Many series have their own Mascot, (Series Mascots, In Universe mascots or otherwise). Sometimes that mascot is one of the ones responsible for all the bad things happening (or at best is a neutral force that still causes things to go wrong for the heroes more often than not.) Though it's not necessary, the mascot can still fall into the Ridiculously Cute Critter or Small, Annoying Creature tropes just to make things extra twisted. Whether they are Big Bads, Dragons, Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains or just the humble Mascot Mook is not needed, what distinguishes this from the other tropes is that the Series Mascot is evil.
The difference is that most cases are usually either the most iconic character of the franchise, or checks off the items in a Weasel Mascot checklist, but their cuddly appearance belies a sinister nature.
As a general rule, this is extremely common with horror. Even if it doesn't simply become a Villain-Based Franchise, a horror movie franchise will usually see its villain/monster turn into its most recognizable character.
Related to Mascot Mook, when the mascot is one of the more common enemies in the game.
Due to the nature of FaceHeel Turn and the Series Mascot, there will be some spoilers. See also Antagonist Title and Villain-Based Franchise. Sometimes comes about due to fans Rooting for the Empire.
- The Noid was the mascot of Domino's for much of the late 80s, despite technically being the antagonist of their commercials. In the commercials, The Noid would try to ruin your pizza, only to be thwarted at every turn.
- The Trix Rabbit is an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain that tries to steal kids cereal and yogurt. He also appears on the packaging of said cereal and yogurt.
- Dung Beetle from Bokurano. His true status as a villain is up for grabs, as whatever is causing the events of the story is left nebulous, but he still regularly taunts the characters and acts like a Jerkass.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
- Kyubey starts off seeming like your average Magical Girl Ridiculously Cute Critter mascot, until you find out his true motives.
- Subverted with Bebe/Charlotte in Rebellion. Homura suspects that Bebe is the witch in whose barrier the entire film takes place—until Homura discovers that she is the witch herself.
- The Colossal Titan from Attack on Titan is the most recognizable titan in the series, and well-known for literally kick-starting the events of the story as well as being one of the series' titan shifters - titans that can disguise themselves as humans.
- Fountain of Memes Dio Brando from Jojos Bizarre Adventure. If there's ever going to be a Shout-Out to the series, it's usually going to involve either Jotaro or Dio.
- Mobile Suit Gundam. Char Aznable, though making a full rotation through the HeelFace Revolving Door, could still count as a semi-example, and is popular enough to inspire a slew of copycats.
- Paranoia Agent's Li'l Slugger/Shonen Bat, one of the two mascots of the series. The other one, Maromi, ends up being the other side of the coin of the former.
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear has the resident Mook monsters, Noise. They are often used for promotion and even have their own merchandise.
- Darth Vader, the single most recognizable character in the Star Wars franchise, to the point that an entire film trilogy was made about his Start of Darkness.
- It's perfectly fitting how Kylo Ren, Darth Vader's grandson, is this for the sequel trilogy starting in The Force Awakens.
- Captain Phasma sometimes shares this role with Kylo Ren as well, her prominence can be seen on various merchandises rather than being The Heavy like Ren.
- In Rogue One, the Imperial Death Trooper, Elite Mooks among the Stormtroopers takes this role.
- Slimer from Ghostbusters is a partial example. He starts off as a Starter Villain in the first movie, but by the time he became a true mascot in the animated adaptations he became the Team Pet and sidekick. A more fitting (in and out of universe) example is the Stay-Puff Marshmallow, or rather, Gozer the Gozerian, who took the form of the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man in a bid to start The End of the World as We Know It.
- The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter is notably closer to this than Villain-Based Franchise. While definitely the series' mascot and quite evil, he could only be considered a flat-out villain in the film Hannibal, and instead usually acts as an adviser to help catch other villains.
- The Sanderson sisters are this to Hocus Pocus. They get the most advertisements and they're the ones on the cover of Hocus Pocus & The All-New Sequel.
- The Red Knight from Dark Souls III, also known as the Soul of Cinder, is the Final Boss and the manifestation of every last unfortunate Lords of Cinder doomed to live inside an Animated Armor for eternity. Naturally this includes Gwyn, the First Lord of Cinder and the Chosen Undead. He is the figure seen on the game's cover, and was featured prominently in official merchandise... some of which incorrectly identifies him as the protagonist.
- Pyramid Head from Silent Hill 2, though his fame has also made him a mascot for the series as a whole.
- Needles Kane from Twisted Metal skirts close to this. He's definitely a villain, but still a pawn in the game of the series' real Big Bad.
- GLaDOS from Portal, though her #1 mascot status is edged out by the Companion Cube. The evil comes in the fact that she forces Chell to run around an deadly obstacle course with the promise of cake, and that when she gets to the end, tries to kill Chell.
- Nemesis from Resident Evil 3, even being featured front and center on the game's box art.
- The titular Sinistar is the only recognizable character in a game that's otherwise occupied by generic ships, and is easily the most recognizable thing about the game thanks to being a Fountain of Memes.
- The Devil in Devil World, to the point of representing the game as an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- The titular I. M. Meen, who's flamboyant nature outshines the rest of the cast and is the source of many a YouTube Poop.
- SHODAN from System Shock, to the point of being featured on the box art for the sequel.
- The Neptunia series has Pirachu, who In-Universe is a self-proclaimed mascot...however he looks more like the mascot of piracy and appears as the Non-Human Sidekick to either Underling or the Anthropomorphic Personification of Piracy herself, Arfoire.
- The titular character of Five Nights at Freddy's, like the other animatronics in the game, is trying to kill you because it's malfunctioning. This is technically a subversion since a hidden Mini-Game in the sequel reveals that he's Good All Along. It just mistakes the night shift guards as the one who murdered the kids. He's also an In-Universe example because he is also the mascot of the abandoned Suck E. Cheese's that serves as the setting.
- In Bravely Default, Airy turns out to be the Big Bad of the game. Until the reveal, a player might wonder why she of all people is on the cover.
- The Metroids are mutant leeches that Samus Aran usually has to exterminate on a regular basis. They are also Mascot Mooks. Ridley is also a big contender for mascot villain status due to never staying dead no matter how many times Samus kills him, being a badass space dragon that commands the Space Pirates who usually serves as The Dragon to the game's main villain (or is at least a recurring foe who heavily impacts the narrative), having an awesome battle theme, and having a connection with Samus in his backstory.
- City of Villains has Lord Recluse, ruler of the game's setting and Arch-Enemy of parent/sister game City of Heroes's mascot Statesman. Recluse and his organization Arachnos were created for Villains, but both were added as enemies into Heroes shortly after.
- The Creeper from Minecraft is so iconic to the game it may as well be the game's mascot. Creepers are hostile monsters that try to "creep" on you and light the TNT within their bodies to explode in your face.
- The mascot of not just the Shin Megami Tensei but Atlus is Jack Frost, who looks cute and friendly but will try to kill you most of the time.
- Flowey the Flower of Undertale is billed as the cute and innocent type of mascot in the game's manual, but that's gets thrown out of the window when he tries to share his "friendliness pellets". Similarly to Puella Magi Madoka Magicas Kyubey and Bravely Defaults Airy the Fairy above, he turns out to be the Big Bad.
- Starting with Far Cry 3, the Far Cry series has done this. With the exceptions of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry Primal, each game features its main antagonist front and center in the cover art and promotional material.
- The Cacodemon from Doom, who's even the icon for the Doom Wiki. The Cyberdemon also counts.
- Heihachi from Tekken, being the only member of the Mishima family to appear in all installments of the franchise, and being the Arch-Enemy of his son Kazuya and grandson Jin.
- Monokuma from Danganronpa falls into the Ridiculously Cute Critter category (though less so than the above-mentioned Kyubey, thanks to his more sinister Two-Faced design motif). He's even voiced by Doraemon's most notable voice actor; for a Western analog, imagine a teddy bear with the voice of Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh, or Spongebob Square Pants (the German dub actually does this) constantly trolling you, emotionally and psychologically torturing and blackmailing you, and egging you on to kill people.
- Subverted with Rena Ryuugu from Higurashi: When They Cry, as she's an antagonist in early arcs and quite Cute But Psycho when needed, but is overall a good girl, and most of her antagonistic traits are born from misunderstandings or a Hate Plague.
- For the Shinza Bansho Series, Reinhard from Dies Irae has become one of the series most iconic and recognizable villains, so much so that he has become the official mascot for the series. This is probably thanks in no small part to his intricate personality and heaps of charisma.
- It's easy to forget that Strong Bad from Homestar Runner is supposed to be a villain (albeit not a very good one) thanks to practically usurping the main character role from the character the site is named after.
- Wallet from Object Terror is a Serial Killer who enjoys making bad jokes and threatening people that he would kill them, but he's the mascot of the show.
- Dick Dastardly and Muttley from Wacky Races, eventually getting a spinoff in the form of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
- Though pretty Southern Belle Penelope is the title character of Hanna-Barbera's The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, she spends very little time on screen as the Damsel in Distress. Her nemesis, the Hooded Claw drives the plot in every case, and he's a Large Ham to boot, which is magnified by having Paul Lynde as his voice actor. Only the Ant Hill Mob gets as much screen time as the Claw, but their overall competency ranges from barely adequate to horribly hopeless.