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A character that is thought to be one of the bad guys turns out to have always been on the side of good.

The Hero has had a rough encounter with the Big Bad's mooks. It looks like our hero's done for, but wait! Why is The Dragon suddenly saving the hero? Did he just kick the villain away from pressing the button that'll allow him to Take Over the World? Wasn't he helping the villain out? Wasn't he a bad guy? Well, apparently not. It turns out, this guy was a good guy the whole time. We just didn't know it.


This trope occurs whenever a character seems to be a bad guy, but is later revealed to have been secretly good the entire time, but for whatever reason, the audience was unaware of this fact. This is similar to Heel–Face Turn, with the difference being that this character was never truly a bad guy to begin with.

Compare Reverse Mole, Stealth Mentor and Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold. Contrast Evil All Along. This trope should not be confused with Not Always Evil, which used to be called Good All Along. Not Always Evil is when mooks or a race thought to be Always Chaotic Evil turn out to have a few good apples or were never truly bad to begin with. The biggest difference between these tropes is that Good All Along applies to characters, while Always Chaotic Evil applies to entire races. Not to be confused with a Heel–Face Turn, in which the previously evil character decides to become good - here, the character was pretending to be evil but was, as the name implies, good all along.


Expect to see spoilers ahead.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Magic Knight Rayearth's first Big Bad Zagato, who has kidnapped the princess and is destroying the world? Turns out the princess kidnapped herself so she could try to stop loving Zagato, and the destruction that's going on is the result of her inner turmoil. This is more of a case of "not wholly evil" than "good," however.. He may have been motivated by love and disgust for the corrupt system his world ran on, but he still did some things that are hard to describe as anything but evil, including trying to kill the Magic Knights (who are the only true innocents in the entire story and likely would have at least been sympathetic if he even tried to explain things), manipulating and lying to Ascot so he would be a loyal minion, allowing Alcyone to die from her battle wounds for her failures in the manga, etc.
  • Dr. Franken von Vogler in Giant Robo. Made out to be a mad scientist responsible for a giant catastrophe 10 years ago by ignoring all risks and his fellow scientists in the experiment with the Shizuma Drive, it eventually turns out that he was the only one who opposed the project and the seemingly "good professor" was among the people who wanted to go through with it. All 5 of the inventors survived, but Vogler was believed to be dead, so the remaining 4 decided to cover the whole incident in lies and put all the blame on Vogler. Really no wonder why the Big Bad wants revenge.
  • Laxus Dreyar in Fairy Tail. His attempt to take over the guild is nothing more than a teenage temper tantrum fueled by fear that he wasn't getting the proper credit for his accomplishments, always being compared to his grandfather (who is also the guildmaster). He tries to kill everyone in Magnolia Town with Fairy Law, a spell designed to target those the caster sees as enemies, and it doesn't hit a single person.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has an exceptionally sad example with Homura Akemi. It turns out she's a time traveler who knows all about Kyubey's ulterior motives for empowering teenage girls, and her sole reason for living is to try to keep Madoka safe. Unfortunately, circumstances conspire to make this a seemingly impossible task, no matter how many times Homura goes back to try to fix things. Her stoic (and at times, callous) demeanor hides the fact that she's rapidly approaching her Despair Event Horizon after watching her best friend die (or worse) dozens of times. Also, the fact that she doesn't instantly explain all of this to the heroes is explained by her having tried such methods in previous timelines, and they didn't work.
  • In Bleach, Ichigo's Superpowered Evil Side turned out to not be evil at all, merely overprotective. It turns out the "Inner Hollow" was Ichigo's true Zanpakuto spirit all along, one that was formed with the remnants of a Hollow as its base. The "Inner Hollow" only ever wanted to make Ichigo stronger and keep him safe.
    • "Good" might be a stretch, but it turns out that Gin Ichimaru was plotting to take down Sousuke Aizen since his own childhood, becoming Aizen's right-hand man just to ensure he'd be in position when the time came to strike.
  • Kill la Kill gives us Satsuki Kiryuin, who was introduced as a dictator who antagonized Ryuko at every turn. Everything she did was just to make Ryuko stronger and more prepared for what was to come. And to shape all of the Honnouji Academy students into a Badass Army that could take down the real villains.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Saiga Furinji, previously touted as a major antagonist in the story, is revealed near the end of the manga to have been this, or at least Yami's greatest Token Good Teammate, especially considering the revelation that his wife's/Miu's mother's murder, which he'd previously been thought to be responsible for, was in fact carried out by an Evil Former Friend disguised as him.
  • In The Circumstances Leading to Waltraute's Marriage, it turns out Loki's shady activities were his attempts to prevent Ragnarok, not start it.
  • The Shitennou in Sailor Moon Crystal. All of them were Brainwashed and Crazy, but they were freed from it by the Sailor Soldiers. Unfortunately, they had a nasty price to pay for it, as they soon learn courtesy of an energy wave.
  • The Book of Darkness from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's was not only good all along but was actually the biggest victim in the entire season, possibly the entire franchise. All the problems they end up causing were because of bad programming rather than malice.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, antagonists Eto/The One-Eyed Owl and Kishou Arima both turn out to be good, if a bit extreme in their methods. While seemingly legendary rivals, they were actually working together to bring down the Government Conspiracy V and end the conflict between humans and ghouls through grooming Kaneki to become a Hope Bringer. Both end up sacrificing themselves to save Kaneki, and set him on the path to bring about their revolution. Though this applies moreso to Arima, as Eto seems to care more about vengeance against her father and V than bringing peace.
  • Early chapters of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood suggest the Elrics' father, Van Hohenheim, will turn out to be an Archnemesis Dad, only for his apparent evil actions to be the result of an Evil Twin.
  • At the start of Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Domon thinks his older brother Kyoji went Drunk with Power, stole the Devil Gundam, and killed their mother while escaping to Earth, with their father being put into cryo-prison as punishment for creating the Gundam in the first place. Later on in the series it's revealed that this is all a lie: the Japanese military tried to steal the Devil Gundam and killed Mrs. Kasshu in the process, Kyoji jumped into the cockpit to keep it out of their hands, but when it crash-landed on Earth its programming went haywire and it turned him into a Living Battery. Kyoji's last action before he completely lost control was to create a copy of himself (using the body of murdered German Gundam pilot Schwarz Bruder as the template) in order to watch over his little brother. Tragically, Domon finds this out all at once, as "Schwarz" and the imprisoned Kyoji beg him to kill them both in order to shut down the Devil Gundam.
    • This also turns out to be the case for the Devil Gundam itself. Dr. Kasshu and Kyoji originally created it as the Ultimate Gundam, with Nanomachines designed to help restore the Earth's environment after damage caused by pollution and the Gundam Fight using the planet as the ring for generations. Unfortunately, when Kyoji crash-landed it on Earth, its damaged programming decided that the best way to save Earth was by Killing All Humans.

    Comic Books 
  • I Kill Giants has the Titan. Initially believed to be the most powerful and most evil of giants, it turns out that the Titan is a being of near pure benevolence that only wants to help the main character deal with the trauma of her mother's impending death.
  • In the New 52 Donna Troy is a cruel heartless being created by Amazons opposed to Wonder Woman's choice to allow the sons of the Amazons to live on the island and is seen leading Amazons to slaughter the men in question. DC Rebirth has revealed Donna does have a past as Wonder Girl and was not created as a blank shell and that her mind was tampered with with like Diana's. Also with the reveal in Wonder Woman (Rebirth) that the New 52 Amazons were fakes, it's implied by association that the Amazon men were similarly not real.

    Fan Works 
  • Clash of the Elements: Gemini discusses this trope with Mallow in Part 2, more specifically referring to Domino when he does so.
  • Avalon: The Angels ending up not having had the destruction of mankind as their goal, nor would accomplishing their goal have that as a biproduct. Jay, Kay and Shin also are revealed that be this, as their actions against NERV caused the needless war to come to an end sooner, with less lose of life and property in an attempt to prevent their Bad Future.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has a rather ambiguous example: the final story has two distinct plots, one involving Slender Man and the other concerning the return of Thunderstorm and Shadow. The climax involves the Slender Man causing the latter two to disappear (it's never stated as to whether they were killed, but the final line of that chapter shows him waving to the heroes as they leave, his mission complete.
  • Dean of the X-Trio in Pokéumans revealed himself to be one of Mew's agents, having worked his way into the heart of the Pokextintion organisation. It's a shame he had to do all sorts of terrible things to get there though.
  • Maylu's Revenge: Empress Roll.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Rise of the Tau, the Orks turn out to be this. Gork and Mork (who are both Old Ones) were forced to turn them into insane savages to ensure their survival after the War in Heaven. They end up becoming valuable allies for the Imperium against the Tau. Also, Magnus the Red, who kept a part of himself untouched by Chaos so when the Emperor ascended, he was able to purify Magnus of the corruption and allow him to reunite the Primarchs for the final battle against the Tau and the C'tan.
  • In the Pokéumans universe, one of Mr. X's dragons turns out to be an undercover Pokeuman agent. Who has had to do horrible, horrible things to innocent people and children to gain his trust, but can eventually tell the heroes crucial things about X's plan as a result.
  • The Bridge: It turns out, Xenilla was never out to destroy Earth. He was simply organizing all the kaiju who did into a single force that could more easily dealt with (rather than multiple independent threats), and testing his brother Godzilla Junior in order to make him stronger. When this is all eventually exposed following their arrival in Equestria, he drops the act.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Chipmunk Adventure, we're led to believe that Jamal is a rival crime boss to the two diamond smugglers Claudia and Klaus, but it turns out that he's actually an inspector for Interpol, and his 'henchmen' are agents working for him.
  • In Toy Story, Woody and Buzz believed Sid's mutated toys to be cannibals until they reattach Buzz's arm and put the heads of Sid's pterodactyl figure and his sister's dolly back into their correct bodies.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Hocus Pocus, Winifred raises her former lover Billy (who she had murdered long ago) from the dead as a zombie, and orders him to chase the protagonists. Billy spends most of the film doing so, unable to talk because his mouth is sewn shut. When he finally cuts the stitches holding his mouth shut and manages to speak, he curses Winifred and starts helping the heroes, which was apparently what he intended to do from the start.
  • In Paul, Agent Zoil seems like a ruthless Man in Black, but turns out to be on the side of the titular Alien.
  • For a good portion of Deadpool 2 the Big Bad appears to be Cable, but right before the third act Cable reveals he's only trying to prevent a Bad Future where his family was murdered by the child he has been targeting.
  • In D3: The Mighty Ducks, new coach Ted Orion rejects the Ducks' view of having fun, changes them from the Ducks to the freshman Warriors, strips Charlie Conway of his rank as team captain, and even goes as far as saying "The Ducks are dead!" The truth is he was trying to teach them "two-way hockey," master the art of defense, and mature their hockey playing. Only then would he give back their Duck jerseys. Charlie, combined with adolescence pains and resentment for Bombay "abandoning" them, misunderstood greatly and alienated himself from his friends. Then, Bombay revealed that Orion was on their side all along and that he told Orion how great Charlie really was. Orion proved all this when he accepted Charlie's return, and refused to let the Eden Hall Academy board withdraw their scholarships for poor performance, threatening to resign if they are expelled. Good thing Bombay was there to help. And not only did Orion return the team the Duck jerseys, but he also reinstated Charlie as team captain in the J.V.-Varsity Showdown.
  • The twist of The Rock is that Hummel never intended to actually launch the gas into San Francisco and it was all a big bluff to force the Pentagon to pay money for the families of dead Marines. Sadly, Hummel realizes too late that many of his underlings were in this for the money and it causes a mutiny.
  • In The Hateful 8, former southern marauder Chris Mannix tries to convince his fellow lodgers he's the new sheriff in a local town, but is unable to prove it. As it turns out, he's one of the few characters on the side of the law, and one of the few completely honest about their past.
  • Scary Movie 3: The aliens are in fact the good guys. They accidentally saw the tape from The Ring, and want to stop it from causing the deaths.
  • Toward the end of The Wailing, Il-gwang calls Jong-goo to tell him that he made a terrible mistake when identifying the source of the evil in Goksung: the japanese stranger is not an evil spirit, but a shaman like Il-gwang who desperately tried to stop the woman in white, Moo-Myeong, who was the evil one. Il-gwang is lying; the Japanese man really is bad and so is he.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the most famous examples of this trope in all film, to It Was His Sled territory. Ahnold's futuristic killing machine is trailing child delinquent and would-be Rebel Leader John Connor seemingly to kill him, along with a shapeshifting killing machine made of liquid metal. When John is caught in a corridor between the two, the T-800 levels its shotgun at John and exclaims "Get down!" before headshotting the other Terminator, then shielding John with its body when it retaliates.
  • In the end of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Wonka tells Charlie that Slugworth does not exist and he is really Mr. Wilkinson, An employe who works with Wonka.
    Charlie: It's Slugworth!!!
    Wonka: (chuckles) NO! NO! NO! That's not Slugworth, he works for me!

  • In the Eternal Champion series, Ekrose (an incarnation of Elric) goes to war against the Eldren. He finds this trope applies to them, is torn by his loyalties but in the end kills the entire human race when they won't retreat.
  • Aleister Crowley in R.A. Wilson's The Masks of Illuminati. He is made out to be the Big Bad of the novel, but all his crimes happen off-screen, and it turns out they didn't happen at all; either him in disguise, or his lackeys simply lied to the protagonist about them. His aim is to illuminate the protagonist by blowing his mind, as well as a benevolent equivalent of For the Evulz-thinking.
  • Harry Potter series:
    • Sirius Black for the majority of the third book is thought to be Voldemort's most loyal servant, the one who betrayed Harry's parents and ready to avenge his master. It turns out that in fact, he's completely innocent, the one who betrayed James and Lily is their other friend Peter Pettigrew aka Scabbers.
    • Severus Snape is revealed to be good all along (albeit an Anti-Hero and still a major-league douchebag) twice. Turns out everything he did in the books, he did while working for Dumbledore and following his orders, which includes killing Dumbledore, and all in the name of his unrequited love for Harry's mother, Lily, and the guilt he feels over his role in her death.
  • When she is introduced in the ninth Haruhi Suzumiya novel, Sasaki is set up to appear as the title character's Evil Counterpart. However, it turns out that she really had no idea what was actually going on, and had no idea that her new friends were the real villains, and when the Masquerade gets broken for her, Sasaki secretly allies with Kyon to oppose those who wish to cause Haruhi harm.
  • Jeremiah Paulson from the Dale Brown book A Time for Patriots seemed to be the leader of a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group. Eventually, it turns out that he wasn't responsible.
  • Mab is one of the most terrifying entities in the Fantasy Kitchen Sink world of The Dresden Files, never failing to freak Harry out whenever she appears. Sometime around the seventh book, the heroes start to suspect she may have gone off the deep end. They are, understandably, very nervous about this, as she's a Nigh Invulnerable Physical God who the author confirms could Curb Stomp the entire White Council. Come Cold Days, however, and it's revealed that she protects our entire reality from being destroyed by Outsiders. She's still an extremely scary being, however. Also, it turns out that she's not Brainwashed and Crazy- Maeve is.
  • Thrawn and his Empire from the The Thrawn Trilogy were the antagonists that the heroes had to deal with in the first EU novels. The book Outbound Flight reveals that Thrawn was uniting the galaxy through an Imperial conquest to build up a strong enough galaxy in order to repel the extragalactic invading aliens known as the Yuuzhan Vong.
  • Abe Mazur from Vampire Academy has the reputation of a gangster and is good at intimidating people. But his role in the series is not that of a mean mob boss. Just a concerned father to Rose. He is looking out for her best interests.
  • The Young Bond novel Strike Lightning has the character of Hepworth Maximilian Blade, a wealthy industrialist whose company produces weapons, and true to the literary Bond fashion, is a misshapen invidual due to suffering from Stone Man syndrome. He is producing combat exo-suits for Nazis, and is involved in a coverup of the death of a schoolmate of Bond's. But when the action in the book moves to Germany, he reveals himself to be a double agent for England, who is trying to pinpoint Nazi Germany's secret weapon labs through the secret weapons he is dealing to them.
  • In Worm, it is discovered that the Protectorate, and the Triumvirate, are being backed by the Nebulous Evil Organization Cauldron and its mysterious leaders. However, it turns out that Cauldron, and its nefarious deeds, like creating the mutated Case 53s and wiping their memories is actually the ones working to stop Scion from causing The End of the World as We Know It, and are just Well Intentioned Extremists who want to avoid a public panic, and possible the collapse of civiliation
  • I Favor The Villainess has a very sympathetic view towards the oppressed and poverty-striken lower class of its Medieval European Fantasy setting, and has spent no shortage of lines showing Dor François's contempt, lack of care, and outright disgust with them. By the end, it's revealed that he's been secretly helping the commoner revolution for all this time, and also wants an end to the oppressive aristocracy he's a part of.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "A Hen in the Wolfhouse", Simmons's cover at HYDRA is under threat from their security team, led by Bobbi Morse. When her cover is completely blown, Morse takes out the rest of the security team and tells Simmons that Coulson has arranged their extraction.
    • After getting close — very close — to Rosalind Price, the head of the newly formed Advanced Threat Containment Unit, which has been capturing Inhumans and keeping them in storage until a "cure" can be found, Coulson reveals to her that he already knows that her organization is overseen by HYDRA. He is correct — but Rosalind herself was completely unaware and, once she convinces Coulson of her innocence, is willing to work with him to bring it down.
  • In Charlie Jade, the dangerous and probably sociopathic 01 Boxer is revealed to be this. Despite being a perfect example of Good Is Not Nice, in the end it turns out that every truly evil act he was blamed for was either committed by someone else or an attempt to oppose the true villains without revealing his hand. Despite this, in his home universe he is at best an Anti-Hero, and in another universe where he changes to be a better person he reveals to his wife that he is tortured by what a bad person he is in his home universe.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End", Dalek Caan was a villain in his last appearance, but took an unprotected jaunt through the Time Vortex and both came to a Heel Realization and lost his mind, deciding to destroy the Daleks. He claims, however, that the good guys would still have won without his help.
  • iZombie: Season 2 introduces Liv's new Love Interest Drake, a shady man who is working under a kingpin of the drug dealing in Seattle. It turns out that he was actually an undercover cop infiltrating on the operation to acquire intel for a case against said kingpin, Liv however only finds it out by the time he has already been kidnapped by Major and sees on his mother's photo album that he was a cop.
  • Takatora Kureshima/Kamen Rider Zangetsu in Kamen Rider Gaim initially seems to be the Big Bad, particularly how he tries to play Hope Crusher for Kouta. However, it's gradually revealed that Takatora has been lied to by his inner circle and thinks that only 1/7th of the world's population, at best, can be saved from the Forest of Helheim's invasion, which he views as unfortunate but better than the alternative. When Kouta reveals that there's an intelligent species with control over Helheim's flora (yet another thing his inner circle hid from him), Takatora gladly joins forces with him in the hopes that they can convince these Overlords to call off the invasion; sadly, at this point the inner circle (plus Takatora's own brother) decides he's outlived his usefulness
  • Marchlands spends four episodes playing on classic expectations of a poltergeist, but the final episode reveals that the ghost never actually tries to harm anyone—she is only trying to expose the mysterious circumstances of her death, and on one occasion she even saves an epileptic boy from drowning in a bathtub. This is made even clearer at the end, when even the resident Agent Scully, Amy's mother, admits, "I think Alice was really a good girl all along."
  • In Oliver's Travels, when Oliver finally learns the fate of the friend whose disappearance started him on the trail of the conspiracy, he also learns that the villain's Enigmatic Minion, Baxter, is his friend's son and has been working to bring the conspiracy down from the inside.
  • In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Something About Harry", a teenager suspects that his mom's new tenant is an alien infiltrator when people start disappearing around town, whom the tenant is melting into green goo with a futuristic gun. The tenant was actually a U.S. government agent, and everyone he killed was one of the real aliens. The teenager's mother is the one who had really been replaced by the alien parasites.
  • Played for laughs in the first episode of Sherlock. John is summoned (read: kidnapped) by an ominous, well-connected man who offers him money for updates on Sherlock's movements. "I worry about him constantly...we have what you might call a "difficult relationship." Later, Sherlock refers to him as his "arch-enemy." John assumes he's a criminal mastermind, and the viewer could be forgiven for thinking he's Moriarty. It turns out he's just Sherlock's equally-strange older brother.
  • A character on Supergirl is traditionally a villain in the comics, but is revealed to be this on the television show. This is because the character, Hank Henshaw, is actually a disguised J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who is a hero in the comics.
    • Lena Luthor is initially introduced as a possible new villain, and the first half of Season 2 is spent asking "is she or isn't she?". By the second half of Season 2 it's firmly established that she was indeed not only good all along, but is well on the way to becoming Kara's best friend.
  • Supernatural: In "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19), the warden of the prison turns out to be John Winchester's friend and helps Sam and Dean escape.
  • In Switched, it's revealed near the end of the first season that Koshiro has been pretending to support Umine the whole time. He felt incredibly guilty and responsible for the body switching, since Umine explained that she did it to be his girlfriend, so he played along until he could enact his plan. The structure of the story, and whose perspective the audience is shown, hides this until the last minute.
  • Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp: The Falcon, President Reagan's personal assassin, was apparently this. As soon as it's revealed, however, Beth points out that it makes no sense at all, since The Falcon had repeatedly tried to kill her and had successfully killed two of her friends along with several others. The Falcon says that he'd like to explain but there's somewhere he really has to be.

  • Diamond Jack is about a thief who, while disguised as a waiter working at a fancy lounge, steals a diamond and flees from the authorities on rollerskates. Near the end of the short, it's revealed that the diamond is fake, and is in fact hiding a bomb. The reason the thief stole it was so she could safely dispose of it. She still gets arrested though.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Played with in Dino Attack RPG. It comes as no surprise that Frank Einstein is a good guy. However, the surprise was when the villainous Wallace Bishop turned out to be Frank Einstein in disguise.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: In the sequel, you have Justine Courtney, a cold woman and Sebastian's Hypercompetent Sidekick who is far more troublesome and her testimonies are far more difficult than his. Case 4 shows that she was intending to see if Edgeworth was a fitting prosecutor to fight against the corruption of the law system with her, and when he is put under the spotlight, she helps him out by pointing out that the real culprit would be the Chief prosecutor, and spends the rest of the game helping him out in the investigations.
  • Corruption of Laetitia: Downplayed because the Arch-Demons sometimes suggest morally gray actions to Celeste. They were once Arch-Angels who took the vessels of sin into themselves in order to save humanity. While these sins tend to influence their psyche negatively, the Arch-Demons are still responsible for containing the souls of the damned in the Abyss so that they don't overrun the mortal world. At the start of the game, Celeste doesn't know that and instead sees them as threats.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode, King Dedede spends most of the story trying to take fighters that have been turned into trophies. Then after everybody except the three that he did manage to get face down Tabuu and get trophified, the badges he placed on two of the three turn them back to normal...the third one ironically was swallowed by his archenemy after falling off the princess you chose to save.
    • Of course, the fact that a major cutscene revealing why he did this (in which he's present while Meta Knight's ship gets stolen) got removed in the final cut does complicate this. With that said, Dedede acting like a dick for no reason would still be quite in character for him.
    • The Ancient Minister also turns out to have been blackmailed by Ganondorf. Once Ganondorf controls the other R.O.B.s into doing his bidding, he fights back with the heroes.
  • In the Kirby series of video games, King Dedede's almost always portrayed as the Big Bad in the beginning of a given game, but usually turns out to be either this or just an innocent jerk. The most blatant case is probably Kirby's Adventure/Nightmare in Dream Land, where he breaks up the Star Rod and prevents everyone in Dream Land from dreaming. It turns out he was just trying to stop Nightmare infesting the Fountain of Dreams from wreaking havoc.
    • Landia in Kirby's Return to Dream Land. Though Magolor claims that he's threatening Halcandra, in reality, he's the planet's guardian and lives to prevent his treasures from falling into the wrong hands; the Lor Starcutter and Master Crown being two of them. After Kirby and friends beat him up as a result of the misinformation, he immediately aids them in stopping Magolor once his true intentions come to light.
    • Shadow Kirby from Kirby & the Amazing Mirror. Despite being dark grey in color and trying to fend off Kirby, he is actually the protector of the Mirror World, much like Kirby to Dream Land. Shadow Kirby even brings out Meta Knight's Master sword periodically during the final fight against Dark Mind.
  • Angela Cross, the true identity of the Masked Thief in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. Angela has been working against Megacorp to prevent the release of the Protopet, as it is a violent carnivorous creature that also repeatedly reproduces offspring at the drop of a hat, and if it got out could very well threaten everything in the galaxy.
  • Depending on what ending the player gets, Anne of Silent Hill: Downpour was in the right all along. In all but the best ending, Murphy killed her father as part of a prison deal, and in the worst ending, he also killed his own son, making his reasons for revenge entirely moot.
  • Cynder, the Big Bad of the first game in The Legend of Spyro trilogy turned out to be Brainwashed and Crazy. After Spyro defeated her, she returned to her normal self and eventually fell in love with Spyro.
  • The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Even before The Reveal that she's a Fake Defector, it's made quite clear that she's a good woman.
  • Grovyle in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers is initially presented as a villain who's trying to throw off the world's balance by swiping the Time Gears. However, it turns out that he's actually trying to save the world, as any ill effects caused by the removal of the gears are temporary, and they're needed to stop what's really going to doom the world. If only he had bothered trying to explain this before you get captured by the real villain along with him...
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity has Hydreigon, who looks pure evil, is seen attacking Munna in the opening, and is later stated to be the cause of the world's impending destruction. However, everything but his appearance turns out to be a lie, and he's actually the one who called the player into the Pokemon world to act as its savior. He proves to be one of the kindest and most heroic characters in the series and a shining example of Dark Is Not Evil.
  • In Super Robot Wars UX Arnie and Saya get to have a conversation with Jin and Ayul where Arnie fully realizes that Jin truly has no ill intent. Jin just really, really wants to stop the apocalypse from coming about and will do anything to defeat you to make that happen.
  • Applies to an entire species: the Geth, as of Mass Effect 2. Turns out the ones you've been fighting are a sort of rebel faction who worship the Reapers. Normal Geth refer to these as "Heretic" Geth, you learn this after meeting one. More a case of True Neutral All Along: Most of their species have no beef with anyone else in the galaxy and just want to be left alone.
  • Tears to Tiara 2 has the Recurring Boss Izebel. Played up as traitor and Deceptive Disciple she has in fact the entire time been subtly helping La Résistance behind the scenes. Her fight with Hamil were to both train him and test his abilities to make sure he's good enough to take on The Empire. And the entire thing, including her "betrayal" was ordered by the superior whom she supposedly betrayed before he took his own life.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's 2: As it turns out, the animatronics fall into this trope. During the mini games, you can see that Freddy attempts to rescue some kids from the real murderer, but fails. As for the other animatronics, they just seem like they want to entertain the children.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's 3 reveals that the classic animatronics—Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, and Foxy—as well as the Puppet were Good. They were trying to find and stop the homicidal Purple Man. Because their spirits were that of children, they couldn't identify him properly or tell him apart from other adults. They were using the only context clue they had: a security guard's uniform. Turns out that the Puppet is the Big Good! He's the one who revived the five murdered children as the suits so they could find their killer, even though he is heavily implied to be a dead child himself.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue: Despite apparently working for the Big Bad Ghaleon eventually reveals himself to be this. This is especially surprising because Ghaleon was the Big Bad of the first game; everything that he does in the second game is a secret effort to atone for his previous actions.
  • The primary antagonist of Mega Man 4 (NES) is Dr. Cossack, a Russian scientist who sent eight of his robots to attack Mega Man to prove his genius. Except that he was being blackmailed by Dr. Wily into doing his work for him, and never had evil ambitions of his own. In the following game, where Dr. Light is kidnapped, Cossack serves as an ally in his place.
  • The villains of Golden Sun, Saturos and Menardi, turn out to not only be fighting to save the world, but have only resorted to brute force because not only did the elders of Vale refuse to listen to their warnings about the imminent apocalypse, but their hometown is the first place on the apocalypse's chopping block. They're still grade-A Jerk Asses who get their fair share of Kick the Dog moments, but at least their hearts are in the right place. Alex, not so much by a long shot.
  • In Until Dawn, the Flamethrower Guy is initially assumed to be the Serial Killer hunting the teens, but is eventually revealed to be a separate entity that only wanted to protect the kids from the wendigos. In addition, the "Serial Killer" downplays this: he is just one of the kids trying to teach the others a lesson and was completely unaware anyone was in any danger, to the point the Dr. Hill we meet is said kid's conscience, but he is also mentally unstable and perfectly willing to traumatize the others to exact his revenge on them.
  • Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea reveals that Daisy Fitzroy was all along an agent of the Lucete Twins, and her Moral Event Horizon crossing and subsequent death at Elizabeth's hands were all part of the plan to harden Elizabeth and turn her into the woman who would in the future bring down Comstock and the Founders.
  • Kratos Aurion of Tales of Symphonia appears to betray the group. It turns out he has been helping them all along.
  • The supposed Big Bad of One Way Heroics is played up to be a generic world-destroying Demon Lord who needs to be killed to stop the encroaching wall of darkness. If you use a Buddy Tablet on her, she'll reveal that she didn't cause the darkness and that her death is part of a ritual to temporarily stop the apocalypse.
  • Guilty Gear: Xrd: -Revelator- reveals that That Man doesn't actually want world domination; he just wants people to be free from the Universal Will. And that he did have well-intentioned reasons for turning Sol into a Gear: Aria would have rather died of her terminal illness while being with Frederick than going into cryogenic slumber while a cure was found over an untold number of years, so he made them both Gears so they could enjoy immortality together. He fully admits that he caused Aria/Justice's death and he deserves Sol's hatred, and even though the two have finally made peace, he still accepts Sol's request for a final showdown.
  • Pink Panther: Hokus Pokus Pink: The warlock Strangeblood, who is believed by everyone to be an Evil Wizard, is actually a good guy. Not only does he secretly help Pink by reattaching shark fins and draining the Dead Sea so an ostrich can reunite with his flock, but he also removes Echidna from Violet's body and takes Nathan in as an apprentice.
  • Edgar from the King's Quest series. A fairy prince with a distressing tendency to get kidnapped and transmogrified, we first see him as the ugly, green, hunchbacked "son" of wicked fairy Lolotte. Granted, he had a massive crush on Rosella, but Rosella certainly couldn't return it under the circumstances, as she thought he was loyal to Lolotte. But when he gives her the key to escape instead of forcing her to marry him, Rosella gets her chance to defeat Lolotte, save Genesta's life, and free Edgar. Genesta transforms Edgar back to his true form as a handsome fairy prince, and the two go their separate ways...until the seventh game, when Edgar's nasty aunt decides to kidnap, brainwash, and transmogrify him again. He kidnaps Rosella, ostensibly to pull a And Now You Must Marry Me, but the more he sees of her, the more confused he becomes, trying to stall and question his aunt's plan, buying time until Rosella and Valanice put a stop to it.
  • David Madsen, the chief of security at Blackwell Academy in Life Is Strange. At first, he appears to be a major Jerkass towards both his family and the students he is supposed to protect, with his surveillance and harassment of one being a factor in them being Driven to Suicide. In later episodes however, he is revealed to be a Hero with an F in Good. He is shown to be genuinely supportive of his family despite his strictness, and is also aware of his flaws as a step-father to Chloe. And he turned out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist when it came to investigating the disappearance of Rachel Amber, and the conclusion he was coming to to was mostly correct. In the final episode, he gets a Big Damn Heroes moment when he saves Max from the Dark Room, a far cry from the animosity between the two in the first episode.
  • New Danganronpa V3:
    • Kokichi Ouma, the Ultimate Supreme Leader and The Rival character of the game. He is a Consummate Liar who claims to find excitement in the killing game, constantly criticizes the other students (especially during class trials), and manipulates Gonta into murdering Miu during Chapter 4, causing the remaining students to distrust him. However, Chapter 5 reveals that he seriously dislikes the killing game, assumed the role of fake mastermind to force the killing game to a halt and allows himself to be murdered by Kaito in an attempt to create an "unsolvable case" that would throw a wrench in Monokuma's machinations and hoped that would end the killing game and release the survivors. When you find his motive video in Chapter 6, you learn that his supposed Nebulous Evil Organization was actually a small group of petty criminals and pranksters who committed "laughable crimes" and had a rule not to kill anybody, which ties into Kokichi's hatred for the killing game and Maki.
    • There is also Rantaro Amami, who was acting very suspiciously and cryptic for the brief amount of time he was alive, reminiscent of Komaeda from Super Danganronpa 2. However, it turns out that he was actually a survivor of a previous killing game trying to end the new one, but was killed by the mastermind as he was investigating a trapped area.
  • In Wario Land 3, every enemy and boss except Mad Scienstein and the final boss, Rudy the Clown. They are actually the citizens of the Music Box world who sealed Rudy away using the Music Boxes sometime before your arrival, but got cursed into monstrous forms just before he was sealed. The reason they attack you is because they fear his revival and didn't think you were strong enough to defeat him, but once he is defeated for good and they are returned to normal, they have no problem letting you keep all the treasure you collected and sending you back to your own world.
  • Happens as an early-game plot twist in Final Fantasy XII. The Action Prologue ends with Decoy Protagonist Reks discovering the king dead and getting murdered by his commanding officer Basch. Then you get to the Nalbina Dungeons, and discover Basch rotting away in a cage; turns out he was beaten up and Forced to Watch as his Evil Twin Gabranth murdered Reks.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, this eventually turns out to be the last revelation about Alexander. Primals are given shape and goals by the wills of those who make them, Alexander was created to be a god that would create a paradise, and had every bit of power to do it. However, after determination it realized that it didn't matter if it wiped out the Garleans, or stopped the other Primals, or even went and killed Bahamut and stopped the Calamity, the amount of aether he drained from the world with every movement would eventually lead to an even worse apocalypse. To that end and to keep his goal, he undermined Quickthinx Allthoughts to establish a Stable Time Loop that would end in him being freed from the Goblin's controller, and proceeds to kill him and lock himself in a bubble that exists outside of time so that he could never be used again, entrusting creating "Paradise" to the player character.
  • Far Cry 2 has the player character being tasked with killing a notorious Arms Dealer called the Jackal, who has been exacerbating a bloody central African civil war. "Good" is a bit of a stretch, but after you learn his real motivation, to help both factions wipe themselves out while assisting in the evacuation of as many civilians as possible, he seems a lot more moral than either of the local warlords, or even your mercenary buddies.

  • In El Goonish Shive, Grace's brothers are of the "coerced/threatened" variety, since they are ruled by the iron fist of their powerful and abusive guardian, Damien. When Hedge kidnaps Elliot, he reveals that he's only doing it because he can't find Grace, and because Damien said he would kill him if he didn't bring someone back. He also gets hit by Damien for lying to him and disobeying orders. When Elliot's friends arrive to save him, Hedge tries to make them to leave before Damien finds out they're there. The worst thing Guineas does is guard Elliot, and his way of participating in the fight with Elliot's friends is by having a thumb war with one of them. Vlad initially appears to be at least somewhat sympathetic to Damien's mindset: He is confrontational towards Hedge, he willingly goes after Grace when he sees her arrive, and when Damien subdues her, he says, "I never like to see her hurt, but she brought it upon herself." He also is the one who alerts Damien to the presence of Elliot's friends, and ends up being the most vicious fighter against them. However, this all turns out to be a combination of lip-service to Damien and resentment for being unable to transform into a human.
  • Zigzagged Trope in The Sanity Circus: on the one hand, Posey is a demon-esque nightmare creature and is trying to make Attley return to her demonic nature too - but she is also genuinely trying to protect Attley as well from the other Scarecrows, who would kill Attley permanently for being of no use to them anymore.

    Web Original 
  • In Tribe Twelve we got Firebrand who at first was just a member of the slendy elite team AKA the Collective, but we soon learn that not only does he care about Noah but he is none other then Sir Swears Alot himself. According to his own words he's always been there for Noah.

    Western Animation 
  • ReBoot: Hack & Slash only followed Megabyte's orders because they knew Bob would always stop them. When Bob is gone Slash can't bring himself to kill a Bi-Nome on Megabyte's orders, and says that he misses Bob. Then the two switch sides.
  • Garfield and Friends: One episode shows that Jon had a pirate ancestor who seemed to be evil, but was in reality a spy for George Washington.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: The BADGUYS, whose name is actually an acronym for “Bureau of Animal Defense, Glurfsberg, Upper Yipville Section, and were chasing after Sam and Guy to stop Sam from selling Jenkins to Snerz. The narrator even uses this trope word-for-word to describe them. In fact, they decide to let Sam go after learning his true quest!.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Colossus was a member of Magneto's Acolytes. In his second appearance, it was revealed during a confrontation between him and Wolverine that he was a reluctant member of the group and Magneto had blackmailed him into joining. In subsequent appearances, Colossus was consistently portrayed as the most sympathetic member of the Acolytes and was the first to abandon the group after Magneto was seemingly killed by Apocalypse. He later helped the X-Men in their final battle against Apocalypse and was shown in the Distant Finale to become a full-fledged member of the X-Men following Apocalypse's defeat.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: In one episode, Plucky Duck, who's often acts like a Jerkass, is revealed to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. When Acme Looneversity was playing football against Perfecto Prep, Plucky seemed to be giving the opposing team's captain Roderick Rat the Looniversity playbook in exchange for transferring to Perfecto. When his number one fan Little Sneezer the mouse catches him talking to Roderick he tells Plucky "Say it ain't so, Plucky!". At the end during the last quarter of the game when Sneezer again tells Plucky "Say it ain't so, Plucky!", Plucky smiles and says "It ain't so, Sneezer." Plucky and his team captain Buster Bunny immediately use a play together that was never in the Looniveristy team's playbook and when Roderick states so in angry confusion Buster tells him to check the back...Where Roderick finds the last page reading "Sucker". Turns out Buster planned to have Plucky pretend to help Roderick so they could beat his team in the end.
  • The Intruder III: Unlike the blob monster that terrorized TOM and SARA in the first two Intruders, the Sand Worm creatures were really trying to help TOM and SARA get off the planet they landed on and have operated out of since the second Intruder, as the planet was dying.
  • In Steven Universe, the Diamonds, God Emperors of Gemkind, are cold, callous beings of immense power who preside over a Planet Looter empire. Pink Diamond, who presided over the colonization of Earth, was so great a threat to organic life on the planet that rebel leader Rose Quartz was forced to break her Thou Shalt Not Kill rule and shatter her. At least, that's what everyone thinks. In truth, Pink Diamond had Gone Native and invented the persona of "Rose Quartz" to sabotage her own colony. When that failed, she faked her death at Rose's hands, then assumed the role of the pro-organic rebel leader for good.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: In one episode, the episode’s monster, the Headless Specter, turned out to not be engaging in any criminal activity like the previous villains and was actually defending his manor from the episode’s real villain, a hitchhiker. He even went as far as to help Scooby and friends capture the hitchhiker.
  • The undead pirates and Civil War soldiers of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island are, at worst, scary but helpful, as the real evil monsters are the werecats and voodoo cultists. One Confederate zombie offers a vine to help Shaggy and Scooby escape quicksand, and the pirate captain's ghost was only trying to scare the gang off the island to prevent them from meeting the same fate he did.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "Daring Doubt" reveals that Ahuizotl, one of Daring Do's recurring enemies, is the guardian of his jungle and is in charge of keeping the artifacts within it safe, rather than trying to use them for some Evil Plan as was originally thought. Because artifacts keep getting stolen by Daring Do and Caballeron on his watch, he's in trouble with the other guardians and could lose his job if any more go missing, hence his hostility towards them.
  • In Avatar, firebending was initially portrayed as the evil tool of an oppressive empire. Then it turns out that the true source of it is energy and life, and while the nation is fed a steady stream of propaganda and nationalism, the average fire nation member is generally a decent person.


Video Example(s):


A Valentine For You

Pooh and his friends realize the Smitten isn't as bad as they thought as it reunites them.

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