconds are up.
  • Code Lyoko: Franz Hopper's diary accidentally becomes an evil data disk for Jérémie when he tries a technique... that almost kills him.
  • This is exactly what Big Bad Vlad Masters wants to accomplish with Danny in Danny Phantom. While Danny does pick up a few techniques and tactics from watching Vlad, he staunchly refuses to work with him. At most, Vlad only mildly succeeds in causing Danny to go through a dark arc later on, which the teen eventually got over.
    • Ironically, the only time Danny actually accepted Vlad's guidance was during a Bad Future, at which point both of them were no longer interested in their usual goals.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy Eddy's Brother was this to Eddy. Besides being a cruel bully, he seems to have been the one who fostered Eddy's bad attitude and conman mentality.
    • Eddy to Jimmy in "Ed in a Halfshell". Eddy tries to make Jimmy a scammer like himself.
  • The Archmage was this to Demona on Gargoyles.
  • During one episode of Kim Possible, Shego became the Evil Mentor for Señor Senior, Jr. It worked very well, he transformed from Minion with an F in Evil to Worthy Opponent, until he was defeated by a Deus ex Machina, and his newly found evil skillz were never mentioned ever again.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra herself is instructed briefly by her uncle Unalaq, who gives her some spiritual training and, like with Hama and Katara, a new waterbending technique, that infuses water with light. This bites him severely in the ass at the season finale when Korra uses this very same technique to purify Unavaatu. Later on, she is forced to go to Zaheer for help against the Season 4 Big Bad Kuvira, who plays with this trope; he is evil, and he is a mentor, but his advice in this situation is purely beneficial to Korra.
    • Bolin had three of these. The first two are Shady Shin and Varrick, neither of whom manage to do anything to corrupt him other than causing him to stretch his morals with less-than-legal tools of the trade. He also becomes one of Kuvira's lieutenants in the fourth book and unwittingly does a lot of morally grey enforcement in her campaign to reunite the Earth Kingdom. Eventually, he cottons on and helps overthrow her.
  • Marathon loves this one. Diana Lombard had an evil mentor in Martin Mystery which ended up with her turned into a lizard-esque creature, and a minor character became "Admiral Admirable" with the help of one in Totally Spies!.
  • Alpha in Men in Black: The Series is this to K. Alpha was K's mentor before he goes rogue and betrays the Men in Black organization. K himself says (in a flashback) "I reject everything you thought me".
  • In the final season The Secret Saturdays, V.V. Argost offers to teach Zak how to control his Kur powers. Being Argost, he admits to Zak right at the start that he intends to kill him in the end and take his Kur powers for himself. And Zak still accepts...
  • Cedric from Sofia the First, who takes Sofia under his wing as part of a scheme to take over the kingdom, though he's also an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who just wants to prove his worth.
  • Malchior in Teen Titans (2003):
    Raven: It's dark magic! You've been teaching me dark magic!
    Malchior: Is it dark, or is it simply misunderstood... like you?
    • Ironically, she ends up beating him with the same dark magic he taught her.
    • Slade and Brother Blood, too, at various points. Blood does this for a living.
  • Psycho for Hire Lockdown plays this for Prowl in one episode of Transformers: Animated.
  • In Transformers: Prime (and its prequel book, Transformers: Exodus), Megatron was this to Optimus Prime back when they were Megatronus and Orion Pax. Megatron eagerly resumes this role once Optimus loses his memory of ever being a Prime. Played with a bit in that it wasn't really until Orion Pax really started to become The Hero that Megatronus started to become jealous enough to start becoming the Big Bad; the situation is almost an inverse of A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil.
  • The Venture Bros.: The episode "The Doctor is Sin" has an Evil Mentor who is an interesting inversion of the Stealth Mentor. Dr. Henry Killinger acts as a life coach to Dr. Venture, revitalizing his company, his life, and his soul. Mystic Dr. Orpheus is convinced from the start that he is pure evil, but no one else is too worried, and all of Killinger's advice is effective. Dr. Venture realizes with a shock only at the very end that Killinger has been grooming him to be a supervillain, archrival of his own brother. He decides not to go through with it, and Killinger leaves graciously.
    Dr. Venture: He thinks I'm a... Brock, am I a... bad person?
    Brock: What the hell just happened?
    Dr. Venture: Am I, Brock?!
    Brock: Ehhh...
  • Chase Young of Xiaolin Showdown repeatedly tries to recruit Omi as his apprentice and he succeeds. For a while, at least.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Training With The Villain


Darth Nihilus, Lord of Hunger

Visas Marr tells her master, Darth Nihilus, about a disturbance in the Force. Darth Nihilus is a being with the ability to consume the Force itself. It makes him an embodiment of the Dark Side, but it leaves him with a constant, unending hunger to feed on the Force. This has turned Nihilus into something that is more presence than flesh. And Visas is forced to serve as his pawn.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilMentor

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