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Mascot Villain

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People found his lack of face disturbingly iconic.
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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 Sidekick Creature Nuisance 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.

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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 Face–Heel Turn, Evil All Along, 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.


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Examples

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    Advertising 
  • 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.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bokurano: Dung Beetle's 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:
  • 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.
    • Series protagonist Eren Yeager can also qualify, as after the Time Skip he appears to become a full-fledged Villain Protagonist bent on destroying the world through unleashing the Wall Titans and is also revealed to have instigated the Eldian Restoration Movement via a Stable Time Loop. Until it gets revealed that he was pulling off a Zero-Approval Genghis Gambit by taking up all of the world's hatred of the Eldian race onto himself.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char Aznable, though making a full rotation through the Heel–Face Revolving Door, could still count as a semi-example, and is popular enough to inspire a slew of copycats. Second to Char is Gihren Zabi, who is easily the second most popular villain after him and also an iconic character in the franchise, being the template for future despots.
  • 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.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Vader is the single most recognizable character in the entire 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.
    • For The Phantom Menace, Vader’s predecessor as Darth Sidious’s apprentice, Darth Maul, to an extent. However, Maul’s direct successor, Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus did not get this treatment, at least partially due to the nature of his first appearance in series, and his minimal amount of screen time in his second and last one.
    • Captain Phasma sometimes shares this role with Kylo Ren as well (as she was meant to be the Boba Fett to his Darth Vader), her prominence can be seen on various merchandises, despite having a minimal role in the actual movies much like Dooku.
    • 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, in particular Winifred, 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 Saw series has Billy the Puppet, avatar of the Jigsaw killer. It's probably the most recognizable malevolent figure in the series, moreso than John Kramer or his apprentices (AKA the actual Jigsaw killers).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: The popularity and Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame have largely elevated Thanos to being the flagship villain of all of Marvel Comics, similar to what The Joker and Darkseid are to DC Comics.
  • Margaret Hamilton's portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz is considered to be one of the most iconic elements of the film, to the point that she has been used to represent the film over the main quartet in other media.
  • Scream has Ghostface as the mascot. What prevents it from being a full-on Villain-Based Franchise is the fact that it's a different killer who takes the identity, while the cast of protagonists stay the same.

    Live Action TV 
  • Overlapping with Mascot Mook, Doctor Who has both the Cybermen and the Daleks, who have played prominent roles in the franchise ever since its inception and are among its most iconic elements.
  • Shocker are every bit as iconic to the Kamen Rider series as the Kamen Riders themselves, to the point of effectively being the Trope Codifier for Nebulous Evil Organisations in Japanese media. The Shocker Combatmen also have their own fair amount of popularity and serve as the franchise's Mascot Mooks.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Wild Dog from the Time Crisis series of games practically showed up in every numbered installment (as well as the spinoff, Project Titan, where his role in each and every game is to antagonize the VSSE agents just for the fun of it, even if he's not affiliated with the Big Bad in any way. He even had his own Leitmotif in his boss battles each game, and there are at least two instances where the heroes from the sequels lampshades how "Wild Dog never dies".
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 


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