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Kick the Morality Pet

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The Flash: Can't [kill me], can you? I'm the last piece of your conscience. That's the one thing you'll never do.
Lord Superman: I've done a lot of things I thought I'd never do these last two years. One more won't hurt.
Justice League, "A Better World (Part 2)"

The Hero has been taking a turn for the Anti-Hero lately, exploring The Dark Side with the help of an Evil Mentor, learning anger, or generally indulging in less than heroic behavior or abilities.


On the way, their friends will try to stop them, but the hero will ignore them because they're enjoying themselves too much. They're this close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope thanks to Evil Feels Good and assorted perks to lapsing their morality, and just when it looks like they're about to Kick the Son of a Bitch and give him what's coming to him, they either miss the intended target and hurt an ally by accident, or abruptly realize they're being an abject Jerkass and attacking someone who's trying to help them for no good reason.

They've just hit the nadir of this downward spiral and the start of their return to the straight and narrow. By hurting their friend, possibly the Morality Pet, Love Interest, or The Chick for extra oomph, they do the one thing capable of prompting a Heel Realization before they do a full Face–Heel Turn (or cement the turn, at least). Cue cries of "My God, What Have I Done?" and "What Have I Become?!?" while shedding Tears of Remorse and Cradling Their Kill, they'll say they're sorry and try their hardest to resuscitate the dog they've just kicked.


If they weren't evil beforehand, whoever was inducing them to this behavior will quickly prove it by not turning back like the hero just has. They'll likely scold the hero for chickening out, thinking "They Were Holding You Back", and remark that evil does not spend its time petting bunnies (well, not during weekdays anyway). If powers are involved, expect them to go Drunk On The Darkside and/or One-Winged Angel.

Alternatively, this trope may be used as a Moral Event Horizon crossing to show that the character is too far gone to pull them back to their senses, which will result in either an Ignored Epiphany or the character displacing the guilt onto someone else. This, paradoxically, may be used to mark them as more evil, since intentionally harming someone that you actually care about to some extent takes more dedication than harming someone who you don't care about. If the villain's relationship with the morality pet was their only redeeming quality, callously throwing it away can make them a Complete Monster.


See also Minor Insult Meltdown and Moment of Weakness.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga adaptations of Angels of Death, Catherine Ward is shown in her high school Alpha Bitch days to have had a Beta Bitch, Lucy, devoted to her and helping her carry out her bullying and murders. As adults, the two ran a prison where they sadistically tortured the prisoners. Cathy grew to genuinely love Lucy, who reciprocated the feeling. Which is why Cathy tied up Lucy and chainsawed her to death- she wanted her first kill to be someone special to her. Worse, Lucy has been so broken by Cathy that she is happy to be killed by her beloved.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Reiner uses the massive strength of his Titan form to begin hurling Titans at the escaping soldiers and nearly kills several of his former friends in the process. It's used to illustrate just how far over the Despair Event Horizon he's gone and reaffirming his claims that I've Come Too Far. Armin even responds in shock, wondering aloud whether he even cares anymore about the danger of Eren being devoured by Titans. Hange later theorizes that killing Eren was his actual goal in doing this, having given up on simply kidnapping him.
    • Much later on, Eren himself shows how far he's fallen by acting cruelly toward his closest friends. He gives Mikasa (who's always been in love with him) a "The Reason You Suck" Speech claiming he's always hated her, then beats up Armin when Armin punches him in retaliation.
  • Black Clover: Licht shows care for his subordinates when he's furious at Asta for harming Valtos. He later reveals that it was a ruse, revealing that he always hated his human underlings before he sacrifices them all to complete the elves' reincarnation.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Beerus meeting Goku is the reason why he goes from an amoral, selfish God of Destruction who will destroy anything that annoys him, to being the overall Big Good in Super. However, Beerus has no problem reminding Goku that he is a god while he is just a mortal whose power can't compete with him or any God of Destruction. The most vicious kick he gives is when he mocks Goku for trying to stop Champa from killing his own team, saying that since Champa is a god, he can do what he wants in his universe, and there is nothing Goku can do to stop it. He also seems to agree with Champa that Goku and the others are pawns to the gods.
  • Durarara!!: Everyone assumes that Izaya did this to Shinra in middle school for no reason whatsoever. Turns out, he told Shinra to tell everyone that he stabbed him so he can use this opportunity to ruin Nakura who even dare hurt his Only Friend. Naturally, it's implied that Izaya also did this so no one will find that how close he is with Shinra.
  • Elfen Lied: Lucy brutally kills Kouta's sister Kanae in the middle of what's basically a mix of a psychotic breakdown and a hissy-fit of jealousy. While she's still murderous after that due to other unrelated events, quite a bit of guilt over said incident remains in her heart.
  • The Familiar of Zero: Happens to Agnes (at least in the novels), when Saito, Louise and everyone is fleeing the country to save Tabatha who is about to meet a Fate Worse than Death at the hands of her uncle, the King of Galia. Anies had orders to only arrest the group and no intention of harming them, but as soon as she sees her lifelong nemesis Colbert responsible for her Doomed Hometown, whom she thought was dead, she snaps and opens fire. The shock from the realization she nearly killed Saito in the process, whom she trained and considered as a friend, has her realize that even if she killed her nemesis, other people would hate her in turn, so hatred and revenge are meaningless and that someone has to take it on himself to end the hatred here and now. She didn't forgive him, but is at least able, now, to look at his face without feeling murderous urges, or at least without acting on them.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Chapter 95: Roy is taking brutal revenge on Envy when Ed, Scar, and Riza step in to stop him. Roy asks Riza what she plans to do after she shoots him. The answer? Kill herself because it means she let him betray his own ideals. He backs down immediately.
    • After the second Greed kills Bido, a member of his original self's True Companions, he begin's regaining memories of his past incarnation, leading to the horrible realization of what he just did. This, along with a calling out courtesy of Ling, kicks off his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Girls und Panzer: This is an unfortunate result of Maho adopting a jerk attitude toward her younger sister Miho, doing everything that is expected of her as heiress so that Miho can live her life her own way. When Miho confronts her about shooting an enemy flag tank that was trying to save her own team, Maho coldly dismisses her, leaving her in tears. When Miho against her typical nature, confronts her mother to ask her the same question, Maho realizes how much she has upset Miho and apologizes.
  • GUN×SWORD: Michael, who has become a loyal minion of the Claw meets up with his sister, Wendy, one of the heroes. Wendy ends up shooting him in the arm to try and stop him, and he starts strangling her. Then, her pet turtle bites his finger and he snaps out of it, realizes what he's doing, and saves Wendy when the lair starts to collapse. While the series implies a Heel–Face Door-Slam for Michael and his lover Fasalina, who likewise snapped out of her loyalty to the Claw both appear to be crushed under rocks and averting Just A Fleshwound, Wendy's shot is implied to be fatal, supplemental materials go for Redemption Earns Life.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • The Chimera Ant King has an epiphany re-affirming his identity as an apex predator. Deciding he no longer needs the distraction provided by Komugi, the blind girl he can't beat at a board game, he heads to her room to kill her. When he enters the room, he sees that Komugi has injured herself again...and immediately becomes concerned and tries to help her, all the while wondering why he is acting this way.
    • At the height of an emotional breakdown during his 2nd encounter with Pitou, Gon very harshly criticizes Killua's behavior, despite Killua's entire character arc in the saga revolving around him desperately trying to be a better friend to Gon and sticking by him through thick and thin. Killua is very emotionally hurt, but Gon eventually apologizes and the two make up.
      Gon: You have it so easy, Killua. You can remain calm... since this means nothing to you.
  • Kill la Kill: An inversion happens when Ryuuko's resident Morality Pet, Mako Mankanshoku, starts letting the wealth and prestige of running the Fight Club go to her head, Ryuuko lets the morality pet kick her to bring Mako back to her senses.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: Hakuryuu's attempt to conquer a second Djinn results in him being confronted with his conscience that appear in the form of his loved ones, with them telling him to put aside his revenge and accept his fate as it is. Angered at such a suggestion, while remembering all that he had suffered up until this point, he refuses and decides to fall into depravity instead. The first action that he does afterwards is to brutally cut down the illusions, while proclaiming that he will kill the real ones soon.
  • Marmalade Boy: When Satoshi grossly misunderstands Namura's reasons to keep rejecting Meiko's love and beats him up, he ends up punching Meiko when she tries to stop him.
  • Nabari no Ou: Happens when Gau throws himself in front of Raikou's attack to stop him from killing his own little sister, Raimei. Complete with Raikou cradling Gau and crying. They both get better.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Negi went on a Black Magic fueled rage and indiscriminately attacked everyone around him. It was only after he came within inches of killing one of his own (defenseless) students that he snapped out of it.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: As Sayaka begins her downward spiral, she ends up upsetting Madoka when she angrily lashes out at her for not using her incredible potential as a Magical Girl to aid her in the fight against witches. Unfortunately, this only makes Sayaka feel even worse, and she even rejects Homura's offer of a Grief Seed, given with the sole intent of preventing Madoka from being hurt by Sayaka turning into a witch.
  • Sands of Destruction: In the manga, Morte finished her job in a city where the beastmen were eating humans. After berating Kyrie of doing something reckless, she blows up the entire city that they just saved for the fun of it. This action causes Kyrie to snap at her and he leaves the group which causes the group to split up (with Toppi and Naja going with him and Agan staying with Morte.) When he comes back, he throws the gun that she gave him to defend himself on the ground telling her that he doesn't need it anymore since he's not coming back. Cue, she snaps and attacks him proving Kyrie's point why he can't stay with her. Thankfully Toppi and Naja stopped her attack.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kaneki's six-month Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Aogiri Tree comes to a halt when he manifests his Kakuja form for the first time and ends up impaling Banjou with his hand. After being given a Cool Down Hug, he realizes just how far gone he really is and begins a period of soul-searching. This leads him to decide to disband his group, and return to Anteiku so that he can attempt to make amends for his actions.
  • The World of Narue: Kanaka. A victim of Time Dilation, she's missed a couple of decades. After she realizes that everyone she knew is now completely different, she freaks out and tries to run off. Narue, determined to befriend her (technically older) sister, runs after her. Kanaka pulls a laser gun to try to frighten Narue off, and after a brief tussle, Kanaka completely unintentionally shoots her. Fortunately it was a non-lethal gun to begin with, but it's still enough to get Kanaka to thoroughly regret her actions. Well, that and some manly tears from Kazu.

    Comic Books 
  • In Villains United, Cheshire was blackmailed into joining the Secret Six with threats that a bomb was implanted in the back of her daughter's head. By the end of the mini-series, Cheshire conceived a replacement child via seducing Catman. Neither Lian or her father Roy ever learned about this, which allowed Cheshire to continue her emotional manipulation of Roy long after Lian's death.
  • Invoked in Starbrand & Nightmask when the Kree Starbrand murders her own Nightmask, knowing that Nightmasks are supposed to act as Morality Chains for their Starbrand. She's a Knight Templar who believes heavily in Utopia Justifies the Means, so she decided that having a moral lighthouse guiding her would just hold her back from doing her job.

  • In the Pokemon fanfic Travels of the Trifecta, Paul does this twice, to both Reggie and Conway, and both times only realizes his mistake later on. With Reggie, it occurs in the first chapter, when Paul threatens to disown him if he loses to Brandon, which then starts the chain of events that leads to Reggie getting struck by lightning. With Conway, Paul abandons him after they get attacked by Team Galactic because Paul thinks that Conway is a traitor for "letting" Mars molest him, and stays angry at Conway until Reggie talks to him about it and Paul realizes that he shouldn't have abandoned Conway like that.
  • In White Devil of the Moon, Precia Testerossa finally succeeds in reviving her Ill Girl daughter Alicia. Initially, Precia seems to revert back to the caring mother she once was, but Alicia eventually begins to notice signs of her mother's Sanity Slippage. It comes to a head when Alicia calls her out on her abusive treatment of Fate, and Precia loses her temper and hits her with a lightning spell. Fate responds by ventilating Precia's innards.
  • In Pony POV Series, Princess Luna has a nightmare where during an argument with Princess Celestia, Luna casually kicks away the small annoying voice asking her to stop, then she turns around and finds she just caved in Pipsqueak's skull. She panics and tries to bring him back to life, only for Celestia to lecture her on the immorality of playing with life and death. When she wakes up, she realizes that she's grown an unhealthy attachment to the boy, and resolves to let him grow up on his own.
  • The Doom Slayer does this to Ruby every now and then in Remnant Inferis: DOOM. While she's one of the few people he's mostly nice to, he can be outright mean to her. The most frequent example being how he lambastes her aspirations of being a Huntress and tells her to give up. Granted, he's doing so to prevent her from living a life of death and misery (or turn out like him), but it's still pretty cruel.
  • In chapter 29 of Code Prime Cornelia ends up doing this to her own sister Euphemia. The two get an argument when Euphemia tells her the truth about what Megatron did to Cybertron, and she practically begs Cornelia to join the Autobots. Cornelia, due to her wounded pride from her constant defeats against them refuses, and when Euphemia tells her straight up that she’s no different from their father, this causes Cornelia to backhand her to the face. By the time Cornelia realizes what she’s done, Euphemia had already left to make preparations for the Special Administrative Zone, leaving her miserable.

  • Parodied in both Ace Ventura and The Naked Gun: The protagonist is trying to convince the others that the Reasonable Authority Figure is actually a villain in disguise and Crosses the Line Twice while trying to prove it. In the case of Ace Ventura, he's actually right.
  • Blade: Trinity starts with the vampires arranging a Kick The Wrong Dog moment for Blade: The "vampire" that he was chasing simply had fake teeth.
  • Downfall: Jospeh and Magda Goebbels are die-hard fanatics to Adolf Hitler but they do love their six children, innocent of their parents' evil deeds. But when Hitler commits suicide and Germany's downfall is at hand, Magda (with Jospeh's approval) murders the children to prevent them from growing up in a Nazi-freed world.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ego the Living Planet genuinely fell in love with Meredith Quill but knew that staying with her would jeopardize his life-long goal to assimilate all life in the universe. So he deliberately planted a brain tumor in her head that would eventually kill her, cutting off his one tie to Earth. Revealing this to their son turns out to be a bad idea as it instantly snaps Peter out of his reverie and turns Peter against him.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: As the journey progresses, Frodo falls more under the Ring's influence. It climaxes in Osgiliath when the Ring influences him to stand in the open so one of the Nazgul can take it. Luckily, Sam reaches him just in time to tackle him out of the way. Unluckily, his attempts to remove the Ring draw the still-enthralled Frodo's possessive wrath, and Sam barely escapes getting his throat cut with his friend's sword. When Frodo "wakes up" and realizes what he almost did, his self-loathing horror is palpable.
  • Return of the Living Dead 3: At one point, when zombie Julie gets really hungry, she attacks Curt, her own boyfriend, who is forced to fight her off.
  • Just like in the Animated Series, Spider-Man 3 has Peter Parker become a jerk thanks to the alien symbiote increasing his aggression. He eventually goes on a date with Gwen Stacy (after getting dumped by Mary Jane), walks into the bar MJ is working at and proceeds to enter a song and dance meant to humiliate her. Finally, the bouncer gets fed up and tries to throw him out. Peter easily deflects him, but also instinctively knocks MJ down when she tries to grab him. Peter finally realizes the symbiote is turning him into a monster and tries to get rid of it.
  • At the end of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker force chokes Padmé Amidala nearly to death when she tries to convince him what he's doing is evil. Unfortunately, the incident doesn't prompt him to stop, instead, he just blames Obi-Wan Kenobi for turning her against him.
  • X-Men: First Class includes a dramatic confrontation where Magneto is deflecting bullets from Moira MacTaggert trying to stop him from destroying the US and Soviet fleets. One of the bullets flies off and hits Charles in the spine. For a moment, there's a look of pure horror and guilt on Erik's face, then he decides it was Moira's fault. Xavier vocally disagrees and talks him down by playing on the other man's guilt.

  • The whole M.O. of the Ministry of Love in 1984 is to force people to do this under threat of torture to break them.
  • Nathaniel is much more innocent at the start of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, but a Cynicism Catalyst in a world of Black-and-Gray Morality soon leads him to leave that behind. By the third book he isn't so different from the original villain. It's only when Kitty Jones is injured that he starts to see the implications of his actions.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond attacks innocent people - the family members of his nemeses - not because they've hurt him in any way, but just to make his true enemies' despair that much more absolute. It's only once one of his closest friends tries to commit suicide (because he, unbeknownst to Edmond, was in love with one of those innocents) that Edmond realizes how cruel he's become. Fortunately, there's still time to save most of his victims.
    Edmond: Pray God that I have not already done too much.
  • In Dragon Bones, an ancestor of the protagonist killed a dragon. (Dragons are sentient in that setting, and it was his duty to protect them). He was called out on this by his slave Oreg, whom he had whipped so severe that it would have killed a mortal. (Oreg is immortal and cannot act against orders, the worst form of slavery. A Wizard Did It.) To make things worse, this ancestor is the same one whom the protagonist admires and tries to imitate, as he only knows about his better sides, such as establishing an anti-slavery law.
  • In Gone, Caine's love/obsession for Diana was his one redeeming quality. But, in book four, he lies to her, uses her for sex, and brags about this to the entire town. This upset the fangirls more than when he sicced coyotes on preschoolers.
    • This becomes subverted in LIGHT, when he abdicates the throne to rescue her, apologizes to her, saves her from a life in prison and dies defending her.
  • This is Albus Dumbledore's backstory in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He was dangerously close to joining with Grindelwald and his vision for the world when his sister Ariana was accidentally killed during an argument between him Gellert and Aberforth after Gellert tortured Aberforth for standing in the way and Albus ran to his defense. At that point, he came to his senses and instead became the Big Good that he is known as.
    • Also the story for Regulus Black. He was a loyal Voldemort supporter, proud to offer the use of his beloved House Elf...until he finds out that Voldemort wanted the elf to test the defenses around his horcrux, which involved the elf being horribly tortured and left to die. After he found out about that, along with deducing Voldemort's use of Horcruxes he gave his life to try to bring Voldemort down.
    • And Severus Snape's. When he found out the information he provided would lead directly to Lily Potter's death, he switched sides. It was too late to save her, however, and he had to live with the guilt. This was not the first time this happened — back in his fifth year at Hogwarts, Snape, in a Moment of Weakness, called Lily (his best friend at the time) a Mudblood. Their friendship, already strained from Severus surrounding himself with future Death Eaters like Lucius Malfoy, promptly dissolved after that. To this day he still considers it his absolute worst memory, as it cost him at the very least the friendship of the woman he loved, and the day where the only path he saw left for him was the Death Eaters, all of which eventually led to Lily's death.
  • Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games helped create bombs to aid the rebellion in the third book, Mockingjay. The bombs eventually killed Primrose Everdeen, his best friend/love interest Katniss' younger sister and Morality Pet, whom she volunteered to enter the series' titular Deadly Game for, rendering Katniss' actions for the entire series moot and their relationship completely fractured.
  • In Les Misérables, Jean Valjean steals from a little boy from the force of habit after the bishop pardons him. While the child wasn't someone he knew, how monstrous the act was, especially since it came immediately after the bishop had pardoned him, was what prompted his Heel Realization and finalized his transformation into a Messiah.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel does this (sorta) with Gunn and Wesley fighting over Fred, but when Gunn goes to hit Wesley, he accidentally hits Fred instead. Whoops!
  • In Breaking Bad Walt Slowly Slipping Into Evil is shown by his increasingly frequent mistreatment of Jesse and Skylar. By Season Five, only his children are safe.
  • Whilst elsewhere in the Buffyverse, in "Wrecked", Willow's downward spiral of magic addiction is brought to a halt when she crashes her car with Dawn in the passenger seat while under the influencenote . Her manipulative friend Amy, who has been encouraging her magic abuse, is hurt by Willow's decision to quit magic and eventually becomes a Big Bad in the Season 8 comics.
    • Later, when Warren fatally shoots Tara while trying to kill Buffy, Willow goes off the wagon again and absorbs a massive quantity of Black Magic, becoming Drunk on the Dark Side and flaying Warren alive. Her rampage doesn't stop there; she proceeds to go after Warren's accomplices, Jonathan and Andrew, considering them guilty by association, and doesn't hesitate to attack the other Scoobies from trying to stop her, going so far as to threaten to turn Dawn back into an Energy Ball and end her human existence just to put an end to her constant whining.
    Buffy: You're hurting the people who love you now?
    Willow: Only the ones in my way.
  • This is key to the Doctor Who Series 9 finale "Hell Bent", in which the Doctor temporarily becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in the wake of Clara Oswald's death, which leaves him without a Morality Chain and then solitary imprisonment and torture by his enemies. In hopes of saving Clara's life, he risks destroying the entire universe by creating a Reality-Breaking Paradox, and most of those trying to stop him have No Sympathy for what he went through so it would seem no one can bring him around; the one exception is Clara herself but since that's the whole reason he's going to extremes... But then he tries to erase her memories of him with the intent of returning her to Earth. The objection to this is enough to make him realize he's invoked this trope and he returns to his best self, even accepting Mind Rape to excise the emotional cancer that made him so selfish.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • On his return to King's Landing, Jaime goes so far low as to force himself on Cersei, when they are right next to their son's corpse in the sept.
    • The only reason the Dothraki tolerate Viserys is because he is their Queen's older brother. Any mercy he had from Daenerys or the Dothraki evaporated the second he threatened Daenerys' unborn child.
  • In Mindhunter, Bill and Holden interview Real Life spree killer Richard Speck, who has a pet bird he helped health a broken wing and fed with a dropper. When Speck is (soon) angered by Holden's questioning, he throws the bird into a moving fan.
  • Post her Face–Heel Turn, Angela from Mr. Robot spent the majority of the third season knowingly exploiting her closest friend Elliot's mental illness to complete Stage 2 and later went as far as to verbally abusing him when the latter confronted her for her treachery.
  • In the climax of Power Rangers Time Force, the Big Bad Ransik has trashed the rangers and is getting ready to finish them of, when his daughter Nadira (having gained an appreciation for human life after helping deliever a baby) tries to talk him down. He ignores her, and during the fight she gets caught in one of his blasts. Horrified at having nearly killed his own daughter, Ransik voluntarily surrenders himself to the rangers.
  • In the Saved by the Bell precursor show, Good Morning, Miss Bliss, one episode features Zack trying to join a club of popular jerks called the Rigmas. They tell him to start bullying his friends as part of his initiation. The biggest Kick the Morality Pet moment comes when he yells at Screech "Why would I want to be seen with a nothing like you?!" Thankfully, Zack later realized the error of his ways, and his friends forgave him. They together spend the last few minutes of the episode remarking on how stupid people often act in order to fit in with various groups. The episode ends with Zack symbolically dumping the bullies club membership jacket in the garbage while his friends give him the thumbs up.

    Multiple Media 
  • Subverted in BIONICLE. When Vakama turns evil and Matau attempts to turn him back, Vakama has no problem beating him up and almost killing him. Despite Matau's efforts and heartfelt speech, Vakama couldn't bring himself to believe that Matau had gone through Character Development, and thought he was the same Jerkass he had been when they last met, so he felt no remorse after hurting him. That is, until Matau managed to prove to him then and there that he has truly changed.
  • Danganronpa: Junko Enoshima does this to basically everyone she has affection for. She is capable of love and bonding, but due to her sadomasochistic obsession with despair, she intentionally cultivates feelings to cause herself pain when she kills her loved ones. Her sister Mukuro Ikusaba, her boyfriend Yasuke Matsuda, and her classmates from the first game all wind up either brutally murdered or traumatized by her, specifically because of her twisted love for them. Invoked and lampshaded in Danganronpa 3, as she routinely attempts to harm or kill Mukuro as a way of causing herself despair. Mukuro just shrugs it off happily.

    Video Games 
  • Inverted in the second Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth game. Horace Knightley, the murderer of the first case, is a close friend of Simon Keyes, and pretty much the only person Knightley would be nice to. Simon is a False Friend that sets up his arrest and murder because he hates Horace as Horace's father killed Simon's... or so he thinks. It's actually the other way around, but he feels no remorse after learning about that fact.
  • In Ensemble Stars!, Souma serves as a Morality Pet for Keito - while he's typically a pretty harsh and strict person, he's genuinely affectionate towards his innocent and undyingly devoted junior, and it's established that in the backstory it was Souma's kindness that transformed Keito and Akatsuki in general from villains into basically good people. However, the later event Ryuusei Bonfire shows that this wasn't a smooth process for Souma - when he found out they were hurting Kanata (his club leader, friend, and God) and was understandably angry and upset, Keito became enraged and yelled at him for disobeying, calling him useless and expelling him from the unit, leaving Souma in tears. This revelation wasn't well-received by some in the fandom who argued that this was far too cruel without any possible justification and left Keito permanently unsympathetic.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia has Prince Berkut sacrificing his girlfriend Rinea, aka THE person he cares for, to Duma as a part of a Deal with the Devil after Alm beats his pride into the mud and he learns that he was never going to inherit the Rigelian throne.
  • Experienced at least twice by Kratos in the God of War series, when he murdered his wife and child prior to the start of the series, and when he kills Athena while fighting Zeus at the climax of God of War II.
  • The House in Fata Morgana: A Requiem For Innocence: The one and only person Lord Jean-François Barnier shows affection for is Ceren, whom he even tries to protect when the peasants invade his castle in revolt. The interlude scenes between them are rather tender and show a softer side of him. But as he himself says, he puts himself first and her second- which he proves when he stabs her for disobeying his orders to stay safe inside, with no remorse whatsoever, even cackling in glee and taunting Jacopo about it.
  • In Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, this trope is invoked in the final duel of the game. As Mara Jade, you must holster your lightsaber and stop attacking Kyle in order to force him to have to kill you unarmed if he wants to reach his goal, thus snapping him out of it.
  • Persona 5: During dinner, Makoto Niijima innocently mentions to her sister/legal guardian Sae that she believes their late father would have supported the Phantom Thieves. Sae already has a low opinion of their father and his ideals, especially since said ideas got him killed in the line of duty and left her to struggle with raising Makoto alone, and this promptly causes her to snap and verbally tear her younger sister a new one, going so far as to tell Makoto to her face that she considers her a useless burden, made even worse by the fact that Makoto does everything she possibly can to please Sae and lessen her burden. Sae instantly regrets saying it, but the damage is done.
  • Rise of the Third Power: Prince Gage initially gets along well with his fiancée, Princess Arielle, but when he ambushes the party at Telindra, he orders his soldiers to execute the party and restrain Arielle despite her insistence on staying with the party. While he seems to be doing this because he believes the party is lying to Arielle, it shows that the trust between the two is not as strong as it first appeared. Once Arielle shoots him with a cannon to get her point across, he has his soldiers spare the party and leave Arielle to her devices, indicating that he realizes he went too far. That said, this event causes Arielle to fall out of love with Gage, since it shows that he prioritizes his country's interests over her own intentions. Though later, he chooses to defy Arkadya by saving Arielle from the assassin, Sparrow.
  • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World: In the "bad" ending, Emil fakes his Superpowered Evil Side like he does on the other endings, but this time goes too far in his fight with Lloyd and Marta, and wins the fight, killing Marta. Raine rushes over to heal Marta. Emil promptly admits it was all an act, and in an act to redeem himself, he kills himself. Oops.

  • Drowtales: Ariel was heading toward the Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain grey area, but after accidentally killing a slave she became more of an Emotionless Girl, and more recently more of a Plucky Girl type. Because of this she ended up sparing an enemy and avoided directly killing someone else, though given the Crapsack World of the setting both of those choices may come back to bite her.
  • Happens in the Webcomic Zap!, with the protagonist learning to use his forgotten Psychic Powers to control people.
  • In the Secretary arc in Nature of Nature's Art, XZ "breaks up" with SV by quitting the college, and he goes into an Unstoppable Rage and kills her. Whether he did a Heel–Face Turn before he also died is up for debate.
  • In Collar 6, Butterfly, aka Evita Kappel has one of these moments when she lashes out at her slave Gunther because he worries about her mental state. She immediately regrets it. Though she'd already been established as a villain, this also serves to back up Gunther's theory that her use of her husband's "black books" has started affecting her personality.

    Web Original 
  • A strange mixture of in-universe and out-of-universe examples: in Twitch Plays Pokémon Crystal, the Mob accidentally releasing Togepi instead of Lazer Gator caused them to take stock of themselves, eventually leading to its new and distinct themes and plot.
  • In the climax of Volume 7 of RWBY, General Ironwood has gone around the bend, issued arrest orders for the heroes, and intends to raise Atlas and leave Mantle to die at the cold and Grimm. Oscar, who has spent much of the Volume spending time with Ironwood, tries to appeal to Ironwood and get him to change his mind. When Ironwood refuses to budge and swears to let no one get in his way, Oscar remarks that Ironwood has become as dangerous as Salem. In response, Ironwood shoots him without hesitation or mercy.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kick The Wrong Dog


Kaos fires Glumshanks

After being manipulated by the Darkness, Kaos turns against his loyal follower Glumshanks and throws him out.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / KickTheMoralityPet

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